Thursday, August 1, 2013

About a week ago I went to the emergency room.  I thought I had appendicitis, but I was wrong (I woke up with a dull pain in my lower right abdomen that increased throughout the day). I had high blood pressure. Very high blood pressure. Incredibly high blood pressure.  Like 215/110 high. Stroke level high. Kidney failure high. Heart attack high. The ER Doctor told me I was lucky I didn't stroke out. I was sent home from the ER with a blood pressure of 187/100 and the promise I would see my regular doctor as soon as possible.

So I did. I walked away with the promise of increasing my lack of exercise to five days a week, a change in my diet to reduce sodium and calories, to set up an appointment with a nutritionist (to solidify my dietary needs), a cardiologist (to see if the blood pressure and family history has messed with my heart), and a sleep study (to see if I have apnea, or some other sleep-related issue that could be affecting my blood pressure) and to take my blood pressure morning and night for a few weeks to gain an average blood pressure for myself. My doctor - who is fantastic, by the way - would like to control my blood pressure through diet and exercise alone. She hates relying on medication, and I am on board with that.  I'd rather not pump chemicals to do something my lazy ass should be doing any way.

For the record, I am healthy otherwise. There is no cause for concern at this time. My cardiology appointment is just to see where my heart health is and how large a factor my family history and high blood pressure has played so far.  I have no organ failure or signs of cancer. I have nothing else wrong with me, and frankly I am relieved.

I'm also relieved to have found all this out at age 35 instead of at 40, 45, or older. This is manageable and attainable. In five to ten years it may not have been.  And it could have wreaked havoc on my innards.

This is probably the only post I'll make about my health.  It's not because I don't want you all to know how I am, it's because I don't want to stress out about it too much.  I will however make no excuses or apologies about my future posts about how much I HATE exercise.  Be prepared. I loathe it. Although I have found Just Dance 3 for the Wii to be fun.

Don't judge me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Save the date.

June 14, 2013.

The day my life stays the same, but everything changes. That's the day the state sanctions my marriage, but not the church.  That's the day I become an activist, but not willingly. That's the day I become a married man, but without a wife.

June 14, 2013.

The day I'm most nervous about. No. More than nervous... I'm flat out terrified. Not because I think I'm making a poor choice or a dreadful mistake. I don't think I am. In fact I know I'm not. I'm terrified because my future is no longer my own. My past is no longer my own. We offer each other our whole selves, without shame, and vow to protect, honour, love, and cherish each other. We make these solemn and sacred vows in front of God, our family, and friends. We make this covenant with each other; we no longer live for just ourselves, but for each other also.

June 14, 2013

The day the Church turns and looks away from us without acknowledging our love or our covenant made before God.  The day we're officially told we're sinners bound for hell.  The day we're told our family will never be the same as a "natural family".  The day we're treated as less than every other person.  The day we're reviled and despised for our commitment to and celebration of each other.

June 14, 2013.

The day it becomes real for my family and future family despite whether they agree with it or not. Will I be viewed as their family, or merely "Danny's friend"? Will my family view Danny as their family, or as "Gareth's um... ah... (nervous fidgeting) partner/uh... well... husband, I guess (nervous laughter)"?  Will our marriage be viewed as a covenant or a farce? Will our vows be viewed as sacred as everyone else's? Or will our marriage be viewed as something less than, something that mocks what they believe God intended?

June 14, 2013

The day I stand proudly with Danny telling him I'll always be there by his side, protecting his back, comforting when he needs comfort, weeping when he grieves, laughing when he's joyous, talking when he needs conversation, listening when he needs an ear, encouraging when he's down, forgiving when he errs, and always, always choosing him.  You see, when I remember why I'm marrying Danny I lose those negative feelings and nagging questions and become completely overwhelmed and humbled by how incredibly wonderful he is. And how extremely lucky I am to have him.

June 14, 2013

Save the date.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why spell check is so important...

Ok everyone, this is not kid-friendly. Or Christian-friendly. Or anyone friendly, really. Fair warning given, avert your eyes if you don't like the C-word. Yes, THAT C-word.

I was watching Rufus Wainwright's "Out of the Game" (a pretty great video starring an amazing Helena Bonham Carter) when I saw it! I couldn't believe my own eyes! A Romney-Ryan ad with a gross misspelling of "Country." I made an audible gasp, called Danny over to see it, and in his best deadpan said what we both were thinking, "Oops."

Oops, indeed.

