Why is letting go so hard sometimes? Part 2 of 3

If everything happens for a reason, what was the purpose of that living hell?

To teach me to let go and I did. I am grateful for learning that lesson.

The truly sad part of all of that was for Keri and Karen, both robbed of relationships with each other. The even more tragic part of this, now, is that any hope of a chance is gone. Sadly, Karen passed away in August 2012.

Keri got the call from her sister it was time to make the trip. Keri looked at me after explaining the situation and said, I want you to go with me. Which seems like the logical thing, right? But I think the last time I went to one of Keri’s family functions prior to this was Thanksgiving 1995. I remember because her grandpa was still alive and he leaned in to me as glanced over to Keri and said, She’s a good girl. Take good care of her. I would do anything for my baby.

We walked into Karen’s hospital room and with out a beat, as if it were nothing at all Kirsten, Keri’s sister, came over to us and hugged Keri and then hugged me. She and her fiancé at the time, now husband, Kelly, rather quickly updated us on Karen’s status. It was totally and completely surreal standing there in that hospital room with Keri.

It felt so bizarre to be there in the most fragile moments of this woman’s life. I, for so many years, wanted so badly to be in the same room with her to have a chance to know her, love her and hug her and here I was standing there looking at her silently wondering why we couldn’t have shared Keri in our lives.

There was a moment when Keri and Kirsten were called out into the hall to talk to the doctor and I was left alone with Karen. I was looking at her and these words just started flowing out of my mouth, “I just want you to know that with every fiber of my being I love your daughter and I am sorry you and I never had a chance to get to know each other, but what ever it was that kept us from knowing each other, I let it go a long time ago. I want you to know peace.”

It was the weirdest thing ever having this very personal one sided conversation with this woman I barely knew. These were not my words, there was no way I could have been that poised in that given moment. I was confused and felt like what the hell am I doing here this woman wanted nothing to do with me. Why am I standing here with you right now? I really was just a little bit nervous that she might open her eyes and wonder what the hell I was doing there.

I guess everything does happen for a reason and the reason I was standing there with her all alone was to provide an opportunity for release. Who know’s what that moment provided for Karen, but my hope is that for a moment in time the essence of our beings swirled around together, smiled at each other, embraced each other and dissolved all the unknowns, the fears and resistance. All I know is I have peace in my heart and the most wonderful parting gift I have EVER been given.

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What’s the purpose? Part 1 of 3

You know how “they” always say, everything happens for a reason? and you’re taking a look at your life and you think what’s the fuckin’ purpose of this living hell?

I know you have, we all have. When you’re in the middle of something like that though it just seems like such an injustice and you ask yourself why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this bullshit?

I’m not exactly sure where this story really begins, so I’ll start from my perception of the beginning.

About 19 years ago a very intriguing woman walked into my life and I knew from the moment I laid eyes on her that we would share something special. It wasn’t really a conscious thought. It was just a knowing that I felt. It was as if time had stopped for a few moments and there was a quiet little voice, too small to even really hear, that said to me, “Take in this moment, you’ll remember it for the rest of your life”. So, I did and I remember exactly what she was wearing, how her hair was styled and where I was sitting. It was like the switch of a very warm fuzzy light was turned on inside me.

It was only a matter of months until we started dating. Before I knew it I was falling in love with her. I was nervous though that she might not be ready for those three little words. Standing and hugging each other in the kitchen of her apartment, I quietly asked her to highlight this moment in pink and green so that when I referenced it later she would know the exact moment I was talking about. To this day we still say pink and green to each other to say I love you. Keri and I will be together 19 years this coming October.

By this time you might be scratching your head and wondering how this sweet little love story leads me to ask myself, What did I do to deserve this bullshit?

Well, I’m just about to tell you. I was and still am very much in love with Keri. I was excited to begin our lives together and I wanted everyone to know how happy we were together in our new relationship. We had been to visit her mom a couple of times and the feelings of hiding what we were becoming to each other were quite uncomfortable. I felt like I couldn’t just reach out and hold the hand of the woman I loved. I couldn’t be true to myself and neither could she. I took it personal at first, like Keri was embarrassed to be with me. It was hurtful and I didn’t understand.

