White Privilege

August 6th, 2020

White Privilege by Heidi Hirsch

I have started this Blog at least a half a dozen times. This has been by far the hardest one to write.

To be honest, up until a few months ago, I had a misconception of what privilege is. I thought of Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, sports stars, and celebrities. Now I understand that if you’re white, you’re privileged.

Several months ago, before we were all grounded, I took a black friend of mine to the Soup Plantation. She said, “I’ve never been here before.”  I said, “You have never been to the Soup Plantation?”  She said, “Yeah, probably the name.”  I looked at her confused and then blurted out, “Oh! My God, it never occurred to me — it’s the word Plantation.”  Thank God, she almost fell on the ground laughing.

If you think, how could I be so dense, there’s not an easy answer. I’m a white kid.  Born and bred in Burbank, California. Black families didn’t live in Burbank and when they did start moving in, it was reported in the local paper. I was too young to realize the implication of the announcement of a black family moving into the neighborhood.  

In my early 20s, I flew with my parents to Singapore. It was the first time I had left the US and I was amazed at the different cultures. The funny thing, looking back on this, is at the time I felt alone and insecure. People starred at me with disdain and I felt that I was being judged solely on my physical appearance. It was emotionally hurtful. I felt weird and uncomfortable and constantly wore my sunglasses to hide. However, that trip opened my eyes to different spiritual beliefs, traditions, celebrations, and so many other things that inspired my desire to learn about other people.

When I went to college, I formed friendships with school mates with different backgrounds and ethnic diversities. One of my best friends was a black gal from Chicago. We used to fly up to San Francisco on the Red-eye out of LAX on Friday nights, spend the weekend, and then fly home Sunday evening. We stayed with her father in the Projects. I didn’t think twice about it.

In 1992, the Los Angeles riots erupted over the acquittals of the four policemen charged in the beating of Rodney King. I saw the tape — was I not to believe my lying eyes? I was stunned that no one was held accountable. The black community protested by rioting. They were saying that “they did not feel protection from the police but instead were being harassed without cause.” Some good came out of this, but with the exception of a note in history, things returned to the status quo. The systemic brutality of black people was only slightly interrupted.

On May 25th, 28 years later, we watched a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes.  Officer Chauvin kept the pressure on Mr. Floyd’s neck, even when Mr. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.”  There is no question, he was brutally murdered by the police as we watched in horror. This time, all hell broke loose. People of all races in the U.S. and around the world rose up and demanded police brutality against minorities had to stop now. Looking-the-other-way was no longer acceptable. 

The majority of protesters were peaceful. There was a smattering of others, including instigators, that looted, broke windows, and started fires. I stared at the TV in disbelief. At the same time, I wasn’t surprised when the cameras turned to the looters and opportunists. Peaceful protesters exercising their first amendment rights became an afterthought.  After all, nothing gets the ratings up like violence. 

After the first day of protests, a friend of mine posted pictures of The Original Farmers Market defaced. That hit home. The Market has been a place my family and I often visited. I was infuriated. How dare they mess with my market. Boy, was I pissed and I made it very clear on Facebook. Then I got called out. I got called out big time. My cousin’s husband, Mike, was dumbfounded and clearly irritated that my only comment in all of this was what they had done to my market. And rightfully so.  When I looked at my posting through his eyes I thought, “Geez Heidi, you just don’t get it, do you.” Well, now I do. I now understand why Kaepernick and other professional athletes opted to kneel when the national anthem was played. It’s a way to non-violently protest against police brutality and racism. Our country hasn’t lived up to her promises for all her people.

I am numb by the acts of cruelty that have polarized our nation. Not only have we witnessed violent conflict between BLM protestors and the police, but Covid-19 has brought about blatant stupid acts of hostility towards people of Asian heritage.

I am disgusted by hatred and division coming from the WH. #45 stating, “There are very fine people on both sides,” when asked about the protestors and the white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over half of our country now believe, and with good reason, that the man occupying the WH is a racist.

We are also in the midst of fighting a pandemic. Covid-19 has revealed the economic disparity, especially for minorities. We are seeing the results of systemic poverty and lack of healthcare in black and brown communities. They are getting sick and dying at an alarming rate. We must demand Universal Health Care and a living wage for everyone.

Those of us who are privileged have the responsibility to speak out. This is no longer an option. To my gay brothers and sisters, how many of you can tell me that you have never been discriminated against?

The LGBT community knows all about discrimination. Do I know what it feels like to be black? Of course not, but I do know what it’s like to be laughed at, made fun of, and called derogatory names. But no, I have never feared for my life at the hands of police. I have never been stopped in my neighborhood for walking my dog. Growing up, my parents never sat me down and told me what to do when a police officer approaches me. What an atrocity that a young black child growing up in this country has to have that talk.  

ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER

On July 17, 2020, we lost a great civil-rights leader and LGBT ally, John Lewis. For 33 years he served our country as a US Representative. It’s time we pick up the mantle and follow his advice, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” I say it’s time to take down Confederate statues, rename military bases, buildings, and bridges that carry names of traitors to this country. Leaders of the Confederacy fought to succeed from the United States and to uphold slavery. I can now understand what it’s been like for black people to walk pass statues of men that had fought to keep the institution of slavery. I think of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where John Lewis almost lost his life. Why do we have a bridge named after a Confederate Brigadier General who also served as the Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan? My ancestors were Jewish. For me, a statue of Hitler or any other Nazi would be horrifying!

As I mentioned, this was a very difficult blog for me to write because I feel inadequate. I was ashamed of my lack of awareness and more importantly, how I squandered my privilege. This will not continue and I will never look at this world in the same way again.

Cousin Mike, thank you for opening my eyes. The truth is, I still don’t know how to respond, but I can learn.

Proud & Privileged

            

About Heidi:

Heidi Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area with two birds, a bunch of Koi, and very demanding squirrels.  As a project developer for Reveal Studio, Inc. she oversees the production and development of the themed entertainment division.  Heidi has recently achieved the status of “Seasoned Citizen”.  In her downtime, she fancies herself as an urban farmer.  “Never did I think I would get so excited over tomatoes and cucumbers without salad dressing!”.

There are several excellent books available to read.  These are just a few.  

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

ADDITIONAL NOTE: White Fragility – be aware there’s been some criticism that the book is condescending and talks down to the black community in its quest to showcase how oppressed they have been. Studying some reviews and articles after the fact, some of the critics’ points were well-made. I leave it up to you.

Here are also some films that are worth seeing: Selma, Harriet, Mississippi Burning, Eyes on the Prize, The Loving Story, and Best of Enemies (based on the true story of Ann Atwater & C. P.  Ellis) to name a few.

Grounded!!!

April 21st, 2020

Grounded!!

It’s interesting to think about all the times we wished we could just stay home, hang out, binge watch Netflix, and order pizza. How is it that in this generation of social isolation, noise-canceling headsets, and Internet games, we freak out when we are told to stay home.

We act like we have been grounded and life as we know it will never be the same. Probably not. So what if it’s better? What if we come out of this social correction with a revelation that what we were missing all along was buried under too much. 

Are we so busy accumulating, that we lost out on one of the most important reasons I believe we are here on earth to experience? Human connection. Is it not ironic that what we miss the most, that which we crave, is not time with our toys, but time with each other.

We have all seen and experienced human behavior in wondrous ways. Our creativity has forged new means to stay connected. Teachers driving through neighborhoods honking horns, attaching posters to their cars that express how much they miss their students. Neighbors, socially distancing, greeting a young cancer patient coming home after her last chemo treatment. People posting “I’ll shop for you.” Others making calls, checking on friends and relatives, especially those that are older.   

On Easter, our police department conducted a Burbank Police to Celebrate Easter With ‘Stay at Home’ Egg Hunt. Children in the neighborhood were encouraged to color egg-shaped drawings and post in their windows. Many religious services were held online. I attended a Facebook Live Easter celebration.

For many folks, zooming is the new social conduit. I have lunch with colleagues every Thursday via zoom.  Now instead of going out, we sit across from each other on the screen, have a sandwich, and chat. I attend social functions, book clubs, webinars, seminars, and of course those obligatory company meetings. Yesterday I took a tour of the Peterson Automotive Vault via YouTube all in the comfort of my home.   

The world is responding and coming together. Americans in a time of crisis mobilize.  We are resilient and before too long American ingenuity kicks in. Rosie the Riveter is now Maxine the Mask Maker. Private enterprises, small businesses, major corporations, individuals, and families are turning to what we do best. We take matters into our own hands, rise from fear and turn to productivity. What feels like overnight, networks of people all over the country are joining together to answer the need for masks, and face shields for our first responders.  We want to help, we want to give.  

Meanwhile, Covid-19 has overtaken us and we are forced to alter our behavior. “Sheltering in place” to slow the spread of the virus has made it evident that the pollution of the earth is man-made. Mother Nature is changing for the better —  an environmental wake-up call. The canals in Venice are cleaner. Animals that were on the endangered species list are coming back in numbers. The view of China and India from satellites show less air pollution. Some people are seeing the stars for the first time. These are facts. Spring is in the air. Nature is blooming and it’s glorious.

Taking care of your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Stay informed but listening to repetitively to the news evokes fear and panic. Remember in most cases the news falls under entertainment. And yes, even in these most difficult times, the entertainment news shows, can’t help themselves, it’s in their DNA.

