Author: Gregory Patrick

A mad man who writes books, knits, and deals with the daily dilemmas of living 20 miles from nothing...I'm not kidding.

A Fall From Inside This Room

It’s just shy of 8am and the subtle hints of an approaching autumn are revealing themselves.

The sun has risen, but then quickly went hidden behind a grey and overcast sky.

Humidity no longer clings to everything. Crisp dew now dances on my skin before being whisked away by a chilled breeze. The scent of fresh cut grass is now giving way to a deeper, earthier smell of wood and leaves beginning to decompose. The quick climb of ivy and vine begin to slow, before finally beginning to wither back, then fall to the ground.

My feet in summer stomp on the moist, nearly muddy earth because of our abundance of rain….but, in autumn, my stride tends to tread on the multitude of acorns that cover the ground with a richness that will provide life later, as the unique aroma of fallen flowers floats through the air. Magnolia blossoms and marigold blooms die beside the ever resilient Mother-in-law tongue.

Trees change hues here, not in the grand manner of golds and reds so famous with the north, but instead, the brilliant, emerald green mosses that cling to the bark of trees pull back, leaving rich, coffee brown branches in their wake.

And we all ready ourselves for how fall will bring us closer together with festivals, cool weather, and crockpots simmering with stew. We look forward to more of us being outdoors, basking in the social delights of kinder nights as celebrations and holidays begin to unfold our deep desire to be kinder to each other, share with each other, give to each other in a way that doesn’t seem to have the same impact any other time of year.

245298233_183964553881645_4713473581661376833_nI can’t speak on behalf of the rest of the world, but this little acre that we rent we’ve deemed “Honeychurch” seems to embrace autumn with the richness of an artist’s pallet, a mystic’s communion with nature, or a poet’s verse.

I love looking at the beauty in life.

But, sometimes looking inside one’s self isn’t nearly as remarkable as paying attention to the world around you, to the natural world around you, toward the infinite promise of a glorious world changing seasons. I could stare out this window all day and appreciate its magnificence….

Or I could go outside and live and experience everything I’ve just written from inside this room….

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SAVE FRED!

I thought I’d share with you a little sneak peak into the first chapter of “The Pillow Guardians.” Enjoy! And by all means, let me know what you think!

CHAPTER ONE: SAVE FRED!

He couldn’t believe his big purple ears. He was being thrown away! Tossed in the trash!

Oh, sure, he’d been with his human for….well, that’s hard to say. Bears can’t count very well. But, he knew it had been for an awfully long time. It had been at least a million sun-ups.

Sometimes he had been tucked in the closet, sometimes left on a shelf, but he had been there if his human had needed him! The problem is, his human never did need him….actually, if we can be truthful, his human acted like he didn’t even want his teddy bear.

Just toss it on that pile with the other stuff.”

It was funny, all these sun-ups. He had watched his human grow from the size of a pea to this big giant of a thing that somehow managed to put his own shoes on. Now the human was on his way to a college and was leaving.

Everything his human owned was being put into three piles. One to take, one to trash, and one to donate.

Yeah, it’s kinda old. I don’t think anybody would want it.”

Wait! What’s happening? I’ve been on the shelf waiting….and wait! Don’t throw me away!

20211011_073818Oh, that sad little teddy bear didn’t know what to think. He was purple and dusty, that’s all he really knew. And for that, he wasn’t even worth giving to someone. He was thrown onto the trash pile. This was all happening so fast! Just yesterday everything was normal, as it should be. And today? Well, everything had gone wonky. This sun-up was terrible!

Flung he went onto the heap, then gathered up later with the rest of the things the human no longer wanted, then tossed into a the stinky trash compartment outside.

What a terrible thing to do to a teddy bear,” he mumbled as he plopped into the garbage bin.

SLAM, went the lid!

He looked around but couldn’t see anything. It was dark, just too dark to know where he was, or what would happen next?

