Though just a few steps from her kitchen to the back yard, she only wanted to make one trip, making it feel like we were traveling a great distance. Our picnics were special.
Your support is greatly appreciated!
Pride doesn’t have an expiration date. Pride has been a constant goal in my life. Always reaching for authenticity. Pride is about living every day with integrity and honesty. The integrity asserted by accepting myself and letting go of the voices which had made me desperate for some kind of a “normal” life?
More than myself I’ve watched my husband grow. There is a certain amount of freedom that comes from being a hairdresser. For years Jeff worked with military defense, hiding became common and for a while I had the name of Melissa, his wife no one ever met. Today he smiles that beautiful smile when introducing his husband.
Self-discovery taught me that a secret life is a sad life. Self-discovery taught me about the tenuous and all-important connection between identity and freedom. Despite all that came before and would come after, without individuality and authenticity, we could never be free.
In the BIG picture there is room for us all. There is love for us all. There is happiness, and community, and acceptance, and celebration, and at long last, there is JOY. And if you find it at 15 or 30 or 80 – it is there for you to find. Find your truth. Be authentic. Shout out loud. You’re never to old to Toss Glitter’. The world needs it…
It’s hard to believe that Jeff and I are celebrating twenty -nine years as life partners; five married. Equally surreal was realizing it had been nineteen years since we had made a return visit together to the city where we met.
In 1983 I moved to Washington DC. in hope of creating a new life. My path to self-acceptance, happiness, authenticity. So much has changed in thirty-five years. Standing on the corner of 14th and F street, one block from the Treasury Department and less than two blocks from the White House. Julius Garfinckel & Co. would become my second home for seven years. My clientele grew quickly in the salon that was housed inside that grand department store. It’s now divided into office space and a restaurant.
My first apartment, The Windsor House, seems unchanged. But as I watched families with strollers pass I remembered a very naïve young man maneuver between hookers and drug dealers on this very street; on my way home. The corner deli had a sign over the register that read NO PIMPING.
The fountain at Dupont Circle where I would sit and watch artists painting, elderly men play chess, homeless sit and sun themselves. I’d stop on the way to the fountain and buy a salt bagel with cream cheese. I’d never heard of a bagel and the rock salt with the crème cheese seemed so decadent. I’d watch gay couples laugh and hold hands and I’d wonder where my place was in all of this? The voices of my past still chanting “You’ll never be happy being you. They are incapable of commitment and a productive life.” All the old haunts brought back our past. The plague that was killing gay men which was dubbed the ‘Gay Cancer.’ My first march holding my boyfriend’s hand in public for the first time. Personal growth, extreme loss and terrifying fear. Independence, discovery, pride, love.
Jeff and I had forgotten how beautiful the Lincoln Memorial was at night. Three teenage boys were next to us and Jeff asked if they’d mind taking our picture. He showed them the old one that we were trying to recreate from when we’d first met twenty- nine years before. In unison the boys exclaimed “How cool and congrats!” The voices in our present sounded different than those I’d listened to in my past.
Which brings me to Cher. People often have asked what I was thinking or feeling when I’ve met Cher though the years. My answer always the same. I become that ten –year- old boy sitting on his grandmother’s sofa, her high-heels dangling from his feet, while holding the Tiger Beat magazine he’d discovered her in. This meeting however proved different. As Cher took my hands and kissed my cheek she asked about our poodles and congratulated Jeff and I on our anniversary. Cher, in person; takes your breath away. Her exotic beauty is as present as it was when I met her for the first time in 1982. Her youthful energy is timeless and you felt it the moment entering that room. As she turned to Jeff and took his hands I thought about this full circle moment. That mysterious image I’d discovered in Tiger Beat that somehow, in a ten-year-olds mind projected freedom and strength. That image became a poster on the same boy’s bedroom wall a few years later. Giving him the strength to push back against his father’s anger and tyrannizing ways. As Cher kissed Jeff’s cheek he flashed that beautiful smile and beamed with pride over the beautiful weekend he surprised me with. I’m reminded of the magic created through a shared life of truth, love and commitment. Our full circle moment.
George Michael’s beautiful voice, image, songs of faith, pain, freedom, and love. 1987, the height of the AIDS epidemic in America, I was living in Washington DC trying to become comfortable with my orientation while watching everyone die around me. The strength, joy and comfort George Michael’s music and video’s brought during that time period are unforgettable. You’re flying with the angels this morning beautiful man… Thank you…
Some told stories about the lives of their sons and brothers and boyfriends, each represented by a three- by six-foot panel of fabric—a patch about the size of a twin bed . . . The kind you might lie on, side by side with a childhood friend. The kind you might dream on while listening to music that told you there was a world beyond your four walls. The kind you might sit on while deciding you were going to live your life with truth and openness and not give a damn about what anyone else thought…
-Eddie Casson, Farm Story – Coming Out Of Indiana
Launching Farm Story in my home state of Indiana was one of the most gratifying events of my life. I’ve never felt more lifted up in love and celebration and I want to thank everyone who supported Farm Story.
Pike County Petersburg Library, Bokeh Lounge, Marge’s Hallmark, Pike Central Alumni Celebrating the Arts, Mystique Winery & Vineyard, and Ange Humphrey host of Tristate ABC’s Lifestyles news segment. Your warmth and openness to helping me share my story made me feel so relaxed and welcome.
The support and gifts of glitter candles, t-shirts, wine, flowers from both family and friends was overwhelming. Special thanks to Angie Floyd Mills your gift of Mark’s original Divine Miss M album, that he and I listened to over and over in our youth, will be cherished for the rest of my life.
So many of you shared your personal stories – I hear your voice and feel your pain. We all have a Farm Story in our lives to share!
Thank you Indiana for tossing beautiful glitter with me!
Farm Story finds a home on the shelf of GreenLight bookstore in Fort Green, Brooklyn!