I've been on Live Journal since July of 2002. Long time. :) Ahhh, the days when Xie used to refer to me as one of those "live journal" people. hahaha.
When I started it was a place for me to deal with the demons and monsters in my psyche. Through that time, I've gotten sober, and changed a lot, and gotten a therapist. Of course, in many ways I've remained the same, and still exhibit the occasional insanity. I'm a work in progress, I guess. LOL. At some point, it turned more into a place for fandom, and following all the fabulous creativity that the ladies of QAF exhibit.
I haven't been journalling for a while though. I guess it started some time ago when I got a very nasty comment from a member of the fandom basically telling me to shut up and quit whining. Basically I told her to go fuck herself and to get off my journal, which she promptly did, but ever since then everytime I think about journalling something here, I get shy and withdrawn, so I don't. And the honest truth is that she was mostly right. I did need to quit whining, and get a therapist. ;)
I'm going through some medical stuff now, and will be going through it for the next 6 months to a year, and I wanted to document it and my life while I'm going through it, especially the artistic side of things as a way of grounding myself in healing and not fear. Unfortunately, I haven't felt safe enough to do it here. I know that it's irrational, after all, where exactly is anybody safe on teh interwebs? But I'm going to honor those feelings, rather than just not do anything, as I really need to keep my monsters and demons out of my head over the next year. And honestly, with a few exceptions, I think most of my real life friends would rather I just go away and deal with the stuff, and then come back when I'm all better because it makes them uncomfortable. Even if I am misreading that, I would rather do it that way, as I'm not particularly fond of being weak. If I could just stay in my house for the next nine months, I think I would, and be totally okay with that. But that's probably not the healthiest thing to do, so this is a way to keep a tether into the real (virtual) world.
So, on that note, I've started a new blog called www.yearofcreativehealing.blogspot.com. I like blogspot's interface, as it's much easier to update from multiple computers. I think. The ironic thing is that it's under my full name with my real pictures on it, so it certainly isn't anonymous, which will give me a reason to censor myself to sane levels.
I'll still be lurking here and on Insane Journal of course, and commenting on your journals and stories, on occasion, because that's what I do. You're welcome to read the new blog or not. I'm honestly not writing it to build a readership, but if somebody wants to follow along, hey, I'm down with it. :)
See ya around!
I don't know why I'm reposting it. I guess just to remind myself that I can write, and that maybe I should try my hand at another story, fan-related or original.
I saw a local high school production of “The Laramie Project” last night. First of all, can I say how far the world has come that a high school can do a theatrical piece of work like this? Back in the 80's, when I was in high school, it wouldn’t have happened. While I had never seen it onstage, I had seen the film version, and remember Christina Ricci's performance with great fondness.
I have to say that I was impressed by the level of passion and ability of all involved. There were some really wonderful moments by various cast members, and I found myself moved by the show as a whole. While there are many standout moments, the actor who played Fred Phelps was uncanny in his ability to capture the essence and the mannerisms of that evil bastard. I know because I wanted to punch him in the face, as I do every time I see or hear Fred Phelps. The actor who played Matthew Shepherd really showed some acting chops, especially in the last monologue.
Another interesting thing is that I spent half the evening remembering when Matthew Shepherd was killed. I remembered listening to the news reports. I remembered hoping that he would pull through. I remembered being at the impromptu candlelight vigil in West Hollywood. I remembered how much the whole situation terrified me, and I remembered how inarticulate I was in explaining my reactions to it to people, especially the straight people in my life.
The teenagers in the audience and their reactions to the show really impressed me. Three boys, who were probably about 16, sat caddy-corner to me. The spent the last half of the show sniffling and crying. They were completely unashamed of how much they were moved. There wasn’t a trace of the machismo bullshit that so often plagues members of my own gender. I, myself, was moved, not only by the material, but by them, and wanted to put my hand on the shoulder of the boy nearest to me and give him some words of wisdom and comfort. I realized that that’s probably a bit creepy, so I didn't. Instead, I spent the majority of the time after the show watching him interact with his friends, and seeing him continuing to be moved and in tears and being up front and honest about it. Later I thought, “gee watching this kid is kinda creepy,” but I learned a lot. I realized that he already had all the wisdom and comfort he needed within himself. At 16. He's doing much better than I ever did, and my hat is off to him.
