Monday, September 29, 2008

Update on me

The non-tropical storm that came through last week played havoc with my respiratory system, and I missed a half-day of work, yoga and other things. I am better but still tired, and tomorrow is another work day.

Because I want some comprehensive information about what is going on with my body and someone to interpret this, I have made an appointment for an evaluation at Cleveland Clinic in mid-November. I'll have more information on this as the time approaches.

I've begun taking my prozac again and my relentless minor depression has abated.

I'm skipping yoga for a few weeks and beginning again in mid-October.

Work is going well. We did a bustling business on Saturday with visitors coming to Tryon Palace and stopping by the shop to look AND to buy.

We continue to have couples counseling and continue to learn more about how to have the relationship we want. Some days it's fun and some days I cry.

The nights are getting cooler here, and I'm enjoying being able to open the doors and windows sometimes. Partner and I went jet skiing last week about three miles up the creek and saw a beautiful hawk who swooped down to investigate us. Although I don't really get wet with the jet ski, putting them back on the lift requires getting in the water, and it's getting cooler, too. So, we may have had our last ride of the season - except when we put them on the trailers - then I get to ride!!!

I figured out one reason I do love doing figure 8s with the jet skis. Many lifetimes ago when I was 18, I rode barrels in rodeos for a season. I wasn't very good, but it was very exciting. I get the same thrill from the jet ski.

Life is good. The stock market has not affected our income YET, but our net worth fluctuates with the market. Our bank has been bought by a larger firm. The local yacht manufacturer, Hatteras, has laid off over 300 people. The drawbridge work continues even on weekends, and we're hoping for a mid 2009 reopening.

On the negative side, the GLBT group we've been trying to start at our church has had a trying time with the pastor and governing body. They think that calling it the GLBT Support Group is too militant. LOL. Well, so is the American flag and they process it down the aisle every Sunday. I don't go to church anymore; I've been rejected enough.

So goes my life. Amen. Hallelujah.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Memories of rabbits and spider lilies

(picture courtesy of Brian Chandler of Imaginatorium)

Good memories tint the bad ones with light and remind me of the hymn, "I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light".

This morning on the way to therapy, I saw red spider lilies blooming in a yard - just springing from the ground amongst the newly mown grass. No leaves - they come later - stems with beautiful delicate blossoms. We had spider lilies in our yard when I was a child. I would find the blossom heads among the grass and put sticks up to guard them from the lawn mower. Some years I failed and they never bloomed; the leaves came up later. But, mostly I remember sticking my face down in the mass of blooms and getting pollen on my nose and cheeks.

And just yesterday my partner was talking about a doghouse she had made and a friend commented about his rabbit house when he was younger. I suddenly remembered that I had rabbits when I was a child. (note: this is not my rabbit and the image came from this site) The cage sat beside the "old house", a falling in place behind our house. It was a wire cage on legs with pieces of wood covering the top to protect them from the weather. Grandma Woods, a neighbor, gave them to me. She raised rabbits of all kinds. I had one whose fur was blue, and I suspect he was a very special rabbit. They were bittersweet pets because I could not take them out of the cage. We had dogs and cats that ran amok in the yard. I could occasionally, by standing on a bucket, take the boards off the top and open the little door in the wire and pet them. They were afraid of me as they were afraid of most things. I commented that I had to give them back to Grandma Woods when we left for Bermuda (Dad was in the Navy and consented for us to join him there). However, I somehow remember that they left before that; when summer was over and we had to buy rabbit food, I doubt that we did. We didn't have enough for ourselves. The cat and dog (one of each by then) ate scraps and whatever they could forage for themselves. I suspect my grandparents fed them some.

My therapist says maybe I should replace the bad memories with good ones, but that's hard to do when each memory triggers both the good and the bad. It's like fantasy stories where light and dark fight one another; but real is that both light and dark are One. Good and bad are One. And, I'm not sure what that One is, but I trust it more than separating the two.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First Day of Autumn

Happy autumn!

And, unhapppy me. I've been reading a series of fantasy books about Pellinor - the Naming, The Riddle, The Crow. I just finished the last word of the third book in the series. It came out in paperback in August 08. The next book isn't due until March 09 in Hardcover! YOW!

I am not a patient person. I want to know how the story least this war - for all the fantasy books have war - light against dark. Stories that are like Revelations - not prophecies, but tellings of the current situations in settings that disguise slightly the real events. Apocalyptic stories. Not real, but not unreal.

Somehow, these stories symbolize our world and all the Dark things that are happening as well as how the Light struggles with the Dark. In the end, the Light and Dark are we know that is true in our world.

So, I want to know the ending. What happens when Light and Dark become One. Who? What is that One?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Dream Visitor

Me on the left and Ginni on the right on a playing trip to Longwood, a farm near Columbus, Mississippi. We wanted the stump; the limestone ground was unwilling to give it up then.

