Family. I love my family, but there is a reason we live on different continents. If you did not know, I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic or ACOA, which means I grew up in a dysfunctional home and I have a sometimes dysfunctional world view. By the way, if you research this, you will also come across clues as to why I am so much more interested in the male psyche (and thus, why I became a writer of gay fiction).
This year, my parents came to stay with us on Hawaii for a few weeks. We had a good time. We spoke about my book, of course. My parents never encouraged or supported my writing, but they are immensely proud of what I have accomplished. The fact that I wrote a gay book added a certain oddity factor, but it was generally a non-issue. When my brother and his fiancée came to visit, it was the same story. My brother wasn’t nearly as impressed by my literary accomplishments as I thought he should have been, but again the gay nature of the book was a non-issue.
I am most thankful for my husband, though. He works for a very homophobic outfit (the Army, anyone?), but he has no problem telling his friends and whoever else wants to know that his wife writes gay fiction. Like most heterosexual men without gay influences in their life, he’s not entirely comfortable with all the gayness in my life, but he is very proud of me nonetheless. And that makes his support and love even sweeter.
My kids. They are great. They think I’m a bit confused about the gay issue (“boys don’t kiss boys”), but I’m wearing them down.
My family-in-law. They knew I was a bit odd from the beginning, but they still welcomed me in their family. And today, I count them among my supporters.
Friends. I have great friends. I’m an easy friend to make, but not an easy friend to keep. My nomadic lifestyle means I don’t have a lot of face-to-face time with my friends, but most of them stick around anyway.
I am most thankful for my friend Sheri. We met in 1986. I was looking for an American pen pal and Sheri replied to my request. Boy, we were still in High School back then. Our lives mirrored each other for a while. We went to college, got married, had kids—today Sheri is a homeschooling mom to five wonderful kids. She’s also a very strict Catholic and no fan of all the gayness in my life. Yet she remains a loyal friend and I love her for it.
Health. This last year was tough. I battled depression, dealt with an increase in fibromyalgia flare-ups and noticed a worsening of my insomnia. None of those issues did anything to alleviate my chronic fatigue and on some days just getting out of bed was an issue.
Fibromyalgia is a condition of chronic pain in the muscles, joints and bones. It is also the source of my insomnia or what experts call alpha-delta sleep (in which “deep sleep is frequently interrupted by burst of brain activity similar to wakefulness” and “deeper stages of sleep are often dramatically reduced”). To make matters worse, fibromyalgia is also associated with fibrofog or brain fog, a cognitive dysfunction, “characterized by impaired concentration and short-term memory consolidation, impaired speed of performance, inability to multi-task, and cognitive overload.”
So my health isn’t great, and I don’t feel great. I struggle, because what I most love to do in life—write—has been made difficult by all this. Still, I am thankful, because, boy, it could be so much worse (and I’m not dying from it).
To sum this up, I am very thankful for all the people in my life who love and support me. The majority of the people in my life are tolerant and supportive of the GLBT community, but I am also very aware of the friends and acquaintances I have without any connection to or knowledge of the GLBT community. I am thankful for those, because even though they might be uncomfortable with my choices, they stick around. And in the end, I will wear them all down …