If she loved me so much why wouldn’t she be happy and proud to tell anyone, everyone. I grew tired of the question, so, how’s your friend? It seemed like such a slap in the face for what we were feeling for each other. Keri began to feel it too and we decided it was time to come out of the closet and let everyone know. This meant telling her mom.
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I remember that day so well. We drove up to Tulsa from Oklahoma City and I stayed the day with our friend Andrea while Keri went to her mom’s to have the “Yes, I’m gay” talk. We didn’t have cell phones then, so there were no texts updating me on the situation and I was a nervous wreck. Even as I sit here now writing about it, I can feel the knots in my stomach and the dryness in my mouth. Crazy.

Between Keri and her mom, there were years of disagreements, feelings of abandonment and disrespect, lack of acceptance, feelings like we were “throwing our relationship in her face”, and resistance that felt from our end like, What did we do to deserve this bull shit, which I’m sure was felt by her mom as well.

Granted, I never had an opportunity to get to know Keri’s mom (Karen) and what I have learned about her over the last 18 years has been through the eyes of a person that has felt completely rejected by her mother. I’ve never spoken to Karen about any of this to hear her side of the story, but I always really wanted to. I wanted desperately to be a part of the family of the woman I love so dearly. I have felt very sad over the years that I was robbed of having a “mother-in-law” and all the other family members too. It felt so unfair. I thought if Karen would just give me a chance she would love me. I was trying to make sense of it by talking it out with Keri and mulling it over.

One day Keri asked me if I could just stop because every time I tried to figure out why Karen couldn’t accept me it only reminded her that her mom wasn’t accepting her either. It was crystal clear to me in that moment that this was never about me and I dropped it. I let it go.

Everything happens for a reason. Yes, even bull shit.

I learned to let go.

Shimmering pools of butter

You never know when life is just going to say, Here you go, you delightful person you, here’s a wonderful gift. I was sitting in a coffee shop today at my very first scheduled out of the house “Committed to my dream” meeting with myself and the universe rewarded me with new friend. I am so lucky!!!! It is like the universe said, Angel, you need one more amazing person in your life, here’s an opportunity to meet David.

I was sitting at a table facing the window, so I could see what was going on outside. People were walking by with their dogs, others with their toddlers on their shoulders and one man was dropping his dogs off at a doggie daycare across the street. It was all very smile evoking. I had my headphones on to keep me focused, but I did notice that someone sat beside me. We shared pleasant acknowledgments of each other and carried on with our own business.

He was setting up his computer and getting situated, everything was going smoothly and then I noticed an intoxicating aroma. I have a soft place in my heart for breakfast. I don’t know if I have always LOVED breakfast and as a result ended up going to breakfast with my mom a lot when I was little or if going to breakfast a lot with my mom when I was little developed my love for breakfast. In either case, breakfast has a place soft place in my heart because it reminds me of special times with my mom.

Anyway, this delicious aroma turned out to be a perfectly toasted sesame bagel with little shimmering pools of butter. I took off my headphones and looked over at the man sitting next to me and said, “That is the most wonderful smell. Does it taste as good as it smells?” He said it was delicious. Next thing I know I’m walking back towards my seat with my own toasted sesame bagel with shimmering pools of butter. I said, “What can I say, aroma sells” and that was the beginning.20140420-164100.jpg

We chatted with each other, shared ideas and began to realize we had many similar beliefs. It was exciting to converse with someone new that is so like-minded. It was a pretty amazing experience. I love making connections and truly “being” in a shared space with someone. It is such a breath of fresh air to have deep intentional experiences. Thank you David. I look forward to the next time our paths cross.

Full Spectrum of feelings

Sometimes I have no idea what to write about for this blog. I sit in front of my little iPad screen and want very badly to write something touching. Something that makes a difference in someones life and sometimes I start writing a few sentences and I don’t really feel moved in particular direction. I start again, and write a couple of sentences or a paragraph and think, Damn it! Who gives a shit about this?

Well, apparently I give a shit about this, because I just keep writing. As I have said before I love writing this blog. It fills my soul with satisfaction. Knowing that people are waiting to read what I have written in hopes of getting a little lift in their day, keeps me motivated to write something meaningful.

Today I am moved to share with you the songs I heard this morning while I was eating my yummy breakfast with my wife. She made a yummy scramble, biscuits and gravy and these songs came on, all right in a row, while I was sitting across from her: Sunday Morning by Maroon 5, Your Life is Now by John Mellenkamp, Goodbye Girl covered by Rumor and Deee-Lite by Groove is in the Heart.

