Moving Melodies: The World I See In You

During my brief forray into the world of the college student in 1993 my sister and I went to a concert at an Oklahoma City University by a Christian Recording Artist I hadn’t ever even heard of but Erin liked.  I went for the experience.  I had not been to very many concerts in my lifetime and I wanted to broaden my horizons…  Also I think I MAY have gotten the ticket for free… Maybe.

The concert was actually quite fun and I came away from the venue that night with, if you can believe it, a cassette tape.

For those of you youngsters out there, a cassette tape was a little plastic cartridge, roughly the same size and dimensions as your iPod touch (just lighter) that had two wheels inside with a magnetic tape wrapped around them, which through some sort of witch craft scientific engineering actually had sound recorded on them.  You had to have some sort of specialized player in order to hear the recordings.*

Anyway, nearly 20 years have passed and I still enjoy the music on that cassette tape, though I did purchase it a second time in the form of a digital download when I became a part of the iPod generation.

For you old fogies out there, an iPod is a device, roughly the same size as your old cassette tapes (only heavier) with wheels and boards inside, which through some sort of witch craft scientific engineering actually have hundreds and hundreds of hours of sound recorded on them.  You don’t even have to have a special player to hear them, just some earphones.  They are self contained with controls right on them.  Ask your Grandkids.  They’ll show you.

Today, as I was driving to get my lunch a song from that album came on my car iPod.  (For those of you youngsters out there, an album is… eh, nevermind.)  For the first time, I thought a little more about what the lyrics said and was both amazed and saddened to realize how far-reaching the sentiment isn’t among the Christian community.

Pay special attention to the lines in bold.

The World I See In You
Recorded by Margaret Becker

No one could ever make me doubt it
No one could make it be more true
Written in a stone, and set in cement
Are all the things I feel for You
When I look into Your eyes, I see the love that I need
When I look into Your world I see everything I’d like to be

CHORUS
I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in You
I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in
The world I see in You

No back is ever turned in Your world
No hand is ever pulled away
Love is the law, the jury and judge
And the only debt there is to pay
When I look into Your world I see a land of Mercy
When I look into Your world I see the place I’d like to be

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in You
I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in
The world I see in You

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in you
Got to have it, I got to have it, I got to have it
The world I see in You

In Your world I’ve yet to see
A man too far, a mark too deep
A prodigal or refugee
That could not find shelter in You

I don’t believe in politics, no heavy-handed moralists
Right wing supremacists, lame brain rhetoric
Cultural genocide, judgment from the justified
Your world isn’t that
Your world isn’t that
I believe in love
I believe in truth
I believe in mercy
And the passion of pursuit

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in You
I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in
The world I see in You

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in you
Got to have it, I got to have it, I got to have it
The world I see in You

*Realizing that I just this week heard that the last vehicle with a manufacturer installed tape deck has just gone out of production, if anybody actually reads this post who really doesn’t know what a cassette tape is, I will be very, very sad.

Moving Melodies: Firework

The song that is stuck in my head today is by Katy Perry.  I’m kind of indifferent toward Katy Perry, really.  I don’t lurve her, but I don’t hate her either.  Her voice is pretty mediocre and I suspect artificially improved.  The few performances I’ve heard where she was apparently singing live (Teen Choice Awards, Saturday Night Live, Victoria Secret Fashion Show) her voice seemed weak and shaky.

Her recordings on the radio, on the other hand, don’t really seem that way which leads to my “artificially improved” theory.

But it’s not just about the quality of the voice.  If it were just about the quality of the voice, A LOT of famous singers, wouldn’t be.  Taylor Swift, anyone?  It’s about their overall presentation and mass appeal.

For me, it’s also about the lyrics to the song, and today, the song that is moving me is Firework.  Lyrics are below the video. (Also, note the very sweet, guy on guy kiss at 2:19) 😉

 

 

FIREWORK

By. Katy Perry

 

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you?

