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The Day My Singing Career Died

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon 

What? You didn't know about my singing talents? Well, then you've never been around when I have Patsy Cline cranked up and we're doing "Leaving on Your Mind" or "Sweet Dreams" together. I sound pretty awesome! I just don't understand why I then sound so awful when I try to do it on my own. But, the sad truth is that my singing career died that day in 1963 when that plane went down.

I've learned to live with that particular disappointment. I used to go through the same thing every time the Olympics came around, bewailing the fact that I was getting too old to win the gold for the U.S. in the downhill slalom. Never mind that I have only skied once in my life and barely survived Turtle Hill --- it still bugged me that my options, which had always seemed limitless (that's what they teach us, right?) were diminishing.

So, okay --- no platinum records and no gold medals. Bummer. But, hey, I figured I could still have what I always knew was the most important to me, anyway. I was one of the lucky ones. I had found the love of my life and we had these wonderful plans for the next part of the journey --- the silver years. Well, if you've been reading this newsletter for any length of time, you know that didn't work out either.

I seem to be running out of colors.

And some days that is exactly how my life feels --- colorless. I experienced one of those this past week. Best described, I suppose, as an emotional meltdown, it was painful and incredibly discouraging. I could give you a dozen different reasons as to what brought it on but even I don't find them especially interesting so why would I subject you to such a litany? I'm sure you have plenty of your own.

What I will share is how it played out. It's an increasingly stressful world and we all hit these kinds of walls. I've been blessed with some pretty great teachers and, fortunately for me, some of it seems to have been filed away for when I need it.

First, I just let it happen. Resisting seems to be our natural reaction but that only gives it more energy and wrecks havoc by creating even more emotional and physical stress. Took me years to understand this. My partner, the therapist, would sometimes get overwhelmed or depressed and would retreat into an unreachable place that really scared me. It didn't make any sense to me that someone like her would allow that to happen. I thought she should be able to control it. She finally taught me that fighting it only feeds it but allowing it to just "be" releases the pressure.

So, I cried a lot. Railed against the unfairness of my life and the hopelessness of the future. Basically spent most of the day feeling extremely sorry for myself. I wrote about it --- fortunately for you, something you will never have to read! But that seemed to lift enough of the weight that I could get out of the house.

I was on my way to buy some sort of comfort food when I passed my favorite park. Another "voice" insinuated itself into my head. Hmm....maybe I should go for a walk. Ann-Marie is always talking about all that brain chemistry stuff and trying to tell me how good walking is for you emotionally as well as physically. I figured as long as I was there anyway..... I told myself I was only doing one half-mile loop and then back to my quest for food. But by the time I finished I was feeling so good that I did it again. And then I wasn't hungry anymore so I ended up only buying apples and oranges. Those voices can really sabotage your plans!

When I got home I was faced with what is always the toughest part of the day. I remembered something another good teacher had told me --- that it can be healthy to use distractions when you are going through difficult periods. So, I curled up in front of the TV, something I really don't do much anymore, watched until I got sleepy and went to bed early.

And with that, it was over. I woke the next morning feeling a hundred percent better. I have a pretty good idea what sent me over that cliff and I am working on scaling back some of my self-imposed deadlines. I finally get it that I don't have the same kind of energy that I used to. Many things can drain those reserves. For me, the death of my partner threw me into survival mode. It has taken all I have just to get up every day, go to work and do the minimum with regard to anything else. I'm getting better all the time but it's important that I manage my expectations.

It's ironic that I allowed this to derail me like it did. I am annoyingly relentless when it comes to preaching about the dangers of unrealistic expectations. I knew the toll stress was taking on my partner. I knew it and I tried to get her to listen. And she knew it, too, but thought she could handle it. Thought she had time to take care of it --- later. Tomorrow.....

But there is no tomorrow. Tomorrow exists merely as a concept --- there is only today. All that you will ever do must be done today. But expecting yourself to do too much today so that you can have a better tomorrow can be a death sentence. It may not literally kill you but it will damage your health, throw your emotions out of balance, jeopardize your relationships and rob you of the joy that makes the journey worth taking.

One of the reasons I have written all of this down is to beg someone to please remind me next time I start going off the deep end!

But for now, I gotta go. I have a lot more to say, but I hear Patsy in the other room. Sometimes you just have to sing......


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I love it when I get testimonials!  And I just got one.  Karen says that walking a couple of laps changed her mood, lifted her spirit, even affected her appetite.  So...how about some of you, our wonderful readers, join us for a walk in NYC, May 17?  You can walk to your health and to the health of those suffering with AIDS.  If you can join us, or if you have friends in NYC who can join us, please sign up to walk with the OTGH Team.  We'd love to meet you!  And sign up as a Green Walker--paperless.  You get to check in at that Apple Store on Fifth Ave.  Very fun.  And no lines! 


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"As Iowa goes, so goes the nation"

Well, let's hope that that old adage holds true because last week the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously found that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the state's constitution.

"We are firmly convinced that the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective," the court said in an opinion written by Justice Mark Cady. "The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification."

Because the Lambda Legal folks cleverly filed suit based on the state constitution, this decision can not be appealed to the federal level and can only be threatened by a constitutional amendment. Of course, there is already a lot of noise about trying to push such an amendment through, but we seem to have some powerful allies in the Iowa state legislature.

Following the court's decision, Iowa Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal made the statement, "Friday I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other."

Senator Gronstal, when pressured to support a constitutional ban on gay marriage said, "The politics of it are I'm not going to put discrimination in the Iowa Constitution. That's a horrible idea. The people who are pushing the amendment are saying equal protection under the law -- except. I think that's unacceptable."

HRC has launched a campaign to counter the wave of commercials and propaganda already being unleashed on Iowans. I sent my note of support to those in the Iowa legislature who will be inundated with the same lies and half-truths that were spread in California. If you would like to add your voice, visit this HRC website --- Take Action: Stop the Next Prop 8 .

But, it gets even better! Four days after the Iowa victory, the Vermont legislature overrode the governor's veto of a law giving gay couples the right to marry. Vermont became the first state in the nation to grant marriage rights to gays through the legislative process.

Wasn't it a town in Vermont that 60 Minutes did a segment on several years ago because there are so many lesbians living there? How come I'm not moving to Vermont?

And now the City Council in the District of Columbia has voted to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Currently gay couples cannot get married in D.C. and Congress has to approve what happens there so this ought to open a huge can of worms. Don't you love it?

Yes, today's elation can so easily turn into tomorrow's heartbreak, but it sure does feel like there's real change taking place. All of that hard work that was put into passing Proposition 8 in California may have finally done the trick and exposed the anti-gay movement for exactly what it is. In the end, most people will do the right thing --- once they finally open their eyes, it doesn't take long for their hearts to follow.

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Decoding Nutrition Labels - Continued

Fit in a Year - Week 15

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

We left off last week just as we'd uncovered some manipulation with nutrition labels and trans-fats.  If the product contains less than 0.5 g/serving, the manufacturer can claim it's trans-fat free.  That means a serving size can contain 0.49 g/serving--and believe me, many things do--and it can be called trans-fat free. 

So, look again at the serving size.  Is it really a serving size?  Or would you actually eat 2 or 3 of these "servings?"  Because that would then mean that you ate nearly 3 times the government allowance for trans-fat/serving!  That's why you may have noticed hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils listed in the ingredients of "trans-fat free" packages...


[Editor's Note: Ann-Marie Giglio, besides being a professional writer and the co-publisher of On the Gay Horizon, is the owner of a fitness studio focused on improving quality of life through the mind/body connection. She is a certified ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor, AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor and SCW certified Pilates reformer instructor.


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