My Life in Paradise

because I only wish I could make this sh*t up…

Something – something – learn to fly…. wtf?

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Somewhere between the life I thought I would have and the life I do have are a lot of old dreams.  Some were flights of fancy and others are things I should have done.  I find myself with more questions than answers just like everyone else.  There are metric tonne of books written about finding yourself and following your dreams.  I have 20+ of them along with a book about the heart of buddha written by a former punk and junkie.  

Yeah no.  I think this sums it up best.  

I stare agape at Sunday-in-the-park couples. Sidewalk strollers, fingers-laced, heads-on-shoulders, hearts laid bare. Audacious highwire artists, soaring netless… oblivious or brave. Arrogant idiots, I muse from my spectator view, hoping no one hears the screaming inside my head.

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Southern Politics….or….Southern Politics

Yeap ok we all know I went and did it..  I fell in love with another human and agreed to get married..  Swear.to.god.I.actually.didn’t.run and at some point in the next 48 hours I’ll order our Save The Date cards and some very cute personalized thank you notes with both our names on them!!  My/our Christmas cards went out with both our last names on them.  My subscription to Saveur magazine came with what will be my last name this time next year in front of my name.  It’s all little freaky and at first I went who the fuck……oh….that’s me….in a year….  I even set a date!  That was a huge step honestly.

Love conked me on the head in rural south east Virginia.  Virginia is a beautiful state with an variety of people from liberal allies to omg KKK conservatives.  I love our home in the South.  It’s 200+ years old, the garden is huge and I have my own bathroom with wainscoting and at least 20 towels.  I do miss living there.  I miss the warm nights on the porch and I miss some of our kookey neighbors.  I don’t miss the relative isolation from queer community, being 5000 miles from my parents and close friends or being 2500 miles from my California friends.  I know Hawaii is 2500 miles from California, but somehow I feel closer in Hawaii than in Virginia.

I swear I’m getting to the point!

Lately the South has been in the news a lot mostly for not so good things.  In Mississippi the first out gay mayoral candidate was murdered in what can only be described as a horrific hate crime.  Mississippi was also harangued for it’s voters rights or lack there of.  The usual suspects of Virginia politics were being dumbshits.  Delegate C. Todd Gilbert’s  refused to acknowledge LGBT oppression and the State of Virginia did not pass a bill protecting the states LGBT employees.

A colleague and dear friend of mine known fondly as Our.Gay.Boyfriend, pointed out something that stopped me in my tracks.  I was literally about to put a piece of Mr.Monster’s incredible chicken curry in my mouth and had to put my fork down.  NOTE: Our.Gay.Boyfriend was born and raised in Mississippi and many times has been my cultural advisor on everything Southern that I still don’t understand like pimento cheese..  WTF!

“You know, change the accent and the state and everything that people are so shocked about from the South happens in just as many other states.”

(The.Our.Gay.Boyfriend is also my fiance Mr.Monster’s secret husband, funny story I’ll tell it some other time.)

He’s right.  Racism, classism, homophobia and sexism happen in California, New York, Montana, Florida and just about every other state.  I’m not sure if the south has a more concentrated number of assholes or if we as a society like to pick on them for their accents.  I might even go as far as to say I think if you add up all the liberal towns in the South it’s more liberal than Montana.  California has a very conservative red center.  In Nevada Las Vegas is actually more conservative than Reno.  Oregon is quite conservative especially eastern Oregon.  Only two voting districts in Florida are considered Democratic.

There are many southerners in my life all of whom are pretty liberal and very few of who still live in the South.

When I say many I mean:

  • my fiance
  • my father (not my step-dad and not so liberal)
  • three of my closest friends (one whom died earlier this year, but he’s still around commenting on my life from time to time with his laid back drawl.  I love you UnkleMike and I miss you so very much.)
  • several colleagues
  • a plethora of acquaintances

So it’s late and this post is a little disjointed, but what I think my point is, is that while we can make generalizations about certain geographic locations (the South) it is important to look beyond the assumptions.  There are good people in the South doing great social justice work.  Whole town are coming together to take a stand against homophobia, like the tiny town in Appalachian Kentucky that passed a gay rights law, Covington, Lexington and Louisville have similar laws.   A couple of dear friends of mine LadySnow and Grant are very active in Jacksonville advocating for LGBT rights and there have been wins.  Like it or not the South is changing. What are we going to have to say when the South comes all the way around and equality for minorities is the norm there?  People have the capacity to change, even Southerners, they just do it one at a time.

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Insights from Target or North vs. South

Mr.Monster and I are in the DC/Reston area for Labor Day weekend.  We went to see Lawless since it’s about bootleggers in Virginia and well, Mr.Monster is related to those people……best to know who you are sleeping with!  I digress, but only kind of…

There is a distinct difference between “up north” and “down south” and it’s more than just accents, the liberal use of bacon or the conservative nature of the residents.  In a very short, romantic, amazing month I’ve become accustomed to something in the south – polite and mostly friendly people.

Walk into any store, gas station, cafe, anywhere and people smile, greet you, say please and thank you etc. etc.  In the south (thus far) no one acts like a linebacker going for the bread or the apples.  There is no “get.the.fuck.out.of.my.way” race from the checkout to the front door.  

Maybe it’s having gone from Hawaii, where we live aloha, to the south, where politeness is cultural that being in DC bothers me.  It’s not a huge bother, but it’s enough to remind me that contrary to popular belief I don’t much care for cities or city folk.  After our last trip to target so that I could procure monkey socks and polka dot shoes, I looked at Mr.Monster and said “I’m ready to go back home now please….”  Mr. Monster snickered and later the same day so did my uncle Mr.CrankyPants and my dear friend TheDragon, all of whom hail from the south…..  

There are many things I thought I would do with my life and many places I thought I would live – the south I assure you was not on that list, but neither was love.  So along with having already fallen madly in love with one very handsome and kind Mr. Monster – I’m falling in love with the southern half of Virginia.  So I can add loving being in the south to 101 things I never thought I would say or do, but isn’t that exactly how life works out most of the time?

<end – nothing else to read – go buy me shoes!>

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