I’ve been writing this column since 2008 and I’ve never missed an issue. Then, on the cusp of my deadline for last month, 49 people were murdered inside of Pulse in Orlando – and I had written a column called, “The Death Of The Gay Bar.”
Needless to say, the title was glaringly inappropriate and the content – which highlighted how the safe havens for our community were disappearing – seemed unbefitting to the tragedy at hand. But just like the proverbial phoenix, I discovered that there was truth and power rising from the ashes of the words I had written, along with the one thing that will always bind us together: hope.
Let’s start with deconstructing the point I was making on my first attempt, shall we?
Just recently we saw local gay club Talbott Street shutter its doors after nearly 15 years. While many still debate the reasons for the closure – money troubles, too many bachelorette parties, a haunting by the vengeful ghost of a long-dead drag queen – the point is entirely moot. The cold truth is that a once-thriving epicenter of our community has spun its last dance beat and swept up every square of glitter.
Do you like paying just $89 for a luxury hotel? Then Phoenix is perfect for a summer trip.
Try the Sheraton Grande at 340 N. 3rd in downtown Phoenix, complete with rooftop pool and bar. The Arizona Center outdoor shopping mall (complete with restaurants) is across the street. Other nearby downtown Phoenix hotels includes the Hyatt and a Kimpton offering.
Yes, it’s hot during the day but if you get up early or go out late, it is manageable. Plus it is a dry heat.
Like baseball? The Arizona Diamondbacks play at nearby Chase Field.
Take the new light rail from PHX (aka Sky Harbor, the Phoenix airport) for $2 to the downtown hotels ($4 for an all-day pass). You can also ride it to the museums as well as Charlie’s (a country western bar). Details at www.valleymetro.org.
Every year at about this time, our community enjoys the excitement and fellowship of Pride.
Pride celebrations across the country continue throughout the summer. The collective attitude and acceptance raise spirits, and raise awareness of our community’s strengths and, well, our fabulosity.
But do you ever wonder: How can we keep it going?
I do. And that question usually translates to year-round support for our community’s continued progress. Supporting one another. Fighting off ridiculous attacks on our civil rights, often disguised as the “religious liberty” of others.
It’d be journalistic malpractice to ignore the tragic Orlando massacre. But there’s really not a political angle that resonates, so this will be personal.
For two decades, I’ve watched that sometimes-clumsy weekend dance: gay and inquiring men (and some women) go to gay clubs to meet other gay and inquiring folks. There are generational, racial and social cliques within that world, in every large city in America. But nobody ever expected that dynamic to turn ugly, violent and tragic.
We have a history of looking over our shoulders far more often than our straight counterparts – on the political front and on the personal safety front. But this tragic event has a uniquely common touchpoint for our community. Gay clubs are a part of our culture, and this attack strikes at every LGBTQ/Ally heart.
“You have bronchitis.”
This is what my doctor told me a few weeks ago. I responded, jokingly, by telling him to “blame the Clintons.” Why? I had just spent the past few weeks working at the Hillary campaign office in Indianapolis – to bring the message to Hoosiers that Hillary is the best choice for President of the United States.
I am a Democrat-by-birth. I grew up in a union household, and my parents only voted for Democrats. Born in the Bronx, I was not used to living in a state that was predominantly Republican. So I felt I had to work twice as hard to make sure that Hillary becomes our next president. I began by spending nine hours in front of Arlington High School on Election Day, obtaining 200 signatures to get Hillary on the state ballot. Now I was ready for the next step.
At the beginning of April, the Hillary campaign opened a field office in Indianapolis. On Opening Night, my husband and I headed over there to join the other Hillary supporters and officially become volunteers. I knew some of the staff but had never met Marcella Jewell, who was in charge of the office. I connected with Marcella immediately – we were on the same page! I began volunteering by making phone calls and entering data. I tried to be at the office as much as I could.
The first exciting event that occurred was when President Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak at the Hillary campaign office. The campaign arranged for me to be on the list to have my photo taken with President Clinton. It was such an exciting moment to stand next to Bill, with his arm around me, having our photo taken!
But that wasn’t the end. That Friday, Chelsea came to the office to speak on behalf of her mother. A beautiful, poised young lady, she spoke without script and answered questions following her talk. I was able to get a photo with her too – another exciting moment.
