Fall is a beautiful time of the year; the leaves put on a new color, the air is crisp and biting, and memories of wonderful meals together flood our hearts. I have such excellent memories of spending time with loved ones during the holidays. Some of those loved ones are still here and others are long gone. Sweet and savory smells still occupy my senses and fill my soul. I wish you the very best of times during this Thanksgiving, and I hope that you and your family will make many new memories that will sustain you for years to come. Grace and peace to you all.
I was made fun of when I was younger…well. I guess it’s been most all my life. People make fun of the way that I talk; some even make fun of the way that I walk. When I got to prison, it was a new environment (and a new set of “rules” to obey…”rules” that are very different from the rules in the outside society). Once again, I was taunted and jeered at because of the way I spoke and carried myself. I had to face a new set of rules and had to establish myself. It’s hard to live a lie in here, and I am not a very good liar anyway. So, I had to learn to be who I am and be proud of who I am. I am a gay man and I learned to be proud of that. I learned also that these guys in here respect me and accept me for being honest with them much more so than if I’d put up a front for these past 16 years. I have found it much easier to live and be accepted and be open with everyone I came in contact with. I don’t go around spouting the fact that I am gay to everyone, but if conversation leads down that road, I go there. I find I can go to bed at night with a clear head and a clean conscience and a joy in my heart knowing (and living) who I truly am.
I have lived a closeted life for so long that it hurt…it hurt me and it hurt those around me that I loved. I want to be honest with those in the outside society, also. I don’t want to have to be afraid or feel like I have to avoid the topic. Oh, yes, there will still be people who will make fun of me, but I am going to enjoy who I am, who God made me to be, and learn that I am ok with who I am.
Thanks to all of you who took a moment and donated $20 (or more) to the Texas C.U.R.E. Fan Project for 2013. According to Texas C.U.R.E., 640 fans were placed in cells that indigent inmates occupy. That amounted to $12,800!! Wow. I thank you all for your help.
You can donate your $20 at any time during the year. The fan distribution is from January 1-July 31, and the inmates will need to apply after January 1, 2014.
Again, I personally thank you for your loving contributions. Many of you sent me letters letting me know of your donations. Thanks to you, it was a lot cooler in here for those indigent inmates.
I have read a lot of books since I have been incarcerated. I have a lot of time to do that!! Jodi has sent me several books on abuse survival because of some the things that I have shared with her. I have had to face a lot of things about my life that have made me very uncomfortable, but I am very proud to say that the introspection was needed badly.
I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I have had to look at those dark moments of my life, turn the light on them, and bring them to the surface.
Those ugly moments in my life have made me a lot stronger person, a lot more loving and compassionate person, and I daresay, a lot better person. I am who I am today because of my past. There’s no changing things in the past; there’s only looking forward to the future and making today absolutely the best day of my life. I look forward to tomorrow and making all the experiences that I have today count for goodness.
I have really enjoyed going out at night and walking on the Rec Yard. They call Rec around 6:30 pm and I go out and walk for an hour. I start with about 5 minutes at a warm-up pace and use the last 10 minutes or so to slow down and cool off. The weather is really going to start cooling down now, and it is truly going to be great during these evening hours.
September is a great time to walk. There are a number of great causes to contribute to that sponsor walk-a-thons. I am thinking of the American Diabetes Association and the Breast Cancer Awareness Association. Look them up and find out where there is a charity walk-a-thon in your area. Get a friend also interested and walk together. Since I have been walking on the Rec Yard, there have been many guys to join me who have never done anything active before…now, we all are walking. It surely makes me feel better, too. Join me and walk for your good health!
One of my cousin’s favorite authors died recently of cancer at the age of 57. Debbie Ford wrote “The Spiritual Divorce” and helped my cousin through her pain during the healing process. I would like to share an excerpt from her book that my cousin sent to me recently:
“You have been called to be who you are—the whole luminous light. No one can say no to a light so bright. No one can deny who you are unless you are, in some way, minimizing the power and the force of your divine substance. Don’t go to sleep now for you have been awakened. Don’t shut your eyes or you will put out the light. Stay awake to the power and force that guides and protects your divine essence. Look for the light. Look for it in everything. Look for it in yourself, in your children, in your job and in your dreams. Look for it in the food you eat and in the people you surround yourself with. Look for it in the music you listen to and in the words that you read. Look for it in your communication and in your heart.
Find the light of God in your past, in your struggles, and in your missed opportunities. Find it right now wherever you are and whomever you are with. For until you can find the light, there will be darkness–the very darkness that you have given the power to put out your light!”
My heart sunk when I learned of the death of Van Cliburn. My Daddy was one of Van’s most ardent supporters/fans in the days when we lived in Kilgore. Daddy was the Head of the Fine Arts Department at Kilgore college when the school was building the new Fine Arts Building. They named the auditorium within the Fine Arts Building the Van Cliburn Auditorium. Van Cliburn visited in our home on a number of occasions; we had all his recordings and would often hear the beautiful piano concerto emanating from our RCA Victor phonograph. I remember the evening that Van played the dedication concert at the the new auditorium that bore his name. He was so very tall and graceful and elegant.
Keeping up with him through the years has reminded me so much of the awe he inspired in me as a child. I will not forget his presence in my life.