Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My First Gay Phone Call - Help

 
I can't say exactly what it's like for every gay man wanting to reach out to another gay man for the first time and not being able to.  I've been there, but it's been some time.  I do know saying "it's hard" doesn't quite describe it. It's loneliness, sadness, depression and hopelessness swirled into one.

I also want to ad that it doesn't get easy connecting after we've come out sometimes, especially for those who did it on their own.  We can be under the impression that, after we reveal a part of what we are, it's like turning on the lighthouse light.  The LGBT community will see us and suddenly everything will be perfect, ships of gay men and women will come to shore.  Not quite.  In fact, I'm guessing for most of us, nothing happens.  We're still alone and after taking such a big leap our yearning to be connected is even stronger.  Still, it remains unfulfilled.

What I would like to do in the future is make my phone number available for other gay men to call if interested in talking with someone.

This post was updated 3/17/17.

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The Dorchester LGBT Group: www.DorchesterLGBT.com


It's Time to Cut the Strings

 
 
It's time to cut the strings.
No longer will I let someone tell me what I'm capable of - what I can do.
I may seem strange.
To some, I'm a freak.
but from now on, I'm not listening, when they say, I'm not normal.
I am.  Or more likely, I'm better than normal.
Cut more strings.
I can live a righteous life.
Cheating, lying, and plotting against someone is not the only way to navigate this world.
I may not have a good example.
But I can be an example to myself by taking the hard road less followed.
Often stumbling, but getting stronger with each lesson.
I can be an example to others.
I am beautiful.
Maybe I don't meet the criteria to be fit for a magazine.
But honestly when I look at myself in the mirror I see perfection.
Outside of what I perceive others may think of me.
Perfectly flawed, perfectly imperfect. The real me.
When I'm not looking so great. 
It's because other peoples thoughts about beauty are swirling through my head.
No more.
Continuing to cut strings.
My spirit was not made with a cookie cutter.
I'm not one with a political party.
I'm not a democrat, a republican,
nor will I throw away my rights
or be forced to choose between things I don't want
Nor will I sit and wait for someone to help me.
I will help those around me no matter what background they have.
I'll do this under the belief that together we can all live prosperously
loving one another, we will never want.
No one will be poor.
I will treat others like I would like to be treated.
All things that I would like someone to do for me. 
I will do for someone else.
Cutting more strings.
I don't have judge anyone unless I was appointed to do so.
Therefore I will not judge unless it my duty to do so.
The measurement that I use to judge someone
may be the same measurement someone uses to judge me.
Last but not least. 
I can live without a personal love.
I can accept it, if I find it.
But I can live without it.
There will be much love in my future.
Enough to fill me.
It will come from me.
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Interested in connecting with people in the Dorchester community at local fun and professional events? Check out the Dorchester Events Groups at www.DorchesterEvents.com or www.Meetup.com/Dorchester-Events/




Friday, March 27, 2015

Grandmas Beautiful Backyard in Dorchester

 
My grandmother passed away last year. I lived with her for the last 5 years in Dorchester MA and I did not see all the value in everything she taught me.  I'll give you one example - the backyard. 
 
 
 
It was always so beautiful in her backyard.  The rose bush, the butterfly bush and what we referred to as the satellite bush were so beautiful.  It was an inspiration to her neighbors.  We also purchased several flowers every year to fill two pots on the back porch and several spots around the yard. there were flowers on both sides of the love seat and in between the twin round tables. 
 
During the summer months I would water plants everyday or every few days depending on the temperature. I was convinced all the watering was a waste.  After all, most of the flowers came up every year and I had never seen them do anything else. Everything had always been perfect.



Now that my grandmother has passed and I no longer live there all that beauty is gone.  The time I spent watering the plants I thought was worth little to nothing has proven to have made a difference. The flowers that came up every year did not return, did not bloom or appeared sick and quickly withered away. 


 
Now I do see that there was real value in what my grandmother taught me - not just with yard care.  But with everything she taught me about life.  One thing she would say to me all the time, "it's not those who have, it those who take care."  I feel she made that one just for me. 
 
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Interested in meeting other members of the Dorchester community.  Join the Dorchester Events group. www.DorchesterEvents.com  Over 100 Members. 
 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Walking Home Through the Night Photography


 
These photos were taken October 14th 2009.  At the time I was obsessed with my camera.  I was taking photos of everything no matter how late, how creepy or how long it would take. If I remember correctly these photos were taken on my way home from Andrew Station in Dorchester MA to the Upham's Corner area of Dorchester.
 
 
 
To make this night scene very luminous without the use of flash, I kept the camera shutter open for longer exposure.  To keep the camera steady I used a tripod and avoided touching the camera by using a remote trigger.  Nikon D80 10 Mega Pixels if you were wondering. 
 
 
I love the image above because you can see the prudential in the distance. It also illuminates the entire structure to the left.  However, I enjoy the softer blue illumination of the image below.
 
 
Finally I was almost home.  I can only imagine how chilly the October night was.

 
My passion for seeing the world in a different light is still here.  However, I'm not so certain I'll ever have a career in photography.  My name is Lloyd Mandrell.  You can check out some of my portrait and event photography by visiting www.LloydMandrell.com

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To connect with people like Lloyd in the Dorchester community check out the Dorchester Events Group.  www.DorchesterEvents.com 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

UMass Boston Student LGBT / Queer Center Needs To Be More Visible

When I attended the University of Massachusetts Boston. I was there a whole year before I realized there was a Students Queer Center.  I honestly didn't spend a lot of time roaming around campus in between classes or asking around - looking.  At the time I was still in the closet and doing so would mean exposing myself.  That wasn't something I was ready for.  One thing that might of made me more comfortable was knowing somewhere on campus were people that understood what I was going through and were ready to welcome me, when I was ready.

"It is our intent to provide a friendly, comfortable destination for all LGBTQQ people, their straight allies and those who choose not to label themselves and to continue to build a platform from which individual students can reach out into the campus community and beyond to effect change and betterment for all. (1/2011)"   -  3-14-15 From the UMass Boston Queer Student Center Mission Statement

UMass Boston has a great mission, but I think there needs to be more energy behind reaching out to others in the campus community and beyond.  The Student Queer Center needs a stronger web presence and more events.  They could follow the example of the Dorchester LGBT Group and other groups in the Dorchester, Boston, MA community. Events don't have to be large, expensive or complicated.  Meetings could be as simple as hosting a movie screening or having some refreshments while enjoying conversation.  Advertise and create as many opportunities as possible for the betterment of students - for the betterment of all. Events can be about making changes on campus, LGBTQQ related political issues, and LGBTQQ health - mental and physical.  They can also be about getting to know your fellow students and making friends.

I promise myself all the time that I will take a look back as things get better in my life and try to lend a helping hand to those like myself.  I'm talking about everyone that is simple looking for a connection or maybe just needs the right person to talk to.