There goes the neighborhood

Okay, I have to blog this because it’s too good not to.

We were on our way home today and pulling into our neighborhood.  All of the sudden Grace starts babbling on and on about having “three wishes.” She’s listing all of the things she’s going to wish for with her three wishes…Polly Pockets, fairies, etc….  I’m only barely listening, because I just can’t listen to every word she says if I am going to maintain my sanity.  Just as she says the word “Genie,” I happen to glance in my rear-view mirror in time to see our nice, Sikh neighbor out for his daily walk wearing his customary turban and robes.  I almost peed my pants.

So we’ll be spending the afternoon on this website, because if she asks this poor man for Polly Pockets next time he walks by our house I may die.

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The Best Worst Run Ever…or so far anyway

Let’s just start with the moral of the story: DO NOT PUT JALAPENOS ON YOUR PIZZA LESS THAN 24 HOURS BEFORE YOUR 18 MILE RUN!

The stats from today’s run kind of tell the whole story:

  • Total distance: 18 miles
  • Time actually spent “running”: 3:35  (mind you, my 17-mile run two weeks ago took 3:06)
  • Time on the course: 4:17 (that’s 42 minutes more than I ran)
  • Number of bathroom stops in the first 10 miles: 6 (or 5, but only if you insist on taking the word “bathroom” literally)

The Good

I finished, dammit.  I had a freaking horrible run but it was a freaking horrible 18-mile run, dammit.  Could I have run another 8.2 miles?  Yes.  It would have included a lot of walking and it would not have been pretty at all and I probably would have spent the last 4 miles crying but I could have covered the distance within the 7 hours that the course remains open. Continue reading

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4 Children Dead

Seth Walsh.

Tyler Clementi.

Asher Brown.

Billy Lucas.

Someone’s son.  Someone’s brother.  Someone’s grandson, nephew, cousin, friend.  Some were gay, some we don’t know…not that it matters really…what matters is someone thought they might be and that was reason enough to torment them.

Now they are gone, their short lives ended by their own hands.  You and I are left with a world with four fewer sensitive, compassionate, unique souls but where the bullies will grow up and have kids of their own–a new generation of bullies and bigots.

It’s important to remember that the bullies that drove these kids to such desperation that they believed their lives were not worth living do not reside only on our playgrounds and in our locker rooms.  No.  Schoolyard bullies are merely one piece of a much larger and coordinated effort to make life a living hell for anyone who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.

Yes, I said coordinated.  Yes, I meant it.

No, I don’t think that hate groups like the Family Research Council or National Organization for Marriage (or Focus on the Family, or the Mormon Church, which spawned them, respectively) have deliberately recruited an army of adolescent bullies.  But I also don’t believe for one second that the impact that their hateful, deceitful campaigns have on young homophobes is lost on them.  In fact, I’d be willing to guess that at least some of the bullies involved in these four cases believed that they were exercising their First Amendment rights when they degraded and humiliated kids they knew or believed to be gay.  They got that idea from the “poor, persecuted Christian”-rhetoric of groups like FRC and NOM, who are increasingly leaning on an argument of “protecting religious freedom” as justification for their absolutely un-American bigotry, as all of their standard sociological, psychological, and legal arguments are being repudiated left and right.

Still, the blame does not solely rest on the shoulders of the bullies, young or old, but also on the indifferent, cooperative, and cynical.  The blame rests on the shoulders of people who donate to groups like Focus on the Family, the Mormon Church, the Knights of Columbus, etc…and vote for any candidate for political office who opposes marriage equality, job and housing protections for LGBT people, hate crimes laws and anti-bullying measures in schools.  No amount of rationalization, no amount of “well, I like their fiscal policy not their social policy”- bullshit is going to return these four boys to their mother’s arms.

The fact is, it’s not the bullying that kills these kids, it is the loss of hope.  They get to a point where the hell they are in is greater than any future they can imagine — and who can blame them?  In addition to cacophony of hate they hear from their peers every single day, they get to hear the opinions of politicians, pundits, and clergy telling them that they are “less than.”  Every two years they get to watch as the LGBT community is used as a convenient punching bag for campaigning politicians and political strategists looking to ignite the passions of their “base” or raise a few bucks.  They get to listen to politicians promise them hope and change, and then watch them obstinately refuse to even attempt to meaningfully fulfill those promises because it’s not politically expedient to do so.  They get to watch their hopes and dreams of working in the profession of their choice destroyed to settle some partisan score.  They watch the groups that are supposed to represent them throw fabulous parties and galas and then sell them out to maintain the organizations own “relevance.”

