About

About

It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog. I didn’t think having a health crisis, getting married because the man I was living with had a requirement in his previous divorce that in order for his children to have overnight visits, he had to be married to anyone living in his apt. I live in Alabama and there is a law that states this in 2015. Never mind that couples cohabitation and have children without getting married.

That’s not part of my story. Shortly after having part of my intestines removed in April 2014, I got married. Yes, I was taking narcotics, but I was also just plain stupid.

I think you could even quote me from previous blogs that said I would never get married again. See, I was married to the father of my children for a total of 27 years. There were some good years, but some not so good years. We were in our early 20s when we got married. We didn’t know much about life, love, finances, or being married. We kind of fumbled our way through it.

Fortunately, we have two great daughters. I’m living with my youngest and her wife now. It’s a respite, after the last year of hell.

I’m learning to be my positive self again. It’s kind of like walking or riding a bike. You stumble along at first and then your friends catch you, pick you up, dust you off and you get back up again to wobble along.

Each day I’m a little more sure of myself. There are set backs because I still have to have some contact with him until everything is finalized. After that, I’m hoping to never see him again as long as I live.

I’m usually a loving person and I may change my mind at some point. I’m able to be around my first husband just fine. It’s been six years since that divorce, so in six years, tough in cheek, I may pardon this one.

So much happened in one year and it makes it very difficult. I’m a survivor and I always have been my entire life.

I have post traumatic stress disorder. I’ve actually been diagnosed with it. PTSD is not something that’s easy to live with your entire life.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it makes you an easy target for those who prey on people. Sociopaths and psychopaths are in abundance in our world. I wish it wasn’t true, but it’s a sad fact. I have to learn how to spot these predators and stay very far away from them. The trouble is, they have very clever disguises.

I told my daughter that I think the best thing for me to do is let my hair grow out to it’s natural color. It’s turned quite gray in the past year. I’m going to work on me and what makes me happy. Do what makes me feel good about myself and make everything around me positive again.

Pretty soon, I hope to be more than a grandma to a grandchild with four paws. He’s a sweetheart, but I need a grand baby to hold and love and then my world will be complete.

The love of family and friends can is the best medicine.

