Friday, October 11, 2013

Tell Your Story


It’s National Coming Out Day!  We all have a story to tell.  People are listening, now more than ever.  Be brave!  Tell your story and become stronger.  I had written the following a few years ago, and it’s worth sharing today. – paerki

As a child we are taught in earnest motivation, to be resourceful, but above all else, to be thick skinned, because many can be cruel and downright evil, hell-bent on breaking a vulnerable spirit to deflect their own misery and misfortune.

I am no stranger to these baneful predators, spending a significant part of my early history (childhood to be exact) adapting to those around me who were less than kind, often in my face chanting words of indifference because I appeared to be just a bit different in expression and action, but nevertheless a normal well-adjusted child.

What I embraced I didn’t take personally (or so I thought), but was sad because at times it could be embarrassing for my REAL friends who felt the need to come to my defense (I loved them for that, and that is why they remain my friends today).

I understood who I was at a very young age (5 years old, to be exact), and knew what I was up against, especially growing up in the Fundamentalist faith. This prompted my self-awareness to kick-in, devising a plan of action to keep me safe until I was able to make it on my own. I learned early to retaliate against harsh judgments, fabrications and to deflect questions that were private in nature. (Deep down inside, I was eager to answer because I liked myself, and I was happy with me. I was special – no different from you, but just a bit more memorable.)

As I look back, much of what I endured cost me dearly. I lost my voice, and with that went my confidence and self-esteem. Over time my faith would be misplaced. Truth and honesty often eluded me. Manipulation became a badge of courage and a tool for survival. All speak to a battered, broken life force, which on the inside was dying, but on the outside displayed what you (the world) wanted to see – happiness.

I consider the early part of my life to be boot camp, preparation for the real journey. All that I was and all that I am today have blended into one unique, exceptional man who can say without hesitation, I survived and you can too.

There are no more lies or reasons to manipulate. My faith in the world as a whole and my belief that there is something greater than myself (not the God that so many have beguiled) makes me see the goodness, not just in myself, but in so many other beautiful faces. My confidence grows by leaps and bounds with each passing day, and my self-esteem – high, higher, highest. But more than anything I am proud of most of the choices I’ve made and the one I never made – being a gay man. This is who I am. I am not an abomination, toxic, disgusting or less than you. I am your equal and just as worthy, if not more. (I interject ‘more’ because of the added layer of displeasure I must embrace from those select characters who have an allegiance to empty-headedness and shallow stupidity.)

What prompted the above was the climate of hate that continues to grow because of careless abandonment of thought. Layer upon layer, what is not so complex to understand, but engineered by manipulating forces, ambitious thugs perpetuating their voice into the mainstream for political gain. Religious zealots are prostituting it as a means of oppression. Sadly, we have exploited ancient writings to assert our control, spawning too many lethal leaders and fearful idealistic followers, which is more than egregious.

These days I’ve grown tired of the raucous rhetoric, but never the fight, especially when it incorporates First Amendment rights. The hater and lover must live together, and both have every right to spread their message, regardless of how convoluted and inappropriate one may be.

In the face of adversity, we must hold our head even higher proclaiming our pride, dignity and respect for all life. Allow the naysayers to chant and shout their words of disapproval and disdain because it just makes me want to be a better person.

I prefer to see the faces of hate to know what I’m up against. So thank you, to the many repugnant haters of the world because it’s with your displeasure and vile behavior I become stronger. Your ugly makes me look even more beautiful.

I believe it’s important, now more than ever, for us to be realistic about our battles, choosing wisely.  We’ve become too reactionary in our rebuttal too, leaving many to wonder if there is cohesion among the masses? Look no further than the tea party as the prime example. Their mission statement becomes muddier by the day, but I digress. We must find our way to the middle. This is a mandate for all Americans if we want to thrive and be respected in the world.

With all that I’ve said, I speak from passion and from my history of dealing with those who are only happy when they’re bullying others, stealing your power to feed their ambitious, righteous egos. All only offer a false sense of security and we buy it – each and every time. You bought Bachmann and Palin! Why are we choosing celebrity to real leadership, and beauty over brains?

We need to look inward for our salvation, without deliberating fear. The way to transcend our self-loathing ways is by developing thicker skin. Battles are won with less drama, even vibrato and without every ounce of your body oozing sensitivity. Be strong. We all have the power to make the next day better, and it begins when we take steps to empower ourselves. It’s time we shed our shame, heal our ignorance and embrace diversity. Without the latter we are nothing, remaining hopeless and vulnerable.


 (“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” – Harvey Fierstein)

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.

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I love photographs! They have this amazing ability to tell stories of fun places, special moments, memorable events, and exciting places. They give us reason to pause and remember friends, family, coworkers and so many others. One photograph can conjure up a flood of memories taking us on a journey. They help us remember the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future.

On a cold and rainy day I love sitting in my living room with a roaring fire, a glass of wine, classical music playing in the background and my many photographs scattered about me. I love sifting through what I call my special collection, which refers to my favorites. They remind me of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. They remind me of challenges and overcoming.

My large collection of images are a testament to a life lived. Life happens all around us so it’s important to collect special memories, and what better way than with a photograph.

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There are many people in the world affected by disease. I never thought I would be one of the many. However, at any given time life can change. Mine did! There were many twists and turns, but I made it through and you can too. I am a Celiac on the move living life one meal at a time. Learn more about my life as a Celiac. Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. In short, I have an allergy to gluten, and the treatment is a lifelong scrupulous avoidance of it.

No matter what, know this: You are never alone. There are people out there who’ve struggled, endured, made it through and are sharing their message of survival. No, they might not be at your side, but their spirit is out there in words, attempting to help others on their journey. Let’s all unite by sharing our individual stories, remedies for healthy living, food and recipes to keep us strong, and let’s find the laughter too because it can be some of the best medicine. Always remember, there is power in numbers. Check me out: A Celiac On The Move

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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