Comical Really

7 Jan

So remember in my last post when I was talking about that prophetic graffiti at the metro platform that was my impetus for daily self reflection, asking myself ” Who are you today?” ? Remember that ?

Got to the metro today and it HAD BEEN PAINTED OVER!!!!!! I had to laugh. I mean, there is graffiti in DC that I did , helped with, have seen since high school and NOTHING has been done about it. But my little touchstone, my one little piece of urban loveliness, THAT they had to paint over in the wee hours of the night. Bastards. I blame gentrification. I mean, I grew up ( among a million other places in DC ) around that very neighborhood and let me tell ya buddy. I dont recall quite as many small purebreed dogs and jogging strollers back in my day. In fact, the graffiti was actually written on a BIKE TRAIL !!!!! Bygones.

So I guess I have to just remember to ask myself this question each day. So who exactly am I today….

Today i am a nervous wreck. The job that I have been told is essentially mine once the board approves and he paperwork is drafted and a unicorn shits a four leaf clover and whatever….that job called me on Tuesday to let me know that I should get an official offer sometime this afternoon.  Now I know that it appears the job is mine and I can escape the plantation of DC government in 2 weeks, everything points to that. But it is at the core of my nature to wait for the other shoe t drop, to just know that at the last minute something is going to go horribly awry. I also am just a person that, as my Gram says ” has bad nerves”. So of course, even though the clock hasnt struck high noon, I am staring at my phone like Im waiting for someone to ask me to prom and wondering if maybe an extra klonipin may have been in order for today. Will keep you posted.

And now…this just in…article in the Washington Post about how Nepal is becoming a destination for gay weddings !! (more about that here tiny.cc/rdmin , if I did that right) Have I mentioned here that the two things I want to get accomplished in the next 18 months is plan a wedding and figure out how to get to Nepal to do volunteer work for a few years ?? Had I mentioned that ?

So okay Universe…I will take these two little signs to mean that 1.) I have to figure my own shit out, unprompted by urban art forms and 2.) Maybe Im on the right path for what I want in the near future.

(If you could send me a sign saying DO NOT HAVE A STEAK AND CHEESE AND A CUPCAKE FOR LUNCH, that would be helpful too)

So have any of you gotten any signs lately ?

Who Are You Today ???

3 Jan

Who are you today ???

Every morning as I wait freezing my behind off on the platform of the train heading to work – aka The Plantation -, I stare at these words that someone has spray painted in huge letters on the bike trail below. And everyday it appears to me that they have been repainted over and over again so they stare at me brighter and brighter, coaxing an answer out of me.

And I never have one.

So this year, dammit, Im gonna find an answer. And I accept the fact that the answer could change from day to day because I am ever changing, ever evolving and Im excited to see what Im going to become. I know what I don’t want to be and where I dont want to be but the path out of that place is not always exactly clear. Im hacking through some underbrush, meeting some guides and learning to just sit still in it and let some answers come to me. I know I am sitting on a precipice of many changes:

Literally any minute now I should be getting the official phone call that will offer me a new job and get me out of this hell Ive been in for the las two years.

This year my baby, The Bean, turns 18 and is going to…do something I suppose. Graduating from high school and heading to college would be my preference but it has been a rough year and that may not happen the way I want it to ( Oh the posts to follow on all that….). But whatever happens, my life will become a little more of my own, something it never has been since….well ever really. I had her at 18 but had been playing parent to my parent for years before that.

Chelle and I are starting the insane process of planning a wedding. A wedding with zip zero zilch of a budget and many questions surrounding what family members will come and give us their blessings. Basically will love conquer homophobia ?? Luckily, we have both made peace with the family issues a long time ago and have amazing friends who are like family and nothing will spoil that day…as soon as I figure out what day that is.  So far all we know is what song Im walking down the aisle to and who Im meeting when I get there. Everything else is up in the air. Terribly exciting and terribly scary at the same time.

Theres a lot going on. A lot I need to resolve. A lot I want to do. A lot I want to get rid of. But Im feeling strangely optimistic about this year for a few reasons. First of all, Im going into this year knowing its gonna be some HARD WORK Y’ALL !! Which is very different from most years where I wake up January 1 – or at least sober up by the 3rd – and say I want to make all these big life changes and expect poof !! its gonna happen because I thought it up. And I’ve also found some amazing people on the interwebs. I mean AMAZING. Im gonna at some point figure out how to do proper linking on here but in the mean time, if you happen to be on the Twitter, get to know my friends @guiltysquid and @mommywantsvodka. These two rock stars, whose faces I have never seen, have been lights on some dark dark roads and they probably dont even know it. They also happen to be the lifesavers behind http://www.bandbacktogether.com . If you ever felt alone, or scared or ashamed or confused or just batshit nuts, you need to head on over to the band. There is lifesaving stuff going on over there everyday. ( not to mention Im feeling like FUCKING EINSTEIN because I figured out how to get that button over there up, so click it !!!)

