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12/13/17 - Mid-week Blog and Podcast

I published a quick, unedited podcast from my car tonight. I've been following the Alabama election closely. Seems now, more than ever, I've taken and interest (or obsession) in elections across the country. I'm actually proud to say that many of my students have been talking about these elections and are following them closely.

So, I've been keeping tabs on what's been going on in Alabama. The notion that an accused child molester had a frighteningly close shot at winning a senate seat was really disturbing to me. As much as I didn't want to watch Steve Kornacki on MSNBC with that damned smartboard (that never comes out the way I want it to - I sometime feel as if I, personally, jinx these elections, so I try not to watch) I watched intermittently, bouncing back and forth between texting my friends and watching twitter. As I was on Twitter last night, I came across a video of a father who was voting for Doug Jones, and more specifically, NOT casting his vote for Roy Moore because of Moore's views on homosexuality. I couldn't stop watching this man. So much so, that I actually Googled him and found a letter that he wrote to the editor of a newspaper dated back to August, 2012. Here's the video:

Now, maybe you've seen this video, maybe not. But I felt overwhelmed by the fact that this man probably lives with the guilt of not supporting his daughter in the best way that he could. But in spite of that, he is out there doing something about it to prevent others from doing the same to their own children or grandchildren.

His letter to the editor of the newspaper reads as follows:

Letter: Soul-baring thoughts on gay-bashing

Nathan Mathis, Wicksburg Aug 22, 2012

"With election time just around the corner, and watching and reading the news, “gay bashing” has begun again.

I once told gay jokes and bashed gays, but a real true life story might make people think just as that true life story makes me think.

On Oct. 11, 1972, Sue and I were blessed to have a baby girl, which we named Patti Sue Mathis. Patti was a wonderful child – happy, treated other children as she should, regardless of wealth or color, very athletic, tomboyish (I always had to pitch batting practice to her after Dixie Youth practice), very beautiful and smart. Patti may hold the scoring title at Wicksburg in basketball for girls. I’m not sure, but her points-per-game average was high. She was selected as the most valuable player at Enterprise State Junior College in softball.

When Patti was a senior at Wicksburg High, I found out she was gay from a young friend she had told. I confronted Patti and I said some things to her that still eat on me to this day. I told her I was sorry that I said those mean things to her.

Patti moved out, but came back home approximately four months later and sat down and cried and said, “Daddy, I don’t want to be gay. Will you please get me some help?” I told her that I sure would and I called UAB hospital and made an appointment.

Patti had been raised by going to church at Christian Home Church of Christ, and she was there almost every time the door was open. Patti knew the story of Sodom, for oftentimes gay bashing was preached from the pulpit. Looking back now, I wonder how Patti must have felt, or if she even knew she was gay then. I never asked her.

We went with Patti to UAB and all types of blood work and tests were done on her that day. Finally, on over in the afternoon, the doctor called Patti, Sue and me into his office and he told Patti, “Young lady, you can’t help the way you are. There is nothing we can do for you.” I said to myself, “Man, this doctor is crazy.”

We visited other doctors and psychiatrists and Patti was told the same thing: “You can’t help the way you are.”

On March 22, 1995, Patti took her own life because she didn’t want to be gay anymore. She was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of. She was tired of seeing how a lot of people treat gay people. I found Patti that day.

Sometime after Patti died, I attended church and a visiting preacher was preaching. About 10 minutes into the sermon, he bashed gays the rest of the way. As soon as the invitation song was given, I went out the door with one of the worst headaches I had ever had. I was ashamed of myself for sitting there and not defending Patti. I have not been much since.

I have a hard time believing that God would allow Patti to be born as she was and if the doctors and psychiatrists were correct that “she could not help the way she was,” that Patti was going to bust hell wide open. I asked a local doctor recently if the medical profession had found a cure for being gay and he said, “No.” He changed the subject after that.

I have no quarrel with any letter writers or readers on this subject. Believe what you want to. I only know that if you ever have a child or grandchild who is gay, you’ll think differently.

Whatever happened to “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Does that exclude gays?

