Why I Had to Quit FaceBook and Learned to Love Instagram…in just a week.

One day a couple of weeks ago, I just snapped. That’s how I have made many important decisions in my life…I snap and zap. This time it was FaceBook that finally pushed me in a new direction. I had progressively (no pun intended) gotten so extremely tired of all the USA politics on FaceBook. All my “friends” that I actually see are either liberals, or they are keeping it zipped. Anyone that I know and like and suspect that they are a Republican, I unfollowed until after the election. That’s because I really want to continue to like them. If they are someone I didn’t actually know, I just unfriended them. So, I wasn’t seeing pro-trump stuff, I was seeing anti-trump stuff….but, I was seeing it and seeing it and seeing it. I was tired of a steady diet of all this. Since I think you are what you eat, I also think it goes further than that. You are what you consume, no matter through your mouth or your mind. It was just trump…it was like the Bad News Gazette. I lost two actual friends who were Bernie supporters because I refused to allow anyone to post anything negative about Hillary Clinton in response to one of my own comments. Enough said about that.

And much of the reason I quit FaceBook was because of what I felt it was bringing out in me; my worst possible side. Every time I looked at my newsfeed I would end up pissed off, and twice I put up such scathing comments or posts that I immediately took them down. I was starting to see FaceBook as a big billboard that I owned and I often had the urge to just post “Fu(k You.” It really was fueling my anger in general. That is not healthy for anyone, although some people seem to thrive on it. To each her/his own.

I also must say, FaceBook was capable of bringing out my best side, too. I found myself compelled to get involved with people in order to make them feel better. I found myself really caring, and sometimes feeling a bit drained emotionally. I was sending unsolicited private messages, cheering people on. It got to be too much.

I have continued to check my own wall, and certainly to use FaceBook Messenger, a very good communication tool. I will still put up links to my blog on FaceBook because some of my friends who check that they like my blog posts seem to be too lazy to actually Follow it. Which, of course, makes me wonder if they read it, or just like the pictures. I truly think that social media has taught some people to be incapable of reading more than one or two sentences. I think this will profoundly affect the next generation’s ability to concentrate and read, and that is too bad. Hopefully, maybe, I’m wrong….

But, speaking of liking the pictures, most of the pictures I posted on FaceBook had been through a great deal of PhotoShop and nothing was spontaneous. I am a perfectionist and capable of spending hours on PhotoShop….removing things that shouldn’t be in the pictures, and making myself and others look more fabulous than we really look…especially pictures of me.

I had started an Instagram account sometime in 2012, but hadn’t done much with it. I would do a random post every now and then but it was always something I had taken with my Fuji camera and mailed to myself, since you can’t post from your computer. I didn’t really understand or connect with Instagram. Until I did. After my adios to FaceBook, I started to explore Instagram. I love its spontaneity. I have a whole different set of standards for my Instagram posts, and perfection isn’t on the list. I am capturing moments, and the words are no longer the point. I love photos and I love words. I will continue to use my blog for literary expression, and when appropriate, I will post photos from my camera with my blog. But, this time, instead of mailing a perfect photo from my computer to my phone, I am emailing a wacky selfie from my phone to my computer to use on this post. This is what my Instagram posts are like. The caption here is “Girl on the Run.” “Chica a la Fuga,” in Spanish.

This brings up another issue between FaceBook and Instagram. While there are many friends from Nashville I enjoyed keeping up with on FaceBook, I find that Instagram opens up more ways to connect with people and images from around the world. (And I’m not talking about the weirdos that show up in friend requests on FaceBook. I’m talking about people who take amazing photos.)  I am connecting already with many people in Mexico, so I will post my photo comments in both English and Spanish. I am not being pretentious, I am trying to be bi-lingual, one of my reasons for moving to Mexico. While I lived for many years in Nashville, I am now a resident of Mexico. While I used to love walking from our house to Burger Up, I am not all excited about “The New Nashville.” In fact that was one reason I needed to leave. I needed changes in imagery and changes in energy.

I thought when I had my Brokeback Mountain moment with FaceBook that I would free up a lot of time. I did. I must confess, however, that I am spending a lot of it learning how to use my phone camera and how to use Instagram. Learning is learning and it keeps the mind alive. Plus, I never do anything half-way.