It is such an amazing thing to me how music can totally sweep you away and bring up feelings in you that you know are there, but the emotion in the music and the way the words are sung, just captures it so perfectly. Sunday Morning is about how nice it feels to stay in bed on a rainy Sunday and cuddle with the one you love. “Steal some covers share some skin, Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable. You twist to fit the mold that I am in. Come and rest your bones with me. My fingers trace your every outline.” Love it!

I am so grateful for what I have in my life, I love to cuddle with my baby. Then, John Mellencamp’s song, Your Life is Now, came on. What an excellent reminder. “This is your time here to do what you will do. Your life is now. In this undiscovered moment, Will you lift your head above the crowd? Do you believe you’re a victim of a great compromise? ‘Cause I believe you could change your mind and change your life.” Powerful words that remind us that we have a choice. Totally empower yourself by embracing the concept that YOU HAVE A CHOICE!

Just a little reminder sung into my morning by Rumer with Goodby Girl. “Goodbye doesn’t mean forever, Let me tell you that goodbye doesn’t mean we’ll never be together again.” Honestly, there was a time that I could not listen to this song. That time was Jan. 2006. Keri and I were headed home from the airport after returning from Arizona when my dad passed away. My friend Michelle crossed my mind and the hurt that she is going through as she grieves the loss of her love. I believe when she is ready, love will find its way back into her life and it will blow her mind.

Then there’s Groove is in the Heart. If you don’t know this song and you love to dance, Look it up and get your ass on the dance floor. This song WILL BE played at our wedding reception. “We’re going to dance. We’re going to dance. We’re going to dance and have some fun. I couldn’t ask for another. Sing it Baby!!! Groove is in the heart. Watch out!” I could not help myself. I danced around my kitchen as I washed my dishes. Hands in the air, butt shakin’ this way and that, boppin’ around like I was high on life. Was I high on life? You bet I was. I love dancing!!! I felt like these songs took me on a full spectrum of feelings.

Grateful for the quite lovey moments of cuddling, knowing my life is NOW and living THIS moment to the fullest, realizing that there are always going to be times in life that are tough and very painful, but that time heals and happiness is right there when we are ready to dance, sing and celebrate life.

Life is such an amzing thing and I am so grateful to be surrounded by love.

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Hmmm,… marching for Hate or eating s’mores?

Evolve or dissolve. I wrote those three words in my notes back on January 19th and I’ve been waiting for the right time to expand upon that concept and I believe the time is right. Why do I believe the time is right? Well, I’ll tell you. Two things have happened recently that provide the perfect examples of this concept and I will share them with you now.

You may or may not be aware of a man by the name of Fred Phelps. For those of you that are not aware, Congratulations! Somehow you’ve gotten to this point in your life without being exposed to the pastor that headed the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas. A “church” that was adamantly against gay people. In fact, Westboro is known as the GOD HATES FAGS church and this slogan remains as the name of their website. The people of this church picketed gay pride parades and the funerals of soldiers.  The people of this church and the children of Fred Phelps taught their children to hate. It is so heart breaking.
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The good news, Fred Phelps passed away March 19th, 2014. The beginning of a chance for this group to dissolve their judgemental hypocritical ways. One less hater.

As for the flip side, I don’t know if you have seen the Honey Maid Graham cracker commercials or not, but as of March 10, 2014 they released a #ThisisWholesome campaign in which commercials for their snacks were depicting diversity in the family images, which included a gay couple with a baby, a single father, an interracial family and tattooed parents. I am a gay tattooed parent, so I think it is awesome.

The Honey Maid company received some negative homophobic responses to their wholesome campaign, claiming the gay couples with their children were disgusting, and they were going to boycott Honey Maid. The totally awesome thing about the responses Honey Maid got regarding their new commercials was that they also received positive comments glowing with praise. The positive comments were 10 times the number of negative comments.20140415-200005.jpg

YES!!!

Honey Maid not only did not pull the #ThisisWholesome ad campaign they took it one step further and released a video telling their story about how they responded to the positive and negative responses they received. The video was posted on Jezebel.com, so grab a tissue and click the link to see their amazing response. This is a company that has a strong plan to evolve and I support them 100%.

