Category Archives: Writing

Unbearable Sadness- Pulse

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Like most Americans, I am in a state of mourning this Monday after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Work deadlines, bills and responsibility call me. Yet, I cannot stop thinking about the horror that took place in the Orlando nightclub.

The fact that the club called Pulse was a LGBTQ bar makes the depth of grief  even more unbearable.  As the child of a transgender father who spent most of his life making my family suffer for his gender, I relish (in fact adore) any business or place that allows LGBTQ people to experience belonging and community.

When a club embraces people of different experiences, beliefs, genders, colors, and creeds, there is comfort. With comfort comes the ability to thrive. When people live fully immersed in the knowledge that it’s okay to be who they are, society blossoms into a colorful rainbow.

I believe that had my adoptive father known a place where he felt accepted for the gender he knew was true, he might not have beaten my childhood into a sad memory. Acceptance of self often begins with the embrace of others. When someone is encouraged to shine in their intended spirit state, they are able to add happiness to the world.

Being the child of a transgender person who could not accept his/her true identity, makes me sensitive to the rights of the LGBTQ community. When this group of humanity (in its infinite forms) can thrive, dream, and exist in peace- struggle dies. Struggle is pain. With pain relieved, a generation of suffering evaporates.

Pulse was supposed to be a safe place. On most nights, Pulse lifted up LGBTQ patrons to dance in delight of their individuality. This weekend, the devil entered the happy place, attempting to destroy that community. He failed. Bruised, this community will need time to mourn, for the losses are many. But they will return stronger, and hopefully knowing the world wishes them freedom of expression and love.

Just sad,

V.L.


Follow me on Twitter- @RockMemoir
Like my Facebook page-http://www.facebook.com/vlbrunskill
Buy Waving Backwards for Kindle $4.99 at Amazon.com-amazon.com/author/vlbrunskill
Waving Backwards book trailer-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ufjmq0l-U

 

 

 

 

 

Find Courage- A Message from Trans Dad’s Grave

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Mother’s Day weekend had me thinking of a woman who was not my mother, but my father. My father died a transgender woman last year. She transitioned in her late sixties, after living most of her life as an angry, abusive man.
(pronoun warning- it’s about to get messy)

About a month ago, I requested that a volunteer at findagrave.com take a picture of my father’s tombstone. I wanted the photo added to her public memorial page (for which I am the paid administrator).

When my father died, I attempted to publish an obituary on the funeral home’s website. However, my father’s friend (who inherited all of her things including my childhood home) feared that someone would loot the empty house if the death were made public. She stopped publication of the obituary. So my father Joann died, without a single published memorial, other than the emotional eulogy I penned here.

This weekend, I visited my adoptive father’s findagrave.com page because she was in my head. Hours spent reliving my father’s life, as I write her story into a novel, allows her to sit by my side in a sort of self-haunting. However, I believe that the macabre regurgitation of her story will ultimately free me.

When I looked at the page, I found that volunteer photographer Kimberly LaFountain had graciously taken a photo of the tombstone and posted it on the memorial. I expected a basic military gravestone. However, the words carved there were a heartbreaking affirmation of the heart and soul of my new novel.

FIND COURAGE TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE

dad tombstonenoname

Enlightened words from a woman who did not get to live her truth,
until it was too late to save my family.

My father lived a tortured life, that along with a terrible upbringing, caused him to become a masterful torturer. He was cruel in every sense of the word. One source of his cruelty was that he lived as a man for sixty plus years, all the while knowing he was a woman.

Of late, states across the nation are up-in-arms over where transgender people should be allowed to pee. My father’s story, and the message on her grave, should serve to remind us that there is danger in denying one’s truth.

My father was not a danger when she used the woman’s restroom. She was a danger when she pent up who she was, and tried to live as a tough as nails iron-worker, and fists-first father. She was a horrible person, because she lived everyday in as masculine a manner as she could muster. Her idea of masculine behavior was defined by her own abusive father. Men hit. So she bloodied my childhood while trying to prove a maleness that did not exist.

