Thursday, May 27, 2010

Survival 101

I was astounded to see the same cashier at my corporate cafeteria attempt to tap my credit card on the “blink” reader when I’ve told her each morning for the past three months that my card’s “blink” feature is inactive. Like clockwork, I hand her my credit card (instead of tapping it on the reader like every other tap customer) and she attempts to tap my card on the reader herself before finally swiping the card on her register. Oh sure, I can make a big scene and yell, “The reason I’m handing you my card and not tapping it myself is because the “blink” feature does NOT work,” but that would be jarring for her and probably make me feel like a bully. This morning, however, I thought about what this scene would play like back a few 100 years ago when memorization was key to our survival. All to say, this would be the young lady that doesn’t grasp the concept to take off running when other folks are running in a panic evading a predator. This young lady would be the one to continue picking berries from the forest ground before being mauled by a predator.

The skills of our ancestors weren’t so outlandish. They were established and learned to help them survive – feed, evade predators and live. Today, we should teach our children, our siblings or our friends the basic survival skills that will keep them alive. Not everyone is destined to be a lawyer or a doctor, but most healthy human beings should have a sense of self preservation. Everyone should learn that pride cannot overpower preservation. Work to eat…whether you need to flip burgers or flip insurance cases; the choice of how much education you get and whether you want to work harder at the front end or the back end is yours. Choose a partner that compliments your lifestyle and genuinely cares about your well being. Do not become attached to things that can be made, earned or replaced. Know that your very existence is the only proof that you are suppose to be here and that you have another chance at surviving.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Originality Is Priceless

I guess it's a way to encourage yourself or maybe you think you look profound to others, but can you ease up with the 'status updates' on Facebook and Twitter that are merely plagaristic cliches. Let me clarify it for you, if you didn't think of your profound ascertion yourself and you didn't initially write said 'deep' observation down first, you are merely quoting OR worse plagarising when you don't attribute this morsel of wisdom to its original source. Be yourself...give us your heartfelt thoughts and let folks like Maya Angelou stand on their own iconic pedestal. I know you have the best intentions, but remember that it is always the original that is priceless; copies and replicas are usually rolled up to be sold a dime-a-dozen at amusement parks.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Location:New York, NY

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Evil Will See Itself and It Will Die

It was in 1988’s 4th installment of the cult classic Nightmare on Elm Street movie that Freddy is forced to face himself in a mirror before exploding and freeing the bevy of souls he amassed during his killing spree. “Evil will see itself and it will die,” the young woman screamed. For some reason that line was burned into my memory (no pun intended). I associate that line to my ability to release some negative traits that are unbecoming, unattractive or plain bad for my being. I’ve had the opportunity to share TWO WEEKS with my parents and as they prepare to head home to Puerto Rico tomorrow, I recognize that I have picked up character traits from them – whether by nature or nurture – some of which I’ve used the Nightmare on Elm Street proverbial mirror to extinguish in my own life.

The short list:

** Own Your Dysfunction: stop trying to pin your rules on your partner, your family and your friends. Announce that YOU don’t care for something and stick to it. Folks should know that YOU like or don’t like something; they shouldn’t be forced to think that you are relaying a message for others.

**Respect People’s Boundaries: Whether my boundaries consist of my house rules or the way you communicate with me, respect what I tell you. Remember the Maya Angelou quote, “When people tell you who they are, believe them…” Trust and believe me, I mean it.

**Lo Que Es Obvio No Se Pregunta: This is one of my favorites of all…directly translated, it says that ‘You shouldn’t ask about that which is obvious’. If your friend looks gay, he very will could be…don’t ask. Stop being a darn nosey kid and accept that sometimes the obvious is the obvious and reserve your important questions for when they are appropriate…like, “Doctor, how much time do I really have left?”

All said, I can’t control my parents…shoot, I can barely control myself, but I do know that when I see negative traits in others that are a reflections of my own, I have an opportunity to release mine. Evil will see itself and it will die. Let your evil die folks!