Regardless of how much the media constantly tells us that teens are either bullies or victims of bullies, my experience of them, both straight and gay and all the colors in between, tells me that there is great hope for our world. That hope is not coming from our current (or near future) crop of politicians or leaders. It’s coming from the young people who are turning out to be more rounded, more in touch with themselves, more willing to be themselves publicly, and more compassionate then ever before. I truly believe they will make the world a much better place, and I take great comfort in that.
About fifteen years ago, I had just moved from West Hollywood back to my hometown in order to deal with my new, and often-times rocky journey into sobriety. My ex-roommate and best friend (who would later become my wife, then ex-wife, then a decade later, an ex-friend) wanted to know if I would be willing to take a cat that she had rescued as her other cats were beating her up. I said sure.
Jasmine came to live with me, and stayed through four moves and a decade and a half and many transitions in my life. I would guess she was between one and two years old when I met her.
I called her the Dowager Empress because she was always the oldest animal in my house, and spent a great deal of her life sitting up high looking down on the rest of us. She had a sense of royalty about her.
I wish I could say we always had a great relationship. We didn’t always. She didn’t like to be held until later on in her life, and as I was fucked up in many ways, I can’t say that I treated her as well as I could have for that entire time. Interestingly enough, my friend, Michael, taught her how to be held, and after meeting him, she got much less pissed off when I would pick her up and cuddle with her. I remember once after physically losing my temper a bit at her for something, I picked her up and hugged her tight and cried like I hadn’t cried in a long time because I so didn’t want to be that person anymore. She seemed to understand, and only meowed to be let down a little bit. While I can’t say I was perfect, our relationship changed a lot after that, and we became much closer, and I think (hope) that I treated her with more respect and love and lost my temper with her much more rarely. She spent a lot more time burrowed on top of me while watching television or sleeping at night, and I even heard her purr a time or two, something she did very rarely.
Coincidently, as I started getting through the heavy cloud of shame and fear that clung to me after getting sober, and as I started letting more and more people into my life and my house, she decided that she really liked sitting in people’s laps. She would eye every person that came over for lap potential. She eventually ended up in almost everybody’s laps, or at least did a damned good job of trying. However, she was a bit crotchety, and you would never know when she would bat at you because she didn’t like how you were petting her. And with the exception of Michael and once in a while, me, she did NOT want to be picked up by anybody. She laid down the terms and that was THAT. End of story.
Once a guest of mine really did NOT want her sitting in his lap or even getting close to him, and I told her, “Jasmine, not everybody wants you sitting in their lap!” My guest said, “Some people have allergies.” I eventually had to put her upstairs in my bedroom, because, like me, she was stubborn, and wanted what she wanted and that’s all that mattered. Interestingly enough, that guest hasn’t been back to my house. For all my faults (and there are many), people who find themselves at odds with my pets, don’t spend a lot of time in my house after that fact becomes known. Because while I pay the mortgage, the pets are the ones that really own the place. Respect and love me and my animals. Oftentimes, the respect and love of me is optional, however, respecting and loving my animals is not.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Jasmine seemed to be a bit weak on her haunches. I didn’t quite trust my senses though because she always recovered quickly, and she had NO problem jumping up on the couch or the bed to sleep on top of me. It was sort of like seeing it out of the corner of my eyes, and by the time I focused on it, it had passed.
I had taken her to the vet about 4 months ago, and the vet thought she looked great for her age and her blood work came back pretty unremarkable, so I pretty much figured that this was just a by-product of being 17 years old. Plus, I’m really broke right now, and taking a trip to the vet is always daunting and stressful to me. I literally start to hyperventilate when I think about it. I have the same feeling about going to my doctor, by the way, just so you know.
Over the past couple of days, she seemed more and more lethargic, and I noticed that she was drinking a lot of water, and I had made a mental note to get her to the vet when I could, which would have to be when I got paid again.
