“One in a blue moon,” we’ve probably all heard the phrase at one point or another in our lives. Here’s what I thought of the last time I heard the phrase. Once in a blue moon you find a friend who seems to be able to weather any storm, who always seems to be able to land on their feet in spite of whatever the world throws at them. The scary part of this is that eventually everybody’s luck runs out. I have a leather bound illustrated copy of all of Shakespeare’s works, including the sonnets. It was given to me on semipermanent loan when I was 13. The friend who gave it to me told me graduate high school and learn to navigate college successfully in spite of my limitations. I have yet to find an adequate phrase to describe my relationship with him or what he meant to me. He passed away this June after a prolonged struggle with Rocky Mountain spotted tick fever, Lyme disease and several other illnesses on top of those. I have stopped crying every day so I suppose that is progress even though it does not feel like very much progress to me at all some days. Someone once told me that a person only truly dies until the living stop remembering them. I will continue to tell the stories of those who have gone before me because I don’t ever want to forget. The volume of Shakespeare now sits in pride of place on my bookshelf an unlikely reminder of an unlikely friendship.
Every year on a weekend prior to Halloween Nashville is invaded by zombies and has been for at least the last two years that I know of. Nashville’s annual Zombie Walk is a Halloween event which is free to the public although a donation of nonperishable food items for our branch Of the Second Harvest Food Bank is greatly appreciated. I first heard of the zombie walk last year over breakfast with family friends, their teenage daughters had participated and loved it . The premise is that there are several waves of people, some made up as zombies and others not, the “normal”people are given two strips of cloth to carry, the idea is to try to make it to the end still human. If you lose both cloth pieces to a zombie you must then go to the zombie makeup area where you become a zombie and prey on the remaining humans.
We did not get to participate this year because of car issues but one day I will even if I have to cross state lines to do it. It sounds like a lot of fun even to me who has a reputation for being a big chicken when it comes to haunted houses and scary movies but I also have another reason. Two weeks later Kurby died completely without warning. Dressing up like a zombie is not what most people would do in remembrance of someone but I have no doubt that he will appreciate it.
I realized something recently,, if you counted each individual stitch from every surgery I have had in my life as a separate score I would probably have somewhere over 300. That is not counting the small incidentals cars that you get from just being a kid. I used to hate my scar. I would wear long pants in the middle of August just so that the scars on my knees weren’t visible no matter what the temperature was outside. I think my mom became convinced I was a closet masochist. As I got older I conceded to high temperatures when necessary but still despised my scars. It wasn’t until college when a friend saw |the scar that follows most of my spine and reacted with “how did you get that bad ass scar and how do I get one” that my opinion of them really changed. I nearly fell off the counter I had been sat on in shock! I don’t deliberately go looking for situations that I might get scars from but ever since then my attitude towards the ones I currently have and any I might eventually get has change drastically, they have become something of a point of pride rather than shame. I no longer (for the most part) see myself as disfigured because of them. I can look at them and know that I have survived things that many people a lot older than me can’t fathom dealing with. Indeed, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Do not mistake me, I am not trying to become Evil Knievel even though at times I have made that joke. Some of my “adventures” I have only managed to escape without a broken neck by sheer luck and there is not a day that passes in which I do not think the universe that I made it through relatively unscathed. I will not shrink from life no matter how rough and tumble it may become.
What’s the one thing you hope other people never say about you?
I don’t want it ever said of me that I was afraid to look like on my terms. I have been thinking about that a lot lately maybe because I have had good friends die recently. Fear is the only thing that holds us back with. The fear of losing a job or the regard of a loved one. Even worry over how the bills will be paid is based in fear, and something I have been known for. Fear is everywhere nowadays, in no small part because of widespread economic issues. If we let it fear can easily change us into less giving and forgiving people, and in this particular climate that is possibly the very last thing that needs to happen. In the face of strike and worry stay positive. If you find a way do this 100% of the time please tell me because it is something I struggle with on a daily basis and I lose the battle almost as often as I win. There is a line from The 13th Warrior that I constantly remind myself of, “hide in a hole if you like, it will not make the thread of your life one minute longer or shorter.” The only consequence fear can has on your life is regret, I have enough of those already . I resolve to live the rest of my life avoiding regret whenever possible.
Children in adult spaces, most people have an opinion on the subject if you ask them,, even if they’ve never voiced it before and people on both sides of the question can be VERY adamant in defense of their position. Here is my take on it, based solely on my opinions and my experience when growing up. Should you take a child to a nice restaurant? In this case the definition of “nice restaurant”would be one with cloth table coverings, cloth napkins and the option of ordering from a selection of wine to be served with the meal. The answer in my opinion depends on the age and maturity level of the child. I would not take most toddlers to a play unless it was specifically a children’s theater production,. If I was going to introduce a grade school child to the symphony or ballet it would probably be through Mozart’s Magic flute or the Nutcracker Suite. Relatively recently some orchestras have played the music for The Rabbit of Seville and other Bugs Bunny cartoons where classical pieces are used I would definitely take a child to those if they were interested in going.
Before anybody cringes in horror let me assure you that the child would be made well aware of the standards of behavior expected of him or her and the consequences of misbehavior. Most importantly in my opinion a trip to a nice restaurant, the symphony, or ballet would have to be something they had expressed interest in themselves before I would even consider taking them. I believe that a significant percentage of misbehavior by children in adult oriented settings stems from not wanting to be there in the first place..
