Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A New Chapter Opens

   I have been thinking about and writing this post for over a year now, but one thing or another always stopped me from doing so. With the cases being heard today and tomorrow and seeing all of my friends and family change their profile pictures to red on Facebook has made this an easier process and I want to thank them, so I believe it is finally time for me to do this.  So here goes nothing.......I'm a lesbian.  I'm pretty sure there is a good majority of you who are saying to yourself "yeah, totally called that", but there are still a few who don't know. This is not something I just "decided" after I was divorced or even last year. I have know since I was 10 years old, that there was something different about me.

    It was the most horrible feeling in the world to wake up every day wishing you were someone else.  The feeling you don’t want to get out of bed and face the person that you really are. Afraid to tell anyone how you really feel or who you really are is more painful than I think I could ever express. To look at everyone else and realize you don't fit in with any of them, you can pretend, smile and act like you fit in but you never really do.  I finally figured out where I fit in, I am a proud lesbian and would not change a thing about my life right now. It may have taken me 20 years to get here, but the struggle that over the years has made me who I am today and stronger than ever. I’m not one to run around with the rainbow flag and be up in everyone’s business about it, but it is time to stand up like so many great people before me, show the world who I really am and that I am not ashamed of it.
    I understand if this is something that people cannot accept and may no longer want to associate with me, I'm ok with that. I have spent too much of my life worrying about what other people think and trying to fit into what most people see as the "normal" way of living. I tried getting married, having the house, the toys and all of that. All that ever did was put me further into a depression and self hate, because I knew I was living a lie. I had no business being in a marriage and I hurt someone in the process.  From when I was in 5th grade it started, I was bullied and made fun of. A rumor spread that I was going to get a sex change during the summer because I wore a Jose Canseco t-shirt to school.  All the way up through high school, I was told by several people, that I looked like a dyke. While playing softball when I was young, I had parents on opposing teams that did not believe I was a girl and wanted to "check" to make sure. I was made made fun of and called horrible names because I played sports and wasn’t as "feminine" as the other girls on the team. There were many things growing up that made being gay in my eyes not ok and made me hide who I was for so long.

    I know and understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am not trying to push mine onto anyone else, but please be aware when your opinion infringes on the rights of someone else.  Me being gay doesn't make me any less of a person, which for the longest time I thought it did.  It doesn’t make me a different person than I was yesterday before you knew the truth. I am different in a way though, I am finally free, free to be who I really am, no more hiding, lying or pretending to be something I am not.  It is important for the people in the LGBTQ+ Community to make themselves visible, but as I have learned in my LGBT Studies class, it is even more important for allies to make themselves visible
    I'm sorry to those who felt I should have done this face to face, but there are just too many people to sit down and talk to. My blog is a means to let people know.  My hope with sharing this publicly, is that it helps someone. It may be only one person, but if this helps someone who is struggling with who they are or maybe it will help put things in perspective for someone who is not as accepting.  That is my main goal, to put this out there to help other people.

    There are a few really good things that helped me realize that I was not the only one who had these struggles. Chely Wright wrote an amazing book and had a fantastic documentary filmed about her coming out process, called Wish Me Away.  I encourage everyone to watch it and see what hate and judging people does to others.  Not just about their sexuality, but in general what judgement and hate does and how it makes people feel.  My LGBT Studies class has been amazing in showing me how large this community is and that there are many accepting people out there.  Thank you to everyone who has been with me through this journey, especially my family, who have been supportive since I told them two years ago.  Also, thank you to Lisa for proofreading. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Miyajima, also known as shrine island, is a little island off the coast of Hiroshima.  There is a giant torii gate that looks like it is floating in the ocean.  We had a beautiful walk down the coast to the shrine itself, with many little shops and restaurants lining the pathway.  Along the way were deer just randomly strolling with tour groups and occasionally accosting and trying to eat people's stuff.

random deer

torii gate

A deer accosting Danielle while we were eating ice cream

 All caught up!  We are taking a rest day today to recover from some unfortunate injuries.  I dislocated my knee while we were here today and it's pretty swollen.  But, after a day of rest it is feeling pretty good.  We have a few change of plans we are going to have to make.  We are not going to make it down to Osaka, instead we are going to take our time in Kyoto the next couple of days and then we are off to Mt. Fuji.  Thanks for taking the time to follow us on our adventure!


Hiroshima was the place that I was looking forward to visiting the most and it definitely did not disappoint.  I think this is a place everyone needs to visit.  Unfortunately there are almost no original historical buildings left, only about 10 buildings survived the bomb and only one of those is still standing.  The city did a great job recreating the monuments that were lost and creating new ones in remembrance of that day and promoting peace.

Shukkeien Garden, a great little garden in the middle of the city.  It was a nice quiet place with all kinds of plants, birds, fish, turtles and even some crabs.

AHHH! mini crabs

After a short walk, we came upon Hiroshima Castle.  A beautiful building, that the original was unfortunately destroyed in the bombing.  After the war, they rebuilt it exactly as it looked when it was brand new.  Inside was a great display of life when the castle was first built, including commoners and samurai exhibits.


 Lastly we headed to the major landmark of the city, the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Park.  The dome was very interesting to see.  The building is just as it was after the bombing, rubble and all.  140,000 people died that day, including everyone in that building, who died instantly.  I can't believe the destruction and force it took to just leave the hollow shell of half the building.  