When the virus is gone, one of the greatest takeaways will be how we all came together. We have a new normal and responding to that will be a challenge.

If there is a concern to have, the question to answer will be — will we return to our old ways having learned and experienced nothing. I hope we don’t. Our happiness doesn’t lie in commodities, it’s are our human companionship, our families and friends. Let not the light dim.

No doubt we’ll never know the answer to why scoring a case of toilet paper is only slightly less exciting than winning the Super Bowl.  

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Proud.

About Heidi:

Heidi Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area with two birds, a bunch of Koi and very demanding squirrels.  As a project developer for Reveal Studio, Inc. she oversees the production and development of the themed entertainment division.  Heidi has recently achieved the status of “Seasoned Citizen”.  In her downtime, she fancies herself as an urban farmer.  “Never did I think I would get so excited over tomatoes and cucumbers without salad dressing!”.

Why Your Vote Won’t Count by Heidi Hirsh

March 2nd, 2020

Why your vote won’t count. by Heidi Hirsch

If you don’t vote, then one thing is for certain. Your vote won’t count.

I’ll admit, I’m already sick of the political warfare. The recent Democratic debate reminded me of a chapter right out of Lord of the Flies. It was hard to determine if I was watching a Saturday Night Live opening or an actual debate. Just for the record, I am registered undeclared. I vote for who I think is the best person, not by party.

The last thing I want to do is whack my way through the entangled overinflated egos searching through the next group of “saviors” to make America, America again.

Preparing for the already cantankerous behavior that might get worse, I’m inclined to shut out the noise, shut down social media, turn off the TV, find a nice quiet place in the valley of “I Don’t Care” and wait it out. The problem is, if I do that and I don’t vote, then my vote doesn’t count.

If you think voting is a waste of time and one vote doesn’t mean a thing, think again

In several cases, one vote changed the course of history. Remember Aaron Burr? You know, that guy that killed Alexander Hamilton, one vote kept him from becoming President in 1800. Another one vote saved Andrew Johnson from removal of office in 1868 after he was impeached. Which comes to mind, here we are again. The President of the United States has been impeached. One vote could have sent him packing. Think about THAT!!!

The 19th amendment, a women’s right to vote, ratification hinged on one state and one vote. A young Nashville Legislator by the name of Harry Burn, age 24, cast the deciding vote that broke the 48 to 48 tie in which Tennessee became the 36th and deciding state to ratify the amendment.*

And don’t forget Dr. Seuss’ character JoJo. One voice that saved the lives of all the citizens that lived in Whoville. Ok, not a vote but you get the point. A single voice was heard.

Your vote is a privilege and an honor. Squandering that is disrespectful to yourself and to the many people that made great sacrifices in their lives for the right to vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport.  

If you are happy with the State of our Union, you need to vote. If you want to change the State of our Union, you need to vote. Whatever the outcome of Super Tuesday (March 3rd), and beyond, sets the course for the race in November. The choice is yours. Be a part of it.   

When you walk into your polling place, you are not walking in alone. You are representing the warriors before you that fought for your privilege. Join in and stand up. Walk shoulder to shoulder with your friends, family, and neighbors. It’s your community, your state and your country. Proudly wear your “I Voted” sticker. Let everyone know that you count!

Voting and proud

About Heidi:

Heidi Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area with two birds, a bunch of Koi and very demanding squirrels.  As a project developer for Reveal Studio, Inc. she oversees the production and development of the themed entertainment division.  Heidi has recently achieved the status of “Seasoned Citizen”.  In her downtime, she fancies herself as an urban farmer.  “Never did I think I would get so excited over tomatoes and cucumbers without salad dressing!”.

Credit:

*ThoughtCo. & Wikipedia.org

What I learned this year.

December 31st, 2019

Things I learned this year.

Laughing and smiling are the two most powerful expressions in the Universe. Neither require lessons or practice. It can happen when you least expect it. The more it happens, the better it gets!

If you think that you don’t matter — stop. Someone has made you feel that way and that reflects on them, not you. Your life is a gift, so share it. You matter!

Kindness stands the test of time. Kindness melts the hardest of hearts. Start with being kind to yourself and those around you. It will spread. Kindness is strength.

Another thing I learned this year is that No is a powerful word. It doesn’t need an explanation.

 Respect starts at home. Your home. Your heart.

A wonderful friend told me that I’m not my body. I struggle with that one. However, what I do know is that my body is my transportation. Take care of your body, It will take you far.

Depriving your self of love is starvation of the heart. Love isn’t a commodity that you barter with. Love is always there. It’s within you.

Surround yourself with what makes you happy. Look around, I’ll bet there are things and people in your life that don’t make you happy. If it doesn’t support you, let it go.

Not everything has to be seen as a lesson. Sometimes stuff happens. It’s called life. Just keep moving forward.

A wagging tail sends my soul soaring. My wagging tail crossed over the rainbow bridge this year. I miss him so much. I truly believe that Eli will send me another wagging tail or two and I will know they came from him.
Like Gloria Gaynor sang, we will survive. Not only will we survive, we will thrive. This year was a stark wake-up call. We did not come this far to be defeated by hate.

As we set forth into the next decade, let us create new ways to inspire ourselves and each other. Expand your love. Open your heart and mind to new adventures. Remember:  fear = fake evidence appearing real. Go forward with enthusiasm.

Happy New Year!

About Heidi:

Heidi Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area with two birds, a bunch of Koi and very demanding squirrels.  As a project developer for Reveal Studio, Inc. she oversees the production and development of the themed entertainment division.  Heidi has recently achieved the status of “Seasoned Citizen”.  In her downtime, she fancies herself as an urban farmer.  “Never did I think I would get so excited over tomatoes and cucumbers without salad dressing!”.

Happiness, 101

October 31st, 2019

Happiness, 101 by Heidi Hirsch

How can I be happy when I see so much sadness in the world?

It was from the book Happy No Matter What that changed my thinking about what happiness is. 

Dr. Carol Bliss, author of Happy No Matter What, and I have been friends for more than 30 years.  I first met Carol at a SCWU (Southern California Women for Understanding) meeting.  She drove a corvette with a potato in the front seat.  That was all it took! We were instant friends.  

In her book she writes about everyday people experiencing the challenges of life and how they met those challenges head-on continuing to retain a semblance of happiness in their lives. Several years ago Carol experienced a stroke and she had to start from scratch. Her recovery is remarkable and extraordinary. We talked about her journey since her stroke and how she has rebuilt her life. 

Below are challenges (in her own words) that Carol faced:   

“I have holes in my short term memory. I have tried 600 times to memorize Patsy Cline I Fall to Pieces and I can’t seem to do it.

I had to go upstairs, three flights four times this morning because I forgot my keys, I forgot my water, and my map of the art tour! I got confused on the freeways at night coming home from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. My eyes are blinded by bright lights coming toward me. It is a wild ride for me.

I get lost and don’t know where I am.  I have to wear cotton in my ears all the time because I can’t stand loud noises. They are so painful. I am out of balance because my right side feels 15 pounds heavier than my left side.

I have apraxia which means that I can’t connect what I know and get it out fast enough. The right side of my throat and vocal cords are numb, causing me to have to work really hard when I speak or sing. I have to lie down from fatigue when I speak or sing too much.

I have problems with proprioception, which means I can’t feel the fork in my right hand and I can’t feel where my right arm is in space. So as I’m eating, I have to watch the fork all the time.

I can’t feel my right hand on the mouse. Online job applications are way way, way, too hard for me. I can’t feel my right foot on the gas pedal.

Since my left brain was affected, I have trouble with numbers and facts. I tend to get hurt a lot like a kid, since the left frontal pre-cortex was also affected.”

Since Carol’s stroke she has written two books, paints, (the cover of her book is her work), practices yoga, performs in a vocal chorus, kayaks in the Pacific Ocean, and when she isn’t doing that, she is a docent at the Long Beach Art Museum!  She recently completed her 114th hike.  This is after the stroke!  

While she will tell you that she is limited, I will tell you that she is profound in her determination and my greatest inspiration. Through the years we have had may adventures from roller skating to Leather and Lace meetings on etiquette.  Yeah, Carol, I remembered that one! 

In Carol’s book she has a passage devoted to humor and gratitude. Two powerful components that make up happiness.  In every situation no matter how somber, we need to see humor and gratitude.  Not an easy task, I admit but if you can find something to be grateful for and humor in the situation, those two emotions dilute the sting.  The key is to identify the happiness core that powers up and let it take charge.  

Happiness is always there.  I believe that it is our natural state of being.  It isn’t something you buy but something you need to uncover from years of being inundated with Madison Avenue propaganda. 

I think of happiness as a fruit.  The natural sugars of fruit are so sweet.  If you pile sugar onto a piece of fruit, after awhile, the natural flavor taste blah.  The more sugar, the further you are from enjoying the natural flavor.  Hence, the more things need to be happy, the harder it is fine happiness. Happiness comes from within.

Since reading Carol’s book, I have settled into a pattern which has strengthen my preservation of happiness. My copy of Carol’s book looks like it has been through armageddon. I carry it with me in the morning.  As I sit in the great outdoors, I’ll flip though the book and randomly land on a page and start reading from there.  Recently I opened the book to page 61 titled “Happiness in the Natural World.”  

