Monday, October 25, 2010


I come from this remarkable family of givers. They are truly lovely people who would offer the shirts off their backs. They are helpful, resourceful and generous. Imagine my surprise when I finally found them and at 48 realized that my altruistic nature was hardwired into my DNA. It's not a bad thing. It's just when you add my nurturing Cancerian nature to the genetic mainframe I become generous to a fault. Like Ado Annie, 'I'm just a girl who caint say no,' and it always puts me in a terrible fix! One I am so ready to be out of.

Unlike Annie, my inability to utter that two-letter word has little to do with romantic attention and everything to do with my willingness to focus my attention, time and energy on everyone, but me. Like a lot of women I don't do enough to help me. Instead, I channel my energies into anyone else's problems, needs, projects and concerns forfeiting time and efforts which could be utilized to resolve my own problems, needs, projects and concerns. Like too many of us, I have learned to do for everyone else before I do for me. I take the leftovers and squeeze a day's worth of tasks into the last few minutes of my day when I am tired and lacking energy. I don't know who taught me that I wasn't worth my own time and efforts, but I've learned the lesson all too well.

For some women, it is our desire to be a supportive caring spouse, partner, lover which drives us to distraction in the caregiver department. Instead of offering support, we take on the entire task as our own and push our needs to the bottom of the checklist. It is a perversity that we go out of our way to help others while not lifting a finger to do something which will enhance our own lives. For others, we self sacrifice saying it is for the good of our children. But is it really good? What kinds of messages are we sending our young girls - everyone else is more important than you are? And our young boys - you and your needs are more important than your mate? Those attitudes demolish self esteem and mine is quickly tanking!

My inability to say no (or to use it appropriately) has set up some very dangerous patterns of behavior among people I know and love. I get taken for granted not only because I allow it, but because my own behavior demands it. "No," I say. "You go on ahead. I'll just wait." And wait I do. For my turn, my time, my whatever which never comes because I have not made room for it. Sometimes I simply have not asked for or demanded it. My turn as low man on the totem pole is my own durn fault. Me and Annie, 'I always say "come on, let's go!" Jist when I orta say nix... It's time to change this situation.

My friend Yolanda reminded me recently that it is OK to be selfish sometimes. "Right now," she said very pointedly, "is one of those times." You see, I am in transition, moving from one part of my life journey into the next. I don't know what it will look like when all is said and done, but I do know what parts of the last 50 years cannot be repeated. So, while I am figuring out what to do with the next 50 years of my life, I am going to work on rewiring some of that inherited altruism and harness some of this philanthropic energy for me. It is time that I learn how to give to me that beautiful love I so readily give away to everyone else. 

It is time for me to refocus my energy and time on me and stop giving away my last when I need it the most. It is simply time for me to stop being such an overgiver. Just stop. And while I understand my predisposition makes this task nearly impossible, I am going to give it a try, not forever, but let's say for one week. Starting today. And if you suffer from the same untamed spirit of giving at the sacrifice of yourself, please feel free to copy this list I created which I hope will help me regain some control over my people pleasing persona. And always one to give due, thanks to my sister Cecelia for being the inspiration for this post. You rock, Sis. Now get to checking off the list! 
  1. Giving too much of yourself? Just STOP! Maybe not for a week, but for a day, or an hour, or an hour a day.
  2. Say it. I will not do anything for anyone else but me. It's kind of hard to say, right?!
  3. I am going to be selfish and focus all of my energy on me.
  4. I am going to give to myself unabashedly, and unapologetically.
  5. I am going to practice the "N" word by saying "NO" repeatedly until it feels like it is a permanant part of my vocabulary.
  6. I am going to take the time I would offer to someone else to do something for them and instead do something just for me, just because it makes ME feel good.
  7. I am going to shut down the negative self talk and replace it with loving words of grandeur until I laugh, giggle, smile and know that within me is the beautiful, loving, worthy person who is valued and irreplaceable.
  8. I am going to allow myself all of the mistakes I need to make, all of the errors I have to make to continue on my journey toward wholeness and wellness.
  9. I am going to let the phone ring when I know it is someone who usually wants something from me because this week I am not going to give to them.
  10. I am going to let the texts from those same people go unread.
  11. I am going to not answer my emails until I am good and ready.
  12. I am going to create a fabulous meal just for me and take the time needed to purchase the right ingredients, utilize the right utensils and bust out the good china including that lovely crystal champagne flute I bought for a special occassion which I will fill with my favorite champagne, sparkling wine, apple juice or fancy bubbly water - my choice.
  13. I am going to take an extra long soak in the tub filled with those rose petal soaps till I smell frilly and sweet and would want me for an aromatic dinner companion.
  14. I am going wear the new dress shirt, slacks and tie I bought with the money I was going to loan to someone just because they asked.
  15. I am going to do for me all that I do for everyone else, every day of the week, every week of the month, every month of the year, until I truly know what it feels like to be loved by me.
I don't know. This might take a little more than a week.

