A Bag of Apples, Pears and the Orange

Based on a true story.

A woman walks into a local grocer to purchase apples for an apple. It’s her daughter’s birthday and she loves  mom’s Granny Smith apple pie. Anna likes all kinds of pies but today she wants the apple pie. Mom grabs a cart and happily strolls the isles for all the things she needs for the pies. flour, sugar,  butter, Cinnamon and other tasty ingredients are plucked from the shelves and carefully placed in mom’s cart. She checks her list and heads off to the fruit and vegetable section to get some apples.

Mom walks up to the bins containing all sorts of fruits. Boxes and bins of newly delivered produce are stacked on the floor.  She smiles and her own excitement rises thinking about her daughter’s special day. So many wonderful, colors and aromatic fruits are on display. But the apples are all in bags. No worries she says to herself and skips over to the island of apples. They are all beautiful and fresh. A flash of bright green catches her eye and mom know’s she has found exactly what she is looking for. The sign above reading “Fresh Granny Smith Apples”, “$2.00 a dozen”. Mom is pleased and picks through the bags of Granny Smith apples A puzzled look replaces her smile, something is wrong.

A stock boy walks buy and with  she says to him: “Excuse me I am looking for Granny Smith apples. I seem to have found them but all these bags contain 6 Granny Smith apples, 5 pears and an orange. I see you have lots of bags of Gala apples, oranges, cherries and pears. But the Granny Smiths are in mixed bags.”

“Yes, ma’am but they are all fruit so deal with it. ”

The woman is a bit dismayed at the stock boy’s response. But she is  not one to judge so quickly thinking to herself, maybe he is having a bad day.  She politely speaks to him again. “I’m sorry, I really only want Granny Smith apples today is it possible to get a dozen Granny Smiths?”.

“What you don’t like all that fruit or something. What’s wrong with you lady?. Those pears are green too and that orange is just as much a fruit as the apples. This is a grocery store and we sell fruit in this section.”

The woman is deeply disturbed by this young stock boy’s attitude. She wonders what she has done wrong to deserve such a rude reception. She simply wants Granny Smith apples today. No sooner does she count to 10 and gain her composure when another stock person, a older woman, comes over noticing the discussion. The woman explains her situation as other customers filter into the fruit section. The older woman talks to the stock boy and turns to the mother and asks her what her problem is?

“This is all fruit and these bags are Granny Smith apples. Take the apples and make your pie.”  the older woman proclaims and storms off to the back of the store.”

The other customers in the area are shocked by what they just herd. And come to the mother’s side. They talk amongst themselves wondering why they cannot purchase just a bag of Granny Smith apples. The stock boy hovers near by and berates  the group of customers for for their discussion. Several of the men and she wants Granny Smith apples and you are chastising her for this? What kind of customer service is this?”

A handful of mangers come over. The older stock woman obviously in tow.

One of the managers immediate blurts out. “Fuck you lady and the horse you road in on. We will hear nothing of this. I am going to report you to the police if you don’t shut up right now.”

Another manager chimes in. “What are you some kind of world class chef and think you are better than all of us? You are obviously a bad person and we are sick of you coming into our store and complaining about all f out fruit. You come in here to our store and attack our business and our employees. You are a mean and spiteful person who obviously does not know how to cook or what an apple is.”

The customers and the mother are in utter shock. What have they done? This women only wants to buy a dozen apples. A dozen Granny Smith apples in fact.  And another customer then three speak out saying the same thing. They only wanted to purchase Granny Smith apples at this time. The are fine with the other fruit but that is not what they want or need right now.

Several of the customers again speak out an turn to other customers and other passing managers. There voice is the same. Why can we not purchase Granny Smith apples? Why are they being attacked by these manager and even some other customers who drop in and drop out just as fast as they came. Never knowing or understanding the situation, some of the other customers chastise the mother and call her things she is not.

One customer speaks up proclaiming that she will just take her business elsewhere if that is how they all feel. A group of managers and customers descend on this women like wolves ready to devour her. Calling her crazy, a liar, an elitist even making threats against her. “We will find you and we will destroy you.”

One manager manages to speak out one last stab as more customers come to the aid of the mother who simply wanted to Purchase Granny Smith apples.”Lady this is all fruit. You make you pie with it and be happy about it. Tell your daughter its all the same anyway there is no need for her to know there are pears in her apple pie. She doen not need to know there is any difference between different kinds of fruit.”

