listenandpurr

Listening to oneself and to one another. From the Leo.

Day #2, #3 and #4 of Giving Challenge.

Day #2:

vegcookies

Vegan Raw Brownie.

Vegan brownies to best friend in world!

I was inspired by my friend Angela (owner of Goldenrod pastries) to practice a “random act of pastry.” Sweet! The idea is to practice random acts of kindness (in any form) but her preference is pastry. The hope is to of brighten someone’s day…Which is almost a done deal because who doesn’t like to get pastries? Maybe not everyone but I am not talking about them right now, perhaps frequent flyer miles are their thing…Anyway, my friend Megan eats a vegan diet and rarely gets baked goods…so who better than to gift pastries to than her? The only pickle is that I am 1,800 miles away. Fortunately for me, our mutual friend, Erin, from middle/high school happens to run a baking business Tinka&Babinka.  I sent her Angela’s blog, it is there that Erin found a recipe for Raw vegan brownies (THE recipe!) and made them. Erin personally delivered them (because that is how she rolls…) to Megan at work with the below note. I love the e-communication that occurred during this deal. And Megan loved the brownies. win-win. win-win-win.

paperSUPER on many a level.

Day #3: Gave “Whole Foods blue sweatshirt” to my mentee at work. Last year our store did a fundraising campaign for teh Whole Planet Foundation (which provides micro-credit loans to impoverished women so they can start their own small business) and I was in the top #5 so I got a brandy spankin’ new sweatshirt! YEE HAW! I do love work clothing as it is one less article of clothing I must acquire on my own. I had yet to wear mine. Desiree has spoken longingly for a WFM sweatshirt of her very own but she didn’t raise enough money to get one. So I gave her mine. Desiree deserves a “prize.” During our second fundraising campaign she rocked it (alas, no sweatshirt option, though). We are currently fundraising for the Lincoln Food Bank for their back-pack program and she has a mission of sorts to rock-in accordingly. This post has a whole lot of links….

Day #4: I gave my roommates dog, Wally, a walk. He is very afraid of the wind and it is quite windy out (as I type he sits on the floor at my feet). We walked anyway, he did really well because his desire to go for a walk trumped his fear of the wind. Wally has a lot of fears but at least this one doesn’t keep him from doing what he loves 🙂

wallybone

Wally with his bone.

The sharing of resources that occurred with the the brownies was pretty fab. The internet provides so many opportunities to connect people who otherwise would never connect. I also like to support people’s projects and Angela and Erin are really operating some quality business’  Desiree is also fab just for the person that she is. Her greatness frequently gets over-looked though as she is extremely quiet and not one to boast about her accomplishments. Part of my job as a person in her life and (specifically) her mentor is to help her greatness…play out. Partially in ways that are noticeable to other people. She understands that the important part is her intrinsic motivation and abilities though – during a brainstorm session on how to raise funds for the campaign she quickly informed me that she wanted to do well in the campaigns “for her” and prizes or other external motivations wouldn’t work. I was impressed with her self-awareness and could totally work with that. As for Wally, he’s great, and we will probably walk again tomorrow.

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29-Day giving challenge. “Giving is SO HOT right now.”

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Photo courtesy of “29-Day Giving Challenge”Facebook page.

As you probably guessed from the title, I am going to do the 29-day giving challenge (if you do not know about this, you were me 48 hours ago. Cami Walker started this movement after it was suggested to her as a remedy for her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. She did the challenge and has since written a book “29 Gifts How a month of giving can change your life”). This suggestion came to me clearly but I initially hesitated.

This hesitation stems from my (very old) tendency, to quote the great Melody Beattie, “to give away more than I can afford.” For many/whatever reason when I was growing up and into my 20’s I didn’t have the tools to allow me to give within my means, realistically and energetically speaking. Lots of tired days, disappointments and sad faces later I had to get over that!

In all seriousness, I had to un-learn this behavior as it was so deeply ingrained in me and it was no longer serving me. This took time and doing many things that felt uncomfortable to me (from buying new clothing to traveling for a year without a job surviving on savvy and my savings). It has taken a couple of years of turning my giving inward to build myself up a bit – okay, a lot – but I feel I am at a point where I can give freely with boundaries and without expectation. When I do that I am not left feeling exhausted and un-fullfilled (most of the time). All that said, this organized giving still makes me feel a bit hesitant.