He huffed and sniffed, thought about it, talked about it to himself. “What happens to a teddy bear when they’re thrown away, anyway? What happens next?”

There wasn’t time for him to think to long about it for suddenly the lid to the garbage can flung wide open. He heard a scratching, a grunting, a huffing and a puffing. He sat back afraid, wondering what monster waited for teddy bears that are thrown away. He was getting terrified! Something was lurking with heavy thud up the side of the can. Dunk….dunk….

Oh, this teddy was sure this unseen beast was making dents as it squirmed up slowly against the side the trash can so that it could slide inside, and devour our little bear.

The little bear looked up, the moonlight shining only shadows so he couldn’t really see what this mean thing was! He must have fins! Maybe flippers! Tentacles!

Finally, it’s head jumped up and said, “Hi!”

The teddy bear screamed…..No, that’s a lie. He shrieked! Yes, he shrieked while falling back on the pile of bags beneath him.

After catching his breath, and with the moon turning the light just right, he could see it was just another teddy bear….

The other teddy bear asked, “Are you ok?”

Our teddy bear didn’t know what to say. “I guess so….I don’t know. What’s happening? Where am I?”

Well, you’re in the trash, which is where I thought I’d find you.”

Me? You were looking for me?”

Oh, yeah! Oh! We have been trying to rescue you off of that shelf for a long time now!”

What? I don’t understand!”

20211011_073751Here, give me your paw. I’ll help you out and tell you all about it. Buddy, you’re about to be a hero!”

Is that my name?”

Gee, I dunno. I call a lot of us buddy. Wait. You don’t have a name? Your human never gave you a name?”

Our little teddy looked downward, sad. He hadn’t been given a name. He didn’t know if that was important or not, he just felt like it was something he should have always had, but didn’t..

No. I don’t have a name.”

I’m Simon. My friends call me One Eyed Simon.”

The more our little teddy bear strained his eyes the more he could see that Simon was missing one. And! One of his ears was smaller than the other.

WOW! What happened to you!”

Here, give me your paw.”

As Simon pulled the teddy bear out of the trash, he began to tell him of how he lost his eye and ear.

I was a bear like you. Happy on a shelf. I didn’t care for much, didn’t want much. I loved being around my human. Then one day, a cat jumped up on my shelf, knocking me to the ground. Then a dog came by and grabbed me in his jaws! He tossed me around before sending me flying off into another room. When I landed I was missing an eye and my ear had been chewed almost off. Man, that was bad. It just kind hung off the side of my head! Well, the next thing you know I’m headed for the out, right into the garbage.”

Simon had pulled our teddy from the trash and was brushing him off. They started walking as our teddy asked, “How did you make it out?”

Excitedly, Simon stopped and said, “We’re BOTH lucky. This monster comes by and picks up these trash cans with big giant jaws!”

No way!”

Oh yeah! The monster then lifts his jaws in the air and everything in the can goes into his belly. I was lucky. I bounced off the side of his mouth and dropped onto the street. That was insane! You know the worst part? I watched the monster go down the street gobbling up cans left and right! That could have happened to you if I my buddies and I hadn’t saved you!”

Why did you save me?”

I told you! We’ve been trying to rescue you off that shelf because we need you. We needed to save you, so that you can save Betty. Betty is in trouble. Real serious trouble….and you’re the teddy bear that can save her.”

This was a lot for a bear who had been tossed away just a little while ago. He had gone from the shelf, to the trash, to being called a hero.

I’m so confused,” he said. “This is a lot. Where are we going? Who is Betty?”

Simon stopped to explain what little he could. “I am a member of the Pillow Guardians. We are a secret,” he looked both ways just so that everyone knew it was supposed to be a secret, “a secret network of teddy bears that help people who are feeling bad. And poor Betty has been feeling really bad and we think you can make her feel better….because all she wants is a purple teddy bear.”

Wow. Our little teddy bear lifted his chin with pride. It was one thing to sit on a shelf and be there for a human. That’s what teddy bears are good at. But, it was something else entirely to feel wanted by someone, so he had to meet her right away. He had to go to her. He didn’t want to be tossed in the trash again.

