Gay Fresno - Life

Life

Working through the stages: Friend’s death brings unexpected gift of personal renewal

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Friday, 26 February 2016 15:54
  • Written by Chas M. Navarra

With the publication of her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross began a worldwide discussion about death and grief.

The author presented her theory that people grieving the death of a loved one experience common emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Dr. Kübler-Ross proposed these five stages of grief could be used to counsel clients to work through their sorrow.

The Huffington Post reported Dr. Kübler-Ross later regretted presenting those five stages in the way she wrote them because people mistook those stages as being linear and universal; grievers negotiate the stages in ways unique to their psychological makeup. A recent event reminded me of the five stages of grief, and of my “Death and Dying” university courses when I was completing my baccalaureate degree.

Last week, my heart breaking, I wrote the following in my journal:

“My dear friend is gone. She died two days ago, sometime in the morning. The call came shortly after she passed to the next World. The pain I feel is just indescribable. Could eyes be more swollen, the ache of the head almost as heavy as the ache in my Heart?”

In the middle of my deep grief, I became calm as I realized the foundations of my feelings. My friend taught me so much during the years we shared our respective journeys on this Earth; I could almost hear her comforting and supporting me as she had always done, countless times, when I was most in need of someone believing in me or hearing my burdens.

When Death forces its calling card upon our psyche, our sorrow is as much for the dead as it is for the living. What we see in a loved one’s death is our own mortality. The tears we shed for our loved one are tears spent for ourselves; the musings of how a good and loving Creator could allow such sorrow and pain can be self-questioning about how we treat others. In my friend’s passing, I learned again that death is an opportunity to create a new way to approach living, as I worked to move out of grief to acceptance and to a tentative truce with the knowledge of my own mortality.

Read more: Working through the stages: Friend’s death brings unexpected gift of personal renewal

The danger of hiding who you are

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Sunday, 16 August 2015 10:06
  • Written by Jason Scott

Morgana Bailey has been hiding her true self for 16 years. In a brave talk, she utters four words that might not seem like a big deal to some, but to her have been paralyzing. Why speak up? Because she’s realized that her silence has personal, professional and societal consequences.

 

Be still, my “Rebel Heart”

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Monday, 22 December 2014 15:25
  • Written by Micah Escobedo

rebel heartMadonna is the Queen. No, seriously - she is the undisputed Queen. Let me explain...

For starters, she's sold over 300 million albums worldwide (more than any female artist) over her 32-year career. She's the top-touring solo artist in history and those shows are sold out, critically acclaimed extravaganzas. She's a billionaire.....I could go on and on (a la "Give it 2 Me"). But her royal credentials have been proven yet again by how she worked the recent leaking of her album to her advantage.

In case you didn't read the news, 13 demos from album number 13 leaked onto the web just days ago. Yeah, the one and only Queen of Pop was not happy about it. "“This is artistic rape!! These are early leaked demos, half of which won’t even make it on my album,” she posted alongside a photo to Instagram (which was later deleted). “The other half have changed and evolved. This is a form of terrorism. Wtf!!!! Why do people want to destroy artistic process??? Why steal? Why not give me the opportunity to finish and give you my very best?”

Well last night (12/19/2014), she literally broke iTunes by releasing her upcoming album as a pre-order. Titled Rebel Heart (Madonna-holics like me have suspected as much since she's frequently used the hashtag #rebelheart on her Instagram), the 19-track album has six that are instantly available once a pre-order is made. You better believe I pre-ordered faster than she fired someone over the leak.

I say this as a hardcore Madonna fan (I have all her albums, most singles, several vinyls, some books, posters, etc.): It's her best material since 2005's Confessions on a Dance Floor. It's ahead of the curve (classic Madonna trait) and beautifully showcases the magic that happens when she collaborates with amazing artists and producers like Natalia Kills, Diplo, Avicii and others. I'm not saying 2008's Hard Candy and 2012's MDNA weren't good - I loved them. But they sounded like other music of the time (no complaints, by the way). Rebel boldly breaks the streak. It sounds unique and different from anything currently out right now.

