Friday, March 18

Heavy Metal Saved My Life

EDITOR NOTE: My Mother and Grandmother are invaluable women in my life. They've taught me more than I could ever type in a lifetime. They have given me gifts of wisdom that require a lifetime of practice. The last two posts of mine were things that needed to be said. Expressing adoration for somebody should come whenever you feel it. Regardless of how well written or poised it might be; the key is to let those you love know that they are loved.

Matt & I at the shop
Speaking of people I love. Matt Berger is one of those people. He's a man who sticks to his guns. Comes out, guns blazing. He can be a hard glass of Metamucil to swallow sometimes, but he's an all-around chill dude. Intimidating. But really, he's a tamed Lion.

Matt has been forcing METAL down my throat since the moment we met. I shove Cher in people's faces, but that's honestly because I want you to see how beautiful she is. Matt, however, believes that Heavy [80's] Metal is the answer to life. I am not of that thinking but he and I don't agree on a lot of things, and we get along swimmingly.

In six years, I've learned all the highlights of Iron Maiden. That Megadeth band members look like they're in a band. Symphony X is "musicians music". And that Rob Halford is The Man.

This was near the beginning of my venture into local shows
Didn't exactly get the horns down right.
Some positives I associate with being around this genre of music is my discovery of Queen/Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, and Rock & Roll [see: Black Curtain]. Considering I call myself a Pop Princess and listen heavily to female pop artists, this new blend in my music library has been nice.

Back to the story; Matt Berger has invited me to local metal shows and I have attended. Originally, I was never very excited about it because, well, metal. But after attending more than a dozen shows and getting to know people within the metal community, I have come to respect and appreciate what this style stands for.

Remember those kids in your high school, the ones who only wore metal band t-shirts, had their hair long and you were afraid of them? Yeah, there's nothing to be afraid of. Some people in the community are society's rejects but that doesn't make them bad people. Many are anti-establishment and almost all are friendly, sweet, cuddly teddy bears. Surprisingly, there are more gay metal heads than I ever anticipated. From band members to listeners, all the people I've come in contact with have been chill as fuck. I may have judged too quickly. Especially because most are cat lovers!!

Judas Priest sans harness
When Matt and I went to Judas Priest, we half-jokingly talked about me wearing a leather harness. Thankfully, we ditched that idea because I would have been the ONLY person in the stadium dressed like that. Most everybody attending the concert were parents or middle-aged straight white folk. Had I shown up looking like a Leather Daddy, I would have been uncomfortable the whole time. Granted, of all the metal gods, Rob Halford would be the one who would appreciate the look, but I wasn't near the front of the stage for him to see me anyways.

Metal is still not my favorite, nor will it ever be. I can now listen to it without becoming angry and I'll willingly put it on at the shop. But is it the type of music I can put on when I want to feel better about myself or wallow in my own self pity? Is it the type of music that makes me feel like a flaming homosexual? No. No it does not. Therein lies the crux of it all, it's just not fabulous enough. Sure, the LIVE experience is close to fabulous but nothing compares to the Diva standard I expect from my drag queen vocalists or Cher.

Next time you come in contact with a big man who looks like he just rolled off a party bus, be kind. Ask them if they've seen any shows lately, I can almost guarantee they've got a story to tell.

Thursday, March 17

Lesson's From My Grandma

We all have those women in our lives. The ladies who lunch, and make you eat everything on the plate. Whether they be of blood or just a friendly older gal whom takes you under their wing, these matrons make us feel loved and cared for.

I have a couple GrandMaMa's in my life but this post pertains to the one I'm closest with. Grandma Naomi. My mom's mom. The Domestic Goddess. Patron Saint of Sourdough Pancakes. Here are some lessons that have influenced my life and I hope they influence yours just the same.

Love Unconditionally: Let's be honest, Gramma is the one that you know will protect you when the Mama is mad. Gramma is also the one to call if you are ever in need of something. A place to stay, a shoulder to cry on or a spiritual pick-me-up. She never judges and always lets you know that you are loved. Even in your coked-out craziness, she gonna love you, even if from afar. Love heals.

Make Your Own Meal: Besides going out to eat occasionally, my Grandma made every meal I ever ate with her. Home-cooked and delicious. She instilled in me the importance of sitting down to dinner and eating a family meal together. A lot of love went into the food we ate at Grandma's house, with plenty of dishes to follow. Being born in the late 1930's, Gramma learned how to make something out of nothing and she also raised six kids so this woman learned how to make a dollar last.

Don't Hold Onto Regrets: Life feels long but is really too short. There are not enough hours in a day and never enough daylight. There are also more than enough instances in life that can keep you up at night. Regretting what you did or said. Grandma taught me in a roundabout way that living with regret will make you depressed. Whether big or small, there is no time to sit in reflection on what you shoulda-coulda-woulda. What's done is done and now you live with it.

Smile & Laughter Heal the Soul: Through sadness, happiness and everything in between a smile goes a long way. When staring adversity in the face, smile. Encountering your frenemie? Smile. When life has got you down, laughing heals the soul.

Where There Is Hope, There Is Life: At 79, my Grandmother found a lump that wasn't there before. It was breast cancer. When I called her after finding out, she never once allowed me to feel sorry for her. She was content on whatever the outcome and I was, needless to say, stunned. Had I found out that I had cancer this late in the game I would not be able to handle myself the way she was. Never one to cause panic, Gramma handled the situation with ease and like the bad ass she is. Standing firm and ready to take on everything this disease had to throw at her. I truly believe that she wasn't just putting on a strong face because nobody could sound that confident without being so. I don't think I would have been able to handle the stress as strongly as she did and because of her confidence I didn't call her as often as one should when they're favorite Grandma is dealing with a life-threatening disease. Just as she wouldn't let me feel sorry for her, she won't allow me to feel sorry for myself either.