Robin G. White is an award-winning author, playwright and publisher. Find out more about Robin at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I don't know how they do it. Seriously, I don't. I think I might have in some point in my life, but that time is so far gone that I couldn't even get there in Mr. Peabody's WABAC (pronounced wayback) machine - now you know, that's a long time ago. How do people just pick up and start over? End one relationship and begin a new one all over again in a few months. I seriously really don't get it. Somebody has to help me out with this one.

I have a good friend who threw a huge party last spring to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. She and the girl broke up within a couple of months before the wedding. Almost immediately she was back on the prowl because she wanted to be married. She felt like she had been single long enough. A few months later she met someone and married her. All of this was in less than a year. It's not what she thought it would be. She's surprised. Really?!

I don't get it. I mean, are we really that desperate? Another friend and I were talking the other day about older women. She said she understands what I mean about women my age. She is in her mid 30s. She likes cougars, but she sees that many of us are willing to put up with so much crap just to say we are with someone. Is that what we have reduced ourselves to being? Desperate, lonely and afraid to be single? Willing to be with just anyone just to be with someone?

Well, I don't want just anyone. I want my special someone. I am not too old to still believe in love at first sight. I still believe in loving with reckless abandon - OK, I believe in it, but I may not be TOO reckless. I believe in the romance, the desire of the whole thing. I want to want her. I want her to want me, can't wait to see me, can't wait to see her. I want the excitement, the passion, the desire. It makes the daily humdrum worth it.

Don't get me wrong; as a realist (and having been around the block more than a few times) I know a relationship takes a lot of work, commitment and compromise, etc., but that's not what I am talking about. I am talking about the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you are going to see her again. That joy at the end of the day when work is over and you finally get to go home and see that smiling face. That warmth that overtakes your body when you wrap her up in your arms and stare down into those chocolate pools and move in for that kiss that says, "Hi Honey, I'm home," because that's where you are when you're with her.

And with her is where I want to be. I want her to share her day and to tell her about mine and then spend OURS together. I want to see the smile on her face when I share the first poem I have written about her, and the fifth and the tenth and the 112th! I want her to know that I feel her when she is down, to know that the bubble bath I've drawn for her with Epsom salts and soothing oils, smelly goods and those rose petal soap thingys is my way of saying, "I heard you had a bad day and I am here to make it better...," or for her to accept my apology in one of those cheesily written Blue Mountain Arts cards because there is really nothing I can say about me being a buckethead or to take the hurt away, but buying that card lets her know just how stupid I feel, that I am willing to make an effort and hope she is willing to at least see that.

I want her to accept me at my best and see me at my worst and to know that all of it is me and I am working on what I know needs improvement. I want her to know when I give her the toy hot little red Mercedes (if that is what she wants) that I am saying, "I will work hard with you, beside you, for me and for you to have what we desire in our futures both together and apart." And most of all, I want her to know that the best I can give her is me, my time, my energy, my love, and the comfort and safety of my very big loving heart. Everything else as they say, is gravy.

And then I want all of that back for me. I want the joy, the hugs, the kisses, the snuggles, the furtive glances when PDAs aren't appropriate, because sometimes they are not, and the "I can't wait to get you home" glances, because those are so full of promise and I am looking forward to enjoying the fulfillment.