What else can I say? Evolve or dissolve. I’m patient and positively focused.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KERI

Happy Birthday to my adorable wife. We have been together since we were 25, so that really has only been 4 years right, because you’re 29 today right? ;) Kidding aside, we have been together 18 years and I am so grateful for all the fun, the laughs, the love, the support, the patience, the tears and all the growth we have shared over the years.
20140415-195323.jpgUsually, people refer to their spouses as their better half, but I think in our case we really have been supportive of each other developing our own better halves within our selves. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it were not for the way we have growth together and individually. I love you baby with all my heart and though it is not my birthday, it is my wish that you have wonderful days for the rest of your life, but just in case you don’t, it is my promise to you to be there for you, any time you need me. I also promise to give you the space you need to be true to yourself. I love you baby.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays. I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

Good nap?

You wanna hear a funny little example of how totally different Keri and I are? This JUST happened like two minutes ago.

I was sitting in my big chair with my lap desk working on my blog and Keri was laying on the couch reading, until she was laying on the couch sleeping. I wear head phones while I write to keep my focus and all of a sudden a sleepy-eyed Keri sits up on the couch, yawning and stretching, her hair all messy and cute. I looked up at her and removed my headphones and asked, How was your little nap? She replied that she had a bad dream.20140406-170917.jpg

I just sat there for a moment wondering if she was going to tell me about it. I kinda thought she wouldn’t just offer it up and if she didn’t she might not want to talk about it, so I asked her if she wanted a hug to which she replied, no. So, I asked if she wanted to talk about it to which she replied, no.

I just had to chuckle to myself because I definitely would want to talk about it and probably would not only want a hug, but would want to be hugging while we were talking about it.

Yes! You have a choice.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Goodnesses this last Friday. Who are the Goodnesses? and Why do I call them the Goodnesses? I knew you were wondering so, I just thought I’d facilitate those questions for you. The Goodnesses are one of my very best friends little girls. Their names are Lexi who is 3 years old and Taylor, who’ll be two in July.

Calling them The Goodnesses evolved from when Lexi was a baby. Every time Shanna would show someone her picture they would say, “Oh my goodness” and proceed with various forms of oohing and aahing about how adorable she was and still is. Naturally, Shanna began to call Lexi, “My Goodness” and when Taylor came along we had MG and MG2. So, in short I just started referring to them as The Goodnesses. See?

Why am I telling you about The Goodnesses? Good question. I did have a reason for bringing them up, so let’s begin. After we had been playing at the PlayDate PDX indoor park, we went back to Shanna’s house and the girls took their naps. Shanna had some errands to run, so I stayed at the house with the sleepy girls. Taylor was the first to wake up and she was hungry. I placed her in her high chair and got out the food Shanna had prepared for just such a situation. She had grapes cut into halves, chicken, cheese and tomatoes all cut into Taylor bite sized pieces. I got her a sippy cup with some water and we were sitting there face to face as she was eating.

We were playing the, let me tell what each bite I take is going to be game. Chicken? Yes, that’s chicken. Gapes? Yes, you’re eating grapes. She was laughing and it as completely adorable. Then she picked up her sippy cup for a drink and there are two places in the high chair tray to hold a cup. When she sat the cup down she placed it in the other cup holder.

She looked up at me inquisitively, as if she were checking in with me to see if it was ok to place the cup in a different place. I reassured her that it was fine and realized this was the perfect opportunity to introduce the concept that she has a choice. I said, Look at that Taylor you have options, as I pointed to the two cup holders in her tray. I pointed to one and said, Here’s an option and then pointed to the other and said, here’s another option. Then I asked can you say, I have a choice? She said it!!!

20140413-161803.jpgIn her cute little abbreviated version she said, “I ava chce.” Why does that thrill me so much? I’ll tell you why!!! It is just the beginning for her to realize that she has choices in life and a little reminder for the rest of us. Whether we are trying to decide where to set our drinking glass or what we want to focus our feelings on today, we have a choice.

Life is tough and full of ups and downs. There are plenty of reasons to be sad, disappointed, hurt or angry and a myriad of other negative feelings, but how does it make you FEEL to be focused on the negative? I feel like it sucks!!! I don’t like to feel down. Luckily, I have a choice and I am aware.

Teaching Taylor that she has a choice, even if it’s only where to set her cup for now, in the long run, will be a tremendous coping skill in her life. Being aware of having a choice empowers you to take your life experience to the next level and the next and the next.

The saving grace of my high school days

When I was a freshman in high school, my mom provided me an opportunity to attend a public school in Mustang Oklahoma. I had attended a private school from preschool through the 8th grade and I thought I might like the change. I went to Mustang High for maybe,… two days. On the second day I heard the song, Who’s going to drive you home, by the Cars and I wondered, who IS going to drive me home?