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby, you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through-ough-ough

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go, oh, oh, oh
You’re gonna leave ’em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

Moving Melodies: Happy

Unless this is your first time visiting my blog (and if it is, welcome! I hope you’ll come back) you know that from time to time I get hung up on a certain song that comes on my iPod and I listen to it repeatedly until it is thoroughly engrained in my soul.

Toward the end of last week, on one of the rare occasions when I wasn’t listening to my audio textbook while driving, this song came on the iPod in my car.  I don’t even know where it came from.  I obviously heard it somewhere and it must have spoken to me.  I’m sure I Shazam‘d it to find out who and what it was and then I turned to iTunes to procure it for future listening pleasure.  Since the iPod in my car was loaded and installed right after I bought the car last November and hasn’t been updated since, I’ve obviously had this song in my library for quite some time.  I didn’t even recognize it when it started playing.  (Perhaps some would say this is an indication I didn’t need to buy the song, but I’m so glad I did.)

Check out this video.  Lyrics are listed below.

Happy performed by Leona Lewis

Someone once told me that you have to choose
What you win or lose, you can’t have everything
Don’t you take chances, you might feel the pain
Don’t you love in vain ’cause love won’t set you free
I could stand by the side and watch this life pass me by
So unhappy, but safe as could be

So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground?

I gotta find my place, I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
‘Cause I’m just trying to be happy, yeah
Just wanna be happy, yeah

Holding on tightly, just can’t let it go
Just trying to play my role, slowly disappear, oh
But all these days, they feel like there the same
Just different faces, diffent names, get me out of here
But I can’t stand by your side, oh no
And watch this life pass me by, pass me by

So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground?

I gotta find my place, I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
‘Cause I’m just trying to be happy, oh, happy, oh

So any turns that I can’t see
Like I’m a stranger on this road
But don’t say victim, don’t say anything

So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground?

I gotta find my place, I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
I just wanna be happy, oh yeah, happy, oh, happy
I just wanna be, oh, I just wanna be happy
Oh, happy

Moving Melodies: Welcome To Wherever You Are

I got home late from work today.  It was late because I was writing, not because I was working, but somehow I don’t really think I needed to tell you that.  Anyway, I was in the kitchen making a peanut butter and honey sandwich for dinner, feeling a little bummed because I live alone and don’t have a special someone to make dinner and have it ready and waiting for me when I get home late.  Nor do I have a special someone to make it worthwhile to make a full fledged dinner when I get home late.

While I was spreading and squishing, the iPod was on and played this song by Bon Jovi:

Welcome To Wherever You Are lyrics

Maybe we’re all different, but we’re still the same
We all got the blood of Eden, running through our veins
I know sometimes it’s hard for you to see
You come between just who you are and who you wanna be

If you feel alone, and lost and need a friend
Remember every new beginning, is some beginning’s end

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you gotta believe
That right here right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Welcome, to wherever you are

When everybody’s in, and you’re left out
And you feel your drowning, in a shadow of a doubt
Everyone’s a miracle in their own way
Just listen to yourself, not what other people say

When it seems you’re lost, alone and feeling down
Remember everybody’s different
Just take a look around

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you gotta believe
That right here right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Welcome, to wherever you are

Be who you want to be, be who you are
Everyone’s a hero, everyone’s a star

When you wanna give up, and your hearts about to break
Remember that you’re perfect, God makes no mistakes

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you gotta believe
That right here right now, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Welcome, to wherever you are

I’m not going to make any big flowery statements about what this song means to me or how it makes me feel.  I have mixed feelings about it (what’s new).  The lyrics are good food for thought, though,  even if it’s sometimes hard to remember.  Let’s just say this was topical, somewhat well timed.

Moving Melodies: The Heart of the Matter

I didn’t even like her music particularly, well the one song I had heard. They played it on Alice, my favorite radio station, All. The. Time. Funny that now I can’t remember the song to save my life. Not that I would want to. Well, maybe to save my life. But nothing short of self preservation could make me want to remember that song now.