Acceptance

I’ve always been accepting of homosexuals. When I was in beauty college, I had my first real encounter with gay guys. I heard some pretty crazy stories about how they “became” gay. Most of them involved sexual molestation from a family member or friend of the family. This brought up very troubling thoughts for me, but they always carried on and partied like they were the happiest people on earth. I knew this couldn’t be true. I even put on a happy face to hide the pain.
Over the years, television personalities and movie stars came out of the closet and AIDS emerged as a disease closely identified with the gay community. Myths were soon dispelled and people became educated about how HIV was contracted. Soon people weren’t feeling like it was a death sentence. People knew to use condoms and have safe sex. If they didn’t they weren’t very smart.
Fast forward to 2002 and my oldest daughter came out as a lesbian. My former husband and I, and other members of the family, had already figured out she was a lesbian, but we were just waiting for her to tell us or figure it out herself.
I had it all planned out. We would go for family counselling to help her understand what she would be facing and to let her know we would be there to support her through good times and bad with total acceptance and unconditional love.
Of course, the best laid plans do not always happen the way you envision them in your mind.
She was seeing a girl at her school who wasn’t very popular and other students made fun of her on a daily basis. Did I mention my children pick up and bring home stray people the way some kids do stray animals? Well, this girl had become my daughter’s pet project. She, not my daughter, is the one who told us by e-mail that our daughter was a lesbian. Maybe she was going for shock value.
The only shocking part was the way it was delivered. Our daughter finally wrote a letter than was quite humorous and told us herself. As an athlete, she had many stereotypical images that her father had brought up over the years. All done in jest.
The sad part was when we went for family counselling, she thought we were trying to keep her from being a lesbian. This wrong assumption came because we didn’t want her in an wllunhealthy relationship with this girl, not because she’s a lesbian. The therapist didn’t help either because she didn’t know what she was doing and was playing both sides of the fence.
Looking back, I would have given my blessings on this relationship, but I’m better educated now. ….hindsight
Through the years I started educating myself and met other lesbian, gay, bisexual and even transgender people. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) offers great advice and information to help people better understand LGBT people.
Scientist are proving that most LGBT people don’t choose to be this way, but are born this way. So the guys in beauty college were off base.
In 2010, my youngest daughter came out as bisexual and then as a lesbian. She was 22 years old. This was a little bit of a shock, but I love both of my daughters unconditionally and I’m very proud of the women they have become.
I think she was upset because I didn’t over react to her announcement. She had her struggles through a couple of rocky relationships, but is engaged to a sane young woman and they’re Doing well. It’s difficult to find heterosexual relationships who are as loving and as committed as those two.
Later that same year, I went to a conference and met a woman who had been president of a PFLAG chapter in Mississippi and we discussed it and she gave me great advice.
At this same conference, I was challenged with a sense of responsibility and asked who I was helping and what I was doing to make a difference.
Those were big challenges! I thought long and hard for a couple of weeks and had long talks with my higher power.
I felt God led me on this path. So, I got a few people together, checked to see if anything else existed in my community and it didn’t. My congregation was behind me and that meant a lot to me.
So, with the help of others, I founded the Auburn chapter of PFLAG. It was so great and we had great aspirations for the organization. I’m no longer involved, but hope they’re doing well.
This fall I’m hoping my congregation will start a group called Interweave. It’s for Unitarian Universalist, but others can join. Committing ourselves to renewing our welcoming congregation status in the community is an important goal as more and more LGBTQ people come out of the closet.
We all need to be there with open arms of acceptance and unconditional love.

Jess the Mess

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I was 23 years old, married, had a one year old and didn’t plan to have anymore children.
I knew something was wrong because I felt like I had the flu. My family doctor couldn’t figure it out, so he sent me to the gastroenterologist. That dr. thought I had a giardia, which is an organism that lives and feeds of your digestive tract. I asked how you got one and he said from drinking tap water.
So began my lifelong boycott of tap water.
He did several other tests including a pregnancy test, which I knew would be negative. I had an IUD and my OB/Gyn had just tested it a few weeks before. It was firmly in place.
I called to get my tests results, this is back when the labs could give them to you. I called the doctor and told him I had an organism alright, but it was called a baby.
After I got over my initial shock, I called Dr. Newsome. He delivered all of my grandparents’ grandchildren and great children, except for me.
They scheduled an appointment for me to have the IUD removed the next week. Some people have left them in, but children have been born with birth defects. There was a chance of miscarriage, but he said it wasn’t that high compared to the rate of complications and birth defects.
I had anxiety thru the roof the day he took it out. I had been through miscarriages and couldn’t imagine another one.
I already had the all day sickness. Why they call it morning sickness is beyond me, because I woke up with it, went to bed with it, and it never went away. This time it was worse because every joint in my body hurt and I had a sore throat too, just like the flu.
I went home, got in bed, and prayed that God wouldn’t take my baby away. If this baby had gone through this much to survive, then she was meant to be here. Don’t ask how I knew it was a girl, I just knew.
I spotted a little, but she stayed in there. I got sicker, but rounder by the week. Big sister and dad would go off and play on the weekends, but I watched all the cooking shows on Georgia Public Television. Julia Child, Nathalie Dupree, the Cajun Gourmet, I learned a lot about herbs, trussing turkeys, and other things I had never seen my mother or grandmother do while cooking.
I was already calling the nightly head to the rib little girl, my special angel. There was a purpose for her to be in my life. Quite possible my mother’s revenge for my own childhood!
Her days and nights were always mixed up inside the womb. It was like a game she took pleasure in playing.
The arrival of the due date drew near and it was time for an ultrasound.
When the doctor told me she was every way but the right way for a vaginal delivery and a c-section was necessary, I was a little relieved. I had been in labor 46 hours with her sister. I didn’t want a repeat and Jessica (big sister chose her name) was bigger.
We waited two weeks past my due date, but she continued to head butt my ribs. During this time, I was given an assignment to write an essay about why I wanted a tubal ligation at 24years young. It was the easiest essay I’ve ever written!