BUT I feel that this “challenge” has come into my life as a sign that I am ready to give, without giving all I have and all of my reserves. I have had a lot of practice. For example, I am involved in a program that boasts “To keep it [the program] you have to give it away.” Now, I know it doesn’t sound like it makes any sense but it works, trust me. In fact, this philosophy is the very foundation of the program. How it works is established members who “have it” share the program with new-comers who do not yet have it. It is in this process of “giving it away” (this is done by listening, sharing experience, strength and hope, being welcoming, loving, literally showing someone literature etc.) that we in return are gifted serenity. Both parties win and it is definitely a sustainable way to practice a program. The process of giving it away also makes us feel more connected to the group/program but in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we are going to lose or miss out on anything.

I think I am perhaps touching on something here. There is no need to fear giving away because giving it away, ironically, builds us up or makes us feel more whole. OK, that sounds a bit self helpy (because it is! Fabulous!) but it successfully talked me into actually doing the challenge and eliminating my fear of not having enough. By “not having enough,” I am referring mostly to money but also to time, love, energy and food. I can discuss my past life as a child who starved to death in the Irish potato famine later…I digress, you name it I probably have feared losing it at some point. I know I am not alone in this. We are a society that BUZZES with fear of not having enough, which is why we buy and eat so much crap and drive REEEALLY BIG cars… So to expose my own fears to ya’ll I am going to record the events in my blog and probably have the occasional Facebook status outburst.

Cliff Clavin DSC_0148_500

This is Cliff Clavin. He is available for adoption at The Cat House. The website says that Cliff “is an out-going, fun loving cat man!” He really can strike a pose.

I ask and encourage any of you who have done said challenge to please share your thoughts with me. I also invite “giving” suggestions. At any rate, before this day becomes tomorrow: I am going to start this thang off with a roar. To celebrate National Cat Day (thank you, Paula Christensen!) to pay homage to my cat brothers and sisters and to counter-act the evil that is done to cats this time of year, I just gave $XX to “The Cat House” here in Lincoln. It is a no-kill cat shelter and adoption facility–> http://www.thecathouse.org/donate/

Cuddles2007

Say HELLO to Cuddles! She “is a very friendly cat…loves attention and, of course, to cuddle! She enjoys being petted and talked to.. She gets along with other cats.” Cuddles is available for adoption at The Cat House.

So something pretty meow-nificent (sorry) happened immediately after I made this donation. Upon further investigation of their website I came across the “Free $5 IGive.com” option. Apparently, IGive will donate $5 to the Cat House just for me registering with the site. TBA if I am bombarded with emails but at the moment I think that’s really cool. The Universe is getting on board with my giving band-wagon already.

The day after I made this donation (today) a Cat House volunteer came through my line at work. I know this because she had a “Cat House” shirt on and I commented on it…She has been volunteering there for 7 years and has 3 cats that came from the Cat House (as she put it, a “failed” foster mommy). We were discussing the very detailed screening process for adoption when it got really busy and she said goodbye…Perhaps I am more in-tune and wouldn’t have noticed it had I not been thinking about the Cat House already but I feel that I am getting signs from the Universe that I am on the right path.

Love it! And love the cats. Love ya’ll. 🙂

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“Allergic to Water,” am I gettin’ happier or just getting old? Ani Difranco induced self-reflection (surely you haven’t heard THAT ONE before…)

I saw Ani Difranco in concert last night. I don’t know if it is part of getting older or simply reflecting on “the past,” but I have been experiencing a lot of feelings. Over the years Ani has been such a part of my process, primarily from ages 15-25ish and she is currently making a resurgence in my life. So when I say process I mean me AGING as well as growing and changing my mind, body and spirit.
fierce Ani
She sang many old songs, classics, if you will. Music has a way of re-booting memories and triggering the emotions that are stored within said memories. I was able to re-visit my state mind when I first heard these songs; how I have interpreted them as the years went by and how I hear and interpret them now.

Naturally my understanding of her songs have charged. Much of the time it really was in the best interest of my 15 year old self to be unable to “get” many of Ani’s messages. She writes about some pretty heavy topics that could easily discourage a young person (any person, really). But my mind has comprehended her messages as I have become ready to.

Ani’s music covers many areas: politics, feminism, details of her family dynamic and how it has affected her life over the years, abortion (her own and the politics surrounded the issue) mother-hood, love and heart-ache. She has had SO much of it!