I have found that getting outside as soon as possible in the morning is my first course of action when I start my day.  Once you are safely in the natural world, relax. As your breathing becomes rhythmic, breath in the movement around you.  The sounds and the stillness.  I know that this sounds a bit crazy but I promise if you do this your body will start to acclimate to the patterns of the universe. Adding the sound and movement of running water will infuse the cycle of earth energy into your body keeping you in balance and alignment which equates to the true definition of happiness.  

I asked Carol about her morning ritual which is vital to her continued recovery. She told me,  “I get up naturally at about 7:10 feeling grateful, listen to motivational YouTube videos by Louise Hay or Oprah. I read a couple of deeply inspirational nature poems of Rumi, or Hafiz.  Then I post an inspirational quote tying it in with my own artistic photo on Facebook. Out for a walk at 9 o’clock carrying my iPhone to photograph beauty. At home I send the photos out to someone who looks like they could use more beauty in their life. And then I call a couple of people who are in need of comfort. Often I go to yoga, or swimming, or to the museum, or to vocal performance class.”  

Your goal is to do your best to prevent any input that is contrary to your balance.

I recently made the decision to delete my Facebook account. I felt so inundated and agitated with political rhetoric, animal stories that wrenched my heart, countless ads, and postings that honestly should be addressed by a licensed Psychiatrist . ENOUGH! It terrified me but I’m taking small steps to move towards total elimination. I started with deleting it from my phone.

 As hard as it was, I also started unfriending people.

In order to maintain the balance of happiness there are other steps I take in the morning and at night.  I don’t look at my cell phone in the morning until I’m truly ready to let the outside world in.  And when I’m done for the day, I leave my cell phone out of reach and off.  That’s it until the next day.  I am one of the few people left that actually have a land line.  There are only a few people that have that number and for a good reason!  That goes for my email too. And finally, I don’t turn on the TV in the morning and turn it off before the news at night!  Do I really need to know about, accidents, kidnappings, murders, rapes, and worse of all, the White House???  Keeping all these instruments of torture out of my reach has made a big difference in my increased happiness.  

So, what makes me happy? Making the best decisions that increase my balance and the feeling of contentment. My good fortune to have a friend, a mentor, a guide, and a soul that decided to have this human experience with me and reminds me everyday that there is nothing that can stand in the way of my happiness.

And if for some foolish reason, I’ve lost my way, I’ve got the Divine and friends like Carol to set me on my path again. 

Happy & Proud

About Heidi:

Heidi Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area with two birds, a bunch of Koi and very demanding squirrels.  As a project developer for Reveal Studio, Inc. she oversees the production and development of the themed entertainment division.  Heidi has recently achieved the status of “Seasoned Citizen”.  In her downtime, she fancies herself as an urban farmer.  “Never did I think I would get so excited over tomatoes and cucumbers without salad dressing!”.

About Dr. Carol Bliss 

Carol Bliss is an author/artist and award-winning professor. She teaches spirituality, creativity, communication, and ancient wisdom traditions. She is the author of three books on New Thought spirituality and is featured in the graduate text, Media, Spiritualities, and Social Change. 

Happy No Matter What

Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Matter-What-Carol-Bliss/dp/1091983607

Love Heals

Amazon link:

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Heals-Carol-Bliss-PhD/dp/1974467899/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Carol+Bliss+love+heals+book&qid=1572220948&sr=8-3

In Darkness, came the Roar

June 28th, 2019

In the Darkness, came the Roar 

by Heidi Hirsch

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In 1969. the discrimination, the humiliation, and the arrests were met with an explosive roar of enraged voices.

Our history did not start with the riots at Stonewall. Yet what took place there was the catalyst for change. For 3 days in June, gay bashing met its match.

If you don’t know what happened, it’s time you did.

In the early hours of June 28th, armed with a warrant, police stormed into The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, in Greenwich Village. They roughed up customers, typical of those days, and finding bootlegged alcohol, arrested 13. New York still had a gender-appropriate clothing statute and people were taken into the bathroom to check their sex.

Fed up with constant police harassment, angry patrons and neighborhood residents hung around outside during the raid. As the events unfolded that night and in the days to follow, riots erupted. Our brothers and sisters came together and stood up to the status quo.

I’ve listed just a few of our heroes that confronted the police.  Learn their names, know them by heart. Be proud of your heritage.

Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson – African-American transgender woman who was an LGBTQ rights activist and an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. (Credit: 1)

Stormé DeLarverie – Butch lesbian, gay civil rights icon and entertainer. “It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was a civil rights disobedience – it wasn’t no damn riot.”  Stormé is often referred to as “the gay community’s Rosa Parks.” (Credit: 1)

Tammy Novak- Was an 18-year-old trans woman lived with mob owner of Stonewall Inn, Fat Tony.  She was one of the few allowed to enter the bar in full women’s clothing. After her arrest, she disappeared. (Credit: 1)

Sylvia Rivera – Sylvia was a 17-year-old Puerto Rican drag queen and trans activist on the night of the riot, persuaded by Tammy to attend. She was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance, as well as co-founding the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with her close friend Marsha P. Johnson. She dedicated her life to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women. (Credit: 1)

Robert “Bob” Kohler – A gay rights pioneer of LGBTQ+ equal opportunity.  Who happened to be walking by Stonewall Inn with his dog when the turmoil was in full swing. “The cops were totally humiliated.  This never, ever happened.  They were angrier than I guess they had ever been because everybody else had rioted… but the fairies were not supposed to riot… no group had ever forced cops to retreat before, so the anger was just enormous.  I mean, they wanted to kill.” (Credit: 2)

Scott G. Brown –  At age 76, in 2017, Brown was one of the oldest survivors of the 1969 Stonewall raid and riots. He devoted his life to advocating for the rights of LGBTQ people through writing, speaking, and educating people about HIV prevention. (Credit: 3)

There were others –  Allyson Allante, Diane Kearney, Zazu Nova, Miss Peaches, Ellen Shumsky, Kay Lahusen, and so many more. (Credit: 3)

Why is it important to remember them?

Danny Garvin – Who was also a part of the riots, told NPR that before Stonewall, “we never realized how connected we were as a community’.  He said: “It didn’t make a difference if you were a drag queen, or if you were a leather queen, or if you were just a young kid, or if you were an older person over 30, we were all fighting for a right… to get back into the bar, to be able to dance, not be oppressed.” (Credit: 1)

There is a point in all of our lives when we simply say “No”.  It was that single syllable word that set off a chain of events during those few days in June that changed all of our lives.

Many of you hadn’t been born yet. But, the course of your life was set in motion in a way that would have never been conceived or dreamed of if the men and women at Stonewall hadn’t said, “No more!”

Take a moment today, think about your life as a gay person. Think about these men and women that paved the path you walk, or dance, or swish to your heart’s content. The clothes you freely wear, the ability to introduce your companion as “My husband, my wife, my lover,” to walk into a gay bar without looking over your shoulder. Today we have gay characters on TV and in the movies. We have extraordinary support from major corporations, health insurance, benefits, the right to marry, and to raise children.  While we are still waiting for the Today Show to marry us on morning TV, I shall save my comments for another day. Our lives are the dreams of many before us.

Be thankful for those who had the courage to live openly and not accept society’s opinions. We benefited from them.

For every one of our Stonewall heroes and all those that came before, let us keep the flame lit and keep moving forward.

I am grateful and I am proud 

(Credit: 1  www.gaystarnews.com)

(Credit: 2 www.womensrepublic.net)

(Credit: 3  www.Huffpost.com)

About Heidi:

Heidi Hirsch lives in the Los Angeles area with two birds, a bunch of Koi and very demanding squirrels.  As a project developer for Reveal Studio, Inc. she oversees the production and development of the themed entertainment division.  Heidi has recently achieved the status of “Seasoned Citizen”.  In her downtime, she fancies herself as an urban farmer.  “Never did I think I would get so excited over tomatoes and cucumbers without salad dressing!”.

A Life Well Lived

May 25th, 2019

A Life Well Lived by Heidi Hirsch

Victor Jerome Banis was born May 25th, 1937. He passed away in February 2019. Wikipedia remembers him as a daring, pioneer of gay literature.

I will remember him as a great influence that set me on a path of rampant indulgence: Sunday Brunches at the Carriage Trade in West Hollywood, Italian Opera, irresponsible sex, lines of coke, rolled joints, and an unabashed celebration of the gay lifestyle in the late 1970’s early 80’s. More important, it was my first sense of being accepted and celebrated as a gay woman.

My friend Russell was introduced to Victor as a possible companion by his friend Johnny Beard. Johnny and Victor knew each other from their days in Ohio. In turn, Russell introduced me to Victor. While Russell and Victor were never lovers, they were friends and traveling companions for many years.

When we meet Victor, he lived in North Hollywood. His first of three novels, released by St. Martin’s Press, was weeks away from hitting the book stores. The contract with St. Martin’s Press was for a staggering 1,000,000.00!! Okay, remember that was in the early ’80s. Boy, did we have fun!  Cruising around in a 1980 Lincoln Town Car, which drove like a boat, could pack in a gaggle of gays, and include Jennie and Prima, Victor’s two large dogs.