On May 11, our little angel was born. Her days and nights were still turned around, and to this day they get that way.

Her sister went around telling everyone she was as mean as a snake. We call her Jess the Mess. She had a lot of anger inside that little body and it had to come out someway.

Now, she’s 26 and she gets angry, but she has better control of herself. I’m so proud of her and the person she has become. She’ll always be my Baby Girl, no matter how old she gets.
I started this blog before her birthday, but didn’t finish it because my brain was scrambled from the concussion.
I was writing it to tell her Happy Birthday and let her know I love her and she means the world to me ❤

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If I Ever Find a Place to Live I’m going to Nail My Feet to the Floor

If you are/were a fan of legendary newspaper columnist and writer Lewis Grizzard the title of this blog will have a ring to it. Grizzard left his home in the Atlanta, Ga. area and moved to Chicago. He was out of his element there.
I moved from Ga. to Wisconsin, and after a year, I loved it, but I wasn’t as entrenched in my southern roots and was ready for an adventure.
It was actually the move back to the south, and Auburn, that was a major adjustment for me.
Lewis and I were quite the opposite in that respect.
One thing I am looking for is a place to hang my hat on a permanent basis. Rent in Auburn, a place geared for college students who usually have alternative means of paying rent, is difficult for a single woman who receives $613 in disability each month.
I avoided another close encounter with a toxic roommate who sucks you dry.
Thankfully, I have a temporary roof over my head, and believe me, I appreciate it more than you know!
After the psycho roommate, the roommate who didn’t want a roommate, and a near miss with a guy who thought having feces all over the bathroom and flies and gnats buzzing around the kitchen was normal, this woman is ready to live alone.
He wanted to be my roommate because I’m not homophobic. My hygiene boundaries were beyond his grasp, so he went his way and is still looking looking for a gay friendly roommate. I wish him the best!
Unfortunately, there’s nothing available in a safe, clean area in my price range.
I’ve called the housing authority and they aren’t giving out vouchers for section 8.
If I do finally find home sweet home, I’m going to nail my feet to the ground and stay planted for a very long time. I miss my bed.

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How Many Degrees of Separation are There?

After my latest heartbreak, I’ve decided to take a long break from the whole dating/looking for love scene.

It seems that eligible men are very far and few between when you get to middle age. Mind you, I didn’t ask to be single at my age, it just turned out that way. It’s been great not to have anyone to answer to about my comings and goings or what I’m having for dinner or if I’m even having dinner. I love not having to turn off the bedroom light when I’m reading a great book. If I decide I’m in the mood to start writing a blog at 1 a.m., I don’t have anyone to fuss at me for making noise either.

Now comes the part for those of you who can’t handle more than PG 13 ratings to stop reading. You’ve been warned. Pretty much everyone who is single, that I’ve talked to of both sexes agree they miss cuddling and the sex.

If you want to find a relationship for these missing components you have to start looking for a suitable partner. The whole friends with benefits may be okay for awhile, but then something more substantial seems necessary because it starts to feel like a booty call. Seriously, if you’re not dating or having regular contact with this “friend” and they call or text you to come over, it’s a booty call. Admit it!

If you go to a bar looking for this suitable partner, you’re likely to end up with an alcoholic. You go online and meet people and many of them are married, but say they’re separated. When I was separated, I went to an attorney right away, had papers drawn up, we were in separate bedrooms and in the state we lived in had to wait six months to file for divorce. Since we were legally separated, we could see other people without consequences. It wasn’t for my sake, but it covered his butt really well.

