Add It or Slash It?

When I edited A Lovely Wreckage, we (my editor Mark and I) made changes, of course. Not a whole lot, because they were individual poems that could stand alone without the collection.  However, Mark made some suggestions, and looking back I’m pretty sure I took all if not most of them, because they line4d up with the idea I had in mind.

Tuesday Afternoon ain’t like that.

When Zachary (new editor) suggested format changes, I was all for it, and here is why:  I wrote the piece for performance (more on that later.)  This was rewriting the piece for reading purposes.  It’s a different ballgame, and I am all for his format suggestions.  Also, there were some other aspects he suggested changes on…some I like, some I don’t.  Anyway, I made the fatal mistake of sending it to Sahar, who reads everything I write including various correspondence and many long text messages.  As my best friend, you would think she would have glowing things to say, but no, she hated it.  My mistake was not telling her in advance about the performance vs. reading thing.  Of course, she hated it.  She heard me read it…she heard me perform it.  So did Mark.  He’s going to hate it, too.

But as Kevin said to me during one of our deep conversations that we fit in between inside jokes and YouTube videos, you’re not writing for your friends and family, you’re writing for your fans.  Your friends and family are going to love whatever you do in the end.  They’re not the real audience.

So, my cousin Erin read it.  Yes, family, but Erin has the talent of being extremely blunt when asked to be, no holds barred.  And she enjoyed it.  Likely, because she never read the original.  But really…what is an original?

When I worked in theater, every single play I ever did went though massive edits during rehearsals, from straight-up script rewrites to blocking reworks.  Everything was moved around and crossed out and added on until you got the final product, and that is what is going on with this mini-chap.  That is what has always been going on for it.

It started with a line from a poem by another woman, for chrissake.  It was a challenge…take a line from her poem, and start a new one of your own with that line.  I picked a line; I wrote a poem.  I won a prize.  I polished the poem and deleted the other poet’s line.  I added to the poem…a lot.  I edited the poem.  I sent it off to be picked, and it was.  And so…I continue to edit the poem, changing things to make it better than it was, albeit different.  Enhanced, I prefer to think of it.

Kevin also said that the only person whose opinion really matters is my own, which is definitely true.  What comes out will be what I wanted it to be, no matter what is printed on the page.  Some of the edits are big leaps for me, but some that I am willing to take to put out the best possible finished product, just like I would do if I were working a show.  Kill your darlings, and all that jazz.

Sigh.  I suppose I am off to reread.  I will sit with it a bit, then make some more edits, then send it back to Zachary who will likely throw it back to me and so on and so forth until it’s ready to roll.  All I need is patience and a clear eye.

Toxicity

If you’re a regular reader, you know I take issue with gender roles and the patriarchy and all that jazz.  I have written before about how such things harm men as much as women, but I haven’t delved into the specifics.  Today, I’m going to touch on one.

Mark and I were having a discussion.  It started with a tweet I saw not too long ago in which a woman (@emrazz) wrote that “men care deeply about what other men think of them”   This struck me as interesting, since just the evening before I had witnessed a man have a full-on meltdown over the idea that another dude might think he was gay.  I brought this up to Hubs and he commented that this was a very specific issue; straight men do not want other men to think they’re gay.  I took this to a friend who confirmed that yes, dudes do care more about what other guys think, they just don’t let on that much.  They kind of transfer it over to what women think of them, because that’s the comfort zone, but men’s opinions matter, too.

So, I posed the question…what are some totally human being things that you have done that someone called you gay for?  The results are gross.

First of all, there’s the obvious life skills:  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Grooming.  Things that any living, breathing human creature needs to know to survive.  Then there’s the hobbies: gardening, sewing, interior design.  All totally non-gendered stuff that has nothing to do with sexuality and yet…here I am writing this blog.

We then arrive at the emotional elements: saying “I love you” to another dude.  Hugging a relative (more on that later.) Having a “bromance,” or even a best friend.  Admiring anything physical about another man.