I know that heart-ache is one of her themes that have resonated with me over the years. Her songs about relationships have changed immensely as have I (thank god). Recently Ani realized that the common theme in virtually all of her heart-aches was….her. Her. 10, 15, 30 “relationships” later the other has gone and now she is left with herself, the creator of her woes, to contend with. Damn. Haha. Anyone who decides to take responsibility for their actions can understand this. Anyone who realizes that they got themselves into many (all?) of their messes gets it. But no judgements, this realization that we are active players in our life takes time and patience. Her experiences were all necessary to get her there. Much like my experiences were all necessary to get me there.

Her music post-realization is so different than pre. She writes love songs – Ani Difranco writing love songs! Really creative, really sweet very humorous love songs (such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw2UDRdHlk8).

I need to mention that I began listening to Ani when I was in 9th grade in an attempt to, ironically, impress a boy, Nat Nichols. I still smirk about it now but there was good reason behind it. I adored Nat and Nat ADORED Ani Difranco. I needed an excuse to talk to him so I went to Sam Goody and purchased her CD “Imperfectly.” Long story short Nat and I “dated” for 3 months and then he broke my little 15 year old heart (that I left exposed for him to do as he pleased with) and I was crushed. And really mad. I am surprised at my 15 year-old-self and her taste for revenge. I searched out Ani’s tour dates and marched myself down to Newport, RI to see Ani in concert. Take that, Nat! That was my thinking at the time at least…

*Side note: I saw Ani in concert several times in the years after Newport, and I purchased album after album after album. I was hooked. Hooked on her sound, her message, her energy, her creativity, her fearlessness slash her openness with her fears.

Ani’s tough-girl attitude has softened over the years. I think growing up and motherhood has attributed to this. She sang tonight that “This is me, sincerely, doing the best that I can.” Both as if she were defending herself (which she has done many times, her fans are certainly critics) but also letting us all know part of her truth. Ani, like the rest of us, is doing the best that she can do. Take what you’d like.

She spoke briefly about writing from the heart about your own experiences, “her creed.” It may be what makes her newer stuff so different from her older music. It was a reminder to me to be open and honest in my sharing.

Lots of feelings. I am relieved that I am not having a crisis of sorts. I can look back on my (many) Ani related experiences and be happy and laugh at myself…a lot. But also go feel such appreciation towards many things. For starters, Nat Nichols for introducing me to Ani. ANI for being her! My mother who brought me to those concerts.

She’s a Libra by the way. Ani, not my mother…

My CD player in my 97′ Ford Escort Station wagon to listen to Ani (and wo-man did I listen to Ani), all the women and men (mostly women) who I allowed to break my heart which lured me to angry Ani heart-ache music and the process introduced me to her thoughtful, politic sound, and the recent events that have opened up a space in my life again for Ani Difranco.

I have experienced life because I can look back on the life I have lived. I can laugh and cry but also be thankful that I experienced it and that it is over…Part of evolving is being unable to return to the way we were before. Once you see things differently you cannot go back, you cannot become blind again. I consider it a gift to be able to re-visit moments in my life, perhaps during very, active shall we say…times in life…and be gentle with myself. Thankful it happened and thankful that it is over.

karen and chelsea

My friend Chelsea and I in front of the stage 🙂 She has a Righteous baby on the way!!!

My reflection last night and into this morning is also a good reminder that we do not start out knowing the outcomes of our actions or the true reasons why we do things. I had no idea what I was getting myself into in 1998 when I went into Sam Goody and purchased Ani’s CD “Imperfectly.” Gosh darnit I am glad I did though.

Some thangs I’m thinking about. Would love to read your thoughts:

What events have caused you to re-visit past-experiences and lessons in your life? “Tell me how that made you feel” 😉

Who has led you through experiences and/or trudged along with you? Like my motha at all those Ani concerts!

What experiences have any of ya’ll had that turned out to affect you in very different ways than originally intended? (Like…buying the CD, affectionately referred to ask “Ani’s lesbian CD” in an attempt to impress a boy…but instead opened the Ani D doors in my life).

Have you heard her new CD…. 🙂 Ani singing “Allergic to Water”

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Where is the Buddha or Elsa when you need them? Learning to let go with Anna, Nan, Grammy, Clinton & Stella.

letting go

Over the weekend I attended a Memorial Service for my friend and former manager, Anna. She passed on September 19th 2014 after a 3 and a half-year struggle with brain cancer. She was 52.