It seems people have various definitions of what being separated is these days, and this may have been going on for centuries as far as I know. Some men and women think just because they sleep in separate bedrooms from their spouse, they’re separated. Let’s think this through. Many couples sleep in separate bedrooms for various reasons. One snores too loud, they are too restless at night, they have sleep apnea, they have different work schedules, there’s an illness, etc. They still carry on their life in public as husband and wife, so this is not a separation and should never be represented to anyone as such because it’s a misrepresentation of the truth.

Just because you don’t have sexual relations with your spouse does not mean your separated either. Many couples haven’t had sex in a couple of decades for various reasons, but they are still married in every other way. I can’t tell you how many men have told me about their troublesome sex life with their wives and how they just need someone special to fill that need. Either they won’t have oral sex or will only have sex in one position. Basically, it’s not my problem to fix. Women aren’t the only ones who hear these lines. Men hear them from married men too. Yes, we’re all comparing and sharing notes these days. Frankly, it’s really boring.

To be truly separated in a marriage, papers need to be filed. Whether you file for a separation or a divorce, until those papers are signed by both parties, notarized, and filed it’s not legal. That means if you have an affair with a person who is still legally attached, you can be named in the divorce proceeding as the person committing adultery with the husband or wife. I definitely do not want to go to court or have anymore drama in my life.

Then you have to think, what kind of person would put you in this situation? If they would do it in this marriage, would they do it in their next marriage? Some people just have a problem being faithful, but others marry the wrong person. This all would be much simpler if people could be honest with each other. If the unhappy spouse could simply ask for a divorce and if the lonely person could admit they’re unhappily married, things would be better for everyone.

I had a friend who called me a few weeks back and he just knew the husband had figured out he was having an affair with his wife. They saw each other in his church for the first time and it was lust from the beginning. I advised him to run the other way because he always says he hates drama. That day he was sweating it out and begging me to talk to him. I sent him a text about some great news the other day and he sent one back saying not to text him anymore. (???)I guess he and the married woman are getting along well right now. I’ll keep you guys posted on how it turns out.

I just know that I’m not looking for love in all the wrong places anymore. I love myself enough to say no more. I just hope others reading this can do the same thing if you’re in a similar situation. Love yourself enough to say no to heartache because when people are married they usually never leave their spouses, no matter what they tell you.20130316-084431.jpg

Just Call Me Grace

Just when you think you’re getting your act together and things are going to work out well, boom you go and land flat on your face on your bathroom floor. Well, that’s sort of what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

I was so happy to be back in Auburn among friends and adopted family members. First, I caught the virus that was going around, then I caught then cold that lasted several weeks, that had also been going around. I never realized how many germs were here in the past 😉 So, I was stuck in the bed for almost a month, but at least it was my bed.

Just as I was able to get out of the bed, my online college classes were starting again. I was just getting my strength back and my mind wasn’t able to concentrate on the American Government Politics class I was assigned to take. I have special accommodations and the instructor, an attorney, didn’t understand them and wanted to negotiate. When you have disabilities, it’s already a touchy subject, but someone wanting to take them away makes your anxiety level even higher.

Add to all of this, my cramped living quarters. My roommate was living in this apartment for six months and she didn’t want a roommate. She told me this when I met her, but it’s not the way these apartments work. We live close to a university campus and they are sort of like dorms, but they don’t had a curfew, RA, and they have a swimming pool, tennis courts, workout room and a sand volleyball court. So, all my things are crammed into my 9 x 10 bedroom. Now this living arrangement is much better than my last one and I’m not complaining, but it led up to “the disaster.”