“Well, let’s go!” The teddy bear was so eager to be held, to be hugged.

“Not so fast, friend,” Simon insisted. “You have a lot to learn before Betty becomes your human. You have sooo much to learn. By the way, since you don’t have a name, why don’t we call you Fred? I mean, it sounds like friend.”

Fred…. Ok! I like it! My name is FRED!” Oh, hopped around so happy that his new life was going to be with a name and with a human that wanted him. “FRED! FRED! FRED! MY NAME IS FRED!”

Simon laughed, grabbed his new buddy by the paw and said, “Come on! I want you to meet Mr. Smokey and the rest of the Pillow Guardians! We don’t have a lot of time!”

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please consider donating a little something. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

I Want To Thank Someone Important….

I really have no idea how to embroider a magnolia. But, I had a client who really wanted to memorialize her grandmother with a magnolia. So, I set out as quick as I could to find any means available so that I could learn something as intricate as that blessed flower. With all of its folding petals and beautiful cream hues, the magnolia (in my book) is one of the most difficult flowers to embroider.

244953768_1049503295784307_6991854965853798185_nThat’s why I was so happy to work on this piece, because it gave me an opportunity to truly continue learning about a craft. I’ve said it a billion times and I will profess one billion more: I love being a student. I don’t ever want to be a master at anything. There is always something more to learn, something more that you can know that keeps you always evolving in beautifully creative ways. In this instance? I learned more about shadow and light, perspective, depth….I’m not master class, but I sure do love the pursuit.

I really like the way it’s coming along. We’re only three days into this piece and it will be finished soon because I’m so enthusiastic about applying what I’ve learned to….well, my art.

There are so many of you that have taken a chance on my artistry, in whatever form. Be it embroidery, knitting, writing. I thank you so much for that.

I really want to take this opportunity to thank my clients for helping me to explore my crafts and make them better and more courageous every time I take to them. Every time I pick up yarn or thread for a commissioned piece, I get the chance to learn more about the talents I have and how they can expand.

I also wanted to take this day to thank those of you who contribute monthly to my little blog. Everything from $2 to $20 doesn’t just help financially…..It also helps me feel that these words that I pen are of value to you. I want this blog to be a place where you can read and feel better about anything. I want the words that I give to society at large to be of some benefit to someone. And I thank you for believing in me so much that you want to keep this blog continuing. For this isn’t really a blog, but rather, the stories, the memoirs of one man’s creative and spiritual life. I want to thank all of you, for you’re all so important to me. I see your names as you comment, like, share….I want to thank ALL of you for that support.

Because, I thank you for not only reading my blog…but, for also caring about me. I love you, too.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please consider donating a little something. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

Thankfully, A Friend Was There

It’s a been a rough couple of months. I’m a tremendously optimistic person, but even I have to confess that my divorce, my financial wipeout, and the inability to break my agoraphobia, has created a sense of depression I’m not accustomed to. I was going to Skype with an old friend today who lives clear on the other side of the world….and I was embarrassed to have my laptop in my room. So, I moved into another room for I didn’t want him to see how that depression had sort of manifested in my surroundings.

Today was the day I really needed to bring in money….and Facebook went down. The inability to promote, market, make a few sales, close a few sales, and engage with people just left me devastated with panic. Watching my mind wait for the next disaster to hit me was just too much. Once Skype was fired up and we started talking, I simply broke down. It didn’t take but 3 minutes for me to just collapse under a free fall of fear and tears.

Snapshot_20211004_2My life is in the strangest place right now. Had I not already scheduled my talk with my friend, I don’t think I would have done very well. I needed to let things go….I needed to just talk. I needed to cry on a friend’s shoulder….and thankfully, a friend was there.