On Sunday, May 1st, Hillary was scheduled to speak at a rally in Indianapolis. As one of the volunteers, I helped guide people with disabilities to sit in the limited seating area. This would be the third time I would hear Hillary speak – I heard her twice in 2008. After being introduced by Congressman Andre Carson, Hillary gave a wonderful speech, touching on employment, civil rights, U.S. and world security, and the environment.
When she was finished, she walked around the barrier, shaking hands of her admirers. I was able to get to the front so I could not only shake her hand, but get a selfie photo taken of us. As I shook her hand, I told her that I had organized the anti-RFRA and Women’s Rights rallies in Indiana – she said to keep up the good work!
I just received my Hillary Card today. I am more than ready to begin the next phase of volunteering for Hillary! A field office is planned to open again, and I want to be on the front lines. I am convinced that she is the best person to lead our country – she is ready to start the job on Day One.
It was a strange scene; there I was in the Egyptian Room of the Murat Theater surrounded by weeping brothers and sisters, the same brothers and sisters who – not 24 hours ago – were smiling in the sunshine, celebrating another successful Indy Pride Festival.
And now, here we all were, mourning the loss of 50 brothers and sisters in the worst terrorist attack in over a decade. I was weeping myself; I was hurt, angry and confused.
I was angry at the press: As I was going to fill my gas tank before the vigil, I had the radio on and there was a news break where they talked about the terrorist attack and not once did they mention it was an attack on our community. And when I got home, it didn’t change; the major news networks mentioned us only in passing after spending countless minutes speculating about the attacker’s alleged connections to ISIS. It seems we were forgotten, even in death. We were only worth mentioning to stoke this country’s fears of radical Islamic terrorism.
Not even Republicans could take a minute to mention us. Presumptive nominee Donald Trump used the blood of our brothers and sisters to take a “victory lap” and congratulate himself on being “right” on Muslims. Ted Cruz used it to take a swipe at Democrats, saying that if they “really supported the LGBT community” they would support total war against ISIS. Other Republicans merely sent their generic “thoughts and prayers” to our murdered brothers and sisters with no mention of why they were killed.
But the response of the Republicans was nearly kind, compared to the multitude of responses I saw online where there was no mention of the attack itself, let alone why we were targeted. Instead it was a demonization of Islam or the usual rants of, “the government ain’t gonna take my gun!”
Before the last bodies had even been taken from the club, the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters was being used to play political games. All our weeping eyes and hearts didn’t make one damn bit of difference.
I was angry at the culture that allowed this to happen. While we mourn throughout the nation, we still live in a culture that sees us as less than human – whether it was James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who said recently that trans people should be shot for using the “wrong” restroom, or Gov. Bryant of Mississippi, who said he would be crucified before he allowed queer people in Mississippi to have equal rights.
In the world of theater there is a saying: “Dying is easy – comedy is hard.”
Simply put, it means that it is much easier to play a death scene than it is to make people laugh. Comedy is a broad spectrum and what seems funny to one person, may not even be the slightest bit amusing to the next.
Well, I’m going to paraphrase that old saying and state an equally varied comparison: Getting laid is easy – making friends is hard.
We can all go out on any given night and hook up with a random person. But to develop a relationship that transcends not only sexual but romantic feelings is difficult. And just like the scope of comedy, friendship exists and thrives in various planes and we all develop and perceive friendships differently.
In the gay community we socialize in divergent areas: clubs and bars, gyms and restaurants, or even on softball fields and basketball courts. There are friends that you make from the structured socialization of work or school, and friends you make through other friends. There are also common interests that breed friendship, like football, comic books or theater. There are even friends you make through happenstance, like that hilarious bartender who always makes your drinks.
You can also take the modern approach and meet people on the Internet, through Facebook and the like. So, how do you meet people online with the sole purpose of friendship? Well, I can tell you what not to do.
On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on open service of transgender troops will be lifted, five years after a similar ban on the open service of gay men and women was formally ended by President Obama.
The end of the ban is effective immediately, Carter said. “Implementation will begin today,” he said, promising a “step by step approach.” “It’s the right thing to do,” said Carter. “And it’s another step in making sure we continue to recruit and retain qualified people.” He cited the military’s changes in policies regarding the service of women and gay troops as proof that the transition could be made smoothly, saying “we do have experience in this kind of thing.” Changes in on-the-ground policies, training and other aspects of implementing the change will take place over the next year.
This 18-minute tribute – directed by Emmy Award-winning Ryan Murphy and Ned Martel, with the support of their colleagues at Ryan Murphy Television – features a diverse cast of 49 actors, directors and other entertainment leaders recounting individual stories of the victims of our nation’s deadliest mass shooting.