The mother did not need or want pears or the orange. She loves oranges and she loves pears. She buys them often for her family. But apparently in this store you cannot buy just Granny Smith apples. The customers talk amongst themselves wondering what terrible crime they have done. And why they are being called names an accused of things they have not done. They wonder why they are attacked by the store and other customers for even asking why they cannot purchase just the one kind of apple without getting all the other fruit too.

Yes the pears are green and they look very similar to the Granny Smith apples. Yes the Orange is a fruit but they are not the same. The store is advertising all kinds of fruit and they are all yummy in their own right and have beautiful qualities that make them different but equally as good. But as far as the store and some of the customers are concerned it’s all fruit and you cannot cannot buy just Granny Smith apples. In fact too even talk about selling bags of Granny Smith apples will earn you the label of being a bad customer and even a hater of other fruit.

As I said this is in fact based on a true story. A very disturbing story of sometimes militant reverse activism in the LGBT community. It is why certain portions of the LGBT community are so divided. They all proclaim their support of each other publicly for the most part and profess all inclusion. This is fine. Its great. There is strength in numbers when we can all work together at the right time.  With the diversity in all things in nature so is true of human kind. We are not all the same even though we do all deserve equality and protections under the law. But to form coalitions or even discussions around these differences is a crime. Yes a crime where you will be attacked and discredited for even mentioning that the Granny Smith Apples though fruit are not Pears or Oranges. This is not an attempt of discluding anyone as some would have you believe.  We tell our kids what the difference between an apple and an orange is and that they are both good. Why can we not do the same with people?

Cali: Fairytales and Make Believe

I am wondering. Did Cinderella actually dance in those glass slippers? Or is the glass slipper really a metaphor for the endless possibilities in life if you just believe it in your heart? I have been living this fairytale of sorts for the past 2 years now. But the fairytale is real. I never thought the glass slipper would fit but it does and I am dancing my life into each new day.

As many of my friends know by now. I am moving back to the land of make believe. California. Where we have a govenator instead of a governor. Where we pretend the state’s financial crisis will one day be resolved. Where Boys will be boys and girls. Where  H8 is legalized thought out of state religious contributions. Where us white folks are not the majority. And where the potential for fire and earthquakes so powerful is so great Arizona will one day be waterfront property. Yes my beloved, fake as a silicone boob, tree-hugging wannabe state where the cost of a living is so high fairytales turn tricks too make a living. God I love California. I lived there for the last 10 years after having moved out there sight unseen. I said I would never leave. But I did.

I left California for several personal reasons. And I traveled all of 5 hours east to stay with some wonderful friends, Michael and Lillian, who welcomed me into their home while I took care of business. Well that much needed time of reflection and metamorphosis has come to an end. I did what I had come here to do. Though I though I might stay longer, the freaks and geeks of my land of plenty beckon. Neptune has managed to hurl his overcompensating dinner fork against the brutal Santa Anna winds and struck me in the heart yet again. I am a Pisces and therefore unable to hide form my master’s reach.

I must be near the ocean. I will sacrifice unimaginable amounts of income and broken heels too walk along the Pacific shores at will. I will brave the innumerable great restaurants and state parks to satisfy my soul. But I will not do it without loss. I will leave behind a wonderful group of friends as I did when I left San Diego in September last year. Trish who I have gotten to know so well over mass texting and one night of sushi. Angel who I met online and then several times for dinner and nights out at local lesbian clubs. Both women I will miss. Both are beautiful souls who I hope will stay friends for ever.  And all my other friends here who I should have driven to visit but never seemed to find the time. I hate that about myself. But will always be your friend. Alyssa I never got to jam with you. And Joseph I hope I can one day visit you in Sedona. A beautiful place of enormous, natural healing energy.

I am very grateful for all the love and support I have received here in my temporary home in Arizona. I have a special thanks for Addy Jensen. If you had not invited me to the 4th of July party last year none of this might have ever happened. Whether you realize it or not you opened a huge door in y life that when I walked through set in motion so many things I am to thankful for.

In one week I pack some of what I own and will travel nearly 12 hours north to Sacramento to stay with my sexy wonderful friend Rebecca in Sacramento while I look for a job in San Francisco and the surrounding area. I look forward to spending more time with my Becca. 😉 I look forward to exploring more of NorCal. I will be closer to to some good friends. And I will certainly make more as I settle in my new life in Northern California. I will make it work. And I will be more fabulouser. I love California despite ll the craziness. Maybe that is why I love it. There is an energy there that owns my heart and soul like no other place I have ever been. It feels like home.

So onward Cinderella. Follow your heart and follow your dreams back to the land of make believe and all the crazy wonderful things the come with being a California Girl.