I would also like to address those people who show at Walmart after midnight with their screaming infant and/or preschool-aged child. What are you thinking? Of course they are cranky and crying, it is way past their bedtime and any nightmare I have within the next week will probably include echoes of your child.
This opinion piece has been brought to you by The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. That’s my two cents on the subject what’s yours?
I would describe my handwriting as terrible. The only thing that is even remotely legible most of the time is my signature and even that depends on if I’m having a good day. To many people the fact that this bothers me may seem silly, after all it is the computer age and a lot of people don’t bother with actually writing more than their signature anymore. Maybe the best way to explain it is that most of my life is structured around utility, I have lived in the same house for almost ten years and the walls of my room are still the stark white they were our first day here. Why? Because I would need help painting the room and when it has been brought up someone is either too busy to help or we are too broke to afford the paint. I have pictures which could be hang on the walls but anybody in my house with the ability to safely use a hammer always seems to be doing other things. I told you that first so I could tell you this: the reason my blog has switched to a handwriting style font is simply to make it more personal. I have deliberately looked for the most legible cursive font I could find. This is what I wish my handwriting looked close to every time I have to write my name.
I am not, much to my grandmother’s continued dismay, a churchgoing person. She one of the few Christians I know who make a real effort to practice that which they profess to believe, because of this my absolute stubborn refusal to attend a church of any (preferably Protestant) denomination frightens her to pieces. My parents didn’t raise us in any particular religion instead they taught us tolerance for everyone’s belief system and assured us that no matter what we came to believe as adults we would always be welcome and loved in their home. This is not to say that I have never stepped foot (or wheel) inside a church, I have been to churches of several denominations in my life. I used to attend my grandmothers church regularly just to spend time with her. I stopped when the youth pastor literally screamed at me for asking a question which obviously made him uncomfortable. When I told my grandmother about it later she refused to speak to the person or stand up for me in any way. While my mom was in the Army we attended the local Universalist Unitarian Church which is a mixed faith and culture denomination. They believe that every person journey to commune with the higher power is valid so long as doing so does not intentionally harm anyone. I enjoyed our North Carolina group immensely and am sorry to admit that I’m guilty of measuring the Nashville Unitarian church by their yardstick and my high expectations were disappointed the few times we have attended since mom was discharged from the Army and we came back to Tennessee.
After I quit going to church with my grandmother I started going to the youth services at a local Pentecostals church . I admit this was more for social reasons then a desire for spiritual education which is ultimately the reason I discontinued going. I discovered that I respected the youth pastor far too much to continue presenting a false front. Sometimes the journey to find yourself in a long one. I should also mention that I have been to many pagan rites and they are by far the most generally accepting people that I have found. If you wish to know what faith I am here is my answer I sometimes wear a pentacle around my neck though I follow no particular path, I give people the respect I wish to be given regardless if their beliefs differ from mine. I help where I can even though it may mean a little personal sacrifice. I believe we will all be held accountable for the things we do in this life the way may not be how we expect. I ask every night that the people and animals I love be held safe, I ask that each day be better than the last time that I am provided with some small way to make the world a better place than it was before I was here. In the end I think it comes down to this: all you need is love, that’s the really important part of any faith.
Bullying is terribly harmful and destructive that at least is something most adults agree on, and that’s a good thing. Here’s something you may not have thought of though, when you are arguing with your neighbor who supports the other guy and call each other stupid or any other manner of names, your children are watching. You can tell your children to avoid fighting but what message are they seeing when the police get called because your brother-in-law and your dad are acting like George Foreman and Muhammed Ali over to their respective political candidates? Less than half of the way humans communicate is verbal. I think that especially during political campaigns adults should be aware that things that they do often times have an equal or greater impact than what they say.
They say grief is a cycle but sometimes it sounds like it will end, it doesn’t .I cut my hair every other year for a young man who died when I was ten. I drink a bit of alcohol for a classmate who didn’t live to see legal drinking age. I keep track of the birthdays of teenager who never knew his biological dad and is probably alive today only because his father made the split second decision that his own life was less important than the life of his unborn child and fiancee . I will fight for my independence from my family, I will own my dreams and realize them for the brother who gave me armor and a sword to fight my own battles but never got to see his dreams before his time was done. I stand with ready Clan at my side and strength of those that have gone before me at my back. To all the naysayers and pessimists I laugh in your face. Watch. I will shine brighter than you ever thought possible.
Yes, I realize National Coming Out was a few days ago, bear with me.
When I was 14 and the internet still consisted mostly of AOL, I met DamianKane* , gay elf knight. His profile could, and probably did double as his D&D character sheet, which is why we started talking in the first place. That one conversation spawned an almost 3 year long friendship during which he taught me a basic rule of writing that has always proven true, for me at least. A manuscript is never done. A writer does reach a point where there are satisfied enough to publish it but even years down the line will probably find something they could have done better. Damian was the first person who asked to play in his D&D runs back when online gaming consisted cf typed descriptions in a private chat room and zero graphics. He was also my first openly gay friend. I say he was openly gay because he was with me, however he was in the closet to most of his family who would have ceased helping him pay for college and tossed him out on his ear if they knew. We lost touch years ago but I still think of him often because he gave me my first really lasting piece of writing advice. I hope wherever you are you feel free enough to be yourself and find the you deserve.