I’m glad we talked, so very glad. He reminded me of how loved I was, not just by him, but by so many people. If you’re reading this, probably even you. He also reminded me that of all the things I’ve experienced in life, this wasn’t the worst of them. It may feel like it because I’m in the middle of it, but it isn’t the worst thing that has happened to me. I’m in the midst of a lot of fear, though. He asked if some of this had to do with some PTSD from being homeless and if that were the case, I needed to remember that I wasn’t homeless any longer, and that I wouldn’t be again.

But, I tell you that is what terrifies me so much, especially on a day like today. Especially today when I really needed to make money. Being homeless didn’t need to happen, but it did….and if it happened once, who can say that it won’t happen again. My own ambition, my zeal, my desire to learn new things so that I can explore more options for myself has been strangled by a tremendous amount of fear of being homeless again, and that fear is ruining me right now with irony.

And then he said the most beautiful thing. “If you are full of love, then you take that love with you everywhere. There is no fear in the presence of love.”

Wow. Of all the spiritual, introspective talking that I do, why has that not been burned into my soul? It seems so truthfully obvious (especially with the way my heart works). But, I haven’t focused on that. I have focused principally on the things that terrify me, rather than holding just that one idea. “There is no fear in the presence of love.”

The only thing I can today about my situation today is to keep talking to my friends in any capacity that I can, knowing in my heart that that they love me. And to pray. I can definitely do that.

The day started poorly, with elements that are well out of my control. But, perhaps the day will end beautifully, with a miracle having saved me.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please consider donating a little something. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

Rich in Talent, Poor in Self Worth

Strapped for cash, I decided to pull out my art, my skills, my abilities. I may not be good at being in public, but when I’m alone, I’d like to think I create amazing things…..

See? There is a problem with that sentence. “I’d like to think…”

I knew that would happen. The minute I sat down to write this blog post I could already sense a….”so sad” approach that I was ready to tend to.

20211003_154240There is no confidence in that statement, “I’d like to think.” As if I’m waiting for approval from someone. There is no bombastic sense of pride. And that seems to be a running problem with me. I’m  forever sabotaged by my own feeling of lack. What a horrible way to feel. I do not push myself into wishing for more self respect for the art that I do. That hinders me because it only allows me to function as an artist who starves, not blooms.

I don’t know when, not sure how, but somewhere recently I lost the sense of pride in what I do. As of now? I sell my wares for the basic necessities and if I can sell a bear for a couple of bucks, well, I get to eat that day, pay a bill.

And I’m a little tired of that. I’m a little tired of treating my own creativity as though it were just passable enough to get by with. Because I think I do exceptional work….

See? I did it again. “I think I do, but not quite sure, would someone else let me know????”

20211003_154323So, I sat myself down today, took this piece in hand and held it, understanding its catalogue of memories. I started on this piece back in the early part of this year, when I had just begun to embroider. The enthusiasm that enveloped me was intoxicating, luscious, like a ravenous lover that can’t get enough romance. I was listening to myself then, trying a new craft, finding a tremendous amount of passion in the subtle way the needle punched through the canvas with a damaging scratch, while leaving a trail of beauty in it’s stead.

(See? Now that last sentence? Yeah, I don’t think, I know I’m a good writer).

This jacket is nearly one year of growth and wisdom, of learning and desiring, and of all that gorgeous time spent in silence, solitude…..sometimes listening to nothing, sometimes listening to everything. It sings of a good 9 months of a desire to keep learning and learning and learning. Those touches of color, that festival of floss, those threads of thought all weaving into one piece is a reflection of where I began and where I am now. Always a student.

cdNow, like I said. I’m strapped for cash and could toss this up for just enough money for what I need. But, I’ve decided I won’t be doing that anymore. No, I’m worth a helluva lot more than basic necessities. I’m decidedly worth more than what I’ve told myself. I am rich in talent, but poor in self worth.

I am an exceptional writer, a brilliant knitter, and an amazing embroidery artist, because those talents reflect the life that I am. Interested, curious, provocative.