I want the support, love, affection, the desire, the comforts, the coddling - OK, maybe only once in a while because I'm a baby when I'm sick. I want someone who isn't afraid of tears - hers or mine, who isn't afraid of joy - hers or mine, who isn't afraid of success - hers or mine, who wakes up with God and me on her mind - and in that order is OK with me. I want her to know my divinity and its radiance and my humanness with its shortcomings and to love them both.

I want someone who comes with baggage which is neatly sorted and has already been gone through a few times. Maybe it's condensed, maybe it's compartmentalized, I don't care, as long as it's been dealt with. I know that is the woman who won't run at the first sign of trouble, that is the woman who will carefully check my baggage to see how well I have handled mine, and most importantly, that is the woman who has gained some wisdom to go along with her loving. And Lord knows I want a wise woman.

And yes, make no mistake about it, I want the sex, the sexual exchange, the "she's gotta have it" moments when nothing else matters - not the new hairdo, the mani, the pedi, the trip to the Max counter or Victoria's Secret - nothing is sacred; I want the heat, the fire; I want the scorching hot searing screaming headboard-banging sex. And I want the quiet passion as well, the kind that is on you before the sun comes up or your eyes are even open, the kind that burns right through you when you are sleeping, the kind that says, "I want to hold you all night long because your fine round behind pressed against my thighs is enough to make me hunger at night, but I'm gonna sleep through it because I love that feeling too."

I want to feel inside of her, crawl up inside and know each cell intimately, taste each morsel of her, wrap her around my head and have to clean out my ears, unstick my eyelashes and wash my hair when we're done. I want to know her weight from balancing it steadily and often on my tongue, know her strength by the clamp of her thighs against my jawbone. I want to know which explosion is because I rocked her with my digits or because I rocked her with my ... I just want to know. All of it.

And I want her to know me intimately. I want her to go beyond what the world says is OK for her as a girl to enjoy me as a boy and be more than alright with it. I want her to never forget that I am a woman first and foremost and I too have my moments of needing, moments when I need her to be stronger than I am, more aggressive than I am and some of those moments may be in between the sheets. Sometimes, I will need her to remind me that I am a woman. And yes. I said that out loud. Because at the end of the day I AM a woman loving a woman.

Maybe I want too much, but I don't think so. I know there is more out there for me and I am not going to settle. So, I am willing to just wait. Life has taught me one thing if nothing else: I am never the only one. I know there is someone out there who believes the things I do and knows (like me) how to put them into action. In the meantime, I will just keep thinking about her. They say what you focus on is what you energize and manifest. (Closing my eyes)...Wow! She is beautiful!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I can recall that phrase being uttered on the TV sets of my youth. "Kids these days," some curmudgeon would utter as he shook his head in wonder about one errant teen or another. And then his wife would make a remark which would set off the laugh track and we would all laugh right along with it. It seems like those teens were always up to something they had no business doing or more than likely were just living their lives to a standard the old fogey couldn't understand.

Well here I am in 2010 a bit of a curmudgeon shaking my head in wonder at "kids these days," only this old fogey and a bunch of young ones are all shaking our heads at the state of affairs which has brought our lgbt youth to the brink of disaster. Within the past couple of weeks the news has been littered with stories about one gay teen and then another committing suicide and I personally am flabbergasted. The stories read like a who's who of finger pointers over whose responsibility it is to keep our youth safe.

Really? C'mon. No one wants to take the blame for not narcing out the school bully, but really? That is what we are worried about. Seriously. One teen is too many. Five is an epidemic. And those are just the ones we have heard about. ABC's Good Morning America reported this morning that Tyler Clementi, the student from Rutgers was the second suicide at the school this year. The first one which occurred this past spring was also centered around the student's sexual orientation.

According to Prof. Rob O'Brien, "Students have talked about their fears, talked about their need to have a safe space and thusfar the University hasn't done anything of any substance to address their concerns." And then we wonder why our kids don't feel safe, listened to or protected. Umm, maybe it's because they're not. It sort of makes sense that gay teens are four times more likely to commit suicide. It's time we stand up not just with them, but daggone it, for them. Had Rutgers acted more responsibly, Clementi may have had resource and recourse.