We referred to Victor’s house as the Disneyland for young gay kids. It was mostly young men, but I was lucky and included in the devil-was-there-weekends at Victor’s. He was an amazing chef. We were spoiled on lavishly laid out meals that always started with a little wine, a little coke, a few hits off of a joint, and Marie Callas blaring in the foreground. Victor, as any diva, would enter the dining room in a blaze of frenzy and giggles, as he presented the main course. It was a grand entrance signaling the start of a grander show.

Sunday brunches at the Carriage Trade were a religious experience. The atmosphere was beyond gay! For a couple of young kids from the San Fernando Valley, walking through a restaurant that was clearly full of gay boys and girls was heavenly. We were bewildered, slightly hungover, and unabashedly gay! It was glorious. Victor and his friend, Sam Dodson, were known by many and there was a steady stream of pretties that passed by our table, nodding, and winking. We were all at our cattiest best.

After brunch, we usually collapsed in his living room lounging on a chocolate brown 10-piece sectional sofa, listening to Victor read out loud; Tennessee Williams, Summerset Maugham, Dorothy Parker, and Victor’s own work.

His novel This Splendid Earth (1978), tells the story of Baron Jean de Brussac and his bride, Anne de Grenville leaving Paris in 1830 to forge a wine-growing empire in the lush, rolling hills of distant California. If this sounds like an old TV show, Falcon’s Crest, Victor would tell you that he pitched This Splendid Earth to a TV Producer. Shortly after, Falcon Crest (1981) became a hit show on CBS. Having worked in Hollywood, I believe him.

Another passion of Victor’s was old movies. We would watch endless hours of Bette Davis in All About Eve, Norma Shearer in The Women, Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (and that yummy William Holden, Victor’s words not mine). Marilyn, Joan, Gary, Henry, Katherine, Bogart, and Bacall –  we knew them all by their first names. 

Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? caused such an uproar, we would stop the movie halfway through and head towards the kitchen. I don’t think we ever saw the entire movie. Victor had a grand way of looking at life. His idea of a survival kit was a bottle of Dom Perignon and a tin of Russian caviar. Upon learning that Russell and I had never savored the taste of caviar, Sam and Victor decided that was high time we learn a thing or two about fancy livin’… As only Victor and Sam could do, the fanfare over caviar and champagne almost made you forget you were eating fish eggs!

Sam had a three-story apartment in Studio City. I guess you could say three and a half if you counted the sunken living room. It was like something you had never seen before! I remember walking into his home for the first time and swearing that one day I would have one just like his. I’m still waiting!

Like all fairy tales, pun intended, time, money, and general tolerance for each other ran thin.

Tempers flared, boyfriends cheated, lies and secrets got the best of us.  Behind closed doors, AIDS was the nightmare and all the drinking and snorting wasn’t going to wish it away.  Johnny Beard was the first gay boy I knew who died of AIDS. I didn’t even know what it was. I learned fast when the plague took my childhood friend Daniel. A loss of many to come.

As things started to unravel, Russell and Victor got a cabin in Big Bear, and from Big Bear, a place in Palm Springs, then back to Big Bear. Eventually, the boys ended up in San Francisco and from there parted ways.

Several years ago, I found him on Facebook.  He still had an audience and enjoyed writing daily posts. On January 2nd, 2019, Victor posted what seems like a simple cooking tip: “If you’re fond of grilled cheese sandwiches, here’s a tip – instead of waiting for the butter to soften so you can spread it on the sides that meet the skillet, spread them instead with mayonnaise – you’ll get a lovely golden toast.”

For me, it was the essence of who he was. Take something simple, change the story, and jazz it up. And, no, the finished sandwich does not taste of mayo but don’t ask me to explain that.

Victor lived his life and traveled the world. I reaped the benefits from the stories he told and the words he wrote. I’m a better person for having had him in my life. So, to my old friend, I say, “May you always have good books, good wine, and good friends.”

Cheers! and Proud 

In Memoriam:

In the early part of April my companion Eli, passed on his own, crossing over the Rainbow Bridge. Before he made his transition, I told him how much I loved him, and I would be fine. I lied. The hole in my heart and in my life is deep. But more than that, I know his spirit is free, that he is soaring and frolicking with those who greeted him.

About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven-second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 13th, 2019

Love Potion No. 9 by Heidi Hirsch

In 1959 a single titled, Love Potion No. 9 was released by The Clovers.

The song describes a man seeking help to find love, so he goes to visit Madame Rue who decides, by means of palmistry, that he needs Love Potion No. 9. 

As we approach Valentine’s Day, it seems natural to whip up a batch of Love Potion No. 9. According to the lyrics, the only thing we know about the love potion is that it was made in a sink, smelled like turpentine, and looked like India ink. If it is anything like the brew my doctor in Chinatown prescribes, I think it’s best we revise the potion with a few changes and eliminate the turpentine!

Introducing the updated version of Love Potion No. 9

List of ingredients:

1.   Start each day with an attitude of enthusiasm!

 

2.  Sing out LOUD, at the top of your lungs…even if it’s off key.

3.   Laugh. Just Laugh. You don’t have to have a reason.

4.  Believe in miracles and watch what happens.

Miracles are all around you.

  

5.   Exercise your empowerment. “No” is a full sentence.

6.   Try something you’ve always wanted to do but have come up with excuses not to. I have reason to believe that once you do it, you’ll wonder what took you so long.

7.  Treat yourself to a treat! Indulge! Buy a comic book, go to the movies mid-day, get a manicure and a pedicure. And while you’re at it, get a lottery ticket!

8.   Look for the whimsey. don’t Let “serious” get the best of you.

9.   Be creative! Write a Valentine to that special person with crayons (it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day – Make a special day of your own!) Then give them a box of crayons as a present! 

10.   Every so often, steer away from routine. Veer off the beaten path. So you get lost, you can never tell what you might find.

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11.   And most of all, sprinkle everything you do with love!

Instructions:

Repeat as often as needed.  All or any combination is advisable.  

Warning:  This potion has not been approved by the FDA. That’s because you can’t put a price on it. Too much consumption will be addicting. Go for it!  You should be aware that too much love could result in compassion, joy, finding humor in everyday activities, a sense of true balance, muscle tightness from smiling, and a lot of people that just want to around you!  

If you are looking for a good suggestion to start off No.2, I suggest you click on the link below and sing along at the top of you lungs to Love Potion No. 9

https://youtu.be/UetLHzk1T-I

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

With love and as always, 

Proud

 

About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

Moments of 2018 by Heidi Hirsch

December 22nd, 2018

Moments of 2018

2018 has been a year of change for our nation and our community.  Our diversity has brought us together and made us strong. We gathered, we roared, and we blew in the winds of progress.  

Now, the holiday season is upon us and it’s time to celebrate, to reflect, and  to forgive. Let go of ideas that no longer serve us. Let go of thoughts that hold us back and keep us from moving forward. Empty the baggage and create room to gather the good.  

For me, this has been a year of moments. And as I look back, it is the simple ones that have had the most impact.

And so, before we rush into the New Year, my wish for you is the joy of moments.  Maybe the ones I share with you from 2018 will find their way into your world in days to come:

     The satisfaction I felt with the last brush of paint. I actually finished a project!

     Catching the rays of the sun shinning on Elijah one morning. Bathing my boy in golden light and love.

     When the lights go down and the music starts! Thank you “Dear Evan Hanson,” You Will Be Found.

     The birth of my cousin Oliver, the first child in our family to be born in California since, well, since I was born!

     The moment when another soul trusted me. It’s humbling.

     When I puttered the day away in my pajamas and time became meaningless.

     When a simple act of friendship touched me in a way that rocked my spirit.

     Turning into the driveway of my home, the house where I was raised. I am safe, I am warm, I am blessed.

     The moment when I released my frustrated grip and let the universe finish the sentence.

     Every moment I laugh. Every moment I tear. Every moment I feel. Connecting those moments creates who I am.

In gratitude, Elijah and I wish you the very best of the holiday season!  I thank you for the privilege of sharing my thoughts and our world. I am optimistic about the coming New Year.

Happy Holidays!

Prideful moments.

About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

I Live With An Old Man by Heidi Hirsch

October 21st, 2018

I live with an old man 

And he lives with an old lady.

His name is Elijah. 

Like most old men, he is proud, stubborn, belches, can silently stink up a room and act like it was someone else, and I am madly, passionately, crazy in love with him.

We met at the Los Angeles North Central Shelter in May of 2007. I’m a sucker for redheads.  Actually to be exact, a red tricolored Australian Shepherd.  At the time the shelter guesstimated Eli to be 4-5 years. I guess that makes him about 15-16.

Through the years, we have gotten used to each others ways. He’s not much for that mushy stuff, which I miss, but he’s a man and apparently he sees that as a bit girly. He has a self-proclaimed job to always be alert and on guard. Smoochy stuff just gets in the way.

He takes his job seriously, protecting his house, his mother, and his car. There have been several occasions where he’s taking that protection a bit too far and I’ve had to replace some jeans and apologize profusely. There was that time when he went after my friend Kathy’s leather jacket. That bite stung my wallet!

These days I’m the one that stays alert and always on guard to make sure he’s safe. Eli has signs of dementia. While I’m pretty sure I still have my wits about me, it’s a bit concerning when we both end up in the same room, at the same time, wondering why  we’re there, and what did we come into the room for.

