I Love finding New Awesome People

Anyone interested in one, or all of the following:

1.  Sobriety

2.  Being Vegan/Vegetarian

3.  Lesbian/Gay Lifestyle

Should check out this new blog.  This woman is awesome!  I hope you will check it out and show some support by following and sharing.

www.soberveganlesbian.com

thank you my fellow blogging community!

634 days equals…

1 year.  8 months.  25 days.

That is how long I have been clean and sober, today.  One day at a time.  One feeling/emotion at a time.  One life event at a time.  One solution at a time.

My life is so good today.  And it is changing daily.  So many experiences have manifested since I chose to show up for my life.  1 year, 8 months, and 25 days ago I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt.  I was sick.  Hung-over.  Ashamed of my behavior and my life.  I was angry and scared.  I was tired…exhausted.  I had no love for myself, and I certainly didn’t know how to love you.  I wanted to just vanish.

I am no longer that person.  I am not ashamed of who I am and the life I live and am no longer a puppet for the fear and anxiety that barely strung me along.

Life presents itself in so many forms, and today I embrace it, even if it is scary.  Even if I am unsure.  Even if I feel incapable of succeeding.  Where my thinking can destroy me, my perception can save me.  And with that truth I can trudge through anything. My world has changed dramatically since sobriety became my number one focus.  I recently left my job, after over a decade of working there.  I love the company I worked for.  I love the friendships I have made there.  However, it was time for me to move on.  To extend my creative playing field a bit more.  I needed a change.  And I went for it.  If I was not sober…if I had not worked this program during the past year and 8 months, I would never have followed through with my desire to grow in my career, and thus leave my job.  I would never have had the courage to do it.  Fear would have continued to consume me and I would likely have stayed where I was… comfortable, and therefore “safe.”  Today I see that as nice as it is to feel safe, there comes a time when risks need to be taken in order for growth to occur.

I am constantly growing.

Becoming a vegan has been a beautiful transformation for me in sobriety.  I realized the true definition of compassion.  After becoming sober, I became more present and aware of the horrible ways our human race treat animals that are slaughtered for food consumption. I could no longer be a consumer of meat and dairy after I witnessed the truth behind factory farming….because for me, it was not a compassionate, loving way to live any longer.  Sobriety brings many truths and many gifts.  Becoming vegan was one of them for me.

And more is constantly revealed.

I am in a committed, loving relationship with a truly beautiful, sober woman.  I get the opportunity to live a bi-coastal life, bouncing between New York and Los Angeles, living in the two best cities in the country, in my opinion.  Sobriety has given me this gift.  The confidence to be myself in my relationship.  Genuine and authentic.  Sobriety has taught me that with truth and honesty, grows intimacy.  And with intimacy, grows love.  Sobriety has taught me that my character defects do not define me, and I am lovable even with my faults.   My confidence and self-worth has blossomed, naturally.  I have learned the importance of loving without expectation.

Serenity is always near, should I want it.

I have sobriety to thank for that.  I wasn’t expecting to grow so much and have such awesome experiences in such a short period of time.  But it has happened, and if I continue to do the work, I suspect more gifts from life will appear, and growth will continue.

There are key tools for living that help make it easier….I have a couple go to suggestions that help me along the way…

The best tools for my life are:  Understanding and accepting that I am not in control.  Knowing and believing that most of my thinking and fears are not reality.  Realizing that if I just do the next indicated thing, and stay out of the results, life will work itself out.   It is all very simple, really.  And if I continue to live by these simple rules, I can say to myself:

dont worry

and for that, i am grateful!

