Sometimes Fairy Tales Suck

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, there lived a girl. The girl had a very old soul and a very pure heart. She lived alone with two loyal companions. Dogs that she was almost certain that if anyone else had rescued them, they would not have survived. As much mischief as her dogs sometimes caused her, she loved them more than life. They were the most loyal people in the world.

But as much as she loved her dogs, she felt alone. She longed for more. For love. For her own family. For someone to share her life with. She was good at saying she didn't want love, but every time she saw two people in love, the pangs in her heart told her otherwise. They told her she wanted that for herself.

And then! She found love. Love that fairy tales were made of. It was amazing and wonderful and even though change was hard for her, she knew that things were just right. And all would be well.

But the fairy tale was not to be.

And once again, she was alone.

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I'm no Michelangelo but I think I can pull off Picasso

I get asked a lot if I ever took art classes. In the eighth and ninth grades, when given the choice to paint or be forced to use a sewing machine, I chose painting. And so those were the only two art classes I've ever taken.

I learned to paint from Bob Ross. No, really. I watched and watched and watched him paint on TV, and one day I said, "I can do that." So, I bought a canvas and paints and painted my first landscape. Painting is pure enjoyment for me. When I get into a painting "mode" I can sit and paint for hours. I get lost in the world I'm creating on canvas. Other times, it may take me months to complete a piece.

One of my favorite things is a blank canvas. A blank canvas is a whole world just waiting to be created. The best thing about painting is that you can paint as much as you like, or as little as you like. You go at the pace that creativity allows you. If you make a mistake, it can always be fixed. If you feel like a tree "lives right there" or if a rock is "resting right here", you add it. (Be sure to make the little "whooshing" sounds that Mr. Ross always made.) Or! Painting can be abstract where you, as the artist, may interpret it one way, but someone else may interpret it a completely different way.

Painting is all about feelings. It begins with a feeling. Things are added and taken away based on feelings. A painting is complete when the artist feels like it's complete. Then, the world can interpret the painting based on new and different feelings.

I think of life as a painting. It's all about feelings. Sometimes, life comes at you so hard, so fast that you get lost in whatever world you're in. Other times, it may take you weeks and weeks or sometimes even months to figure things out. Things are added or taken away constantly. Sometimes your painting is blended with someone else's painting. Your vision slowly and surely becomes the same. Eventually, you create whole new worlds and colors, and maybe even a little tree "lives right there". Yet, then there will be times, even when your painting is blending with another, that you just want to paint on your own. And that is OK. (No one said you can only have one painting. What would the world be like if every artist was limited to only one painting. There may be no [enter your favorite painting here].)

Life is always, always abstract. The way you interpret it is up to you, the artist. It is what you make of it.

The thing about MY life right now is everything just feels right.

WAIT. I think a little tree lives *right there*. (Yes, I made the whooshing sound.) And maybe a rock will rest over.....

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I tried to fool the world, but I could not fool my heart

For a few years now, I've been on a journey. I'm looking to unite my mind, body, and soul. If I want to do continue to do that and strive to be the best person I can, this has to be said.

I fell in love with a boy once. I knew as sure as the sky is blue that we could have had a nice life together, but I let fear control me and I never told him how I felt. Then, one day his mother told me he met a girl. A few months later, they were engaged and a year later, they were married.

I sat in the church at his wedding trying to be happy for him and his bride, but really all I thought of is where I went wrong.

Now, I realize that the exact moment that he chose her was the beginning of a journey for me. A journey to discover my true self. (I should send him and his wife a thank you note.)

I can't tell you how many times I've heard from family members, "Are you dating anyone?" "Have you met you a nice boy yet?" "April, when are you gonna find a good man and get married?" My great-aunt Opal used to walk up to me, pick up my left hand, see my naked ring finger, shake her head, and walk away without ever saying a word. (This always made me laugh.)

Despite disappointing a lot of my family in this area of my life, I did date. As a result of meeting and dating "nice" boys, I've been stood up, sort of phone stalked(this is actually a funny story), stood up again, demanded sex happen NOW (this guy was dumped immediately), rejected, and told I would never have a real relationship. Not one relationship ever lasted longer than three months.