The 49 heroes who lost their lives on June 12 were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives. They were mostly young and mostly Latinx. But above all, they were human beings who were loved, and who had hopes and dreams for long, full lives.
In a groundbreaking statement about homosexuality, Pope Francis says Christians and the Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from gay people and others they have offended or treated poorly in the past.
"I repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that they must not be discriminated against, that they must be respected and accompanied pastorally," the pope told reporters Sunday aboard the papal plane returning from Armenia to Rome.
In 2013, Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality, saying that homosexual acts were sinful but not homosexual orientation.
Today the beige Stetson hats of the National Parks Service (NPS) will start appearing at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, as the site was declared a national monument on Friday. Designated by President Barack Obama, it’s the first of the United States’ 122 national monuments to commemorate the gay rights movement.
President Obama said in a statement:
I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.
Robert “Bob” Creasy, whose acting, directing and buoyant personality enlivened Fresno theater productions for years, died Friday after a brief illness. He was 36.
Mr. Creasy had a long and stellar history with the central San Joaquin Valley theater scene. He directed and acted in productions at StageWorks Fresno, CenterStage Clovis Community Theatre, Children’s Musical Theaterworks, Good Company Players, California Public Theater, Aithon Theatre and Fresno State.
As an adjunct theater instructor at Fresno City College, he directed the 2014 production of “Boeing Boeing,” a chipper farce. (“Creasy gives the play an ease and a bounce that whips up the laughs,” I wrote in a review. “I was impressed with how the cast moved so fluidly and in tune with the audience, with moments held just long enough to wring out maximum comic impact.”)
Continue reading at The Fresno Bee
June is upon us and that means Pride season is here! The time where we gather the tribes and unfurl the banners to commemorate our foremothers and forefathers who rioted at the Stonewall Inn and ushered in a new era of liberation.
At least I think so.
It’s hard to tell these days, to be honest with you, because a lot of what I see Pride becoming is nothing more than a mass marketing opportunity – our own version of a President’s Day sale, where corporations wrap their wares in a rainbow flag and expect us to pony up the cash to “Show your Pride!” Oh, and we get a parade, too.
So what happened? I think our faults were twofold: We wanted to appeal to Main Street USA, and we got drunk on our victories and we’re dealing with one unholy beast of a hangover.
I have mixed feelings about our attempt to appeal to Main Street USA; in order to get our legal victories and finally receive our rights as citizens (which we’re still fighting for, more on that in a minute), we had to appeal on a certain level to the average Joe and Jane. We had to show them that we weren’t freaks or dangerous or any of that other right-wing propaganda horse crap.
Back in the time when there was no internet, only three available channels – and remotes were the vision of sci-fi movies – there was a TV show called, “To Tell the Truth.”
The game consisted of three guests who claimed to be the same person and have the same occupation. The celebrity panelists asked a series of questions of the guests to attempt to winnow down to the person who in reality had the name and did the occupation in question.
When the clock ran out, the host would then say, “Will the real________, please stand up?” – at which point, the person who actually had the name and did the occupation would stand up to either applause or the implausible gasps of the panelists and studio audience.
It was a fun show, and while there were a few guests that were easy to identify, usually the revelation of the real person came as a shock.
Our annual Pride Month FREE Raffle is going strong
and we're pleased to announce the items up for grabs!
Over $850 in prizes!!!
|To enter, click here and fill out a quick entry form. No cost and no purchase necessary! You can enter daily, but the contest ends June 30th, so hurry!
A very special thanks to our donors for this year...
The Phantom of the Opera
Two Orchestra Tickets, valued at $148
Reel Pride Film Festival
VIP Ticket, (2) valued at $180
Crazy Squirrel Game Store
Three board / Card Games, valued at $130
Certificate for Studio Session & 8x10 portrait, valued at $150
Amenities Day Spa & Salon Fig Garden
Certificate for Spa & Salon, valued at $50
Gift Certificate, valued at $60
Certificate for Flowers, valued at $50
Two bags of coffee beans, valued at $27
Tabletop Fountain, Flameless Candle set, Candle holder, Lantern combined value of $70
Perfect Blend Fine Cigars
Two certificates for $20 each
Bracelets by Stephen Contreras
Handmade "Know Your Status" Bracelet, valued at $25
Total US Retail Value of all prizes is $765
Our hearts are completely broken.