Unfortunately, yesterday when I woke up, she wouldn’t move off the couch. When I picked her up to put her by the food bowl for her breakfast, she couldn’t stand and just huddled by the water bowl, a heart breaking sight. As it was early in the morning, when I tried to call the vet, they weren’t open, and their phone system automatically transferred me to the emergency clinic. Since it was so close to them opening, I decided to wait. I kept calling back and calling back, but the emergency clinic kept answering. Finally at about 8:45, I thought to look on the web and see if I had the right number. Turns out, I didn’t, I still have no idea why. So, I dialed the correct number, and made an appointment to bring her right in. I then spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out how much money I could pull together for this; the final tally came to about $300.
The vet came in, and was very shocked at her appearance. I was shocked to find out Jasmine had lost a third of her body weight since I had brought her in before. The vet and I had a long conversation, and the vet narrowed it down to diabetes or kidney disease, both of which require a lot of treatment and a lot of money. Having treated my other cat for kidney disease, I know what’s involved and how difficult it is for both the cat and the human. Also, given her age, and her general level of crotchetyness (some might call it psychosis) the very difficult decision was made to put her to sleep.
As I’ve done with many of my animals and some friends’ animals over the years, I was there with her throughout the process. I held her on my chest while the sedative was administered, and about fifteen minutes, I petted her face and cried while the last shot was given. She passed very peacefully, barely moved through it all. I cried a lot and talked to her in my heart (I always feel like an idiot talking out loud to an animal in a vet’s office for some reason). Then after a bit of time to get myself together, I took her carrier, settled the bill with the vet (who was gracious enough to only charge me for the exam, not the euthanization) and went home to do some more crying and then get to work.
Jasmine, rest in peace, and thank you so much for sticking with me for so long, and making me a better person through your presence. Please know that you were loved, and that you will always be missed. I hope you’re playing with Branagh and Figaro and Jett and so many others somewhere near the Rainbow Bridge. I also hope to feel you sitting on my lap again when I get there.
We’ve been awash in a sea of media coverage of the suicide deaths of LGBTQ and LGBTQ-perceived youth over the past couple of weeks, and I've been awash in a sea of sadness about it.
This has spurred several video projects on Youtube, including Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject and also a wonderful project called Make it Better at http://makeitbetterproject.org/
I’ve been wondering how to contribute to this, and have been having a hard time figuring out what to say that hasn’t already been said brilliantly and by people far more influential than I am. So, I figured I’d just put down my thoughts here and see where it goes.
I’ve struggled with fear of being hurt by other people, as well as the feelings of being different and not worthy all of my life. I still do. Honestly. It didn't all get better once I got out of my teens. A lot got better, but not all of it.
As a teenager, I was much more on the effeminate side of things, plus I was the smart kid, and things were especially difficult for me as I tried to figure out who I was and what it meant to be attracted to guys. With slightly different circumstances, I could have been one of the statistics that are horrifying us today.
I was fortunate that when my life was being made very difficult by other kids, I had several teachers that took me in, stood up for me, and gave me a safe place to hang out during lunches. They gave me a place where I felt like I belonged. I was also very fortunate that they imbued in me a sense of learning and an appreciation for some of my gifts, intellectual and otherwise. Later in high school, I found myself befriended by kids who were stronger, more popular than I, or in the same boat as I was. I also joined some groups that gave me a sense of belonging, such as choir, the school musical productions, an inter-school group of kids that did volunteer work around Southern California by reaching out to other teens to help share tips for self-esteem, etc. It all got me through.
Here’s what I want to tell you. Yes, you, that teenager, that young adult, that older person that is remembering the pain of their younger years and is afraid to be all that they can be now. Yes you. The ones where are picked on, called hurtful names, bullied, beaten, threatened, and taking to heart the hateful things that are being said by insensitive politicians, and so-called religious leaders. Here’s what I want to tell myself too. Those people and ideas are evil. Pure and simple.
If we kill ourselves or let them make us feel like you we aren’t good enough, they win. Evil wins. I’m not exaggerating or speaking in hyperbole.
