Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sexual Assault Apologies - Here's How


I'm sorry. Is there
anything I can do to
make this up to you?

Not this.
Poor me, oh, poor me.
I used my privilege to
assault you. Got caught.

I would like all people who have assaulted someone in the past to just step up and put that out there. (Although I will admit it's amusing to imagine the millions of famous, infamous, and regular people squirming in the privacy of their homes, waiting for their name to come up . . .)  And, for fvck sake, do not deny, explain your psychological diagnosis, or ask for sympathy for your situation for being outed as a perp!  Here is the only thing you need to say.  Memorize it:


Here are some other important steps to remember when offering this apology -
  1. The apology is offered in private, not in the national and world media
  2. The apology is given directly from you to your victim(s).  You do not have your lawyer, friend, agent, or journalist friend deliver it.
  3. Do not just show up at your victim's door to apologize.  Send them a letter or text telling them of your intent to apologize.  If they direct your to an attorney or advocate, do what they ask.
  4. After you give the apology, you step back and wait quietly for your victim (or the victim's lawyer or advocate) to get back with you.  
  5. Your victim may never get back to you.  You have nothing to say to anyone about that.
  6. This is your victim's story, not yours. 
  7. These are first steps in giving back the power and dignity you took, and held, from your victim. It feels shitty, doesn't it, to not be in control of the situation.  Yeah, your victim knows how shitty if feels.
All these things are the opposite of what your attorney is going to tell you to do.  You can tell your attorney to go fvck themselves. 

Your victim may ask you for millions of $$$.  If you have that, give it to them.  If you don't sacrifice to give them the most that you can.  Most of the reports that are coming out these days are about assaults that happened years ago.  If the assaults were reported earlier, they were met with people calling them liars or crazy.  Then, victims who spoke up were systematically and fully black-listed, fired, avoided, and labeled as difficult or delusional.  Think of all they missed out on because of the trauma you caused in the moment and sustained with your years-long denial. 

How much do you think it's worth that you got to go forward with your life and your career as if your actions were inconsequential?  Acknowledge that your victim's reality changed, your actions affected their career options, learning ability, partner choices, family relations, and everything else that made up their lives?

So you perps . . . sshhhhh.  If your apology gets into the news, it should be your victim who is sharing what they care to share.

Rock on, brave victims.  You are changing the world for the better.

©Lori Allen 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - 4 Months, 19 Days - Until Tomorrow

Breaking the Spell

Doctor's appointment
tomorrow.  There'll be no choice.
I'll step on the scale.

The picture above, while not recent, does express what life has been like for the four months I haven't been weighing myself.  I think of my weight (and by think I mean: obsess, fret, shame, curse, and blame my genetic inheritance) infrequently these days, which has been a great gift.  I have felt lighter, able to break the chains of the cultural anchors of fat shaming. 

Being hung up on weight, for me, is a carry-over of childhood and young adult relationship stressors.  There have been times in my life when I was lighter, thin even.  Being a physical target for criticism and hurtful words (you're such a fatty, your 10% over ideal weight for a twelve-year old, honey if you could just lose five pounds, how can you let yourself go like that  . . . and so many more) allowed me to keep the focus on things I knew I COULD control rather than things I could not - like your depression, the toxic environment I lived in, the regrets you lived in. 

Being a bit overweight or fat was something I could control, something to take the focus of the things I could not control.  Being a naughty girl, a bitch, an obstacle to your dreams, these were things I could not control because I didn't know what I was doing to cause those things.  (P.S. - I now know I was not doing anything to cause your hurtful words and actions - that was YOU being an asshole.)

Finally, in this point in my life, I've learned that who I am is not who you tell me I am.  Your harsh and cruel words to me were always more about you than me.  I know that what I weigh is more about how I dealt with you than my willpower or personal strength.  And now, I live with this tension and accept that I can deal with you and me and the whole world as I care to.  One day, I may trust I can let go of this protective layer I wear, to allow people to see me.  I want to trust that I won't fall into old patterns of co-dependence.  Some day, perhaps, some day.

So, apparently when I started this whole "not weighing myself anymore" posting, I gave reports.  So, in honor of my annual physical tomorrow where I WILL be weighed, here's an updated report.

Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – nope.  But I did eye the scale knowing that tomorrow at this time . . . .
·         Meditate – yes.
·         Walk – Not yet. Just a bit for work. 
·         Eat – Quiche and coffee. 

      Other goals report:
·         Music came in the form of chattering, quarreling, and laughing granddaughters who are bunking with me for a couple days as their folks travel for work. 
·         Clearing my bookshelves and donating to PP booksale.  I have found Swedish Death Cleaning, consider an art that.  I am learning.
·       .Wrote a haiku - see above.
·         Writing - where have your gone?. 
·         Inspired today to update my blog after reading a client's blog.  There is strength and inspiration in V's writing.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - 3 Months - Types of Weight

Image result for scale image  Image result for stress level scale
I am happy to announce that I have NOT weighed myself since I pledged not to on my birthday back in June.  I don't have a sense that I have varied very far my my last weigh-in, and I am satisfied with that feeling.  If there is any anxiety, it is in an upcoming doctor's appointment.  My doctor has patients weighed at each visit, so it will happen.  Whether or not I want to be told the number is another matter.  Hmmm . . . . .

Truth be told, if I were interested in a weight measurement right now, it would be the weight of the stress and vulnerability that I hold, that many around me hold.  I tell myself that I am a non-anxious person handling a high stress job, I tell myself that "I've got this."

Yet today, this sunny fall day, I have struggled to see clearly in moments of metaphorical darkness. Fortunately, I've had a few moments of alone time to close my eyes and meditate.  As I closed my eyes and allowed darkness to wash over my mind, the words of David Whyte's poem, Sweet Darkness flowed through my thoughts:

The world was made to be free in.  Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

I know what world I belong in.  I know who and what does not bring me alive.  I am claiming a larger space to live in.  That is all.

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired, the world is tired also.
When your vision is gone, no part of the world can find you.
It is time to go into the night where the dark has eyes to recognize its own.
There you can be sure you are not beyond love.
The dark will make a home for you tonight.
The night will give you a horizon further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
                                                                                       ~ David Whyte

Image result for meditation image

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - 2 months, 28 days - Dreams

  • Most billable hours - no pressure
  • Contact Data
  • Research Data
  • Pay attention to calendar
  • Billable hours
  • Leadership - do your part

The list above is what I saw when I opened my computer in a meeting at work.  This was in a dream. Prior to seeing this list, the dream involved my conversation with a co-worker about funding for the victim services agency I work at.  The dream began with this co-worked telling me that the board would not allow me to take a new position in the agency because I had the most billable hours and the new position would not allow me to have billable hours.  

I was determined to show them that I could still continue creating billable hours even in the new position.  So . . . I took a report, signed by my supervisor, and changed the number of billable hours from 1 to 10.  I then filed that report and went on vacation with my mom.

It was a two night vacation, where I ditched my mom at a tourist site on the second day and went back to the hotel alone to work on reports, leaving her to fend for herself overnight.  When I picked her up the next day I acted like my leaving her alone overnight was no big deal, and so did she.  In my mind, I knew she was upset but afraid to bring up the matter.  

After dropping mom off in the parking lot of her apartment complex, I drove to work where I met the co-worker whom I'd had the conversation with about billable hours.  As we walked into a meeting, she told me that someone had altered a report that my supervisor signed.  She stated the board was looking into this.  I played it cool, acted surprised to hear that anyone would do such a thing, etc.  I was confident no one could trace the deed back to me.

My son was in the meeting room with his co-workers, I sat down next to him on his left.  The whole meeting focused on this altered document.  I participated in the conversation, agreeing it was a serious matter.  All during the conversation, I had this sense of satisfaction for what I'd done, and that they could never trace the actions to me.

Finally, it was time for me to give my report.  As I opened my computer find my report and read it, my son leaned over and saw the above list on my desktop.  "Remember to fix letter!?!?!" he shouted out.  "Mom, what does that mean?"

There was a collective gasp from the room, knowing I was the one who altered the document.  My co-worker and supervisor asked me to step into the other room with them.  I opened the altered letter shouting out, "wait, okay, let me print this" as I worked to return the document to it's original state.  I ran to the printer in the room and grabbed the printed document.

