Three intangible words.
Descriptions of emotions we seek from others, and attributes that lead us on a search for restoration. Searches that lead us blindly through the dark to others, seeking the same.
Love. The first sensation we every experience as we enter the world, and the last we cling to when we leave this earth. It is the foundation for humanity, and the root of all culture and religions. It is a singular word, that has comfortably nestled itself as the cornerstone for the very existence of life.
Without love, life has no meaning. People would wonder aimlessly without any desires or true direction. Creativity would come to a halt, and all sense of family would be as obtainable as the breeze or the scent of summer. Nations would fall, and empires of man would lay as rubble. These lasting influences, collapsed to unsalvageable ruins. Mere pebbles would be as equals to man, because without love, we are all lifeless and unimportant. Wasting fleeting moments until we see our inevitable end. The end of civility and humanity.
Compassion. An action, a desire, a duty. It is a compass within all of us, that guides us to help others, and be more than ourselves. It guides the dogs of the pack, as it does us. To help our wounded, love our brothers and sisters, and shelter our enemies.
Without compassion, we are yet undefined. There is love, but love for our self and no other. The structure of passion gives way to self indulgence. The desire to help your neighbor to their feet, is no longer there. The urge to rebuild the pillars of community would give way to pillars of self righteousness. Aimless yet we would be, as without love, life would have little meaning if it were a life without compassion.
Innocence. An unobtainable Godly state. We lost it long ago, and yet still we strive for it. Chasing it with children and elders, in an eternal pursuit for what is already gone.
Forever lost. With the image of perfection and peace, it became something of the past the moment we opened our eyes for the first time. Now it is no more than an ideal. An indescribable state of mind. To put words to this state, would be to rob it of all it wants to be. Innocence is purity and simplicity. Words wash all that away, leaving a skeleton of bones lost in translation.
And still, we march on. Filed in line, neatly following one another on our individual mission to find completion and “ourselves”, through others seeking the same fate. An eternal exploration of what is beyond us. An unending pursuit to find that missing piece of us. But still, the piece is only in our back pocket. We are just finding someone to hold it for us, and protect it from the harsh realities of a world gone mad.
Love. Compassion. Innocence.
Leo’s Non-Smoking Café. A small, classic diner, situated on a side street near downtown Portland.
The restaurant has been there since the Medical Dental building first opened in the 1930’s or early 40’s. It was an easy stop for business men, and secretaries on their way up to work on weekdays. Some people came for coffee, while others had long luncheons and meetings.
After a few decades of consistent business, the owner decided to retire. He did so by selling his café to a young business student from Portland State University. Peter.
Peter had moved to Portland from China in the 1970‘s, with the intention of going to school, and possibly owning his a business. His dream of owning a business came true in 1980, when he purchased Leo’s.
Paying homage to history, he left the interior nearly untouched from the original. And of course, the window signs of “Non-Smoking Café” maintained their rightful place.
He eventually married a woman he had fallen madly in love with, who had also moved from Asia. In time, she found her place as the cook, and Peter situated himself in the front of house.
Just the two of them. Never anyone else for over 20 years. They alone managed and operated Leo’s.
Now they’re falling on harder times. The economy has dipped to record lows, and the businessmen and women aren’t as plentiful as they once were. There are vacant offices, and failing businesses filling the building now. And in the mix and confusion, Leo’s Non-Smoking Café has began to become a figure of the past. Lingering on to a less than desirable demise.
It’s sad to see, and painful to know how hard Peter has worked. Now it’s fading away into a time since past. What’s sadder is to know that people feel there isn’t time for places like “Leo’s” anymore. They’re too busy with their coffee shops and chain restaurants. Now it’s expected that places like “Leo’s” will just step out of the way, and vanish.
That’s not what we need though. We need more places like Peter’s little place. A breakfast stop where you can get eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and a drink for less than $5.00. Somewhere to chat with friends, and become entangled in the old romances of a place with so much history and devotion.
Give Leo’s a try. If you’re not in Portland, Oregon, then find the place’s like “Leo’s” in your town or city. There’s likely one just around the corner from you.
Leo’s Non-Smoking Café is located on the NW corner of 11th and Taylor, in Downtown Portland, Oregon. Pay them a visit, and tell them Beau sent you.
I wrote this recently, after hearing some of the feedback on my book deal. People assumed I was writing a sex tell all, and many people said things like “He’s only 22, he doesnt have a life. What would he know to write about?”
This is for all those people who never feel their voices are heard. This is for all the people who never listen.
