Sunday, September 25, 2011

Judgement GBE 19

Last week Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, committed suicide after suffering being bullied for years.  His tormentors bullied him for his sexual orientation.

Earlier this year, he made this video as part of the It Gets Better project after coming out as bisexual.

Unfortunately, the bullying became too much to take and he ended his life on his terms.

When are we going to grow up?  When are people going to accept that being gay or bi isn't a choice, but the way people are born?  When are people going to accept that being gay or bi isn't the result of a moral failing, a mental disorder, or a deviant perversion?  When are people going to stop judging others based on their sexual orientation?

I have little hope that it will happen in my lifetime.  Last week's official end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the U.S. military was a huge step forward, at least I thought.  Until it became clear from the jeering of a gay U.S. soldier during the most recent Republican debate in Florida, just how many people still have this archaic idea of what it means to be gay.  Rick Santorum responded that he would repeal DADA, that he feels sex has no place in the military.

Well, yea, sexual intercourse has no place in the military.  But would he go so far as to prohibit heterosexuals from talking about their wives or girlfriends?  Putting their photos on their desk or beside their bed?  Talking about their kids?  Talking about loved ones with their coworkers?

I hightly doubt it....yet this is the kind of double standard that homosexuals put up with everyday.  The fact that there have always been gays in the military seems to escape peoples' memory, yet read the online comments following any article about the end of DADA and one would think there are none, and we must keep them out before all hell breaks loose!  Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break.

It's this kind of judgement, discrimination, and outright bigotry that our children have to face every day.  Can you imagine being a gay, bi, or transgendered child, knowing you are different, but not daring to acknowledge it?  Feeling like you have no where, or no one, to turn to to talk about it, knowing that this difference is perceived of as wrong by everyone around you.  Most kids go to great lengths to hide it, to deny it, because this feeling of wrongness is so indoctrinated into our culture that even kids as young as five years old can sense it.  Yet their heterosexual counterparts know no such feelings of wrongness about their existence.  They don't go about their day trying to hide their core selves, for fear of retaliation.  They don't even think about their just is.

Wouldn't it be great to see a day when all children, no matter their orientation, can just view their sexuality as just is and not question it, not feel shame about it, and not fear what others will do to them over it?  A day when a child doesn't have to go to school full of dread and shame, knowing the taunts and abuse that will take place before the end of the day?  All based on the way that person was born.  I really hope I live to see that day.

Lady Gaga, at a recent concert, paid tribute to Jamey.  Mid-song, she pauses and states, "Bullying is for losers."


This is for GBE week 19, "Judgement"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Year Ago GBE 17

This week's topic for GBE is confounding me.

Do I go literal and talk about where I was a year ago?  Not in a good place, but I'm not much better now so do I keep beating that dead horse?

Poem?  Nah, would just be dark and cryptic anyway.  Fiction?  Eh, haven't written any fiction since almost.....a year ago!  There we go.  A re-post!  

But a re-post....isn't that lame?  Admitting that you can't come up with anything new and original?

Eh, fuck it.  Deal with my re-post.  

Ok, it's stretching the "one year ago" topic a wee bit cos I posted this on October 28, 2010 on my old [now deleted] Myspace blog but it's close enough.  It's almost Fall, and the store I work at already has Halloween decorations up.  But it literally was the last piece of fiction I tried to write so, without further ado.....

A Spooky Graveyard, originally posted for BFF (Blogging For Fun)

An eerie mist spread over the cemetary as the shadows of the trees lengthened in the twilight.  All was quiet except for the muffled footsteps of the last visitors, walking quickly back to their cars before it got too dark to see.  All except one.

The man had come earlier that afternoon, laid down in front of his late love's grave, coat bundled under his head as a pillow, and proceeded to talk to her as if she were right beside him.  He chatted about the comings and goings of his life, what he'd had for lunch that day and how the waiter had been rude.  After the mundane topics were covered he poured his heart out to her about how much he missed her, how unhappy his life was and how he didn't know how he was going to continue this way.  Tears streamed down his face and fell onto the dry leaves underneath him. 

"If only I could join you, wherever you are," he whispered, "I'd be content."  With that thought, he closed his eyes and dreamed of her face.

He awoke with a start a few hours later, noting that he was laying in complete darkness, the only light coming from the moon shining through the mist.  He couldn't believe he'd fallen asleep in a cemetary....and he was sure the sound that had woken him up was something to be wary of. 