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, May 17, 2010

Create the Fairytale You Seek

True love is a fairytale. That’s an abrupt reality that many a youngster will come to understand when you meet the love(s) of your life. Like all fairytales there are the main characters, the supporting cast, the different scenery and whatever ending the author has deemed necessary for his or her storyline. For years I really thought that love was “happening” to me. The good, the bad and the ugly came as BIG surprises and I really believed the disappointments would be the end of me.

It was after one of my life’s biggest disappointments that I took several years off from the dating scene to get to know me. You see, sometimes we’re so hell-bent on being part of a “couple” that we don’t truly know who we are and what we’re about. You’d be surprised what’s really important to you and what makes you happy. After several years of enjoying my friends and partying it up without strings, love happened all on its own.
What I created was an environment for love to flourish…my own fairytale. I met my Prince Charming and decided I would be the other fair Prince in the equation. I set the romantic scenes, I devised the sets and I set the framework for what would be my own page-turner.

It’s not always perfect…but really, what fairytale is? My Prince Charming appeared to not receive his script at times – or maybe he just didn’t memorize his lines – and so we had a few fall-outs along the way. The important thing is that if you’re honest with yourself, your priorities, the building blocks to your fairytale will be set in their place and you’ll eventually have a beautiful fairytale.

Now, it goes without saying that not ALL characters can exist in the same fairytale. You don’t hear of Little Red Riding Hood running through Cinderella’s magical ball starting stuff, so you should take the same hint and cut some of those characters that don’t fit your fairytale…you know the ones that always have something negative to say or see pitch-black at the end of the very long tunnel…these folks may be spectacular in their own fairytale and on their own book shelf…maybe they can even be part of your same library, but they don’t belong in YOUR story.

Ultimately, nothing is promised and not all fairytales end well, but as I mentioned to some friends this weekend, if you really create a great fairytale for yourself and make it wonderful every single day, you can insure that your story has the fairytale brick house where you and the fairy-dream-lover can weather the wolf blowing at your door.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cocoa Cure; May 14, 2010

video

One Year Gone

It's one of those gloomy days when it's easy to get melancholy. My thoughts returned to my best friend Bobby who died just one year ago, coincidentally on a day like today, with my parents visiting and all. He never saw 2010 and never met BD. He won't ever experience the me that emerged once I REALLY settled down or how much I miss swapping stories and having his unfiltered advice. They say the mourning we experience after death is God's way of helping us remember how much we loved someone...I don't quite understand Lord, but I am so grateful for Bobby and the decades we shared. We're never really prepared to lose the people we love and yet I am keenly aware of how the loss of Bobby helped me appreciate the finite nature of everything that is my life. I'm kinder, more giving and more accepting because of his loss. Just as we count off birthdays each each year, I've started the macabre countdown of the years since Bobby's departure. Bobby...one year gone.


Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Location:New York, NY

Monday, May 10, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

A very happy birthday to BD. 
May God grant you all of your heart's desires and fulfill your every wish.
Stay beautiful.
Remember love.

When You Sit In Judgment of God

If there’s something that amazes me about some religious individuals, is their ability to sit in judgment of God. That is, they have more restrictions, more rules and a narrower path to our Lord and Savior than written in the Old and New Testament combined.

Sin (or perceived sin) is sin. There is no bigger, dirtier, nastier or craftier sin in the eyes of God. If you believe in God, hell and the like, there is only ONE hell. In this ONE hell there is one standard heat level, the flames don’t burn hotter for murderers than they do for those who stole a piece of candy…same hell, same flame, same burn.

