Posts Tagged With: American Idol

Finding THAT Connection

Sometimes most all of us would benefit from a good whack in the head to be reminded that we need more perspective in our lives! Lazaro 8The whack that just caught me upside my head was Lazaro Arbos and his American Idol audition. Lazaro, a 21 year-old ice cream scooper from Florida, has had a stutter since age 6 that has deeply impacted his life. I cannot imagine the courage it took for this brave young man, with a pretty severe stutter, to sit in front of television cameras and share his story. By the end of the audition he had tears of joy dripping from his chin – and so did I.

What an indomitable spirit he must have! His family immigrated to Florida from Cuba when he was 10 years-old Lazaro 16and his parents still speak Spanish. This would make me guess that he learned English well after the stuttering began and is now bilingual. Reared all of my live in the United States, at 40 I immigrated to Colombia, South America, and have had GREAT difficulty learning the local language of Spanish and I do not have a stutter to overcome. This young man has whacked me in the head reminding me I have to stop making excuses and learn Spanish or this inspirational moment will have been wasted.

At one point he says – things that “normal” people would think are so easy becomes so hard for him. I do not doubt that a lot of things are more Lazaro 7difficult for him, but I hope he misspoke using the term “normal” people in a way that could exclude him from being “normal”. My brief moment of sympathy was quickly followed by shock. This guy that just inspired not only me but thousands, does he feel he is not “normal”? Watching it the first time, I just wanted to give him a big hug. Watching it again, I wanted to shake him and say, “NEVER feel you are not ‘normal’!” But the confidence, courage, strength and intelligence he must posses to be bilingual while having a stutter and giving such a heartfelt performance convinces me, and I hope, he just misspoke.

I am such an easy target for a story like his because I have a real empathy for his situation. I had hearing difficulties as a lazaro 14child and out of a necessity created my own language. It was actually the official language of the little world I lived in – within my own little head. Lazaro’s mother Gisela says she often had to speak for him. My little world also had a translator, my older sister Darlene. People would listen to me jabber on and on (one thing that has not changed about me), not understanding a word, then ask Darlene, “What did he say?” Then she would relay my message perfectly in English. She was really the only one that truly understood me, having to also translate for Mom and Dad at times! At age five, I began to learn to speak English, the language of the people in my new world. I no longer had to live in my isolated world and began to FEEL more and more connected to this much bigger world outside my little head.

My translator Darlene & Me

My translator Darlene & Me

Acting as my translator, Darlene and I built a unique bond. Now we are adults, we often argue and fight. In thinking about this I have come to a realization why – I struggle wanting her to understand me to help translate who I am to a part of the world that does not understand me – my family! Our rifts are about religion, politics, as well as lifestyle. While she and my family remain very religious, conservative, and content; I, on the other hand lost my religion, tend to be liberal (I really think I am what they now call a Progressive), I am openly gay and live what I have convinced myself is an adventurous life given the constraints of a life dealing with limitations because of Multiple Sclerosis. So I try and hope for her to understand me so that she can translate so I can feel a connection with my family again. We do make real effort, but for now… I am still jabbering on and on in my own language and feel I NEED that ONE person that understands me to help the world (outside of my little head) understand me!

Seeing this video surprised me because I felt I was witnessing Lazaro’s moment, the moment he found “MUSIC” was his translator and people beyond his Lazarofamily could understand and connect with the world he has been isolated in for so long.  He found his Darlene!  I think he FEELS he has connected; others see, feel, and understand his world a little more. Not only is music his translator – he sees that it is an APPRECIATED talent. He has found some of the respect he has craved and deserves.  Feeling this connection has to be incredible! He has been actualized as a member of the bigger world. The talent that until now has been comfort in his isolated world can now be shared – WORLD, MEET LAZARO!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/american-idol-lazaro-arbo-stutter-video_n_2501225.html?ncid=webmail19

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Being Cool Comes Naturally…. Just As Insecurity Does

Cool” comes so easily and naturally for some people.  I look at Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and ask myself – how “cool” can one guy be?  Enrique Iglesias may have genetically inherited his ability to ooze “cool” in multiple languages.  Making people laugh makes Wanda Sykes MUY (very) “cool” in my book.  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie even make being over 40 with kids look “cool”.  I could chill beer in the presence of this line up… but what “cool” factor do these people have in common?  Ok – other than being one sexy bunch – they support the gay community and its causes.