Then there’s the flat-out ridiculous: your wrist going limp at any point, even if it’s just comfortable like that.  Wearing a tux on your wedding day (I really wish I was joking.)  READING.

I know at least one man who has been called gay or “f–” for everything I have listed.  And there’s still lots more.

Now one subject brought up that he’s gotten more crap from women than men, actually.  Which, makes me real mad at my sisters….do better, ladies.  However, it is MEN who do things like think its gay to NOT be homophobic.  I mean, Hubs has been called a “f–” just for being an ally…just for refusing to participate in the hate.  CMON, guys…why the hell do you care so much?

I still maintain that homophobia in men is simply their fear of homosexuality in themselves.  Whether or not they are really gay, they are scared to be gay.  And why wouldn’t they be?  Look at what they have cultivated for each other.  I mean…y’all can’t read a book without an insult being hurled your way, apparently.  You have a faction that will beat the crap out of you if you’re gay.  You’ve seen trans people get murdered and gay men die from AIDS and all the ostracization…so no, you wouldn’t want to be gay, would you?

And you certainly don’t want anyone to think that either.

Now, I had a friend in high school who thought I was a lesbian for a while.  This was because I did not care then and I do not care now about a lot of things that other girl’s I know used to care about.  I mean, I liked boys and I had tons of crushes, but I didn’t care as much for makeup and clothing and things like that the way they did.  She used to tease me often about my supposed lesbianism.  She just didn’t get that I wasn’t subscribing to gender roles, because it was 2000 and that was still a taboo topic for which I had no words.  But none of it bothered me, for two reasons:  1. I honestly did not care if the women I knew thought I was gay, because 2. I knew I wasn’t, and that was enough.  So why is it not enough for most men I know?

Likely, and this is my hypothesis, it’s because they are not allowed to openly express themselves in the same way women can.  Society does not look kindly on a crying man, unless he’s at a funeral.

Speaking of…a few years ago we were at a BBQ at my brother-in-law’s and Mark went and greeted his step-brother with a hug, for which he was promptly called a “f–” and then was smacked on the ass.  He walked away, angry and humiliated, vowing not to hug any of his brothers ever again.  Cut to their father’s funeral, where his other two step-brothers welcomed him with open arms, literally.  He hugged them and felt better, but then angry…why is it only in mourning that he gets to be sad?  Why is it only in death that men can show love to each other?

If you guessed the patriarchy…you are, as always, correct.

My husband has gender roles ingrained in him that he is still trying to unlearn, because homie (me) don’t play that.  We keep things as equal as possible, and yes, sometimes we have a spat about who is in charge of which household chore, but for the most part we resolve everything with equality in mind.  It saddens me to think there are men out there who would literally call my husband “gay” for actually giving a crap about his home. 

It boggles the mind.  Really.

Anyways, to all my male readers out there, please…try to RELAX.  Try not to care what the dude next door thinks of you, because I’ve been paying close attention to the men in my life for the past month so I could write this, and ohmygod, it has been exhausting watching you suffer by holding yourselves back.  Just relax, and be who you are, and stop worrying about what Joe Schmoe thinks of you.  Cook a fabulous meal.  Dress up to make yourself feel good.  Learn how to knit.  And for god’s sake, stop caring about what other people are doing in their flippin’ bedrooms.  Because some dudes may think you’re a super-straight-tough-guy, but most of us think you look like an idiot.

Schrodinger’s Chapbook

Now, I know very little about science, but somehow, I know about Schrodinger’s cat.  For those who don’t, here’s the link to the Wikipedia page, and also I will try to explain the most basic principle of it in kindergarten language. 

Say you put a cat in a box with a substance that may or may not kill it, and seal the box.  Now, with the box sealed you don’t know if the cat is dead or alive.  It’s a thought experiment, like that one about the trains and whether to save one or 100 people.  It has something to do with quantum mechanics and again, I have no idea how this information got into my head.  Anyway…

Sahar was in town a couple weeks ago.  Seeing as how our favorite restaurant that we’ve been going to for 20 years just went vegan, and we are most definitely meat eaters, we have been on the hunt for a new spot.  This found us at Dog Ear Bookstore and Café.