Keep Your Friends Close: Over the years we accumulate people. Different individuals that affect our lives in a multitude of ways. Gramma has created her circle and keeps in touch with them, regularly. Like, daily phone calls. After uprooting her comfortable life in a town she loved and with people she loved, Gramma trekked across country to be closer to family. This was not an easy decision. Leaving one family for the other had to be one of the most difficult, gut-wrenching and emotional roller coasters to ride. As well all know though, best friends are always and forever -- no matter the distance between us. Gramma has shown me the importance of having close friends and to keep in touch with them.

When You Fall, Get Right Back Up Again: Whether it be from a slip in the snow to some really bad news, anytime you see yourself low to the ground. Get yourself back up and going again. Do not allow the bad to outweigh the good. Your spirit will never be broken and it may be rough some days but there is always hope and there is always life.

Thursday, March 3

My Mother, The Crown Jewel

   Say what you will about The Jewel's, just know that she's one of the most loving, care-free and organized individuals you'll ever meet. A woman of faith but understands that love is the name of the game and not politics. With a fashion sense that's just too fabulous for the rural town she lives in, my mother never leaves the house without at least her 'lips' on. We joke about vanity but the reality is, if you don't take care of your outward appearance, some people might mistreat you & we can't be having that happening to good people.

    My Mother was the first person to confront me on my sexuality. I was working at Boy Scout camp for the first full Summer away from home and in my new state of residence, Arizona. I was making my weekly call home when all of a sudden she said, "Caleb, are you gay?". My heart sank into my stomach and I felt the sweat begin to accumulate under my pits. "Uh, no. Why would you ask that?"

     It's no secret, I've always been swishy, ever since Kindergarten. My flamboyancy was cultivated in a childhood full of clown gigs and community theater. At this point in my life, I knew what I was but had NEVER planned on coming out while still living at home. It was just too scary. However, my Mom, being the straight-forward person that she is, asked me this question while I'm hundreds of miles away, secluded in a camp full of boys, along with the Coleman Sister's, and I was floored she'd spring this question on me right now.

    "Why would you ask that, Mom?"
Solemnly and directly, "Because, I found pornography on my computer. Gay pornography."
     Uh Oh. I grew up during the dial-up internet era. The tools we have today to cover your tracks online were not as commonly known. Granted, I thought I was smart because I knew a little bit, but Julie knew a little more. How does one answer this invasive but serious question at age 14.
"Oh yeah, it was for an Anatomy class."

     My parents divorced in mid-2000, not long after my Grandparents of 40-some-odd years broke up. My siblings and I used to spend every other weekend in Riverside, California staying at my Mom's one bedroom (albeit very spacious and cute) apartment. Late at night, I'd log onto her laptop and enter the M4M Yahoo! chat rooms under the pseudonym, DramaQueen_Literally. Conversing with guys all over the country, asking questions pertaining to what it's like as an adult and being gay. My family doesn't know and I'm scared to come out. With an occasional stop over at some adult-rated websites. It was only a matter of time before she caught on.

    Jewel's called me on my lying and said these sites are not the right kind of anatomy a 14 year old should be looking at. She calmly and wholeheartedly stated that she loves me and the next time I came to visit, we'd talk about "It".

    This is a woman that was in the middle of her Sociology Under-Grad program at UCR. She was in the perfect degree that gave her the proper tools on handling a gay child. Of course, we had many phone conversations from that day at camp to the next time I saw her but when I finally did, she never made me feel disgusting or un-loved. She made me watch the Tom Hanks & Denzel Washington film, Philadelphia. A film made on the tail end of the AIDS crisis in America. It was the most riveting and eye-opening movie I'd watched in my short life span. She then had me speak to her neighbor who was a gay man who had contracted the deadly disease. Ricky was a sad man. A lonely man. He scared me at how depressed he was.

    It was during these formative years that my Mom was more available than when she had been living with us. Some would say that she abandoned us kids. That Mom only cares about herself. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was always honest and forthcoming with any questions (especially as to why she left my Father) us kids asked. Divorce always screws you up, no matter the age- but my Mom made it a point to be as available, supportive and loving as she could be.

   My mom may have some tendencies that annoy you, like brutal honesty. But she loves her children, her dogs and her man (Dean). Never, not once, did I ever feel like I'd been abandoned. I could (and probably will) write an entire book on mine and my mother's relationship. I wanted to share this particular story with you though in the hopes that any parent out there reading this will understand that loving your child unconditionally is essential to them feeling comfortable talking with you. There is no "beating around the bush" - difficult conversations should be approached directly and calmly.

   Thank you Mother for the continued love and support you've shown over the years. I appreciate and love you very much.

....ToOt ToOt

Monday, February 29

Caitlyn Jenner

Yes. Caitlyn. Not Bruce. Not tranny. Not anything other than her name.

Formerly known to the world as Olympian Bruce Jenner, at 65, Bruce began the transition from male to female. Quite possibly being the most famous Transperson known to mankind, minus Laverne Cox.

The world, and especially the internet, lost their damned minds! We couldn't believe it. We knew it was only a matter of time but for a 60-something year old to transition this late in the game was hard for some people to comprehend. I have many allied friends that "just don't get the Trans thing" and it's OK that they don't because Transpeople aren't like your run of the mill gay guy or girl. These are people that feel trapped inside the body they were born with and wholeheartedly want to live the life of the opposite sex. Not because they get some kind of sexual kick out of it, but because they don't feel like themselves.

You might have a bad day. They've had a bad life. Everybody is confused during puberty. The hormones are raging, the hair is sprouting and you are trying to figure out what turns you on. Now imagine you are that 14 year old again, but this time you feel like you should be doing what your sister or brother is going through. That's tough to work yourself out of ain't it?

People approached me, because I tend to be most people's point of contact regarding gay trivia, and had lots of questions regarding Bruce Caitlyn. They refused to use her name. They asked if she had 'bottom' surgery. She didn't deserve that 'Woman of the Year' by Glamour [a fucking advertisement booklet]. They let me know they were offended that Caitlyn had the gall to say she was a woman. I'm not one to be offended often but I was offended by their offensive comments. Caitlyn is in her 60's!!! This was not a decision made lightly. The amount of therapy she went through is more than most will ever have in their lives. She knew that she was in the prime of her life and it was now or never. Regardless of being associated with that horrible [excluding Khloe] family, Cait had the ability to do what many people are doing all around you.