Every September, Alice hosts a music festival in Golden Gate Park called Now and Zen Fest. Each year there are three to five acts that appear and most years, they aren’t interesting enough, to me, to brave the crowds and the chaos and the extended travel time (two hours to go eight miles by public transit.) Eight years ago, there were a couple of musical acts that were actually appealing to me. The price of the tickets, though, was prohibitive for me to attend.

I listened to the radio station at work everyday and when the DJ said to call in for free passes to the festival, I started dialing, not even listening, hearing or caring what else she had to say about it.

We have what I consider to be an antiquated phone system in my building, but with well over 2500 individual handsets it would cost, literally, half a million dollars to replace so we stick with it until we can’t any more. This phone system has a pause before dialing the number you keyed and I was sure this would prevent me from being the requisite caller and winning the passes so you can imagine my surprise when the phone actually rang.

I’m the tenth caller, I thought. They wanted the ninth. They’ve already gotten the right caller and they’re just letting the rest of the lines ring. It just wasn’t possible that I had won. And then the DJ answered the phone and asked me my name. I couldn’t believe I was the correct caller. I had won two free passes to Alice’s Now and Zen Fest, 2002. And what else? There’s more? Wow. I didn’t expect more. Oh. My guest and I would also get to come back stage to meet none other than India Arie. OK. Whatever. Don’t care!

I took my friend Michelle, because for as long as I’ve lived in California, twelve years and one month, she is the only person I ever do anything with. When it comes to an actual social life, she’s it. Michelle was actually excited to meet India Arie. I couldn’t have cared less.

The concert starts at noon and they don’t open the gates until 11:00 but people start lining up early in the morning. We arrived at the park at about 11:40 having no idea how long it would take to get there, or how long the line would be or what it would look like inside the gates. My free passes afforded me no special treatment, beyond the brief adventure backstage where I would meet a recording artist I didn’t even like. As it turns out, 20,000 people make for a very long line and even though the gates had been open for forty minutes already when we arrived, the line was still quite long. We brought a quilt to sit on, and Michelle pulled a bottle of spray on sun screen out of her purse and proceeded to spray her exposed flesh (she never wears shorts) and rub the concoction in. When she was finished she offered the bottle to me.

I don’t know if this has ever been discussed on this site, but Michelle is a moderately light skin toned black woman. Sun burn is a possibility but not a major concern. I, on the other hand, am of Irish, Scottish, English and German ancestry and I’m certain I’ve made no secret of the fact that you could find me in the middle of a forest at midnight on a cloudy night with no stars or moon and without the aid of a search light because I’d be the one glowing from the collective rays of the sun through the day prior to the presumed maroon-ment (there’s a word I want to use here, but it’s completely escaping me) that had you searching for me in the first place.

Michelle offered me the bottle of sun screen, looking at my bare arms and legs. I declined. “Nah, I’ll be OK. I could use a little sun.” Of my siblings and me, I’m the only one who wasn’t cursed with red hair and while I got a very similar complexion, I actually do retain a minimal amount of tan after my skin heals, when I get a sun burn. A little bit of a sun burn would heal nicely into a barely perceptible (except to me) tan and I was going to take advantage of the opportunity. Michelle looked at me warily and then put the bottle back in her bag.

When we finally got into the park, there was a sea of humanity as far as the eye could see and in every direction. Quite honestly, I was ready to turn around right then and there, but we had come all this way and Michelle actually wanted to meet India Arie, so fine, we continued our trek into the park.

The meet and greet was supposed to be before one of the bands set but Ms. Arie’s transportation was running late so we were told to come back after her set and we could meet her then. Michelle and I headed into the mass of people in search of a patch of ground big enough to spread out our quilt and not get trampled. What we finally found was easily a quarter mile away from the stage out in the middle of a field with no hope of shade of any kind. San Francisco is not known for its warm weather, although September is the warmest month of the year. But even when the ambient temperature in the city is only in the low to mid 70’s, sitting in the middle of a field, with 20,000 of your nearest and dearest and the sun beating straight down on you, it is hot and very quickly became miserable.