I have made a couple of guest appearances on FaceBook during this hiatus. Fred sometimes finds FaceBook posts that he can’t resist telling me about. Kind of like offering an alcoholic a martini. One of them was so fabulous, I had to comment. I have cruised my newsfeed a couple of times in a moment of lax discipline. I sometimes, on purpose, look at Jerry Rife’s wall because he is such a wonderful photographer and his work inspires me. I always check my messages, and here you go with a blog post. There may be more blog posts, because…well, after all…you know (if you’re my FaceBook friend) that I have many opinions and I do love to run off my big mouth.

If you would like to follow me on Instagram, it’s just margaretellis. For now, I won’t be sharing these photos to FaceBook.

 

 

Women of a Certain Age. Part 4.

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This woman has appeared in my blog before. The story behind these photos is fascinating to me. And, I hope I have my facts straight. I don’t know the women’s names in these photos, but I do know a little about the older one. I put this info together from talking to a few people, doing a little internet research, and actually meeting her son.

The story goes that this woman started in business by selling scarves that she had woven. She took her very young son with her when she went to sell them. She was not only a weaver, she is also a businesswoman. When she saw that she couldn’t get a fair price for her labor and materials, she decided to cut some corners. Many craftspeople in Mexico have done that. The major work, the real quality pieces, can take days or weeks to complete. I don’t fault them for earning a living, and I have some pieces that I really love that I’m sure were done by machine.

Her son, Remigio Maestas Revilla, took a different route. He has devoted his life to changing the economics of weaving. He now has many weavers he works with throughout the small villages of Oaxaca and he presents and sells their work at a price that is fair to them. In his own way, he is keeping alive a vibrant craft tradition. He has a few stores around Mexico, among them, two in San Miguel de Allende. (One is on Correo, just off the square…Los Baules de Remigio. The other is on Recreo…Juana Cata.) The work he carries is extremely high quality, and exquisite. It is all done completely by hand, and uses natural dyes. His main store is in Oaxaca City is Los Baules de Juana Cata.

And his mother, the older woman in these pictures, also has a large store in Oaxaca City, a few blocks from her son’s store. After inspiring her son to preserve the old, tradition methods, she is still motivated to give the customer a bang for her buck. She carries room after room of Mexcan clothing that may not be made in the traditional ways, but is still very appealing. The stitching is done by machine, and the price is not enough to worry about. You can put together a completely wonderful look for not many pesos. Personally, I love these clothes. I think this woman has a real eye for fashion, and knows how to put the inexpensive pieces together for a real statement look. She is a real success story, whose  legacy will be carried on by her son and his children. I visited her store several times while we were in Oaxaca. She is quite a salesperson as well. She greets you at the door and starts to show you things in rapid order. You find yourself trying things on right in the store. If you buy several pieces you will probably get a little discount, and the colors are so bright and the prices so low…..you will leave with a full bolsa.

Then you might find yourself in one of Remigio’s stores. All the merchandise is in impeccable order. Each piece is a unique work of traditional craftsmanship. The colors are from natural dyes. They are beautiful, but much more subtle. No one rushes to show you things. You browse around and think about which piece you would buy if you wanted a splurge. One night Fred and I were there and he bought a scarf for me. The shopping experience was very delightful. The scarf came with a little tag about where it was made and who made it. Remigio, his wife and two children, were in the store. I was somehow able to communicate how I appreciate the work he does. And, that I am familiar with his mother, a true example of a Mexican woman entrepreneur.

https://margaretellisaroundthehouse.com/2015/07/07/feliz-cumpleanos-frida-kahlo-2/

This is a link to a post about this same subject.

Women of a Certain Age, Part 3.

This lady is one I see frequently on the street in San Miguel de Allende, usually helping out a flower seller who works near a sidewalk cafe. There is something compelling about her. I was pleased and rather surprised when she agreed to let me take her photo. She doesn’t have the strong, outgoing personality of the woman in the first of these posts, and she doesn’t seem to have the confidence of the woman in the second post of this series. In fact, in this woman I  always sense a feeling of vulnerability and shyness. I always say hello to her. Sometimes she holds out her hand to me, sometimes she doesn’t. When she does, I always find some pesos for her.