People didn't completely understand the gay thing, they still don't, but they really don't get the Trans thing. They confuse drag queens with Trans. They care too much about the person's sexuality. People can't stop thinking whether Cait has an outy or an inny. Fucking mind your own damn business. If somebody wants you to start referring to them as a She or a He then fucking do it. It might take some getting used to right off the bat but even our Holy Mother Cher the Goddess has a Transgender child and even she admits to having difficulties with the pro-nouns when Chaz first transitioned. You know what though? She figured it out and is now an advocate for the Trans community. Deal with it!

Parents. Especially the Gen Xers. Stop giving your four year old's hormone pills. They might know whether or not they're Trans but until they are older and can understand fully what they are doing, don't instigate. Your boy might just like to wear dresses for the time being, don't assume that because he's doing this he HAS to be Trans. I used to wear my sister's shoes and dance around to Spice Girls, but I like being a boy and never once thought I was the opposite sex [despite how swishy I seem]. If your daughter is Tomboyish, let it play out. She'll eventually figure out what's going on and as long as you're a good parent and your child knows you love them, they'll be willing to share with you their feelings and what they're going through.

STOP making fun of Trans people. Your insecurities don't need to be put upon others. Besides, you probably have a Chicks-With-Dicks fetish anyway and your making fun of them only makes you an ugly person, inside and out.

Caitlyn Jenner may not be the ideal role model for our, mostly Liberal, community but she deserves respect for coming out and living openly. You don't have to watch her show or follow her on Twitter but you sure as hell don't have the right to talk shit solely because he's now a she.

Your fear of bathroom perverts is not unwarranted but come on, stop passing bill's that prevent the Trans people from going into their preferred facilities. It's, shall I dare say it, homophobic.

Caitlyn Jenner is still an Olympian. She's still a parent. She's still human after all. Live and let live.

Peace.

...ToOt ToOt

Monday, February 22

What's Been Going On?

Hey Kiddies,

Long time no chat. That's OK, isn't it? I mean, we've all been busy with things. Life. Love. It's not like I haven't wanted to sit down and write about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential campaign. Cher's aid to Flint, Michigan due to their poisoned water crisis (and the public schools?!?!). Kanye West is broke as fuck and still just as annoying. Holly Madison (of the Girls Next Door phenomenon) wrote a tell-all book about being Hugh Hefner's girlfriend - and girl, lemme tell you, she spills the Tea. I wanted you to grieve with me because our favorite little kitty disappeared and mine and Dusty's hearts are broken because of it. The healing phase has begun but I don't think we'll ever get over it.

The yoga biz has finally picked up! Within the last month, I have seen an influx of regularly practicing students. I got a cute little spot on 3TV for my participation in the AZ Veg Fest and that brought in the cutest Mother/Daughter duo. A few weeks after that, people (friends of mine & referrals) just started showing up. I could barely hold all of them so I was forced to add an additional day to my Monday Night Asana. I couldn't be more elated. Hatha yoga isn't the most popular style of yoga. It's obviously my favorite and the one I believe makes a serious impact on one's life so it's been rewarding to see the positive feedback from people. 2015 was a test to my patience and now 2016 will test my capabilities.

Dusty is entering the world of Engineering School and realizing that it's more difficult than the average degree but never have I seen him more dedicated towards a goal. He really does accomplish anything that he puts his mind to (Redken Colorist Certification) but he also has a lot of self-doubt. Especially when an instructor isn't the greatest. He's not giving up and will continue to go forth and prosper because this is what he wants to do.

We're currently thinking of buying a home somewhere in Central Phoenix but that's fairly low on our priority list. I've got debt that I'm trying to take care of, and doing a damn good job at it. Not as quickly as hoped but 2017 will be much more debt free than the previous years.

I made amends with friends last year. I can hold a grudge, and I can be petty and cunty and straight up hurtful and mean. It's not a positive trait but it's a defensive one and has worked for me in the past. Eh, more like it's kept me from being involved with drama. However, life is too short. Too quickly could we be taken out of this life. So, to live a life where anger is an emotion that consumes us, it is best to keep that at bay. LOVE is really the only answer.

Wishing you all the best!
XOXO

Toot Toot

Sunday, August 16

Train Jumpers

Take my five years of riding public transit as experience. Take my hours logged as evidence. Take the conversation's I've had with drivers & security as research. When I say I know everything there is to know about riding the light rail, I'm not that far off from giving you everything you need to know. I choose to ride public because it is cost effective for me & not because I do not have a drivers license (as many people still believe). If I were to pull the hippy card, my carbon footprint would be lower than yours and that doesn't make me better than you, it just means I'm doing my part.

I have seen everything from people bringing shopping carts on board to street preachers sharing the gospel, even to those who don't want to hear it. Just last week a woman who was wearing all her belongings on her head, whom reeked of human urine, sat next to me. I've gotten into altercations with homophobes, told scammers to piss off & made new friends. When you ride with the public, you see some shit. Mostly though, despite what nervous house-wives believe, the light rail is not as exciting as they think. It's mostly tired people who just want to arrive at their final destination without being spoken to.

There's the business man during the week with his laptop out, working on his next project, waiting to connect to WiFi so that he can send his e-mails. The school-aged children going to and from their locations of higher learning, gossiping about whose having sex with who. Drunk Native's singing songs and reprimanding white people with Native American tattoos, while asking you for a dollar so they can buy a pass. There's the people who only stand by the doors, peeking out every time they open- frantically pacing as they wait for the next stop because any moment now they could be caught. Caught red-handed without a ticket.

These people that anxiously stand while everybody else sits, they are the Train Jumpers. Those individuals that would rather risk a $500 ticket than spend $4 - the people that maybe can't afford the cost of a full day's ride but they need to get somewhere today or else. They wait until the very last second when the door is about to close and they hop inside. They pace. They can't stand still. For the second they become comfortable, they are apprehended by a white-shirted security guard. These individuals that carry their belongings with them for they have no home to call a home. Or, maybe, the person jumping trains is a teenager that believes the rules don't apply to him; so he spends his free time dipping out on the slow-moving guards.