So welcome to this little space o’mine.  I cant make any promises except there will be cursing, there will be incoherence and there will probably be some pretty NOT PC shit going on over here. Sometimes it will be kinda funny, sometimes whiny and sometimes senseless. But its all on the road to figuring out Who I Am Today. I can promise you it will be a helluva ride.

30 Days of Posts….aka writers block rehab.

27 Sep

Are y’all on The Twitter ? You so should be if you are not because let me tell you, I gots me some good ol buddies over there. And one of my buddies ( I would remember which one if it wasnt football Sunday and CLEARLY I’ve had a sip or two ) said you should follow @grace 134 who writes an awesome blog over at www.missdisgrace.com ( I know theres a way to make a cool link here and SOMEONE around here is gonna tell me how to do it, cuz ya love me ). And I am a total sheep to my Twitter fam and do whatever they say. So I headed over there and had a blast and came accross a mega-meme where you are given 30 subjects to write about for 30 days. And since I was consumed with bloggers block, i promptly stole it and…well here we go. I am making a committment to you, my masses of followers ( ok, both of you ) to knock out  these 30 posts in 30 days. Ya know, after the Skins game.

OK. Skins suck monkey nuts this week so I’m back. Another interception  Really ?

So 30 days of introspection. I laughed when @grace134 said good luck. I mean, what could be easier than someone handing you a topic to write about. Especially when you are a new blogger. Someone is putting in your hands a reason and topic to blog.  So , number one – What Do You Hate About Yourself ?

Ok so I CLEARLY didn’t get around to writing this last night. There were more cocktails and then Dexter so, I was busy. Sue me. Back to …

What Do I Hate About Myself ?

I am absolutely consumed with self doubt. I pretty much believe I always took the wrong path, made the wrong decision, someone is going to find out I am a fraud.  And sometimes this becomes basically paralyzing so I just don’t. do. anything. Because, obviously, I would fuck it up, not complete it, do it wrong, people would think I’m stupid.

I just don’t want to be anyone’s fucking statistic – “well of course she sucks, she was a teen mom.” ” Of course she failed, she never graduated from high school.” “What more can you expect, her mom had a drug problem.”

But Im working on that, really hard. At least a few times a day I do the ol ” Im good enough, Im smart enough an dammit people like me thing.” And I am incredibly lucky to have the ChelleBell ( Chelle is my girlfriend, she will get a post all to herself sometime here soon. It may seem to some that ChelleBELLE would be more appropriate but that -E on the end would make it pretty damn girly which would make her vomit. Like twice. Again, more on her later ). She thinks I am pretty damn awesome and has for like 22 years now and she reminds me at least once a day.

Wow. Grace was right. This is gonna be harder than I thought.

All in a Day’s Work

21 Sep

So let’s start with some statistics about our good ol nation’s Capital shall we ? ( I know, stats are boring but they are important to understanding the rest of the post. Trust me kids )

DC has the highest HIV infection rate in the country. An estimated 5% of the population is living with HIV/AIDS.

1% of the population between between the ages of 13-24 is living with HIV/AIDS.

DC has one of the country’s worst public school systems, with a graduation rate of about 50%.

Go Nation’s Capital !!! You are a shining beacon for the rest of the country right ?

And what is my job, here in a city that caught the mayor smoking crack, with a prostitute on video…….and re-elected him.

My job is to prevent HIV, STD’s and teen pregnancy in our fair city’s public schools. Yes, actually, I will take a drink.

Now here is the funny part. I actually LOVE what I do. Let me clarify – I hate, hate, hate, with the venom of a million vipers, my JOB. I am face to face with some of the WORST government dysfunction and waste of resources in the world. Most days, I am physically nauseous at the idea of walking through these doors.  But what I do, reproductive health with kids, stopping the spread of this virus – love it.

I have done nothing but HIV/reproductive health my entire life.  When you are the child of a single mom, sometimes you find yourself going to work with her. In 1986, my mom was a nurse doing home care for people with AIDS (PWA’s). I don’t know how much you may remember but this is in the days before we had anti-retroviral drugs and AIDS was a death sentence. She had a patient that I went with her to visit often. His name was Larry and I loved him. He loved show tunes and had albums and posters everywhere ( !!). My mom had always taught me about holistic healing and that touch was powerful. I looked at how sick he was, rail thin KS lesions on his face and I asked my mother where was his family, how could he be so sick and no one is here for him ? She told me he had a disease that made people not want to touch him. I became an AIDS activist at that moment. I was 12.

I started at 14 as a peer educator for Planned Parenthood, using improvisational theatre to teach other kids  all about The Safe Sex. I actually was part of the youth council that worked to pass the condom availability policy that I work on enforcing now. Since then, I have worked all over the field.