Till next time…

#CMO2012 National Coming Out Day

while trolling facebook early this morning, i was made aware that today is national coming out day.  In reading that, i became overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude.  gratitude for being “out.”  for being loved by those in my life for exactly who and what i am.  not everyone agrees with my sexuality, but most people in my life seem to accept it.  and for that, i am grateful.

i remember when i realized i was gay.  that feeling of uncertainty.  excitement.  a new energy that illuminated. i had just been intimate with a woman for the first time.  my body spoke to me.  and so did hers.  it was a feeling i had never experienced before.  i was 24 years old.  and my life was about to change.

i never quite felt right with men.  i was always “one of the guys.”  i had boyfriends and experiences with men throughout my younger life, but i never really felt intimately connected to them.  They were buddies, not really boyfriends.  i tried, but was unsuccessful at playing the heterosexual.  even when i thought i was heterosexual!

at 24, i was handed a gift.  and since then, i have found passion.  intimacy.  love.  expression.  with women.  i began to live with a deeper sense of authenticity.

my “coming out” experience was fairly organic.  one day, i was gay.  and from that day on, i have been gay and will forever be, from what i can tell.   life just naturally progressed in that direction for me.  i told my closest friends, who claimed to know i was gay before i did.  i slowly came out to my family.  that was the scariest and toughest part of outing myself.  like i said, not everyone agrees with my sexuality, but most seem to accept it.

i feel blessed to have the ability to live without fear of my sexuality.  i believe in expression of who i am. and being gay is a huge part of that expression.  it does not define me, but it is a permanent glowing impression on my blueprint.

happy #nationalcomingoutday to all. #cmo2012 #countmeout

 

 

 

 

a little change goes a long way.

i was very different in the recent past.  one major change…compassion.

i always say how “time flies.”  and it does.  when i was twenty, i never thought i would be 30.  or 35.  or 36 (next month).  it just never crossed my mind.  i figured i’d be in my twenties forever.  i never looked into the future with truthful eyes.  i was going to be young for the duration of my life.  i went about my business as if nothing could harm me or touch me or kill me.  I lived behind a very thick smoke screen.  i ignored the sadness i recognize today in the world.  i paid no attention to the inconceivable.  if it didn’t affect me first hand, i didn’t care. and i didn’t care cause i refused to acknowledge anything that my heart couldn’t tolerate with ease.  im not proud of that, but it is the truth.  and today i speak the truth.  sadly, i know now that i was living my life with very little compassion.  for myself or for any other living being or species on earth.  i didn’t understand that at the time.

my eyes really started to open just over a year ago.  it started with getting sober.  eliminating the heavy drinking from my life.  forcing me to face reality head on.  all of it. 35 years of dirty build up had to be taken on.  challenged.  dissected.  acknowledged.  and dealt with.  it took a lot of forgiveness towards myself, and others.  it took, and will continue to take, many amends and apologies for my past behavior. and that is okay. it’s all part of the process.  and through this process i have found compassion.

compassion.  a small word with a massive impact on life.

       :sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

if someone says something unkind to me or is inconsiderate, etc. i am better at not taking it personally than i was before.  in the past, i would obsess over what they did or said for hours or days on end.  today i can accept, usually, that whatever they did or said to me most likely doesn’t have anything to do with me personally…but rather it is something born from their own issue/s.  maybe they are having a bad day.  or maybe someone said something that hurt their ego and they are taking it out on me.  whatever it might be, i try hard to not take it personally today.  instead i’ll have compassion for them and whatever they might be going through.  and then i let it go.  theoretically.  like i said, i am no saint.  but most of the time i can act with compassion today.

if someone is hurting.  i have compassion.  if i am hurting, i have compassion.  i try to be kind.  to you, and to all living species on earth.  i feel now.  and it is best to feel good about myself, then to feel bad.  and i feel good when i live in compassion.

compassionate living is something i now strive for.  i’ve taken it further than with just humans and human contact.  i want to live compassionately towards all living species on earth.  as i mentioned earlier in this post, back in my younger years i lived in a thick fog.  i refused to recognize the inconceivable that is around me.  and there is a lot of it in our world.  this includes the cruelty and lack of compassion that is thrown upon the animals on our planet.  i chose to bear witness to the truth nearly a year ago, and by doing so, i had no choice but to change my ways.  my heart wouldn’t allow me to turn away any longer.  and so i became a vegan.  i refuse to be a consumer of meat and dairy products, knowing what i know today.  this also includes non-food products that are tested on animals.  i can no longer take part in any of that.  i simply can’t do it.  it’s compassion.  and i have it today.  i suppose i always had it, i just didn’t know to what degree.  with the choice of becoming vegan and showing compassion towards all animals, i’ve gotten to know a side of myself that was once hidden.  and i like this side a lot.  it just feels…right.