It's risky business. Jumping trains. One second too slow and you could be stuck in the cab with somebody that will write you a ticket and ain't nobody got time for that nonsense. They could pay the fare but then that would mean they would have to contribute, and shouldn't these rides be free anyway? It's called 'public transit' for a reason, isn't it?

Jumping trains is more than risky business. It's the human way of saying FUCK OFF to the man. If we can get away with something, will we keep doing it? All it takes is one time and then another and another and before you know it, you are trespassed from riding and find yourself forced to take the bus. An even worse option. Because how do you hop on and off a bus as easily as you do the train?

If you had only paid that $4 fare then you wouldn't be in front of this judge explaining yourself. If you had only paid the fare and not jumped from train to train you wouldn't be in this mess. If you had only followed the rules.... Rules are for pussy's anyway! That's not what the judge will accept as your reasoning so maybe you should rethink it.

These Train Jumpers, the Rule Breakers of our day- they live in such a stressful state. Fearing that at any moment, the instant they let their guard down, they'll be caught. All they have to do is pay their way and they can live in peace.

What about tomorrow, though?

*ToOtToOt*

Tuesday, July 28

2015 Goal List (so far)

1- focus on my yoga business (6/10)
2- bring new customers to Butt Out (4/10)
3- drink less (10/10)
4- play with my kitties more (9/10)
5- call my grandparents often (7/10)
6- visit Oregon and see my mother (10/10)
7- send birthday cards to my niece's and nephew's (0/10)
8- go on a road trip (10/10)
9- build something (6/10)
10- blog more personal
11- reconnect with high school besties (7/10)
12- take time off 
13- attend a rally for LGBT community (8/10)
14- make more meals (10/10)
15- kiss my boyfriend more (8/10)

My Written Reaction to a ValleyMetro Security Guard

Mother fucking dick pig bitch. God damn piece of shit slut muncher cum guzzling dog fucking cow shitting ho banger. the lost son of a crack whore bitch slut who lived in a fucking trailer down by the river. You stupid snot nosed cellulite ass kissing carpet bagging fuck stick. May your soul rot in the firey pits of damnation, you bitch ass cunt mother fucker.

Saturday, July 18

Bernie Sanders in Phoenix, AZ

An 11,000 person turnout. With turnstyles and clicker counters to prove it. The entire basement of the Phoenix Convention Center replaced the original Comerica Theater location as RSVP's grew from 2,000 to 8,000 to a whopping 11,000. It certainly wasn't a tight fit but with that many bodies, I certainly noticed a temperature increase, we could literally #FeelTheBern. It was getting hot in Phoenix, Arizona tonight! See, Arizona gets bypassed all the time by Presidential candidates because they just assume we are going to go red. Plus, we only have a whopping six electoral votes and thus making us not a huge impact on the election. So for a Democratic individual to come and speak to us, the left-leaning individuals get very excited when we get attention.

The speech began twenty minutes late as people were still filing in & this was a room of liberals so it was a mild-mannered crowd. Jokes about political activism and discussions of climate change filled the room as we waited for Bernie Effin Sanders to arrive. At 74 years young, Bernie sounded like a man who knew what he was talking about & may not have had the same gusto as Barack Obama, but spoke with a fervor that both inspired my soul and tugged at my heartstrings. Topics ranging from the inequality of income to women's rights were all spoken with a directness and oozing in truth. Not once did I think that what he was saying was fals. Bernie is a man that has been in the political system for over 30 years and you just feel he's not lying to you.

Some other topics discussed were:
Overturning Citizen's United (Super PACS).
Stopping the disastrous trade deals like NAFTA & TPP.
Create a huge infrastructure project that would garner 13 million Americans jobs.
Design a way to refinance student loan debt to a lower interest rate (Similar to homeowners).
Free public education.
We are the last major nation without Universal Healthcare.
Minimum wage increases.

Mr. Sanders didn't offer explanations on how he would accomplish or how much of what he wants to do would be paid for, but then again, this wasn't that type of party. He hinted at taxing the mega-rich (billionaires) and the top 1%. Let's save that discussion for the debates, shall we? A man with his experience, I believe, he could accomplish much of what he wants. He spoke on the political revolution that MUST occur in our country and it rings truer than any other thing he said. We, the people, must vote and educate and keep the bad people out of office. We need to have individuals that truly represent us in Congress and the Senate. We must talk to our friends and family that lean towards the conservative side and have that uncomfortable conversation to show them that THIS is where we need to go. We have to take back America, not take America backwards.

He spoke about the WE aspect and how none of this is possible without a collective effort. It was empowering to think that all of us in the room could actually make a difference. I forgot about how defeating it is come election time and to see so many backwards thinking Republicans on the ballot. How my own female friends and family will vote for a party that doesn't believe they have the right to contraception. Or that parents vote for a group that believes they aren't permitted to take time off during the first few weeks of their new child's life to get to know each other. That people actually believe the uber-conservative are for the people is preposterous; or the fear that liberals will undermine your business is fear mongering. We the people of the United States of America, can make a difference. We must break down barriers and come together as one if we are to be successful.

It was a beautiful night. So many smiles, cheers and tears. I look forward to the next six months & hope you find some time to listen to a speech of Bernie's and do your own research on candidates. Listen to what they are saying and look at their records. It is our duty to know who we are voting for.

Here are some inspiring Tweets from @BernieSanders





referencing the Wal-Mart clan



Friday, July 3

"When Are You Guys Getting Married?"

The Day the Internet Had PRIDE:

The Great Rainbow Profile
June 26, 2015: If you had the opportunity to be online, then all day you saw profile photos, company logos & people expressing their support and excitement for the landmark Supreme Court decision to allow gays to marry nationwide. 