The Peace Park surrounds the A-Bomb Dome and has several memorials to the victims.  We went into one that displayed all of the names and photos of the men, women, children and American POW's.  The only words that I can use to express how I felt there was guilt and sadness. 

Memorial for the Children

Peace memorial
Peace Memorial
 All in all it was a very emotionally draining day.  In some ways it was hard to be in that city and look people in the eyes and see what pain that bomb caused.  This is in no way a stance on either side of the nuclear weapons debate, but a stance on being human and respecting other people no matter where they are from.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tokyo, Part Two

Tokyo was a great place to visit, the diversity of modern technology mixed with there rich history was great to see.  In the middle of skyscrapers you can find a temple or a shrine that has been there for ages.

Today was a great day because we got to see a few more relaxing things and not just the rush of the city.  First we headed to the Sensoji Temple.  the neighborhood was everything you would think Japan would be.  There were rickshaws, vendors selling food and every kind of souvenir you could think of.  At the end of a long walkway, is the gate and then the temple that was built for the Goddess of Kannon.

gate before the temple

the temple
the temple with a Danielle photo bomb

cleansing before entering

We also went to Ueno Park, a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city.  There we found quiet, many shrines and a temple.

pond with lily pads

turtle in the pond
After a nice break in the park we decided to head to Shibuya Intersection.  It's a large intersection near a busy train station that has all the cars stop at one time and people can cross everywhere.  We found a nice little perch at a Starbucks right above the intersection to watch all the action.

so many people
Last on our list for the day was the largest Torii Gate in Japan. 


Well, we have already seen tons of amazing stuff, with much more to come! Thanks for checking out our trip!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tokyo, Part One

Tokyo, what to say about this place?  Tokyo is definitely where my culture shock has sunk in.  There are so many people EVERYWHERE!!!!  Besides being accosted by old drunk Japanese men at 9:00 in the morning (one telling me I had a nice body, while the other people with him wanted to teach us about God) it has been an experience to say the least.

At our hostel we got to stay in a traditional Japanese style room and sleep on the floor on mats.  A great experience, but I am excited to sleep in a regular bed soon.

First off we got to check out the Tokyo Sky Tree, it has only been open for about a month.  The tower was amazing, unfortunately we didn't head up to the top tickets were sold out about a month ago.  There was a huge complex surrounding the tower with every kind of shop you can think of, including a Tokyo Banana (picture to come soon). 

The fish market was a little different than I expected.  They had a little section with shops and food places, the rest was bustling with forklifts, people and all kinds of trucks.  The sushi looked great, but every place had a huge line and about 6 places to sit at the counter inside.

Line for a sushi place

shrine inside the fish market
Next, we hit the Imperial Palace, again a lot different than I expected.  They don't let you go inside or even near the palace.  We got to take pictures from across the moat and watch the changing of the guards

The Imperial Palace, with a random Japanese lady
Changing of the guards

 Lastly, we came upon Tokyo Tower.  It was great to head up to the observation deck and see amazing views of the whole city.  As we got off the elevator from the observation deck, there was a lady with a monkey doing tricks.  Gotta say, it has been one of the best parts of the trip.  That monkey was awesome.

Tokyo Tower
View of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower
HA, HA! A monkey on stilts
We have already seen some pretty great stuff and we still have a full day of sightseeing tomorrow, then we are off to Hiroshima tomorrow night!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kabushima & Seiryu-ji Temple

We hit a couple of really great places the last couple of days. Kabushima (Seagull Island,) is an island in Hachinohe City with a shrine to seagulls and the Showa Daibtsu (Big Buddha), a large statue of Buddha.

Kabushima is a place where seagulls come to breed in early March and their eggs hatch in early June.  With the eggs just hatching there were so many seagulls, it was crazy.  There is a shrine on the top of the hill, but we decided not to head up after seeing umbrellas at the entrance to use so you don't get pooped on.  I am more than ok not being pooped on by a seagull in Japan. 


Seagulls lined up on the fence

The shrine

The whole island

Seiryu-ji Temple was built in 1982 by a priest named Ryuko Oda and was built entirely with donations from followers of true Buddhism teachings.  On the side of a mountain and away from noises of the city, it is an amazing place to listen to nothing at all.  Almost eerie and uncomfortable, with how quiet it was. 

Kondo, the main hall

five-storied pagoda  
Jizo Bosatsu, the guardian of deceased children

Bokeyoke Kannon, protects people from dementia

The Showa Daibtsu is an amazing structure and is very moving.  The statue is of Dainichi Nyorai, the central Buddha of the mandala (the Buddhist world).  The statue was built for two reasons, to express gratitude to the war dead and to cultivate richness of the mind.  Inside the statue is an amazing shrine, many more sculptures and story of the death process. 

shrine inside

a sculpture on the wall

shrine for the war dead

another shot of the big buddha

Me in front of the statue.  It's HUGE!

We also stopped by the Sannai-Maruyama Village, an archeological site from the early and middle Jarmon period (about 5,500 to 4,000 years ago).   During the time of Emperors and Samurais down south, it was pretty awesome to see simply these people lived up north. 

Recreation of the huts they lived in

actual pottery that has been found

a large hole where a pillar for a building once stood