He sat up and cautiously looked around.  Were the gates locked, would he even be able to get out?  He supposed he could scale the fence if it came down to it....or maybe there's a night watchman somewhere around.  As he was contemplating his situation, he heard the sound again....a groaning, shuffleing was coming right from underneath him.

An absurd thought of a mole trying to get out passed his mind and he nervously chuckled....for surely it's a mole.  Or some other burrowing critter.  Yes, of course, it must be, for the alternative was impossible.  He refused to allow his mind to dwell on the alternative....better not let the old imagination start running wild!

But the sounds kept coming, more clear and more frequently.  His fight or flight response was starting to kick in and his mind was screaming at him to get the hell out of here, now!  But he sat rooted to the spot, paralyzed with fear, and with a stubborn need to prove to himself that it really was a mole and that he was just being silly.  Surely he'd be laughing about this with his friends down the pub once it was over.  Just sit here and wait, there's nothing to fear!

But now he heard another noise, like footsteps walking towards him.  He looked up and saw a figure cloaked in black, a hood obscuring its face.  It stopped right in front of the man and stood looking down at him, his breath coming in soft hisses.  It spoke, and the man felt a stab of menacing fear go through his heart.

"I heard your request, and have come to grant it," the figure intoned in a voice that sounded as if its throat was filled with gravel. 

The man sat staring, dumbfounded, for stuff like this doesn't happen in real life, only in cheap horror films!  What the hell is going on here?  Just then he not only heard, but felt something move underneath him.  He started in fright and tried to roll off to the side but as he moved something punched out of the ground and held tight to his forearm....his late love's decayed hand showed blue in the moonlight.

The man screamed and screamed until he felt he would drown in the sound as the hand pulled him down toward the gaping hole that was becoming larger by the second.  He felt as if his heart would burst out of his chest as he tried to wrench his arm out of the deadly grasp; he saw the black figure point at him in condemnation and as he did so a bright light came flying towards his face.  "Noooooo!" the man screamed, violently fighting to be free.....

He came to and realized that the night watchman was standing over him, shaking his arm trying to get him to wake up, his flashlight pointed at the man's face.  "Come along now mate, t'place closed hours ago.  Ye got t'leave now, shhh, stop shouting!  Ye like t'wake the dead if ye keep carryin on like that, come on now...."

The man sat up and looked at the ground; no hole.  No decayed hand.  He looked around; no cloaked black figure.  His sleep-terrified mind was racing to catch up; he stared at the night watchman, confusion written all over his face.  "There's a lad now, ye've jus' had a wee drop too many I reckon, get up and le's get ye on yer way....say mate, you alrigh'?"  The watchman looked down at the man's white face with concern.

"Yeah....I think so," he said.  "It must have just been a dream," he added under his breath.  He took a deep breath to calm his racing heart and slowly stood up.  He followed the night watchman through the winding paths towards the front gate, which the watchman unlocked for him.  "Take care mate, no 'arms been done, ye get along 'ome now," the watchman said kindly. 
The man thanked him, and went through the gate.  Instinct made him turn round and look back towards the spot where he had lain.....he could just make out the faint outline of a figure cloaked in black, looking back at him.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails

Driving across the Nebraska prairie
on this most introspective day,
September 11, 2011, I saw

vapor trails

criss-crossing the sky,
jets destined for locations
far, far away from here.

I thought back to that
most tragic day,
September 11, 2001 and remembered the lack of

vapor trails

in the sky as all
civilian flights were grounded,
people stranded from their destinations

far, far from where they were.
Somehow it startled me to see them,
as if the planes themselves were

disregarding the reverence
of this day.  Or maybe the travelers
themselves were to blame for

daring to travel and
not remember.  But then I
realized that not to travel, not to blaze those

vapor trails

would be the worst offense.
We will never forget,
but we will never surrender, either.

Copyright Steven Clark 2011


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Liebster Award

Well blow me down and call me Charlie, I've been given a blogging award.

Not just by one person, but by two....on the same day.  Unreal.

Thank you to Jo from My Wandering Mind.
And thank you also to humor after 50 at Views of an Optimist.  Sorry luv, I don't know your first name yet. ;)

This award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and is a way to help them spread the word that their blog exists and encourage readership.  Recipients must then do the following:

1.  Thank the person who gave it to you and link back to their blog.  Done and done.
2.  Give the award to 5 different bloggers and leave them a comment letting them know they've received it.

I thus pass on the Liebster Award to the following cool people:

1.  Sue at sassyspeaks
2.  Michelle at LIVing With Intention
3.  Lydney at mojowritin'
4.  Kim at Things That Cross My Mind  (you seriously got to get back to blogging, my friend)
5.  Paige at peacegirl place  (you too)

Copy and paste the above award logo to your blog, if you wish.  BTW, Liebster means favorite in German.