Most heterosexuals did not understand how amazing this was for many of us on the queer side, but it was a big HUGE deal. For the first time, ever, gay people were able to marry the one they love and then move anywhere in the country and their marriage be recognized. Before this decision, up to 36 states had allowed gay couples to wed- the remaining fourteen were putting it off for as long as possible. Even the following week we saw individuals denying gays a marriage license - and then they were quickly reprimanded by the public and eventually they gave in or quit their jobs. We cheered as couples who had been together for 75 years approached court houses, walked hand in hand with smiles on their faces because today was the day they could be validated by the state. 
It is a beautiful day to be alive and it's a great day for Americans to have full marriage equality. Gay teens who've just discovered who they are will not have to endure what most of us have been through and that's a beautiful thing. Decades of our coming out of the proverbial closet has built this movement and we have finally come out ahead. 

The Relationship:

Visiting my sis in Cali
Dustin and I have been together nearly eight years come August. Together longer than most couples and we have been through more emotionally than most couples could survive. In the near decade we've been together, we have only had one break and that was five years in. It was a shitty time for both of us and took more than just a few conversations to repair the heart break that occurred in that time frame. We learned a lot in the Summer of 2013 and I know we will never relive that situation again. 
It takes compromise, communication and even more love to stay with the same person [and plan on being together forever] than anybody ever tells you. Dustin and I have made a commitment to one another, through fabulous and faulty times, we will be there for each other. We have yet to tie the knot and of course we talk about it, but it will be some time before this matrimony occurs. We do need to protect one another and solidify what we have built together & prepare for what is yet to come. 

6th Thanksgiving Together
Firstly, I would like to ask his parents for permission to marry their first born. As far as I'm concerned, we've been courting for 8 years and in my day, you asked for the blessing of the parents before you asked the person to marry. Getting the parents together under the right circumstances isn't that tricky but I'm having difficulty planning it. If they, for any reason, disapproved of our relationship then I don't know what I would do.
Secondly, how to go about asking D. to marry me HAS to be done in just the right and romantical sort of way. A way that he can tell our children and grandchildren about. In such a way that when people ask how I asked him, they ooohhh & aaahhh throughout the entire thing. I want it to be most memorable for him and for me so that it can be as serendipitous as when we first met. We were brought together by fate and I want everything to be just magical. 

The Wedding:

Dustin and I have discussed this part thoroughly. How would the ceremony go? Who would we invite? What if a family member denied the invitation? Who would cater? Where would the venue be? How would we pay for this extravaganza? I've been to a few weddings in my day, everything from quaint to extravagant - the extent people go to for a 4 hour event amazes me. Does it really have to be that fantastical? Why don't more people just marry at the courthouse and then have a party afterwards? Even still, Dusty and I aren't religious so there isn't much reason to have a ceremony but it would be nice to have our parents and siblings around to witness our eternal bonding. Plus, the amount of people we know would require a stadium to be rented. Seriously. Imagine funding a party that size! It's giving me hives thinking about it. What to do, what to do. 

1st Thanksgiving at the Cabin
So, When Is It Going to Happen?

Because so many people have asked this question I'm going to say right now, "Someday & definitely sooner than later." I'm sorry there isn't a set date for some of you but know that we aren't separating anytime soon & we plan on being together until old age. I know how good I've got it & nobody could ever replace the amazing soul that I've slept next to nearly every night for the past eight years. Our relationship will stand the test of time and I don't necessarily need it to be validated... but everybody has a perception of what their adulthood will be like, and marriage has always been in the back of my mind. 

Stay fabulous!

Monday, June 15

A Letter to a Friend

Dearest *******,

You are a grown ass man and you do whatever you want. I respect that. I have no place telling you how to live your life nor am I in any position to act as if I know what is good for you when I barely know what’s best for me. I respect that you are not a child and you don’t need somebody telling you what to do.

You wanted to know when it all began… my being mean… you have an idea of when things started to change and last night, I could not answer you; I needed to really think of how long I’ve been holding things against you and after our conversation, I realized, this has been building up inside of me for two years. We met in the Fall of 2009 and ever since I’ve felt extremely close with you. Regardless of our differentiating opinions on politics and religion, we had more in common than the average two people. We were friends from the beginning and have built on that relationship over the years. It was after THE ACCIDENT that things evolved because it was at that moment I realized that none of us are immortal. In a second, anything could happen and we could be taken from this earth. I was lucky to survive. You may survive whatever is thrown at you but you will not come out unscathed. That accident was God’s way of telling me there is more for me to do here. I now see things clearly and don’t want what has happened to me to happen to those closest to me.

Ever since you and ****** broke up, you have become mean-hearted, selfish, and reckless. All attributes that I didn’t care about previously but I guess, now, I do care about the type of people I associate with. Before, I could drink every night and live my life hungover because I knew I had my buddy to drink with that night. Lately though, I’ve enjoyed waking up hours before work and making breakfast and lunch, playing with my kitties, doing yoga. Before, I’d wake up with just enough time to shower and get out the door. You have a specific standard that you want for your friends [drink, party, play, be silent] & you demand that nobody question it. Because you are a man who does what he wants and nobody can tell you differently- cool. I too have standards/requirements for the people I associate with and showing respect to other human beings is at the top of that list. Just because the rules don’t apply to you doesn’t mean you aren’t susceptible to consequences.

If we’ve gotten to a point where you can’t handle me bitching you out over your rudeness then we won’t survive the next 20 years. I’ve always called you out but lately, you’ve been overly sensitive about it and take it as some personal vendetta against you and that’s simply not the case. I don’t know how to convince you otherwise. Nobody is out to get you or change you. Friends tell each other when they are fucking up because they know us better than our families. If our families knew all of our inconsistencies then we’d be in a lot of trouble. Sure, I have major control and co-dependency issues; and I can’t help but involve myself in the people’s lives that I am most surrounded by- and I do it from a place of love. Because I love you I don’t want you to fuck up. You’re my spiritual brother and be thankful you aren’t blood related to me because we would’ve had this conversation much earlier.