Totally!

Gender Identity in the Gay and Lesbian Community

I am so glad to see a video like this done by a lesbian couple on a mainstream LGBT web site like AfterEllen. I think this is a very important topic even outside of the transgender community. Please watch it and see the comments being posted on the website. My comment is also posted after the video.
Lesbian Love: Gender Identity (Episode 12)
by Trish Bendix
This week, Lacey and Jessica discuss how we as women choose to define ourselves within the LGBT community and to the wider world — and whether it is a desirable thing to do.

Lesbian Love ep 112 Gender Identity from lacey stone on Vimeo.

This is really a great video for a several reasons. As a femme lesbian I find it frustrating and a challenge at times that people automatically assume I a straight. I don’t fit the stereotypes. I like to be a tomboy some days. I like to be very feminine on other days. It just depends on my mood and if I have not done laundry in a week. I am an amazon, tall and strong but gentle when I want to be. I like motorcycles and fast cars. I also love to get all dressed up in heels and a slinky dress and be pampered at the spa.

Stereotypes really do more harm than good in the entire LGBT community. Gender identity is especially difficult because our society has done everything possible to enforce a gender binary. The rules are changing but in general you are either a boy or a girl and there can be no middle ground. I think this not only applies to the transgender community and the struggles they face, but it also greatly affects the gay and lesbian community just as harshly.

Gender and gender identity is very fluid. And sexuality has nothing to do with your gender identity. The stereotypical butch lesbian fitting in all the male roles. They hyper-femme gay man fitting in to more female stereotypes. Throw in the transsexual male or female and you quickly see all these gender and sexual stereotypes vaporize. Yes a more femme woman can be a lesbian. And they do “fit” into society more because you cannot look at her and say oh she is a lesbian. She is not testing the boundaries of typically conservative society and the stereotypes we have all been taught all our lives as she appears to fit a certain gender binary.

The underlying point your video makes on purpose or not is that many of the stereotypical ideas society has tried to enforce about gender, being masculine or feminine are simply not valid. they are not valid in nature so why should humankind be exempt? There is a spectrum of being masculine or feminine that goes way beyond what society has taught us in the past.  Men do like sports and fast cars and drinking beer with their buds. So do women. This dose not make them gay. And Men love fashion and art and pretty things. But this does not make them gay. A transsexual woman may be very femme and pass through society unquestioned. But this does not mean she likes men. The same is true for TransMen. Stereotypes just do not fit in the LGBT community and in the rest of society to many degrees.

We are all beautifully unique and it is OK to be different. It is OK to live outside the box. Yeah that little tiny colorless box that some people try to fit all of humanity into. You know the one where there is only man and woman and they can only love each other and act like a man or a woman and only do the things that a man or a woman “should” do. It’s all so preposterous.

I live outside that box in a life of full color. And I am very happy to do so. Exploring and evolving your gender or even sexual identity is natural. It is a good and healthy thing. As we mature we hold on to bits a pieces of what we learn and like about being male or female or any number of infinite pieces of both. It is what makes us who we are and makes us such amazing creatures.

Fragile Hold

Looking back into my mind I see the reflections of who I used to be.
The painted rooms filled with all I have seen and done.
The childhood room with faded, peeling walls still filled with innocent thoughts.
Looking in is like looking through frosted glass in the clouds.
Occasions of clarity break the visual muffled silence.
Images and pieces of memories still rest neatly on the shelves of my years.
The alley behind our home in Baltimore.
The garden at my grandfather’s home.
The taste of the wooden crib on my newly emerging teeth.
The used and worn but loving gift from a babysitter.
Youth in the next room throwing tantrums and fits, growing.
The room unsettled and littered with deeper closets to explore.
Stains of blood soaked experience and cloudless skies.
First crush, first kiss, first dreams.
Confused sheets half covering long unused thoughts.
Freedom and independence etched on the doorways of each new year.
Mature and jaded rooms added hastily to each passing year.
Dark creaky stairwells to places better off forgotten.
The places one never wishes to visit alone.
Love covers the walls yet fades and crumbles to the floor.
The halls of memories are endless and unsorted.
Pieces of past and present mingle in the air of fading memories.
A room fit for an adult sits incomplete.
The smell of newness confuse the sight of painted over past.
The corners of each turn stained with the finger prints of all my years.

This fragile hold a keep of flesh and bone is my life.

A Mother’s Love

New skin slowly grows over aged memories.
Thin veils of translucent comfort.
A puny defense holding the moments in their place.
Cutting blows of emotion.
Tearing, cutting and pulling at the infant layers.
The fragile roots of calm slowly give.
Stresses become fissures.
The painful memories flow freely.