One day you’ll listen to me. One day, maybe soon or maybe still a long time away, I’ll cry, and you will hear my falling tears. You will listen to me. You will hold me. You will comfort me, and maybe, for the first time, you will understand me. You will feel the pain in my heart and the loss in my soul.
On that day, you will realize how, although you never stood for me, I always stood up for you. I accepted your cruel words, and vicious intentions. Yet when the guards fell, and you were injured, I was still there for you. You will realize the intensity of the pain I felt for all those years, and the value your words had in me. Then, your eyes will widen, and for the first time since we met all those years ago, you will see that we are the same. We are both equal.
Then, when you’re alone later that day, you will realize that it isn’t just the two if us that are the same. In fact, you are the same as your neighbor, your lover, your mother, your friend, and your enemy. Your hearts all beat together. Your blood spills from the same veins. Your mind grasps the same pains, and your heart collapses to the same aches. You love and live on the same world, with the same hopes and dreams for what will come. Your differences will be dissolved, and clarity will come to you, because on this day, you realized that we are all one.
The women, the men, the children, and the elderly. African, Chinese, English, or American. Regardless of nation, heritage, creed, or who you love. We are all one. We are the world. We are hope. We are love. We are the resolutions we seek. We are peace.
“Navy Blue?” I thought to myself. “Thats the wrong color. Nuns are supposed to wear black.”
Sister Barbara Rose stood in front of me, quickly tapping the heel of her flat soled shoe against the weathered tile floor of the classroom. They needed to replace that floor. There were chips, and missing pieces. What would that say to our parents on Open House Night? It would speak to my Mom’s already worried mind that a Private Catholic School wasn’t the place for me. The floors weren’t good, that must mean they’re low on money. They shouldnt be trusted with my education.
“BEAU!” She blasted.
How that voice came from a 98 pound Nun is still beyond me.
“Im sorry.” I murmured.
“I’m sorry for disrupting the class with my interpretation of why I think Captain VonTrapp is handsome.”
She turned, walked back to the television, and turned The Sound of Music back on. I had been waiting to watch this movie for weeks! Why did I have to open my big mouth I thought. I sighed to myself. These 4th grade catholics could never understand me. I need something different. An art school, a charter school. Somewhere where my interpretations of The Sound of Music can truly be appreciated.
Years later now, I look back on the woman in the navy blue habit. She was firm, often mean, and always prepared to put me in line. Her habit was the wrong color, but I learned to accept that. She was tiny, petite, and had a frail appearance. But somehow, she was her own powerhouse. In that Catholic-tight-fisted kind of way. And she impacted me.
As I grew up, I realized that the one year I spent in Catholic school showed me a side of the fence that I didnt want to sit on. But, by learning about why I didnt want to be there, I also learned why everyone else did want to be there. They found security and confidence in being on that side of the fence. They were comfortable building their cottages and their lives to someone else’s code. It made them believe in the illusions and the realities of being in a community and being a part of a greater goal.
My seat in that crowd has long been taken away, or did I give it away? Regardless of what happened, I am grateful for my skinny, loud Nun. She taught me about reform and standing behind your true self. Regardless of who you are or where you come from. Even now, a decade later, after being openly gay in the public eye, and having my share of attention for it, I still exchange letters with that woman. And what does she tell me? That she hopes, above all else, that I am happy, because that is the most valuable thing in life. That’s right, she doesnt tell me my life is a mistake, or that God doesnt love me. She tells me she is proud of me, thinks of me often, and hopes I am happy. And I feel the same for her.
That is pure acceptance.
Our country was founded on the ideals of Freedom and Liberty. From that, We’ve grown as Americans to expect to be respected, listened to, and validated. Sometimes, our own voices are too quiet to be heard. So we have people who represent our interests for us. lobbyists, Rights Coalitions, organizations keeping a presence in our country’s Capitol on our behalf. Whether you donate to them, have signed their petitions, or have never heard of them before, there are people working every day to bring you equality and justice.
As I recently discovered though, some of the people representing me aren’t qualified for the job. At least not by my standards.
Over the past year there has been a continual turn of Gay Rights legislation being approved, and being taken away all over the nation. This has built a seemingly unending tug-of-war, powered by public media and social medias.
When one of these laws was overturned this winter, my e-mail in-box filled with a flood of angry letters from Gay Rights groups and followings, as it always does. This time though, one e-mail caught my attention. It was titled as follows:
“Are You F—ing Pissed Off, Because We Are!”
The letter went on to call opponents to Gay Marriage “Homophobic Idiots”, “Right Winged F–ks”, and a slew of other names. It promoted hating the opponents, and doing all possible to anger, disrupt, and hurt them.