May God have mercy on us all. I only know I miss my daughter Patti very much and I am grateful for having her as my daughter.

Nathan Mathis

Wicksburg"

My dear reader/listener, this man gives us hope that the world is evolving. Nathan Mathis probably lives every day of his life wishing that he had done more for his daughter while she was alive. He did not. But Nathan Mathis is not sitting on his couch wracked with guild and grieving. He is putting himself out there publicly to warn other parents to listen to his story and change their minds before it's too late, as it was for his family.

There's hope in his story and he's not afraid to tell it. There's hope for all of us.

Hang in there, late in lifers. Progress is being made.

Best,

SN

12/11/17 - 12 a.m. Stream-of-Consciousness Blog... Ready... Go

Well, I just finished posting this week's episode of LiLL and talked to the wife who returns tomorrow night from her business trip. She was asking me why it takes me so long to produce the podcast. I had to explain to her, as I'm about to tell you, that I spend more time editing out all of the "ums", the "anyways", the long awkward pauses, the cats puking, the kids practicing guitars or cellos, and their burping, farting, coughing, talking to their girlfriends, slamming doors, blaring music/televisions... You name it. Believe it or not, a 10-15 minute podcast takes over an hour or more to edit...depending on the ...well, you read the list of distractions.

Just to let you all know, I haven't forgotten about looking into a live call in show and an online message forum. I was bogged down with work last week, but I have off from one job this week so I'll get to work on that to see what's out there.

I'm not sure how any of you are Walking Dead fans, but I just finished watching the mid-season finale and Oh. My. God. I'm not going to give any spoilers, but someone HUGE get bitten and then the show just ends until February. Now I'm not going to say who, in case you've DVR'd it and are reading this before you see it, but it's devastating. But if you have watched it, here's my theory. Eugene steps in and saves the day and character X lives. There. I've said it. I've put it in writing on this here blog just in case I'm right.

OK, and now I'm watching Shameless and the main character, Frank, just said, "A lesson" and Alexa, who was a guest on my podcast today, just answered him. Alexa's getting all up into my business. My wife better get home tomorrow or there's going to be a freaky lesbian version of the movie, Her. But, this season of Shameless is turning out to be lesbionically themed again lately. Not sure if any of you are fans. I have to admit. Shameless is a guilty pleasure. But in this season, Vee and Svetlana are at it again and Vee is trying to determine if she's really a lesbian. In light of the podcast, it's pretty funny. And if you do watch, Vee's husband, Kev, is considering having revenge sex with a guy so he's trying to figure out if he's "gender liquid" (his term). He's kind of the dumb, gentle giant of the show for those non-watchers.

Oh, I'm multi-tasking here - Kev just figured out that he's not gay. And Vee just figured out that she's not really gay either. She just realized that it was just Sveltana's dominant personality turned her on. Hm. Just like that.

I wanted to give one more shout out to the listener, Nancy, who sent this week's letter about religion. I do hope more people reach out with their experiences. Nancy did provide some resource for Christians who are struggling with coming out. I'll add a resources page and find some links for those who may need the support or to be guided in the right directions. Please let me know if you have any other resources that you may have found helpful in your journeys. As I mentioned in the podcast, I'll be reading a letter from a "Bottle Cap" who wrote in just as I was finishing up this week's show. So Bottle Cap, if you're reading or listening, you're up next week.

Well, anyway, ladies. That's my little occasional blog. Perhaps I'll get one up later this week. Maybe I'll even have a few photos of the laser light Christmas decorations and a tree to post. Stay tuned!

Have a great week!

SN

11/12/17

Hey there!

If you haven't already listened, the podcast is up after almost a month. Whew.

I've put a couple of clips below. A glimpse inside my MacGyver-esque podcast studio. Necessity is the mother of all invention :)

I've also put a link to the song, "A Case of You," by Diana Krall in honor of my wifey's birthday.

And there's a clip to the Tig Notaro show on Amazon, "One Mississippi."

Wouldn't you know, as soon as I finished recording the podcast, everyone left the house and now there's complete silence. Ah, such is life.

