A couple of years back I was given a rather startling, though not unexpected, diagnosis and I determined I didn't want to die stupid...Or ignorant is perhaps a  more apt word. I grew up on the south side of town, all my friends were of different races and I never really thought about things like racism and bigotry and the like and kind of felt proud of that fact.

But, then again, I was white. Poor, yeah...Still white. 

I guess in high school I started to realize there was a difference. My friends were picked on because they were hanging around a white guy and I was called a few names because I hung around everyone who wasn't white. I shrugged it off. Or ended up in  a fight...Whatever. Then a close friend of mine, Hispanic, shot himself because of his relationship with a white girl...There was a whole world of hate going on in his life that I didn't see until after the fact. He survived but the future he once had as (What I saw) one of the best artists I ever knew was over and the future he ended up with wasn't great.

Then came the discovery of sexuality. There was a whole new way of hating that embraced being white and that was being gay or bisexual...Everyone seemed to hate gays. Some, like my mother, strongly suggested keeping that part of our lives somewhat secret and, during those turbulent times and, sadly, once again, it's almost good advice. 

Back to the point. There was a whole lot more about being ignorant I didn't know about. I didn't know about the 'Confinement Camps' or, as they really should be known as, 'Concentration Camps' for Japanese Americans during WW2, I didn't know that the United States NEVER intended to use the Atomic Bomb on European countries, I didn't know about the carpet bombing and I once believed that the second bomb used on Nagasaki actually ended the war (It didn't...The next day the same crew that dropped the bomb were part of a massive carpet bombing of Japan once again)...I didn't know a lot. 

I didn't know one of my best friends, Tommy, couldn't deal with life until after he committed suicide. I didn't know just how much people hated anyone who wasn't straight or white or 'Christian' until I found myself in a crowd being attacked with others by those straight, white 'Christian' types doing violence in the name of 'God'. 

The list of my ignorance in incredibly long and pitiful and my growth continues.
I have never had a list of what love or friendship should look like...Race and gender played no place in my world. Never has. And I've never entered into a relationship with the idea of sex being the major goal. I've tried to live a life where there is always a mutual understanding and, again, massive ignorance because understanding doesn't happen unless one has the facts and the facts we hide because of our shame or fear or ignorance will always cause a problem somewhere down the line if honesty isn't there to begin with.

The facts about our world are disturbing right now, especially when it is about America. Hatred and racism and murders are on the rise, the LGBTQ Community are being attacked because of the current atmosphere of violence promoted by the presidential administration and there's the whole 'Make America Great (White) Again' destroying what so many people fought and died for during the past several decades.

When I began my search for 'Truth' I never thought it would expose a great deal about myself...Nobody does, I suppose. I truly wish I could go back and work harder, live louder, and be stronger than I was.

I can only try to do so with what I have left.

Thanks for being my friends.

  And always be yourselves with me.



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