I'm humbled by this because my blogging has been so sporadic.  I haven't been successful at getting back into a consistent writing pattern.  After blogging for 2 consistent years at Myspace, it all kind of fell apart after the Myspace blogging community imploded and I've struggled to find my footing here.

I could blame it on the fact that my life for the past year and a half has been hellish, but even when I was really struggling during the Myspace years I still wrote about it.  Maybe that's it....the support net I had there isn't here anymore.  Perhaps people got tired of reading me.  When I started blogging I only did it as a form of therapy for myself, as I struggled through the quagmire of life.  I tried to be honest about what I was going through even if it seemed I wasn't progressing at all.  I still try to be honest, and after all this time it probably doesn't seem I've improved my life one bit.  One step forward seems to be followed by four steps backwards.  I'm actually worse off now than I was when I started blogging in 2008.  Some progress.  But I keep plodding on for some reason.

I also never intended to be known as a writer.  It really came as a surprise to me to learn that I had a knack for it, but beyond that I just didn't think about it.  When I began trying my hand at creative writing, it was just something fun to do once in a while to break out of the monotony.  I'm really, really flattered that people seem to think I'm a good writer.

So, a big thanks to those of you who are still around, and thank you to those of you who are new readers.  I really appreciate your support.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


All politicians on both sides of the aisle are crazy, corrupt, and contemptible to some degree, but the current crop of GOP candidates seem to top the scale of bat-shit craziness.  Just sayin'.  

If somehow Rick Perry manages to stumble into the White House, I may consider moving back to England.

Why am I talking about politics all of a sudden?  *shakes head*

It's nice outside.

I wonder why no one besides Sue reads and comments on my blog anymore.  (Hi Sue!)

I'm thinking about having a roommate again to help ease up my finances, but don't want another scenario such as the last one.   I'll have to tread carefully here.

I'm in a better head space today than I've been the last couple of weeks.  I still have a lot of baggage to unload though so consider yourself warned.  Oh wait, only Sue reads this.  Sue, consider yourself warned.

I witnessed an accident this morning involving a car and a college kid on a bike.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but 2 seconds later a different car almost hit a different kid.  This town apparently doesn't like college students.

I'll be watching Obama's job speech tonight with trepidation.  Drat, there I go, politics again.  Sorry.

My local library actually has the BBC version of Being Human available for checkout!  

Been listening to a lot of Flyleaf and Shinedown lately.  They seem to be my go-to bands when my world is bleak.

Speaking of music, Tori Amos is releasing a new album this month, and I'm not even excited about it despite having been a huge fan for years.  The magic seems gone from her newer music, somehow.  I'll probably buy it anyway as a matter of principle.

Bored yet Sue?  I'm done anyway.  Have a good night.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grasping At Straws

I find myself full of so many things I want to say, yet every time I try to write it out it just sounds like I'm whining. Whine, whine, whine, blah blah blah, whine, ad nauseam.  I've started this blog post five times now and each time deleted it and began again.  And look, now I'm even whining about not being able to write.  Good grief.

I wish I could think of something positive to write about, share a tidbit of my life that is happy and not mired in shit.  Hell, I even wish I could just bloody make up something positive, a nice shiny happy little fiction story where everything is good.  I'm not that good of a writer to fake something like that.

I'm grasping at straws to try and find something positive here.  I did start a new job that pays slightly more than I was making at the gas station; I'm now a stocker at a grocery store.  I'll need to come up with some new tales soon.

I have internet access at home again, so I can once again be a pain in the ass to you all on a regular basis here and on facebook.  Wait, that might not be positive, depending on your point of view....

I haven't been kicked out of my trailer yet, so that's good.....

I haven't been arrested yet I have no current pending legal entanglements, so that's good....

Still grasping.....ok here's one.  My dog makes me laugh every time I take her outside to do her business.....she grunts like a constipated old man as she poops.  I know, that's really grasping.

I think I'm grasped out.  But I'll keep working on it.  Christopher requested that I do another installment of "Good Me vs. Bad Me" but my sense of humor has been hiding under a rock and doesn't want to come out to play lately.  I'll see if I can scrap something together.

How do you find ways to stay positive when your life seems bleak?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Insanity....or is it

It's generally accepted that one definition of insanity is "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results."

