George. Rest In Sweet Peace

homegallery_03_lg-2He was my first crush.

My first concert.

I loved George. I will always love George.

His music, beginning with the WHAM days, was just pure fun, happy, poppy kind of stuff.  Music that made my heart beat, my soul sing… at a time when my World was anything but happy or fun.  1982-1983ish. White boys rapping?  Are you kidding me?  But I loved it.  I loved every moment of it.

I can’t stop tearing. When George did that duet with Aretha Franklin, he was then legitimized to the World.  His faithful always knew he had chops. But this milestone marked the beginning of his trek to stardom…for good and bad.   Faith.

I listen to George all the time. Still.  I work-out to his music regularly, daily.  I get newsletters from his website… he tweets and emails his “lovelies” – and yes, UN-apologetically, I’m one of those.

I’ve been a fan since day one: Wham years. It’s the only reasons I follow the BBC — yeah, I say it’s to stay on top of what’s going on in the world, but it’s always been secretly to keep tabs on my first crush.  It always bothered me that the U.S. fanbase never welcomed him back fully, so for a time, it was hard to get any news.  Thankfully, came the internet and social media that made it much easier to keep in touch with this beautiful man, exquisite writer, amazing vocalist (one point for the internet).  One More Try.

Like most, I fell deeper in love with George when he “came out” (as if his fans didn’t know), although I have to admit, I secretly prayed that if he met me, he’d cop to being Bi and somehow I’d be okay with that and we’d make a go of it!  Hey, a girl can dream.  What fascinated me most was that his “coming out” didn’t alienate his girly fan base at all  – it just made his music that much cooler, that much sweeter, the love songs even deeper and even more profound. And his heart-ache more evident to the rest of us.  An Easier Affair.

I’m sad. George’s music is the background theme to my childhood trek. It’s all the good stuff I remember. I feel good when I listen to his velvety soothing voice.  I feel whole somehow.

I hope he’s better now — resting. He gave his best, and yet it seems that he never was content or found any kind of peace.  But his music…well, to me — is everything. It always gives me comfort…and always gives me hope.  Somebody To Love.

I shall miss Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. My George Michael.  Forever and a day.

Rest in sweet peace beautiful man, rest in sweet peace.

And thank you.

Carmen, one of your Lovelies.

Democracy is on the Ballot. Period. Full Stop.

I’m voting FOR Hillary Clinton.

I’m bothered by the Grand Old Party. I’m stunned by the loss of integrity and lack of honor that was once dem-rep-herosynonymous with the Republican Party.  Every time I hear one of them raise the name of Ronald Reagan, I cringe for him, his legacy – for our country.  How far off the rails have we gone?  Whether I believed in Reagan’s ideas for our country is/was irrelevant.  No one can deny he was a beacon of honor and integrity.  And yes, he was this Democrats President too.

I watch in horror as the Republican Party finds ways to justify the monstrosity it has become.  Instead of taking responsibility for the mistakes it has made, they seem, instead intent on denigrating and condemning Hillary Clinton.  Don’t get me wrong, you can fight the right fight against your opponent, but all the Hillary bashing in the world would only make sense if the FBI had found her at fault and pursued charges.  If the countless “Benghazi” hearings had concluded even ONCE that she was to blame and indicted her for at least something, anything! And yes, if it was Hillary who had actually slept with those women who accused her husband —well, hell, that would have at least been a good story and place to start! Maybe you are one of the few who really believe this “system” of ours is “rigged”.  Well, if that’s the case, you’re so off the deep end, there’s nothing I can say to sway you…

But Republicans, real true honest to goodness Republicans – WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?  It seems like for the past year you’ve been flailing in the air grasping at…nothingness in pursuit of bygone ideals that contradict who the face of your party has become.  Have you not noticed?  It’s a stark difference – blatant really.  Have you all completely lost your minds?

You’re so obsessed with finding blame in Hillary Clinton and in everyone else (the media seems to be a safe scapegoat) that you’ve lost all focus on what is fundamentally right and what is  absolutely wrong.  Basic decency, integrity and honor have escaped you.  And instead of seeing that, you keep bashing the democratic nominee at the same time alienating those of us, who could – at one point in time —  see your point of view – even if you had a legitimate argument once, you’ve lost your way so badly, that it just looks like a child having a temper tantrum about the wrong thing.  You look ridiculous. And as adults, we’re just sitting here waiting for you to be older and wiser, because we’re sure, then – we hope — you’ll understand.

The problem is —  we don’t have time for conservative republicans to figure it out.