I love that place.  I have been there many times over the years and have consumed a great many cups of chai tea with friends.  This is the place where I discovered the poetry readings that I used to go to…I do wish they would start those up again!

I ordered a delightful roast beef sandwich called the Charles Dickens and we settled into a table for some conversation.  There wasn’t much honestly because texting exists, so Sahar and I have managed to remain joined at the hip despite being a state apart.  So, we ate our sandwiches and lamented the passing of our old restaurant.

After eating, we went into the back, into the book shop, on a mission.  See, this is the shop where I dropped off a couple copies of my chapbook a few months ago.  Honestly, it’s not worth it to me monetarily to sell it in stores; I get the most cash from Amazon purchases, but it was important to me to get it into at least one shop so I could say I did it.  And of course I took it directly to Dog Ears.

We browsed.  I searched the poetry shelf; Sahar looked in local authors.  No book.

I was perplexed.  What does this mean?  One would assume, I suppose, that it sold out.  Yet, the proprietor told me he would call for more copies if that happene4d.  He has not called.  Still, I could not find the book.

So…if you put a chapbook in a bookstore, with people who could possibly purchase it or not, is the book dead or alive?

Now, had I backbone in that moment, I would have simply asked.  Flung open the lid of the box and found out if the cat was dead, so to speak.  But no, I’m chicken, so we left quietly and I wondered all day instead.  But now it’s weeks later, and I’m still thinking about it, because that’s the way my stupid brain works.

It knows very little about science, but it’s a pro at over-analyzing.

Buffalove

I couldn’t concentrate yesterday to work on the blog.  Usually I can’t find a topic; yesterday I couldn’t decide on one.  Midmorning I went on a hike with Kevin to the Owen Falls Sanctuary in East Aurora, which I was hoping would maybe clear my head a little but really only made me want to write about how pretty trees the trees were.  I felt very brave as I climbed down and over and up a creek.  I felt very energized and healthy and such too because I haven’t been smoking and it made the hike so much easier.  So, then I wanted to write about that, too. 

I also wanted to write about my interview that came out yesterday but you can just check that out HERE if you’d like.  Anyway, I never made a decision, so I never wrote a blog, so here we are today: Friday.

Deadlines were never my strong suit.

Today, I didn’t know what to write about, so we were back to the comfort zone.  Then I was watching the news, and Gabby (who does the community pieces on Channel 4 that I like) was talking about 716 Day.  So, let’s write about that.

If you don’t live here in Buffalo, you don’t know what I’m talking about.  See, 716 is our area code.  So, we have an unofficial holiday on July 16th called 716 Day.  I mean, really, it’s a marketing ploy.  Shops have sales and there’s this big “Give 716” charity initiative which is cool, but mostly it’s just a stupid little thing like Pi Day or Star Wars Day or Columbus Day.

(Sometimes, I wonder how my humor translates via text.  But I digress…)

So since today is 716 day, I will celebrate it by writing about the 716, where I have resided all my life.

I was born at Milliard Fillmore Hospital, named after our 13th president.  He is buried up at Forest Lawn Cemetery, where my mother would take me to feed the ducks when I was a little girl.  We lived first in the Riverside neighborhood which was, shockingly, along the Niagara River!  I lived on Tonawanda Street, named after a Native tribe of the area, across from the park.  It was idyllic to me, but not so much to my parents because the neighborhood started getting dicey in the late 80s.  We moved out to the suburbs…the “first suburb” of Buffalo, Kenmore.  I lived there for something like 17 years and I actually know tons of history about it because we learned it in school and such but I’m not going to tell you anything because it’s pretty boring, actually.  (Except for the part where three people were murdered in Kevin’s childhood home, but maybe that’s a different blog.)  