As a woman growing up in the USA I have certainly dealt with issues of strength and vulnerability. I have always thought that a woman could be one or the other…strong or vulnerable…but not both at the same time. My life in Mexico has taught me that only when we realize our vulnerability can we really find our strength. As a child growing up in a fairly dysfunctional situation I always felt vulnerable. The same vulnerability carried over into my first marriage. I was always expecting someone to come in the door in a really hostile mood, and even if it had nothing to do with me, I always felt it was my job to fix it. At around age 35 I managed to see that I could also be strong, and I saw being strong as the key to my survival. I saw strong as good, and vulnerable as not so good.  My experiences in Mexico have helped me to see that I can actually be strong even when I am most vulnerable. In fact, the only way to be truly strong is to be able to accept my vulnerabilities, love that scared child within me, and then to find my strength. I now see that we cannot really know our strengths until we also see our vulnerabilities. It is the ability to see both these sides of ourselves that matters most. So many women, especially women like me (old enough to have been strongly affected by the Feminist Movement..and to know what life was like before it), are not willing to see how vulnerable they really are. It’s always got to be Wonder Woman, all the time.

I don’t know the difficulties that some of the women I see here experience every day. I don’t know their joys. But, what I see is their magnificent survival. It is a simpler life here, and people aren’t all worked up about impressing each other. There is a kindness of spirit that I see in the faces I meet on the street. There is a shyness, just waiting for me to make the first move and say hello. I suspect they wonder about me sometimes, too. While I know that our lives have been very different, I also see more each day how similar we are.

One of the most important things I have learned about living in Mexico is that I simply cannot judge the lives of others. Many people come to a country like this and think that somehow the people’s lives are inferior because of the standard of living that they see. But, wait. Stop and look. This is not inferior, it’s just different. If you can put aside your own standards and expectations you can find a world very different from what you have ever experienced, but a beautiful world, nonetheless. And, you can look inside yourself and find strengths you didn’t know you had. And, when you need to feel vulnerable, you can just do that, too…without judging yourself at all.

Women of a Certain Age. Part 2.

This photo will never cease to amaze me. What amazes me is that I got it. This woman walked by me in the twinkle of an eye. We were in a large market in a village in Oaxaca. It was packed with local people, and a beehive of activity. People were selling things, looking for things, buying things…..things including live chickens, all sorts of food, clothing, household goods, motor parts, vats of a nasty local moonshine called pulque….you name it. From the midst of all the confusion, I started to go down a little flight of stairs, from one area to another. At that moment I saw this woman, and she saw my camera, right in her face. Instead of turning away, as many of the women here are likely to do, she gave me a beautiful smile…a little pose. She even found her light. Then she was gone. I got one shot at this one, and it was sheer luck. Or perhaps I should say, a magical blessing.

The feeling I came away with from this instant was the confidence of this woman. She is who she is. I asked Fred last night if that phrase, “Vanity thy name is woman,” came from the Bible or Shakespeare. (It was Shakespeare.) There is something about this woman that has caused me to think about my own vanity. Not to be too hard on myself, because working in the fashion/art business in the USA can sure cause a woman to want to look as young as possible. I certainly did. Almost everyone I hung out with was also concerned with this. And, most of them were a good 15 t0 30 years younger than me.   And, if you want to true confession, I always wondered why anyone who had access to that kind of technology wouldn’t do it if they possibly could.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not at all critical of having a little work done. God knows, I’ve had a bit. I am not sorry for doing any of it. I just wouldn’t do it at this point. I have come to realize that the right people don’t love you or like you because of how you look. They love you because of the way you make them feel. And, in this culture, the attitudes about age seem very different. Elders are respected. The grandmothers are powerful members of the family unit.

I have been away from the assistance of needles, lasers, and all the other wonderful help with this situation since October. It’s definitely available in San Miguel and it’s about time for a fill-up. But, I’m not going to do it. I am becoming happy with my face the way it is. In this culture I feel no real need to look young; I just want to look healthy and happy. And, of course, I’m not “cashing in my chips.” If you know me you know I love make-up and dress-up. I just am starting to feel that I can feel comfortable with the way I actually look and come across as a 73 year old woman at the same time, and that’s ok. In fact, that’s remarkable.

Women of a Certain Age. Part One.

