Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tired of being broken...and World AIDS Day

So the herniated disc in my back wasn't enough. Reese being partially paralyzed wasn't enough. I am apparently supposed to remain broken for now. I have managed to do SOMETHING to my shoulder. I went to the NP today and she agrees that it sounds like an injury to the rotator cuff. Today doesn't hurt as bad as yesterday did, but I am still wearing a sling. I have an appointment with the ortho tomorrow at 7:30am (EW!) so I'll know what the scoop is after that. I hope. I'm also hoping that it's a pull, strain, sprain, etc. A full tear or other injury would be much worse. I'm hoping that time, rest, some pain meds, and some PT might save me from a painful and costly surgery. Keep your fingers crossed.

In other news, World AIDS Day is Saturday, December 1. Educate yourself. Get tested. DO SOMETHING! For those here in Laramie, we will once again be doing Dining Out For Life. Sweet Melissa's is again the only Laramie restaurant participating, but if you're hungry this Saturday, please think about eating there. They will donate a percentage of their profits to Wyoming AIDS Walk. There are also some Casper restaurants participating, but I don't have a final list of those (Casper was someone else's job!). In the meantime, a friend of mine sent me a fun link to a video.

It's a safe sex ad from India, Baliwood style. How can you go wrong with men dressed as colorful condoms singing and dancing? I also figured I'd post a Baliwood link in honor of MandyFish. For those who don't frequent her blog, she's getting married Saturday in Vegas, and is a confirmed Baliwood addict. So it's a link about AIDS in honor of World AIDS Day, but done in a style in honor of the Pink Princess, and my Grace. Ooo...this Will is getting a long-distance Leo!

PS...For those asking, my sister is now 7 days overdue with baby #2. I have filed all the necessary complaint forms with the management. I have recommended spicy foods, walks, and trampolines. My brother-in-law offered lots of vigorous sex to my sister, but I couldn't support that option. She's still my sister, and....EW! My sister continues to blame the baby, saying it's up to Squirt, not Mom.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things for which I am thankful...

I wanted to do an unconventional list, so some of these might sound odd at first. If you have questions, let me know in my comments. Also, please share some of your own!
  • My friends and family - living and dead, near and far
  • The pain I went through in the closet - it made me who I am today
  • The ongoing pain of Matt's death - it still motivates me to make the world better
  • Seeing my mother die - I was there when she needed me, and I don't fear it as I once did
  • Seeing Scotty near death - it reminded me that time is precious, and family even more so
  • A job I no longer want - it's shown me that passion and profession should always be connected and must sometimes evolve together
  • Various injuries and ailments - they've taught me to slow down and take time for myself
  • Friends who let me down - they taught me to forgive more and judge less
  • Failed relationships - whether mine or someone else's, they've taught me patience and perspective
  • Growing up dirt poor - I learned to make do with less and appreciate what I have
  • The future - it's nothing but possibility

    What will you give thanks for, and what would you not normally be thankful for that you perhaps should?
  • Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    From my archives

    This weekend I went digging through some of my old writings. This piece is one from that archive. In October I remember Matt's murder, and November is Transgender Remembrance Month, so I offer this as a testament to those we've lost. And for all those would-be plagiarists out there, all rights reserved!