Now, to be fair, it isn't a Romney-Ryan ad sponsored by them.  It's paid for by the American Future Fund and not authorized by any candidate, but I still wonder: how did this get past the proofers?? And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we spell check.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Gay Agenda

There has been a lot of discussion about the election this year.  My household has been no exception, although - thankfully - we share similar values, hopes, and goals. Danny and I want to be married one day (soon) and have kids.  We'd really like it if we could file joint tax returns, and be named as legal guardians of our (probably adopted) child(ren), and legally name each other as our benefactors without being taxed heavily, and have visitation in the hospital when that becomes necessary, and all of the other 1,138 rights heterosexual, married couples have. You see, that's my gay agenda: being granted the rights that the heterosexuals have. **GASP!!!!!**

I want to legally nag my husband. I want to legally call him for dinner.  I want to legally carve pumpkins for Hallowe'en and turkey for Thanksgiving with him as my husband. Not as my partner, or civil spouse, or domestic shared household member. (I just made that one up, but c'mon, you know that name is coming soon!) And for the record, I want it called marriage. Screw this civil union crap, or the domestic partner registry. No, thank you, I will not accept separate, but equal. I will not accept some term designated just for the gays because "they have something special and unique, so their union should be called something different." (Yes, that is an actual quote picked up from some ignorant commenter when Chris Kluwe wrote his letter to Emmett Burns.)

And right now I can't. Because instead of just granting us what should be a civil right (since marriage is a civil union granted and recognized by the government, it is therefore a civil right), we're letting the public VOTE ON IT...!! What?!?!?! Since when does popular vote grant civil rights? 

Imagine if we let the states put slavery up to a vote. In some of those Southern states, slavery would still exist. Imagine if we put women's suffrage up to a popular vote. Or abortion. Or freedom of speech. Or the right to not self-incriminate. Or the right to search and seizure protection. Or the right to be considered a citizen of this country. Preposterous? Of course it isn't. Not to someone who has some of his civil rights hanging on a popular vote. 

Washington happens to be one of the states putting marriage equality up for a popular vote.  Thank God I live in a progressive state and the referendum will probably pass. And you can believe that come summer there will be a wedding in the Mitchell-Nelson household! (Or does Nelson-Mitchell sound better?) But, what happens when I move to a different state? What then? My marriage isn't recognized by that state, so I lose all those rights I gained? You had better believe it. Thanks, DOMA.

But then what happens if a certain presidential nominee gains control of the White House and declares marriage equality illegal along with abortion (his platform has made that abundantly clear. Oh, and he'll increase taxes on the middle class while lowering them for the upper class. And he'll probably send Americans to China to find jobs because that's how he makes so much money. That, and off-shore accounts.)? What happens then? The Nelson-Mitchell clan moves to Canada.

So, as a favour (practising for when I move to Canada) to me and my (hopefully, if the referendum passes) future husband: if you aren't planning to vote for liberty and justice for all, or for the equal treatment of all people, or for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then I ask you this one small favour:

Please, don't vote.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Soapbox

There are people I know and dearly love who hold a literalist view of the Bible. I do not. I am a Red-Letter Christian. I think most of Christianity is too hung up on Paul's words and not enough on Christ's words. Paul does not hold the keys to the kingdom, Christ does. Paul had beef with everyone, except himself, of course. Christ accepted, loved and protected those who needed and wanted it. Christ holds salvation, Paul does not. You would think that would be the end to the argument, but it is not.

You see, there's this great movement to move back to the faith of our founding fathers. Which, let's be honest, they were not looking to start a theocracy. They were escaping religious persecution, they certainly did not want to form a nation intended to persecute religions. That's why our founding fathers ratified the First Amendment so the federal government wouldn't establish any religion. Wait, a minute... That means... No...! The founding fathers wanted this great nation to remain *gasp* secular? Yes. They had seen what happened when religion became involved in government (the persecution held by the Church of England against the Puritans and the persecution by the Puritans during the witch trials in Salem as just two examples). They wanted a religion-free government, despite the majority of our founding fathers being practicing Christians. The United States has never been a Christian nation; that's rhetoric. It was meant to be a nation without any religious affiliation, founded by Christians, but not ruled by Christian doctrine.

Now, suppose a person came forward and began saying overweight people shouldn't marry because their children would be overweight and never get proper parenting. The parents would never take the kids to the park, or sign them up for sports, or be able to wrap their pudgy arms around their children to give them proper hugs. Or worse! The couple might not have access to their genitalia and even be able to have children... And let them adopt?? They can't properly nourish themselves, how would they be able to give their children proper nutrition? And gluttony! Gluttony is a sin unto death!

Suddenly this fringe group spreads this message and mainstream America begins to pick it up. Over night there is outrage toward overweight people because they are living a life of sin! The Bible says gluttony is a sin, therefore these people ought not be married to contaminate their children into thinking that gluttony is ok!! Yeah!! Gluttons aren't deserving of the same rights as the rest of us, so let's strip them of their right to marry whoever they want! Those nasty sinners! (I mean, how do overweight people even HAVE sex??)

But then others begin to say, "No, all they need is to repent of their sin and be delivered from gluttony. They'll stop overeating. All it takes is prayer and a change in the way they think!"

