My book is therapy for everyone

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There seems to be something in the air or maybe the water or perhaps in the stars, I don’t know, but it seems like everyone is picking on me lately.  I posted something on my Facebook profile about how I want to start riding my bike when I get down to a certain weight and I got crap for it.  Someone else insulted something else that I posted.  It’s not just online, people are giving me the rudest looks and strangers are coming up to me and giving me crap for no reason.  Why is everyone picking on me?  So I asked this question on Facebook.

rose conversation 1

Someone who is not just a friend, but also a fan of the book page responded and we were talking for a few minutes.  Suddenly I was shocked when this was said.

 rose conversation anon

As soon as she said that her father cried and said that he loved her more now than ever, I put my hand on my heart and nearly started crying myself.  I was so touched by that.  I knew that my book had helped a few people, but I had no idea that it was helping parents.  I am touched more than anyone could ever know.

I don’t know if it’s my experiences or just talking about my life or things that I as a gay man went through that made him understand what his daughter is going through, but whatever it is, I am glad that it made that big of an impact.

Of course I am not an expert on their relationship, but it can only get better from here on out right?  I’m not a parent, but I am a person who has spent my entire life trying to understand why I am the way that I am and why other people are the way that they are.  It’s not just something that someone woke up one day and decided “today is the day I want to start getting treated unfairly”, that this is just the way we are.  We were born with this.  I as a gay male was born to like other males.  A lesbian was born to like other women.  A bisexual was born to like both sexes (one or the other) and pansexual to just like a person based on their personality whether they are male or female.  Transgendered male to female and female to male is a bit different, but in a sense it’s the same thing.

Anyway, I was touched that she said that her father cried and it began the healing process for them.  This whole conversation made me totally forget about my petty problems because it showed me the bigger picture.  Who cares if a few people are jerks to me, there are people out there with real problems and if my book can help at least one person, then I consider my job done.

So thank you to this person for sharing that with me.  I really hope the healing process goes smoothly because you both deserve to have a real relationship as a parent and child.  It certainly does get better!

Homeless Man “You think you’re better than me?”

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Whenever I go to the grocery store I see a homeless person sitting on the bench in front of the store and/or walking around the parking lot.  They always ask me if I can spare some change and sometimes they have a speech that they have said so many times that they repeat it over and over again verbatim.

This one time I went to the store, as I was coming out a homeless man came up to me and asked me for change and I used my same excuse that I use every time “I’m sorry, I used a debit card for my groceries” which is actually true, so it’s not just an excuse.  Well, that pissed him off so much that he started yelling at me and saying that I thought I was better than he was.  Well, that made me feel bad, but at the same time I didn’t have any money to give him so his guilt wasn’t going to do him any good.

I walked over to him and I looked him in the face and I told him that I don’t think that I am better than he is.  I told him that I knew what he was going through because I was homeless when I was a teenager.  If anyone has ever walked a mile in anyone’s shoes it’s me because I went through the same exact thing.  He apologized to me and we stood there talking for a few minutes about what he had said to me.

I wanted to make it clear to him that I don’t think that I am better than he is because I am also poor.  Yes I have a roof over my head, but every dime that I get every month goes to keeping that roof over my head and it also pays for groceries.  I told him that I don’t think that anyone is better than anyone else because we are all the same.  Some are more privileged than others because they were born with money while others were born in a poor family, yet the two are still the same.  They all bleed the same, they all put their pants on one leg at a time, they are all born the same and they all die the same.  We are all but specks in the big picture so who am I to say that I am better than he is just because I have a bag for groceries and he doesn’t have anywhere to sleep?

We talked about the homeless shelter and he told me that it’s usually full.  I told him that there has to be some system for him to get back on his feet, perhaps a place where he can shower and shave and get some clean clothes so he can apply for a job, but he told me he didn’t want to work.  Well, then that’s his problem.

When I was homeless I lived in a shelter and I was damn lucky that they had a shelter for me to live in.  I also had a job so that I could save the money to get a place to live, unfortunately my boyfriend at the time was saving it for me, but he was really spending it as I was giving it to him so that didn’t work out, but I did eventually get out of the homeless shelter and got back on my feet.  If it weren’t for that drive to not want to be homeless, I’d probably still be homeless to this day.

I am very thankful for what I have and I will never in my life think that I am better than anyone else.

My Interpretation of Hold On by Wilson Phillips

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httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIbXvaE39wM&ob=av2e

I just watched the movie Bridesmaids on HBO On Demand and at the end of the movie Wilson Phillips came out to sing the song Hold On.  I remember hearing that song when I was a teenager and thinking about how powerful a message it was because I was ready to give up and kill myself many times, but this song would give me another day to “hold on” to see what tomorrow brings.  That isn’t hyperbole either.

