Can big girls be super models?

Sure.

Why not? It’s important to remember that beauty comes not only from within, but from without as well.

And fearful little men – the kind that never raise a fist – may also be willing to throw a punch from time to time, should the cause be just.

Gay kids may very well have a crush on someone of the opposite sex, and straight kids may experience the same with a member of their own.

Packs-a-day smokers may eventually see the light, and quit before Big Daddy Cancer wraps his fist tightly around their lungs. And teetotalers – the kind that are much better at preaching than they are at practicing – might stop wagging their fingers just long enough, to instead hold out a hand to help.

The lion and the lamb may never lay side by side on this mortal coil, but that shouldn’t stop the Christian and the atheist from doing so.

The rich person might someday be more concerned with the content of their character, than they are the cut of their cloth. While the poor person might, on that very same someday, stop using their poverty simply as an excuse to not achieve.

The one who suffers from anxiety may very well look deep into the mirror, and come to realize that they actually ARE exactly as beautiful as people say that they are. And the jaded soul? Well they could decide to melt – even if it’s just enough – to allow for and enjoy that long offered and sought-after hug.

You see, this world is full of untapped possibilities. They dot the sky like so many stars, washing across our existence like rainbows of opportunities. Anything can happen, and it bears enough weight as to be said again, anything can happen. All that’s required is that we first remove our goggles of ignorance and discard our unneeded, yet overly used, fear of power. True power. The power to grow, instead of stagnate. The power to be better, instead of just OK. The power to be real, instead of realistic. The power to love freely, instead of hate selfishly.

All that’s needed is that we stop placing ourselves first.

I am in no way better than any other. Twice a week I write weakly of love and family, of observations and desires. I write of flight and imprisonment, of people that never lived, and people that never should.  But for all my writing and wistfulness, I have yet to actually felt the sky beneath my wings. I have yet to conquer my fear of me and become what is my birthright as a child of God. Hell, I am only just now starting the process of tearing those damned goggles from my apathetic eyes, feeling them squint and squirm as they’re exposed to the new and burning Light.

This process began two years ago when I laid down the last cancer stick to ever touch my lips, followed shortly thereafter by my enrollment in college. Finally. And after forty two years, today I will be receiving what most of you earned when you were twenty. After forty two years, I will receive my Associates Degree. Seven semesters down, with a 4.0 for each and every one. It scares me to no end what that means. How it frees me to actually go after success. How it precludes me from ever using again my well-worn excuse of being stupid. Of being unworthy. It scares me, but that fear will not stop me. Not this time. Not ever again. Listen, because I don’t say this very often: my name is Troy, and today I did something that is forty two years overdue. Today I impressed the hell out of me. Today I finally realized that mom was right. I am “better than that.” Today, I’m gonna walk off that fucking stage with my head held high, and I’m gonna start to live.

I’m gonna finally take flight.

Is it stupid and naive to think this way? Most likely. But I don’t care. I’m gonna give it a try anyway. Because sometimes even packs-a-day smokers eventually see the light. I would ask you to join me if you will. After all, in the final analysis, we really are all that we have, and what we have is exactly enough. And the possibilities? Well my friends, they are simply endless…

~ Love ~

…daD

Walk it off.

Dad, I’m walking it off for you.

Suck it up.

Dad, I’m sucking it up for you.

Be a man.

Dad, I’ll be a man for you.

Help your mother, she’ll need you.

Dad, I’m trying. I really am. But I am frost instead of ice. And I crumble at the merest touch, the lightest breath. I know that mom will need to lean on me. But right now, my shoulder feels much more like a morning dew than the Gibraltar that it lays upon.

Forgive me son, because I don’t believe Jesus can. I don’t believe he will.

Dad, I told you, the only man Jesus can’t forgive, is the man who won’t let him. You taught me that dad. You.

I’m scared son. I’m scared to die. I’m scared shitless.

I know you are dad. And I am too. You were always so huge. So much bigger than life. So – well – immortal. I think you almost believed it too. And now you’re dying, and now you’re gone. And now I’m alone. But not. I have mine. Mine, that grew out of you. You’re gone, but we carry on. You’re gone, but “You” will always be with us. You live on, in us.

I’m scared son. Your mother and I argue all the time. I’m scared. I’m afraid.

It’s OK dad. I’m afraid too. I’m afraid that J.C. will offer you a brotherly hug, and you’ll instead turn in disgrace. I’m afraid that, through your thrashing fear, you’ll first destroy the memory of 47 years with mom before you go. I’m afraid that you’ll pass, and I’ll be left here sitting mute – like so many in our family have done before – too fucking scared to ever really tell you how much I love you. Too frightened to expose myself like that. Too scared to hold you, knowing that I will then have to let you go.

I love you, dad. Not because you’re perfect. Not because you’re saved. And most definitely not because you’re right. No, I love you simply because you are you. And because years before I knew how to, you loved me first.

I never did enough.

No, you did. You gave what you could, when you could. And in the final analysis, you did so freely. Even if you might have felt otherwise at the time. And that’s why I love you.

I don’t think I’ll make it to see June.

I love you dad, and I don’t think you will either. But I will. And I will see June for you. And when we meet again someday, I will tell you all about it. OK?

Just rest till then. Please, find peace. And when we meet again someday, I will catch you up on all the Junes that followed after you. On all the June’s to follow…

Mom…

We stood there, she and I, shivering as our nose hair froze in the February air.

We stood there, she and I, next to the grave of Rick James. One of the last few things worth seeing, up Buffalo way.

