It's been a hard couple of days, I won't lie.
There are the inevitable questions: Why there and then? Who was really behind it all? What made him do it? And while there are answers, they won't satisfy, because there are no answers good enough to make up for the sickening horror, pain, and devastation.
Time does strange things when you're grieving. Two days can seem like a week, and hours can disappear in the blink of an eye. The heaviness I carry around makes me tired without having done anything. Fighting despair is apparently exhausting.
Friends have put up heart-warming posts on Facebook telling me that it's okay to grieve and feel bad, passing along celebrity reactions to the horror, wise and witty memes to distract, and doing what we ALWAYS do when attacked as a group; bucking each other up. Even one of my white, straight, cis-gendered male friend (35 years my junior to boot) reached out to tell me he valued me as a person and a friend. My mother sent me a text telling me she thought the massacre was horrific.
And although all of that helps, none of it makes the fear go away. It's easy to say that we must answer hate with love, that our Pride counters his cowardice, and that just keeping on keeping on is enough. But it's a lot harder to ignore the gut-gnawing fear that swam into my belly as I realized that I'm suffering a kind of PTSD, born of the many times I've reacted to the number of attacks in our history. There have been so many, too many, over the years and like an overstretched rubber band I'm finding it hard to bounce back.
Still, Barack Obama, George Takei, and dozens of others have soothed my ragged nerves some with their balm of rational concern. It will take time (which may pass quickly, or not, depending), but eventually I will carry on again, if not calmly, at least with hope for a better future.
The bastard may have scared me, but not witless. As long as I have a brain, and I can express myself through words, I win.
#Pride #NoHoldingMeDown #AmWriting #PTSD
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Thursday, April 14, 2016
I've lost fifty-two pounds. My blood pressure is lower, my arthritis less painful, and my triglycerides are behaving themselves. I no longer use the C-PAP machine, or take medicine for gout. I haven't had a bout of Plantar's fasciitis or bone bruises for months.
Has it been easy? Hell, no. I spent a month (2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery) on a completely liquid diet. When you look forward to some sugar-free applesauce so you'll at least have something to kinda chew, that's hard. And, of course, my surgery was scheduled for mid-December, completely eclipsing the usual Christmas celebrations. And as much as I wanted the surgery, I hated how it tied my family and friends up in knots, making them tip-toe around me, not eating things they wanted, afraid to tempt me to do something to spoil my plans. As often as I reminded them that I'd CHOSEN to do this, and they should eat normally, they saw the liquids and mushed up food and felt bad for me. I kept telling them that next year I'd be eating with them, just much smaller portions and they should enjoy themselves.
Their support meant so much to me, however. They watched me go to endless doctors appointments and be tested for everything under the sun from breast cancer, to sleep apnea, to a colonoscopy. I was examined inside and out. I still laugh about how shocked I was when a doctor first lifted the folded over part of my belly to examine the skin underneath. It felt like such an invasion of privacy... LOL Little did I know what was in store.
I went through a plethora of emotions and was surprised by their vehemence. Hope warred with despair, anger fought with appreciation, and through it all, I held the deep conviction that I would fail yet again. My wife was terrified of the actual surgery but repeated several times that she supported whatever decision I made. She survived the four-hour wait during the surgery, and hers was the first face I saw when I woke.
I've handled the healing phase well. The wounds are all scarred and have lost their purplish hue. Although I've had to deal with excessive gas (and the resultant hours of walking) when experimenting with raw vegetables, I've managed to escape - knock on wood - the 'dumping' I'd been warned about. I needed to travel only a few short weeks following the surgery, but even that went well. The flight crew weren't happy about my rising and walking the length of the plane every half-hour, but they preferred that to blood clots.
Because I was so busy for the first month and a half, it came as an almost sudden surprise when my entire wardrobe stopped fitting me. I sorted out those I could still get away with, and bagged up the rest. When it came to donating them to charity, though, I just couldn't do it. Part of me still expects to gain back the weight, just like I have after every single diet in my life. They're upstairs in the attic, but I may put them out for a spring yardsale... maybe.
I've learned a lot about myself, and I'm still learning. I've also learned an awful lot about other people and the way they treat people based on stereotypes. But more about that, next time...
Monday, January 11, 2016
My wife and I just spent a pleasant hour discussing the possibilities, those we'd help, how we'd help, what kind of dreams we could make possible, what responsibilities we'd like to shoulder. A retirement village for low-income LGBTQIA+ seniors was mentioned, free operations for kids born with cleft palates whose parents struggle financially, a writer's retreat for authors struggling to find their voices, and, of course, the house purchases for those we love.
Everyone's doing it - dreaming of the possibilities of great wealth. It's the new American dream, that you win enough money to be independent for the rest of your life, and enough left over to provide for those who are the most important in your life.
And then there are the little digs that would be possible. One grandson suggested he would buy his grandmother anything she wanted, but that his own father would be gifted with a small, one bedroom house. "And no maid," he added. "He'd have to clean it himself."
It's human nature to dream, and a uniquely American quality to dream BIG. So buy a lottery ticket, and dream out loud, sharing your thoughts with others and ask them about their own.
Lottery dreaming is more fun than even planning for Christmas because the boundaries are unlimited. And all you have to do is buy a ticket. Lottery chance means you have the same chance that a millionaire has, ticket for ticket. It's the great equalizer, but if you win it leads to joining the top level of American icons, leaving the common people behind.
But then the doubts set in. Strangers will come out of the woodworks claiming to be friends or long lost family. Others will ask for donations to one or a million worthy charities. Friends will stop valuing you for your inner qualities, instead courting you for your help and assistance. Everyone is suspect, and the temptations placed before you and your spouse can lead to disaster.
So you decide not to tell anyone, let a lawyer accept the prize and keep your anonymity as best you can. (If you live in a state that even allows you anonymity) You know that won't work, that someone you know will begin to notice the new cars, and houses and travels to corners of the world you didn't know existed before - before you got rich. And of course, all the new people you meet would know you were rich, so that blows the secret right there.
But still you dream - dream of impossible deeds and unexpected assistance. Of all the big and little things having lots of money can do for you, for yours, and for the world at large.
And all of this can be yours, yours mind you, for a mere $2.00. The dreaming alone is worth the cost of entry.