We have grown older together merging our patterns to keep an eye out for each other.

I’ll wander into the living room every morning to check and see if he is still breathing. He comes into the bedroom and checks to see if I’m still breathing. It’s an unspoken silent courtesy.

With my coffee, and his snacks, we go outside to check on the birds, the squirrels, the koi, and mother nature in general. While I’m contemplating my day, he’s contemplating when and where to do his business. After awhile, we head back into the house. I help him get up the steps. Elijah has a ramp which he goes down, but he won’t go up.

Under his watchful eye from his bed in the kitchen, I prepare his breakfast as he stars me down as if I might skimp on his meal. He has a good appetite and loves his treats.  As I said, we have similar traits.

I recently put him through an MRI.  It wasn’t an easy decision but I couldn’t live with myself watching him labor to walk and not knowing why and more importantly, blindly making decisions about his health with medication.  As it turns out, there is an annoying disc that makes his walking difficult. I want to fix him but won’t put him through surgery.  

So, I’m on a mission! Cold laser therapy, CPD oils, and pain killers. The pain killers are for me.

My vet says getting older is not a disease, nice to know.

I wish the same could be said about us humans.

I know that Eli is winding down and I am gearing up. I am fierce about my “first kiss to last breath” commitment. Each day Elijah and I greet the morning with thanks to the universe for another joyous opportunity to share our lives together. So, maybe he doesn’t verbalize it, but I know. Elijah has taught me about life and how to enjoy it through love and kindness.

Eat, sleep, belch, fart, wag your tail, take naps, express excitement over your friends, always stay near to your loved ones, protect with passion, make noisy greetings, never turn down a treat, always say thank you —ok, we’re still working on that—nudge your affection, no need to get mushy, remember that actions will always speak louder than barking, and when it’s all said and done, there ain’t nothin’ like a ride in the car and frozen yogurt!

Crazy in love and proud 

 

 

About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

A Deeply Personal Decision by Heidi Hirsch

July 11th, 2018

A Deeply Personal Decision 

We recently lost two well know celebrities — Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. 

Rich, famous, trend-setters, jet-setters, loving families, children — they had everything! What else could they want? Maybe it had nothing to do with want.  We’ll probably never really know. What we do know is that they both decided to turn out their lights.

In a statement from Kate Spade’s sister, “Kate suffered from mental health issues and felt under pressure to maintain a ‘happy-go-lucky’ image which prevented her from seeking help ahead of her apparent suicide.” She was also aware that her sister had been self-medicating with alcohol.

Anthony Bourdain carried a lifetime of demons. He suffered from drug addiction and depression. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Bourdain spoke briefly of his “psychotic rage” saying, “I was an unhappy soul… I hurt, disappointed, and offended many, many, many people, and I regret a lot. It’s a shame I have to live with. I feel kind of like a freak and I feel kind of isolated.” It wasn’t the only time he hinted at the darkness.

We have a serious epidemic in our society when it comes to determining the value of our lives. Because we care about what others think of us, too many lives are sacrificed because of external circumstances, such as hostility, discrimination, and judgment of others.

I can’t begin to comprehend the process of letting go of one’s life, but this I do know, it is a deeply personal decision and far too often it is based on external evaluations. 

You are a unique individual. It is not the right of others to ever define, decide, or influence who you are. The truth of who you are is within. We are relentlessly  riddled by the opinion of others — families, friends, school mates, coworkers, people we work for, and even strangers. I was once told by an employer that my value didn’t warrant my salary and that she really couldn’t understand why I was there and had to pay me. I knew my value and walked away. 

We are bombarded with demands and criteria for establishing value. People are happy to tell you — that your hair is the wrong color, your teeth aren’t pearly sparkling white, you’re too fat, too thin, the list goes on. A friend of mine quit going to a manicurist because at every appointment she was told she looked like she was gaining weight. WHAT THE HELL?? 

The popular communication outlets are a cesspool of contradictions, they’re programs run by fears and “cures”. You can purchase drugs to make you thin, night creams that will make you youthful, pills to grow more hair, treatments to remove unwanted hair. There’s a pill for impotence and another to keep your joints fluid. 

All of these things address the external and warp the concept of our value. There’s nothing that addresses your inner world — on how to be authentically yourself and the miracle of your life. My bet is that the profit margin for that wouldn’t yield a substantial payout.

As we look to our community, we are facing our own uphill battle among members of our family. Many of us have dealt with bullying, hate, discrimination, religious back-lash, and family rejection.  

According to The Trevor Project:  https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
  • LGBT youth seriously contemplates suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
  • In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
  • LGBT youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBT peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical abuse or verbal harassment, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

As a community, we are getting stronger everyday, pushing back against those hostile to us. Our strength can be used to reach out to all that feel the dark cloud. No one should be alone if the light starts to dim.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of self abuse or suffering in a harmful relationship, personal, or professional — please turn to others for help. Don’t turn out your light. You are a gift.

Please know that you are precious. 

Holding your Light dear and Proud

For more information on suicide prevention and help:

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Suicide Hotline (the Trevor Lifeline): 1-866-488-7386 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)TrevorChat online chat: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now (Available 7 days a week (3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. PT).)TrevorText text messaging: Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200 (Available on Fridays (4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. PT)The Trevor Project website: 

National Suicide prevention Lifeline- 1-800-273-8255

On Twitter:

https://twitter.com/800273TALK

Teen suicide hotline (Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline): 1-800-USA-KIDS (872-5437) (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)

The veterans suicide hotline (Veterans Crisis Line): 1-800-273-8255, press 1 or text to 838255 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week)

Befrienders Worldwide: http://www.befrienders.org/need-to-talk

 

About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

Greatest Show from Earth by Heidi Hirsch

May 8th, 2018

The Greatest Show from Earth!

Spring is a big Hollywood movie opening with a splashy, glamour, glittering premiere.

Oh the anticipation, the excitement, the stars, the starlets with their mysterious escorts.

And the fans, wow! What an event!

Executive Producer: 

Mother Nature

This gal is an old pro.  She knows this production and has it down to the tiniest of details.

Cast of Characters:

Our Leading Lady –

My Wisteria, or what I refer to as my “20 Minutes of Beauty”, is a bit of a recluse and only comes out for a brief appearance for green carpet premieres.

Her blossoms appear, flourish, and then as quickly as they appear, she vanishes.  While she’s here, she is breathtaking. We clamor to catch a sight of her beauty before she vanishes. 

The Handsome Hero –

The Macadamia tree.

My father brought it back from Hawaii, long before it was banned, a small seeding, which today is over 30 feet high. The tree has stood in our backyard for over 50 years.  The smell of the blossoms is intoxicating. The harvest this year will be exceptional, and, as always, the squirrels will reap the bounty as they know just when the nuts are ready to eat. The ground will be covered with shells mocking me with their superior intellect and agile ability to jump from branch to branch, pelting the discarded remains of their morning feast.

The Starlet! –

Indigo Ruby

Nothing starts the excitement of Spring time like a visit to a Tomato-mania extravaganza. Events all over Southern California showcasing more than 300 heirloom and hybrid tomato varieties for sale —  http://tomatomania.com  If you are a tomato freak, this is where you will spend way too much money buying tomato plants. This year’s beauty is Indigo Ruby, rich in deep purple and the pride of any garden.

The Villain –

The Tomato Hornworm

This fella feeds on the leaves and stems of tomato plants.  A villain disguised as an attentive escort. blending in so not take the spotlight away from the lovely ingénue.  But watch out! This Manduca Quinquemaculata can take a tomato down leaving her bare, weak, and exposed to the harshness of the fickle fans. Unique patterns makes this worm hard to find among the branches and leaves but beware, he can damage your crop overnight.

The Fans –

The Birds, the Squirrels, and Butterflies!

They love you as long as you feed them. Let them down and away they go. There is nothing like a disgusted squirrel that is irritated that the peanuts have arrived later than usual.  Squirrels glare and they flick their tails with an air of entitlement.  I remind them I, am the provider of their dining pleasure. This means nothing to them!

The Audience –

The interesting thing about Spring is, while we see ourselves as the audience, we are, in fact, members of the cast.  Our authentic selves move with the cycle of nature. Spring is our best growing season.  It seems most of our best laid plans, during the winter, flourish.  It is the season of our “bulbs” .

To me, thoughts are a lot like bulbs.You plant thoughts, place them in the hands of the universe to nurture them, affirm that they are germinating and then let them go!

Oh sure, who am I kidding?

We grow impatient. Where is the outcome of my thoughts?

What happened?  I can’t see any changes.  Nothing is happening, maybe it’s not meant to be.  If I can’t see them, then I guess I failed.

And just when you think all is lost, BAM! There it is, a slightly raised indication that something is happening!  And there before you is the most magnificent outcome of simple affirmations. Just because you can’t see the germination, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Trust.  Don’t let go. Believe!

Mother Nature the greatest Mistress of our Earth.  I am grateful for my seasonal pass and lucky to have a front row seat every morning.

 

Enjoy the Spring of your life!   

Dazzled and Proud.

 

 

 

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.
Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.  Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi is currently standing at the fork in the road, tossing a coin and deciding the next step along the way!  Stay tuned!  