Former New Jersey Governor, Jim McGeevey who resigned office with the now famous statement, "I am a gay American," spoke with George Stephanopoulous regarding holding adults accountable for the bullying that occurs in our schools. "On one hand we want to change people's hearts, George, because I think fundamentaly when people know a gay person or recognize that love is love that changes their reaction. But I also believe we need to have strong clear legislation that holds adults accountable when children err in their ways."  Wait. Hold the adults who are watching the kids accountable for their actions?!! What a concept. George asked him what that would look like.

"What we did in the state New Jersey was hold school principles accountable, teachers accountable in the same way we don't tolerate racism, we don't tolerate sexism, we don't tolerate anti semitism because we know that is fundamentally wrong. Unfortunately we give off messages in our society that says gay discrimination is in some sense socially acceptable. And so, authority has to sort of instruct children that it is not only morally wrong but it won't be tolerated and there are consequences for that happening."

I get it. Sort of like when we all had to take sexual harrassment in the workplace courses back in the eighties and nineties. So we would know what constituted harrassment and would get you fired and sued. Eureka! Now that would be great legislation.

Children, teenagers, college students should be permitted to attend school and not fear being harrassed and castigated for their sexual orientation or perception of such. 13-year-old Seth Walsh was laid to rest this week after hanging himself. He had been teased so much and school officials had done so little to protect him that his parents chose to homeschool him. He was teased at a local park on the day he hung himself. 13. At a park. Oh and did I mention the authorities decided the bullies actions did not warrant charges.

In Springfield, Massachusetts, Carl Walker-Hoover's mother described her son as a happy-go-lucky kid until he joined a new school this year. "The kids were teasing him and picking on him. He said that 'they were saying I'm gay.'" She buried her son last week. Carl was 11.

Raymond Chase an openly gay sophomore at Johnson and Wales hanged himself in his dorm room last week. The reason is still unknown although his brother has come forward to say that it was not due to bullying. His death is of note however as anti-gay sentiments continue to rise in this country's schools, classrooms and campuses. This past spring, The National Student Day of Silence, a movement in schools across the nation to call attention to anti-gay bullying and harrasment was met by student walkouts, boycotts and protests from Christian groups. Gotta love us Christians.

"I think that we shouldn't be exploiting public education for this," said Laurie Higgins, director of school advocacy for the Illinois Family Institute. "There are better ways to use taxpayer money. We send our kids there to learn the subject matter, not ... to be unwillingly exposed to political protest during instructional time." While Higgins agrees that bullying is a problem, she believes that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLESN) organizers are using public funds to "transform the moral beliefs of other people's children." Sure they are. They are getting them to stop their immoral bullying!

OK. It's clear this issue hits home to a lot of people, no more so than to the parents left behind. Bullying has to stop. Someone needs to be held accountable. And we need to teach our children to be better people. We need to teach them not only not to bully, but to stand up for those who are being bullied. And we need to let our young people know they have rights and they are not alone.

I came out in 1974 at 13. My first suicide attempts came shortly thereafter. I jumped off a second-story porch and landed in some mud. I popped some pills I found in my sister's bedroom. I found out that taking an overdose of four or five birth control pills won't kill you; they may get you grounded, but they won't kill you. I didn't tell anyone what I was trying to do. Catholic guilt and all. I wasn't very good at the suicide thing. No matter. I met a nice Mormon girl that summer and fell in lust. Far more interesting.

In high school I was consistently harrassed by the mean girls. Senior year I was suspended when a classmate slipped a note under the office door saying I was bringing my girlfriend to the senior prom. Not so. I was taking my openly gay, flaming best friend, George Smith. Hi George! Despite my parents fight to reinstate me; I missed a week of school and my prom. But I was one of the lucky ones. I had supportive parents and someplace to go and I worked with my friends to ensure others had a safe place, too. Even with all of my resources, I still ended up living on the streets and in homeless shelters for several months during my senior year in high school. Like I said, I was one of the lucky ones. Some of our friends either committed suicide or were murdered.

In light of all of this, it is heartbreaking to hear this news each week of another teen committing suicide. I thought we had gotten past all of that. We had fewer resources in the seventies then are available now, yet we are coming up with the same results. Some want to blame technology which broadcasts normally isolated events over a wider spectrum. Clementi's roommate Ravi may face additional charges because of his use of technology in commiting this crime. Some say it is the underdeveloped mind of young people. Technology, psychology whatever, the issues remain the same. Intolerance, bullying and gays as easy and acceptable targets equals a lot of dead teens. Suicide is the third leading killer among people ages 15-24. Wow.