I'm having some technical difficulties getting the podcast published to YouTube. It may take a while (if it happens at all) for it to upload. Seems my Mac upgrade to High Sierra has wreaked all sorts of havoc on the software that use to get this thing up and running.

Anyway, I hope your all doing well!

IMG_0531.MOV

Inside the podcast studio.

This is the song, "A Case of You" for my beautiful wife!

And here's a trailer for the Amazon Original, "One Mississippi," starring Tig Notaro.

10/15/17

Hi!

I just finished the podcast for the week, but there are a few things that I thought you would find interesting.

Regarding the Eleanor Roosevelt poll: 16.7% of you knew that Eleanor was a lesbian and 83.3% of you found out from the podcast. So, hooray! I taught you something!

Here are a couple of trailers for the movies, The Duke of Burgundy and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, and the TV show, Big Mouth.

I'd really like to hear what your opinions are. Check out the homepage for some burning questions. :)

9/10/17

Well, another week has escaped me and I haven't posted a podcast. Getting back to all of my jobs has pretty much consumed every ounce of my time this week. I hope you'll bear with me. A podcast will go up this week when I have a few minutes of alone time to record without any interruptions.

Truthfully, I was going to record this week's podcast a few minutes ago, but there are kids in the house playing video games, walking in and out of my recording studio, a.k.a., my room. So, not exactly optimal circumstances for peaceful podcast recording.

Stay tuned! There will be a podcast this week!

9/4/17

Happy Labor Day!

Just wanted wish everyone a Happy Labor Day!

I'll be posting a podcast this week. Just a little late due to getting 3 kids situated in college and a minor hand surgery of my own!

Here's a song that always comes to mind this time of year:

8/27/17

My thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please stay safe. Please make informed decisions when donating to organizations for the rescue and recovery effort. The Red Cross is not your best option. Please consider the following organizations if you are able to donate as more funding from these organizations will help those in need:

8/21/17

OK, Sun Gayzers! (see what I did there?) Here's a little playlist for watching the eclipse!

  1. Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler
  2. House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
  3. You're so Vain - Carly Simon
  4. Blinded by the Light - Springsteen
  5. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - George Michael & Elton John
  6. Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
  7. Moonshadow - Cat Stevens
  8. Soak Up the Sun - Cheryl Crow
  9. Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
  10. Aquarius (Let the Sun Shine In)
  11. Sunshine on My Shoulders - John Denver

8/20/17

I had the rare, but pleasant, opportunity to have dinner alone with my step-daughter last night. I'm always astonished, though I don't know why, at how wise beyond her years she can be. She's always been the type of kid, now young woman, who has been very outspoken for the underdog. The little activist of the family. Last Sunday, I asked if she'd be interested in attending a candle-light gathering for peace and solidarity with Charlottesville and she didn't even hesitate to say yes.

We talked about the constant feeling of discomfort that we have felt in the last few months. Just when it seems as if it can't get any worse or that we've hit rock-bottom as a nation, something else happens.

We talked about Flint, Michigan, we talked about what gerrymandering has done to voting rights. I ruminated that I wished I had been a poli-sci major in college as I'm not as well-versed as I'd like to be in terms of politics. I know just enough to frighten the bejeezus out of me. She mentioned that her friend, who is transgender, is going to be a poli-sci major in college this coming September.

I thought about how much potential her generation has. I also thought about how hard it is for her friend who lives with a family that is completely intolerant. Thank goodness he's going away to a school known for its acceptance of everyone.

We talked about Michael Moore. My sister and I took my parents to see his show on Broadway. I thought about how lucky I am to have parents who are continually evolving. They may not have always handled my situation in the most productive ways, but they are trying the best that they can. I mean, how fortunate am I that they like Michael Moore and not Rush Limbaugh? Life could have been so much worse.

As my step-daughter and I cleaned the dishes, I found myself grateful in these seemingly dark times. Grateful for what I have and grateful for what the next generation will bring.