 

Ordinary People by Heidi Hirsch

March 13th, 2018

Ordinary People

Recently, I witnessed a miracle. I almost missed it because I was looking and hoping for a different outcome. What I realized is that miracles don’t often appear accompanied by a professional studio band, award-winning special effects, or highly regarded actors interpreting well written scripts.

On Wednesday, February 5th at 3:55 AM, Sammy, the daughter of my friend, Andrea, passed away at age 23.

Sammy had cystic fibrosis and for 23 years Andrea championed as only a mother would. We kept hoping for a miracle, that Divine intervention would step in and revitalize Sammy’s lungs, making her strong. That was not to be.

Sammy knew she was dying, but that didn’t stop her. She wore a T-Shirt that read “I’m not dead yet.” This vibrant, sassy, quick witted, no bullshit, this-will-not-get-in-my-way, kid with chutzpah, tenacity, and a determination to live life to the fullest, no matter the limited time, did just that. She lived her life everyday as a miracle.

The truth is, we humans are not ordinary. We are extraordinary in every way. We are quite remarkable and yet we find it hard to believe or understand that we are, by the very nature of being alive, a miracle. So, is it possible that the repetition of extraordinary becomes ordinary and “miracles” have the heavy task of being astounding to be noticed?

We were so busy with our expectation of what a miracle is supposed to be that the miracle, a petite, hauntingly striking young girl with eyes of wisdom, appearing to be frail and fatigued at times, showed us that life is a miracle, and every minute, every breath, is an extraordinary gift.

Each and every one of us is a part of life. We reveal the miracle within us through our expressions and experiences as human beings. Those of us who were lucky to know Sammy, realize that her gift to us is a reminder to live life like there is no tomorrow, to be in the now, and be grateful for what we have.

Samantha Randall Cassidy’s philosophy—Live your life, you are the Miracle! Wake up everyday greeting the world with the attitude, “Hi ya world! Your miracle just woke up!”

Sammy, we got it. We got our miracle, the one we were suppose to see. Your light here will never be extinguished. And if by chance, we lose our way, we need only to look within and remember, you were a miracle here. I see you as a star and I thank you for your light.

A miracle and proud

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.
Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.  Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi is currently standing at the fork in the road, tossing a coin and deciding the next step along the way!  Stay tuned!  

 

 

A Tree Falls In Burbank by Heidi Hirsch

January 22nd, 2018

A Tree Falls in Burbank

This week a friendship went south, I was informed that an old colleague still harbored resentment towards me. I was the target of a strong dose of good old white boy bullying and one of my trees in the backyard fell.

What upset me the most was the falling of my tree. The tree stood in my yard for the past 40+ years. My father planted it. Actually, he grafted two fruit trees together, and they became intertwined and produced fruit right up until last year. The recent rain took it’s toil and down came the tree.

I’m stubborn, I refuse to let the tree go. My backyard is my secret garden. It’s where I spend my morning time, reading, sketching, drinking coffee, and watching mother nature wake up.

The tree is the center hub of activity. The squirrels scurry around searching for the peanuts I have placed in various branches and nooks. I watch with glee their antics. Squirrels are like people or vis a versa. Hoarding, scrabbling, flying through the air, chattering all for the glory of the prized peanut.

The tree creates a wonderful balance to the yard. If I take it out, what will it look like? How can I replace it? Where will I hide the peanuts for the squirrels? I’m afraid the yard won’t look the same. It will look bare and empty. I will know that the tree stood there and it will always be a vacant space to me.

And, more importantly, how many more excuses can I come up with until I stop vamping and get to the root (yeah, I said it) of the fear.

I know that the real reason is that letting go of the tree is letting go of my father. It’s the emotional impact that scares me the most. My father has been gone now for over 20 years and while many of his imprints in my life are still vibrant, it was the love of this garden that impacts me the most.

As the emotion of letting go has gained strength, it is the strength of this emotion that has moved me to a place of passage. In letting go, I have chosen to renew. I have decided to accept the death of the tree, not that of my father and to carry on as my father would. In the Spring, I will plant two fruit trees. Intertwining them as my father would and creating a new tribute to him and in doing so, create new life as he did.

What about the friendship? I don’t know. It is too soon to define the demise. Maybe too, like that of the tree, it will find new life in a different direction. Guess time will tell.

Then there is the awareness of harbored resentment. I owned that for about 20 minutes. Enough said.

And finally, good old boy bullying. Trust me, THAT won’t happen again.

Stuff happens. Stuff will continue to happen. It’s called life. Ya got two choices, run from it or live it!

Living it and Proud!

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.
Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.  Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi is currently standing at the fork in the road, tossing a coin and deciding the next step along the way!  Stay tuned!  

 

 

 

Well That Was Fun by Heidi Hirsch

December 15th, 2017

Well That Was Fun

As we close 2017, it is time for my favorite ritual of the year.

The Gratitude List (not necessarily in this order):

• I won the Hamilton Lottery and saw the show!  Yeah, that was pretty cool!
• I only lost my house and car keys twice!  Ok, maybe a few times more but I stopped counting after the second time.
• I still believe that we are breathtaking in our spirit to embrace the future with anticipation and sheer glee!
• I am in awe of those around me who have healed from major health issues and humbled by their tenacity.
• Graced with the love of family and friends, I am blessed.
• Mother Nature is one powerful broad, but so are we.
• We are resilient as ever, fueled by the power within.
• That patience has it’s merit if you can wait it out.
• I’m not in the habit of quoting Disney movies but if it’s not working for you, let it go!  You can’t move forward if you are holding onto junk from your past. Fear of the unknown is a waste of time.  Embrace the adventure!

During this holiday season in which gifts are exchanged, give yourself one.  I have always had a love/fear relationship with horses.  I think they are magnificent.  To be one with a horse seems incredible to me.  Unfortunately, my experience has been not-so-fun in the past.  My gift to myself this year is the choice to take lessons and shift from fear to fearless.  I promise to share my journey with you in the coming year.

So, as we wrap up 2017 and look towards 2018, I believe that my friend and author, Dr. Carol Bliss sums it up best.  “If enough of us believe in hope, love, and peace, we can form a critical mass that is unstoppable.  We can return to the values that we believe in, despite what the world looks like now.  We can do anything we choose to bring those ethical values back into society again.  We, the people, can bring about a world that works for all.  

A world that values all people.  A world in which all are included and invited to dine at the banquet of all the good things life has to offer.  Where the strong help the weak and the powerless are unafraid to speak their truth.  A world where there is a sharing of resources.  This can be our collective vision of a world that is coming”.

Now that I think about it, I’m good with 2017 and ready for 2018!

Wishing you all a very enchanting holiday season.

Proud.

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.
Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.  Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi is currently standing at the fork in the road, tossing a coin and deciding the next step along the way!  Stay tuned!  

“Power Tools” by Heidi Hirsch

November 29th, 2017

Power Tools

Full disclaimer!  This is not about Power Tools. It’s about power tools.

Having established that our nation is in turmoil, or as I like to refer to it as a tempête de merde, we must not lose sight that we have the power to create rewarding lives regardless of the turbulence around us.

I thought it best to dust off our power tools and remind us all that we are unique, vibrant and dazzling creations and we have within us the ability to thrive.

Throughout your life, you are constantly gathering new “tools”.  And as life presents itself, we will often look to those tools to either fix a situation or create an opportunity.

Making successful changes in your life include three significant power tools: Mistakes, Failures and Ignorance.  You don’t often hear those three words associated with success. The truth is that powerful life changing decisions can be found by recognizing the message in each of these.

We can utilize these tools everyday to move forward in our lives.  Creating our dreams into reality and our challenges into amazing accomplishments.

I believe that mistakes are guides. It’s all in how you see it.  Most of us move forward in a direction that at the time seems right.  When it appears that we have made what we refer to as a mistake, we have decided that it was the wrong thing to have done.  The key word is appears.  Mistakes are like colors!  Not everybody sees it in the same way. What if, instead of looking at the outcome as a mistake, we see it as a guide that simply signifies a change in the direction?  What if we looked at it as a positive move in the right direction instead of a negative failure?

Which brings me to failures.  One of the greatest failures of all times was the invention of the electric light.  As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

I have experienced the joy of failure many times.  In that failure, I can see other options on how to solve the issue.  So it didn’t work this time.  Just because I tried one way, it doesn’t mean that I can’t achieve my goal.  Try another!  Keep going! The next step just might be the answer!

My favorite of the three is ignorance.
Ignorance is usually associated with negative.  The ignorance of many has led to great misconceptions and volatile situations. Again, what if we looked at ignorance as a roadblock designed to prevent negative thought patterns encroaching into your pursuits and achievements.
I recently read a quote from William Hutchison Murray on ignorance.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Never could I imagine the power of ignorance in this way. Yet, if we pursue a new path with wonder and excitement, instead of fear and hesitancy, old programing and old voices that echo defeat will disappear. Every moment of our lives is new!  Why take old programing with us that jeopardize that? Can you imagine the countless new adventures and experiences furthered by ignorance?

Grab those power tools and remember that mistakes are guides. Failures are steps and ignorance is a tool to success!  It will only bring you closer to your new you!

Ignorant and Proud.

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.
Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.  Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi is currently standing at the fork in the road, tossing a coin and deciding the next step along the way!  Stay tuned!  