Much to the chagrin of most of my liberal friends, I’m a conservative Democrat, always have been.  I could have voted for a Republican, but honestly – today…which one?  So many have failed the integrity test at this point, it’s shameful. I’m disgusted by Paul Ryan.  Maybe US Representative Adam Kinzinger of IL is the GOP’s best bet at this point. Integrity intact. Doesn’t waffle about anything. Seems to have his moral compass pointing North. I disagree with 80% of what he believes in, but I respect him. Can’t say that for most of the Republican party.  Adam seems to be one of the few young Republicans with integrity who has not flip-flopped or wavered… his bearings seem straight and he gets the simplicity of what’s right and what’s wrong. Republicans, with Paul Ryan and his friend Reince at the top of the list,  have lost their way. I suggest the GOP faithful have a conversation with Congressman Adam Kinzinger, watch how he answers questions regarding your Republican nominee, and find your way back to the path to civility.  In essence, learn to stand your ground, you know, without a gun.

And Hillary.

Maybe we’ve all gotten so used to flash and shiny objects with quick “feel good” instant gratification, that we’ve all forgotten that the role of a President is to actually BE and FUNCTION as a President.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Barack, Michelle and Bill Clinton when it comes to oratory skills.  Clearly, I’d like to be motivated and inspired too by words that ignite me into euphoria. It makes it easier to handle the bad days.  And I can admit that yes, even when I didn’t agree with Reagan, Lord have mercy if that twinkle in the eye didn’t catch me every time.  But Carter, George H.W. Bush and George Bush Jr., weren’t kickin’ it with oratory skills either.  Actually, in all due respect, they were rather boring.  Mundane. Painful to listen to at time.  But they were our Presidents nonetheless. And we accepted that. Because they were men.

I bring this up because I don’t need Hillary to woo me with her oratory skills. I don’t care if you “like” her – what I care about is, can she do the job?  Does she have what it takes to BE President?  And when it comes to being a woman, I have to say, did anyone really think it would be easy for the first woman to become President of the United States?  It seems to me that any woman considered worthy would have had to have AT LEAST 30 years’ experience or something comparable – and I’m pretty sure she still would have lost to a first time male Senator with no experience before even getting a shot  (forgive me President Obama, but you know it’s true).  This isn’t me screaming sexism; this is me admitting a truth about where we’re at in this country when it comes to women and leadership.  There is no other woman in this country that would have had it any easier. Make no mistake about it:  Any woman, Republican or Democrat, would have been smeared and tossed into doubt, regardless of what they did or didn’t do.  They would have gone to such lengths as to blame her for the misdeeds of her husband to whatever extent possible, just to make it quite improbable that she could be worthy of the title, the position of President.   Just like any other “firsts” – it has to move through the barriers, fair or unfair, before it accomplishes its goal.  And then, if we’re lucky, it becomes a new normal.

My criteria for being President of this great country of ours, is pretty simple:  If I know more about foreign policy and domestic policy than you do, you cannot be President.  If you don’t seem to understand how our branches of government work – or how many branches we actually have – you cannot be considered to occupy the office of the Presidency. It really is that simple.  If you claim to be a brilliant business man and you can’t pick the right people to put around you to assist you in your quest – and you can’t do the simple task of managing your negatives, elevating your positives:  you are not qualified to be a CEO let alone President of the United States.

The GOP has some work to do. And for the sake of our great country, I hope they start by owning up to their mistakes by voting for country over party and then doing the real work of reestablishing what the Republican party stands for now and in the years to come. We need at least two strong parties in this country…it’s the only way our democracy will continue to thrive. Of this, I am absolutely sure.

In the meantime, I’m voting FOR Hillary. She’s the right person, at the right time – and Lord have mercy it is TIME!

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My Baggage is Bigger Than Your Baggage

I’m not a big fan of recapping the prior year and making resolutions in the New Year. The analyzing of the prior year ends up making me reflect on things that went well, but also on things that went “not-so-well” and future resolutions always seems too dreamy to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to have goals, but I think on-going betterment of the self on a daily basis is a better strategy. At least for me.

With that said, I can’t help but share a few fascinating things that I’ve incorporated into my everyday life  that has really put me in a whole new frame of mind.  I’m on a different playing field now and things just feel better.  It didn’t happen overnight, but when I see where I am right now in my life and look back at where I started, I feel like some of these basic choices/tools might be similar to what others have done or are doing – and if you haven’t done them yet, maybe this might help get you started.

Life is Good

Eliminate the “wishy-washy people” out of your life.