Over 50 people were murdered last night at PULSE Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Over 50 people were wounded. This was the deadliest mass shooting in American history. This happened at an LGBTQ+ nightclub.
Tonight, we'll gather around the valley to host candlelight vigils to mourn the lives lost, and the lives injured.
Please come out tonight (6/12/16) to show some support for Orlando, and respect for the lives of those we lost in our community.
Orlando's gay community is in "utter shock" and after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning, a local LGBTQ leader said.
Approximately 50 people are dead and 53 wounded after a gunman opened fire and took hostages at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Rob Domenico, a board member of The Center Orlando, an LGBTQ advocacy and support center in the city, said "absolute devastation" is being felt across Orlando's LGBTQ community.
Our annual tradition of filming the Fresno Pride Parade continues, feel free to watch the entire parade, in 1080p HD video, below:
Every year at about this time, our community enjoys the excitement and fellowship of Pride. Pride celebrations across the country continue throughout the summer. The collective attitude and acceptance raise spirits, and raise awareness of our community’s strengths and, well, our fabulosity.
But do you ever wonder: How can we keep it going?
I do. And that question usually translates to year-round support for our community’s continued progress. Supporting one another. Fighting off ridiculous attacks on our civil rights, often disguised as the “religious liberty” of others.
If you could harness the positive energy generated during Pride festivals, and push it toward one or two goals, it’d move mountains. The hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours required to stage these Pride festivals can be leveraged to achieve much.
How to channel that energy? I’ll settle for this: Vote.
Vote for Bernie. Vote for Hillary. I can’t type or even purse my lips to form the words “Vote for Trump,” but if you’re so inclined, knock yourself out.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stigma as “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something; archaic: a scar left by a hot iron: brand – a mark of shame or discredit: stain: an identifying mark or characteristic; a specific diagnostic sign of a disease.”
In the early years of HIV, stigma was the driving force that influenced most everything connected to HIV/AIDS. Even as death loomed over almost everyone infected, stigma may have been the biggest barrier to research toward a cure, effective and relevant prevention methods, testing and even medical care.
Why so much stigma around HIV?
There are several causes. The obvious is that HIV is linked to sex and drugs. Since the primary means of transmission is through sexual activity and injection drug use, HIV became a taboo subject. Coupled with the fact the first cases were diagnosed in gay men, stigma became synonymous with HIV.
But one of the most stigmatizing factors probably began with President Reagan and his refusal to address the issue until he was forced. The first cases of HIV in the United States were identified in 1981, but Reagan refused to acknowledge its existence until 1987. That fact infuriates many of us to this day.
The response would most certainly have been different had HIV manifested itself in affluent white women. So, how has stigma impacted HIV? As the poet said, “let me count the ways.”
Today, HIV testing is easy to access and, in many places, free. So, why aren’t more people tested? One of the major reasons is stigma.
Just the idea of seeking a test can be frightening. What if someone sees me? Is the tester going to judge me? What if I test positive? Am I going to be rejected by friends and family? What if my employer finds out? All of these questions, all of these fears, relate back to the stigma of HIV. Remember the words used in the definition? Stain, shame, a specific diagnostic sign of a disease.
Seeking and staying in care is extremely important for persons living with HIV. While care is very expensive, Indiana has actually done an excellent job making sure that most folks have comprehensive insurance. In addition, there are programs such as the Ryan White Care Act, which funds HIV-related care and services. We know when individuals are in care, they are healthier, live longer and reduce the chances of transmitting the virus to their partners.
Sadly, even care is influenced by stigma. Some clients are afraid to be seen seeking care at a clinic or doctor’s office associated with HIV. They stay away from care coordination for the same reasons. What if someone sees them entering the Damien Center or Step-Up?
Imagine having access to great care and services that could save your life, but the fear of being judged and stigmatized overpowers the desire to be healthy. It is not uncommon for clients to experience depression, have thoughts of suicide, abuse drugs and/or alcohol because of the burden placed on them by stigma.
And then there’s research. More than 30 years from the discovery of HIV and there is still no cure. Certainly millions of dollars have been spent on research over the years, but one has to wonder if the stigma of HIV has influenced dollars allocated to finding a cure. It took six years for the President of the United States to say “AIDS,” so it’s safe to say, we got a later than necessary start.
The discovery of new and much more effective medications has been quite successful. What was once a death sentence is now a manageable disease. So, we celebrate the successes while recognizing more could have been done had it not been for stigma.