My inflection and tone need some work because I can be direct. Very direct. I’ve spent too many years with Iyengar teachers who don’t care about being nice, all they care is that you do the right alignment while practicing. Iyengar teachers aren’t encouraging, they don’t pat you on the back and say “Good job!” and they sure as hell don’t feel bad about how their tone of voice affects you. So, I truly apologize if the way I have spoken with you has hurt your feelings but directness is best served cold; and beating around the bush is unnecessary when talking with your friends. Your friends should be able to tell you what’s up and you should take it as them caring for you & not as them degrading you.

All in all, I appreciate what you have done for me over the years and your friendship has meant the world to me. I do not want to live in this world without you but I also don’t want to live in a world where I cannot tell my best friend the truth without being reprimanded and hated. If we were to continue this relationship then some compromises need to be made. What those compromises are, I am not sure. That is something we will have to discuss in person if you ever wanted to.

I feel that I write better than I speak so I pray that you’ve read this whole letter.

Wishing you all the best,

Caleb 



Saturday, September 6

Not Iyengar Certified

EDIT: How can you be mad at that, though? I knew the risk involved associating myself with the coveted Iyengar name. I respect that. Lesson learned. Sometimes tho... ya just gotta blog about it!

Even after three full years of study and practice at a school, lead strictly by Iyengar Certified and Introductory Instructors. With every class [sans Anatomy & Physiology] being Iyengar-based; Including- Therapy: Restorative: Gentle: Beginning: Intermediate: Surya Namaskara. Not discounting the Teaching I, II, & III plus Alignments & Adjustments courses. With my final year spent assisting the Yoga Director in the Teaching classes. 
       Even after all of this, I am unable to remotely mention that I have any association with the Iyengar method. My certification is of the Hatha Yoga Instruction and NOT Iyengar. 

Dear Mr. Caleb "Crayleb" Willow,
I see that in your advertising you are promotoing yourself as "Iyengar Trained."
The Iyengar Yoga Association of the Southwest would like you to be aware that use of the Iyengar name is protected and may only be used by individuals and associations who are granted permission to do so by the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS).
We strongly encourage you to remove tjhe Iyengar name from your website: YourYogaSucks.com, business cards, and any other promotional materials that you produce. Failure to do so will result in referral to IYNAUS and possible legal action.
If you are interested in pursuing certification as an Iyengar Teacher, please visit: iynaus.org/teach/teach to learn more about the certification process and what is required of Iyengar Yoga Teachers.
Best Regards,
Lisa Henrich, Introductory II Iyengar Yoga Teacher.
President of the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Southwest. 

Thankfully, I had already begun re-designing the business cards the moment they came in:
Taken from my journal


I can see how having Iyengar's name on a card would confuse some into thinking that I am marketing myself as an Iyengar Instructor. There were no ill intentions nor have I ever thought that my minuscule three years would classify me even as an Introductory II Instructor. Search Iyengar on this blog and you will find that I respect and appreciate the long years it takes to achieve certification in the Iyengar method. This quality of instruction is rare in the Western world of yoga and I was lucky to study under Arizona's finest. 

Click HERE to see the levels and requirements to just be considered an Introductory Instructor. 

As a side-note: If I were to take something seriously, I would expect a little more professionalism. Firstly, there was no return address on the envelope addressed to me, just a website. Then, the letter itself was printed inked forced onto a piece of paper with no signature at the bottom. 

Ladies, come on. Let's be adults about this. Return address. Bold print. Ink in the printer. 


*ToO..To..Ot*

Thursday, September 4

In-Depth Sequence Posting

Because I like to ramble sometimes, here is the original posting I was making for the YourYogaSucks website. Constantly having to remind myself that this is where I can rant and the business page needs to be minimalist. So, you reap the benefits of what else I have to say on the matter. Because, sometimes, it is nice to have the full back story of things. 

Love you!

During my school years, sequence building was traumatizing. I freaked out on what asana should go where and why it should be there and not here... what if I have an injured student, will they be able to do this pose? Or, what if someone is on their Moon Cycle and they don't tell me and the focus is inversions for this specific class? Plus, to pass my teaching courses, we had to have very specific sequences written out in order to meet the qualifications of the Program Director.

Needless to say, the intensity required for completion was well worth it. Not only did all the stress teach me the importance of having sequences available for advanced and beginning level students, it forced me to learn how each pose was beneficial to the body & mind.

Starting out, I wanted to incorporate many of the same sequences that I built back in school [Saturday's Beginners United Class is strictly those sequences taught to Beginners]. However, students began informing me the day of the class that they have begun their Moon Cycle or they became injured over the weekend. Thus requiring me to change the practiced course for that day. No big deal. I can handle that.

Above, you see the Yoga In Action: Preliminary Course by Geeta Iyengar. This book is essential to every student beginning their practice. The instructions, lists of props and modifications for a classical pose are listed. A rudimentary group of asana and order of introduction vs. order of practice is found within the pages of this handbook. There is a second book to the series and I am simply waiting for it to arrive in the mail. This book may not have all the answers but it sure as hell offers more than the average book found at Barnes & Noble Changing Hands Bookstore.

In the picture, you can also see my journals. Within these journals [more not shown] are sequences recorded from classes & workshops that I participated in during the three years of study and practice I was involved in at Scottsdale Community College. I write down every sequence that I want to teach, have taught and am currently working on. It is fun to see the progress and to look back at sequences taught to me. Visualizing how my teaching differentiates form the teacher's that lead me in class. There are many variations that can be incorporated into a sequence and although I am going against the grain of what many of my teachers have taught me; I plan on introducing students to a safe and exciting Yoga Asana practice.

It is also fantastic when you notice how few of the poses one could incorporate into a single sequence. Literally, there could be a class with just six asana on the schedule. Granted, we would practice some of them four or five times with modifications; but there's a lot to learn from each asana so why not?!

I look forward to building more sequences as the years go on. If I could go my whole life without re-using the same sequence over again, that would be awesome, but some of these are just too good to not use a second time.

CLICK for list of sequences used recently in class.

#DoYoga

Monday, August 25

How Things Are Going

Well, where do I start?

