To my mother over spring break: “I’m trying to think of a symbol that makes me think of you that I could get tattooed to me somewhere.”
My poor mother sighed and said, “But you’ve already done so much!”
“I know, I know, I was just kidding, Mom.”
And she was right. Since I graduated high school, I got an ear pierced (which earned me a “I didn’t think you were that kind of person” from a schoolmate’s mother), started to smoke a pipe once a month or so with friends, got my septum pierced, among other things that might be familiar to you if you’ve followed this blog at all.
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I was born on an Easter. Instead of preaching a resurrection sermon as she would have been doing had I not been itching to reach daylight, my pregnant mother rolled away the stone and Behold! The womb is empty! He is no longer here. Go and share the good news. A little baby boy was born. Well, I’m sure my mom wouldn’t use “little baby boy” to describe the bouncing bundle of joy that emerged that day. The way she describes it, I was more barge than baby. Continue reading
I was wondering when the appropriate time to write this blog would come, and with the recent death of Jadin Bell, I’ve decided it is time enough.
For several years I have kept a journal, and that practice eventually gave birth to this blog. From the start, it has been my desire to openly discuss the trials and joys of my life, finding beauty in the ashes, strength in the fear, and clarity in the confusion. My purpose in doing so is to encourage you who also live with ashes, fear, and confusion. It has been a process of exposing, healing, and ultimately seeing God redeem the irredeemable. I pray frequently that through sharing my story, others—all one hundred of you who will read this—will also be emboldened to open up and feel the freedom I have experienced and the grace I have been shown by my friends, family, and God.
I am gay. I do not “struggle” with homosexuality, but that has not always been the case.
the life story
For a general framework of my life, see this post, written before I went to college my freshman year.
I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. My mum is a pastor and my dad is an editor of theology books used in higher Christian academics—early Christianity, mainly. I have an older sister, two years and a half my senior. She began ballet dancing at five or six and has never stopped. That same year my parents put a violin in my hands and I have never stopped playing.
It is wintertime. Although the earth is frozen and seemingly barren, curious little cultivators plant unseen seeds with knit-mittened hands. Snowmen and angels, nurtured by innocent fingers, rise from the ground like annual flowers beneath a sunless sky. After day-long outside labor, the children retire to kitchens and hearths to remember the warmth of their own forming, the wombs in which they were once knit.
There is a house on Porter St. where a child is engulfed by blankets in the warmth of a hearth—the heart that pumps life into the ice-encrusted brick and mortar of the New England home. It is a boy, towheaded and drowsy. The blanket is an old brown and white afghan given to his parents on their wedding day some fifteen years ago. In his hands is a book. It could be the Chronicles of Narnia, D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, the Hobbit, or a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics. He reads and collects memories, as the stories of hobbits, Olympians, a stuffed tiger, and a great lion become indistinguishable from his own.
Who will love a little Sparrow?
Who’s traveled far and cries for rest?
– “Sparrow” by Simon & Garfunkle
A small house in southern New Hampshire, close to an airport. A record of someone playing the organ is blasting in the modest living room. In the center of the room is my father, holding my hands as he swings giggling toddler me round and round and round in the air like the blades of a helicopter or the hands of an old clock that is speeding furiously just to prove it can still tick or a raucous pas de deux between God and child, creator and created, his hands dwarfing my wrists as I fly over the carpet screaming with delight.
When I shared this memory with my dad he denied it ever happened. It could be a dream that I’m remembering, as many of my early dreams were about flying out of my bedroom and down the stairs like Peter Pan—because if you could fly, isn’t that the first place you would want to go, downstairs?
Earlier today I was walking from my survey of music literature class to the office building of my faculty advisor when I realized that I was the only student in that part of campus. But I was not alone. I was surrounded by figures shrouded in black from head to toe. It was the closest I’ve ever come to running into the mafia. It wasn’t the Italian mafia, Chinese, Swedish, or 3-6. It was a large group of crows—what has been eerily labeled a “murder.” All black, hateful stares, forced nonchalant demeanors, sharp memories, and when you get a group of them together you’re going to have a murder… mafia.
I’ve also heard that a group of lions is called a pride. When I hear “the pride of lions” I think that the lions must especially pleased with themselves for some reason. Or maybe one of the cubs is displaying great potential in training for the hunt, so she is regarded as “the pride of the lions.” If lion parents had bumpers, her parents would have “Proud parent of a gifted prowler” or something to the effect.
The only thing I really pride myself in is a personal record—a PR for you sports-minded people out there. I have not vomited since the Ravens won the Superbowl. That was, what, 2001? Nerves spit-ups, sure. Acid reflux, a little. But not a full blown PLUGHHHH. I bring this up whenever a friend mentions a bad case of food poisoning or the upward stomach flu. “My dad is the same way.” Just so they know.
For Mom, on her birthday:
My mom told me that when she was pregnant with me I would kick her in time with the church organ.
My mom told me a story that I now tell anyone who will listen. It is about me when I was a toddler. I didn’t like being alone. If I was bad, my parents would threaten to close the door during nap time. This achieved its desired result because to me a closed door meant being cut off from the world. During this stage of my life, Mum and Dad sang me to sleep every night after the Lord’s prayer and final bathroom run—which had various code names like “Ooka laka.” (Don’t ask.) After this ritual, Mom often rested on the rug next to my bed until I fell asleep. If she didn’t, I wouldn’t.
On this specific occasion, my mom thought I was asleep. She got up and started to quietly leave the room. I noticed and said, “Mommy, back to your mat!” That was the last time Mommy slept on her mat.
But the singing didn’t stop. I don’t even remember what my parents sang to me besides Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. There were a good number of hymns, like A Mighty Fortress is Our God, often sung in harmony. I remember one non-hymn that Dad sang by himself. It went: Continue reading
In an earlier post, I made a passing reference to a comic series I tried to begin when I was… 8? 9? 17?
A long time ago.
I went through several obsessions back in my single digits. Geography/maps; Greek/Roman mythology (also a couple brief affairs with Norse and Tiki myths); magic tricks; cartooning; Crazy Bones. For journalistic integrity, I should say that the last three of those aren’t necessarily in chronological order.
Posted below is the epitome of my cartooning phase. The pièce de résistance, if you will—and it’s my blog, so you better will! This comic is also a survivor of the Tragic Rainfall on Cartooning Folder as well as the Regrettable Basement Flood of ’07. After the TRoCF I moved many of my cartoons into a plastic accordion-style portfolio. The portfolio has many sections, including “Villains,” “Paper! paper!,” and “Other Artists.” This comic was found in “Ready to Sell.”
I hope you find it amusing.