I think it is accurate to say that death is something that most people have a difficult time with. There are people who are able to understand and accept death with ease but I myself belong to the group that experiences difficulties (a lot of them). There are a variety of reasons that this is the case but a major contributing factor to these difficulties is my inability to let go. This is one of my areas to work on in this lifetime. To let go of possessions, to let go of ideas and beliefs that no longer serve me and last (and by far the most difficult) to let go of people. This process is slow and probably never-ending.

When I was a kid I had, shall we say, a high turn over rate of friends. I had to let go of the kids who moved or simply moved on from wanting to be my friend. My mother recounts to me that my “friend break-ups” always really upset me. While I don’t remember much of my younger years I know that I felt a lot of sadness over having “lost” these friends. In my college and post-college years I had experiences in relationships, mostly through romantic but several friendships, that allowed me to learn how to let go of the people who either chose to eliminate themselves or who I chose to eliminate from my life. And over the years, especially this last year, I am learning how to let go of people when they die.

Over the last 13 months both of my grandmothers had strokes and died, my childhood cat Clinton and my roommates dog Stella died of old age and Anna passed away.

The common theme of the five is that they gave it their all in life and in approaching death. My Nan was 91 (enough said) my Grammy was in her late 80s and was experiencing the later stages of Alzheimer’s; Clinton was 18 and Stella was 14 (holy crap!) and Anna worked with her cancer for 3 and a half years and did everything medically, spiritually and physically imaginable to ward off her cancer. She was successful many times. Brain cancer is fierce though and returned and ultimately took her life.

Anna documented her experiences through her blog “mylittlegraycells.com” If you want some inspiration (and a few tears to be shed) have a look. What always touched and surprised me about her entries was how much she shared. It is a rare experience, a first for me, to be led through the process of someone battling/working with their cancer. Anna includes her ups and her downs – details of her decision-making ranging from her fears to humor; stories about many of the people (medical workers and fellow patients) that she met along the way. She also includes the experiences she had to get to an eventual feeling of peace with allowing the cancer to take its course and the excitement and gratitude she experiences when she is given again, another chance at living.

This second chance was short-lived though. Anna was very brave. I do not know what happened between her last blog entry and September 19th but I can only imagine it was full of highs and lows (she was promised “agony” before dying). I do know that she believed in a Higher Power and as the program from her Memorial Service states, that she has been given eternal life. Her faith, no doubt, brought her much peace as well as her friends and family after her death.

I want to stress that I know everyone experiences loss. I know ripped jeans are different from animals which are different from people. I had very different relationships with all of them and I experienced different levels of sadness, anger and grief over their passing, but the over-all theme is the same here:

I had/have to let them go. Or, rather, if I want(ed) to move on with my life then I had/have to let them go.

OK, I have figured it all out! Not. How the heck does one do that??? How does a clinger like myself, when left to her own devices, attaches meaning to and saves virtually everything, let go of who and what she loves? (Or if the case may be, what she is over-attached to?)

Regardless of what I know in my heart and mind to be true: that death is a part of life, that everyone and everything dies, that there is more to experience after the 1 day-110 years that our souls inhabit “human form,” that the body inevitably breaks down and stops working…I still struggle with death and all the gosh darn feelings I experience when it occurs around me. Or right next to me. As it is I feel nauseous while writing this (our gut produces substances when we experience an array of emotions. Which is why we feel sick to our stomach or experience those butterflies! See what our friends at Harvard have to say about it!: Harvardknowsourguts.)

In short, I don’t ever want people or animals or plants in my life to die. I want to keep my favorite jeans with rips and tears FOREVER.

But I am aware, and thankful, that the above simply cannot be the case (it is also part of why I live in a small room with limited drawer space). For starters, it would be a disaster in practice! I also know that every “negative” experience such as death can be worked through with gratitude, acceptance and ironically, fully embracing life.

Anna was gracious through her entire cancer process, I know this through reading her blog and from what was recounted at her Memorial service. My fire-y Aries Nan “loved change” (still makes me go “huh?”) moved on and forward with her life when her friends and family members died. She did this with humor and honesty (just to include you in on my Nan’s humor, she once referred to me as a “beached whale,” to encourage me to stop crushing my mother. I simply thought I was snuggling, but it’s all perspective…She also used to tell me stories about old friends or class-mates…pause at the end of her story and then loudly boast “DEAD” and move on with her newspaper).