There are seven tracks with names, six of which are instantly downloadable: "Living For Love," "Devil Pray," "Ghosttown," "Unapologetic Bitch," "Illuminati," and "Bitch I'm Madonna (feat. Nicki Minaj)." The seventh - "Joan of Arc." The available six are all single-worthy and could easily stand alone.

They're all my favorite. The dance and EDM grooves that have come to define Madonna are fine-tuned into some amazing songs. The lyrics are both deep and lighthearted, the beats are incredible, and the cover of the album is a stunning piece of art by Mert & Marcus.

If you need some confirmation, head over to iTunes and pre-order Rebel Heart. Twenty-fifteen is going to be the year of Madonna and I cannot wait.

A Gay Dad’s Requiem for Leelah Alcorn

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Saturday, 03 January 2015 17:54
  • Written by Scott

Leelah-AlcornI will never forget the stunning image of Matthew Shepard’s hate crime. A young beautiful human was beaten, tortured and left for dead in an unthinkable violation. It shocked me when I saw the images, and I was not alone. Matthew’s fate left and indelible impression that has become part of our collective culture to this day.

This week, another tragedy, another life destroyed, left a similar impression — the death of Leelah Alcorn.

One of the publishers I work with sent me a quick message on New Years Eve. “You might want to write one of your ‘Gay Dad’ letters to the parents of this teen.” It was Leelah’s story. She was known to her family as “Joshua,” and she had killed herself.

A pre-published letter appeared online. In the letter she eloquently explained why she was going to end her life in more emotional detail. While certainly many other young people had ended their lives before her, Leelah’s account of what she had endured was unprecedented.

In doing so, Leelah transformed from the latest tragedy to one that emblazed into the consciousness of a mass audience. Her plead to “make her death matter” resonated.

By Rob Watson – See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

Beauty in the 21st Century

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Saturday, 15 November 2014 13:49
  • Written by Joseph Rodriguez

Beauty is a hybrid of qualities, such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, meaning sight. Beauty consists of an alteration of oneself. Based on the environment we live in, we attempt to fit into the mold that is held in front of us. My attempt at beauty came with the decision of anorexia.

As a child, beauty is seen as an open range of total bliss. I never thought twice about looking my best. I had been more preoccupied with playing outside and feeling the wind brush against my skin. As the years flew by, the hunger to feel beautiful began. Middle school was the wakeup call. I knew I was overweight, but I didn’t need anyone else reminding me of it. I had a P.E. class with a couple of cheerleaders, and they reminded my weight imperfection. Negative comments are forever remembered. It’s like having million Post-Its attached to your back and imagining everyone around you reading them. You look away hoping they don’t repeat a single word to your face. This paranoia grew to depression, and the depression caused me to eat even more. As a freshman in high school, I was now fourteen years of age, and a size forty-two in men’s pants. The negative comments began once again by the upperclassmen.  I no longer began to eat my feelings.


I saw food as the enemy.  And as the days progressed, my hunger began to slow down until the craving stopped altogether. As I got thinner, I felt more alive. I was beautiful. The mirror unveiled myself as I always imagined. At seventeen I was now over six feet tall, weighing at one-hundred and fifty pounds.  Friends began to notice this drastic change, and praised my new transformation. Many joked about me taking diet pills or illegal substances. Others really wanted to know how I got so thin so fast, but I never told them the truth. The feeling of being noticed blurred my vision of anything else. It wasn’t until a teacher pointed out my weight loss. He pulled me aside one day and had a serious discussion about the new me. At that moment he was not my teacher, he was acting more like a parent. “I hope you’re okay,” he told me. Those words felt similar to a Band-Aid being ripped off revealing an opened wound. He saw what everyone else didn’t. I felt torn between both reality and my imagination. I remained thin throughout my high school career, and for some years after. Today, I still struggle with this disease. I am now at a normal weight, but focusing on being more fit and healthy. I had never felt the need to discuss this with anyone, but now that I am older, I feel the need to tell the world it is okay to be the way you are. I hope to save someone else from this pain that consumed me many years ago. Beauty is confidence, and happiness. It surpasses anything beyond physical. A pretty face and skinny waist does not last forever.