no, im not perfect at the game of life, but i am certainly better at it today then i was last year and the years prior.  i still have many faults.  and insecurities.  and i make huge mistakes.  i still have a dark side i can fall into.  i can loose my compassionate side at times. i can take things personally.   if i didn’t then i wouldn’t be able to call myself human.  but i now recognize these characteristics when they present themselves.  i can move past those barriers faster.  continuing to better myself in the process.  it’s progress not perfection.

i’ve visited my darkest demons through this journey.   and continue to.  and let me tell you, my skin has thickened in the process.  my heart has grown.  my voice has been found.  and my personality has escaped its own personal jail… and continues to make itself known.  i am present.  finally.

sobriety and my truth has brought me far.

far from what i once was, but not yet what i am going to be.

what a journey.

incase you are interested, below are websites that have helped open my eyes and helped me make my choice to become a vegan:

http://www.peta.org/ 

http://www.farmsanctuary.org/

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/

random act of kindness #9

yesterday i was so busy with work and feeling stressed about a few things in my world.  at the same time i was thinking of my friends and missing them.  i wasn’t able to pick up the phone and chat with all of them at that moment.  i was in a time crunch.  but i could easily send a quick text message letting them know i was thinking about them.  i know that when i get a random text from someone in my life, it makes me smile.  makes me happy if i was otherwise bummed out.  a simple text says so much and many people don’t realize that.

in today’s world of technology, it is easy to get away from one on one conversation and hide from any real face to face or voice to voice  interaction with other humans.  for the introverted type like myself, that can be dangerous.  for anyone really, it can be dangerous.  texts, social media, emails…can all act as a shield from society.

but there is a flip side….

this same technology can act as a bridge for connecting people as well.  when life is busy or has its own plans for me…it prevents me from having the time to call everyone on my list or to check in with those i love.  that’s when the beauty of texting comes in to play.  i can say “hello”…”thinking of you”  in a matter of seconds.  and the receiver is sure to appreciate the act (generally) and will then know i am thinking of them and they are still on my radar, even though im not present or able to pick up the phone.  texting is a way to stay connected to those i love.  and i am grateful for that.

so random act of kindness #9 was texting a few friends that were on my mind…just to let them know i was thinking of them.  it’s that simple.  and it generally has  a big (positive) impact on the receiving end.

use our technological world in a positive way to stay connected.  it works.

IT’S SO SIMPLE AND THE KINDNESS IS APPRECIATED….

 

i am enough.

i have a necklace that i wear everyday around my neck.  it reminds me that, the donna i am today, was yesterday, and will be tomorrow…is enough.  

getting sober is not always a ray of sunshine.   my eyes have been opened wide.  my heart has been exposed.  my feelings are in full force.  the reflection i see everyday can no longer be blackened by booze and drugs.  i have no choice but to really face donna, daily.  with that force of reality, i must accept myself and recognize, i am enough…just as i am.

do you have any idea how difficult that is to say…. for an addict like me?  i am a compare and despair kinda gal.  walking down the city streets, i look at the women trotting by.  no, not because i am a lesbian and am admiring their beauty.  i am staring at these women, comparing my outsides to their outsides.  i see thin and beauty in front of me, and i tell myself how i am not that.  i am too big.  not attractive enough.  getting old.  etc.  compare and despair…a phrase i learned in the rooms of AA.

i play the comparison game in other areas of life as well.  i am a photographer.  i look at photos all day for my day job.  and therefore, i begin to tell myself how amazing the photographers are that i am researching, and how un-amazing my work is.  compare and despair.

as difficult as it was for me to swallow the following concept prior to, and at the start of sobriety, i am able to grasp it now….these feelings and behaviors are all self-centered and ego based.  it still makes me cringe to say that.  why?  because overall i am an incredibly sensitive, kind-hearted, giving individual, who puts you way before me.  therefore i never thought i could be self-centered or have an overexposed ego.  but…this is not the truth, i now know.  comparing myself to you, and being so concerned about my appearance, is clearly me thinking about me and focussing on me.  damn ego.  