The "other room" was this palatial office with wonderful art and furniture and bookshelves.  My co-workers kept grabbing my shoulders and trying to calm me down as I tried to explain myself.  I was defending and, alternately, apologizing for my actions, all the while wondering how I'd ever get another job after what I'd done, how I could afford my current home without a job.  

I also had the sense that that amazing office was somehow meant for me and that through what I'd done to my mom and the altered letter, I had ruined my chances for claiming this space as where I worked, where I lived. I was more sad than scared.

Then I woke up.

I haven't really taken time to analyze this dream.  Interesting points - in our last all-staff meeting we did talk about billable hours , there is a position open at work that, it seems, has been hard to fill, and my son is often in the same meetings I am because of the work we do with different employers.  

What was weird about this dream was, I woke up shaken up.  I took a moment to scan my memory to see if there was a concern about my job security, and no.  The things that stands out the most about this dream is my son blurting out what was on my computer and the heavy sadness I felt at my missed opportunity.  I did not feel angry at my son, it seemed an innocent act on his part.  He was trying to be funny, ribbing me a little, like, "mom.... what does THAT mean?"

Since I've been awake, I've not been able to  shake this feeling that I've done something that has led me to miss out on whatever the metaphor of that palatial office is.  I woke up at 6:15 AM and stayed up because the feeling was so intense - on a Saturday! So, dream explainers and analyzers - what the heck?

                                    Image result for people in meeting with computers

Monday, June 26, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 8 - Shallow

Image result for sad birthday cake image

June 26, 2017

Never invited
you to a party.  You missed
nothing but shallow.

Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – did not . . . but . . . self-doubt is creeping in?
·         Meditate – yes.  Well, technically, I was eavesdropping as I meditated.  Does that still count?
·         Walk – Walked about four blocks – took the kiddos to the park and picked them up – walked from Doc’s.
·         Eat –   cheesy shells, broccoli balls, and the evil and colorful chocolate covered sunflower seeds from TJMax

      Other goals report:
·         Bribing Mica to leave her electronic diary at home as she went to camp brought some pretty awesome crescendos from the both of us.
·         Made fashion doll stencil mermaids.  Quite exquisite.
·         I don’t have many regrets in my life, and this is not really a regret, but . . . I wish I would have been more interested in getting to learn about the lives and yearnings of some of my high school classmates.  It seems some of the classmates were so much less interested in popularity and personal importance than me and my clique.
·         Reading, not writing today. 
·         Happy Birthday to Julie Lindsay, another high school classmate with a June birthday.  I only know this because of Facebook, I admit. 

      So, really really, I mean it – Happy Birthday Julie.  And to Doreen a few days ago.  And hello Susan who is in the celebratory pictures as well.  I love seeing pictures of my high school classmates with their high school classmate friends still in their lives.  Seeing some of the people that I did not take the time to get to know better in my teens, reminds me of how shallow and exclusive my teen clique was. 

      When I see pictures on Facebook of classmates who are still friends, I see the deep joy and care shared by long time acquaintances.  Good for you.  I wish I had an active friendship that reached back to my teens.  There are a few people that I was close to back then, friends I can pick up where we left off at the last visit.  But over the years it takes longer and longer to catch each other up, and we don’t get to delving deep into feelings . . . at all. 

      I am not certain that any of the seven of the girls in my high school clique still communicate with each other (other than on Facebook) – maybe the two who are cousins.  One married my brother.  I only recall rather shallow interests and conversations . . . didn’t really dare open up about my life’s big concerns and questions.

      But hell.  All the deep stuff’s been brought to the surface by now.  And I have no idea on what schedule my peers grew up and dealt with their deep stuff.  When I think of high school, I automatically go back to making some of the same assumptions about what challenges, or lack of challenges, other classmates were dealing with.  Did they all even have stuff to deal with? Deep stuff or no, and like my own life, I am quite certain that my high school peer’s lives have expanded far beyond the hallways and social activities of our small rural school. 

      Happy day, every day, to those out there doing the work of maturing and finding your place in the world.  Stay in touch, keep sending pictures.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 7 - All Is Well

June 25, 2017

A scale is not the
only instrument that will
weigh my heaviness.


Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – sort of in a “who cares?” mode right now.
·         Meditate – yep.  It was hard to concentrate with the rhythmic breath of two small ones sleeping off a night of take-out, swimming, and bad TV.
·         Walk – PT exercises and a bit of time in the pool.  May try a bonafide walk tomorrow
·         Eat –   not much. Not much to say about what I ate, either.

      Other goals report:
·         Tried to learn Mica’s favorite alley cats song.
·         Early morning knitting, for a change in art form.
·         Heavy Haiku
·         A small turn at a book I’ve been working on. 
·         Happy Birthday to Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice.  Long may you serve.

      Today’s Haiku is written as I feel a bit over and under whelmed at the same time.  The details of what was and is happening are of little matter in the big picture.  The details do not matter because, no matter what they are, I have the same response.  I always feel that there is something more I could have/should have/shouldn’t have/whatever have done.  When times are challenging for anyone I am connected to (well, mostly my children, partners, co-workers – anyone I have made a commitment to) I think back to some inane or insane incident that happened when I  was a child/teen/young adult and trace it all the way to the event  of the moment.

      I am my own nemesis in my personal game of horizontal hostility.  Technically, this would be called internal oppression, where a person (or a group of people) accepts the labels and stereotypes put upon them.

      I think of all the labels I’ve been given in my life. The negative ones, which I will spare you and me in this writing, take up much more space inside me than the positive ones. 

      Besides ignoring my scale, I need to also let go of all instruments, devices, and measurements that weigh the parts of me that cannot be quantified in pounds and ounces.  I wonder how old, exactly, I will be before I can say . . . all is well; all will be well.

Julian of Norwich . . .All will be well, and all will be well.  And all manner of things, will be well.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 6 - Dilution

June 24, 2017

Haiku? Too tired.
Sometimes poetry needs to
wait for tomorrow.

Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – what’s that?.
·         Meditate – not yet.
·         Walk – PT exercises seem superfluous compared to four and a half hours in the pool.
·         Eat – not too bad. 

      Other goals report:
·         My song today was a conversation with Molly.  She wishes she would not have tried to hurt my feelings yesterday.  Never going to happen Molly. 
·         Sketched in my watercolor book as the dreamers drifted off to sleep.
·         Wrote the haiku, saying I was too tired to write haiku.
·         Six days of journeling/writing/blogging in a row. 
·         Happy Birthday to a dear, dear friend – Nathan.  So much connection built in a very short time.  The turning of the years and the miles between us – inconsequential details of friendship.

      The pool diluted my desire, no my ability, to write this evening.  Tomorrow . . . more.

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 5 - More Days

June 23, 2017

Italian food
Pizza, pasta, tasty breads
It is exquisite.
                                                                                     ~ Victor Allen


Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – didn’t.  Still.
·         Meditate – hard to meditate in Victor’s room . . . unless you count gazing at his toys, his belongings, reminders of his eleven years of accumulation of his presence and being on this planet what it is . . . a grandmother’s meditation in love.
·         Walk – Did my PT exercises for my knee, and seven hours driving.
·         Eat – started with pancakes.

      Other goals report:
·         A little voice filled with melodies and laughter from Mica – aka: Mean Cat – in the Aristocats is more music than any person may be entitled to in a day.
·         Ordered a picture frame for the painting I gave Doc
·         Guest Haiku poet today – Victor Allen.
·         Writing, this.
·         Happy Birthday to Sarah Garst, former veterinarian for the beloved Allen dogs, Copper and Moe.  You charged us a paw and a tail for your services, but we did learn that cool trick to spot fleas.  Many happy returns of the day.

      Today was the quintessential grandma type day – breakfast was chocolate chips pancakes (and coffee for adults) followed by attending the theatre where seven year old Mica played “Mean Cat” in The Aristocats production put on by her summer theatre camp.

      Who is Mean Cat? You don’t remember her in the original Disney movie?  Well – Mean Cat is a compilation of four cat characters from the movie, combined into one character because there were not enough actors to fill all the alley cat roles.  And as Mica, namer of this combined character would know, if you represent four personas (catsonas?) you’re going to carry at little of the meanness of each of those cats.