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I am so moved and amazed by the older women I see in Mexico. There is a strength of character in their faces. Some of them have lived hard lives, but they are a true inspiration to me. The lady in these pictures is Publita, I see her occasionally on the streets of San Miguel. I always stop and give her money. She gives me a smile. She has so much personality. She seems like a force of nature. I know very little about her, but I always look for her when I am out and about. What a wonderful face she has. I am going to show you five women in this series. They are just the ones I have been lucky enough to capture. There are many more that got away. All of these faces have made me change some of my ideas about aging. I no longer see it as something to dread. I see it as something to aspire to.

Remembering Sam

The photo shown with this post actually has nothing to do with the subject of the post. This is a story from decades ago, before digital photos. I took this photo a couple of days ago, when the sun was so bright and the lighting so all over the place that I could barely see what I was shooting. But, when I managed to catch the eye of the guy looking straight at the camera, I thought I probably had something. I was pleased to see the strangeness of this picture.
But, this post is about remembering Sam. For some reason I started thinking of him while I was editing this photo. I can’t say that I still think of him everyday, or even all that often, but when I do think of him, it is with an unusual amount of intensity.
When Sam was a junior high school student, I was his art teacher. This was at some point around 1967, more or less. He was a good kid, and he really liked me. I was going through a period of identity seeking that involved strange fashion. One day I put up my hair and attached a cluster of curls to the top. I know that you have a hard time picturing me doing this. I also wore 3 pair of false eyelashes…all at the same time. So, Sam walks up to my desk and says,”Is that a hairpiece?” My response was to tell him that that was an inappropriate question. At which point, he spun on his heel, walked away, and said over his shoulder, “I was just going to say that I like it!”
Sam went on to high school and a few years passed. One evening I decided to visit the Watch Your Hat and Coat Saloon, a gay bar that was really happening in Nashville in the 1970’s. The event that evening was the first Miss Gay America Pageant. It was 1972. As I walked towards the door, I heard a voice call out my name in the way a former student would say it. I turned to see Sam. At this point Sam was 20, and I was 29. He was amazed and thrilled to see me. I am sure the fact that I was cool with him being gay was important. We became instant adult friends. In fact, Sam helped me get through the disaster of moving out of a bad marriage.
His speciality was decorating. I found a nice little apartment and splurged on fixing it up. Sam could spin into a room, pick up a paint brush and a staple gun and put the queer eye on it in a heartbeat.
More time passed, and Sam ended up moving to California, where he became quite successful in the area of retail visual merchandising. In Nashville, he had worked into the job of display director for Cain-Sloan, now Dillard’s. All of this from a very young man who had such a great talent that he required no formal education to go to the top of a very competitive field.
While Sam was in California, my life took some major upward turns. I married Fred, and started the jewelry business. Sam was happy for me to have found Fred, and he was over- the-top-excited about the jewelry business. This was 1983. Sometime around 1985, Sam moved to New York. Now the circle was complete, as I was traveling there frequently. Once Sam moved to New York, he loved to help me set up for trade shows. (Actually, I was always the helper when Sam was around. He was in charge.) I will never forget the time he showed up to set up wearing an all-white, sort of I think western, outfit.  Very long fringe on the sleeves and chest. After he finished setting up my booth, he proceeded to go out into the aisle and twirl furiously, just to feel the fringe move, because that’s just how Sam was. This was in the days when my friends Phillip and Sunny were also in New York, designing clothes. Sam was quite a customer, and they did wonderful, over-the-top men’s wear for Sam. In fact, I’m pretty sure they were responsible for that shirt.
There was one darkness that floated above this time in history, the specter of AIDS. Unfortunately, Sam was one of the casualties. It was so heart-breaking. At that time it was a death sentence. The drugs weren’t around yet. It had spread before anyone knew what it was. For the people of Sam’s days there had been no warning. They had contracted the disease while it was in the process of being discovered.
By this time in his life Sam had a loving partner who had the means to take very good care of him. The little boy who made it on sheer determination ended up living in a beautiful town house in New York. For a time, during his later years, Sam had a retail store in the Flatiron District. He was a pioneer of the boom of that neighborhood. The name of the store was Flatiron, and Sam specialized in selling display items that people could use in their homes.
After Sam had been diagnosed, but before he was really sick, he made a speech to a packed Carnegie Hall. It was a fund-raiser for AIDS research and Sam’s subject was love. He received a standing ovation.
The last time I saw Sam was in New York a few months before he passed. He had decided to just have fun that night and was wearing a beautiful black suit and an Andy Warhol crazy wig. “Girl,” he said, as Fred and I left the restaurant, “Always give ’em fashion!”