This is your Captain speaking…

October 23rd, 2017

This is your Captain speaking . . .

“Please fasten your seat belts and remain in your seats.  We seem to be experiencing a little turbulence.”  A little turbulence? I would say we are in the middle of a tempête de merde.

The flood gates have opened up both literally and figuratively.  What is daunting is that both mother nature and America are bursting at the seams simultaneously.

In November, we were punched in the stomach.  In the past few months, mother nature got herself into a hissy fit cursing us with floods, hurricanes and fires!   And now, finally, the Casting Couch of Hollywood has been exposed for what it is.

Yes, this is all quite daunting but not surprising.  If we take a good look at this chaotic cluster, we see that these patterns have been played out in history time and time again.  And in each case, this marks the decline of current societies and the rising of new ideals.

Over the last few decades, the movement to break out of the status quo has gained extraordinary momentum.  More than ever before, people of all walks of life, color, origins and lifestyle orientations have stood up and demanded the right to live their lives in celebration without hiding.

A steady migration away from ignorance to education has resulted in a powerful new group of leaders championing for our rights. Pushing forward, challenging “just the way it is” to “not anymore.”  The stronger we got, the louder we got.

Sounds great right?

Yes, except that the roaring nouveau wave of freedom meant completely drowning out the cries of the white working class. They don’t give a damn about rebuilding our inter-cities, don’t really care how you grab a woman, sure as hell don’t want homosexual marriages and believe that all Mexicans should be on the other side of the wall.  That American is out to make it clear, white lives matter and they are done with all this ethnic crap.  What we have in the Gray House is the frustration and anger of the ignored American.

The push to make “Make America Great Again” is to restore the values and morals of the puritanical elitist that controlled our communities and the definition of a great  America.  The irony in all of this is that those behind this movement were considered outcast and beneath the very values of the high society that they are now pushing to reinstate.

So, while those Americans are racing towards defeat fighting for the good old days, we must stand firm through the turbulence to keep what we have from unraveling.  Our leaders and heroes who have worked so hard to get us here know that this is just the beginning of our rise.  Now it is our responsibility to join them in unity, to protect their accomplishments.

How? Never let go of the truth.  You are of great value.  No one can take that away from you.  Your rights are greater than the laws that were put in place to deny them.  We challenged those laws and now the stone pillars of discrimination are crumbling. It is just that simple, stay true.  But make no mistake, it is going to be a hell of a ride.

Fasten your seat belts, we seem to be experiencing a little turbulence.

Fastened in and Proud.

 

About Heidi:
As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.
When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a
professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an on-line directory for the themed entertainment industry.

 

Closet Doors by Heidi Hirsch

September 27th, 2017

Closet Doors by Heidi Hirsch

Some of us open the door quietly.
Some start with unlocking the door and hoping a sudden burst of exhaled breath will swing the door open. Some bulldoze the door open, break the hinges off the frame, taking the closet door with them! Others use the closet to hang the gowns. No matter how you do it, the closet door has opened.

Now what?

Now that the fanfare has died down and hopefully most of the family members are still speaking to you, it’s time to venture out.

Trusting that there are a few people in your life that all ready knew (even before you did) and are willing to join you on this new path, it’s time to gather the crew and define your new self.

Sure would be nice to have a guide, something to get the ball rolling. Maybe a check list to follow. Well, it just so happens that I recently stumbled on my old scrapbook titled, It’s About Time and discovered a few solid leads to help you get started on your way.

I have outlined the five basic identities with a few characteristics that will help set your course. For those of you that have already flung that door open years ago, I hope you find this amusing and somewhat accurate. As always, I welcome comments and additions to my observations.

Fluctuating
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not! Yes, you came out of the closet but maybe it was a bit too soon. For you, the closet door is more like a revolving door. I’m out..I’m in…I’m out— you get the idea. Not gay with the family but very gay with friends. Gay when there is a festive protest, the yearly parade, a new restaurant opened by a questionable celebrity, or a new movie with gay sex scenes you’ve got to see but your steady beard has a previous engagement and you have no excuse as to why you are desperate to go. Oh sure, then you’re gay!

Artistic License
I am an artist, therefore I am what I am…when I am not what you think, I am what I really am when I am not as I am. Oh good God! You figure it out. I got exhausted after the first I am.

Social Diva
There is a private party in West Hollywood next Saturday that is “Gay Only.” You are sooo gay then. How else are you going to get into the hottest bash of the decade?! If you are out, you’re “in.” You are a Saturday night Belle of the Bars and a Sunday Brunch choir boy at Hamburger Mary’s. Monday mornings, you straighten up and get your butch on.

Politically Correct
Yikes! This is the most challenging and intense state of gay. Every aspect of your life is defined by being gay. You are GAY!!!!! It is not for the weak and timid. You walk, you talk, you eat, you sleep, you dress and glee gay! You are a 24/7 update on the ever-evolving world of gay. A watchdog. We need you!

Somewhere On The List
There are many elements that define you. Your sexuality is one of them along with a gazillion others. As exciting as the Social Diva sounds, most of us are the typical guy or gal on the street. We stand in line at Starbucks, complain about the rising cost of gas, honk the horn at the driver in front of us because they won’t get off the phone, clip coupons, dream of tropical vacations or fancy sports cars and later on wonder how our 401K is doing and how soon can we retire!

And that is me!
Standing in line at Starbucks, still dreaming of that fancy sports car, dreaming of my tropical vacation and wishing my 401K would pick up the pace!

How you come out really doesn’t matter as long as you are proud of who you are and stand tall.

Let’s celebrate October 11th – National Coming Out Day!

Aloha and Proud!

About Heidi:
As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.

When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a
professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently, she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an online directory for the themed entertainment industry.

Sticks and Stones by Heidi Hirsch

September 5th, 2017

Sticks and Stones by Heidi Hirsch

Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Like hell they won’t.

Many of you will be returning to school in the next few weeks. While on summer vacation, the epidemic of bullying has risen to an all time high and taken residency in the highest office in the United States. While the First Lady has vowed to take on the battle against bullying, she has yet to issue a statement concerning her approach or demonstrated her solution starting with home base.

Unfortunately the educational system is a breeding ground for this type of behavior and, in the past, has had a weak backbone when dealing with this ever-increasing sport. There are experts that have offered many solutions to combating Bullies. The problem is that there isn’t a standard format to “Bullying.” According to www.stopbullying.gov , it is important to properly label the children involved in the bullying situation. Instead of calling a child a “bully,” refer to them as “the child who bullied.” Instead of calling a child a “victim,” refer to them as “the child who was bullied.”

You have got to be kidding me. I have my own definition of a bully and sadly it’s inappropriate to define it here.

We all have to deal with these creatures. Not just in school but in our everyday lives

Most of us have had years of experience and practice in dealing with the insecurity of others that appears to be the root of most bullying. We have developed the appearance of a thick skin yet continue to feel the sting every time.

While most of the attention is focused on the bullied, the issue is very much two sided.

At some point in time, we have all been a bully. Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. You might not realize it nor was it intentional, but it probably happened. You see, as aggressive as the bully is to you, you can be just as aggressive in your response.

Quite frankly, when I have been bullied, I don’t give a damn whether my response is unwanted aggressive behavior. I will attack back.

I recently experienced a bully situation and when I fired back, the recipient of my wrath was stunned at my response. Her face looked like a re-make of Gloria Swanson coming in for a close up.

Like any of the self-help books, everybody has an answer that seemed to work for them. There is no single answer on how to overcome bullying. Therefore, each one of us must find our own way to stand up to the bullies.

What we do know is that bullies are only as active as their support base is encouraging. Meaning the less we encourage and support them, the less fuel they have to continue. Bullies are only as powerful as their audience. The good news is there is an increased popularity of anti-bully campaigns and the participation in bullying has finally shifted from cool to uncool.

There are organizations that address this epidemic. Schools have stepped up and have taken a hard fast rule against bullying. You do not have to suffer alone. Report this behavior. No, it isn’t easy, but there is support out there. I have listed a few organizations below.

Bullying is NOT EVER ok.
EVER.

Bullied and Proud

 

Sources:
www.thetrevorproject.org
www.thebullyproject.com
www.stopbullying.gov
www.stopbullyingnow.com
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

 

About Heidi:
As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self-appointed documentarian life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.

When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a
professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an on-line directory for the themed entertainment industry.

 

Step One, We Heal by Heidi Hirsch

August 12th, 2017

 

Step One, We Heal.

The Gray House (the White House) is at it again!

As the chaotic storm continues to gain momentum, we, the LBQT community, have recently been the center of the rage, again.

The rationale is simple.  Go for the easiest target, divert the attention away from the real issue at hand, fire with the support of the fearful, and there you have it!

I am angry.  But my anger isn’t very productive.  Actually, the only thing it does is raise my blood pressure and increase my vulgarity vocabulary.  Great strides in our history have changed many lives including our own, through uproar and regretful violence.

The question is, what are you willing to do and what are you willing to lose?  Your life? Be assured, there are those that are willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of their beliefs.

I am equally determined to protect our rights to have fulfilling equal opportunity lives but, I will not perpetrate violence and commit acts of destruction.  What I will do is join my voice with those who are outraged and disgusted by this recent attempt to disguise blatant discrimination, with bogus conservative fiscal responsibility,  only intended to rally and churn up the masses.