That definition is used by AA and NA in reference to drug and alcohol addiction; the classic example being the addict who relapses but says "this time it will be different, this time I can control my use" but then fails and ends up in deep addiction again.  Or the flip side, the addict who gets clean on his own and says "this time it will be different, this time I'll stay sober without any help" but ends up in relapse.  Both examples are where we think we are in control of our addiction or sobriety....we always think we're going to come out on top by continuing the same behaviors as before, but the results are never what are intended.

Of course, other examples of doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results can't exactly be called "insane."  If that were true, anyone who tries to learn a musical instrument and practices the same exercises over and over again, hoping to improve, would be called insane.  Or someone learning a new job, or a new language....etc.  But in those cases the expected different result is a positive one.  Certainly one doesn't get worse the more one practices, right?

So why doesn't that hold true with addicts?  It takes practice, after all, to learn to live sober.  Mistakes are made, and we learn from them.  Or do we?  For many, perhaps that's the case.  Some people get - and stay - sober the first time they try.  That boggles my mind, but then I'm the poster boy for relapse.  I should have had enough practice by now to have this whole sobriety thing down easy.  Obviously I don't, or I wouldn't be doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.

But do I expect different results?  When I make the choice to pick up, am I honestly goading myself into thinking that it will be different?  Not really.  Or, when I make the choice to put down, do I honestly expect to stay sober forever?  Not really.  Therein lies the problem.  I've lived for so long now waffling between the two extremes, that I don't know any other way to live.

And that screams insanity, I believe.  What sane person would want to put themselves through this over and over?

You tell me.

Submitted for McBloggery #9 Insanity

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Do We Forgive Our Fathers?

For GBE 16 Parent or Child this week, I'm sharing not an original poem, but one that has multiple meanings for me.  It is a poem written by Dick Lourie, and was also featured in the closing scene of the movie "Smoke Signals."  If you've never seen the movie I highly recommend it. 

I have yet to forgive my father.

How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.
Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?
Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?
If we forgive our Fathers what is left?


Larissa has been on my mind all weekend.  Not that she's ever far away from it, but for some reason she seems more present.  It reminded me of something I wrote in 2009 for a Blogophilia post on Myspace, and thought I'd revisit it.

As I watched the smoke from my cigarette
curl and plume
I thought about her,
I thought about you,
I thought about us
And I realized how everything
is everchanging.
Life is death...
Death is life.
One can't exist without
the other.
One can't exist without
the other.
Then you were beside me
watching me thinking,
watching me watching the smoke from my cigarette
curl and plume,
You asked me “What was going on in there”
as you touched my head.
I said “Do you think she approves?”
“Yes,” you replied
And quietly took my hand in yours.

Copyright Steven Clark 2009

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wise Words

"Life does not necessarily get better in recovery, it's just that the way you deal with the things that come up does get better."

The above statement was posted by someone on a recovery forum I visit, and the insight is something I needed to read today.

I constantly fail at recovery because I fail to see how life is any better when I'm sober.  Being sober is boring, tedious, and immensely more painful than not.  So I throw in the towel all too quickly when my life doesn't instantly become great.  

I guess addicts, when bottoming out, seem to view recovery through rose colored glasses....if I could only get my act together and stop using, life will be fantastic!  I'll be healthy!  My friends and family won't hate me!  I'll be employed!  I'll have money!  And when none of that materializes as quickly as we think it should, we get self-defeated and then start to look at our using life through rose colored wasn't so bad!  The buzz is great!  Life will be fun again!  I won't let myself get in as bad as I did before, I can handle it!  And the cycle continues.

I guess I needed to hear those words today - that my life won't necessarily get better if I get sober - because I'm tired of being on that cycle, and I'm tired of being sold the lie that all will be perfect if I'm sober, and I'm tired of feeling like I'm a complete failure if I can't live up to the standards I place on myself when sober.  It was a poignant dose of reality from someone who's been there, done that, and gets it.

The question is, do I want to face sobriety knowing that?

Thursday, September 1, 2011


All I can see around me is ashes.  Ashes floating in the wind, choking the air, painting everything a dismal grey.

Not even a few remaining burning embers can be seen amongst them; everything is cold.  Dead.

They are, of course, the ashes of my life.  Every thought, hope, and dream has died....burnt blowing into the atmosphere as if they never existed.

I look at them and wonder, what was the point?  What is the point?

I have nothing left to burn, no hidden stores of fuel that can reignite the flame.  It is all spent.

So I go on, an empty shell, going about my empty existence, working my empty job, smiling an empty smile.....longing for a warmth that will never return.

Copyright Steven Clark 2011

Written for GBE 15