We stood there, she and I, simply because my little brother – hoping to grab a photo – had requested that we should.

And she, in her Polish-like ways, was able to convince me to play along, instead of forging ahead with my plan of staying in the heated car. Keeping it “safe” from the no one else that was there at the time.

We stood there, she and I, simply because after all these years, she still places the wishes of her sons above that of her own good common sense. She still loves us more than she does herself.

She’s not just my mom. The woman is a straight-out saint. And I love her.

Pretty Boys & Pretty Girls

Another walk, another mix tape.

Several years back Kelly, Kevin and I were having a conversation. Now right up front, I’ll let you know that those are their actual names. I had originally thought of using aliases, but quickly realized, that as none but one of you knows who I truly am, then none would know who they are either. Besides, the aliases I had chosen were just going to be “Kerry” and “Ken” at any rate. And if you knew me, you would then know that it was really them that I was speaking of. That, and I’m pretty sure Kevin would punch me if I ever called him Ken, aliasdentally or not. And speaking of Ken – errr – Kevin, he was with Kelly and I, clustered around a warm dinner and cold beers, chatting about 80’s music. Of course.

During the chat, both Kevin and myself were explaining how, back in the day, we had always felt a stronger pull towards “gay” music than that of the “straight” variety. When Kelly asked us to elaborate, she was surprised to hear that the gay culture had such a strong presence in music. Now, I’m not quite sure why she would be so shocked by this fact, but then again she IS from Missouri.

Moving on.

As I’m sure you guessed by now, in an effort to “educate” her, I was only too happy to take the opportunity to create yet another of my beloved “mix tape” CD’s. And if you’ve been reading along these past several weeks, you already know that the title of this one was “for me: The Gay-ties.” The rules of the mix were quite simple: each song had to be either written, sung or “taken in” by the gay community. In addition, each artist and track had to be devoid (well, as much as possible) of gay stereotypes (sorry B-52’s, that took you out of the running). And finally, the mix overall just had to be damned good. It starts off with a no-nonsense one-two knockout punch of Queen’s “Flash Gordon” and Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Two Tribes.” Chosen not so much because these were two gay icons of the eighties, but rather, because each song could almost be seen as a flag bearer to the generation.

These opening shots are followed by such powerhouse hits as – well, hell – I might as well just give up the track listing. Because, yeah, the mix is THAT damned good:

1. Flash – Queen

2. Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

3. You Spin Me Right Round – Dead Or Alive

4. Suburbia – Pet Shop Boys

5. Pretty Boy & Pretty Girls – Book Of Love

6. I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me – Bronski Beat  with Marc Almond

7. Oh l’Amour – Erasure

8. Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

9. Don’t Go – Yaz

10. The Great Commandment – Camouflage

11. We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart

12. Church Of The Poison Mind – Culture Club

13. Freedom – Wham!

14. Take Me Home – Cher

15. Lay All Your Love On Me – ABBA

16. Love To Hate You – Erasure

17. Comment Te Dire Adieu – Jimmy Somerville

18. Crucified – Army Of Lovers (OK, technically a 90’s track. Whatever. We’re talking “generational 80’s” here, not “Calendar 80’s”, OK?)

19. It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls (WHAT??? Can you name a better one to end it with?)

If you happen to have access to all these tracks, I suggest you make yourself a copy. If you don’t happen to, then drop me a line. We’ll get you hooked up. And yeah, to those of you in the know, I DID include Jermaine Stewart, AND he actually works pretty well in the mix. Even IF he never does get around to taking his clothes off.

Sadly, the gay icon that loomed largest in my young life (BESIDES Liberace) doesn’t appear here. And that’s only because – while I love me some Judas Priest – there simply wasn’t one square inch of audio space that I could squeak Mr. Halford and friends into the remainder of the mix. Now, when I first created this, my daughter was young enough as to still think that I was simply the living end of musical knowledge, and a dance talent. As such, we spent many a day twirling around the living room gleefully to the final track. So much so in fact, that she swore that this would be the very song she’d use for the “father/daughter” dance at her wedding (my choice of Bobby Darin’s “18 Yellow Roses” being forcibly dismissed). This is sadly no longer the case however. And last time I checked, I believe we’re slated to stand toe to toe over some artist I’ve never heard of, who requires a voice modulator to sing, and in general is far less “raining menish” then I’d normally care for.

This mix has provided me with many more such plusses as well. For instance, it is the only “for me” in the series to give shout outs to three others for it’s creation (in addition to Kelly and Kevin, T-Bone – also a real name – is credited, as he came up with the title for the mix). However, possibly the coolest thing resulting from the Gay-ties disc (besides the kick assicles mix itself, of course) is that it was through its mention that I started the relationship with my Best Friend That I’ve Never Met; when we inadvertently “took over” a mutual friend’s facebook status for a spell. So even if the mix was total rot (and it is so NOT), then my efforts would still have been more than worthwhile.

Now, based on previous posts of this ilk, I’m sure you’re wondering what brand new window of knowledge was opened during my walk with the “Gay-ties” mix. What pray tell, did I learn this time whilst walking in a solitary fashion, to the beats of gay men and synthesizers? Not one damned thing. I just had me a nice brisk walk with some great tunes to push me along. I can tell you one thing though, of all the solitary walks I’ve taken as of late, this time I didn’t just hump along like a balding middle-aged schlep. This time, I walked Fabulous!

Today’s track was chosen over all the rest because it was one of the first-ever attempts by artists to bring awareness to the AID’s epidemic. Sadly, it was not heard by nearly enough, and ignored by even more.