Adam Lavine loves and is very supportive of his gay brother Michael and is proud as a judge on “The Voice” that the show does not try to suppress contestant’s sexuality like American Idol does (remember contestants R.J. Helton, Jim Verraros, Clay Akien, Adam Lambert?).  Enrique admittedly loves his gay fans and has even serenaded a gay guy with his song “Hero” at the G-A-Y club in London.  Wanda Sykes “came out” at Las Vegas Pride to lend support to defeating Prop 8 that would recognize only marriages between 1 man and 1 woman in California.  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gave donations of money and time to also help defeat Prop 8.

All my life I have wanted to know how it feels to be “cool”.  My idea of being “cool” would be to have  confidence, be secure about how I feel about myself while also being apathetic of others opinions.  Even as a mid 1980s runway model with a 28″ waist, I never felt confident.  I had earned a swimmers build by actually swimming, tan-lines that were the result of the sun – not a tanning bed and actually did not look bad in a swimsuit!  But still, I cried myself to sleep wishing I was not so thin…. now I cry myself to sleep wishing I was thin again!  Talk about serendipity!!  Even when I may actually have been a little cool… I did not or could not see it!  My “coolness” was blinded by my internal struggle with own identity.

The saddest thing is I could not identify my internal conflict.  Coming to terms with having been sexually molested as a child by a guy in my neighborhood created BIG TIME insecurities that I still carry today.  Not understanding how this may or may not have affected my sexuality made for a lonely time in my late teens and early twenties.  I also came to terms with “religion” as I knew it wanted nothing to do with me.  At that point in my life, I never knew any gay people, was naïve about celebrities being gay,  much less noticed straight celebrities that were “cool” and/or supportive of the gay lifestyle.  I do not think that being gay is an issue of being “cool”, but back then, to know it would not be “UNcool” to be gay would have saved a lot of dark thoughts that I had about myself.

Even in my confusing high school experience, a classmate when added to my facebook a while ago let me know he thought of me as one of the “cool” kids in high school.  When I was growing up, if I could have had the positive examples from the gay and straight communities that exist today…. I would have been “cool” or been able to see myself as having the possibility of being “cool”.  I do not hold up my “cool” line up to unreasonable standards, I can imagine at some point (or even now) they lacked confidence in themselves.  Enrique is a performer that may feel his father’s shadow over him; Wanda Sykes was once married, so she had issues with her sexuality also; Angelina Jolie is famously from a dysfunctional family… now Adam and Brad’s confidence issues are much less evident!

Adam Levine has “Moves Like Jagger”, a voice that is smooth like silk, bad boy tattoos, and looks that can kill harder than James Bond!  Adam is also my ALL-Star “COOL” guy and my straight guy crush!  Enrique will be the gay community’s “Hero”.  Wanda Sykes will tell you “I’ma Be Me”!  Brad and Angelina will wait to marry when gays have the same right.  I am 44 years old and still fight insecurities on many levels, but the key difference… I realize I am not alone…. if everyone were honest… we would admit we all have insecurities… even the people we think are “cool”. But in the mean time….some kid somewhere is seeing not only gay celebrities, but also straight celebrities stand up and say…. I am confident of who I am and not worried what others think….. and I will stand with gay friends and family… and even if these kids miss the support at home…. maybe they can find support with a growing crowd of people who love them and want them to understand no one can “BE COOL” all the time!!  Enjoy your “cool” moments!!

http://www.out.com/features/2011/08/Adam-Levine-Will-Be-Loved/index.asp?slideshow_title=Adam-Levine-Will-Be-Loved&theID=1#Top

http://www.canada.com/topics/entertainment/story.html?id=c53bc1bf-e789-4d74-a74d-7622e3d4f19c&k=18714

http://blog.zap2it.com/pop2it/2008/11/wanda-sykes-wif.html

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/1980/91/8091813

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