This seems like a no brainer when talking about people who physically abuse you, or emotionally hurt you.  But even the subtle people are obvious to me now.  We all know the type: the big talker, the name dropper, the “let’s do lunch” cliché-ism that infests most of Hollywood and Wall Street.  But I’m also talking about the “I’m so busy” people.  The “I’m finding myself” people.  The overly “spiritual” “life coached” folks  — you know, the ones who call themselves “enlightened” but are actually just idiots?  I’ve said this before: truly enlightened people never say they’re enlightened.  People who brag about how Yoga or meditation have changed their “being” and yet, they still treat the waiter or the janitor like they’re below them?  Yeah, I’ve gotten rid of all of these people in my daily life.  Anyone who remotely annoys me on any level, I’ve just stopped. I don’t respond to them, I don’t initiate communication – I just let them be.  They have no effect on me whatsoever.

And here’s the great thing about walking away from people who do not add to your livelihood –when you eliminate people out of your life who cause you more harm than good, new people show up.  And you feel excited by the possibility of a new relationships and new moments.  Now, it may be that these folks don’t work out either, but it’s exciting and new – and for me, I made three great new friends this year.  Surprisingly, I would have never met them had I not walked away from “people” that were not adding to my life’s breath.

Do what feels right to you! 

I always ask people for their opinion. I do. I like to cover all my bases.  It makes me feel in control if I get as much information as possible and then make a decision. That’s not bad thing to do. And it’s why I’m good at my work – whether creatively or in my consulting business.  But, at the end of the day, going with my gut, always prevails.  Always. I don’t care if Stephen Hawking himself tells me I’m wrong about something, I’m going to go with my gut anyways.  Now, you should know the consequences of your actions and be willing to accept them, but when you do this, when you listen to – what I like to call – God’s whisper, some call it an inner voice, a gut feeling – you’re making a choice based on all your experiences, all your knowledge and all your inner knowing of things. There’s something powerful in that.

Now, that doesn’t mean at times it doesn’t work out.  But, the cool thing is, when you listen to your inner voice, your gut, you tend to have no regrets, even if it doesn’t work out.  But, if you went against the grain, went against what you believed, then it’s more likely that whatever choice you made would be regrettable.

Love and embrace your baggage!  

Lately I’ve been listening to people talk about “baggage”.  Life coaches, therapists and gurus tell you all the time that you need to get rid of your “baggage” or deal with your “baggage”.  It always seems so negative.  I’ve always seen my baggage as evidence of the journey I’ve been on.  I wouldn’t trust anyone who didn’t have baggage, because it would mean they hadn’t lived.  They haven’t travelled on this journey called life. The only people who shouldn’t have baggage of any real dimension, are children.  7 year olds.

Baggage, or, my past, is what has brought me to this point in time.  Getting rid of it would mean, getting rid of the good stuff too – and why would I do that?  This idea that our past is some horrible linkage to a time that we should forget in order to live in the present, is a falsehood. Just because people say it all the time doesn’t make it true.  First of all, getting rid of your baggage is impossible to do.  We all have memories.  We all have past experiences. And those memories, those experiences, good and bad, are what make up most of what we are in this moment. Embrace it.  Own it.  Love who you are because of it all.

Now being 30 years old and living like you’re a 12 year old because you’re stuck in the past and still want your mommy – that’s a whole other thing.  That’s not what I’m taking about – and that would most likely require a doctor’s help.  Someone dealing with trauma of any sort, should always get professional help.  But let’s be clear, this is not about baggage – now we’re talking about mental health.  Please when in doubt, consult a professional doctor and understand the difference.

Love yourself unconditionally! 

This is a hard one.  It sounds like an easy one, but truly loving yourself is hard because we’re not used to thinking this way.  We find it so easy to say to ourselves, “Uggh, you’re so stupid.” When we do something wrong.  Or “Oh, you look so fat!” – when we don’t like an outfit that we’ve tried on. We’re always so mean to ourselves.   When was the last time you looked in the mirror and told yourself that you loved yourself completely and without any reservations or conditions at all?  Could you even read that sentence without snickering a bit or giggling?     

This was the most transformative thing that I’ve done in the past year.  Really embracing my own brilliance and not feeling weird about it, bad about it, or giggling about it. Knowing that I have such gifts and talents and accepting that I have faults and make mistakes and that THAT is okay and part of the human journey has been freeing!  It has completely changed how I interact with others and more importantly, how I view my purpose on the planet.

So, those four things:  Eliminate wishy-washy people,  Do what feels right, Embrace your baggage,  Love yourself unconditionally – those  very specific four things have been life changing for me.  This past year has been an amazing revelation and unfolding of a very wonderful, very exciting life.  I can only imagine that a lot of it had to do with learning to incorporate each one of these aspects into my daily life fully.  It didn’t happen overnight and there were struggles along the way, but I have to say, I’m so glad I’m finally here!

And thank you to all of you, who helped walk me through.

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, Happy Hanuka, Happy Kwanza – and Season Greetings to any others I may have missed.

Peace, love and all that good stuff!

Carm.