So I’m having a late night chat with my mom last night – well, with my parents, but dad is deaf so he’s just sitting there watching the building tension between my mom and I – and the issue of homosexuality comes up. It’s actually more the issue of sleeping arrangements that comes up, since my mother seems to think that BD and I should sleep separately when they visit our home. I thought I addressed this many times before – something like every visit for the last 26 years – but like clockwork here was the discussion again. Finally, I calmly said, “Mom, I love you and dad very much and welcome you into my home year-after-year, even though you and dad threw me to the wolves on the street at the tender age of 15; I forgive you for the timeS (that’s right, it was more than once) that I was brutally raped trying to seek shelter; I don’t hold your ignorance under the microscope for the times I was cold or hungry on the streets; I don’t stay awake at night plotting vengeance on you or dad for stealing my teenage years away from me by forcing me to need a full time job while finishing high school while other kids were simply planning their prom, but I will be very honest with you and tell you that you will NOT regulate where my partner and I sleep, how we run this household and my life as it is today.” I felt my chest swelling, but I took a deep breath and kept my voice low…my resolve did not waver when I continued, “You deal with your other children and their many sins as though you don’t see them…you ignore them because it is not your business, but you appear to feel empowered to say things that are inappropriate to me.” This is when my mom probably said the most ignorant thing I have EVER heard her say to me before…she said, “They are sinning, but they are not going against society’s norm…you know, they don’t go against the grain.” My face contorted – a combination of pain and disappointment furled into my brow before I responded, “I would have had an easier time if you were judging me through the narrow minded view of a God fearing woman that sees sin as sin, but you are judging me through the bigoted and homophobic eyes of the very sliver of society that I detest. That is the most ignorant thing you have ever said to me…stupid really. I’m disappointed in you mom. Sin is sin…read your Bible, do some soul-searching prayer.” Then I said what I knew in my heart I meant more than anything I’ve ever said to her, “I have forgiven you two and welcomed you into my home after what I suffered in my life at the hands of your ignorance, but I won’t have you disrespect me, my relationship and my family in my home. You are always welcome here, but you are a guest visiting MY family and NOTHING about MY family will change because you are here. If this is uncomfortable for you, I’m sorry, but you have the option of staying elsewhere…maybe where the sin is more tolerable for you or less against the grain.” With that I marched upstairs, took my shower and went to bed. This morning, I made coffee for my parents and left them with a kiss and a smile. I hold no grudges…life is too short. I know my parents love me and I love them very much, but God judges all sin equally and it is NOT their place to sit in judgment of God. Don’t lose your children and the opportunity to share their lives because of your ignorance. Recognize when you are a homophobe and a bigot. God is NOT a God of ignorance.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I Respect My Silence

Throughout my life I’ve been a fearlessly outspoken person. When I go silent, it isn’t for lack of words or fear of repercussions, it’s usually because I’ve shared my thoughts and don’t think anything I say will make an impact OR worse, that nothing I say matters. As I get older, I tend to respect my silence because it precipitates my disconnect from a subject or situation that I feel powerless to affect or change. There’s a funny thing about having more experience under your belt, you tend to know where things are going and can anticipate the outcome of things. I liken the feeling to that of watching an old farmer in his field; he knows what seeds will provide the best harvest for any given year and can anticipate the issues that begin to develop in his field. Sometimes we are so hell-bent to have others UNDERSTAND us that we neglect to see that we are wasting valuable time. I love where my life is right now and don’t take any of it for granted, but I’m not hyper-protective of it. I love my job, but I know that we’re all expendable; I am in love with my man, but understand that there are many variables and moving parts that keep that relationship working; I enjoy my new car, but know it can disappear in an instant. So, what’s MOST important to me is my knowledge that while I can’t predict the future, I WANT to be a part of it. Fat, old and in any varying form that my life may take, I am most grateful that I’m here. I know that deep down inside while I may struggle to sometimes fight-the-power-that-be, it is in my silence where there is a shrug of ambivalence; a means to my own sanity; and a respect for the fact that I may have reached the point in my life where there is so much that means a lot to me, but nothing that will ultimately shatter me.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Parental Guidance Requested

My parents arrive for a two-week visit tomorrow and I couldn't be happier. This is the first time that my parents will stay with me since BD, the Minnie and I made our house a home last December. As we get older, it seems that religion, beliefs and everything in between takes a back seat to our being a family - for the sake of pleasurable peace, I pray it stays that way. So here's to a great visit from the folks. Celebrate the moments of your life.


Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Location:Bronx, NY