Walls

“Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is. “ – Mark Groves

I have no idea who this person is, but this quote really spoke to me. For years I had walls around walls, around walls, with other walls I didn’t even realize were there.

The first of these walls went up when I was five years old. I didn’t stop building them until I was in my forties. Forty years of walls takes a lot of dismantling. Years and years of therapy I’ve been doing trying to break them down.

Some fell without much effort because merely acknowledging their presence was sufficient and they weren’t needed. Others have required chipping away brick by brick with so much effort and so many tears just to get an opening big enough to let light though.

Most of the more solid walls have doors now that those closest to me are allowed and know how to open. I wish we didn’t live in a world that required walls. I wish I could be that person where the door is always open or at least unlocked.

But we don’t and I’m not.

Most people who come near won’t even bother to look for the door and I’m okay with that. I’d like to think that whoever bothered to find the door and knock, that I would at least open the door to say hi. I admit I’m still wary though. Some I’ve let in recently have done quite a bit of damage in the short time they were inside.

If I let you in, please be kind. If I give you a key, know that I trust you immensely. Few people have the keys to any of my doors.

I’m still looking for the person who is brave enough, who is capable of helping me widen that opening in my final wall big enough to let them in. I am hopeful though.

I am grateful to all of you who are still knocking on my door or are lovingly and gently using their key.

Be well my friends.

More than a Game

I am a big sports fan though not at the insane level I used to be. I prefer women’s soccer and I don’t usually follow the men until they are playing in the Olympics or at the World Cup.  The USMNT is very young and their win yesterday was something to celebrate as evidenced by the fireworks being set off in towns all over Iran. No that is not a typo. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, shame on you. Ok that’s harsh but hear me out.

This World Cup has been fraught with so much controversy and international political chaos. First, the World Cup should never have been given to Qatar given their stance on human rights, particularly LGBTQ. The fierce attempts at suppression of the protests of fans and players are arguably not very successful.

Second, the match between Iran and the US was so much more than just a game. The Iranian players refused to sing their own national anthem at their first game. Due to threats by their own government to their families back home, they were at least mouthing the words for the US game. I have no idea what will happen to these brave players when they return to their homes, but I deeply respect them.

If you don’t know who Mahsa Amini is, please find out. There are so many things about our political system that feels broken and it certainly isn’t perfect, but I fully appreciate the privilege I have living here.

Be well my friends.

I’m an Act of Defiance

I heard from an old friend yesterday and we chatted a bit about small acts of defiance. I started really thinking about it and realized that my very existence is an act of defiance against the patriarchy, though only parts of me are obviously so at first glance.

Being fat and a woman with gray hair is where it starts. How dare I be taking up space in the world instead of hiding that I’m not thin or young?

I am a Latina though I pass as white and not just because I’m light skinned but because I was raised that way and I cultivated it as a means to fit in. I am deeply saddened that my mother was coerced into assimilating when she came to this country. Neither my brother nor I know much about our Chilean heritage, though I have started to learn about it.

I am no longer a Christian, though as the daughter of a minister and granddaughter of missionaries I can talk the talk and I know how to answer WWJD? As a practicing Buddhist I live more authentically like he would then most of the conservative Christians I see and hear.

I vote blue. I dabble in witchcraft with my tarot cards and interest in astrology. I’m good at math. And of course, I am queer.

Living my best life is my biggest act of defiance. Writing about it every day is my second.

Take up space, live your best authentic life. Be well my friends.

Defiance

I spent the majority of my day yesterday with some of the most amazing people I know. All of them queer AF and gathering in public spaces despite very real fear.

I had loved ones who worried about me being out there and I know how hard it was for me to wear my rainbow Love is Love t-shirt. Many of the others I met with had their colors flying too and I’m sure it was an act of bravery for them as well.

While there were some conversations about the shooting and some disagreements about whether or not to they/them the shooter, mostly it was all about reaffirming old friendships and making new friends.

I’m really glad I went and I’m grateful to all the truly beautiful humans I was with. Thank you for being you.

Also I didn’t get her permission first, so I’ll not identify her, but a special shout out to the woman who greeted me with a demand to know the scoop behind yesterday morning’s blog post. Your words thrilled this writer’s soul. Thank you and thanks to all my friends who support this blog and me.

Live your best authentic life and be well my friends.

Love Letters

I woke up this morning feeling like all is right with my world. It doesn’t really matter that the outside world is a shit show. Ok that’s not true, it does matter and later today I’m going to go try and do a little to make it slightly less of one.

But right now I’m feeling positive and all aglow and I am going to revel in it before I let the outside world intrude. Yesterday I posted about finding happiness that is not influenced by external things but I’m still a work in progress because this morning my joy is definitely due to external factors, one beautiful, amazing, exceptional human being in fact.

I’m a little leery of revealing too much. It’s private and special and brand new. But I’m overflowing with positive emotions that need sharing and as I started this blog as a means to share my experiences about dating it feels a bit disingenuous to be reluctant now.

The fact is I’m a bit worried about jinxing it. After the big breakup from my first long term relationship with a woman, my forays out into the dating world haven’t been very successful, though they each started out promising.

This time it feels more solid, which is a bit bizarre considering most of our interactions have been virtual. I say most because we have been able to connect in the real world through other means.

For instance, our video dates allow me to see her beautiful face and to hear her sexy voice and laugh. We are able to organically weave our way through the stories of our lives in a way texts and messages just can’t accomplish. So even though we aren’t in the same state, some of our physical senses are engaged to process how we feel about each other.