I went to school in Eggertsville, another suburb, much fancier than the one I lived in.  At least, the area where the school stood-I had lived in an inner-city neighborhood, a middle-class suburb, and now went to what me and the kids from Riverside would have called “rich kid school.”  There were many periods of adjustment, but my point is that the 716 takes all kinds.

Eventually we moved to Lackawanna, just south of the city, and then I moved back to Buffalo, coming to a rest in South Buffalo, the home of my father.  There are five sections of the city, see…the four directions and downtown, which is actually in the middle, sort of.  It confused the hell out of me as a kid…oh but how I loved going downtown!!

We would take the train, which is a single route subway that runs from University of Buffalo South in the Northwest corner down Main St.  It surfaces in the theater district, my favorite of all districts, then takes you down towards the Naval Park.  There’s big ships there that you can tour, and I even spent the night on them twice with youth groups.  The buildings along Main St. are tall and beautiful because Buffalo commercial architecture is unsurpassed, in my opinion.  On an early date with Mark many moons ago after he first arrived in the city, he wandered down the street staring up at the buildings in amazement.  It made me like him, the way he appreciated the city the same as I did.  To me though, the crown jewel of downtown is City Hall. My grandmother worked there when I was young and I have many fond memories of visiting her.  Yes…it does kind of look like it’s giving you the middle finger, but you have to go inside and see how amazing it is.  Much like a real Buffalonian, it has an attitude, but it’s still beautiful.

Downtown has changed.  In the 80s and 90s I got the distinct impression from adults that there was some sort of decline happening.  However, since the start of revitalization along the canal and river, things have been booming.  There is never not something to do…I have had actual hour-long arguments with folks who talk about wanting to vacation in Niagara Falls vs. Buffalo…OH MY GOD, WHY?! I mean, yes, I know, they are part of the 716 too so I should be showing them some love, but aside from the cataract and the casino there is very little to see this side of the falls.  All of which makes a lovely day trip, should you be vacationing in the real hot spot, Buffalo, NY.

Hm.  I’ve been rambling for two pages now so I suppose I should wrap it up.

Listen, I feel very deeply about my city.  Not only is it my home, but it is a part of me: it is a character in my story.  And I think everyone in the whole wide world should come and experience it, and maybe everybody feels that way about where they live, but…I’m right and you’re wrong.  Buffalos the best place on earth.

(Still hoping my humor computes.)

Ramble

My stomach is the worst!

I really thought that by this point I wouldn’t be writing about it anymore.  At least, less  At least, it wouldn’t be throwing me flareups that wipe out whole days of my life every so often. 

I planned to go to my first musical event this past weekend…a cover band of a group I love, at my favorite bar.  Did I make it?  No, of course not.  Why, oh why, would my pyloric muscle ever allow such things?!  FUN?! NEVER!!

So, after feeling salty about that all day on Sunday, I woke up feeling a little better this morning, but also tired of worrying about my health.  However, I am making major health strides despite my stupid stomach.  For one, my sciatica is much improved due to the exercises I have been doing.  And speaking of exercise and diet related things, I am officially the thinnest I have ever been in my entire life.  I don’t suggest my diet of protein shakes and jello, but hey, it got results, I guess.  I do indeed fit into that bathing suit I mentioned some months ago.  That’s a nice thing.

I mean, I really still don’t give a crap about my weight but it’s nice to accomplish a goal, y’know?

And then the other health thing, in which I attempt to quit smoking.  Again.  They say the average smoker quits seven times before the big one…if that’s so I’m plugging along on attempt number five right now.  Hopefully it’s a good, long run.  In the meantime, I’m on the patch and having crazy dreams.  No, don’t tell me to take it off at night…I often wake up in the night wanting a smoke, so I have to keep it on then,  The dreams are actually mostly fun, not scary or anything, but the realism is something of a brain tease.

