Sunday, May 27, 2012

Some Parenting Advice from a Non-Parent

I am not a parent and generally I would not presume to give parenting advice.  It would be like hiring a blind decorator.  The ideas might seems great in theory, but they don't work so well in the real world.

For of all, I know parenting is hard.  You don't get a manual and kids can be a pain in the ass, but as adults, we're supposed to rise to the occasion and be the better person.  I've never had kids and most of the times I've been grateful for that decision.  I was always afraid I'd somehow get a damaged one.  Like I always thought I was.

I love my parents and I know they did the best they could.  I mean that with all sincerity and would never want to embarrass them for actions forty years ago, but I feel deeply moved to write this tonight.

Several things have come up this week that have pushed me to give you one piece of parenting advice:


Most of you are probably saying, "Well, of course. That's a no brainer."  Good, I'm glad you think so.  Now make sure your kids know that as well. You might be surprised to know they may not be so sure.   I was over thirty years old before I knew I was much more than a pawn in the divorce game.   That may not be true, but that's how it felt to me.  Sometimes I still feel like I'm being asked to choose and I'm forty seven years old.

Here's a hint about unconditional love.  It does not mean spoiling the child with laptops, iPads, cell phones, $400 sneakers, cars, taking them to music lessons, soccer practice, band practice, play rehearsal.  It does not mean raising a self entitled spoiled brat.  All of those things are substitutions for unconditional love.  These are the toys you can take away if they disappoint you.  Something to hold over their heads.  Isn't that healthy?

I woke up from a dream early this week where I recalled a childhood memory that I had forgotten.  Not repressed, but forgotten.  I knew the memory was there, but I never understood the significance of it until this week. Suddenly I realized why I grew up always assuming I was the least worthy person in the room. 

I'm happy to say that I have managed to get past that, but it helped to discover where that began.  Again, I know my parents were doing their best and one ten minute interaction may not have even stayed in their memories, but it certainly did mine. 

Here's another piece of advice:


No one is a lost cause, and if anything screams the opposite of unconditional love, it is this.  Now, I understand that some kids/adults make bad decisions and you as a parent get your heart broken, but too bad.  You disagree with their decisions if you like.  Sometimes we all make stupid decisions. You love them from a distance if you need to, but you do not fucking give up on them.  

I watched my step sister make terrible decisions and ultimately she died because of those decisions. She broke my parents' hearts, as well as those of her daughters.  My heart broke for her because I wanted somehow to help her, but she wouldn't accept it. I could have said, "fine, I give up on you," and built a shell around my heart, but right up to the end I had to believe that she was worth the fight, the pain, the effort.  I'm afraid she didn't think so though.  She gave up on herself.  

You may be wondering where this is coming from.  Why am I so passionate about this right now?  It's because I see history repeating itself and I see people buying into some bad advice they got growing up.  

Here's my advice for kids and adult kids:





Friday, May 18, 2012

We're Here; We're queer; What's the big deal?

The gay rights movement really began in 1969 with some drag queens at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan.  They stood up to the police, who had been raiding the gay bars and arresting the inhabitants.  On that June night, the patrons of the Stonewall decided not to leave.  They stood their ground and a movement was born.

Today, in 2012, the President of the United States comes out as being in favor of gay marriage.  Granted, many states have laws in effect prohibiting that, but this is the last remaining fight in the revolution.  So what happens when we win?

Gay Pride parades and festivals have been going on since 1970.  It's tradition now that the gay bars build floats to have their strippers and drag queens dance on, the leather daddys put on their assless chaps, and the town's Gay chorus sings songs as they all parade down Main Street USA.   These are some of the subgroups of the gay community.  Where are the rest of the gays?  Where are the doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, CEOs, and entrepreneurs?   Perhaps they're home working in the garden, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or attending their kid's soccer game.

What's the matter with them?  Aren't they proud to be gay?  Or maybe they don't think about it.

If equality is what we're really after, doesn't becoming mainstream become the definition of success?    We're here, we're queer and people have kinda gotten used to us.  Many have accepted us.  Isn't that what we want? We'll never get everyone to accept us.  No one has.  Blacks and whites still have issues.  Jews and Arabs have a long running battle.  Hell, lesbians and gay men have issues.  In fact, we gays don't even like every other gay we meet.  That's human nature.  We aren't all going to get along, but we can find peace in knowing that.

So this June as you have the urge to celebrate gay pride, go ahead and go to the parade, but if you really have pride and courage, be the gay dad at the PTA meeting, or be the lesbian couple inviting your straight neighbors over for a barbecue.  That's how we really succeed, when people see we're no different than they are.

It's not very exciting becoming the mainstream, huh?   There aren't any parades.  But it is nice.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stealing Moments

I realized today that it's been over a month since I've written anything here.  I've been on a whirlwind writing binge trying to finish the second revision of my novel, Postcards from the Desert, which I'm hoping to have released by the fall.

Lately I have been crazy busy and the busier I am with life in general, the more time I want to spend writing.  It seems like likely I've been stealing moments here and there so I can sit down and work out a scene or revise some dialogue.  Of course in all of this, I'm having the time of my life.