when this game of comparison occurs, i go into a very dark place.  a depression, if you will.  and it is not easy to get out of.  it’s comfortable.  it’s what i have known for so much of my life.  its false security.  it’s why i drank.  darkness was my friend, and still creeps in on occasion.  and it is up to me to crawl out of it.

now i have a little tool around my neck.  a gift from my cousin, who had no clue the impact this necklace would have on me.  i wear it everyday.  and when i begin to compare and despair…when i begin to tell myself i am not good enough… i look at the charms around my neck and remind myself…i am enough.

sobriety does not bring perfection.

but it brings the path to a new life, and a new love for life and for self.  and i am on that road now.

i consider it training.

and with everyday of training, my strength in sobriety, self-love, and self acceptance, gains the muscle needed to power down my ego, tame my self-hatred, and massage my self-love.

one day at a time.

i am enough.

 

 

it’s been 11 months since my last hangover…double-u-tee-eff!

today marks 11 months of sobriety for me.  seriously a miracle.  and i feel very lucky to be where i am today.  sober.  grateful.  and for the most part, happy to see the morning light when i awake.  wow.  times have changed.

i read  an article in the NY times this morning about the “hijacked brain” being used more and more as a description for addicts.  i related so much to that description.  think about it…when you envision being hijacked, what is it that you see…that you feel?  for me…similarly described in the article…i imagine a person, with a mask and a weapon, probably in all black, who forces control over a car, plane or train.  the hijacker may not be the one who drives the plane, car, or train, but with his/her violence, there is no doubt who has the power and control in the hostile situation.  and why do hijackers hijack?  one main reason would be because they need to escape, get away, or use the vehicle as a weapon in a far greater scheme.  hijacking is only geared towards the needs of the hijacker.  innocent people are torn away from their normal everyday lives, by the agitation and forced intrusion of the hijacker. hmmmm…sounds so very familiar!

let’s examine further….

compare the above description of the hijacking scenario to the “hijacked brain” of an addict.  the brain becomes an innocent victim of drugs and alcohol…which overtake the brains normal chemical/behavioral  responses, therefore hijacking it.  taking over control.  taking over the body and the mind.  the person is now powerless over themselves.  fascinating!

even after the “high” is gone, the addicts brain is under attack, as it is constantly chasing the high.

in the simplest form, this basically means…..

i am powerless over drugs and alcohol (among other things!).  with that first drink or drug, my brain becomes hijacked, and i become overtaken by the insanity of the hijacker…be it cocaine, alcohol, etc. i loose all control over mind and body.

thank god…i know longer have to deal with such an overwhelming lack of control.  i’ve taken my life back….  the bad guys are no longer welcome.

so what has changed & what have i learned  in the past 11 months?

1.  i do not suffer from that incomprehensible demoralization any longer.

2.  i do not hate the girl in the mirror any longer.

3. i am able to love myself more often than not.

4.  i no longer have hangovers.

5.  i always remember the events that took place the night before.  i remember who i was with.  how i got home. etc.

6.  i’ve learned to have compassion for myself, and others.

7.  i’ve learned to be of service to others in order to find happiness within myself.

8.  i’ve really gotten to know my ego.  and i have put him in his place.

9.  i’ve completed 11 of the 12 steps which are changing my life daily.

10.  i’ve learned what love really feels like.

11.  i feel everything! every emotion.  and i am learning to love it.  even the painful feelings.

12.  i’ve learned to not judge.

13.  i’ve learned the power of compassion and kindness.

14.  i’ve learned the importance of friendship and the dangers of isolation.