Reading this prompted me to read all the other e-mails that came my way that day, something I usually don’t do. To my disappointment, many of the other letters from similar organizations read the same.
I don’t feel that way. I know many of my friends don’t feel that way either. We don’t hate opponents that are just standing up for what they believe in. What I do dislike though, are people representing ME in the fight for equal rights, who see it fit to yell and scream at other people, assuming that the entire GLBT Community feels the same way.
As a nation, as a community, as a family, we will rarely make progress through hatred. If there is any success, it will only be subjected to later ruin or dispute. In order to successfully and honestly reach our goals, we need to be willing to face challenge, and welcome compromise peacefully.
In a time like ours today, peace can be supreme ruler if we are willing to allow it. It will take patience, the ability to listen and the talent of actually hearing what is said. Above all else though, it will require respect. Respect for those who don’t understand our lives or our beliefs, just as we don’t understand theirs. Through respect and the willingness, and taking the time to listen and resolve our opponents concerns or fears, we can become strong as human beings.
Please e-mail or sign on to our mailing list on the blog to learn about how you and your friends can become involved in our goal of creating a New Movement, aimed at peaceful resolution.
When you’re down and troubled, who are you supposed to call on? The day has been long, the night is cold. You want to roll over and hold that special person. The love you wait for during the day, and wish for at night should be there for you, right? They’re the one you call on, and wait for to come running.
But so many times we find a difference. One sees the day in a bright tint, while we find it gloomy without hope or inspiration. What then? you can’t crawl into the arms of someone who doesnt understand why you need to be held. Or can you?
In relationships, we always find divisions. One moment we’re walking on the side walk commenting on the old woman sitting on a bench. Next we’re standing on opposite sides of a great divide, cracked from a selfish comment, or a misunderstood judgment.
Love and life are complicated. They arent fair and they arent easily understood. What it comes to though, is the willingness to give yourself to the needs of another person. Sometimes we need to hold strong to something because it builds the foundation of our morals. Other times, we need to accept that our friend needs it more than we do, or the topic at hand has deeper roots with our lover than with us. Let yourself surrender to them, and realize the value in their fight.
When I was young, my friends and I would argue over celebrities and television stars. Then we grew up and we would banter about school rivalries and boy bands. Time passed and soon we were bickering about fashion and cars. Now we’re married, divorced or single, and we fight with our dates, our boyfriends, and our spouses about money, travel, family, and sincere emotions. It’s not the same anymore. We’ve become too attached to some topics to relinquish our stand when faced with battle.
Compromise and love need to rise above. To connect with one another we all have to be willing to make the connection.
Next time your friend, or lover, or spouse and you find yourselves in a tither or debate, do this for me; Take a moment to truly think ” Is this worth the fight?”, and ” Do I need this? Or is it worth more to them?” Then do this: Be willing to make the sacrifice.
In pursuit of new beginnings, a renewed zest for life, and following the steps of romance, I’ve made the move to the East coast.
After a week in the hospital, battling a “Mystery Illness”, I headed to Central Oregon and rested in Mom’s care. While there, we quietly celebrated Christmas and were able to spend some quality time together. Something we hadn’t had much of over the past year. It was rejuvenating, and refreshing.
Once healthier, I headed back to Portland, wrapped up a few loose ends, and began making plans to move to the East Coast. Now it’s the first week after the New Year, and I’m already here.
Provincetown, Massachusetts. Two hours drive from Providence, Rhode Island. Two hours from Boston. Just up the cape from the Kennedy’s, well, way up the cape from the Kennedy’s. Five hours to New York. Central location? Eh, not really. Unless you have a boat.
The village is located on the furthest tip of Cape Cod, surrounded by sand dunes and salt water. It’s quaint, quietly sophisticated, and time seems to move at a different pace here. Much like Saugatuck, Michigan, where I once lived on the Lakeshore. Artistic and creative people flock to these places to find peace and solitude, and others like themselves.
I’ve always heard people reference Provincetown, or P-Town, when talking about Saugatuck. Not only are they small and historic villages, they’ve become the vacation destinations for Gays. Surprising really, small villages, both plopped in the middle of Puritan and Christian strongholds, now hot Gay resorts.
Either way, I’m loving P-Town so far. The people seem to have a little of the East Coast attitude, but they’re equally as warm and inviting. The coffee shops are bustling in the afternoon. The streets are quiet, but fairly busy. The homes are old and majestic.
I can see calling this new place “Home”.