Finding Sunny

This is a true story. And, a fairly long one.

One afternoon in the summer of 1983 I was invited to a little gathering of friends to meet Philip, a Nashville boy who had moved to the big city, and his “new friend,” Sunny. As I walked up the sidewalk to the house, I was very aware of a young and very beautiful Japanese person sitting on the steps. My first thought was that Sunny was a female with a very short haircut. He was wearing beautifully cut white linen Bermuda shorts and a crisp, white tee. I believe that a thin leather belt was around his waist. He was immaculate. It was pretty clear that he was more than a friend to Philip. They were quite a glamourous pair. I may have told them I was thinking of coming to New York to see if I could actually find a market for my jewelry. I just remember that after that meeting I was on the phone with Philip a lot for advise. Sunny had just started designing clothes and Philip was involved in the business as well. Philip had a few years of experience in that world, having been a major display director, both in California and New York. He had also done a bit of modeling, as he was quite the striking guy.

My memories of the early days when I frequently went to New York to sell my jewelry revolve around Philip and Sunny. I always spent a lot of time with them, hanging out at their apartment on the Upper West Side or in their studio, which I think was on 36th Street. I always loved their approval, especially Sunny’s. I thought that Sunny was the most stylish person I had ever known. I remember one winter day he came into the studio wearing a black overcoat and gloves. The way he took off his gloves was nothing but art. So many little detail memories about Sunny. He was so light-hearted, yet knife-edge serious. He had the most incredible taste. He selected the most splendid fabrics. He was designing luxury clothes for a luxury market. The clothes were, in a word, fabulous. Every season Sunny seemed to design for a special woman who lived in his mind. He always had a little story about “Her.” “She wears this out to lunch. She is quite a lady. She never leaves the house before noon.” They achieved a nice amount of success. They had a map in their office with red pins sticking in all the places they were selling. It was exciting to see the red dots.

I could never wait to get to the showroom and start trying things on. At that time, samples were a size 8, and so was I. Every season I placed an order (which I got to buy at wholesale.) My wardrobe was becoming pretty amazing. But, my favorite piece of all was a gift from Sunny and Philip. The first time I went to New York I didn’t take a proper coat. It was the end of October and had just started to be a bit chilly in Nashville. The weather was different in New York. It was quit chilly. Sunny and Philip gave me a coat. Not just a coat. The most fantastic coat I had ever seen. I still have it. I brought it to Mexico to wear on winter nights. It is taupe cut velvet. Just a long, straight coat. It looks very current today, even though it was made in 1983.

Time rolled along and so did our friendship. Fred started going to New York with me in 1987, and the threesome became a foursome. We were tight friends. So many times we’d go by the studio and Philip would say, “Let’s get some lunch.” And we would.

Things always have a way of changing. It became harder and harder to make it in the New York world of fashion without a big money backer. It finally got too hard for Philip and Sunny to stay in the game. The world was changing, too. The black specter of HIV had entered the scene, and many friends were dying. Philip and Sunny went to California. New York was never the same for me without them.

After some more time had passed I learned that Philip was HIV positive and ill. It was very hard to take that one. I had hoped that somehow Philip and Sunny had dodged that bullet. Even though by the time Philip passed I had almost grown numb to the shock of seeing young, vital friends go, it was very hard for me with Philip. I was so far away from him. It all seemed so far away, and so unreal.

More time passed. Sunny was back in New York. Fred and I got together with him. But, somehow things seemed to have drifted and we eventually lost touch altogether. I think he also went back to California around that time.

So some years passed. I thought of Sunny often. I didn’t know where he was, and I wondered. This was before the internet. No emails, no Google.