HOUSING: Dusty and I were officially fed up with our current living situation [325 sq ft guest house in the back of a gay couple's yard who own SEVEN chihuahua's] It's not even the doggies that are the problem... it's the lack of compassion our land lords showed when we left on vacation earlier this Summer. The fact they have been incapable of fixing our toilet and allow this house to smell like literal shit for months is beyond unreasonable. The shower has one temperature setting only & there are termites, cockroaches and ants making themselves at home. As the walls crumble around us we said, "It time to move baby". So, with a little bit of gusto and money, we have established a new home for ourselves.

While living in Phoenix, we discovered that you have to know somebody that can talk to somebody. Considering that many places are independently owned, you have to get yourself a Realtor. Thankfully, an old friend saw one of my Facebook posts and offered to assist us in finding a new home. Kyle Thomas pulled through for us and we will be moving into a two bedroom condo in the streets. Oh god. I can't even begin to describe the joy I feel about moving back into the streets. It may not seem like much, but a couple blocks East makes all the difference in the world when you live in the sixth largest city in America.

EMPLOYMENT: The vapeshop, ButtOut, is working out fabulously. It honestly doesn't feel like a job and I could not be more happier at the moment. No longer do I sit at a desk and dream of ways that I can escape from the mundane happenings of a cubicle. There are literally thousands of people that I get to meet and know throughout the year. Working on Mill Avenue has its perks, as well as its faults but I am lucky to work for the coolest boss in town and with an awesome crew of individual's that make every day worth waking up for.

YOGA: Who would've thunk that I would actually follow through... I DID! Never once did I say, "All that schooling was just for attention. Maybe I'll just save the information I learned for a rainy day." Summer was brutal to the Mill employees but it gave me some time to get my ish together and focus some well-deserved energy on my yoga teaching business. Word is growing steadily and I hope to continue to increase a group of students that love practicing as much as I do. Even though I'm teaching now, I still feel as if the practice is all mine and I get to share the knowledge with other people. Yoga is for every BODY. My schedule consists of two group lead classes during the week and at least one private class. I hope to open a morning group class up and even more private classes. All in good time.

RELATIONSHIP: Come Labor Day, marks the Seventh year that Dustin and I will have been together. It was Labor Day Weekend 2007 that Dusty and I locked eyes and found ourselves making out in the downstairs bathroom of his best friend's dad's house. We have been through trials and tribulations together. Made extremely smart and horribly bad decisions together. We continue to learn from one another and grow together. We are in it to win it and one day, when marriage for gays is legal in Arizona, I will ask his parents permission to marry their son.

TRAVEL: I continue to choose not to drive. Not because I have no license, because I like not paying for gas or insurance. I am fully capable of getting around town with no wheels. However, I am re-evaluating a bicycle and think if it were the right kind of bike then I just might be able to get around even faster. 'Cause let's face it, wheels are much better than feet.

There you have it, a quick update on life and the pursuit of happiness.

Love you!

Wednesday, August 13

"Just Take It!!"

That is exactly what people are saying to me right now.

Accepting money from friends is awkward for me. It is something that I need to get over... immediately. I know that my friends are supportive and they show their support by paying me for my services, Instead of taking their money completely, I started offering a free class or two. Or a private twenty minute session to get them into their groove sometime in the week.

So, to all my friends out there who have given me money for teaching them yoga, I appreciate you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will accept what you give me and trade with you my passion.

Namaste my friends.

Saturday, August 9

Sunday Worship [Yoga]

Growing up Protestant Pentecostal really wasn't all that bad. Sure, the sermons were long and sometimes my Pastor would cry at the pulpit. The guilt about being gay didn't set in until puberty & that was just because I never knew any other gay people. Never did I notice a Pastor spewing hate. Granted, I didn't hear very many adult sermons as I went to the building next door to be with kids my own age and learn biblical stories.
Actual Foursquare Steam in the Desert Church of Blythe, CA
This post is about the spiritual awakening of the Worship service that begat every Sunday morning. People would gather in the foyer and greet one another. My family, all seven of us, would work our way to just behind the very first row of chairs. Never once did the Willow Clan sit in the back. That space was reserved for backsliders and Once-A-Year Attendees. Foursquare Stream in the Desert didn't have pews, because chairs could be moved, and when chairs were moved that meant more people could come to the front & get slain in the Spirit. So, the service would begin with an intro from the Pastor. Maybe a long-winded prayer and then the worship team would come up and get to singing. My mom was on the Worship Team and I loved seeing her up there. In her denim dress and big red hair. She'd smile a lot but then she'd also cry. I never understood the crying part (now I do) but a lot of people would cry during worship service. With their Jesus Antennae up and everything.

Once I was old enough, I'd find myself in charge of the projector that had the words of the songs printed on them. Behind me, an entire congregation would sing along. There were times where dancing occurred in the aisles, my father would grab the banners off the wall and run around the congregation SHOUTING in tongues [the supposed language of the Angels]. A battle cry of sorts. For we were God Warriors and we were stamping the Devil right out the building.

Sunday morning was always more vibrant than Sunday evening; Oh yes, we attended church twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday and then every Friday night was a youth-themed event called U-Turn. Protestants can't get enough fellowship with Jesus.

I don't even think people do church like this anymore. Even when my family left Foursquare for the Pentecostal Church of God a couple of neighborhoods over, the timid Pastor with his vibrant wife tried to pull off the big Pentecost service, but something was lacking. That's another blog post for another time.

Something that I always loved about my church is it did not matter who you were, you were welcomed with open arms. People didn't have to dress up to be accepted and even if you only showed up once a year for the potluck, the Pastor remembered you & loved you.

Today, in the year 2014, I am bringing my own Revival to the Valley. Sans the sermon & Worship Team [and the guilt]. Instead, we will flow the crinks in our necks and the stiffness of our bodies out with some Surya Namaskar. A Vinyasa practice where fluid movement and breath control replace the dancing in the aisles & sing-a-long songs. Sanskrit almost sounds like speaking in tongues so there'll be that comparison.