I decided that there was something broken in my brain that wouldn't allow me to be in a healthy, happy relationship with a nice boy. (Let's disregard the fact that the boys weren't that nice, OK? Thanks.) And I gave up dating. I made peace with that. I could learn to be content with never finding love. At times, I was content.

I always knew I was different growing up. I wasn't like the girls who loved to shop or knew how to perfectly poof their bangs every morning, and when my aunt gave me a make-up set for Christmas when I was 17, I thanked her with a smile, but secretly thought, why in the world would she give me something like this?

Throughout my twenties, I was asked several times if I was gay. Rumors were spread around work. Some people won't even talk to me still because of these rumors. I always strongly denied the rumors because in my mind, I wasn't gay. To me, being gay meant that you cut your hair like a guy, you dressed in guys' clothes and you hated men. I was none of those things. Yet I was different.

You see, being gay in my family means that you are not accepted. It means you've made a choice to live your life not according to the way God would want you to live your life. If you are gay, you also are not a child of God and do not accept Him into your life. Very few of my family members feel like being gay was something that is you are born with.

I've been at family functions and seen family members hear the word "gay" or "lesbian" and snarl their noses, as if being gay is something gross.

All I ever wanted was to be accepted. I tried to just blend in. The harder I tried to blend in, the more I failed. So, I decided to embrace the fact that I am a nerd. I love books and fantasy and I believe in magic and I keep toys on my desk at work. I think Star Trek is cool and aliens are real and when I hike, I always look for unicorns. (And I have a BS in Mathematics.)

With acceptance of my nerdiness (and others' acceptance of my nerdiness), came acceptance that different is OK. I started looking within me at other parts of me that are different. What I found is that, yes, I am gay. Being gay is as much a part of me as my nerdiness. It is as much a part of me as my hair is brown or my eyes are green. And what I found is while, others may not think it's OK, I had to first realize myself that it is OK. I am more than OK.

Slowly, as I started telling people, I realized that not everyone believes as most in my family does. Gay, straight, brown, white, yellow, green, I am still April. I will always be April. I will always be working to better myself as a human and I am who I am.

What I found, is that most people like April just because I'm me.

Three months ago, I started dating this amazing girl. I never knew love could be so beautiful and so fun. While the future has not yet been written, I hope that we are in each other's lives for a long, long time.

I'm not sure what the future holds at all. I'm not sure what my family will say when they find out about my sexuality (from me or if they read it here). But one thing I do know is that no matter what people say or what they think, I am good. Life is good.

And it will all be OK.

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Queen Penelope is back online. Or now online. Whatever.

I told myself I would never play FarmVille.

Don't get me wrong, I had nothing against the game. I was intrigued when I heard people at work talking about it. Here's the thing. I've always wanted to play World of Warcraft. But I heard on a podcast that unless you play like 20 hours a week, you don't really get the full experience.

And then there is this.

See what I mean?! I can't get hooked on something like that! (Except I could totally get hooked on something like that.)

Then one day someone asked, "Will you be my FarmVille neighbor? You don't have to play, I just need a neighbor."

Sure, I thought. There would be no harm in signing up so I could be her neighbor, right? Right. So, I logged into Facebook, signed up for FarmVille, and that was that.


Well, my farmer didn't look like me at all. So, if I was going to be on FarmVille my farmer had to look a bit like me, even if I wasn't going to play. Three hours later, my farmer looked cute. Just like me.

Then, well, they gave me a few crops all ready to harvest. No harm in harvesting them, right? Oh my God, you get coins for harvesting! Well, I guess if that's the case, there would be no harm in planting another crop or two. Just for fun.

I knew I was in trouble when I had to go out of town for a day, and I asked a certain someone if she would watch over my farm for the day. WHAT? Did I just really ask someone to watch over my virtual farm? Crap. I'm in trouble.

In the middle of my out of town day (which was not a fun day for me), I got an email. It read, "Don't panic when you see all the crops I planted on your farm. It's under control."

That email made me laugh out loud and was the best part of my day. I smiled the rest of the day, thinking about that email.

When I got home that night, the first thing I did was to check on my farm. Oh my God, I had pigs now! They were so cute! I knew my heart was lost to my farm.

Moral of the story: Saying never will come back to bite you in the ass. And FarmVille is fun.

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