At the end of the day, kids want to know that someone cares, that there are other people out there who can relate to what they are feeling, experiencing and who can answer their questions. They want to know that they are not doomed to live a horrible lonely life or that they will live eternity in hell for being who they are. Something as simple as having a conversation with a teen will help. So will mentoring and spending time with them. It can be pretty rewarding, I know. A few of the ones I've mentored in high school are in graduate schools and doctoral programs, have bought homes and are starting families of their own.

If you know a teen who may have questions or who sets off your gaydar everytime you are around them, try approaching a conversation from an "I" perspective as in, "Did you know that I am gay?" or even something a little more subtle like, "[Significant other's name here] and I are thinking about hitting Dave and Busters on Saturday. Would you like to go?" Make sure you check in with the kid's parents first, of course. You just never know. You could be saving someone's life.

And while we're at it, let's get with the program and utilize technology for some good. Recently Dan Savage started the It Gets Better Project The idea behind the project is for adults to tell their story about how life may have been awful in high school or even college, but eventually as they toughed it out, it got better. Other celebrities have done television and radio spots about the bullying issue. I was moved by Ellen Degeneres's openly tearful plea, and by Jason Derulo's short but pointed "Being different makes you special...There's a light at the end of the tunnel...It gets better" speech

But the one I loved best was Sara Silverman's Dear America. Short and sweet, it drove the point home. "Dear America, when you tell gay Americans that they can't serve their country openly or marry the person that they love, you are telling that to kids too. So don't be f**king shocked and wonder where all these bullies are coming from that are torturing young kids and driving themselves to kill themselves because they're different. They learned it from watching you."
Our kids need our protection so that more teens like 13-year-old, Asher Brown don't feel so badly harrassed and unprotected against bullies who simulate gay sex in gym at school that they put a gun to their heads like he did. Or that they won't feel the need to hang themselves like 15-year-old Billy Lucas did after being called a "fag" one too many times.
"Kids these days." SMDH!

Robin G. White is the award-winning author of Resurrection: A Collection of Work (Kings Crossing Publishing) and the forthcoming Reflections Of A Life Well Spent (Sunset Pointe Press), Intersections (Sunset Pointe) and The Omphaloskepsis Twelve Powers Journal (also Sunset Pointe). Read more about Robin and her work at

You can join the It Gets Better campaign by making a video of yourself and posting it on YouTube like openly gay musician and activist Anthony Antoine did earlier this week.
You can volunteer at your local gay youth organization as a mentor or board member. You can donate time, money and non-monetary resources to your local gay youth shelter, or school if your city has one.
You can encourage others by periodically posting information about youth-safe events where other gay teens may be gathering. Organizations such as BAGLY in Boston, Youth Pride in Atlanta, Youth Pride Alliance in DC, SF LGBT Community Center, and the LGBT Community Center in New York host events, workshops and groups for lgbtq teens. Check your local listings for groups near you.
Some major cities such as New York and San Francisco have homeless shelters for teens and high schools where it is safe to be openly gay Again, volunteer or give donations. Money is great, but often teens leave home without clothes or toiletries. Those hotel samples you've been saving make great donations to shelters of any kind.
You can join organizations such as the Trevor Project, a 24-hour, confidential suicide hotline specifically for lgbtq youth. You can contribute in a major way to their Circle of Hope (donors who give $500 or more).
You can join Facebook campaigns. You never know what information on your wall might mean to someone who is reading it.
Last but not least remember these things from the Trevor Project regarding teen suicide.
You are never alone. You are not responsible for anyone who chooses to take their own life. As family and friends and loved ones all you can do is listen and support and assist the person in getting the help they need.
Connect the person to resources and to a supportive trusted adult.
Accept and listen to the person's feelings and take them seriously.
Respond if a person has a plan to attempt suicide and tell someone you trust.
Empower the person to get help and call the Trevor Suicide Hotline at 866-488-7386.