But, then we entered the computer age and one night I was fooling around and decided to Google Sunny. I found a lot of press from the old days of fashion, but then I found a strange mention in a website featuring the music of Antony and the Johnsons. It was a bit vague but I thought the person mentioned was “my” Sunny. What became clear to me later was that in the video of the song, “You are My Sister,” there were several trans women that were called The Great Beauties. Sunny was one of those women. There was a place for contact on the website and I sent a message asking them to please have this person email me. Three weeks later, he did. The email said, “I am enclosing a picture that will explain about me right now.” (Or something to that effect.) The picture was of a beautiful, 40’ish  Japanese woman in an evening gown. It was, without a doubt, Sunny. It seems I was right in my first impression. What I saw was the woman who lived inside Sunny, who he was now fully expressing.  I was doubly happy to have found her, and to have found that she was still alive.

We got together the next time Fred and I were in New York. She was living on West 4th Street. We had walked past her apartment dozens of times, because we always stayed in the West Village. Sunny and I continued to get together. Whenever I was in New York we would have a girl’s day. I found it quite an interesting experience to be with Sunny as a woman. She seemed like a different person, but also the same. I felt closer to her as a female than I did to Sunny as a male. It is beautiful for me to remember Sunny at both these times.

The last time I got together with Sunny was the day I took this photo. Since we had retired we hadn’t taken any trips to New York. In April, 2014, Fred and I took a little New York vacation with Andrew and Kyle. On the last day I was in town, Sunny and I got together for lunch. I was wearing a scarf that Sunny had designed in the 1980’s. Her reaction was, “That’s beautiful fabric. I wish I had kept one of those.” Last summer when I was cleaning things out I realized that I had somehow ended up with two of those scarves. I sent one of them to Sunny, my beautiful friend.

 

Life after Life

In the course of the past week, two very wonderful women who lived in San Miguel de Allende have passed this life. It seemed so random, and so horrifying, that these two events, totally unrelated, could happen in such a short stretch of time. Both left by natural causes, and neither was expected.

I had met Lulu Torbet once, at a little get together when we first got to town last fall. I had always hoped to get to know her, but our paths just never crossed again. But, there are so many mutual friends, and I feel like I did know Lulu because of the love that has poured out to her by her friends on FaceBook.

Last night we went out to dinner at a local restaurant, Agua Miel, and learned that Caren Cross was in very serious condition. This morning I learned that she, too, had left this plane.  I met her only once, at a small dinner party. But, I felt I knew her from a wonderful documentary film she had done about people who come to live in San Miguel, “Lost and Found in Mexico.”I really liked her, and again, I was hoping we would become friends. That was about a month ago.

Both these women were about my age. They were both vital, and youthful, and wonderfully alive. There are certain things, that when they happen, make the concept of mortality very real. I have never wanted to be “old.” Some of you have heard me rant about “if I ever say I’m ‘growing old gracefully,’ take me out and shoot me.” I think being in Mexico has changed me in a lot of ways, one being that I have a very different attitude about getting older. I don’t care if I grow old gracefully, or disgracefully. I just want to stick around for it. And I want to get as much joy as I possibly can out of all the days of my life. When you stick around long enough, you finally get it that life is all about joy. Some people say they “have no regrets.” Any regrets that I might have involve anytime I let someone or some situation steal my joy. I also regret that I have often overlooked the joy in very simple things. I intend to change that. In fact, I’ve already been working on it.

The beautiful thing about both of these women who departed was the joy that you could see in them. The movie that Caren did was all about joy. And when I look at all the photos of Lulu on FaceBook, I can see the joy she brought her friends. I personally believe that there is life after life. While I don’t pretend to know exactly how that works, I believe it does. And, I believe these two beautiful spirits are living that life after life now and always.

Walk a Mile in Someone’s Shoes

This is a photograph I had the pleasure of taking of the very beautiful Xena Wilson, a trans woman. I know that many people have never known (or never known that they actually know) a transgender person. I like to share things like this so that people can hopefully understand this situation and that good people can have an more educated viewpoint. My post today is actually something I just saw on Xena’s FaceBook post. So, I am sharing. I think it makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks, Xena.