We sat through the second act, the first having played the entire time we were searching for a spot, and I was roasting. I was drenched in sweat (not my favorite) and felt as if my skin had been under a broiler for quite some time. I was in denial and convinced myself that the sun wasn’t that bad and I’d heal nicely to a decent if minimal tan.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, India Arie took to the stage. I was happy, because it meant that soon she’d be finished and we would go to meet her and then Michelle and I could go home. Since it was just the two of us, we weren’t going to leave the quilt behind and if we were taking it with us, we were sure to loose our spot. I wasn’t really interested in staying anyway as I was soaking wet and could no longer deny that my skin hurt.

The meet and greet consisted of six or eight people crowding around India Arie and saying “hi” while trying to shake her hand. When the first person tried to take a picture with Ms. Arie, the promotions person from the station told us there wasn’t time for pictures and said that we should all gather together on either side and they’d take one group picture. She promised she’d make sure we all got a copy. As we walked away I thought, she didn’t get e-mail addresses or home address from any of us. I’m never going to see that picture. It didn’t matter to me, but I’m sure there were some to whom it did.

So what is the point of this typically drawn out story? Well, we’re getting there, so just hold your horses. 😉

The first time I ever heard of India Arie was when this song, which I can no longer remember, that I did not like, started playing on my favorite radio station. I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t care for her, particularly, as a performer. I, of course, had nothing against her personally, but was not impressed with her music. Michelle and I left the park after her set and the meet and greet and I never even heard the band that I had really wanted to see. (I think that was Train, but honestly, I don’t even remember anymore.) I had attended the event in a short sleeved t-shirt with shorts and flip flops. At that point I had not yet fallen prey under the spell of the knee length short fashion. I wasn’t wearing short shorts, but when I was sitting on my quilt on the ground they only went about halfway down my thigh. I walked away from the park that day with what turned out to be second degree burns on the front of my legs that hurt for weeks and it took more than three years for the color (which was red and not tan) to completely fade away. For quite some time after that there was a very discernable line across each of my thighs where the color changed from tomato (or some shade) red to pasty, Elmer’s glue white (OK, not quite that white).