Cry more tears to sooth the open wounds.
Like glue they pull and fill the voids.
Arms reach out.
Gentle touches catch the falling pieces.
Love binds the broken moments.
And healing begins again.

The Blue Fairy

The greatest powers in the universe cannot hold back tears that need to flow free. Mine had been building for a few weeks. I did not cry long or particularly hard. This time I had my mother their to catch me. So many times I have cried in the last 2 years that I wished mom was there. Today she was because I am home for the first time in many years. Today I cried and All I needed was a catalyst.

The Blue Fairy pried the memories from my mind and the tears soon followed. As I watched the movie AI with mom, I realized I had forgotten about the Blue Fairy. The Blue Fairy was to grant David is sole wish in life; to made into a real boy so that he could return home so his mother would love him always. Towards the end of the movie the key to my tears would soon appear. As David steers the craft too the bottom of the ocean where what seems a blue fair stands silently in the ruins of humanity, he finds her and asks her “Blue Fairy, can you make me a real boy?”

The darkened cell in which a certain memory lay captive, silent and seemingly dormant was released. And David became trapped in a prison forever just out of reach of the Blue Fairy to perpetually pray to her to make him real and to be loved.

I too had my Blue Fairy as a child. Endlessly praying to release me from my own prison and to make me “real” too. For me what seems a lifetime, over 30 years, since then my wish was finally granted. But it was not the Blue Fairy to release me from my struggle to “become real.” David’s wish too was granted in a way after 2000 years. And like me the Blue Fairy was not the one to satisfy his dream.

In the end it is not important how each of our wishes came true. It is only fair to say that they did in our own important way. Not the exact way each of us had hoped and dreamed for so so very long. But in others equally as beautiful.

I am not a robot. I have always been real. Just not as real as I was meant to be, but I am now. I have also known unwavering love from my mother. In the end David did too even as she passed in her sleep as he held her hand. The strange irony of standing in the doorway of my bathroom as the tears came before heading off to bed, my head on my mother’s shoulder, struck me even as I cried and told her briefly of my Blue Fairy.

That Which is Important

Pronunciation: \im-?p?r-t?ntespecially Southern & New England -t?nt, -d?nt\


Function: adjective

Etymology: Middle English importante, from Medieval Latin important-, importans, present participle of importare to signify

Marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence : valuable in content or relationship