I encourage you to take a look at Anna’s blog. I do not know how long her family will leave it up but as of today it is still available. She did so bravely and eloquently what I am learning to do: openly share her experiences with others in the world. Her experiences that were heartfelt and humorous and painful and maddening. She touched many people in her church, in the medical facilities she attended and through her blog that reached “the Universe only knows” how many people. I think Anna’s blog is so easy to connect to because she wrote about what many of us fear: death, discomfort, abandonment/being alone, experiencing pain, losing our bodies, losing control and on and on. These are all parts of living life. All parts that are very uncomfortable and I would prefer to avoid…but…

                                           youcomfortzoneTo wrap this all up, how does one wrap this all up…? I know that letting go and moving on means living my life and experiencing every moment. I know that moving on does not mean stuffing feelings, forgetting about or resenting (for longer than healthy grieving allows) “‘whatever’ takes my” friends, family members or possessions “from me.” Letting go means LETTING GO of the idea that ANY of them were ever “mine” to begin with. And to somehow do this all with acceptance, gratitude, trust in myself, others and in the Universe around me. I can gracefully let go of and work through anything. Like the picture above…basically step out of my comfort zone completely and the magic will happen.

This will provide me with lots of life (…and blog!) material…

<3KJ

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To share or not to share: the process of revealing valuable experience from the self-professed introvert.

hide n seek

As with many things in life, it is a choice to share oneself with others. It is my choice what I share with others. I don’t mean literally, I am keeping my cyber pants on, I mean sharing my experience via social media. That which is kept afloat through peoples sharing (sometimes sharing everything, not everyone keeps their cyber pants on).

But anyway, while I am not entirely new to social media (I have, for example, written many a silly or serious post on Facebook) I am new to the public blogging experience. I am deepening my involvement in the social media world though through my “Listen” Facebook page and this blog and I find myself struggling over…sharing. Specifically, how much…when to share and, frankly, what to share at all. At the surface this seems ridiculous, why would I have a blog to begin with??? But at the surface most things seem ridiculous. Obviously there are deeper, buried reasons that are contributing to my fears. I do know deep down somewhere in the bowels of my self-conscious and/or soul that I have valuable experience to share – I know that it is a process to get it out, see title.* This blog is a tool to do that.

My fear and hesitation is especially interesting given that my major motivator for my Facebook page and blog is to”market” my Listening service…Get involved in my grey matter world here, I am reluctant to SHARE and trust my social media world whilst asking/inviting others to share with and trust me. One might say those who can’t teach? I prefer those who can’t (yet) practice (a lot). haha.

It may come as a surprise to those who know me that although I work in Customer Service, after consuming enough coffee I can chatter non-stop and I can converse with almost anyone about almost anything…I consider myself to be introverted and in many areas of my life a very private person. That being true, if I allow the introvert in me to get out of hand and keep too much of myself “private” it will turn into secrecy and I will close myself off from others. Secrecy and closing oneself off is counter-productive to achieving what I know to be true about sharing ourselves (myself).

Sharing ourselves with each other is an act of love. It is in our sharing where we learn to trust ourselves and our voice, where we learn about one another and recognize not only our differences but what connects us (short break from cheesy truth! Does anyone else hear Kumbayah? If you need some water, or a tissue, now is the time to get it). Knowledge is power! Knowledge about ourselves, other people and the rest of the world! I also believe that we are as sick as our secrets and when we speak and share them we reduce and begin to eliminate their power over us. One of my challenges in life *I can thank my Libra Saturn for this* is to find a balance between doing what I am comfortable with (yes, please?) and doing what I know to be the right thing – “right” meaning truly best for my personal growth and happiness and for those around me…Annnnnd achieving it may (read: Will) involve stepping out of my comfort zone. Darnit! Growth always seem to involve that…

A friend of mine insists that I share about this process…which is what I am doing…Because practice makes better than you were doing before..as they say. I want to be better at sharing to create a safe, positive space for myself to reside in but also continue to create a safe and positive space for others.

So bear with me all while I work with myself through this. I believe that the Universe will prompt me to share when I need to and those in my current or future life life will share with me when they feel the need. I know that the only way to become comfortable with sharing, and in the converse create a comfortable space for others, is to SHARE. I would prefer the comfort come before the act but alas, no one asked me.