However, as someone whose primary love language is touch a long-distance relationship would be difficult without a way to connect through that sense, so I’m thrilled that we’ve started exchanging hand-written letters via snail mail. Having a letter on paper with words she wrote just for me, to read again and again, each page a connection to her I can hold in my hands, that is more precious to me then I can truly convey.

For the record I have her permission to share all of this with you and I hope that there will be many future posts with tidbits to share. Stay tuned.

Be well my friends.

Comfortable or Happy

Would you rather be comfortable or happy?

This question was posed on one of my FB Groups and I can’t stop thinking about it.

To me, being comfortable implies settling and contentment. Is that enough? Can you experience true happiness if you’re comfortable?

The question also implies that you can’t be happy unless you are pushing your boundaries and taking risks.

I think this question creates a false binary.  I don’t think we have to choose. I believe both are possible.

I think true happiness comes when you experience joy and contentment regardless of your comfort level because you’ve evolved to the level where nothing external can influence whether you are happy or not.

But in order to evolve I have to feel safe enough to find out and be who I really am. Only then can I learn that my happiness is not dependent on another human or anything outside of myself.

I’m trying to live my life content with the choices I’ve made. But inevitably the universe throws out one of its many curveballs. What I used to see as an obstacle, I now choose to see as a opportunity to experience or learn something new.  

However, I can still be swayed by a compliment or an insult, can still be set back by rejection or someone else’s treatment of me, so I’m not there yet. I have come a long way from where I was but have more to grow. That means for now I’d rather be happy, so I need to learn to accept being uncomfortable.

Someday though I have confidence I will have both.

I hope that for you too. Be well my friends.  

Holiday Dinner with Found Family

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being with many of my found family members. The parents of one of my friends were with us and we were treating them to a “traditional” feast, which they had never experienced.

Another one of my friends was the primary chef. It was their first time prepping a meal that big all by themselves and they wanted it to be perfect. So naturally Murphy, being the pest that he is, came to haunt us with his mayhem, which led to a discussion about what a traditional holiday family dinner looks like.

We came up with the following list:

1) Football – both American football and World Cup soccer games were showing on two TVs – Check

2) Politics – a divisive disagreement about pumpkin spice – Check

3) A ruined dish – an exploding Pyrex bowl in the oven destroying three complete dishes – Check

4) “The whole day is ruined” – ruined dishes included a cranberry dish and a sweet potato dish so nobody got to eat either this year – Check

5) Tears – the chef had a minor melt-down which was treated with alcohol and hugs – Check

6) Multiple minor injuries – some burns and cuts received cleaning the exploded/ruined food, one idiot who missed a step and face planted, and some singed hair during fire baton twirling lessons – Check

7) Fire – see #6 – fortunately 911 was not required – Check

8) Beautiful newly-in-love couple who can’t stop kissing – Check

9) Everyone complaining they ate way too much food – Check

10) Love and laughter despite all the above – Check.

All in all a very successful traditional family holiday dinner.

Happy Thankful I know You Day

I am fully aware of the problematic nature of this holiday. I acknowledge that I live on stolen land, and I honor the Ute, Cheyenne, Apache, Arapaho, and Shoshone, who were once numerous here.

I am a descendant of colonizers who destroyed and displaced Indigenous peoples on two continents. Furthermore, I am the grandchild of evangelical Christian missionaries who sought to civilize and save the souls of my mother’s people.

I cannot change this truth about who I come from. The past cannot be changed. I can only do the best that I can do from this moment on.

When you get a moment, please read this article about how many Indigenous people view this American holiday.

https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/story/indigenous-mom-leads-call-learn-truthsgiving-92481830

At the end, the author talks about how the idea of gratitude is one of the important things we can take way from the history of this day.

I am grateful for a great many things, but mostly I am grateful for all the amazing humans in my life, my family and friends who actively and wholeheartedly love and support me.

May you celebrate today with awareness and gratitude.

Be well my friends.

Digital versus Real

I have been really sucked into social media since the domestic terrorist attack this past weekend. So many people sharing words of support and stories about the victims and survivors of the Club Q shooting. Our community closing ranks against the haters. Allies encircling and supporting us.

But there are not enough Allies and way too many haters to make it through a scroll without vile, disgusting rhetoric oozing into what should be safe spaces. Where are all the Allies? Have they, have we, become so immune to this violence and hatred? Or are we/they just so worn down by the sheer volume of it we just don’t have the ability to be outraged anymore? I don’t have an adequate answer to that, but I knew I needed to get away from the digital world for a bit.

I went to my weekly trivia game last night, but it was difficult. Before I even left the house I had to tell my mother not to worry because I was going to a regular bar not a gay bar. When I got there I was glad to see a friend had already found a table in the corner where there would be two solid walls around us, but we couldn’t see the screen, so we had to move away from the protection of those walls.

It took a few moments debating with myself before I finally chose to sit with my back to the front entrance. Every fiber of my being was screaming at me to remember my training on how to be safe in public spaces. I was uncomfortable all night and had to really fight not to keep looking over my shoulder. I have worked for many years to overcome that fear response and I was right back there last night.

Instead of our normally very gay team name we went with something basic, and we all wore subdued clothes and accessories. We talked about our fears about being ourselves in public spaces and it about broke my heart to see my friends so scared.

It felt really good to be with my friends. The hugs were tighter and longer than usual but they were so very needed. Also, it felt really good to be in the real world and just playing and being. I’ve spent way too much time in the past several days on social media. Being with my friends really helped to ease the crush of all that outrage and reminded me that love, compassion, and community are just as powerful.

Be careful out there and know that I love and support you my friends.