The entire event ended up being an unpleasant experience and when you combine that with the music I didn’t enjoy and the meet and greet that was more of a meet and shoo, I guess I have a less than pleasant reaction to the sound of her voice or the mention of her name.

~~~

There’s a song on my iPod that happens to be performed by India Arie that I absolutely love. I was surprised to realize it was her singing as the song came on the soundtrack for the Sex and the City movie. The song is called The Heart of the Matter originally performed by Don Henley, but I have to be honest, I actually like this version better. I like it because it’s a great mix of genres. It’s not too rock and roll but not too R&B. Her voice, in this song at least is smooth and soothing and you can really feel the emotion of the song while she sings.

Take a look at the lyrics:

I got the call today, I didn’t wanna hear
but I knew that it would come
An old true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And all the struggles we went through
How I lost me and you lost you
What are all these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I’ve been learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning them again
I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
And the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
Are the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the wall they put between us,
You know it doesn’t keep us warm

I’ve been trying to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
The more I know, the less I understand
And all the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my heart is so shattered
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

All the people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
Gotta put it all behind you; cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside

I wanted happily ever after
And my heart is so shattered
But I know it’s about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me

I’ve been trying to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh gets weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if you don’t love me anymore

Even if you don’t love me anymore

It’s clear, both from the lyrics in the first verse and from it’s place in the movie that this song is about moving on from a lost love, but I think it’s true that the lyrics mean so much more than that.

It was actually my intention when starting this post to tell you what’s been going on in my head while listening to this song on repeat (because that’s what I do when there’s an emotional response) but I realize now that this post has gone in a very different direction and to get into that now would just be weird and this post is already too long. So instead, I’m just going to leave you with this somewhat unimpressive memory and the mental picture of my pasty white/tomato red “farmers tan” and perhaps save the mental ravings for another day.

Hope you had fun.

We Will Be Victorious!

It’s a cold and dreary day in the Bay Area.  It’s been raining since I woke up this morning, and probably longer than that. I haven’t washed my new car since I  bought it two months ago, because every time I thought about it, the weather  reports threatened rain.  Of course, even when it did rain, it didn’t rain on my car.  I have a garage at home and an in-door parking garage at work and so the rain  always held off until the car was in one of those two places.  My car was filthy!  This morning it poured down rain the entire way to work.  Admittedly, that’s only four miles and in some people’s eyes today is a holiday so there wasn’t much  traffic.  My drive was a short one, but the rain was coming down in sheets and I  think my car is probably sparkling clean again!

Today, as most of you know, is the day we commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. and his efforts in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  Having been born in 1975 and coming from a northern family, it’s hard for me to conceive of a time when blacks and whites were not considered equal.  Separate schools?  Different water fountains?  Really? That’s preposterous!  Laws prohibiting the marriage of a black person to a white person?  Surely you jest!  “Separate but equal?” There is no  such thing and every conservative I ever knew would tell you so.  We live in a  civilized society where everyone s treated equally and with respect and decency,  right?!?  The idea that all these things existed, just a few short years before I was  born was simply outlandish to me.

Despite growing up in a family which hovered dangerously close to the poverty line (which, by the way is a joke for how low it is) I was privileged.  I’m male.  I’m white.  I have blue eyes.  One could even argue that I’m blond (or was before I lost my hair).  What advantage could I possibly not have?  I mean, really!

Three years ago, I finally accepted something about myself that I really had known  all along.  And in that moment of acceptance, I took a step into a foreign  land.  I found myself in a place I could not comprehend.  I found myself to be a minority.  You see, I was a blond haired, blue eyed, white male, with the world as my oyster (or so “they” would tell you), and every advantage imaginable (except for a fat bank account.)  But with that acceptance, I became a blond haired, blue eyed, white, gay male in a world steeped in controversy over whether or not I  should be allowed to exist; a world that questions the validity of my natural,  God-given preferences and desires; a world that thinks that who and what I am is a choice and not a fact of my life, and therefore, is not worthy of equality; a world that would just as soon send me to a separate school, and have me drink from a separate water fountain and tell me that my rights are equal to theirs, just as long as I keep them separate from theirs.

