Back in 1979, before gay marriage was even on the radar, I went in search of an anniversary card for my then girlfriend. I know that I shouldn't have been surprised when I couldn't find one, not even a suitable generic one, but I was, and angry, too. After all, I was living in Atlanta, the gay capital of the south. Then, like the launching of so many of my projects, my mantra, “fuck it; I’ll do it myself,” set me in motion. The adventure started with a need and visualization. In 1980, I began selling heartfelt cards and posters for gays that portrayed us authentically. They took flight because there was a great need; Thousands of those posters and cards ended up being sold in gay stores all over the country (and two beyond the borders).
Fast forward 24 years. Today, my aunt sent me to buy a wedding card for my first cousin, who will marry the man of her dreams later this month. So I dutifully headed to the card aisle at Publix. Putting down my basket, I reached for the first card that caught my attention . . . “For the Brides.” And with a sigh of relief, I put it back on the rack . . . how far we have come. But the best part of this tale is my invitation to this wedding. It was addressed to Mrs. Danford and Mrs. Hawkins. Can I get a witness?!
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
So I've always wanted to learn how to salsa. No, I’m not kidding. Stop laughing. I know, you keep picturing what Miss Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies would look like on the dance floor. But after passing the real estate exam, I feel empowered to do anything, including salsa . . . with another person. The truth is, I’ve been trying to teach myself from the computer. It doesn’t work. So I found a Groupon and signed up for a few classes at Fred Astaire. Let me just say I’ve walked up on water moccasins and felt less trepidation than I had stepping into that dance studio. But I’ve got my cross, my wedding band, and Frozen sisters-pendant around my neck, so I took a deep breath and jumped off the cliff with complete, unadulterated trust. Not until the teacher, a very handsome, professional young man took me by the hand did I realize just how far I was outside my comfort zone; it wasn’t just unsettling on every level, I had the sensation that someone shut the door behind me and locked it. For a sold half an hour I danced . . .with a man. Now I’m picturing Miss Hathaway. And if holding hands with a man wasn’t weird enough, I let him lead and (this is unprecedented) tell me what to do. I’m not just outside my comfort zone now; I’m on an alien planet. But I kept telling myself, be open and find the joy in the exploration of something new. And then it happened! After a mighty effort to teach me how to turn, my teacher finally succeeded. The thrill of success was overwhelming; I stopped dead, and lifted my arms for a double, overhead high five. He laughed as our hands met in victory then calmly said, “You know you can’t do that in the middle of a dance.” The moral of the story is this - even though I found myself so far outside my comfort zone, I still managed to bring the essentials, humor and a willingness to test the edges.
Friday, June 13, 2014
A few years ago, I watched a full moon rise and turn orange in the month of October. I won't even attempt to try and explain why, but I felt the need to howl. So I did. Right there in the 7-eleven parking lot. And it was so liberating that whenever I see a full moon and feel so inspired I go outside and howl. I can ignore the sound of my phone, the doorbell, and people, but not the call of the moon.
Two friends emailed me today as a reminder that Friday the thirteenth, the moon would be glorious. So tonight, I went out when the moon was high around 10 p.m., threw back my head and howled like there was no tomorrow . . . and the strangest thing happened. One of my neighbors joined in, then another, then another. And no I don't know which neighbors were howling but I'm pretty sure I have a pack!
So the next time the moon calls to you, don't question it, just answer. You might be surprised to know you're not the only wolf in the 'hood.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Whenever I start to feel stress creeping into my body, making my heart beat a little too fast, I stop what I'm doing and head outside. There is always a cure for stress in my backyard. This time of year, there is a pine tree with a yellow-crown night heron's nest situated on one of the lower branches. From my own perch on the dock below this branch, I have been privileged to watch two eggs produce a pair of breathtakingly beautiful little birds. At dusk, I watch them come out to the edge of the nest where they stand in wait of a breeze that unleashes that instinct to stretch first one wing then the other, testing their strength for the day they will fill those wings with wind and fly for the first time. I hope I'm there to witness this marvel, but even if I'm not, my heart has slowed and peace now courses through my veins.