Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘life’

Blast from the Past

What moments of your life would you like to relive again? I have had this topic for a while. But I finally feel like I can take it on. Maybe relive is not the right word here…. Imagine a personal DVR where you could replay moments from your past — to see yourself as well as the people, places and things that made those moments special (or at least something you wanted to revisit).Blast from the Past

So in no particular order, here are the top moments of my life I would like to revisit…

Old Friends
I wish I could be back seeing Damon and friends at a Friday night rap group. This was when I was first coming out, and I was attending the Friday night rap groups at the LA Gay Center. The meeting would be from 8 to 10, and then we would go out to eat or a nightclub afterwards. Damon was my best friend, who has since died of AIDS. We had a lot of fun times, and serious talks.

Another person I would love to revisit is Kevin. He was part of the rap group too, but I knew Kevin better than most since we dated. He was different when he was in a group and when he was just with me. I remember one day we spent at his apartment, hanging out playing games and eating. It was a great day. Kevin died of AIDS also.

Trying times
Believe it or not, I would love to see or replay some of the difficult times in my life too. If you look at some of entries in my journal, I was going through some terrible stuff emotionally. When I read it now though, I sort of feel disconnected with it. It seems so far away… and hard to imagine I felt so badly.

I remember being in some sort of group therapy of sorts in grammar school. It was run by the husband of one of the teachers and he was a psychologist. I was a very shy person and didn’t have many friends. And I was sensitive too. This was a year or 2 after they thought I had an ulcer. I remember I got upset and threw a pen down and it broke. I don’t’ remember going back after that. I have no idea what was said now.

I would love to see again some of the bullying I endured in high school. Yes, it was hell to go through these times… the name calling and slaps on the back of my head. I was suicidal and prayed that I would change. Was it as bad as I remember, or would I look at it differently now that I know how I turned out?

Love
And finally, I would love to relive some of the moments I shared with my partner. We are still going strong after 24 years…

I would love to see that connection we had on our first date. We went out to the movies, shared a dessert and made out behind one of the buildings in the complex.

We had a wonderful trip to Hawaii over 10 years ago… we had so much fun, seeing the sites, and taking it all in. We took a lot of photos… but it is not the same as being there.

So what moments of your life would you revisit if you could? I would love to hear from you.

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Finding the Celebration in Everyday Life

I am approaching middle age. Hey, it happens! I appreciate that I have a sense of humor about myself and try to laugh every day at life’s craziness. There are plenty of bad, sad, and tragic happenings in the world. If you listened to all the news reports, I don’t see how you could get out of bed in the morning. For me though, there are tons of great things in life that keep my smiling and dancing as I enjoy my journey on planet Earth.shutterstock_100190123

 

See beauty wherever you go. Appreciate the landscape where you live. I am talking about natural beauty like trees, mountains and oceans. As well as man-made beauty like architecture, paintings and bridges. And don’t forget animals too, even insects can be interesting and beautiful at times.

Don’t forget people too. Yes, of course, it is nice to see good looking people. But not everyone is Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. But maybe they have a great smile, a charming personality or a contagious laugh. Beauty is more than skin deep. When you love yourself, others will love you too.

 

Music is one of my life’s joy. I can’t imagine a life without it. Everything from that catchy top 40 hit to a symphony by Beethoven. I appreciate the artistry and talent involved in making a record, singing a song or playing an instrument.

 

I also appreciate all of life’s everyday sounds too: The chirping of my pet birds, the snores of my life partner laying next to me, and rain on the rooftops.

 

Value your relationships. I appreciate everyone who is in my life. From the checker at the grocery store who gets me through the line quickly, to my next door neighbor who comes over for a visit, to my coworkers, family, friends, email pals, aquaintences and on & on.

 

Be thankful for all your blessings. From the job you go to, to having food in your kitchen and gas in your car. There are so many things to be grateful for. Celebrate the fact that you are alive and have a positive attitude as you go about your day.

 

I hope you celebrate your life — every day of your life. If you do, you are sure to spread your inner joy wherever you go.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

My History with the Center

I came to the Center back in 1984 as a scared college student. I was 20 years old. I was going to Cal State LA at the time and was trying to come to grips with being gay. I went to see a therapist on campus, she referred me to the Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood on Highland Avenue. I started to see a therapist there, his name was Bob. I saw him for a few months, and started to feel better about myself. He then suggested that I check out of the rap groups happening at the Center.Dan and Rasheed-Gary Pride 2012

At that time, there was a Young Gay Men’s Rap Group meeting on Friday nights at 7 PM. I got up the courage to go and was I glad I did. Sure there were cliques like most groups, but there were also some nice people there that I enjoyed getting to know. After the rap groups, we even met up afterwards at Yukon Mining Co. and Wendy’s. When I was old enough, we even went out to some dance clubs and bars.

Suddenly I was seeing things differently, I was not alone. Here was a group of vibrant individuals dealing with a lot of the same issues that I was. I started to get invited to some parties, I even met my first boyfriend there. His name was Kevin… a fun, and sensitive guy who was a bit popular even. We didn’t date that long, but he opened my eyes to the beauty of a black man, something I hadn’t considered before.