15.  i’ve realized staying calm brings me closer to serenity, and acting hysterical takes me further away.

the list really can go on…

the most important thing i have learned, however, is do not take that first drink or drug…no matter what!  

so today i celebrate myself for:

11 months

336 days

8,065 hours

of continuous sobriety!

pssst. i’m gay. deal with it.

the church these days seems to be getting less loving, less god-like, and more brutal in their preaching ways.  it’s bullying, plain and simple.  it’s hate.  it’s intolerance.  and it is not god’s way.  there have been many recent sermons that have gone viral due to their hateful message regarding the LGBT community.  i blogged about one a couple of weeks ago…a preacher who said us “gays” should be put on our own island, surrounded by an electric fence…where eventually we would all die off.  really?

it’s 2012, and i am shocked at the ignorance and fear that much of our world still lives in.  the fact that there is such brutal bullying that goes on today just breaks my heart.  our purpose on this planet is to live a spiritual and compassionate life.  to learn and grow through love and compassion for all living things.  and god made us different for a reason, in my opinion.  diversity makes the world go round. and to love all things living….. different from you….or the same….. is to really live.  it’s called unconditional.  you heard of it?  i don’t expect anyone to be perfect at this, as we are human.  but i do expect people to practice love, not hate.

to all you fearful anti-gay, bullying individuals out there:

why are you so afraid of me?  why are you so interested in my business and my choice of love and lifestyle?  why do you care who i say “i do” too?  or who i retire with at night?  i am not hurting anyone.  i am not affecting your life and your choices.  i have the right to live just as you, so stop trying to take my freedom away from me.  you do not have permission to take it.  it does not belong to you.  you do not have permission to hurt me.  to wound me with your words.  you do not have permission to tell me how to live.  what do eat.  where to work.  how to drive.  what to wear.  and you most certainly don’t have permission to tell me who to love.  and who not to love.  

does this make you feel better?  bullying with your words and labels.  making another fellow human being feel less than and not worthy of this amazing adventure we are all handed…life?

do you have any idea what effect you have on the children, teens, and adults that you bully and harass? the pain that is burned into their being by your phobic daggers?  the lives you halt by your insensitive, unloving, and certainly un-godly “defenses” against humankind.  yes, humankind.  the collective human race.

you defend (thru hate and bullying) heterosexuality as if same-sex marriage or same-sex love is, or will be, forced onto you personally.  stay in your hetero relationship.  i don’t care.  i think it’s fabulous if that’s the kind of love you choose.  after all, it’s about love, not gender.

do you have a child?  a niece or nephew?  godson or god-daughter?  imagine them being bullied at school for whatever reason..being overwieght, unattractive, too smart, etc.

it looks/feels something like this:

would you tolerate it?  would you just let your child, or your niece/nephew,  live with that abuse daily without trying to put a stop to it?  would you consider this kind of bullying from other kids acceptable?  would you encourage it?  i don’t think so. it’s intolerable.

so perhaps think real hard next time you decide to scream anti-gay, hateful words towards another person.  think about it while you are sitting in church on sunday, praising god with your anti-gay preacher suggesting us gays all be put to death.  or when it comes time to vote for giving the rest of the human race the opportunity to marry in love.  just think about it.

it could be your own kid that you are acting out against.

god didn’t grant us life so we can destroy it by defaming our fellows….especially by way of outward brutality.  this separation of people is against the rules.  play nice, or don’t play at all.  we all have the right to be here!

and that is my opinion.

 

 

random act of kindness-6

hey dude, your meter has expired!

and in santa monica, ca….that is a big no no!  you can’t get away with that for too long before a ticket is nicely placed on your car windshield.

random act of kindness #6 description:  feed the meter for someone.

i was walking out of my local grocery store and i noticed a flashing expired meter.  usually not a big deal, except there was a car parked in that spot, and a meter worker not far down the road, i noticed.  it was only a few minutes before 6pm, which is the hour you no longer have to feed the meter.  it’s also the most likely time to get a ticket, in my experience.  3 minutes shy of the cutoff time.  they are slick ticket givers.  hey…the meter workers are just doing their job, i get it.

anyway, so there i am having noticed the meter expired, and having noticed the meter worker coming on down the line.  so i had two choices, walk away…as it’s not my problem, really.  OR , throw a coin in the meter for whoever was parked there….saving them from a 70 dollar ticket for a 3 minute mistake.

so i threw some money in the meter and went about my merry way.  felt great.  i have no clue who the owner of that parked car was.  and i never will.  but i did a good deed for them.  and i don’t need them to know it.

the best acts of kindness are done without any recognition.  because it’s then that you know you are doing them for no outside reason…you want nothing in return.  damn, that feels good.