Last night in my dreams I was visited by someone who died earlier this year. Ginni, about whom I posted, was a person who had a lot of fun. She, like me, suffered from deep depressions. But, last night we played. She came and took em to her house in the mountains with a small pond/lake nearby. Lots of people were visiting, and all the beds were out on the porch. I never went into the house. I was the first to arrive, and we had wonderful talks while others arrived. Then we all piled into the beds and had a nap. When we awoke, more people had arrived and we squeezed into an open jeep with roll bars, everyone hanging on for dear life and we went barrelling down the mountainside towards the pond. We went down the steps of someone's house, over a short drop-off and across their patio to stop. I was amazed; I thought I was going to be killed in a jeep/mountain accident. The lake had furniture underwater, floating on the water - sofas and chairs of all kinds and tables - places for people to gather. I knew the water would be cold, but no one minded. I don't know if I actually got in the water, but I remember that I had a good time. When I went to find to our hosts, they had arms, legs and hearts - no heads, no torsos. I thanked them and they told me what a pleasure it had been to meet me and get to know me. I asked about getting back to Ginni's and my car, and they said that special steps had been built beside the ones we came over in the jeep for people to use. I awoke when I started for the steps.

I had played...young adult play, but play nonetheless. I remember running, talking, napping when we were tired, being easy with one another - though Ginni is the only person I remember. I vaguely remember hastily put together sports-like games with balls or tag. I remember looking up above the porch to the many-windowed home and thinking, Ginni would like that. A great visit.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dining Out

Hmmmm Good. And, I'm not talking about Campbell's Soup. We ate at Olive Garden tonight - seafood alfredo with that wonderful salad and breadsticks. Brought home enough to have for supper tomorrow night, and the room has a refrigerator and microwave. Hmmm, good.

Walked it off by going to Ben Franklin - now a crafts store. However, my first job was at a Ben Franklin store, and I began working behind the candy counter. LOL After a week, the candy loses its lure, but I still love the old fashioned bridge mix with lots of nuts (other than peanuts) and chewies and good stuff. Then I was moved to the toy department because I seemed to be so good with the kids. I remember a young boy, thick glasses, couldn't see over the tops of the counter. I picked him up so that he could look in all the bins of toys and choose what he wanted to buy with his handful of coins. Turned out he was the son of the richest family in town. He was just another kid looking longingly at the toys to me. And, I think of him fondly and wonder where he is now.

Anyway, now Ben Franklin is much like Michael's and AC Moore; so I bought some beads and some yarn. Made a hostess gift for our dinner hostess tomorrow night...a crocheted hot pad from some luscious burgundy thick wool. It's kinda cute, and maybe I'll remember to take a picture tomorrow night.

Tonight it's comfy beds and sleep.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Part 3 - Being a Lesbian

Some things have happened in my life lately that have made me realize that the GLBT community is totally unlike the one in which I came out. My life as a lesbian is so far removed from what my life was like as a lesbian in the 1960s that I should have already recognized this.

Young men are divorced and hold joint custody of their children. They attend school meetings, take them to doctors, go to games and performances, worry about putting money away for schooling. They live in houses and own property. The ones that I know here in our part of the state and in other states are responsible, monogamous people.

The same is true of the young lesbians I know. And, the older women. They come from all walks of life, have had successful careers, may be disabled and living on a fixed income. They may have children and grandchildren. They may have been with a partner for 50 years. They might have come out to themselves last year.

They dress in dresses, shorts, jeans, khakis – some with frills and some tailored. They wear makeup or not. They have fashionable hair styles or not. They may have some wine occasionally, but they don’t frequent bars or nightclubs. Oh, some may go to the gay bars in resort areas when they go away.

In short, they don’t fit any stereotype that I knew when I was in my 20s. They look like your neighbor, your chorister partner, your bridge partner, your nephew, your sister or your son or daughter.

However, I need to close my story about my life as a lesbian. In 1968, I moved back to Mississippi to live with my mother. I met a young man and we had sex. It was good. I was tired for losing jobs – blamed it all on my being gay. I was tired of moving from pillar to post. I was tired of feeling stigmatized. So, we married in 1969.

He became a drug addict and eventually a dealer, and we divorced in 1978. During that time, at his instigation, I slept with several women without any emotional attachment. When I finally got smarter and moved in with my best friend, I became monogamous and have remained so. My best friend and I married in 1980 and divorced in 1996 after he fell in love with the teacher across the hall.

At the tender age of 53 I met a marvelous woman and experienced love at first sight. She stuck out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Blank.” She could have said any name in the world and I wouldn’t have remembered because I was in love. I have no recollection of what I said. We had a holy union service at our house blessing in 1999, and we had a civil union at her family reunion in Vermont in 2003.

We have taken all the legal precautions possible to gain us the same rights as married couples, and we share our resources in common. Our motto is “All that I am and All that I have, Always.” We do not fit the stereotypes that I knew or that people expect. I have far too many female physical attributes to ever be thought butchy, but I can lift over 100 pounds and have good upper body strength. She is slim and could occasionally be called butchy, but she wears all kinds of clothes and cooks and is an active boater and leader in the church. We have a wide variety of both male and female attributes that make us “normal” women.

