Happy Thanksgiving!

As I said in my post yesterday, Thanksgiving brings up a lot of feelings for me. It’s not just the family members who have passed on that get me thinking, though.

Like Christmas, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday for me and for most of my family and friends. I don’t put on any pretense that this holiday has anything to do with something positive in our history. In fact, the history of Thanksgiving is pretty messed up.

This time of year always gets me thinking about historical revisionism and the way that we write history so that we come out looking like the best possible version of ourselves.

When I first started studying history in college, I was shocked to find that so much of what I learned at school was at best morally ambiguous, at worst morally repugnant.

That said, I have a hard time with the notion that Thanksgiving itself has anything to do with happy pilgrims and Native Americans holding hands and eating turkey.

What I don’t have a problem with in regards to Thanksgiving is the notion of coming together with the people I care about and preparing to usher in a time of cold and hardship with a celebration of warmth and love.

I also think it’s important that we remember to be thankful for the things in our lives that make the upcoming winter season easier for us.

This year I am thankful for my chosen family first and foremost. From my chosen partner and our furry babies to our friends and the people that we choose to have in our lives. When I think about it, I have a small army of people behind me at any one time. And that knowledge makes it possible for me to fight any battle, knowing that I will be backed up no matter what.

I’m thankful as always for my health and the health of those around me. And for my blood family that have grown so much with me over the past year, who support me in everything that I do, and who I love so much.

I’m very thankful for my job. And for the comfort that having employment at a place like that affords me.

I’m also thankful for turkey. And pie. And other delicious noms.

And for you, reading this. Because your support and readership means a lot to me as I’m growing this space. Thank you for being here.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Featured image found here.

Sestina: Fire, Grief, Drunk

I remember my grandmother’s life
in a way that I have never seen, her might
revealed in the face of countless griefs
Before the weight of them drove her, drunk,
over the edge into this weakened state.
I remember her before the fire.

They say there is no smoke without a fire
and that is true in my grandmother’s case, her life
defined by flame, this charred and dusty state.
She never knew the force of it. That fiery might,
much stronger than her own, would leave her, drunk
mingling cold beers with her tearless grief.

But back before she reached this outcast state
the world I’m sure was not so full of grief.
Her eyes sometimes reflect forgotten might
within them burning a long-banked, potent fire
The world has forgotten her pre-frail life,
but I remember it with my imagination and I’m drunk

on the idea. I envision her before the drunken
stupor that has followed her from grief to grief. The state
of her before the fire took her children. Took her life.
Deep within her eyes I see the her before the fire.
I remember, with my imagination, might.

In my mind’s eye she sometimes might
sit around a table and deal poker, drunk
a smile on her face and that familiar fire
born before her, cigarette hanging in state
and all the men bow their heads in grief
as she takes their money. Poker is her life.

She moves within that carded sphere. Life
simply drawn in cards of black and red, her might
felt in hands of five. She gives men their grief.
Her hair like a beehive and she’s drunk
on joy, her hair disheveled, concentrating, stately.
Her cherry’d cigarette the only fire.

I dream her life before she was a drunk
imagining her might before this state
her body bent by grief, heart weak with fire.

Feelings: Philly Pride and Anniversaries

This weekend is Pride in Philadelphia. This year Pride is special because Philadelphia is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the picketing of Independence Hall in 1965. Gay rights groups gathered on July 4th of that year to demand legislation securing the rights of LGBTQ Americans. They would gather to protest on the steps of Independence Hall every year on that date for four years. 50 years later, the lives of LGBTQ people in this country have changed dramatically. From being able to legally marry in 37 states across the country to gender reassignment surgery being covered under the ACA and other forms of insurance, the landscape being navigated by LGBTQ people in this country is vastly different compared to the way it was in 1965.

This Sunday is also another kind of anniversary. Two years ago, a few months before Sugar Moms closed, Frankie took me there one night and asked me to be hers. It was one of the happiest moments I can remember. Since then, I have learned and grown so much as a person, just from knowing her and loving her. I feel so grateful every day to have her in my life. She is so brilliant and funny and genuine and sweet. I am so proud to be with her.

As far as Philly Pride is concerned… I have mixed feelings about it going back a ways. I have avoided going to Pride in the past. I’ve never been the sort of person who really wants to party in the streets, for one. And for another, for years I was pretty sure that I was fooling myself one way or another about who I was and what I wanted. So, not feeling a lot of pride myself, it was hard for me to join the throngs flooding the streets as anything other than a bystander. An ally. And even that never felt right.

Coming up on Pride this year, I feel an immense amount of relief at being who I am and how my life has shaped up after my coming out to my family (which was the Final Goddamn Frontier of Gayitude for me). I’m happier with myself. I’m more creative. I’m honestly… proud. I’m proud to be living my life out loud and out in the open. I’m proud of the things I have done and been exposed to that I never would have even tried before a few years ago.

I can finally say, after all this time, that I feel genuine pride for who I am as a person and where I am in my life. I am so grateful to the people in my life for being so loving and supportive of me. And to the people who came before me who tore a path through the world so that I could walk my path in relative ease and safety. I am so grateful. I am so proud.