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Monday, June 25, 2018

Choices

Some days I have the patience of saints. I can roll with comments and questions and handle blatant discrimination in stride.

On the other hand, some days, I have no patience for ignorance or crudeness. Today was one of those days.

Listen, I'm not a scientist of any kind. I don't know anyone else's journey but my own. I'm not pretending to.
On that same token, no matter what people choose to believe, my lifestyle is mine. I don't need to explain to anyone why I do what I do. However, I feel like ignorance is perpetuated if you don't educate.

So, here is my lesson for the day:

I was born gay. I didn't wake up one Tuesday morning and think how much fun it would be to "turn" gay. There was no decision process to decide whether I wanted to be attracted to men or women. Yes, I dated boys and married a man. Believe me, I have done a lot of reflection and I think a big part of this is because of where I'm from. I have talked about this numerous times in the past. My environment was very conservative, religious and all things discriminatory you can throw into one geographical area. I was never a kid that questioned much of anything. Being raised in a conformist Christian area where anything not out of the bible was sinful, meant discovering myself or anything out of the pews was off limits. We were in church every single day the doors were open. Fire and brimstone can really deter one from being very curious about much of anything. But, I don't really regret that I was raised that way because my parents had the very best intentions. However, questioning beliefs isn't really super encouraged in a conservative church. 
Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and waterSo, I did what I was supposed to do. I was a good girl who followed the rules. I had periods of angst but for the most part, I did what I was supposed to. Including, getting married and having babies. But, don't think for a second the guy I was married to didn't know about my attraction to women, he did. He was well aware from the first days of our relationship when we were too young to even know what responsibility was. But, I was very open about it. But, I never acted on it which is something I regret. I lived a life that was not fair to me. I lived a life knowing there was so much more than what I was getting. Nonetheless, responsibilities come into play, expectations are very clear and there I was.. married to a man while fantasizing what it would be like to be with a woman. That was what I chose for a long damn time.

BUT, let me be clear, I did not "choose" to be gay. I didn't suddenly become attracted to women because I had been burned by men. Sexuality doesn't work that way. I didn't "choose" to be gay because of a bad marriage. The only choice in the whole deal was choosing who to be with. I chose to act on the feelings that had been consuming me from the moment I met my wife. I didn't wake up and suddenly find women attractive. If you think that’s how it happens,  there is a fantastic experiment you can do, are you willing to try?

Okay, here it is. Tomorrow, wake up and willingly chose to be attracted to someone of the same sex. Go ahead, pick someone. Really focus on it. Give it all you got to be physically and emotionally attracted to the person you choose.

How'd that work for you?

Now, stop believing its some choice that's made. You can no more make yourself desire having sex with someone of the same sex than you can choose to have the color eyes you have. You can alter your eyes with contacts; you can try to hide what color they are, but it doesn't change the color.


There you go, your lesson on sexual orientation for the day. 


Image result for gay pride quotes

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hard Stuff

There is a school of psychology that teaches the concept that every person sees the world through their own perceptions. So essentially, two people can see a single event and it means completely different things to them and affect them in different ways. The world is all about perception. How we perceive things is the reality for each and every person. Whether it’s assumptions between exes as you climb the summit of co-parenting; relationships with two people blending their lives and baggage together or even co-workers struggling to reach the same career goals. It’s these assumptions and perceptions that inevitably lead to conflict. 

Let’s take the everyday personal conflict one step further, assumptions can be a slippery slope to discrimination. How many cruel words have been said, feelings hurt and rejection felt from questions that could have been asked or words are spoken? How easy is it to assume you know what someone’s life is like? Why not take the time to ask or learn? Nothing is harder than asking the awkward question or open that line of communication in a real and genuine way. I promise it’s received so much better than a crude joke or behind the back laughter or bible verses tossed at someone misunderstood. Don’t make up a story for someone’s life because you don’t know. It’s always easier to create a picture or image out of simple ignorance or lack of knowledge than take the time to understand or talk. Take yourself out of the small world you live in and consider the possibility of a whole world existing our there beyond your door.


So I’ve read about a monastery that has a weekly meeting that just spends a couple hours every Tuesday as a sort of briefing for the week. This simple meeting is the place where communication is utilized without judgment. If one guy didn’t do his chore and another is pissed off, they talk about it. Often times it’s as simple as someone assuming the other person had it and they thought the same. That miscommunication led to a week of unnecessary anxiety and possibly even turmoil in that person's life when it’s was something easily solved with words. So that one night a week they hash it out, and the harmony that ensues after is magical. Everyone leaves the session without regret or any resentment that typically result from words not said and assumptions made. Resentment is the direct result of words not said compounded over time. I know it’s a silly concept but how much awesomeness could come if you spent an hour or two each week with your loved one, your spouse, your co-workers and just hashed things out? Okay maybe hash is too gruff of a word, maybe talk. Just a few minutes to see things from their perspective or just consider that they have a completely different perspective? Get uncomfortable and say the hard things.
Communication isn’t easy, it’s uncomfortable and hard but essential. Don’t assume you know. Talk. 

St. Louis on foot

So, I just got back from St. Louis, Missouri. I spent 5 days working and sightseeing in the show me state.

Now, when I visit a new place I am terrible at having a plan. If I am being prepared, I will have a general idea of the things I want to see but usually, wing it once I get there. Life happened this time and I honestly went into this trip with no plan other than seeing the arch, which was where my hotel was located, I had nothing on my agenda.

But, once I landed I hit the ground running, literally. I checked into my hotel, laced up my running shoes and explored the area around my hotel, on foot. The arch is massive, unfortunately, the inside of the arch was on winter hours and I was unable to take the inside tour because of work. But, seeing the outside of the arch and the beautiful park surrounding it was enough for me.

Since I was there for work, I kept my budget pretty tight. I used Uber twice and only because I found myself in an unsafe part of town. The rest of the trip I rented a bike or put on my good ol' running shoes. I have to say, St. Louis was a very bikeable city. The majority of downtown was equipped with bicycle dedicated lanes. I think it was honestly one of the most fun ways I have toured a city. Usually driving around you miss a lot and don't get to see some of the restaurants and shops, but the downside can be the inability to go too far out from your base.
Forest Park

In addition to the arch, I explored some of the highlights of the city I found online. I was able to make it to Forest Park, which was gorgeous. I actually even found wooded trails, which shocked me. Inside of Forest Park was an awesome, and free, art museum that was packed with fantastic exhibits.

Forest Park
Now, even though I saw some cool sights, the best part of the trip was the food! I stayed at the Hyatt while I was there and honestly the food in the hotel restaurant, Brewhouse Historical Sports Bar. They had delicious tacos and the yummiest burritos. I had a chance to check out the local barbeque at a place called Sugarfire and the taco scene was AMAZING. I biked one evening to a place called Mission Taco Joint and I am telling you right now, best taco I have put in my mouth. If you EVER have a chance to check it out, DO IT!

Mission Taco Joint
The park where the coffee shop was
Now, to end the trip I cannot forget to tell you about the most awesome coffee shop in town, Kaldi's Coffe. I had breakfast there which was an amazing vegan breakfast burrito followed by a coffee that would make Starbucks cry. It's rare to find a coffee shop that exceeds the coffee I had in Iceland but let me tell you, that one came pretty damn close.



So my overall review of St. Louis was pretty great, I spent most of the week working but I utilized the time I had to explore a bit of the Midwest. I'd like to go back and spend a bit more time, and maybe even have more toasted ravioli.