If you buy this jacket, I will love you for life. You’ll be helping me tend to a mend that is so needed. I will sell it to you as it is now, but I would love to keep working on it, completing the final panel where you see the hoop. From left to right you’d see 8 months of wanting to know more….And finally realizing what I’m worth.

Because if you do buy it, it would be first time in my life I sold something for what I felt I was worth….and not just selling something because I needed rent.

Click here if you’d like the jacket. Obviously there is only one.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please consider donating a little something. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

I Feel I’ve Let People Down

I’ve been sullen lately, very down. I feel I’ve let a lot of people down. I haven’t wanted to say anything to anyone because I’ve felt I would have disappointed so many people who were ready for me to be free of this agoraphobic strangle.

For five years this big beast of a disease crept into my mind and just wouldn’t let go. As much as I sought out positivity while being away from my space, I had no defense, no barrier to shield me from the onslaught of negativity that was swirling around me. Mindlessly moving through that was dangerous. I should have been more prepared. I absolutely was not.

Panic attacks would set in. While quietly pulling things off a shelf, or putting things back for a period of time, you get to hear in the peripheral such anger towards others, such resentment towards others….and that strange shifting you see again and again, because to them, the enemy is never the same. It’s always someone new to hate, as if people wake and are told who to hate. You spend your day going out of your way, in everything that you do, hatefully suspicious of nearly everyone.

Then I’d get infected with it. I’m here while my house is on fire and my fur babies are burning to death. Someone will run in here and start shooting all of us…That person doesn’t have a mask….that man is stealing something….Suspicions and distrust would poison me.

My heart would race, my head would go vacant. My hands would shake to unbearable levels as I dropped to my knees, clutching my chest, seeing my hands grow pale, feeling this heat in my forehead while a chill ripped up through my spine, my other hand clutching at anything for safety….and none to be found. I couldn’t reach the rosary in my pocket, couldn’t focus on anything.

And a voice would tell me to cup my palms over my mouth and take long, slow breaths telling me, “You are loved, don’t worry, you are loved and you will be fine….just remember to align yourself with that Love that is in you and and you’ll be fine. Once you feel that love, be sure to share it….”

I grabbed at that, held that as close to my soul as deep as I could, because I know it to be true. But, when it all was over and my breathing returned to normal I was so drained, so exhausted….and so sad, embarrassed and convinced that after five years in a bubble, I was not ready for the world as it is right now. I was entering a world of open to close nonstop negativity, which I can’t fault people with.

It’s hard to find fault with people who who are brainwashed with daily inspirations of suspicion.

Since my last return to the world, I found that it had grown dimmer and darker…and that I just was NOT ready for what it had become. The day I had two panic attacks in one was enough for everyone involved to admit that this wasn’t working for me.

So, I do not have a job anymore, and I have been embarrassed to tell you because I thought you would be disappointed in me. That I didn’t try hard enough to beat my agoraphobia.

Well, I can only respond that I’m not done for good, just done for now. Maybe I’ll come back out later. Maybe I shouldn’t.

Who knows? I’ve always wanted something of a monastic life, I’ve always been something of a recluse, something of a hermit. I’m a Layman. That is my nature. It doesn’t mean I hate, or despise society so much that I want nothing to do with people or lives. The contrary. I ADORE people….and my trip outside of this self-made abbey we call Honeychurch made me realize that I love people. I really do.

I don’t want to lose that love.

UntitledSo here I will stay, just slightly off to the side in my own little world where nothing you do keeps me from always loving you. I feel that’s where I belong right now.

I can see our shed out of my bedroom window. I’m so fond of it. It reminds me of my simple desire to find a little space, where I can create and pray, surrounded by an abundance of sunlight and life giving green. And I hope in that desire I lead people more towards loving each other, rather than truly despising each other because it’s socially acceptable and venomously expected. Because we are better than that and I know that to be true.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

A Celebration of Support

I wasn’t quite sure what to think about today. You see, Phillip is off today and well….today would have been our fifth wedding anniversary. So, what do I do? Bring up the elephant in the room? I reluctantly brought it up, shared my thoughts on how we should approach the issue.