      Today was also a quintessential mom day - baking pizza with Victor, grocery shopping with Mica – things I did every day with my own kiddos a couple decades ago.  I wish I would have been aware at an earlier age, at a mom of young children age, that life is a journey that every person travels.  We all have the same final destination – the final ending point.  Instead of remembering this shared conclusions, I used to hold the illusion that somehow the goals I set, large and small, were ends: when the kids are all in school . . . when we pay off this debt . . . when we get the house we . . . when I get the job . . . when the kids are all adults . . . when I don’t have to . . . .      

     Age brings clarity and satisfaction for me.  I know that when one milestone are not ends.  When one milestone is passed, another will be visible on the horizon to replace it.  I accept the reality of the present moment, maneuvering through it as peacefully and joyfully as possible.  I hold no more illusions that those shapes and shadows on the horizon are anything that I own or control.  

      My prayers, if I were to pray, would be to ask for more days of connectedness to those who give meaning to my life, more days with glimpses of untroubled memories, more days of luscious participation.  More days.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 4 - On the Road

Image result for image driving interstate

June 22, 2017

Every mile driven -
erased for now with bedtime
stories and snuggles.

Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – didn’t.  Really didn’t think about it until now.
·         Meditate – seven hours of driving/road meditation
·         Walk – Did my PT exercises for my knee, and seven hours driving.
·         Eat – Don’t ask – I was alone in a car for seven hours!

      Other goals report:
·         Told the story of “Sarann” a Cambodian Cinderella Story to Victor and Mica.  Their pleas of “one more” after the story ended, is music to any grandmother’s ears.
·         Dreamt of future art projects for a good part of seven hour drive.
·         Wrote the Haiku at the top of this page, not my best effort, but the road really does get in your head when you are traveling for seven hours straight.
·         Writing this now
·         Happy Birthday to Kris Kristofferson.  I imagined, back in the 1970s when he was in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, that one day he might leave Rita Coolidge and take up with me.  In case that happened, I learned all the chords and lyrics in the Kris Kristofferson songbook I owned – also, some of Dylan’s songs from the aforementioned movie as well.  He left Rita, but things didn’t work out for us, mostly on account that we never met. Technically going to his concert doesn’t count as meeting – we never had a chance.  Happy 84th Birthday Kris – you’re probably a bit too old for me anyway.

      Today I arrived in Moorhead to spend time with my daughter and her family.  It is so hard to be so far away from them every day.  The many miles from my home to here settled in my mind and body during seven hours of driving and road waiting in road construction.  It takes awhile to shake the miles out of my body and mind so I can be fully present here, not worrying about the drive back.

      I am grateful for reliable vehicles, good roads, podcasts, audio books, and my acceptance of solitude and solitary travel.  The rewards of hugs, declarations of grandma love, and long narratives about how we are to spend our time together makes the journey worth every mile.

      As I write this blog, four days in, I thought I might spend more time thinking about the whole weight/weigh-in thing.  Perhaps, like so many other things at this stage of my life, I may have really ROF about weight as well.  May it be so.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 3 - Two Gypsies Quaint Goods and Reading Room

Gypsy Houses (Lori Allen 2017) -Painted at 2 Gypsies Quaint Goods and Reading Room 

June 21, 2017

A near perfect day:
Plattsmouth; painting; reminisce;
Jack Daniels; goodnight.

Daily goals report: 
·         Weigh in – didn’t  (was tempted, I love weighing on scales at other people’s homes)
·         Meditate – check
·         Walk – Did my PT exercises for my knee, that’s about all.
·         Eat – Little lunch from Herban Coffee Lab, crackers, cheese, and Jack for dinner

      Other goals report:
·         All the laughter today certainly must count as song
·         Painted a new watercolor (see above) at Cheryll’s store
·         Wrote the Haiku at the top of this page, right?
·         Writing this now
·         Happy Birthday to Benazir Bhutto.  She was only three years older than I, she was prime minister, first woman prime minister, of a Muslim country.  Sadly assassinated at age 54.  She lit a light, hopefully we can all do that.  Makes a day of painting feel insignificant.