Because of how HIV is transmitted, there are often moral judgments made about the folks who are living with HIV. They are often blamed for being sick, are the subjects of gossip, fear and even victims of violence.
While this was more prevalent in the early years of the epidemic, I am sorry to say stigma remains a serious issue. Seldom are people ridiculed or judged because they have cancer or heart disease or most any other disorder. They are not shunned or disowned or fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes. They aren’t afraid to seek care because someone might see them enter a particular clinic.
From the moment scientists identified HIV, responses of fear, denial, stigma and discrimination have accompanied the epidemic. Discrimination has spread rapidly, fueling anxiety and prejudice against the groups most affected. It has been said “HIV is as much about social phenomena as it is about biological and medical concerns.” Which is why stigma, that mark of shame, is so prevalent in HIV. Often HIV is seen as a moral failure rather than a medical issue.
Stigma is real and it is dangerous. It’s the scar that reminds us we are different. It can result in isolation, self-loathing and a steady decline in both mental and physical health.
In 2016, it is ridiculous it is still a problem. When I talk to young kids about HIV, one of the first things I tell them is “we don’t stop loving people because they are sick.” Even an eight-year old child gets that. Why, as adults, are we still branding people living with HIV? It’s time to stop!
Paula French is a co-founder of Step-Up Inc., an organization with the stated mission “to promote health and well-being among underserved and hard to reach populations,” especially in prevention and awareness of HIV/AIDS.
If you ever wonder what America is thinking, I’ve found a great barometer of political pinion: laundromats.
Our dryer broke recently, so there have been multiple weekly trips to the neighborhood laundry until it can get fixed. And while waiting, usually on Sunday, usually while reading the Sunday New York Times, there have been multiple opportunities to observe and survey random voters(?) – strike “voters,” insert: “citizens.”
The first real treat came in late January when a scruffy-looking 40ish fellow drove up in a beat-up van, bumper stickers galore (I’ll spare you – let’s just say he won’t give up his guns unless I pry his cold dead fingers from them. And that Obama already came to take them).
He unloaded three bags of laundry, parked his van, and started to put the items into a washer. Out of the first bag cam not one, but six – that’s right, six – Confederate flags. I’m not sure of Confederate flag laundry protocol. I’m not even sure there is a Confederate flag laundry protocol.
Never fear, gentle readers; confrontation was avoided. Another laundry patron made small talk, which I obviously overheard. You might call it “eavesdropping.”
It seems the Confederate ex-pat believes we’re awash in “colored folks tellin’ us all what to do, which is not what George and Mary Washington wanted.” And: “Obama is hanging around Washington after the election to re-start the Trilateral Commission” and to make sure “that bitch, Hillary, appoints his wife to the Supreme Court.”
OK, so all the above was the click-bait to get readers this far, but it really did happen that way. I also talked to several laundry patrons who had strong views on current affairs.
From an Hispanic mother of four: “I’d vote if I could, and I’d vote for Hillary or Bernie, but I’m not registered.” Because she’s, well, ineligible to vote. She added: “We came here in 2004 because we needed jobs. My husband and me, we have had four children here. My husband has gotten several green cards, but not any more.”
She spoke while folding sheets and towels, oblivious to any potential danger in admitting her immigration status.
“We’re here for our kids,” she said, adding, “Donald Trump has a lot to learn about world politics.”
She later said to the laundry attendant, Merle: “The new guy, he’s OK, right?”
The next week, the Confederate guy came back, but without flags.
Also there: A lady who was intrigued by my “Pence Must Go” T-shirt. I saw her eyeing me for about a half-hour. When it came time for her to load her dryer, she took the one next to my clothes.
“I want one of those,” she said, as she pointed to the T-shirt. “He’s a complete douche, isn’t he?” She also had multiple other current events opinions, which she shared without being asked:
“I usually vote for at least one Republican. I wonder who it will be this year.”
“You know, my sister is a lesbian. I wasn’t for marriage equality until it came to her.”
“I’m not sure if I’m registered (to vote). How do I find out?” I explained it to her, and she recounted she couldn’t remember when she’d last voted.
“Can I register online?” We started that process on her phone. “But it wants my address. I’m kinda in-between now.”
Two weeks later, Merle the attendant asked me how long I’d been gay. I asked him how he knew.