As a kid, I always thought that some day, many, many years into the future,  Marriage between two people, regardless of race or gender, would be no big deal.  It would be legal for two people to get married and love each other and have a happy and fulfilling life together without fear or retribution from society.  Yes, I was raised to believe that homosexuality was wrong and that those marriages between  two people of the same gender would be immoral, but I was also taught the very  important concept of separation of church and state and therefore believed that marriage between two people of the same gender should be legal even if it was  immoral.  (My beliefs about the morality of homosexuality are different now, but that’s not what this post is about.)

I always believed that some day, right here in this country, we would reach a point  in our political culture where it would be agreed that legalizing same sex marriage  would be the right thing to do.  I also always suspected that it would be when I  was very old, or even after I had died.

It is not without some sense of irony that I began to accept myself for who I  was,right around the time that the mayor of one bustling metropolis decided that it was discrimination not to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples and issued an edict to his staff to change that.  Soon after, loving, committed same-sex couples from around the country flocked to that mayor’s office  applying for  marriage licenses and saying their vows before a justice of the peace, finally  gaining a sense of acceptance and normalcy that they had longed for.

A few months later, that mayor was ordered to cease and desist issuing same-sex marriage licenses and the marriages that had been performed were deemed  invalid.

In May, 2008, six separate appeals were brought before the California Supreme  Court protesting the constitutionality of this action which ultimately resulted in the  court determining that prohibiting same sex marriage was indeed unconstitutional and ordered that same sex marriages be legalized and licenses issued, not just in the thriving metropolis, but throughout the state.

I was surprised.  I was also pleased, because not only had an injustice, that I had seen to be so my entire life, been undone, but it actually mattered to me  personally because it affected me personally… or at least it could, someday.

And then the campaign started when a hate mongering group of people put together a petition to add a law, later to be known as Proposition 8, to the  November, 2008 ballot.  Proposition 8 was intended to add an amendment to the state constitution which would define marriage as existing between one man and  one woman and making any other type of union illegal.  I became aware of the question early on, but I was complacent and delusional.  I saw countless “No on 8” signs, bumper stickers and television commercials, but nary a one “Yes on 8”  anything.  Everything I had read on-line and in magazines was anti-Prop 8.  And the legality of same sex marriages was already in place.  I couldn’t believe that in a state like California there was any chance that a bill like Prop 8 stood a chance  of passing.  I didn’t do a thing beyond casting my own vote against Proposition 8.

I, like the majority of the rest of the country stayed up late, watched and waited for  the results.  November 4, 2008 was an historic day for all of us and I wanted to know how it would turn out.  Who would be our next President?  And by how much of a majority would this hateful, horrible Proposition 8 be defeated?

President Obama won, by a landslide… early even!  Not really a surprise there, but worth waiting up for all the same.  Prop 8, on the other hand, was too close to call  and the ballot counting was taking an eternity, it seemed.  When I awoke on  Wednesday, November 5, 2008, I was shocked and devastated by what I had learned.  Moreover, I was pissed!

I wrote this and posted it to my previous blog:

An Open Letter to 52% of the Voters of the State of California

Dear 52% of the Voters of the State of California-

I want to thank you!

I want to thank you for recognizing that I am every bit as much of a human being as you are!

I want to thank you for finally acknowledging that Separation of Church and State means that even if you don’t agree on a moral level that I should be entitled to marry the man of my dreams, you at least realize that yours is a religious perspective and not a political one and therefore decided to grant me my fundamental human rights to marry the man I love.

I want to thank you for recognizing the direction this country is heading, catching up with the rest of the world, and agreeing to consider me equal, deserving of all the same rights as you.

I want to thank you for voting to defeat this hate mongering proposition to take away my rights to marry the man of my dreams, because you realize that whatever your personal opinion of marriage might be, this issue is much bigger than you or me, and therefore you MUST vote to maintain those rights for all Californian’s regardless of sexual orientation.

I want to thank you for all of these things…

Sadly, I can’t.