Though divorced, we are still friends and still live together. Moving out is financially too much for me, and he wanted a room mate he could trust, so we just left things as they were. He lives on one side of the house, I live on the complete opposite. Hell, we even have our own entrances if we really want to avoid each other. I can come in the front door, he can come in the house using the side door. We’ve managed to make this madness work rather fine. Furthermore, even though we are divorced, we still care about each other. We still support each other firmly, as this week was testament to.

242355928_741981659934700_2881254004070376800_nSo I suggested that we still celebrate, but rather than acknowledge a marriage that doesn’t exist, we’ll have our own little fiesta to bring light to something we do have: support for each other. We’re going to have a celebration of support, a little day put aside once a year to remind each other of our care for each other. And as we might have done when married, it’ll be a little low key. We’ll play some cribbage, maybe get some sandwiches from Stasio’s, kick back with a few sips of Southern Comfort and watch some tawdry, trash television or maybe a disaster film. We always seem to have the best times watching disaster films….

We could have just decided to let the whole thing slide, forget about the day and just carried on doing our own things, but I felt it important to remind my friend that taking a day to celebrate how true our friendship is was important to me.

Ya’ll have a great day. 🙂

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

Hate Sells Well in America

Well, my last blog post wasn’t as well received as I thought it would be. Now, I only say that by judging what I was trying to say versus what people read, then how they reacted.

My whole message was that we should be looking for reasons to love each other (which is harder than you thought), rather than looking for ways to loathe each other (which is far too easy it seems lazy). I was glad to see familiar names that follow my post understand that, and comment with their own reflections. So many people that read what I write on a regular basis understood my intention.

However, far too many people were quick to rush in with statistic and numbers….and basically, just valid proof of why shunning people (vaxxed or not) was justifiable. After all, shunning people is a necessary culling to protect the herd, if not some kind of morbid pastime.  And then people started arguing over the statistics and which were true and which were a lie. None of them asking themselves how they could be more compassionate, but more focused on proving why it is right to ridicule people publicly.

That was a disappointment.

But, I gave my two cents, said what I had to say, and I felt it was a cause that is just and worthy: being compassionate.

However, this approved attack on certain people in our society is the unfortunate result of grouping people, acknowledging each other only as members of this community, faction, wing, race, or demographic. (With far too many people in the media designating which ones to love and which ones to hate).

242406877_908050333390982_5065290484379050825_nWhen you are corralled like that you don’t get to see people for the beautiful individual sparks that they are. When you categorize people, you categorize yourself. You and they all become cattle, nothing more than a huge field of sheep. And because of that, no one will see you for your individual beauty either. Uniqueness in self is the grandest, the most priceless value you have. It is probably the only thing that no one can ever take from you. Your self as an individual belongs to you and you alone. And when you don’t recognize that in others, then there is no way in hell you could convince me that they see it in you, too. You’re just as worthless as you think they are. Just a big huge field of sheep, each bahhing loudly….none of you different from the other. So, stay in your paddock and be a good sheep.

You hope, you pray, you trust that when you need compassion that it is given freely unto you, because you’ve handed it over so often that it has no choice but to boomerang back. You hope that everything thing you do in life is based on that principle of giving in order to one day receive it back. I don’t want to wake 20 years from now seeing that our lack of understanding, or even our own lack of recognizing one another as people, as individuals, perpetuated this into a crisis of compassion that didn’t need to happen.

And the only way to combat that is to run as far as you can when the media messaging you listen to persuades you to hate any group of people. They don’t think of you (as an individual) with your best interests at heart. They only want to see how fervidly you agree so they can sell more ads on TV.

Apparently, hate sells well in America. Please don’t buy into it.

If you appreciate my blog and would like for it to continue, please donate. Every bit helps and I wouldn’t have the courage to do this without you. Thank you!