~SN



7/30/17

Good Morning. I hope you're all having a great Sunday. The weather is beautiful here in my neck of the woods. I should probably head to the beach, but I'm pretty much stuck inside preparing my notes for summer workshop that I'm facilitating tomorrow.

My latest podcast, Episode 9, dealt with avoidance and self-sabotage. While I've been doing a lot of research for tomorrow's workshop, I have managed to put off getting my presentation together for the actual class. Go, ME! You may also be thinking, "Why the hell are she writing a blog post when she knows that she should be preparing for a workshop?" I thought that, too, so this is going to be short.

I wanted to briefly write about DT, 45, "He Who Shall Not Be Named," The Orange One. I could write for days on this topic. I could be cynical and bitter. But instead, I want to be positive. "How could I possibly be positive about him," you ask? The answer is, I'm not, but it's all about the silver lining.

Last week, 2 brave R women steadfastly held onto their beliefs, broke rank with their party, and voted NAY on destroying healthcare. I'm only going to give a slight nod to the male R because he was a fence-sitter for way too long.

There are many issues at stake with the current climate in Washington. Healthcare has always been a biggie in our house (among other hot topics). My wife is self-employed and, while affordable healthcare was pretty expensive for her, she at least had access to healthcare for herself and her son under the ACA. Thankfully, I was able to add them to my policy when we were married, taking some of the financial burden off of her. Her son can remain on my insurance until he is 26. He's in the process of obtaining his own healthcare with his upcoming job, but at least there's no threat of him losing access if there are any unforeseen glitches.

I know two people, my brother and cousin, who died, in part, because they did not have medical benefits. I'm not going to get into their stories now, but believe me, their untimely deaths were attributed, in some ways, to unaffordable medical expenses.

My point is, my wife and I were able to finally be married in the States. Real married. What if we did not have those rights? I'm not certain that it would have been an easy process for my step-son to have coverage had my wife and I been in a civil union.

Nevertheless, we have to find the positives in times of turmoil. We, as a country, are in a pretty erratic place now. Two women showed us that there is a glimmer of hope for basic human decency.

We have to hang on.

We have to support one another.

There is hope in everything.

~SN


7/24/17

Well, here I am. Giving the podcast and website another shot. I had a sudden burst of energy and a few moments to myself over the weekend and I took a look back at the old podcast. To say that finding my passwords, regaining access to the sites, and gmail account was a daunting task would be an understatement. After many failed attempts, I managed to get back into all of the old accounts.

Let me first begin by saying thank you to everyone who wrote in and I'm sorry that I neglected to keep up with the site and podcast. I really had no idea that my stories had any value to anyone. I knew that my stories were obviously important to me, but I never imagined that anyone would ever get anything out of what I was saying. Apparently, I was wrong. I can honestly say that I felt a mix of emotions ... from horror, to shame, to feeling ecstatic. I was horrified and ashamed that I let the podcast and the website fall by the wayside. On the other hand, I was ecstatic to read such kind emails and such positive reviews of the show.

There were a few reasons for the lapse. First and foremost, I simply didn't believe in myself or my ability to have a positive impact on others. Secondly, life just became overwhelming. If you've listened to the podcast, you know that I had some drastic changes in my life, from moving in with my (now) wife and her kids to finishing my degrees. I thought that everything would be easy peasy and that I'd be able to manage it all. But I was wrong.

I can't say that life is less hectic now. We have two kids in college and I'm usually working three jobs. But this part of my life, the podcast and website, has always been important to me personally. Funny how that happens. We tend to neglect the parts of our lives that are most important to us. We put our health and happiness on the back-burner while tending to everything else that comes along.

My wife listened to the latest podcast from 7/23/17 and said that it made her sad. I asked her why and she told me that it was sad that "we," collectively as the LGBTQ community, still have to struggle. (Quite frankly, I'm glad that she wasn't mad at me that I was airing our dirty laundry in a podcast.) I told her that I just never thought that the podcast was any good. She said, and I quote, "It was good and it's too bad that you let it go." So, I'm going to give it another shot.

I hope you'll still listen and I hope that my stories can help...even if you learn from my mistakes.

~SN