The people and places to whom they should be able to turn in their despair are, unfortunately, just as tainted by the pollution of hate.  Three of these kids were school-aged and their bullying was no secret, regardless of what their ass-covering school district administrations are now saying.  Kids knew, parents knew, parents of other kids knew.  Why was no one listening?  Where were the teachers and administrators?  Perhaps we could have found them on Sunday mornings, listening to toxic sermons from hypocritical clergy.  Perhaps they were busy contemplating their purpose-driven lives, or reading devotionals on topics like mercy, grace, and justice.  I hope they get sued blind.  I hope their conscience eats at them every single day for the rest of their lives.

Keep in mind, these are just the suicides we know about.  There are other.  Thousands every year.

These are just kids.  They don’t have jaded cynicism that comes with the life experience of adulthood.  They don’t have the sense of perspective to listen to the news and say “well, same shit, different day.” They can’t grasp the concept of the moral arc of the universe bending toward justice while they’re getting the crap kicked out them or being stuffed in a garbage can.  And we shouldn’t expect them, or ask them, to “buck up” — we can never, ever lose sight of the fact that they are just children and they should be allowed to be children.  It’s our job to protect them, and frankly America, we’re doing a piss poor job of it.

Posted in "The Gays" | 3 Comments

The Beginning of the End.

Today was the first run of the last set of “build up” weeks of the marathon training program I’m in.  The schedule has consisted of four, month-long sets, each consisting of three weeks of building up mileage and intensity, followed by a recovery week where we lower the mileage and intensity.

To give you an idea of the progression, the first tempo run we did was three miles total with 10 minutes at our tempo pace, which is slightly faster than our goal pace for the marathon.  Today’s tempo run was 8 miles with 35 minutes at the tempo pace — the tempo portion was longer than the whole first run! Continue reading

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One day

I think about Prader-Willi Syndrome every second of every minute of every single day.  It never goes away.  It’s like when you get an annoying ringing in your ears, except it lasts the rest of your life.  Maybe that’s why I dive head over heels into books, then running, then cleaning, then writing, then shopping, then activism, then eating, then…whatever else I have a tendency to throw myself into full force for a short period of time before fizzling out and wondering what to do next.  Maybe I’m just trying to drown out the noise; the “what ifs?” and “what thens?“, all the attempts to calm my own fears and convince myself that everything will be okay.  So far, running is the only thing that has come close.  But, in the end, it’s all futile.  Nothing makes it go away, nothing makes it feel better, nothing makes it okay.

I cleaned out some clothes this weekend; work clothes I haven’t worn or fit into in five years, all the matching shoes that went with them.  I even took inventory of my underwear drawer, I didn’t realize I had only maternity underwear left — which either speaks really highly of the quality of maternity underwear, or not so highly of the size of my butt.  I don’t know what provoked all of this except that they were all tangible reminders of a time before Prader Willi, a time when expectation was so much more …hopeful.  (I know…the irony)

Mostly though, it just made me really sad, and really tired.  I’m worn out (again). I need a vacation — but not a vacation with bags and tickets and reservations.  I just want one day where I don’t think about Prader Willi, one day where I don’t even know what those two words mean.

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What in God’s name is in the ranch dressing at Sweet Tomatoes?

You may recall that Grace and I have a history of rather interesting conversations over meals at Sweet Tomatoes–last time we were there she questioned the legitimacy of my birth.  Tonight was altogether different, but just as fascinating.

Grace has decided that she wants to “be a Sweet Tomato” when she grows up, which is her way of saying she wants to work there.  Personally, I’d rather she stick to her previous aspiration, owning Granmarie’s Chicken Pot Pie Shop and keeping it open 24 hours a day.  My mind was wandering as she babbled on about her career plans, mainly because I was trying to distract myself from the Taco Mess of a Salad that tasted like my feet that was on the plate in front of me but I snapped back to attention as she drifted towards the matter of procreation.

this is disturbing

Grace was concerned with how she would be able to achieve her dream of becoming a Sweet Tomato since she was not born to Sweet Tomato parents.  You see, the boy Sweet Tomatoes and the girl Sweet Tomatoes get married and then the boy Sweet Tomato puts a baby in the girl Sweet Tomatoes’ stomach and that is how future Sweet Tomatoes’ employees are are made.  As far as Grace is concerned, the entire labor force of Sweet Tomatoes is its own distinct race of people, specifically bred for the purpose of working at Sweet Tomatoes.  Oh and they live there too.

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It’s a miracle.

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