CORONAVIRUS: The Psychological, Physical and Spiritual Impact on My Life
I. AM. TERRIFIED.
The novel Coronavirus has forever impacted our lives as we know them. For many of us, the impact will linger long after a cure is found. Yet, for those of us with an existing autoimmune condition, the need to take every precaution to guard against this disease is much higher than it is for the general population.
Every December 1st, I experience a sadness that makes me realize just how precious life is. As World AIDS Day approaches, I struggle as I recall the number of friends whose lives have been robbed by AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency). It is easier to remember their smiling faces than the courageous battles they fought to the very end.I am comforted as I reminisce about the beautiful gay men who taught me about courage and resilience when I came out at the age of thirteen.
How One Night in a Lap Dance Club Led to My Fascination with Strippers
I took my time applying my makeup that night. I settled on an accordion dress that swirled around my thighs with each step. My calves glistened with Vaseline as I buckled my strappy sandals. I looked at my watch and set out for the address Sean gave me.Sean was a new client who I had professionally stalked for months. I was determined to secure his advertising budget.
I often find myself daydreaming about the smallest things. Like … the tenderness in her voice when she calls to ask if I’ve eaten … the excitement and curiosity that warm my heart when she says she has a surprise for me.
As the Benadryl dripped into my veins, euphoria set in. My pupils widened as warmth flowed through my body. I felt as though I was suspended in air … in time … as my neurologist’s words played over and over in my head: “I spoke with a retired specialist at Georgetown University regarding your case. I am concerned that you may not recover if you relapse. We must resume the Remicade infusions indefinitely.”
*I am ashamed to admit that I did not know God until I knew God.
I remember my mother teaching me to say the Lord’s Prayer when I was a little girl. I would get on my knees at night and repeat her words: Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. As I matured, I struggled to differentiate between religion and spirituality.
I always considered myself to be more spiritual than religious. I am more concerned with fulfilling God’s will versus my own. A mental filmstrip of memories – trauma, bullying, rejection and grief – rushes to the forefront of my mind. Those life experiences brought me to who I am today. As I approached my fifty-second birthday, I realized that my life has come full circle and it is nothing but God.
One of the fondest memories I have of my mother was when I was about five years-old. I watched her juggle her books in her arms as she hurried across the asphalt courtyard of the Asbury Park Village. She was striking in her camel colored pea coat with dark-brown barrel shaped buttons. My Nana soothed my cries as I pressed my face against the screen.
“She’s coming back. She’s going to school to become a nurse so she can take care of you.” Over the years, I heard stories about how my mother was one of the most sought after women in Asbury Park. She had a heart of gold to match her fun and vivacious spirit.
The Lesbian Girl Code, Part 2: The Pitfalls of Playing House
I’m overwhelmed with sadness when I think about my unmarried friends who are grieving over the end of long-term relationships. They’re not just grieving the loss of love. For many who merged their lives by living together, a breakup is the loss of identity and — let’s face it — security. They have spent years in relationships without the protection or legal rights that come with civil unions, domestic partnerships, and marriage.
Some remain in toxic relationships because they are financially dependent upon their partners.
Just when I thought it was safe to come up for air and believe in common decency again, reality jolted me right back to the here and now. My best friend and her girlfriend of almost two years were breaking up. She shared the disappointing news that her girlfriend was having an affair. Given that this was her girlfriend’s first “real” lesbian relationship, I assumed she was seeing a man.
I never thought in a million years that I would become the person I needed but never had when I was a little girl. Coming out in the early ’80s at the age of thirteen, without any role models who looked like me, was difficult. And yet, I felt a sense of power in acknowledging that level of self-awareness at such an early age.
Recently, my sister pointed out that I have become my own hero. Just the thought seemed incredible, almost arrogant. I hesitantly looked up the definition of “hero.” One of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions describes “hero” as one who shows great courage.
*The holidays are difficult in general for many people, but are even more devastating for the LGBTQ community. We are encouraged to go home and spend time with our families. However, many in the LGBTQ community suffer anxiety and loneliness due to ostracization by their families. As I think of my friends who are not welcomed home, I flash back to one of the loneliest holidays I’ve ever experienced: Thanksgiving 2001. I will never forget that day because of the rejection and isolation it brought me.
The circumstances leading up to the holiday were challenging, but I never anticipated what it would become. My partner at the time had been diagnosed with cancer.
My son and his partner welcomed a new daughter on April 13th. Like any grandmother, I am gratified to see my family extended and overwhelmed with love. As an out lesbian, my dreams and hopes for my granddaughter’s future include experiencing some freedoms that I never had.
Serving My Country in Silence: A Human Perspective on Solidarity Versus Sexuality
*Recently, I was asked about my thoughts regarding the debate on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military. I responded that the audacity of our Commander-in-Chief to question the dedication of any service member was mind-blowing.
First, his dodging the draft, not once but five times, hardly warrants respect from those of us who have served and protected our country. Second, LGBQT individuals have always served in the military.