I was working on my assignment for class and needed something to drink. My dog’s crate wasn’t were is was supposed to be placed. I went to step over it when my right foot didn’t quite make it. The rest of me went sprawling. My right side took the brunt of the fall. When my head and face hit the wall/door jam and my chin and nose hit the floor something popped really loud. Things went black for a few seconds, but I didn’t lose consciousness. I just stayed where I was for awhile and assessed the situation. There were no bones sticking out, check. No teeth broken, check. No blood, gushing from anywhere, check. Then I started my checklist with what I could move. Everything except my neck and right knee got a check. I had a wave of nausea, but it subsided.

This is not the first time I’ve fallen. I fainted when I lived in Auburn before, got a concussion, and was in bed for two weeks. I missed a trip to the beach with my boyfriend, when I tripped in the Kroger parking lot and had a hairline fracture in my kneecap. Throughout my adult life and childhood I’ve had sprained and twisted ankles galore.

This time around, I didn’t want to go to the emergency department because it was late on a Saturday night and I didn’t have a ride home. A friend in England talked me into going and said he would send the money for the taxi fare in the “post.” It was $35 including tip because taxis aren’t an everyday thing in Auburn and Opelika and I live many miles from the hospital.

I am not impressed with the ER at East Alabama Medical. They almost let me die there two times, but Gloria Bowman saved my life. They were great when I was having an allergic reaction to a medication and when I had a kidney stone and the time I had pneumonia, but the other 12 times, they were awful. I’ve been there with my daughter and other friends and they were terrible. My former husband went in after a car crash and had a concussion. They didn’t even tell us he had one or what to do about it. Now I know anyone who takes a wallop to to the head and is acting dazed and confused has a concussion.

For the past two weeks, I have been dazed and confused and in tears at times from the sheer frustration. I drove somewhere and why I went there. The doctor has told me not to drive and wants me to see a neuropsychologist. They called to make the appointment. My co-pay is $150. I can’t pay that much for a doctor. So, I’ll just have to struggle to make sense of things. People with far worse memory loss do it every day.

I’m going to see a pain specialist and have physical therapy for my neck and probably my knee too. The ER didn’t do much, but when I saw the orthopedic dr., he diagnosed me with a strained ligament and I have been in a knee brace ever since that Tuesday. The next week, he sent me to the neurosurgeon who ordered the two MRIs. When you have a concussion it’s difficult to eat too. So, take note of that symptom–nausea.

I had to withdraw from school. I’m beginning to think somebody is trying to point me in another direction. Clearly, they have to hit me over the head to stop me from doing it. There are many other adventures to look forward to this summer of 2013. I’m moving in the middle of July to a bigger apartment and will have a roommate who appreciates me. Frank, is a gay friend and he needs a roommate who isn’t homophobic,ended up that’s me. We’ll be able to look out for each other.

Hopefully, Grace won’t make another appearance anytime soon.

 

Facebook: Not all that bad

       A guy I used to date was telling me he was swearing off Facebook because it was just drama, drama, drama all the time and people causing problems. I do admit, I’m not Facebook’s biggest fan, but the social media site is what you make it. If you set it up to meet women, and you get too many hens in the coop, there’s going to be trouble. Women aren’t stupid, we check each other out. If somebody shows up on our man’s page and likes a post, we’re going to see who they are out of sheer curiosity.

I’ve noticed that some couples even have Facebook pages together more and more. It cuts down on other women trying to pick up your man and vice versa. If you’re on Facebook to be sociable then there have to be some kind of limits people set for themselves or it’s a free for all and it gets out of control, like a wild single’s bar on a Friday night or a redneck bar with a bunch of drunks. You know the police are going to have to break up a fight or a few.

The people who are on Facebook to play the games it offers and sometimes these two groups get crossed over 😉 are there for company and because they want something to do with their spare time instead of watching television or reading a book. They make friends with other gamers, build armies, help each other out and sort of become a support group for each other. I’ve made some of my best friends and “Sisters” from this group of people.

