13 of 100

14 04 2013

13. You know at least one person named Michael. Tell me about him.

This has been the first of the questions that I’ve really struggled to answer. I know, and have known so many people named “Michael”. The one that keeps coming back to mind is the first Michael I remember, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since school. I’ve tried to find him online, but have had no success. I’m sure we had some classes together, but my strongest memories from him are riding the same school bus. He was quiet, and thin. He was about my height, with dark hair. At the time I thought he was the embodiment of what I wanted to be. I only remember him as a nice, pleasant person, who was one of the guys without ever being rude or condescending. He didn’t have to be the center of attention. Remembering him now I suspect that he was a little shy, although not cripplingly so.

I would love to see him again. I imagine that he has a wife, two or three kids, and a job at which he works really hard for moderate income. Is he still rail thin? Does he still have an adorable smile? Is his hair still combed straight down? Does he still have a full head of hair? Does he have a beard? Is he happy? Is he a fundamentalist? Would he be freaked out that I’m gay? Does he even remember me? If he does, what did he think of me way back then?

It feels weird to write about the Michael that I probably know the least about. On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed by the number of Michael’s I know, and all that I could possibly write about them.

“The problem, if anything, was precisely the opposite. I had too much to write:

too many fine and miserable buildings to construct and streets to name and clock towers to set chiming,

too many characters to raise up from the dirt like flowers whose petals I peeled down to the intricate frail organs within,

too many terrible genetic and fiduciary secrets to dig up and bury and dig up again,

too many divorces to grant,

heirs to disinherit,

trysts to arrange,

letters to misdirect into evil hands,

innocent children to slay with rheumatic fever,

women to leave unfulfilled and hopeless,

men to drive to adultery and theft,

fires to ignite at the hearts of ancient houses. ”
― Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys

12 of 100

30 03 2013

12. Name a song that never fails to make you happy.

I narrowed it down to two, and included links so that you can hear and see them the way I do.

Who doesn’t like Heman? Careful readers will notice a reference to a previous post within the video/song. What’s going on?

And, for a change of pace, the Avett Brothers. Talk on Indolence starts out a little shouty, but the music is amazing. Even though the song has a more serious them, it energizes me. I love to blast in in the car or at home when I notice that I need a lift.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” –Plato

11 of 100

23 03 2013

11. You’ve got the TV on, but you’re not really watching it. What channel is the TV on?

If the television is on, but I’m no really watching it, it’s probably on HGTV. HGTV has several shows that are almost interesting, and if I’m sort of watching it then I can look up if something is shown or said that catches my interest. We don’t usually have the television on when we’re not actually watching, but this channel can provide the perfect mix of low level interest to bring on a good nap.

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.” –Carrie Snow

10 of 100

20 03 2013

10. How is the relationship between you and your parents?

My relationship with my parents is civil, but not deep. I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about feelings or show much affection. Everyone was apparently supposed to know they were loved without asking. I didn’t feel loved as a kid, and never felt that I belonged. For a couple of years around ages 5 and 6, I prayed every night as I went to bed that I would die in my sleep that night. In time I realized that this might not be the divine plan for me. For the next year or so I prayed that my real family would find me and that they would take to the place I belonged. Of course this didn’t happen, as I was already living with my biological family. My parents didn’t hate me, and I wasn’t physically abused. In retrospect I know they cared on some level, but it wasn’t enough and they weren’t very good pretending that it was.

For several years, beginning in my late 20’s, they had virtually no contact with me. I asked my mother once during this period if everyone in the family was well. She replied, “Yes.” I asked if everyone at church was okay. She replied, “Yes.” I asked if there was any work story she could tell me. She replied, “No.” I asked if she could make up a story just so could pretend to be talking. She replied, “No.” Such was our relationship for far too long.

Things have improved somewhat, and I now see my parents about once every two or three years. We live about 1,200 miles apart, so there is no natural or incidental occasion to run into each other. We’ve developed the ability talk about anything that is meaningless and socially appropriate. I’ve given up hope of ever having true dialogue with either of them. It seems so pointless, and such a waste of potential. Nevertheless, it is what it is. I will never really know them, or about the struggles or joys of their lives. I’ll never know what they daydream about, or hope to do some day. I have no idea what they hoped to be when they grew up, or what regrets they may have. And they know even less about me. But, when we’re together we honor the pretense of being a close, loving family.

“Smile, even if it’s a sad smile, because sadder than a sad smile is the sadness of not knowing how to smile.” –Author unknown

9 of 100

19 03 2013

9. What holiday do you most look forward to?

I’m interpreting the question to mean publicly recognized holidays, instead of birthdays, anniversaries, or other personal days .