Don’t let evil win. Be strong, find help, reach out, read and educate yourself about the rich history of people who made loving, strong, lives for themselves despite being ostracized or loving people that they shouldn’t. Read about Alexander the Great. Read about the berdache in the Native American tradition. Read about the history of the LGBT in the United States. Find out how far we’ve come. Learn about Harvey Milk. Find the stories of the brave people who have made their lives about love despite the difficulties and dangers they faced. Investigate the rich history of the civil rights movement in this country. Find those of similar interests and learn to laugh, love and smile with the amazing gift that life can be. Trust me, those gifts and those people are out there. It’s going to be difficult, because life is difficult, and there is no magic wand that makes it better once you get out of high school, but at least you have more freedom to make your own way. But you can begin to make your own magic wand right now. Take action, no matter how small. Let’s make it better for ourselves and for the people that come after us.
To you people out there see somebody getting picked on or bullied or hurt. Help them. Find a way to make the world a bit brighter for somebody. Don’t let evil win. I’m begging you.
To those of you who are doing evil by hurting people. Stop it. Stop it right now. Find another way to deal with yourself. Get help for your own issues. Life is hard for you too. I get it. But I’m going to be honest here and tell you that if your friends or your god are telling you to hurt people that are different than you or that they are less than you or are abominations, find other friends and find another god. At the very least, stop listening to the force you call satan. I’m serious. If you don’t, you can kiss my ass and the asses of all the people you’re trying to hurt, because the compassion of the people you are torturing is running low, and we’re pissed. I'm pissed.
The bottom line? Stop the evil. Don’t let it win. Make the world a better place.
Despite my sadness over the past couple of weeks from the suicides of the young people reported in the media, and my struggle over the past couple of years at the horrendous and hateful public rhetoric about people like me, I am more and more impressed with the current teen generation and I completely applaud kids like this. I wish I was (especially as a teen) as brave, smart, proactive and as loving as they are. Check it out.
On Facebook, I have "friended" or "liked" (or whatever the heck it's called these days) Barack Obama, and I got lots of nifty updates from the president.
Today, he posted something about the end of combat operations in Iraq. The third comment to the posting was just one word, which starts with an "n" and rhymes with trigger.
I can NOT believe that public discourse in this country has gotten to the point where somebody would feel comfortable calling the President of the United States that word, in a public forum. Actually, I don't know how anybody could feel comfortable calling anybody that word, but apparently, I'm in the minority on that one.
You'd think I'd quit being surprised at this stuff, but Some things take me by surprise.
NEW REVIEW GO MEDEA
Euripides' tragedy concerning a betrayed woman and her monstrous revenge remains a timeless examination of humanity's struggle with its darker, primal urges. With the exception of a misstep at play's end, Travis Terry brilliantly directs a superb cast, relocating the story to a contemporary lunatic-asylum setting. The text reveals a few contemporary words -- kid and trash -- while preserving the antique language that's so rich with imagery and passion. Adalgiza Chermountd's Medea is first heard wailing from behind a white paper wall, part of designer Dionne Poindexter's central set piece of Medea's quarters, which rotates with ease. "Whipping her grief-tormented heart into a fury," Chermountd has a disheveled yet formidable presence, and her multihued interpretation ranges from coherent and ferocious to deranged. Her unspeakable deed is chillingly depicted. Commenting in unison, the chorus of young girl (Shaina Vorspan), mother (Lauren Wells) and grandmother (Karen Richter) double as asylum orderlies, with Shaina Vorspan giving an especially expressive performance. There are some welcome moments of levity in R. Benito Cardenas' playful interpretation of Aegeus, one of Medea's fellow lunatics. A highlight is the scene when Medea's duplicitous ex-husband, Jason (Max Horner), attempts to "correct her exaggeration" with his version of events. Aside from a tacked-on happy ending that feels utterly false, this unpretentious production holds many rewards. Knightsbridge Theatre, 1944 Riverside Drive, Silver Lake; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.; through August 29. (323) 667-0955. (Pauline Adamek)