Monday, June 13, 2016

I Too Sing America in the Aftermath of Orlando

The text message read: …He’s coming. I am going to die.   As a mother receiving this message how do you go on?  This was the coverage on the news this morning (one day after the shooting).  Immediately I began to cry because I could only imagine what they both (mother and son) were going through at that moment. 

Many times we are told “Life is short, makes the most of each day”.  Nothing makes this statement ring home more than a national tragedy that takes your breath away.  As I typically do when I wake up on the weekend, I immediately turn on MSNBC to see what has been happening in the world.  On Sunday, I saw that there had been a shooting in Orlando, Florida.  I then picked up my mobile phone and started scrolling through my Facebook feeds only to find out that the shooting took place in a popular gay club.  I spent the bulk of my morning watching the news coverage and saw the fatality count grow from 20 to 50 in a matter of hours.  You just grow numb.  I am not much of a club goer but when I do I go to enjoy myself with friends and this could have easily been me or someone I know and love. 

The LGBT community is hurting but most of all parents, siblings, lovers and friends are hurting much more than any of us can imagine.  What started out for most of the victims as just another night of good times and celebrations of life during Pride month with those they love turned into a night of terror and for some death.  While this tragedy does not supersede or overshadow those in the past it is the first to be specifically target on our community.   Yet again it reminds us of the horror that paralyzes us to begin going down the list of “what ifs”.  We have become a country that is consumed with guns and this seems to be the way we settle our differences or deal with our own personal issues (emotional and mental).  We must change for we can’t go on like this.  Unfortunately in a few weeks man of us will go back to life as we knew it before the night of June 11th.  The call for gun legislation will be suggested and those beholden to the NRA will fight against any regulations for it is the dance we have become accustomed to only to be a group full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

There are those that fuel hate within this country based on race, gender and sexual orientation and I want them to know that while this man had the gun the blood of each victim is on their hands as well.  You have stood on the public stage (pulpits, legislative offices, news outlets, etc.) spewing your hatred and venom on a group of people that you feel are less deserving and for that you are culpable.   You have played your part in throwing the rocks and bricks at those of us who you deem unworthy so you do not get to sit back comfortably.  You can deny your involvement as much as you want but the blood of each of those innocent individuals is forever on your hands and soak in the fiber of your being.

What kind of world have we become where a person’s “presumed” religious belief coupled with his personal dislike for people who love differently is an affront on him and his life as a human being?  When do I (Ronald Wadley) get to love and be loved without retribution, stares or distain from other people.   The fact that I show affection by hugging, touching or gently kissing my boyfriend in public should never be a reason for hatred.  When do I get to live out the dream of public love, laughter and affection with the man I love?  Is this a part of the dream of life long happiness that is only afforded those that are in opposite sex relationships?  This massacre has brought so many personal issues to the surface for me.  However, I have come to realize that the only way to get what I deserve is to take it.  I will not allow my “Dream (to be) Deferred” for “I Too Sing America”.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Side Most Never See

Hello All,

This is a very personal blog because I am in a really interesting space in my life presently.  I feel a since of inner peace that I haven’t felt in a long time.  Now do not get me wrong I am not walking around with a fixated smile or humming melodic tunes all day.  However, it appears that parts of my world are coming into focus.  I think that this is a result of therapy/counseling and age.

I started seeing a therapist last year because I felt myself digging this proverbial hole for myself that I simply wanted to crawl in and let the word just go by.  For those of you that do not know me well may not know that my mother passed away when I was 2 years of age.  Her death is something I have never really reconciled because I never thought I had to for I have not one recollection of my mother.   However, I think about her on a daily basis.  My four older siblings have memories of our mother that they have shared.  I have never felt like the odd man out but I do feel as though I have been short changed. 

Another focus of my therapy was the intimate side of my life.  A little over a year ago I ended a relationship with a person that I loved very much.  The decision was not hasty but over time it had been thought out due to the various issues that we had encountered.  It was very evident after our last conversation during our relationship that he and I were in two different places and getting back on the same path was not going to happen.  I had done all I knew how to do and in doing so the end result was that it was not enough.  I had to end it regardless of the imminent pain.

So the breakup as well as the issues regarding my mother’s death was too much for me to handle.  Fortunately I was forging a new friendship with a therapist.  I asked him if he was taking on additional clients and we began the process of peeling back the layers of my life.

As we began the process of course I noted my reason for seeking therapy.  The first few months were a bit challenging because we discussed my mother.  It was evident that I was masking some pain and discomfort after several sessions.  Things I had no idea that were beneath the surface.   We finally came to the conclusion that my mother’s death left a hole in me that I could never close and one I had not dealt with.  During one of my sessions my therapist noted “do you realize that you always mention you mother in every session regardless of what we are talking about”.  I had no idea that I was doing that which was proof that there was something there that I really needed to address.  I can remember cleaning the house one evening and my mind began to go back to the most recent session. It was at that time that the pain set in regarding my mother’s absence.  The disappointment and despair hit me in the gut.  I had to stop cleaning and sit down because realizing that there was a hole in my soul that I will never be able to resolve was very difficult to acknowledge and accept.   That realization was one of the most difficult things I had to accept and deal with.  Now armed with this new information, the question was how I could move forward.  I can say that it has not been an easy process but it is better.  Over the months we discuss my mother delving into my inner most thoughts and it has been revealing even to me. 

The other part of my therapy process was geared around my inability to sustain an intimate relationship specifically my most recent one because the pain was still fresh.  This proved a bit more difficult because I just knew that the issue was not with me but with him.  Why couldn’t he just love me in return and not feel as if I was out to get him.  Ha, silly me.  I realized that loving someone and being there for them in a very giving manner can hamper that person from giving for the willingness to do so.    I also discovered that I can’t fix a broken person for that is a job only he can do.  Now do not get me wrong, I have my own shit to correct but I knew what love and loving someone encompassed. Through therapy I was able to look back on some clear signs that showed me that he was broken but I knew he had the capacity to love.  However, what I did not know is that he did not know how to love fully nor receive that which was being given freely. Vulnerability was a weakness to him and he was not going to be weak for me or anyone else.   I know that each of us deal with brokenness to some degree but trying to love someone that does not acknowledge and/or recognize it is dangerous for it is like kryptonite to Superman.  I look back and think of his actions, words and deep conversations and in 99% of them there was a sign that I neglected and/or was unwilling to see.  I became an enabler by not addressing the elephant in the room. My work on self is DAILY but what therapy has taught me is that there is no quick fix.  I now think about things and situations a lot more intently.  When I know that it does not look right the new me realizes that I can’t save you and I am enough.  This is my que to exit because it is not going to get any better. 

Today, I am still in therapy because for me this is an ongoing process.  I see a very distinct change in my relationship evaluation process.  The once constant giver is no longer there.  I give of myself because I want to and not because I think it will help you which in turn would make me feel accomplished.  Of all the things I have to work through, this is the most challenging. 

I can remember telling my cousin Kim with whom I have a close relationship that I had given up on ever getting married.  I have always been a staunch supporter of marriage equality and felt that now that I could marry someone legally I wanted it.  However, prior to therapy and after what I consider a very devastating loss and disappointment I resided that this was not going to be part of my future.  However, the one thing therapy has given me is the ability to hope again.   I am a work in progress but I have inner peace!!!