Then there are the social activist on Facebook. They may fit into all three groups at times. 😉 Whether they have a religious, social or political cause, there’s an agenda. It’s to spread a message and the more people on Facebook they can friend the merrier. This is especially the case if they need to raise money for their cause.

Of course, among these groups exists public and private groups who really want to help people in need. So, this is where I find one of my favorite redeeming qualities of Facebook. I found my adopted mom in this group. She’s a social activist with a heart of gold..

This next group is where you find the bottom feeders. There are men and women on Facebook who pose as friendly, everyday, run-of-the-mill people who are very lonely and need a friend. They go after people of all shapes, sizes, and income levels and make an intimate connection. They tell you their spouse was killed, usually in a car crash and so was their child (or they never had a child), and they are so lonely. They make the first connection and you may not hear from them for a week or two then they show back up ready to fall in love with you. They use every line in the book. Flattery like you’ve never heard in your life! When you back off, they pursue harder and will resort to tears to get you to fall in love with them. Just when they think they’ve got you and are going to come visit you from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, California or whatever far off place they say they’re in, something happens with their money. Imagine that! They need your financial information to help them get a loan or want to send you money orders and have them cash them and wire them the money. These are called romance scams.

I have first hand knowledge because this guy with the sexiest French accent called me for five weeks When I googled it and it was all there, spelled out in perfect details. David, or whatever his name was, was a fraud.

So, it’s up to you to take Facebook or leave it. There are too many people I care about on there to leave it. I’ve known these people for the past four years and grown to love them and their families. It’s what you make it. I put what I want to on my page and if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Everybody has that same option.sunset highland

Dreams Really Matter

Some people go to bed at night, they have fantastic dreams with interesting characters, but they never write them down. A few weeks or months later, that character shows up in real life, and they may experience a feeling of déjà vu or wonder where they have seen them before.
I learned a long time ago to pay attention to my dreams at night. I even kept a journal of certain dreams because I knew they were significant.
I started telling people about some of them because I knew they were going to come true.
I hated the sad ones when loved ones were going to die. I did appreciate the one on Christmas Day when I dreamed my mother was going to call and tell me my aunt had passed. She had cancer and we knew it was going to be at any moment so when I woke from the nap, it was no surprise.
Now, my former husband and I had this interesting connection. We would be dreaming the same dream at the same time and wake up making love to each other. This may be too much information, but you have to wonder how this could happen. We would discuss in detail the dreams and who we were, what we were doing and how we ended up in the situation. Most of the time he would ask me to marry him and I always laughed. Maybe those dreams had an underlying message. 😉
When I moved to Auburn and started attended the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, there was a dream class and it drew me in. It was called Natural Spirituality and the teacher, Dale Harrison, taught me so much about what my dreams were telling me. It was based mostly on Jungian theory with other knowledge thrown in there. Joyce Rockwood Hudson wrote the book we read and studied out of during classes. The other book was by Jeremy Taylor.
When classes were over we joined the dream group and kept our journals to discuss our dreams.
It was all very enlightening. I’m not in a group anymore, even though one meets in Auburn. I still keep my journal and have the occasional discussion, but some of my dreams are better kept to myself. Being single has shifted my gears and I’ve had an awakening that no one is ready to hear about. It’s not sex dreams, they’re mostly spiritual in nature. A connection dream occurred the other morning and scared me witless. See there’s more going on in our dreams than we know about.
The Bible talks about dreams and interpretation. So, whomever sends these dreams, whether God or our Higher Power(s), we need to pay attention to them because they still have meaning. They are sending messages that are important to our every day and spiritual lives.
Learning the correct way to interpret a dream can be a bit tricky. There are so many books out there that can lead you down the wrong path. The first question I ask people is what does this figure or animal represent to you. There are some images like water and colors that are standard most of the time.
Understanding takes time, but it’s definitely worth it!