Back in the days before rapid testing,  clinics would call me to be in the waiting room when they knew they would be giving a kid a positive HIV test result. I was the case manager before they got a case manager. I helped them figure out who to tell.

I’ve run a national conference for youth HIV educators. I once organized the largest group of HIV positive youth ever held. Watching positive kids who had never been around another positive kids suddenly find themselves in a room with 150 kids who knew exactly what they were going through was one of the best experiences of my life.

When the dickface governor of Mississippi decided that Medicaid costs were the reason for all of his state’s woes, ( don’t get me started, have you ever BEEN to Mississippi ? ) and that they would now only pay for 2 brand name prescription ( people living with AIDS are usually on a triple cocktail, none of them available generic ), I headed to Jackson to recruit and train PWA’s to fight back. They did, they won and AIDS Action in Mississippi was born. ( I have many tales to tell about Mississippi. I was there 2 weeks after Katrina. There will be future posts about this. Actually, 90% of them hilarious )

When Medicare got a prescription drug plan, I traveled all over the country teaching PWA’s, doctors and case managers what that meant for them.

I spent three summers on the side of a mountain in upstate New York running a counselor in training program that put an emphasis on empowerment and youth leadership with teenaged girls from NYC. I was there to make sure they applied these concepts to their own reproductive health.

Folks, I know HIV. I am not too confident about a lot of things but one thing I can say is I am damn good at my job. Unfortunately, when you work for the government, you never get a chance to actually DO your job. You are too busy sitting in meetings about the work to do the work. Any good idea is going to be held up by paper and process until its too late to implement. The only saving grace is the fact that we have the crazy idea that if you are going to make decisions ABOUT kids, its a good idea to TALK to kids. We have a youth advisory council and those kids keep me sane. They are without a doubt some of the funniest, smartest insightful people I have ever met. And when we recruited, we intentionally didn’t want a group of the A students who were part of everything and without a doubt college bound. We wanted them to average out to a C and look like the cast of Glee and dammit if that isn’t exactly what we got !! We even managed to get a white kid, which is NO SMALL FEAT  in DC schools let me tell ya.

They remind me why I do this. They remind me of the world outside of triplicate forms.  I keep at it because I know that comprehensive sex education saves the lives of our kids. I keep at it because when teachers know how to teach about sex, kids do learn.

And to keep it all from being all bummer-y, I also do it because I spend a lot of time talking about sex which is awesome. I get to keep rubber penises, plastic vaginas, flavored lube and 4 types of condoms sitting at my desk. I’ve taught sex workers how to put condoms on with their mouth ( not too many lesbians with THAT skill, thank you very much). Hell, I’ve even had the pleasure of uttering the phrase ” men who have sex with men ” in the hallowed halls of Congress ! Take THAT Rich Santorum !!

I could go on all day. Its a new blog, I though it would be nice to do a little getting to know you stuff.

But ya know, I gotta go to a meeting.

They Say Your First Time is the Hardest

19 Sep

So this is kinda my first blog posting. My first was actually last night over at www.bandbacktogether.com . I am reposting it here now because it will kind of give you some insight as to why I started blogging in the first place. I am so very new to all this so apologies in advance for whatever fomatting mistakes I make. Soon this will be a super snazzy place to hang out. I kind of wish this first post wasnt so much of a downer because I am hoping that there are going to be a lot of laughs over here, cuz lemme tell ya kids, my life is friggin hilarious. And this isn’t meant to be a lesbo blog or a mommy blog or a political blog but I am all of those things. This is just MY blog. And this is my life.  And sometimes shit like this happens ( btw, kids, I curse. Often. Just letting you know in advance ). And all you can do is Just Keep Swimming.

( I have to thank My Aunt Becky for formatting this and making it all sexy for its debut over at Bandbacktogether.com . I was a hot shitty mess when I wrote it and it in no way reflects what are actually pretty darn good grammatical skills. I have to thank Aunt Becky for a lot actually but that is its own post. Thanks also to Guilty Squid who kicked my butt into gear last night and encouraged me to write this in the first place. )

SOMEONE FUCKED WITH MY KID

I have wanted to post here for a long time. I have a story. It is a painful story. Maybe it’s painful only to me, I don’t know. I’ve been so humbled by the stories I have read here and felt unworthy; like my own problems can’t possibly be as bad. I have followed these writers – I will not call them bloggers because to me they are writers as impactful and as important as any that were found on my bullshit high school reading lists.

They do not know that they have been life lines. They do not know that they have given me validation. They do not know that they have made me feel like part of something bigger. And I have felt unworthy to speak in these forums because I have not suffered the same losses, the same blows, the same sickness…how could I be part of this tribe? But today, in this strange world of twitter that I am still trying to understand, someone gave me the invitation and therefore the permission to post here.