So, here ends my series on being a lesbian. When I find some of the old pictures, I may post them.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Church down the road

The sign at the church down the road says "even the hairs of your head are numbered." While I realize that's only a partial quote of the verse, it sounds absurd by itself. Why would I want a number on every hair on my head. Partner says that it's just to mean that God cares about the most minute parts of us. Okay, got that.

Now, when God created, two marvelous things were included:
1. God gave humanity the right and power to say yes, no, maybe, I'll think about it, call me back tomorrow, hmmmmmm, and all sorts of answers in between. We can give these answers to God, to our fellow humans and to all the rest of creation.

2. God made all of creation co-creators. We have the ability to create - not necessarily from nothing as God did, but we can make new things. In fact, most of creation can make new things - trees from acorns, frogs from tadpoles, combinations of elements that are very different from their know all the examples.

What a tremendous leap of faith God had! To believe that creation would continue to do well and create new things. I've never been sure that God didn't create the evil in the world as well as the good; so I'm certainly not sure that we could create only good even if we tried. I know, I know, God looked at creation and said, "It is good." Okay, so define "good" - good as in without evil, good as in this works, good as in this might be interesting, good as in should give them some challenges. I don't know.

But, the major piece of this is that not only are we co-creators with God, we have the right and the power to not create, to be nothings, to do evil, to do good, to be nice today and not tomorrow. We have the right and the ability to say no when God asks (however that might happen) us to do something. Of course, I've been slapped up side the head with a two by four by God a couple of times when I've said "No" or "Not right now"; so you have to be careful about those answers. Equally, I've been abused and hurt by humans after I've said "Yes". Pick your battles.

And, listen: this is important!! It's easier to be forgiven than to ask permission.

So, just remember those two things: you are a co-creator with God and you have the right and the power to do evil, good and all things in between.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Part 2, My life as a lesbian

I was no saint, and in a pledge for honesty in writing this, I confess that I was a hell-raiser and a drunk for much of my young adulthood. I still enjoy the thrill of doing the dangerous or the slightly dangerous, but alcohol and I parted ways some years ago.

When I visited Memphis friends after Wanda and I broke up, one of them sat on me before we went out to a gay bar and demanded, “Are you straight or are you gay?” I had no truthful answer, but she was my friend; so I answered, “I am gay.” I still am not certain of the answer to that question, but I know more clearly that I prefer the social company of women, and I trust women more.

We went to the bar and my friends introduced me to a woman named Jaye, a short, firmly built, blonde with twinkling eyes. I was 21 years old and had been using alcohol as a prop for about five years. I didn’t drink every day, but weekends were filled with laughter and sex (when I could find it) and alcohol. Jaye was barely a drinker at all. Bars were our only social venue though we were still wary of being raided by the Vice Squad. And bars were mostly segregated – men and women. I don’t recall seeing anyone of color in a woman’s bar, but I do remember several men of color in other places. The Twilight was a bar that was mixed, and in later years I attended a drag show there. Whenever we went to a bar, we were careful where we parked. The bars were not located in really safe sections of town, and we often walked to our cars together – feeling there was strength in numbers. Gangs existed in Memphis even then, and they occasionally prowled the bar areas for loners.

Jaye and I shot several games of pool. Gay bars were the only places that women could access a pool table. A couple of weeks later, I moved to Memphis to live with Jaye, and was with her when I lost my first job for being gay. And, I began drinking more heavily. Two doors away from us on the corner was Margie’s Diner, a small bar with a table shuffleboard, which I loved. I can remember crawling down the alley some nights before Jaye got home from second shift so drunk that I couldn’t walk. I don’t know why she put up with me, and I owe her many amends for how I treated her. I have named her as she was known then in hopes that someone out there in the blogsphere will see this and send her this way so that I can acknowledge the goodness of her love and make amends as much as possible.

Somewhere along in our second year, a young girl and I began an affair. She was a tall, butch with dancing eyes. I think it’s the eyes that get me. I was her first voluntary sexual encounter; she was very under age. And, I was very in love with her, as I had not been with Jaye. Finally, I got the courage to leave Jaye and move out on my own. My promiscuousness caught up with me with Chlamydia, and I was seeing a doctor regularly for treatment. That’s when I lost the insurance job. I could not afford, even with what they called a decent wage for women, a telephone in my apartment. So, I received the call that I had been fired at the doctor’s office…partly I suppose because of my illness and time off from work, but the stated cause was that I did not fit their family image.

During the time I lived with Jaye, we attended many women’s softball games, had friends for dinner, went to some horse show and rodeo events with friends. Those were relatively safe public places for women to be seen in pants, shorts and jeans. We did not gather in groups in restaurants.

I moved back to Mississippi to live with my mother once again. Both Jaye and the young girl came down to see me regularly.