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I Do Not Want to Go Back

You hear people saying, “If I could go back again, I would do this or that” all of the time. This week I came to the realization that I don’t want to go back and do anything over.
Would it really change anything? My Nanny would still die of diabetes, my Papa would still have gotten heart disease. People would be who they are because you can’t change them, so what would be the sense?
Sure, I could go back and react to things that were said and done to me differently, but it wouldn’t change who I am today. I am still essentially the same person I’ve always been inside.
My political beliefs haven’t changed much over the years. I’m still the same liberal I’ve always been. I am more accepting and open minded, but I think those are good things.
Some might ask me wouldn’t I want to try to save my marriage of 26 years? There was nothing I could do about the anything that happened. I got sick, decisions were made, things were done, and ending things when we did was best for both of us.
It allowed us to grow into ourselves. We were very young when we got married. Sure there were hard feelings, but we’re slowly working our way through those and we may end up being friends before it’s all said and done. We’ve got to be around each other through life events and parties for our daughters. It makes things a whole lot easier without the tension.
I went to an art reception with my roommate Thursday night. There were a lot of familiar faces from my former life and people who have stayed in my life. It’s an interesting combination.
My young artist roommate won best in show. I was so happy for her. She has a bright future ahead of her. I advised her to surround herself with good people and make sure she gets media exposure. After living the journalistic lifestyle, it comes second nature to give that advice.
Kyungmin’s winning that award was an epiphany of sorts for me because it made me realize I don’t want to go back. I want to live in the present and enjoy what each new day’s adventure brings my way.

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Caring too Much

        This week a friend posted something on Facebook about not caring about anything and being heartless. She got quite aggravated at me because I pointed out, and I recruited my boyfriend to point out there’s no way she can be heartless. We all belong to a private group and we’re straight allies for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. She had also supported him the day before when he dropped a sofa on his foot at work. He told her his princess had told him stories about her and said something like he knew his princess could attest to someone’s good character. I can, as a fact, attest to her good character. I thought she might be going through my caring too much syndrome, but she wasn’t. 

My syndrome is that I care too much about everything and I get on sensory overload until I have a freakin’ meltdown. I don’t do this much anymore because i learned not to fill my plate so full of stuff to do. I take baby bites and then I can handle being an activist. I can’t go out and conquer the world all at one time by myself. I have to have a team of people to help me do this. I learned my lesson the hard way when my youngest daughter was in pre-school. The director of the program asked me if I was good at organizing. I should have said no, but I said yes. The next thing I know I’m being introduced as the new president of the PTO at a reception in front of the whole entire pre-school. I was standing there like deer in headlights while everyone applauded.. I have no idea how this happened. I had to figure out how to make it unhappen. I struggled through until the end of the school year and knew I would never again get myself in the position.

That lasted until my mother signed her up for cheerleading and volunteered me to be the team mother. She had the cheerleading coach who should never been a coach. She cried at the coaches’ meetings. They ended up removing her as coach. It was one big mess. The next year I got my own cheerleading team. I knew I could do better and I did. I coached the Mighty-Mite Cowboys for three years. By the third year I had it down pat and we won grand champions. After that I moved onto traveling cheerleading and the girls starting playing traveling softball. That was my life back then. They grew up and it changed. But while they were doing it, I gave it everything I had and then some.

I still had my candidates i voted for and my women’s rights I campaigned for and donated money to when it came time. I never got out there on the streets until the March of Dimes called me one year and asked me to be the person who canvassed our street. I sent out the cards they sent me and talked to the neighbors. That was really easy.

We moved to Wisconsin in 2000. I had helped at the athletic association, I had been involved in a bunch of fundraisers, and attended many fundraisers with my former husband through his work as a journalistand my work, but I had never really participated in anything that really made a huge difference in my community. When I join the Kenosha Junior Woman’s Club, I was given that opportunity. I was taught by the best too. Those women knew how to be wonderful hostesses and they were gracious. The people in Wisconsin taught me about generosity too. They came to our biggest fundraiser of the year, “A Taste of Elegance” and placed bids on the silent auction items that really made a huge difference to the charities we were raising the money for those years. In 2003, I was co-chair of the event and I remember my co-chair, Cindy, saying we raised more money than they had in previous years. I was so proud of the work we did and of the restaurants who donated the food.and the vendors who donated the beverages. It was a labor of love. The money we raised was going to a special childcare center..We all worked together as a team for that fundraiser to be a success.