20140406-170403.jpgI knew zero people at Mustang High school. I wanted to go to Bishop McGuiness, the school that all my friends from grade school and middle school were going to be attending. I knew they would drive me home, metaphorically. I told my mom I wanted to go to McGuiness. I had grown up with those friends and had spent 10 years of my youth with them. I was 14, so those kids were my life long friends. I knew they would be there for me. When I told my mom how I felt and that I wanted to change schools, she made it happen. That’s NOT the only reason I call her Sherron “get it done” Zamudio, but that’s another story for another time.

Isn’t it funny how you find out sometimes people are not who you had hoped they would be and when that happens it sticks with you. I ended up going to Bishop McGuiness and guess what. Not a single friend from my youth would even speak to me, unless they were making me the butt of their jokes in front of other people so THEY would fit in better. Some high school kids can be so mean. I didn’t know I was gay and any inclination I had I tried so adamantly to refuse, but I guess others suspected and used their suspensions against me. It was very painful. I am ready to let that go.

Breath in.

Breath out.

Let it go.

Hold on to the lesson, let go of the hurt. Remember you have a choice: hold on to the disappointment and allow it to burden you or let it go and set yourself free.

I choose to focus on the friends I made at McGuiness. I am still friends with my 3 prominent friends from my McGuiness days. Jacque, Lori and Susan. I don’t think it would have been possible without Facebook though, because we had lost touch for many years. I would periodically try to find them and then one day it just worked. It was a very nice surprise to find them and to chat and get reacquainted, to see their beautiful families and hear about their lives. It’s like a wonderful little gift, like the universe was saying, Hey Angel, we’re sorry those kids from your younger days were not who you thought they’d be, but here are some friends that will blow your mind and they will be life long friends.

I don’t know if they wondered if I was gay or not. If they ever did, they never once made me feel like an outsider because of it. I was the new kid in their little group and they made me feel like I had always been one of them. Looking back on it, I have to admit their friendship was my saving grace. They didn’t ever ask me if I was gay and frankly, I am glad they didn’t, because I was nowhere near being ready to accept that part of myself. I would have, at that time, denied it to my death and as we know now, such a strong denial would have only confirmed their suspicions.

You know what,…. Once I became friends with this trio, I never once wondered who was going to drive me home. So, from now on when I hear the Cars, Who’s going to drive you home, I will smile and think of all the times I knew exactly who that person was going to be. Thank you Jacque, Lori and Susan for taking me in and allowing me to be me without any pressures of having to answer questions I didn’t for sure know how to answer for myself AND for driving me home. :)

That’s just my way

I have had people tell me they think I am deep. Really though, I am just me. I enjoy having real experiences. I love living on purpose and it is a choice I make on a daily basis to live a mindful life. The way I feel about life is, if it isn’t real and true, then what’s the sense? Being superficial just isn’t my style. I don’t think superficial is wrong or bad, necessarily, it just isn’t the way I like to operate. Superficiality, in my opinion is a coping skill. I am a genuine person and I like me that way.

Sometimes it can be a bit much for people. I understand it can be intense and a little uncomfortable sometimes for someone to look you in the eye and tell you that they love you or that you look amazing. Here’s an example- I went to get a mammogram yesterday and when I pulled into the parking lot, there was a woman walking out to her car. We made eye contact and glanced back and forth at each other probably three times. She was wearing a hot pink cardigan sweater with jeans, she had black hair and pink lipstick. Her skin was a sultry olive tone. She was probably in her mid to late fifties.

When I got out of my car she was already in her car, but I took a chance on it. I walked up to her car and she rolled down her window. I said, I just wanted to let you know that color looks amazing on you and I thought you might like to know you look stunning. She smiled real big and said, Thank you and I’m sorry I was starring at you, but I thought you looked like a girlfriend of mine from college, but now that you’re standing here I see you are much younger than me. We kinda laughed and I said, Well, I was starring at you too, so I guess we’re even. She smiled some more and said, Well you just made my day, so thank you again. I told her to have a great day and we said good bye.

That was about 20 seconds of my day yesterday and it obviously made an impression on me. I love that feeling of making someones day. I love sharing my observations with people that I know are going to make them feel better. It makes me feel better. Who doesn’t want to feel better? It was a genuine compliment. It was real and that is just my way.

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