So, I’m losing weight and quitting smoking and still my stomach insists on behaving the way it does every time I try to do something fun.  One doc says it’s a fluke.  Another doc says it takes time for it to heal.  I don’t think either of them know what they’re talking about anymore.

I’m sitting in my desk with a pain in my shoulder as I type because I am simply not used to sitting at my desk and typing, as I have been away from the writing for so long.  My blog is in shambles, my poetry practically nonexistent, and while I did drop 350 words in the WIP the other day, that’s it for months now.  But this morning I found a poem.

Just a little something about a fish that I wrote while out one afternoon and forgot about.  Just a note on my phone, that I polished up and put into pretty words and saved in my poetry file.  It gave me a little hope, much like the fishies I wrote the poem about do.

That’s what I need to do!  Go fishing.

Anyway…thanks for listening to my ramble today.  There wasn’t much else on the agenda and I just had to get all these little thoughts out of my mind.

Happy Monday.

Chillin’ with Jesus

Sometimes, I’ll be sitting at my computer minding my business and Jesus will walk in and demand some of my time.

I wrote a poem about that once.

Anyway, today He comes in the door and tells me good things come to those who wait, and I tell him to get off my back already.  As Chuck Palahniuk wrote in Fight Club, “You can’t teach God anything.”

So, I go to check my email and sure enough there is word from a man named Zachary telling me to forward my manuscript to him…the MS that I have had in limbo for a year now, waiting to be put into print.  I understand the mix-up…they had staff changes and, y’know, a pandemic.  The world slowed down for us all.  I am just grateful that this morning I got a little nudge in the right direction.

Jesus looks at me and says: “Get up out of the dirt.”

I intend to accomplish several things in the coming weeks, all of which are scary and foreign to me, but which need to be done to better myself and my surroundings.  Today, I am out here working on my writing, so neglected since before my surgery, when I was at my sickest, and after, when I was at my weakest.  Now, I feel better and stronger, though tentative, but happy, also.  So, I shall take strides to improve the areas of my life that I have neglected, just like my writing.

Today I am going to my preferred bookshop/cafe with Sahar, my port in the storm.  Nothing could kick off my journey towards improvement better than lunch at one of my favorite places with one of my favorite people. 

Don’t get me wrong, my inner self still fights with Jesus.

He’s all “You can do it!  You’re so strong!”  and I’m over here incredulous.  What does Jesus know?  He’s only the Son of God.

Apologetic

Dear Blog,

I’m sorry.  I have been a terrible companion and I am here today asking for your forgiveness.  I have neglected you these past few weeks, and I am hoping I can make it up to you.  Do you want a domain name? I’ll save up, I swear.  Oh, but I know paltry gifts aren’t enough to win back your heart.

See, I was sick, and I became distant, and I am so sorry…I know it’s no excuse.  You know how much I love you, don’t you?

I loved you in 2001 when I sat in the computer lab at D’Youville College and signed up for Livejournal.  Our first platform, where we grew together over fourteen years!  I haven’t forgotten those early days, and I hope you haven’t either.  Now it’s 20 yeas later, and you’re still the one I take all my problems to.

Remember the time we tried to write every day for a year?  How naïve we were, pulling in to day 167 like we were on fire, then fizzling out on day 172.  But still, so many months we lasted, as my fingers danced over the keyboard and put my words into your mouth.

I love you so, my constant companion, my dear friend, my little soapbox.  Please forgive me.  I promise I will do better, try harder; I promise I will always be here for you. 

Well, on Mondays and Thursdays, at least.

Your best friend,

Brig

Fluke

So, it’s been a bit, and that has to do with only one thing, which is my stomach.  Of course.

I planned this great trip for my birthday.  My parents and sister and friends were all coming down to celebrate at my favorite place, Allegany State Park!  Camping and hiking and fishing and bonfires…what could go wrong??

Friday was ok.  I did a little fishing with Mark, then Carey arrived, and we tried to make a fire but couldn’t really get it going.  We went to bed early…big day tomorrow, and all that.