The month before my junior varsity cheerleading team had won the JAM State Championship in Wisconsin and that was a huge team effort. It took a lot of work to pull that together. I was incredibly proud of every single girl on that team.I poured everything I had into coaching them and extra love too..

At the same time, I worried about my oldest daughter. She had come out the year before and I worried about her fitting in and having friends at school. Was she having a great senior year? It was difficult for me to tell. We were in the middle of moving and eventually ended up in Auburn. She got a softball scholarship to a college in South Carolina to play softball, but I worried about her. I worried about her sister too. All of the moves she had been through the previous year were tough. Three different schools in one year. That’s pretty difficult when you’re a sophomore. My transition was hard enough, so to say there was tension is putting it mildly.

I ended up writing the food page and threw myself into learning all about food. I had been watching all the food channels during those months I was snowed in up in Wis. So, I was able to put the knowledge to work. The food page in Kenosha had been great, so I had a good layout to follow and of course, I grew up reading the Atlanta Journal Constitution every Sunday and the Gainesville Times when visiting my grandparents. This is how I got to know the people in the community. I really cared what went on the page and wanted to feature local cooks and restaurants.

Let’s fast forward to after the divorce. When I came back to Auburn in 2009, I was a hot mess. It took a disaster team to put me back together and we all worked really hard. I knew the creator, I say God, you can call him/her whatever you wish, had plans for me or I wouldn’t have made it this far. So, I searched my heart and I started listening and learning. The main thing I heard was there was not a Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Auburn and there needed to be an official chapter. This is a college town, it should be progressive. What’s the deal? Where are the safe zones on campus? They used to have them. There used to be a support group for LGBT people, but it went away too. I couldn’t solve all these problems at once, but our group could start a chapter and lay out a mission to educate the people about acceptance.

Well, Dan Cathy, the COO of Chick-Fil-A, went on record talking about marriage equality being a bad thing and then Mike Huckabee jumped on the bandwagon and they had an appreciation day. i was on Facebook 24/7 for several days helping people deal with it. The backlash it caused of feelings with hate towards LGBT people was horrible. I was deleting people who didn’t understand on my Facebook page left and right. If they couldn’t accept my daughters were both lesbians, and were still going to support what Chick-Fil-A was doing, then I asked them to kindly leave. There was stuff going on behind the scenes with my daughter being discriminated against while she was working at Chick-filImage-A too, so I had another dimension to the whole scenario.

In the meantime we had to call a PFLAG Auburn meeting and a meeting with Spectrum, the student group at the university, together to decide how we were going to respond to this crisis. I had already decided I didn’t what to do anything that included the word Chick-Fil-A. I was tired of saying it, typing it and didn’t even want to talk about it. I just wanted everyone to heal and feel better about themselves. I didn’t think picketing was a good idea either. Luckily, we all agreed and we had a great party that pulled people together from the community. We stood in a circle on Samford lawn and held a candlelight vigil for all those who had been killed, hurt or were still hurting. Whether it was from bullies, bullying, not being accepted by their families or whatever the reason.

There are so many people who don’t have homes, clothes to wear, food to eat. They’ve been beaten and abused. Some have been raped or mutilated. Others are no longer with us. This is all because other people can’t accept them for who they are and because they were born different,

I go to bed and think about those children, they’re just kids, and they’re walking the streets. Some of these streets aren’t so safe. I’ve been on them at night. Why can’t parents just love their children enough to understand? I wonder what will become of them and I wonder what I’m going to do next. What can I do next?