My mother sent my big sister some old school worship music from early 90's and while listening to it, I had memories come flooding back to me. I'll have this Gospel music playing as students enter. Granted, I prefer to not have music playing in the background during my guided practice and with all the words, it'll just be confusing to both students and me.
Surya Namskar [Sun Salutation]

Come as you are, ye children of Zion.

Namaste

Saturday, August 2

Bet You Think This Song is About You, Don't You, Donchu?!


Click for Video @ 1:10

Could we please talk about this for just a second. 

Literally, thirty minutes before this random camera crew showed up, I had to pee. My co-worker had gone to lunch, came back, ate and I still didn't run to the potty. 

All of a sudden, a woman walks in, dressed to the 9's and says, "Do you mind if we film you and ask some questions regarding the e-cig ban in Tempe?" Why sure, I said. Come on in. Wait, who are you with? Is this for the school (ASU being right next door)? "We are with FOX10" she says. OK. No problem. 
I say, "Can I at least brush my hair?" Which, lesson learned, I will forever carry more than just one brush with me. I didn't even get to boar bristle it. 

My co-worker asks if I need the make-up guy too and I respond, "No. I recently applied by CoverGirl Under-the-Eye makeup so we good"

Every time the correspondent asked me a question all I could think of was, "Stop doing the pee-pee dance" I could barely hear her questions. 

In all seriousness though, the ban on ecigs in public, enclosed places will not effect the business I work in (yet). It will, however, make people unhappy to have to sit outside in the heat with people that still smoke cigarettes (stinky smokers). It may even have deterred residents and students of Tempe from wanting to pick up vaping since they can no longer use them where they want. Hence, every bar and shop on Mill that allows vaping will have to tell their customers they can't vape in here and guess what? They'll leave and trash talk Mill Ave.

If you've ever been around a Vaper, you know they do not smell nearly as bad as a smoker does. But, Americans are programmed that if we see smoke then there must be fire and if there's fire, then we're all going to  DIIIEEEE!!! Good God Get a Grip Girl.

So yeah, fabulous job Tempe City Council.

Andy Warhol once said, "In the future, every one will be famous for 15 minutes"
Then he got tired of that and said, "In 15 minutes everybody will be famous"



Thank You, and Good Morning

After a short survey offered online, I got a bit of feedback that was essential to my growth. Not like many people I know, I require peer reviews. It helps with my growth as a human. How often do you get people to evaluate your life choices and hear what they have to say about it?

So, as much as it saddens me, I will not be utilizing the #YourYogaSucks campaign as much as I would have liked. After trying it out on folks, receiving commentary and sage advice from those I seek it the most, my decision is to keep it simply as a domain: Reason why it works as a domain and not as an overall situation... 1) The site is bought and paid for 2) GoDaddy doesn't  have a return policy 3) YourYogaSucks is a catchy name & in today's society, you need a catchy name.

Even with how fabulous I might think the YYS is, that is not my goal in teaching. The goal is not to shame other teachers or make other styles of yoga seem beneath me. That's classist and so won't work in the Realm of the Yogi.

My specialty is Adult Beginners. People that feel they are too late in the game to begin a practice. You are never too old, fat or inflexible to do yoga. Too many times in our lives we were made to feel like we did not belong. Too many times we have been shunned by society for some reason or other. I know very few people that have not felt like an outcast. Whether it be at school, work, church, yoga-- there is no need to not feel like one of the crew.

This is my first experience promoting myself, there will be choices that are made that may need a re-evaluation. Hopefully, fewer of those as times passes. Many of my asana practicing cohorts find themselves working for a studio. This was never my plan while attending school. I have worked with small business owners before and realize the joy and benefits of being your own boss. Never been one to follow the rules much anyhow; probably for the best I'm not anyone's employee

To those of you patiently watching by the sidelines as things unfold, thank you for your words of encouragement, love and acceptance. To those participating with me, thank you for trusting that I will not lead you astray.

Happy Saturday!

We are the Yoga Outcasts. We are United.

Thursday, July 3

{No Really}[Not] Holding It Against You

UPDATE: Woke up this morning. Took a shower and realized I was still thinking about the situation. Apparently, I was still angry when I went to bed. Not a good feeling. I guess some things really can bother you. DeNiaL is not just a river in Egypt, hunty.

Too many times I've found myself angry at somebody for backstabbing, lying, treachery and whoring. This person could have been a friend, a buddy, a boyfriend, girlfriend. Anybody could claim the spot as that person... and I would be mad at them and think of how I could get even.

Thoughts still plague me and I do imagine just how damaging one could be to another human being... so I think, 'better not today' and I hopefully move on. If after sleeping on it and an inkling of those emotions are lingering in the morning. I pray about it. Not in the traditional sense of the word, but in my own way.

I process the ideas-- floating through my head. Weighing the pros & cons of retaliation. Imagining the outcome of a highly benign situation. How big of a drama queen am I willing to be right now. Granted, not every decision is subjected to the rigorous over-analyzing, I have the capability to more-or-less FUcK shit up.

so I realize, Get Over It.

Petty, petty, petty. Just like that petty public indecency ticket. Realizing now that pleading guilty or not guilty is the same thing. Unless the judge really likes you. Then, you got this. Right now, I ain't got the judge on my side so i'mma sit this one out. 

Progress. If everyday is a battle then today I make great strides. Yes, my feelings were hurt and I felt bad about my previous actions. Nothing horrible happened. So why make a big fuss? 

The above statement probably should have waited until morning.

Focus on the Family sells the Protestant Way of Life to your families at an affordable price. Not everything is propaganda. Cartoons, books, bibles, the usual. But of the many tenants I learned about as a child: Forgiveness was always one of the first lessons to learn. God is a forgiving God. People too are forgiving of one another. Needing to forgive myself for acting irrationally. Forgive this person [and many others] for simply doing their job.

As the water circled the drain, I realized the tension was leaving my body. 



**Maybe it was the yoga before bed.

a photo of Cher keeping her wig tight; because upon removal of her fabulous entrance headdress, she almost got her wig snatched!

Woman's World

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