In my father’s case, there were additional psychological issues that capitulated her anger into abuse. However, I believe the main source of her cruelty was the daily squelching of gender truth.

I defend transgender rights today, despite the turmoil my trans father caused in my family’s life. I want to shout from the rooftops that where trans people pee is inconsequential. They have been using their restroom of choice for years. You just didn’t notice.

When discussing transgender people, the focus needs to be on encouragement for all people to live the truth, without cultural, or societal mandates that make them want to hide their differences. I am living proof that acceptance would mean less suffering for all.

FIND COURAGE TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE

Blessings to know and live your truth,
V.L.

Follow me on Twitter- @RockMemoir
Like my Facebook page-http://www.facebook.com/vlbrunskill
Buy Waving Backwards for Kindle $4.99 at Amazon.com- amazon.com/author/vlbrunskill
Waving Backwards book trailer-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ufjmq0l-U

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Author Page- Almost as Exciting as a Polar Bear

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World stop spinning, my Amazon author page is live! Every writer who has ever penned a novel must get a secret tingle when their sales shingle is slung up on Amazon.com.  While Amazon has had a few pricing wars with publishing houses, it (along with Barnes & Noble) remain the hub of online book sales.  (Yes, dear readers. I prefer independent book stores.)

More than 36 months have passed since I started writing my debut novel Waving Backwards, and its ‘at-last’ appearance on Amazon.com has me reflecting on my first taste of literary notoriety.

I took to writing in elementary school. I started with a journal, which I addressed to a secret confidant named Lovey. I shared with Lovey my pop-star crushes, and secret wishes. Unlike my friends, a fair amount of my childhood journal was about heaven, hell, and dreams of finding my biological family. The writing was heartfelt and heavy.

However, my first notoriety as a writer was light and lovely. In a suburban New York classroom, I watched as my 4th grade teacher tacked up a poster that would launch me into the dangerous world of elementary school gossip. The shiny poster showed a fierce looking polar bear perched on a glacial plain. All eyes stared when the teacher announced, “Girls and boys, we are having a poetry contest.”

Youthful chatter and enthusiasm bubbled. I was the rhyming queen, and sure that I would win the poster, and colored pencil set. All  I had to do was write a poem about the subject. Easy, peasy! This is what I turned in the following day-

Did you ever see a polar bear,
so big, white and furry?
I’d sure hate to be in one’s way,
when it’s in a hurry.

Not exactly Shakespeare, but it did the trick. In front of the entire class, I was presented with a first place certificate and badge. The teacher had me read my poem (my first public reading). It was a dazzling moment, until…Tommy told a lie.

To my utter disbelief, Tommy Sciarello (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) raised his hand and said, “Miss Anderson, I read that poem in a magazine.” Glaring he continued, “She copied it.”

In shock, I defended myself. “I did not.” I started to cry. Miss Anderson pried the certificate from my hand saying, ‘Well Tommy, plagiarism is a serious accusation. I will look into it. Please be seated, Vicki-lynn.”

Sideward stares and whispers plagued me for the rest of the day. Lunch was hell. Noone wanted to sit with ‘the cheater’. I went home and cried to my mother. She consoled me, telling me that the teacher had called, and was assured that I had not stolen the poem.

The next day, Miss Anderson reinstated my prize, certificate and badge. She also  posted my name on the bulletin board with a gold emblem that said ‘winner’. She admonished Tommy, and explained to the class the meaning of plagiarism and why it should be taken seriously. I beamed for a week, and waved a colored pencil at Tommy every time I passed his desk.

While my Amazon.com author page is thrilling, the lessons learned from my first (somewhat public) writing accomplishment will always hold a special place in my heart.

Blessings that boys with crushes never try to crush you,

V.L.
Twitter- @RockMemoir
Facebook- www.facebook.com/vlbrunskill
My novel Waving Backwardshttp://www.syppublishing.com/waving-backwards/