The World is battling the greatest fight of its spiritual life. And we as its people must stand and declare ourselves ready and willing to battle the darkness and proclaim the Light as loud and as Hard as we can. We cannot allow the powers of darkness to win this battle, no matter where this battle is taking place. We must stand up for Justice, Freedom and for Life.
There is no middle path. This IS the path.
Many words have been written about recent events taking place a world away from us. Many of my contemporaries have written words extolling the virtue of a free press and the ability to express ourselves as we wish, in our respective countries where the rule of law is Democratic. Yet, no one I know and have read, approaches this subject matter as I have done so.
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It was another cold day, snow fell, but it was much warmer today in relation to how cold it has been earlier in the week. I could not reach my friend who usually travels with me on Thursday night, his phone was busy all day, he did not respond to email, and he is elderly, so I worried.
I half hoped that he was just busy and would meet me at our designated spot to catch the bus, but that did not happen. I got to the park side stop and the bus followed soon after. I arrived at the church and spoke to another friend who attempted to reach our friend by cell at the meeting.
We came to figure out that the power has been out at his building, which is only 1 block away from us, all day long and was only restored around 7:30 this evening. He was trapped in his building. They had no water and no generator to operate their elevators, so the entire building was held hostage all day long into the night.
I knew several days ago who our speaker was going to be this evening. When I got there, the chair asked me to thank the speaker. Little did I know what was going to be said.
Every story is different. We are all different. But there may be shared events in our lives that cross the identification line. I heard several threads that I identified with.
There is something to be said for people who find themselves trapped in a body that is not theirs, and realizing this problem, find a solution, then grow into the people they are meant to be. I speak here for the courage and trials of someone who is transgendered.
I’ve known our speaker for as long as I’ve been sober. We’ve crossed paths over the past decade or more but I’ve never heard her full story until tonight.
She mentioned things that I really did not think about before, but were parts of my own story.
My father fought in a war, loved another man, lost that man in war, and came home and created a life and named that child after the man he lost in the war. In hindsight, I could never fill the shoes of the man I was named after. I was living a life stuck between great love and great hatred.
Our speaker was born into a family that lost a child, and she was the replacement, but she could never fill the shoes that had been left empty by death.
My extended family loved me hard and fought for my survival for years. Where all my father wanted to do was destroy me and kill me, and repeatedly told me that I was a mistake and should never have been born.
She spoke about grievous death.
Early in my life, I suffered grievous deaths, when I lost my father’s parents to strokes, that in the end took their lives later on in my life. But at the time, as a teenager, I worshiped the ground they walked on, the loss was acute. I had lost my greatest protectors. And I faced a much worse threat of imminent death, had my father succeeded in his desire to see me finished.
Those two events took a serious toll on my father and the family by extension. Loosing the people who loved me in opt for parents who did not love me as they should have, left me at a great disadvantage.
I knew early on that I was different, that something was off. I could not name it, but my survival and listening to my folks talk amongst themselves and friends, told me exactly what my problem was and what I had to do to escape.
Alcohol was the vehicle I used to get me where I thought I was supposed to go. And for a decade or more, I never thought about the love I had lost and just how much that loss affected me in my soul. It was like I had entered a time of suspended animation, what was going on inside of me was put to sleep by the repeated use of alcohol.
When the other shoe dropped and I lost the only other human being that cared for me more than the mother who bore me, and was denied the right to attend her funeral because of my homosexuality and my sickness from AIDS, I was devastated. That was a terrible blow when I was newly sober the first time. My parents believed I was insignificant and that I did not matter.
That theme was echoed by our woman tonight.
I would experience several more grievous deaths, and insist that I had to drink to escape the visual and emotional damage those deaths had caused me. How could I live with the vision of a dead boy on an autopsy table, half there and half not, for the rest of my life?
it would take the threat of death to stop my suicide by alcohol.
I had forgotten what it meant to be loved. I had forgotten what it meant to be comfortable in my own skin, because for as long as I could remember, I was never comfortable in my own skin, because growing up, I was a mistake and that I did not matter. I guess the alcohol soothed that ache.