As deep as this assault is on our family, we will heal.  And, as we heal, we regain our strength.  And as we regain our strength, we stand up.  And when we stand up, we inspire.  And when we inspire, we empower. And when empowerment is ignited, look out!

Empowerment is the best weapon against complacency and complacency is the culprit here.  To look the other way is the fuel that feeds those who attack others. It is our responsibility to stand up and inspire. We are a community with passionate empowerment to drown out the quick flares of manipulated outrage.  Inspiring others with our actions will always speak louder than words framed to incite.  It is the greatest gift we have to offer.

By the way, according to The Washington Post, the military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care.  Apparently, men are better at fighting and defending our country when their apparatus is functioning at full capacity.

We rise, all of us.
Empowered and proud.

 

 

About Heidi:
As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self -appointed documentarian life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.

When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an on-line directory for the themed entertainment industry.

“Starting from Scratch” by Heidi Hirsch

July 22nd, 2017

Starting from Scratch by Heidi Hirsch

 

Stone Soup is an old folk story in which a hungry stranger convinces the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food to make a kettle of soup.

The stranger takes a stone and places it in a pot filled with water. Soon everybody in the town has contributed to the soup. Depending how you see it, the soup is either wonderful or a complete disaster.

If you look at the human experience, it’s a bit like stone soup.

As we go about the business of living, we accumulate.

A little wisdom, a few cuts and bruises, memories of fun times, of sad times, falling in love for the first time, roller coasters (the same thing as love), scary movies, hot buttered popcorn, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate anything, out of control hormones, odd un-defined sensations, “As Seen On TV” products that NEVER work, an open account with QVC and maybe the best and worse of them all, other people’s opinions.

And, when you realize that your life maybe different from anybody you know, the first impact of that realization might be defined by or swayed by those opinions.

Being gay is not a choice.

Chances are you won’t wake up one bright and cheery morning and say, “Good Morning World, I think I’ll be gay today.” There are a few people out there that do that but it has something to do with their publicist and their twitter account.

Regardless, the choice you do have, is how you shape your world and the influences you embrace and the ones you push aside.

Growing up is a bitch.

Growing up gay takes a commitment to self for what you feel is your greater good. As you learn to embrace who you are, the challenge is to create your own Stone Soup recipe for your life. This is something only you can do. Only you know what is best for you.

If this is sounding like a public service announcement, it is. We, who have made it past the obstacles along the way, have a responsibility to reach out to our younger self and walk the path again only this time, with our gay youth.

We must sound louder and stronger drowning out those who choose to attack others while hiding behind a book or a belief that condemns.

To influence those around us with encouragement, our collective voices are making amazing music. The melody is strong, clear and is sustained by those who have been there before and are here today, making changes. There is a quiet thread that runs through all of us, it is a weave of acceptance, welcome, support and family.

LGBT Daily Spotlight is one of those vital influences. A site of celebration and pride. Each day, the names and influences of gay citizens and friends, are honored for their achievements and commitments to our community and the world.

I am both astonished and proud of those folks and it is for this reason that I am honored to have the opportunity to, I hope, influence others in a positive direction.

Proud.

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self -appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.

When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an on-line directory for the themed entertainment industry.

“Gaydar” by Heidi Hirsch

July 6th, 2017

“Gaydar” by Heidi Hirsch

 

Gaydar, according to Merriam Webster, is defined as slang: the ability to recognize homosexuals through observation or intuition.

Wikipedia defines it as a colloquialism referring to the intuitive ability to assess others’ sexual orientation as gay, bi-sexual or straight.

I define it as something I don’t have. I would like to say that it needs a tune up, but you should have it in order to tune it up!

I’m always intrigued when I find myself in a conversation and the subject of Gaydar comes up. Apparently, this ability to Gay-Spot is a feeling similar to the exaltation that one gets after combing the beaches for hours with a metal detector that goes off like a four-alarm fire alert. Never-mind that it turns out to be a bottle cap from the 70s, It’s the high you get from hitting pay dirt.

“Reeeaaally,” I say with great interest. “How do you know?” As I set the tone for intrigue and suspense.

“Oh, well my son’s best friend is gay. I knew it before he did.”
Hum, thinking I best not go down that path.

Tell me, what are the signs? I’m not sure I have that, what did you call it, Gay Radar? Do you see a gay person here? “Oh sure, I can spot them fast! See over there, that one, he’s soooooo gay!”

“Seriously,” I say, “How can you tell?”
“Well for one, look at what he is wearing, a straight man would NEVER wear those colors.”

Oh, crap, here we go again with the fashion police.

As a victim of my own insatiable need to poke the bear, I dig deeper. “Do you see any lesbians?” After a quick sweep of the room, “No, not yet. I’ll let you know when I see one.” Far be it from me to suggest that somebody’s Gaydar needs a tune-up.

Starting to feel a bit left out, I went to the all great and powerful source, Amazon Prime.

There it was, Gaydar: The Ultimate Insider Guide to the Gay Sixth Sense. According to the author, Gaydar is the telepathic sixth sense that only gay men—and the occasional ultra-savvy straight person—seem to possess.

Well, that leaves most of us wandering the vast waste land of “I don’t know, what do you think?”

I might not have conventional Gaydar, but I have Heidi Gaydar. As far as I’m concerned, it works every time.

Two women shopping at Home Depot together on Sunday morning with a cart full of tools, they are.

Two men shopping at Ikea together on a Sunday morning, with color swatches, they are.

Instagram photos of homemade pies, he is.

Instagram photos of step by step DIY projects, she is.

First to spot a new lipstick, he is.

Thinks that lipstick is a new girl in town, she is.

Dresses you down before saying “Hello”, he is.

Avoids eye contact at all cost when you say “Hello”, she is.

He still has his Barbie collection, he is.

Going to see Wonder Woman for the sixth time, because of the special effects, she is.

Profound use of the word “they”, they are!

And finally, the one single, most accurate, indicator that someone is gay. . .

One word, six letters. . . causing a ripple, a flitter and a breathy whisper.

Barbra.

Boom!
Mic Drop!

Me, satisfying smirk!

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self -appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.

When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an on-line directory for the themed entertainment industry.

 

Gaydar: the Ultimate Insider Guide to the Gay Sixth Sense (2002) by Donald F. Reuter

 

Gay? Was it something I didn’t wear? by Heidi Hirsch

June 20th, 2017

Gay? Was it something I didn’t wear? by Heidi Hirsch

I would venture to say that at some point in a gay person’s life they are confronted with the annoying question, “Are you gay?”

That one, I can handle. I usually come back with an inquisitive, “ARE YOU?”

I was recently completely thrown off by a co-worker who exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were gay, you don’t dress like it.”

“Sorry, not enough flannel?”

Not enough flannel??? Was that the best that I could do? I know that it was weak but, honestly, I hadn’t developed a snappy comeback for that kind of comment.

Back before the turn of the century, before I knew that I was gay (didn’t everybody think that Stephanie Powers was hot as April Dancer in the Girl from U.N.C.L.E.?), I was in the throngs of puberty, acne and pursuit of comfortable clothes.

I slowly developed a keen sense of fashion – one size fits all colors. Hey, if it worked in blue, why would it not work in yellow, orange and basic black? My favorite color was jeans. Jeans worked with everything! I thought I was hot and ready for action walking out the door wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and a flannel jacket. Lucky for me, that was perfect attire for a bewildered D.I.T. (Dyke in Training).

There was that brief period of time in my life that I considered the conventional style of dress – meaning a dress! Fortunately, my head cleared and I was able to skirt that near disastrous attempt at femininity with only minor traumatic repercussions.

California is conveniently laid back so I took full advantage of the casual style. I work in an industry that the most brilliant of our creative wear hoodies and cut off shorts. No, I don’t work at Facebook but darn close!

Through the years, I honed my style of dress to reflect California Comfortable. Comfortable jeans, comfortable shirts and, yes, comfortable shoes. If the heels on my shoes is more than one inch, I get a nose bleed and feel slightly dizzy. I consider dressing up by pouring myself into Spanx for a client meeting.

So, here I am confronted with the very real possibility that my membership might be revoked and a representative from the gay community will come knocking on my door and demand my gifted toaster back just because I don’t dress gay!

This called for quick-witted action! Heading back towards the closet, not an easy thing to do,
I looked for my last hope of reversing this gay faux pas and there they were, my hiking boots!

The next day at work, my colleague approached me again with the same confused look on her face.
“Oh. My. God. I have the same pair of boots!!!? Does this mean I’m gay?”

With a click of my one inch heels, I turned like a queen on a disco dance floor and

said, “I don’t know, ARE YOU?”

 

About Heidi:

As an amateur observer of the human race, Heidi is a self -appointed documentarian of life’s little quirks and how to stumble through them with humor.

Maintaining that belief has brought her to that golden age of early-bird specials, senior discounts, and the VIP-AARP card.

When she isn’t acting as the arbiter of lesbian fashion, Heidi is a professional in the themed entertainment industry. As a Project Manager, her projects include the recently opened Motiongate & Bollywood theme parks in Dubai. Currently she is working on a new theme park in an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Heidi enjoys building Free Libraries and is currently co-developing an on-line directory for the themed entertainment industry.