Christmas is the holiday that probably gets the most effort and attention. There are usually decorations to put up, social events to prepare and/or attend, a little shopping, familiar songs, gifts to give, and visits with friends and family.

New Year’s Eve is usually spent with friends, as a couple of our friends usually have a wonderful party.

However, I think Thanksgiving has to be the winner for me. A few years ago my husband and I invited a few friends to our house at Thanksgiving. They were all people reared elsewhere who did not have a Thanksgiving celebration to attend locally. It was a roaring success. We have continued to have our “orphan” Thanksgiving each year since. No one who attends is actually an orphan, but somehow the name stuck. My husband’s family has long had a tradition of welcoming in those in need a of a warm meal and a visit with friends. In addition to having their own families of birth, they are each part of our chosen family. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a fair amount of work, but, perhaps because there are so few of us and we are so at ease with each other, it never seems like a chore. In addition to a shared meal, we sometimes watch a show, or play games, and there are always cocktails. The experience is always a little different, but is usually marked by a wealth of laughter and love. And it is always a day to remember fondly.

I believe the quote below hints at the meal, the humor, and the familiarity that characterize day.

“It wasn’t easy telling my family that I’m gay. I made my carefully worded announcement at Thanksgiving. It was very Norman Rockwell. I said, “Mom, would you please pass the gravy to a homosexual?” She passed it to my father. A terrible scene followed.” –Bob Smith

8 of 100

18 03 2013

8. Name a movie that you knew would be terrible just from reading the title.

It’s hard to pick just one, so I’ll list two.

Ernest Scared Stupid
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

I’ve enjoyed my share of less than brilliant productions, so I don’t mean to poke too much fun. I’m sure they provided some gainful employment, and that someone enjoyed them.

“When I was very young and first worked in Hollywood, the films had bred in me one sole ambition: to get away from them; to live in the great world outside movies; to meet people who created their own situations through living them; who ad-libbed their own dialogue; whose jokes were not the contrivance of some gag writer.” –Anita Loos

7 of 100

17 03 2013

7. What’s more important in a relationship: physical attraction or emotional connection?

An emotional connection is far more important. Physical attraction is important, and can certainly add heat to a sexual relationship. However, we say “soulmates” because great, lasting relationships are based on something within. There are many physically beautiful people, no matter how you define physical beauty. But if physical attraction were the most important aspect of a relationship, when two people who are attracted to each other have first dates they would almost always be followed by second, third, and fourth dates… And we all know that dating isn’t that simple. The ties that bind us most closely are more than skin deep.

“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” — Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

6 of 100

15 03 2013

6. Would you like to reconnect with any of the friends you’ve lost contact with?

There are a few friends that I’m curious about, and a couple in particular with which I would love to have a nice visit. However, I generally believe that if we had been great friends all along we would not have lost contact. While I have a few good friends, I don’t tend to make many truly deep friendships. There have been a few, and I’m certainly willing to work to keep a friendship alive, but I will not do all the work. If the other person isn’t also willing to work at the friendship, it is not that much of a friendship.

“It’s beautiful when two strangers become best friends, it’s terribly depressing when two best friends become strangers.” — unknown

5 of 100

14 03 2013

5. Name one physical feature that you like about yourself, and one you dislike.

I have great eyes! I’m pretty happy overall with my body. I think I’m average looking, and I wish I were in better shape physically, but everything seems to play its part fairly well. I don’t usually think of myself of as having an especially bad feature, but the openings inside my nose are small, which contributes to allergies and occasional sinus problems. I’ve had one surgery, which the doctors continue to assure me was a big success. Earlier this year my ENT discussed a possible second surgery, but I haven’t decided whether or not to have it. My body certainly isn’t perfect, but it’s been with me for many years now, and we’ve shared lots of love and laughter along the way.

“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.” — John Muir

4 of 100

13 03 2013

4. Tell me about a movie/song/TV show/play/book that has changed your life.

… Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside
Learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall
Remember you almost had it all …

As I kid I heard this song performed on stage and it immediately struck a cord with me. Whether it contributed to me learning to live inside myself, or only reinforced an already existing trait, I turned more and more inward as a pre-teen and teen. On the outside I was a healthy, well adjusted, smart youngster who served as a model many parents wished their own children would follow. On the inside was a terrified, lonely, hurting soul which desperately craved a love and approval which was never received. I became so good at presenting a happy face that there was a period of several years during which I couldn’t physically cry. Oh if there were some way to go back in time and give that kid a big hug and say, convincingly, “No matter what, I will always love you.”

I hope that anyone reading this post with give themselves an emotional hug. Love yourself, believe in yourself. Only then can your provide the love others so desperately need.

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you`re alone with.” — Wayne Dyer