“Ok so I just got a phone call from New Talk Radio at 98.7 in Knoxville to do a radio interview this Friday at 10.Last night I did an interview for a group of college students the subject “The Bathroom Ordeal”. I have kept pretty quiet about it because I don’t like to put my issues on this platform. I do however have my point of view and I am going to state it now. One major reason is a long time friend of mine made a post two days ago how they were fine with people living their life how they want and to each their own but they didn’t want a transgender woman in the bathroom with their girls. FIRST off I have used the restroom with this person. Second transgender does not just apply to trans women…there are transgender men too. Third we are all just trying to go PEE. If you say it is so your children will not be exposed to perverts and child molesters you are sadly wrong. WE are not out to get your children!!!!!!!!! If a child molester or pervert, who DOES want to get your children, wants to they are going to get to your children inside or outside of a public restroom. There is not one instance where a trans person has been arrested for miss conduct in a restroom. I am SICK of being compared to child molesters. My trans friends and I are not perverts who are out to hurt children. THIS REALLY PISSES ME OFF!!!! I AM NOT A PERVERT OR A CHILD MOLESTER!!!!! If you people think that putting these laws into place are going to stop child molesters you are SADLY mistaken. All you are doing is segregating a group of people, who honestly, would protect your child if they saw something wrong going on. I would beat a MAN that would be going after a child in the women’s room and I know my trans brothers would do the same in the men’s room. I have nieces and nephews that I would die for and I would protect your child too. Putting me in a men’s restroom does not protect you BUT it does hurt us. Please get your head out of the clouds in thinking that these disgraceful laws are going to protect your child. That is a weak excuse to allow bigotry to keep on going. If you want to keep you children away from child molesters and perverts then you might as well put them in a bubble at home because these laws are not going to do it. You are either going to keep being part of the problem or you can be part of the solution. That is something you have to live with. You are either a bigot or you are not. And yes honey, being part of the issue DOES make you bigot. Is that what you want your children to see you as while they are growing up?” Xena Wilson

Walking around in Mexico

Yesterday afternoon, which was a Saturday, Fred and Pinky and I went out to run a few errands. Going out on the weekend in San Miguel de Allende is like going to a carnival. The town is packed with tourists, mostly Mexican, and the general feeling is one of holiday. The weekend brings a lot of young people into town, and I always enjoy seeing them. I like to see how they are “styling.”

So, as we walked across the Jardin, we were just enjoying the people watching. Then, an unfortunate thing crossed my awareness. There is a little sidewalk cafe, quite popular with the tourists, right on the square. It was filled with Mexican families on a weekend get away, young Mexican couples, and a few locals. At one end there were a couple of tables pushed together with about 6 American 30-somethings. They were being loud, really loud. And the things they were saying (in jest) were quite inappropriate to be shouting, anywhere. It seemed as though they thought they were on the beach in Cancun. San Miguel is not a beach town. It is one of the most sophisticated and genteel cities in Mexico. Even if the people at the table around them didn’t speak English, their very behavior brought the phrase, “Ugly American” to my mind. It is beyond me that people come to Mexico and have no regard for the culture.

Well, that was just a passing moment yesterday, and I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought one way or the other at the time. Later on in the day I went out for an errand about two blocks from our house.  Even though we live in Historic Centro, which is where the tourists tend to be, we are right on the northwestern edge of it. Our immediate neighborhood still has that kind of wonderful funkiness that I love about Mexico. If you walk up to the corner and take a left you are heading to San Juan de Dios Market. You are now totally away from Gringolandia, and in the Mexico of your dreams. Every day you will see something on the street that will amaze you.

As I said, yesterday I went on an errand. As I walked down the sidewalk, I saw a middle-aged Mexican man approaching me on a bicycle. He pulled up to the curb (I’m still about a half a block away) and pulled a hard-boiled egg out of his shirt pocket. He cracked the egg on the handlebars of his bike, and started to peel it. There was no one around but this man and me. It was sort of an intimate moment in a strange sort of way. He looked up and seemed a little unsettled that I was about to walk by and he was eating the egg. I looked at him and said, “Huevo.” He laughed and said, “Huevo.”

A bit later on my walk I saw that a Mexican woman was approaching me on the sidewalk. Some of the sidewalks here are extremely narrow and someone has to give. The appropriate thing is for the person who is walking facing traffic to step off the sidewalk. I have noticed that some Gringos are not hip to this custom. I stepped down from the sidewalk and said, “Buenas Tardes.” She gave me the biggest smile.

Theses are just some things that happened yesterday while I was walking around in San Miguel. Very sorry I didn’t get a picture of the guy with the egg.