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis have probably noticed a glaring absence from my post recently.  I can’t answer for the first week of January, other than that I was just back from a trip and had work piled up on my desk, but last week (and possibly the rest of this week) I was very preoccupied with keeping myself informed of the goings on with the federal appeal in the courts now (not today – they view it as a holiday) to consider the prospect of overturning Proposition 8.  The defense in this case, the side that wants to continue to  withhold my rights, fought very hard to keep the public from knowing what’s  happening in the court room.  The question of televising the case was shot down.  The United States Supreme Court overruled the sitting judge’s intention to record  the proceedings and post them on You Tube.

There are many outlets available, I’m sure.  I have chosen the Courage Campaign Prop 8 Trial Tracker for my source of information.  Rick Jacobs, the founder of the Courage Campaign Institute, has been in the court house overflow room, where the proceedings are being shown to a small group of media, and has been typing his little fingers to the bone to get as much of the information out, up to the minute, as he can and I have been fastidiously following along.  See, I decided that this time, I do not want to be a bystander who knew nothing about what was happening until  the outcome was announced on the news.  This time, I wanted to know the truth.  I wanted to know what actually happened in the court room that brought us to the  conclusion the judge will reach.

I must tell you, it’s discouraging information.  “Our” side is making compelling, rational, logical arguments that would be hard – in my opinion – to refute.  The Prop 8 side is making irrational, childish, I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I types of  arguments that are short-sighted to say the least and ludicrous in most cases.  It’s hard for me to comprehend that anyone could believe the things these guys are spouting and yet, it’s much the same hogwash that is spouted by my family.

I’m reading this coverage and I’m trying to logically process what’s being said and  it seems like any logical human being would have to come down on the side of overturning the law.  But there’s something inside me…  A voice in the back of my head.  It’s the voice that I often think I need to learn to pay better attention to  because it tends to know things, tends to be pretty accurate…  That voice in the back of my head is saying, “Our side is making an excellent case.  Prop 8 side is acting like ignorant children.  No one in their right mind would side with them…  And yet?  We are going to lose.”

I hope that voice is wrong, but I doubt it.  And the truth is, whether that voice is wrong or not, it won’t end here.  Whoever loses this case will take it to the next  level of courts to appeal it again and again and again until it can’t go any farther.  And there are those who believe that if this question goes to the Supreme Court of the United States and if the SCOTUS rules against “us”, it will be another generation before marriage equality is in place.

Seems that my child hood belief may not be so far from correct after all.  I believe this country will have marriage equality some day.  But if we want to have it, we  will have to fight for it, every step of the way!

There’s a song that came on my iPod the other day and has been in my head ever since.  The band is called Muse and the song is called Uprising.  I first became  aware of it when the chorus was used in the promotional ads for the new TV series V, and the video for the song is nothing short of bizarre.  I’m quite sure I’m making the words fit my own cause and really I’m OK with that because they do fit.

This is Uprising:

The paranoia is in bloom, the PR
Transmissions will resume, they’ll try to
Push drugs, keep us all dumb down and hope that
We will never see the truth around, so come on

Another promise, another scene, another
Packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed with all the
Green belts wrapped around our minds and endless
Red tape to keep the truth confined, so come on

They will not force us
And they will stop degrading us
And they will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on

Interchanging mind control, come let the
Revolution take its toll, if you could
Flick a switch and open your third eye, you’d see that
We should never be afraid to die, so come on

Rise up and take the power back, it’s time that
The fat cats had a heart attack, you know that
Their time is coming to an end, we have to
Unify and watch our flag ascend, so come on

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on!

Odds and Ends

It’s been a busy week for me… Well, sort of.  There’s been a lot going on, and nothing going on, and I’ve just chosen to prioritize the “a lot” and “nothing” over writing on my blog this week.  My apologies to those of you who’ve been waiting with baited breath for my particular brand of crazy.  I’ll try to do better.

Part of why it’s sometimes so difficult to write a blog post is because it’s hard to make any kind of organized sense out of what’s going on in my head, but I’ll give it a shot…

You’d laugh if you were here, because no sooner did I type that last sentence but my brain went blank and I stared at my desktop for  a good twenty seconds trying to figure out where to start.

Actually, this feels rather a lot like many of my therapy sessions.  I walk in, sit down and stare at the wall (I have a hard time with  sustained, direct eye contact – particularly during uncomfortable silences) trying to figure out what to say.  In my head it goes  something like this:

“I could talk about this subject.”

“No, I’m not ready to get into that.”

“Oh, I know!  I could talk about this subject…”

“Nah, that’s stupid and not important.”

“Well, maybe I could discuss this…”