An Allowed Amount of UnVaxxed Vitriol

I remember being tested for the first and only time. I was obviously scared of the result. Did I have it or did I not? But, even worse was the idea that if I did have it….the social consequences would be nightmarish, and probably worse than the disease itself. So I used a fake name, which was pretty common.

If you tested positive for HIV you could easily lose your job, your home, your friends, and any hope of a love life. You were socially ostracized, hung to dry as an example of an irresponsible person who got what they deserved.

You may think it hyperbole, but a statement like that was considered quite justified by anyone in correct social standing. “Of course. They deserve to die. Look at the decisions they made. Good.”

A lot of people suffered then, many of whom might have lived longer had they not been properly shunned by society. The added stresses of loneliness, excommunication, and allowed public ridicule killed them faster than the virus did. There was no support system. The media, the government, and even the neighborhood did their damndest to push you as far away from the population as possible. Because they didn’t want your irresponsible behavior tainting them. They didn’t want your minority group to spread the disease into the mainstream. They didn’t want your bad decisions making way into their good lives.

So, the best thing to do? Shun them, shun them all. Don’t rent to them, don’t employ them, don’t even acknowledge them. The rest of society will applaud you for being bold in the fight against these nasty people who want to ruin life for the rest of us.

And that idea of being applauded for shunning an entire group of people, via stereotype, is causing more hellish damage than any virus could, and all of that comes from truly evil messaging. A comedic talk show host recommends that the unvaccinated not be allowed emergency care, and the audience erupts in a holler of agreement. That terrified me. That truly did. I thought we had learned so much from the AIDS epidemic about not only the evil public shaming that was taking place, but also of society’s acceptance of it. Like when Reagan’s press secretary Larry Speakes, and the rest of the media pool, laughed when he suggested that it can’t be a plague because, “I don’t have it. Do you?” And again they all laugh at these sad, dying, tossed off people.

I really thought we had become better than that.

Now, I won’t speak about the rest of the world, for my life, its decisions, its direction, its routine, is based firmly in my little world. I’m watching 500 firefighters being fired for not getting the vaccine in my town. I’m watching landlords evict tenants for not getting vaccinated in my state. I’m hearing friends of mine say things like, “Well, you work at the Dollar Store, you should get vaccinated because….well, you know their clientele isn’t the most hygienic.” Someone else I speak with (in debate) on social media simply said, “They should be shamed! They’re killing us.”

All you can see is the allowed amount of vitriol to come from someone. Socially acceptable destruction of another human. No kind, compassionate person would ever applaud the death of someone, nor suggest out loud in public that the whole group of them should be ostracized because they are killing the rest of us….or even worse, that of course I should be vaccinated because I’m around filthy, poor people all day.

242232126_2977755399149220_3617866456935357772_nI believe in the goodness of humanity. I swear by that. Because our lives are so much better lived in the helping of lives, rather than the shameful hating of lives. So, I beg of you to reconsider messages that promote hatred towards someone else. If you are being urged to applaud the death of someone, please reconsider what you do next. If you are being urged to deny any compassion towards anyone who is alone and dying, please reconsider how you feel. And if you are persuaded in any way to vilify another human publicly, please reconsider how would personally atone for ruining someone’s life. What would you say to them that would make it acceptable? I would just love to know the one sentence that makes destroying someone’s life worth it?

All of the really big shunning during the AIDS epidemic eventually began to wane. We saw the hysteria, the misinformation, the discrimination slowly erode because my generation wouldn’t tolerate it. And once we were old enough to vote, it was a big factor in how we elected. How did my candidate want to treat these socially thrown away people? With compassion, with understanding? Or with mandates….

Thankfully, life is better for people living with HIV now. We know more. We don’t dismiss people with the virus. As a matter of fact, if you were to ostracize someone with HIV now you’d be destroyed in the social arena. But, for now, the unvaxxed are the pariah of choice….

I beg of you to be better than this, and if you’re not, then I’m hoping the next generation is.

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