On a different but related note, I heard this song on the radio for the first time on my way home from work today…Her catchy, oh so very human sounding intro piqued my interest so I trudged on…and she manages to works the word “extrapolate” in so eloquently and appropriately into the song. While I do not intend to adopt her philosophy entirely I very much like the overall message. I also love that it came into my world via my car radio in the ol’ Escort, on the same day I have been formulating and working through this message. Go Mary! Mary Lambert “Secrets”

And then there were two. I went on to search for songs about secrets (I can’t quit!) and this one showed up under the “9 Pop Songs with Secret Queer Subtexts.”  There is ALWAYS  room for one more pop song with a queer subtext:

More to come in this five (six? eighteen? the rest of my life?)-part process! Expect more references to the Universe, mad attempts at self and other love, queer material (not necessarily as a subtext) and a few catchy Pop songs! Probably cute animal photos! Thank you all.

<3KJ

Extended Happy Bisexual Day

What started as a Facebook post celebrating National Bisexual Day turned into this…

bitheway

Courtesy of bithewaymovie.com

When I read that it was National Bisexual Day I initially hesitated to acknowledge my own bisexual pride. My breakdown of this hesitation turned into an exploration of my continuing process of accepting my own bisexuality and understanding why it is so gosh darn difficult to do so! Once I started to analyze my own feelings on the matter (as though one’s sexuality can be summed up as “the matter…”)… I began to see how others have difficulties understanding bisexuality as well.

I still have qualms about identifying as bisexual. Truth be told, I probably would have qualms about any label I choose to identify myself as but I identify as bisexual and I am overall thankful and happy to say it. This has not always been the case. Until age 22 I identified as “sort of straight,” and at age 22 I realized that I was a lesbian. A full-fledged, cat-owning, coffee shop loving, 100%, go get my Carhart pants lesbian! I had entered the beautiful dark side and had no interest in returning back to heterosexuality. Anyone who knew me during this time can attest to the certainty I expressed to only be with women for the rest of my life…

Well, much like every other CERTAIN PLAN in my life it did not go as I planned. To make a very, very long story short, over the last 10 years I have had experiences that have led me to where I am now: a confessed bisexual. This has been a difficult process as “not straight” and “not gay” isn’t always a very friendly place to be. ***This is NOT to say that I believe straight or gay is always a friendly place to be – not the case. In fact, many think bisexuals have it easier as we can pass as either straight or gay depending on our environment. Potato-gay potato, every group or identity comes with issues that make life difficult. In no way do I discount any group’s difficulties while writing about the difficulties I experience with bisexuality.

But it is Bisexual Day so back to bisexuality, it’s an unexplored, uncertain place to be and no one likes that!! Myself included. I have explored my own prejudices and problems with the term and (forgive me) lifestyle so I don’t fault others for not understanding. Bisexuals, much like other non-extremist groups, by their/our very presence, invite people to question their own extreme, perhaps unquestioned stances, (on sexuality, politics, diet preference and so on). All of us want to feel like a part of a group, especially when it concerns our sexuality and the more clear the rules of that group are the easier it is to know how to fit in. Well gosh darnit, bisexuality is an in-between space full of uncertainty and flexibility, i.e. not an easy place to begin to know how to fit into. Uncomfortable and at times unwelcome. The interesting thing is that bisexuality is inclusive of many different ways to love and can include lots of different people.

That being the case, I know and love more straight or gay people than I do “out” bisexuals. I want us all to co-mingle together in peace…and to eventually convert you (JUST KIDDING:)). I think the real crux of the matter is the more we accept ourselves, our own feelings and how we choose to express them, the better able we will be to accept each another, even if we express our sexuality in different ways.

With that said, I believe that we are all, LGBTQIA, looking for the same thing(s): To accept and love ourselves in a romantic/non-romantic/sexual/non-sexual way; to know and to feel comfortable with what we consider romantic/non-romantic/sexual/non-sexual; to find another person(s) who will accept and love us in a romantic/non-romantic/sexual/non-sexual way; to find a group(s) we can feel a part of that will include us and in the process accept and love us; to get our rocks off with ourselves or another person(s) who, preferably both but not necessarily both, accepts and loves one or several of the following: our body, heart, mind and soul or is at least good in the sack. To know what we consider “good in the sack” and how to express and ask for it and to find (or not necessarily find) another person(s) who feels the same way or at least accepts and loves us enough to give it a try…

To be able to do all aforementioned acts and to feel all the aforementioned feelings in a physically and emotionally safe environment with self or another person(s). To be able to post on Facebook on National Coming Out/Gay/Bisexual/Trans/Straight/XXXXXXX day that THAT’S ME and it’s cause for celebration. Now, I still don’t see why this is so difficult… 🙂