As a child growing up in a series of affluent neighborhoods, I learned only some of things I needed to live a happy and fulfilled life. I developed a sense of self and thought I knew what made me happy. As the years peel away so dose the ever evolving sense of self and what is important in life. Values change. Desires change. People change.
The things that are important change with the fulfillment of the basic needs to survive or lack there of. Money, children, careers, hobbies, friends and family are just some of the more important things which mold or chisel away at the concept of importance. Emotions and your sense sense of self evolve and fluctuate with your environment. Sometimes these fluctuations are a daily or even an hourly dance to a new tune.
You really have to just weed through the fickleness of the frequent fluctuations. After that you are left with the more important things in life that really do make a difference. As my mind has cleared over the past couple months, clarity has become an increasingly welcome part of my life.
Family and friends are at the top of my list of the most important parts of my life. I have an amazingly wonderful relationship with my family. In particular my mother. I will likely never have a daughter of my own and I will certainly never be able to have children of my own even if I wanted any. But this is as much a choice I made years ago as it is fate. The importance of not having a child over these past many years will forever be my secret shared with very few.
Love.
I usually save the biggest topics for last or even dedicate an entire blog to them. But I think I just want to get this one out of the way. I do want to fall in love again. Love is an amazing thing and it is a deeply important part of living a meaningful existence for all humans. Despite what some may say. I have been in love before. Deeply in love. The pain of having that ripped away is devastating but it is not the end of life. I have made my peace for now with lost love. This is the only way we can open our hearts again to loving and being loved.
The Ocean
This may seem and odd thing to say is of top importance. Well I know for me it is. I am Pisces and I really do need to be near the waters from which we all came. I am drawn to the sea by an invisible yet palatable force. I will return to the ocean soon. I realize the importance of the beach and the salinity in my life and it must be fulfilled to allow other parts of my self to grow and mature.
What I am trying to say here is, everyone needs an ocean. Not everyone likes the beach or even being in the water. Your ocean may be the desert, the mountains or the island of Manhattan. It is a place in your heart that is bigger than you. It is a place where you feel most at home. You draw comfort and strength by close proximity. Healing your soul with it’s greater majesty is and familiarness goes a surprisingly long way towards happiness. Think about where is important to you as much as what or who.
Self Worth.
Yes, yes, yes. Value yourself. If you cannot do this you will never be happy. Of all things, being at peace with yourself, loving yourself and liking who you are is of utmost importance. How can you value others or even life itself if you do not value your own existence? I think a lot of hate and intolerance in this world is the direct of personal dissatisfaction. Humans by nature seem to think that by displacing their own self loathing or personal dislikes on to others is going to heal what is wrong with themselves. That is simply not going to happen. There can be no hate in healing.
Self Expression
I am not a philosopher. I am not highly educated. I failed miserably in school with one exception. Art. I excelled. My muse comes and goes. My art goes into remission and returns now and then these days. But one thing that is almost as as important to me in life as the air I breath is art and music. These are the tools my inner most demons use to communicate with the outside world. They are the healing and nurturing pieces of my life that help keep my blood flowing. The single most pervasive constants throughout my life have always been art and music. I play guitar and piano and draw and create things with my hands.
My gifts to the world is not the websites I create, the goodness I spread, nor the charity I give but the the words I write, the art I create and the music I play. These are a part of me. Real and tangible pieces of the deepest parts of me. Theses are the expressions of who I am and what is important to me in abstract or concrete form. Of the most important things to me and in my life I have neglected this this most. Only finding solace over the past couple decades in consuming the self expression of others. And this is something I must change to survive and continue to evolve as a passionate, caring woman.
Everyone needs to express themselves in some way to release or feed what is inside your heart, mind and body. The soul remains unfulfilled when it cannot show the world, a friend or lover what lurks inside. It’s not always understood nor appreciated, but you cannot store everything inside. Somethings must be allowed to flow from you. Some things just need to be let free no matter how much they may hurt.
Self expression through whatever means is communication. This is what we really need to understand. This is an art in and of itself through words or actions. So many people today have lost the ability to really communicate. There is too much hostility and rejection. Too many people do not take the time to appreciate or even try to understand what is being expressed by others. Not just words coming from your mouth or words texted in a phone message, but the overall body of work we all create. Cryptic I know. But think about it.
The Basics
I suppose there are so many more things that are important. And what is important to me is not necessarily important to you. Like my cultish love of Sushi or progressive metal or even the beach. But there are some basic importances in everyones life that are common to all. We know what they are. Food, water, shelter, security and even love.
By satisfying theses basic needs you can successfully navigate what is really important in your life. But this statement comes with a warning. There is a catch 22 at work here. Without knowing what is important or satisfying what you feel to be important in your life you may not be able to satisfy the most basic and the most important things in all of our lives.  Kind or a conundrum huh?
Example: If your life sucks and you are not happy with who you are as a person. Maybe you really do not like yourself or there is a nagging deficiency with who you are. Maybe you are gay and still in the closet and it is killing you living a life of lies hiding from everyone you know. Maybe you did something in your past so terrible it eats you from the inside. Maybe you just really hate where you live or your job for what ever silly reason or not. Maybe you have succumb to depression or substance abuse. Maybe all of the above is true….
Sink or Swim and Even Fly.
For what ever reason you are not happy or unchallenged or seemingly unloved. If you allow it to, the important things in your life will become less so. They may even seem unattainable goals or pipe dreams of a grass is greener existence. When you let go and stop working towards attaining the important things in your life, the basic things you need to exist may soon follow and often do.
You cannot let one or even a few crappy things in your life destroy all the other important things in your life. Too many people have become comfortable with giving up and just saying I can’t. I know I have been there myself. It is easy to say I can’t and be miserable that it is to take on the challenges before you and fight to survive and even thrive.
Take this into consideration though. Humanity is still here. We persist and often thrive despite our indifferences and willingness to destroy our planet and each other. Why is this? Because within each of us is the ability to overcome insurmountable odds to become who we are, to become amazing, beautiful creatures of immense compassion and good.

Caring.

It is important to me to care for and about others, this planet and all creatures that inhabit this world and other worlds physical or ethereal. Caring can bring great satisfaction to you and others. Caring can lead to many other wonderful things. All that I have mentioned so far is attainable because I genuinely do care about myself, my friends and family and this world. I’m not saying we all have to love each other. We all don’t even have to be friends. But if we can all take the time to care for each other even just a little bit, all those things, all those important things will become a satisfying part of your life and mine.
The more importance we place on caring the less importance we place on hate. And on that note we conclude. I have a few important things I must do.