I’m sure nobody needs to have this song broken down and interpreted, but indulge me for a few minutes because I want to explain how I take and interpret the lyrics of this song for myself.

“I know this pain.  Why do lock yourself up in these chains?  No one can change your life except for you.  Don’t ever let anyone step all over you.  Just open your heart and your mind.  Is it really fair to feel this way inside?”

Now, this is the beginning of the song, it starts out with “I know this pain” and I immediately think of Carny Wilson because of the discrimination she had to deal with during this period of her life.  During shooting of their videos, she was pushed in the back so people couldn’t see her weight, which is totally unfair because no matter how skinny or overweight she was, she was a gorgeous woman inside and out and she was part of the group, not a backup singer.  I know the song isn’t about that, I know it’s about relationships.

“Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?”  To me that means that you are (the victim of any abuse) shutting down to the world.  You are punishing yourself for what is happening to you.  You don’t deserve to imprison yourself for what someone else is doing to you.

“No one can change your life except for you.  Don’t let anyone step all over you.”  This is true.  Just like in my book I said that it won’t get better until you stop letting people rule you. Not in those words, but that was the message.

“Just open your heart and your mind, is it really fair to feel this way inside?”  This is also true.  You (the victim) have closed your heart and your mind because you know things aren’t going to change and you don’t want to let anyone in because you are so afraid of being disappointed.  That isn’t fair to you.  You have to give everyone a chance and act as if you are starting over from scratch with every new person you meet as if you had never been abused in the first place.  Let your life start over with that new person.

“Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry?  Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way if you hold on for one more day.  Can you hold on for one more day?  Things’ll go your way  Hold on for one more day”

The chorus always gets me.  That’s where the tears just start flowing.  This is telling me that some day my step father and my sisters are going to force me to say goodbye, to basically burn my bridge with them.  Until then (baby) am I going to let them hold me down and make me cry means that I need to stay strong until that day finally comes when I can just tell them that I can’t take their abuse anymore and I’m done with it all, that I never want to see them again.  Don’t you know things will change if you hold on for one more day, things will go my way (to me) means that I just need to be patient because it will get better eventually.  See what tomorrow brings, perhaps it might be better.

Last one I promise.

“You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?  You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness.  You got yourself into your own mess.  Lettin’ your worries pass you by.  Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?”

“You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?”  That to me was kind of confusing at first because who is comfortable with the pain?  But then it occurred to me that perhaps you are comfortable with it because that is all you know.  Like for example, I grew up with daily smacks to the face and the head, being yelled at constantly and being punished for just having a pulse.  I got so used to it that I didn’t even know it was bad.

Ok this one I had an issue with at first.  “You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness. You got yourself into your own mess.  Lettin’ your worries pass you by.  Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?”  I know this part isn’t meant for a child abuse victim, it is meant for a woman who is in a bad relationship.  She got herself into this mess because she refuses to leave her no good wife beating husband or boyfriend.

I know this song wasn’t written for everyone, but we can all interpret it to our own situation if that is what we need to do.  A woman who is in a bad relationship can interpret it for her situation, a gay child can interpret it to their situation and a child abuse victim can interpret it to their situation as well.  Everyone can use this song to pick themselves up off the ground because it has a good message.  Basically, hang in there, don’t let what other people (bullies, asshole boyfriends/husbands, abusive parents) do to you to keep you from living your life the way you should live it.  Once you are away from that person, you will learn that your life will get a whole lot better, and isn’t that worth holding on for one more day?  Things WILL go your way.

Autumn Sandeen

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Last night I attended the monthly Bakersfield PFLAG meeting where their special guest was Autumn Sandeen.  If anyone doesn’t know who she is, she handcuffed herself to the White House fence to protest the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and was arrested for it along with a few other people including Lt. Daniel Choi.

Autumn Sandeen is a very wise and very intelligent woman.  When the Pflag meeting was over, Chip and I got to go talk with her for a few minutes.  I have learned so many things about people in the transgendered community over the years and I have come to gain a great respect for anyone who knows what their gender should be and takes the proper actions to change it for themselves.  She isn’t having an identity crisis because she knows what her identity is and that is of a human being who should have been born in a different body.  Plain and simple.

Autumn is a person who deserves my respect and has it.  She is more of an activist than I could ever hope to be because she actually goes out there and does what she says she will do.  She is doing what I wish I had the courage to do and that is what makes her a hero to me.  She is standing her ground and going to jail for her beliefs and sometimes if that is what it takes to make change happen, then that is what she must do.

I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet her and I look forward to the world changing because of her bravery and determination.

Autumn Sandeen writes a blog for Pam’s House Blend, you can follow her on Twitter @AutumnSandeen and subscribe to her on YouTube.