Saturday. Party day, and I spent it in the back of the cabin, vomiting.  Everyone else says they had a good time, which is helpful for my depression, but not by much.  No, that took a major hit as I laid in Olean General Hospital and realized that I actually applied for a job last week.  Like an idiot.  Like an idiot with a working digestive system.

Olean Gen was adorable, by the way.  Note that I am used to a massive city hospital with a warehouse-style emergency department that has like 62 beds.  This place had probably 12 rooms and a handful or carts, and when they told me they were very busy I was worried for a six hour wait, as per usual at Mercy up by my house.  Alas, no, that just meant they were putting me in a hall bed.  I haven’t gotten so lucky as to get a hall bed at Mercy in years!

The nurses were wonderful, and the doctor was a peach.  I am used to docs who come in and say “Here’s the thing were doing,” then they do it.  This man asked me if we could do the thing…asked me.  That means a lot, really.

Anyway, after a couple of hours and a couple of bags of saline, I was back in the cabin, sleeping.  I woke up to Carey leaving and mild nausea.  I realized I lost my sunglasses, so I drove to Salamanca and bought a new pair.  We returned to the cabin and just kind of hung around…I still felt terrible, worse as the day went on.

Went home early Monday morning, felt like death.

Tuesday, back at Mercy.  The usual question presents itself: when are you getting your surgery?  Dude…I DID.

On Friday I was feeling much better and went to the doctor.  They tell me, it’s a fluke.  They tell me it was stress-induced.  Prescription:  less stress.  Ha!

I feel ok now, but it was a huge blow to my mental health, not just physical.  I am still upset, because last week I put out an application for a job, and that’s a really big deal for me.  To think that I am still battling this full-force is just not acceptable.  I have been waiting for it to be over for so long.

But maybe it is.  Maybe, doc says, when I come back in a few months I won’t have had any problems, and they will declare the surgery as working.  I just have to cut down on the stress.

Oh, if only I knew how.

Monday, on Tuesday

I definitely forgot yesterday was Monday. The only reminder I had was at 9am when my calendar alarm went off to remind me to go to physical therapy.  I was feeling pretty good, so
I was looking forward to going.  Of course, it is now the next day and I had a hell of a morning…woke up screaming (sorry neighbors,) used the heating pad for a half an hour, and took all my pills.  Still, no better, So I got up and went to my mother’s and had coffee, and sat in her chair which has good lumbar support, Slight improvement.  I went home and did my stretches and then Mark and I went for a walk.  Now I feel almost as good as I did yesterday, except it’s almost 1pm and I also feel like I wasted half a day.

I find it amusing that this sciatica thing happened right as I was finishing my main recovery from surgery.  There are still some foods I can’t eat, and I shouldn’t push, pull, lift or bend for another few months.  But right as I was coming off the restrictive diet and exercise, my leg started hurting.  Usually it goes away quick, but not this time. We are in week three now, I think.

And of course, it is my luck that something else crappy would happen right as I was starting to get better.  (If WordPress had a facepalm emoji, I would put it right here.)

Anyway, I forgot it was Monday after my appointment because I felt great so we decided to go fishing.  We went to one of my favorite spots, and saw lots of jumpers, but all I caught was a flippin’ gobi.  For those unaware, gobi’s are an invasive species, and if you find them, you have to kill them.  So that’s…awesome.

Then we headed home, and upon arrival, realized Marks’s wallet was gone.  So, this made us drive back out to the spot and search.  Thing is, when we were there, we were probably the only people in the park, save the lone bicyclist I saw.  When we came back, it seemed that a large family had set up shop right in the middle of the park and were having a party.  Also, the fishermen were out…all those folks who worked a nine to five and ran out to the water as soon as they could.

The wallet is gone.

We went home and searched the house, just in case, though I know the last time I saw it was in the car.  So, we searched the car, then cleaned the car, then organized the car for our upcoming trip.  Still, no wallet.

By the time all that was done, I was tired.  I watched a little TV and went to bed.