    Remember. Remember them all. Never let the names lose their meaning. Never let the faces lose their importance. For they are not just victims. They are not simply images to call up when discussing politics. They are people - people with lives, rich and full. They are brothers and sisters, neighbors, cousins, parents, and children. They are teachers and students, clergy, bankers, activists, and citizens. They are souls - and are more than the sum total of their sexual orientation or gender identity, even though many choose to define them in this manner. They leave behind family and friends who knew and loved them. They leave behind those who never met them but still grieve their absence nevertheless. It is unspeakably important that we remember and that we help others remember as well. For when we stop remembering them, we stop learning from their deaths. We begin to forget why we cared, why we ached. The pain can dull - that is as it should be. We could not go on if it did not lessen. But the memory must stay - forever etched into our lives and carved into our very souls. We must remember so that those who come after us - those who perhaps don't know their names, their stories - can learn from them as well. So that their lives are celebrated. Holding tightly to their memory will NOT bring them back - that has never been in question. But honoring them gives them a new life - perhaps one worth as much as their first. A life that teaches and touches hearts. One that creates a new understanding - a new hope. Let their lives and their stories remind us of what we have overcome, for our accomplishments are also spoken in their lives. As we remember patriots and poets long since gone, so should we remember their existence - their place in the world and in history. Remember them honestly. Remember them always - they are worth at LEAST that.

    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Taking risks

    As most of my readers know, this weekend I've been working with a friend from Chicago (Greg's link is on the right!) on a video project. Through him, I've made new friends from New York (Ryan and Jenn are AWESOME), and through them a new friend from Nebraska (Lisa is a hoot). It's already been an incredibly powerful weekend. I reached out to some of my friends...some of my FAMILY...and asked for their help. There was a lot of risk involved for everyone.

    Greg, Ryan, and Jenn are putting a fair amount of their own money behind the project. I'm not in a financial position to help out with that right now. They've had some success with donations from their friends and family, but they're still fronting a chunk of change. They got on planes and came to a strange place to interview people they had not met, relying only on my word that these were the people who would add to our story. Relying on Greg and I that there WAS a story, and one that people would be interested in, or that would make a difference.

    My friends relied on my word that these outsiders were trustworthy. That they were safe opening up in front of a camera, and that they would not be burned as they had in the past. Relying on my word that they really did have something to contribute, and that their voice was important and valuable. That they had something to add to what we were trying to do, though they didn't necessarily even know what that was.

    I encouraged. I begged. I twisted arms, called in favors, and begged for trust. And I got it. In spades. And magic has already been happening. After one and a half LONG days of planning and shooting, we have another LONG day remaining. I know it will be even more powerful. I have faith. The very core of my being tells me that the Universe (and Matt, too) are pulling this together, and that everything is happening for a reason. The big picture is revealing itself slowly, but we're pressing on...trusting. Trusting each other, trusting the Universe, and trusting that good intentions and open minds will lead us to the right path.

    Greg, Ryan, and Jenn have been awed by the things they've already heard, witnessed, filmed, and experienced. They didn't know what to ask the Squid, but were dumbstruck after her interview...which ran much longer than any of us expected. As she left, they commented "label that tape as 'golden'". To be honest, I think they were surprised by what they learned from an almost-21-year-old.

    Jackie was reluctant to be interviewed because she hasn't been as involved recently as she once was. She was surprised to learn how interested we were in what she HAD done, not just what she WAS doing. I wonder what surprises tomorrow will bring?

    The bottom line is that I don't take all this trust lightly, and I am truly humbled by it. My Laramie family trusted me that I wasn't offering them up to wolves. My "film family" trusted me that I knew where the story was, and who to talk to. That's a lot of me. Some part of me is scared by that. But I KNOW I'm right. Not because my head tells me so, though it does. Because my HEART tells me so. Because there have been too many "coincidences" that have proven US right. The waiter at the restaurant. The work study student in the RRC. The couples waving as we filmed at the fence. This was meant to happen. It was meant to include these people. It was meant to happen here, and now. And it was meant to happen in just this way. I can't wait to see what the next step might be.

    And I pause, at 1:30am (well, soon to be 12:30am), to thank my friends for trusting me. I know that it means I have done something in the past to earn that trust, but I still respect the risks taken by people who mean the world to me. I am humbled by their trust in me, and by their willingness to open their hearts to strangers...with cameras. I will honor your risks, and focus our intent.

    Today's lesson: It is not only important to take risks with and for those we trust and care is also equally important to recognize the risks they take for us in return.