But I never attributed my alcoholism to those factors. I just drank.
Because that what I was told to do to become who I wanted to be.
I spent a little more than a decade, drinking and searching for someplace to BE.
I did not find it because like they say, where ever you go, there you are.
You can’t escape yourself, you carry your baggage with you where ever you go.
I could not escape myself no matter how hard I pounded the alcohol.
This self realization our speaker spoke about in her life, happened to me at age twenty six. Someone loved me in my rawness. Saw that I needed to be loved and cared for, and that was the cathartic experience I needed to begin to build the life I wanted. I had two good years at self realization.
I lost the calm, loving hand that guided my life and was left to pick up the pieces, which did not go so well, and I returned to king alcohol.
The turning point came when I put down the drink the second time. I was broken and delusional, like I have shared many times before. I had a choice to make and I made it.
The changes I began in early sobriety the first time, were completed the second time I got sober.
I set the stage for where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, and why…
My father believed that extended family was useless, that they must be eradicated from out nuclear family lives because they did not fit in with his worldview of complete domination and control. He succeeded in alienating every living person who cared about me in any way.
In the end, when I moved to Montreal, it was an entirely spiritual decision.
My Grandmother, the woman I adored more than life itself, my mother, who had lived here most of her life, until she married my father lived here in Montreal. And later as I learned from my mother in one of our final conversations, I learned of another human being connected to my past.
I came here to connect to the spiritual root of my family. I came here to connect to the spirit of those women whom I adored and were blessed to have in my life, for the short period of time I had them.
That decision was a direct stab to my father’s heart of hearts. I knew that.
I had executed three knife hits to his heart, those hits were unforgivable in his eyes.
I really did not care. How can I respect a man who would never respect me?
The time was ripe for me to grow into the man I was meant to be. And that is when my life intersected with our speaker tonight. I met her in familiar places. We spoke together and we shared together.
We are spiritual beings having a human existence she said. And on our journeys, we are gifted by God to share a bit of the journey together. As we find ourselves and grow into the men and women we are meant to be.
I’ve come through the crucible of hatred and bigotry and homophobia. I’ve come through the crucible of AIDS, and I survived and I live today to tell that tale. My friend who spoke tonight lived through her own crucible being born into a body that was not hers, and she undertook the steps to rectify that problem. And today she is a shining light of love, perseverance and hope.
I did not realize until tonight, just how much the loss of certain people in my life so early in my life had truly cost me. But I did learn about unconditional love. I learned about family, what family really meant, because my family did not live that way in reality.
The kernel of love, faith and family was planted in my garden well before I needed it.
It took me until I arrived in my mid thirties to realize where those kernels were in my soul and I had found the place to plant them, here in Montreal. Once I was settled here, the kernels were planted by God, and I lived one day at a time, and one by one, those kernels sprouted into the life I live today.
I am reminded of just how much I was loved by those who I deemed most important.
I am reminded of just how great a loss it was when they departed my life.
And I chose, by coming here, to honor those women who gave me love and life.
When I crossed the northern Border, there was no turning back.
To be who I wanted to be cost me a nuclear family.
Any L.G.B.T.Q. person will attest to this, that at some point in our lives we are faced with a choice, to live inside a closet or inside a body that is not ours, always looking for who we are meant to be while battling those around us who demand we remain in the boxes they put us in for their own sakes and not for ours, or we break free and we create the family we want with the people who mean the most to us.
Too many teens have died because of this lack of care and love. We MUST break that cycle of abuse and death, if there is to be a future for our young L.G.B.T.Q. people.
I did what I had to do. I do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it, because even today, I see that life, as it was lived, in a different light, once again.
Sobriety, like life, is cyclical.
Every time we get to review the past, we find further insight to it.
I find it amazing that my friends constantly give me food for thought on any given night.
All it takes is a little time, and a bunch of drunks sitting in a church basement to realize life changing truth. The truth we all share, as we become the men and women we are meant to be,
One Day At a Time.