Then I woke up and it was Tuesday!  Damnit, I forgot to blog again!

I don’t know why I can’t keep to my own schedule right now.  There is just a lot going on at the moment, and I am walking around with this limp leg.  Also, numb fingers because I can’t find my hand braces!

Y’know, my birthday is in a couple of days…38 is gonna be a train wreck if this keeps up.

Pride Parade

It is June the third, and already I have twice heard the question “why do we have to have a whole month for the gays?”  Same reason we have a whole month for the blacks, and a whole month for the women.  Because it’s a straight white man’s world, and asking y’all to deign to acknowledge us once in a while isn’t too much.  In a perfect world there would be no need for such things, yet it is always the dudes asking that question who are the ones keeping us from that reality.

But this isn’t about idiots, it’s about pride.

I went to my first Pride in 2003, with a couple of friends.  I’m not gay, but I have many friends and family who are, so I have been an ally since I realized there was something to unite about.  It was magical.  The colors and the music and the people…it was all amazing.  I recall fumbling in my purse for a lighter when a drag queen in eight-inch red leather platforms approached me.  “Here, honey, I got you,” she said, lighting my cigarette as she towered above me.  I was sure I had seen her performing at Marchella’s, the local gay club.  I want to say she did Cyndi Lauper.  We chatted for a bit and smoked our cigarettes.  I told her I liked her shoes.

I went to the parade and after party many times over the years, back when it was on Bidwell Pkwy.  I haven’t been since they moved it to Canalside, but I can only assume it’s bigger and better now.  I wish that there were festivities this year I could attend. 

See, gay don’t mean a thing to me.   Once, when I was about nine, my mother came into the room while I was watching tv  for an “important talk.”  I had a friend who was three years older than me and had given me the sex talk around the same time she got it, so I was ready to shut down any awkward discussion my mother was coming at me with.  However, she asked me this: “do you know what it means to be gay?”  I nodded.  “And you know that Joe (my dads BFF) is gay, right?  Dave is his partner.”  Another nod.  Mom stared at me for a bit then said “well, ok then” and left me to my tv show.  I knew what gay was because I knew Joe was gay because someone told me once upon a time and it was just knowledge I already had.  I knew it meant he liked boys, not girls.  I also knew I did not care; I was just trying to watch tv.

Years later, my friend Mike came out to me, and I freaked out.  Now, this wouldn’t have been such a ig deal had I not been in the middle of a deep and painful crush on him.  I was mad, but I was mad at HIM, not at the gay thing.  I was mad that he lied, that he kept a secret, that he let me love him when he knew better. 

Alas…I was comforted when he told me I was the first.  I was the only person he had told.  I’m still not sure why that made it better, but it did. 

Over the years I had other people come out to me, a hazard of working in youth theater.  Every time I congratulated them and told them I was proud, because I was and I am.

Last night, around 1am, Mark went to the store.  He was chatting with the guy at the checkout and mentioned that he was having trouble sleeping.  So this gentleman gave my husband his phone number and what time he’d be off shift, and told him to text him if he couldn’t sleep.  Hubs, feeling perplexed, thanked the man, wished him a good night, and left.  He came home and told me this story.  My response was “good for him!”  Mark again seemed perplexed.

“Did he think I was gay?” he asked.  “No, he thought you were cute,” I replied.  Do you know how gutsy it is to just give a random dude you think is cute your number?  I mean, if you’re a woman.  Now imagine you’re a man and you don’t know if the dude is gay or not.  Extra gutsy…bordering on risky, some might say, but kudos to that cashier for taking a chance. 

Gay never bothered me.  It was always present in my life so it was never something that made me confused or cringy.  And when I grew older and learned of all the rainbow folks in my life, I embraced their diversity and culture and passion. 

So, why a whole month?  Why not?  Again, we should have Pride year, like Black History year and Women’s History year, because we have all also been here the whole goddamn time and we deserve some recognition for it.

Happy Pride.