Other important friends I made during this time were Damon, Dominique, Alfred,  and this guy named Rasheed, who later became my life partner.

After a few years, and another boyfriend for me, Damon suggested that Rasheed and I go out. He was never that close of a friend, more on the periphery than anything. Someone I was familiar with, but didn’t really know that well. He called me up, we went out and the rest is history so to speak. We started going out in January 1989.

Damon and Kevin both succumbed to AIDS… it was a terrible loss for me. Kevin I had lost touch with and heard the news from an acquaintance. Damon I watched decline in health over several months. This was back in the days when AIDS was pretty much a death sentence. Rasheed and I were dating at the time, even living together, so we weren’t as close of friend’s as we used to be. But it was still very devasting to us.

In 1990, we started going to a new group at the Center called Black and White Men Together. Needless to say we fit in. Again, we made some great friends and had some interesting discussions. I even served as the Social Co-Chair for the organization for one year.

The group didn’t survive the move to the new location. But the friendships did survive, some were even from the youth group too!

When CA finally OK’d Domestic Partnerships for gays and lesbians we were one of the first to sign up. We waited in line a couple of hours at the Village to fill out the paperwork and get it notarized.

The Gay and Lesbian Center has been life changing for us. It was there when I needed help with coming out, when I was first finding my way in the gay world, and when I wanted to become domestic partners with my lover. Not to mention the life long friends I made in the youth group and BWMT. Thanks for all that you do. You made a difference in our lives and the lives of all gay and lesbian people in the LA area.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. The eBook, A View from the Cheap Seats, can be downloaded from LuluAmazon and the iBookstore. It can be read on any computer, smartphone, or tablet.

 

What’s Your Value in Society?

This is a tough question. How do you measure someone’s value in society? What is one person worth? And who is to determine my worth — my coworkers, my family, my peers, my neighbors, or the greater society of my state, country, world?What's Your Value in Society?

I have just finished the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. His impact on society and the world is great. But, I am left with the impression that he was not a very nice man, not even with his loved ones. He was often very difficult to get along with. I can’t say that Steve was a good person, or a likable one. I respect all that he accomplished and I am a lifelong Mac fan, but not a Steve Jobs fan after reading that book.

Do you have to have made millions of dollars? Or have invented something great? Or found a cure for cancer? Do you have to have raised some great kids? Or encouraged your spouse to greatness? Do you have to go to church every week? And have voted in every election?

I know for me, it has taken me a long time to say that I am valuable. I dealt with low self esteem and shyness issues for many years, not to mention the weight of being gay and Catholic. I felt so unworthy. I was a wallflower, someone in the background. Why did God make me the way that he did? I didn’t like me, let alone love me.

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Getting Older

I’m nearing in on 50. Incredible as it is, it is only 2 years away. I have had a good life and time has flown by pretty fast. I am much more comfortable in my skin now, and like the person I am.

I don’t have too many complaints about my age. I have a lot of gray hair, my vision has gotten worse and I have arthritis at times. I still weigh about the same as I did in college — not many people can say that! Thanks to genetics and exercise for that one.

We are and we aren’t a part of the gay community these days. Let me explain. We live pretty far from West Hollywood hotspots and don’t go out very often. We are more interested in staying home watching videos than going to dance clubs. Because we both look younger than our years, I can’t say we have had any bad experiences as far as ageism in the gay community (not yet anyway). Then again, we are together. I am sure our experiences would be much different if we were both single. The dating scene cane be a very cruel world.

I would probably check out a hot new club in WeHo if one opened. I just wouldn’t be there a few nights every week! I would be more interested in marching for marriage equality, than going to a club. Meeting and talking with people, getting to know them and their stories and sharing my own.

By living our lives like we do, as an out gay couple — we are bringing the gay community to the greater community. For our neighbors in the apartment building, to the people who we run across in the grocery store or the mall, we may be the only gay couple they know. We are hard-working people, who enjoy the same things most people do — like movies, hikes, bike rides, chilling at home — we just happen to be gay too.

It’s a proven fact that the more people get to know gay people, the less likely they will be to vote against them come election time.

I definitely think you are more visible as a gay couple when you are older. When we were younger, people could see us out at the movies on a Saturday night, and think we were a couple of college buddies going to the movies. Now they probably see a gay couple. But so what? We are. If we went for an apartment, when we were younger, they would see roommates… now it is a gay couple. Again, who cares!

So where is life taking us next? Who knows. But I am looking forward to it! I hope people see us as role models, as people who enjoy life and just happen to be gay. I can’t wait to see Madonna on tour in her 70’s. I am sure she will still put on a great show.

An Authentic Life

 

What does it mean to life an authentic life? According to Dictionary.com the definition of authentic is:

1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.

2. having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified: an authentic document of the Middle Ages; an authentic work of the old master.

3. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy: an authentic report on poverty in Africa.

So when we are talking about authentic life, it would be a life that is real, genuine, reliable, trustworthy. My life in my 40’s is the closest that I have come to living an authentic life. What you see it what you get. I am what I am. I offer no apologies for who I am or who I love. And why should I? I did that for years and was not happy with my life.

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