“Your HRC T-shirts.” I replied: “For quite awhile.” Said he: “So why is it important to have RFGRA rights?” Whereupon a long discussion ensued about religious freedom. And he said, “Are you sure you’re right about that? Because I thought pastors would be forced to marry you.”
“Mind if I ask how you usually vote?” I said to Merle.
“Oh hell I never vote,” he shot back. “They’re all crooks.”
And so it goes.
I have been watching Donald Trump’s campaign with a sort of morbid curiosity for the last few months.
It feels almost surreal to me that the reality TV star could actually end up winning the White House, but he is certainly closer than any other Republican running for the Oval Office.
Recently I became aware of a visit by the Trump campaign, and took a chance and applied for media credentials to attend the Trump Rally. I really didn’t think that I would be able to get approved, but I thought, “What the heck” – I will give it a shot.
After a short while I received a nice email from a representative for Trumps campaign saying that I and my political editor for The Word, Rick Sutton, were approved to attend the rally as Media.
On the day of the rally, as we made our way through light security toward the media entrance, I noticed that there were very few protesters on the street and out in front of the venue. We made our way into the hall and were greeted by security. I found it fascinating that one of the security people was a more butch, but very pleasant, lesbian who directed us to the media staging area.
As Rick and I wandered through the throngs of media people setting up staging areas and equipment, I looked over the crowd and tried to see if I could identify any potential danger zones. That morning I posted online that I was going to attend, and received a plethora of messages from friends and business associates encouraging me to be vigilant and careful due to the reported escalating violence at Trump rallies across the country.
As I positioned myself for the best vantage point to hear Trump speak, I became aware of several people and small groups of people who clearly looked like they didn’t belong there. They fidgeted and looked around as if waiting for something, and I looked where they were looking to see if I could see some sort of pattern or indication of what was yet to come.
As Rick and I waited we chatted with a few of the other journalists and compared our analysis of the size and makeup of the crowd gathered to hear their candidate speak. We wondered whether or not the artists whose songs were being played would have approved of their work being used to energize a crowd that were blatantly against some of the musicians’ basic civil rights.
Nothing is more exciting than cleaning out your basement, right? So many boxes full of things that make you say: “why the hell did I even buy this?” Clothes that are too small, Jackie Collins novels that once held your interest, and tattered stuffed animals worn smooth from childish affection.
It was during such a journey down memory lane that I dropped a shoebox, and from its interior, my entire love life spilled out.
Snapshots from years past stared up at me from the floor – smiling faces trapped in Kodak amber, frozen in time inside the antiquated art of actual pictures on photographic paper. As I picked them up one by one, I could feel the times and the places blooming in my head, the men and boys that seemed so important to me at one time, now merely reduced to tiny squares of still life history.
Looking at the remnants of the past made me realize that most of these guys were merely crushes and infatuations, not the paragons of romantic love that I thought they were. And looking at myself in these pictures, I realized that at certain times in my life I had compromised who I really was in order to hold on to someone I imagined to be important.
It made me realize that many times in life we barter with our feelings because we are afraid to be alone. We take what we think we can get, because the fear of not being able to find someone makes us do the one thing we should never do: settle for something less than we deserve.
But why would we compromise something as treasured as our heart? In our professional lives, we never stand for being passed over for a raise or letting someone else take the credit for our work, so why make concessions in our love life?
Sometimes people say that our expectations can be too high, so we should settle for Mr. Good-Enough instead of Mr. Right. But why? Don’t you deserve to be happy with someone who makes you feel dizzy and sexy and full of light and laughter? Someone who makes you pant and growl like a wolf when you slide sweaty and naked together?
It’s one thing to want someone who can help you run the household and take care of the kids and the dogs and make sure there’s coffee in the cupboard when you need it, but you’re not running a business. Don’t get me wrong – it’s fantastic to find someone who’s responsible and mature enough to know that there’s more to a relationship than knocking your socks off in the bedroom. But even if they can cook and remodel and contribute to the actual shared wealth of your partnership, what’s the point of staying with someone if you don’t really, really love them?
When we were younger, we fell into relationships because they were new and exciting. But when they ended, sometimes self-doubt began to grow, causing us to settle for someone new because we thought that we couldn’t trust our judgment. Before long, we were stuck in a Moebius strip of settling for less and less each time we met someone.
On the flip side, there are the people who settle for someone not because they are attracted to them necessarily, but by what that person can give them: Financial security, status, even whether or not they would be a good parent to their children. All of these things are great qualities in a person, but without heat, a relationship turns ice cold.