Today, someone fucked with my kid.

Maybe this is the way, the opening of the floodgates, where I feel important enough. Maybe this is where my story gets validation. And I will tell my story, most of which has nothing to do with this incident.

And I want to tell you all so many of my stories because it has taken so long for me to realize that I HAVE a story, that my shit was fucked up, that I got a raw deal, that some of how I am is because of what happened. But right now none of that matters, my story is not important, my hurts are not important, nothing is important except the fact that someone. fucked. with. my. kid.

My kid is gay. I am gay. What these two things have to do with one another I could care less about. The Bean (my kid), is a carbon copy of me in so many ways. We love hard, heavy and openly. She has been raised as a political kid in Washington DC, where there is a rally or march every other week and if it is something we believe in – from gay rights to women’s rights to immigration rights to arts funding to DC statehood – we march for it and we are loud and do not back down.

I taught her that. I taught her about gay bashing and Matthew Shepard and Brandon Teena and the Trevor Project and all the horrible things that happen to people because of how they love. I taught her to be the head of her Gay-Straight Alliance at school.  We matched in our rainbow outfits for the Marriage Equality March. The youth-friendly Gay Pride after-party has always been at our house. She knew she could fight because her mama was always there by her side.

Mama was not with her today on The Metro with her girlfriend.

It was a beautiful day here today. Finally, the humidity had broken and I was down at The H Street Festival, one of the city’s biggest festivals. Bean was supposed to meet me at H street but she is slightly geographically challenged and by the time she figured out where to go, it was time to go home. I told her that I’d meet her at The Metro and ride home with the two of them.

As I got off the train, I noticed that Bean and …we’ll call her Banana…were in the car ahead of me. As I moved to catch up with them, Banana noticed me and said “That man messed with us.”

Oh, hell no.

I bypassed the checkout and went straight through the emergency exit and demanded, “Do you have a problem with my daughter?”

To which he responded, “Children don’t need to see that gay shit on the train.”

I discovered that when he said something to Bean, she said something back to him. So this truly classy gentleman, in his fifties made a fist at my seventeen-year old daughter and told her to “step to him.” This man was also still in his security guard uniform with his name tag. He was a douche-bag security guard at an amusement park.

The details are kinda cliche but suffice to say I turned into every inch the stereotype of a pissed off black woman.

I grew an extra vertebrae so I could roll my head, my finger grew an inch or two to help me point at his face and I learned all kinds of different ways to conjugate “motherfucker.” Eventually, Bean saw me pulling an Arizona Iced tea bottle out of my bag and pulled me towards the car. That was after he informed me that if I was any kind of mother, I wouldn’t have a gay kid, and what my daughter and I both needed was some of his twelve inches, and I needed to bend over and take some of him because I needed to be put in my place.

Ahem.

I told this story to my friends on Facebook and Twitter and the tears in my eyes right now are not because of the incident, but because of the amazing outpouring of support, piss and vinegar that I’ve gotten. My friends are contacting Six Flags where Mr Antonio Washington works demanding that Mr. Antonio Washington be removed from working around kids. My friends are re-posting my note so people know this kind of hatred and ignorance is real. They are sending love to a little girl that many of them haven’t ever met.

And what is that little girl doing ? She sat on her mommy’s lap for about 5 minutes.  Mommy was busy yelling on the phone, Tweeting and trying to fix all of her favorite foods at once. And she was okay. I overheard her on the phone.

“He didn’t know who he was messing with. My mom is so mad and you don’t mess with my mom.”

I read her Facebook Status, “Some asshole was dumb enough to bash my mom’s kid. He’ll be sorry.”

I listened to Banana  “Man, your mom doesn’t play around!” They just made Pizza Rolls and popcorn and are being WAY squeal-y watching horror movies.

Just got off the phone with Six Flags General Counsel. At 9:30 on a Saturday night.

So I guess, to be cliche and because I love NPR , This I Know Is True:

Just because you were an 18-year old teenage mother with a GED and a crack-addicted mother in the murder capitol of the world, you can still be a good mom.

I’m a good mom because I taught my kid to fight for her rights – her rights as a woman, as a black woman, as a black/latina woman, as a black/latina gay woman.

I’m a good mom because she knows her momma is never too far away and will KICK THE FUCKING TEETH OUT of anyone who messes with her.

I’m a good mom because at the end of the day she still wants to sit on my lap and play with my hair.

As Aunt Becky taught me, we are, none of us, ever alone. The outpouring of rage and support over this has been amazing. I have seen this story, in the matter of about 2 hours be posted, tweeted and spread across states and continents. There are warm and fuzzies everywhere and most of you don’t even know the Bean.

I have a story. And there are people out there to listen. Now someone pour me a shot.

  I mean who would want to mess with that face ?

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