“But we’ve talked about that already and it’s just more of the same with no real purpose.  Move on already.”

Usually, the end result is, I end up talking about one of those things anyway, because even though I fear that they’re trivial, or  repetitive or embarrassing, they are the things that are weighing on my mind so they must need talking about.

So, here goes:

I spent a lot of time this week thinking about Jesse and my reaction to seeing him again and following him on twitter and all that stuff  I talked about here and here and here.  I thought about what was behind my reaction and how to handle it.  I realized that one of the  things that attracted me to Jesse was his confidence and fearlessness.  I suppose this is what makes most Fire Fighters so attractive to people, even when they’re not that attractive.  Anyway, I realized that it’s something I aspire to be – confident, not a Fire Fighter…  necessarily.

I told Deb, my therapist, I’m tired of letting my fear and anxiety hold me back.  I’m striving to do better about that.  One of the things that Deb and I have discussed in the past is finding a coming out support group so that I can talk with other guys who are going  through similar experiences as I am…  I fantasize that I’d be the oldest guy in the room, but perhaps not… perhaps.  Ironically, coming out support groups in the San Francisco Bay Area are a lot harder than you’d think to find.  The idea of attending such a  group is vastly intimidating, but that’s all the more reason why I need to go.

Wednesday, I took a First Aid/CPR class at work.  It was an all day class so I never had to go into my office which made me happy.   This is the third time I’ve taken this class, but I always find it fascinating.  And now, I find myself wondering if I might have what it  takes to be a Paramedic?  And I’m wondering what’s really making me wonder that?  Is it that I’m fascinated by the science of it?  Is it that I really want to do something worthwhile that actually helps people?  Is it that Oakland Fire Fighters only work 8 days a month and make as much money as I do now?  Is it that Fire Fighters (and Fire Paramedics) are sexy?  And what about my previously stated desire to study kinesiology and nutrition?  I still want that too.  The thing is both of these subjects are so out of my comfort zone that I’m inclined to discount both as being whims or some sort of escapist wish.  But the fact that they’re outside my comfort zone isn’t a  good enough reason to discount them.  If anything, it’s probably good reason to look further at them.  Staying in my comfort zone hasn’t exactly accomplished much for me.

The truth is, even as I’m thinking these things, I’m also finding myself thinking, “There’s got to be a way to combine the two, right?  Somehow?”  I have to assume there is not.  How do you combine being a Personal Trainer with being a Paramedic?  Personal Trainers have to be CPR certified but other than that, I don’t see how to meld the two.

There’s something else, though.  When I was younger, I used to have issues with the sight (or idea) of blood.  More so, imaginary  blood (as in, on television or movies), but on more than one occasion I passed out because of it.  I now know, that it was anxiety (I  learned that in class on Wednesday) caused by me thinking too much about what the bleeding person was experiencing.  It has been a long time since I’ve had an issue, but it was a problem for awhile.  I’ve always felt that if faced with the real deal I’d be fine and I still  believe that, but how wise would it be to go to school to become a paramedic just to find out I can’t stomach it?

Also, Fire Paramedics make more money than Ambulance Paramedics do and work fewer hours, but they have to also be trained Fire Fighters and who’s to say that I’ve got that in me.  But that 8 days a month thing sounds really nice. They’re 24 hour days, but still…

I’m still trying to work it all out, and as much as I hate it, this has been a good lesson in patience for me.  I’m really interested in the  kinesiology and nutrition idea, but I’m also really interested in the Paramedic idea and I’m not really sure which direction to go, or  whether to rule either one out.  What I do know is, I’m tired of being unhappy and unfulfilled and I’ve decided to take control of my life and my time.  I have to be patient.  It’s just not going to be possible to jump into what I want to be doing, but I’m ready to make a move and I’ll do what I can when I can.  I’m suddenly reminded of the lyrics to a really great country song that relates to this.

I’ve got some other big things in the works, but this seems like a good place to stop for now.  This song is called Getting There (Sorry, no video this time) and it’s by Terri Clark:

 

Well the sun sets in the west
But as fast as you go, how would you know
You’re a busy boy, I guess
Who just wants the gold at the end of the road
Think of all you miss
Passing through like this

You want an answer as soon as you say a prayer
You want to land the moment you’re in the air
Baby the living is all in the getting there

Don’t be the first in every line
Now and then you can be at the end
‘Cause there’s only so much time
And you can’t get back every minute you spend
You’re not even sure
What you’re running for

You want an answer as soon as you say a prayer
You want to land the moment you’re in the air
Baby the living is all in the getting there

Think of all you miss
Passing through like this

You want an answer as soon as you say a prayer
You want to land the moment you’re in the air
Baby the living is all in the getting there

The living is all in the getting there
Getting there