And those who are overweight begin to say, "It's a glandular problem! My thyroid is out of whack! I've been overweight my entire life - it's genetic!" But let's be honest, no one believes them. They can control their weight through diet and exercise, right? I know, let's put it to a public vote! Who cares that the majority of people in the United States are overweight - they're sinners and they shouldn't spread their filthy propaganda to their children and grandchildren! All their marriages will show is how we have allowed sin to infiltrate our every day thinking. We are a nation built on fit, healthy and attractive people!

Sounds a bit silly. Fat people not being allowed to get married because they will abuse or neglect their children and make them fat, too? Right... But, wait! We have a very similar argument going on right now concerning gays and marriage.

In the beginning God created all things and called all things very good. Including mankind and all the genetic code found within man (pre-fall genetic code I might add - including cancer, celiac, baldness, glandular, and yes, gay genes). God called it good. All of it. Including us today - He has that amazing ability to see down the road into the future. He knew what He was doing when He created cancer, celiac disease, Hodgkins-lymphoma, AIDS, flu, etc. And the argument that these things didn't enter into the world until the fall, well, where did these things come from? Did the world make them, or are they twisted/perverted versions of what God intended? If so, you've got to believe in evolution. Did Satan create them? If so, then he has much more power than any of us have ever thought. I actually believe God made all things and declared them good, knowing what would happen in time, knowing we would need a Saviour, a Healer, a Teacher, an example of Love.

So if God has declared me good, but also has declared me being alone not good, then shouldn't it be said that God never intended for me to be alone? Can't it be said that He has fashioned for me a suitable helpmate? Now, if I am declared good, being gay and all, but me being alone is not good, then logically a suitable helpmate for me is another gay man. Right?

Also, Jesus says nothing about homosexuality, but He talks a lot about judging others. And how he who is without sin should be the first to throw his stone. And He never threw stones, except at the Pharisees and Sadducees - the righteous indignant.

So, to my friends who don't agree with my "choice of lifestyle" I tell you this: God created me and declared me good. He created you and declared you good, too.

If God has declared us all good, why is marriage ok for you and not for me? Why are you more special than I? What makes you more worthy of marriage than I? If I have been redeemed (and I have), why should I not have all the benefits of God's children? I have been grafted into the vine after all.

That is all. I'm stepping off the soapbox now.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Pause Button

I'd like to remain in 2011 for the rest of my life, please. It was a beautifully heart-breaking year; one that I'll not soon forget, nor wish to. It was the year I fell in love and realized how changing love is. It was the year that gave my dad cancer, but didn't take him from us. It was the year I mended the fences of my past. It was the year I offered myself forgiveness. It was the year I've been waiting for without even knowing it. I've been transformed by 2011. And it's because of that I would like to hit the pause button on life and stay in this moment forever.

But that can't happen. It won't happen. Life must go on, charging down the road, careening toward the inevitable of 2012. I can't allow my growth to be stunted because I'm unwilling to let go of the past. I must move forward accepting what is to come in the prospects of 2012. I have a hopeful dread for 2012; a longing to live in the moment, dangerously ignoring the future, loving recklessly without feeling. But that would be foolish. Unwise. Short-sighted. Daft.

2012 will be the year of living in the moment while thinking about the future, loving others recklessly with great feeling, focusing on others and myself, hoping for the miraculous and anticipating the reality. 2012 will be the year that solidifies me. 2012 will be the year I will look back on thirty years from now and be so thankful for.

And so in honor of 2012 I offer you this blessing:

May you find hot coffee for your mornings, a brightly shining sun for your day, and a soft pillow for your nights. May your friendships remain strong, your love increase two-fold, and your soul find nourishment. And may the face of God be always turned toward you for the rest of your days.

Happy New Year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another catching up to do

What can I say? It's been another long stretch without writing. The last little bit (I'm being lazy and don't want to take the time to look and see when I last posted on here...) I've done some thinking and realizing: we cannot make it alone in this world. We can't. It's impossible. Every person needs somebody (or even somebodies) to rely on when they can't do it themselves anymore.

My dad is dying. The doctors don't think the hormone therapy is working based on his PSA tests. I asked him about a support system, if he had anyone to talk to. He told me he didn't want to; he's not a talker. I know what he means. When everything hit the fan five years ago I didn't want to talk to anyone either. I drowned my sorrow in alcohol and crossword puzzles so I could forget for just a little while that my entire world was crashing at my feet; that everything I had lived for was a lie; that I had no idea who I was; that I was scared as hell; that I was spiraling deeper into depression. At that time I thought I had no one. I thought I was alone and there was no one who could even understand anything at all.

I was wrong. There were so many people there for me waiting to understand, waiting to help, waiting to grab my hand and pull me back up. People who loved me. People who didn't need to know the details, they just needed me to know they were there for me. People who smiled and listened to my angry speeches. People I now look at and wonder if they know they saved my life. People who love me unconditionally, who taught me to love unconditionally.

So, to my life-savers, you may not know who you are, but I am forever grateful and in awe of who you are and what you have done for me. Thank you.