      Not much else to say, except, life is good.  Well, as good as it can be in such uncertain and challenging times.  If happiness and meaning were dependent solely on what we can accomplish on our own, we’d still be living in caves.  Thank goodness for small groups of people who are parts of other small groups of people who are parts of other small groups of people . . . thank goodness those groups overlap in all the right places and times . . . like science, and sociality, and curiosity, and strategy; and dreaming; and holding tight through the difficult times. Thank goodness.  Just thank goodness.

I'm Not Weighing Myself Anymore - Day 2 - Summer Solstice

Image result for summer solstice
Happy Solstice

June 20, 2017

Plattsmouth is not quite
the quintessential road trip
…but Cheryll lives here.

      Daily goals report: 

·         Weigh in – didn’t
·         Meditate – check
·         Walk – not too much, but rocked my PT exercises for my knee at my PT appointment.  Amy, my PT, rocks.  She says I can walk more in a few weeks.
·         Eat – I’m visiting Cheryll.  We’re so bad. 
·         Wished high school classmate, Doreen P., happy b-day on Facebook - that counts.

      Other goals report:

·         Sang most of the way to Plattsmouth
·         Showed Cheryll my art
·         Wrote the Haiku at the top of this page, right?
·         Writing this now

      Cheryll is one of those people that becomes your closest friend once you become friends with her.  She is not afraid to show you her vulnerabilities, which match my own.  One of the things I love most about her is how she tells people the story of our first meeting. 

      She had heard of me in our professional circle.  It annoyed her when people would say, “you would just love Lori!”  When we met in Nashville, Tennessee, at a conference – she was unimpressed.  I was my usual bubbly and outgoing persona, too self-concerned with making a good impression to notice the reactions and feelings of those around me.  I took for granted that Cheryll appreciated meeting me and that we’d be colleagues. 

      Here is the part where she tells people that after meeting me, she could not stand me.  I seemed self-important and superficial.  Cheryll says she smiled politely and busied herself with other people and things.  I didn’t notice, she says.

      At the conference, later that day, Cheryll was attending a workshop presented by a musical duo called “Y’All.” They were telling their story of UU ministry and mission as a gay country/blue grass songwriters and performers.  I’m not sure why I chose that workshop, but I did.  The rooms was near packed with few seats left.  When I saw Cheryll, a stately woman with signature spiked gray hair recognizable from the back, I approached her row.  There was an open seat next to her.

      What she says about my approach varies from mine, but her version holds the truth.  I got her attention and pointed at the empty chair, then myself.  “Oh brother, not her,” she thought to herself.  But since, like me, she was a people pleaser, she put on a smile and nodded yes that the chair was open.  Her happy anticipation at hearing “Y’All” so up close and personal changed to creating a plot to get out of there as soon as she could.

      With satchels filled with books and brochures in tow, I scooched past seated people to my center spot next to Cheryll.  I gushed over the great seats and what I’d heard about “Y’All.”  I barely noticed her forced smile and few words of agreement.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be my friend?

      Next she tells that the presentation, or concert, started.  Those men were hysterical.  Such sad, but genuine stories that they’d turned into beautiful harmony and joy.  Their songs made us laugh – perhaps more than they should have.  Both Cheryll and I appreciate some great self-deprecating humor when we hear it because we are authorities on self-deprecating humor.  As we laughed our generous bellies shook in unison.  Soon, we were bobbing toward, then bouncing off, each other.  We could not contain ourselves.

      Cheryll tells that during this laugh fest, she came to believe that I could not be a terrible self-important person if I could laugh authentically at gay, self-deprecating music and jokes.  She decided maybe we could be friends.  That concert of the now defunct “Y’All” led to years of road trips, sketchy experiences, gut busting laughs, tears for shared hurts, and a love that will always be with us across the miles.

      Today is Cheryll day.  I love her.  I love those who love her.  Ditto her for me.


So, this group we saw, "Y'All" was comprised of James Dean Jay Byrd (L) and 
Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer (R) - both pictures.

Image result for steven cheslik demeyer
Image result for steven cheslik demeyer   Cheryll and I got to know them a bit better when she invited them to do a concert at the church she was working at in Omaha, NE.  The were debuting their new album.  

Christmastime in the Trailerpark

  The talked of the difficulties of breaking into the big times as a gay duo out of Nashville.  We heard, in 2002, that they'd quit doing music.

But now . . . . looks like Steven is doing well . . . .