 

 

words leave marks!

wow.  i just ran across this story about a young girl who was bullied via facebook (and at school) for being “fat” and “unattractive.”  under a photo the girl posted on facebook of herself, a teen boy commented that she was so fat and disgusting that no one would want to rape her and that she should die and her body should be donated to science.   not sure if those were the exact words, but it went something like that.  watch the video for yourself.  it disgusts me. and saddens me.

this case made news originally because the young girls mom allegedly choked the teen boy after bullying his daughter. no, didn’t choke him to death, just seemingly grabbed his neck with force.   im not going to focus too much on that side of the story.  i will only say that i do not agree with her actions and think things should have been handled differently.

my focus here is going to be on the bullying of this young teen girl.  it breaks my heart.  makes my blood boil.  brings back memories i’d like to erase.  bullying was bad enough when i was a teen…today it is out of control. made worse through social networking, instant photos and videos, etc.  humiliation can be spread in seconds.

sadly, teasing is part of growing up.  almost every kid will experience it at some point.  however teasing turns into bullying when it is repetitive and done with intention to hurt.

as a child i was considered fat.  i was, as i recall, the biggest girl in elementary and junior high.  or at least that’s the way it felt.  i recall very few days that i was not bullied at school.  being called fat. fat ass.  ugly.  gross.  wide load signs put on my back.  cornered by teen boys who would steal my belongings, etc. the list goes on.  i cried all the time.  it was daily humiliation.   i was sad.  depressed.  scared.  and worst of all i hated myself.  eventually i began to believe all the horrible words these bullying kids threw in my direction for so many years of my childhood.

words leave marks!

       

so what effect can such bullying have on a child.  here are a few troubles that may transpire for the victim of bullying:

anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, poor social self-competence, depression, psychosomatic symptoms, social withdrawal, school refusal, school absenteeism, poor academic performance, physical health complaints, running away from home, alcohol and drug use, and suicide.

using myself as an example, by the time i was about to depart from junior high school, i was very depressed, my self-esteem was non-existent, i was horrible in social situations because i felt like no one would like me and i wasnt good enough, my self-confidence was shattered, i was often withdrawn, i faked sicknesses so i wouldn’t have to go to school, and i didn’t want to be alive.  when the time came for me to join high school, i lost a lot of weight, in all the wrong ways, because i couldn’t imagine 4 more years of hell.

as an adult…i am still uncomfortable in social situations, i am very introverted and quiet by nature, my self-esteem certainly resurfaced in adulthood, but has never reached its full potential, same goes for my self-confidence, my alcoholism and addictions were in full throttle as i entered early adulthood, i am rarely happy with my physical appearance and am constantly telling myself i am fat. i believe most of these characteristics developed as a bullied child and stuck with me into adulthood.  they are wired in my hard drive now.  i have a great life today and i do have confidence and self-esteem, and i do like the person i have become, but the ghosts of my childhood past still linger.  naturally.

so when i watched this video of this beautiful young teen, crying as she repeated the words of her bully, my heart broke.  i know what it feels like, and i don’t wish those feelings on even the worst of enemies.  emotional abuse is just as sad and just as dangerous as physical abuse.

how can we stop bullying?  how?

although being bullied as a little girl continues to affect me in some negative ways, i am lucky in that i didn’t grow into a mean, angry, bitter adult by way of my childhood emotional abuse.  i grew into a very emotionally sensitive, kind, thoughtful, and gentle woman. (most of the time-cause im not perfect) and  one who knows the dangers of abuse by words, and who can’t even imagine being so mean to another human being.  in fact, if i witness someone else saying hurtful things to another person, child or an adult, i feel it penetrate in me. and it makes me extremely uncomfortable.  not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  but it just is.

seriously…what can schools/parents do to prevent bullying to such extremes?

i hope this little girl who recently felt such emotional pain from bullying…can keep hold of her self-esteem and confidence and is shown, by way of love, how beautiful she is and how much she shines in this sometimes very cruel world.

please watch the video from the Dr. Drew show.

i am just posting the part regarding the bullying.  if you want to see the whole video, please visit HLN’s/Dr. Drew’s page.