Sure, I’ll jump off this cliff…and hope I make it.

Yes.

Allow me to define it for you.

yes – adv. : It is so; as you say or ask. Used to express affirmation, agreement, positive confirmation, or consent.

1. An affirmative or consenting reply. 2. An affirmative vote or voter. tr.v. yessed, yes·sing, yes·es  To give an affirmative reply to. interj. Used to express great satisfaction, approval, or happiness.


Here’s my thought:  I’ve been knocking around the idea of new ventures for years now but I’ve become quite complacent with my job and content with the security that comes with it.  Back in the day, I thought that I was a super hero of sorts and because of that, took on adventure after adventure without ever having blinked an eye.  I thrived on adrenaline and the “sport” of travel.  Before I was 25, I had discovered 13 countries for myself and lapped up every cultural morsel the world had to offer.

Here I am at 19, traveling on a train somewhere between Minsk, Belarus and Moscow, Russia…some 5600 miles or so from home.

After returning to America, I took on my first dream job and worked as a minister for 4 years (I know, I know…I was a Rev. and some of you are giggling).  After realizing that I didn’t fit into the ministry culture, I resigned that position to work at my next dream job…graphic designer.  Here’s the dealio, I’ve been doing graphic art for 12 years and moved into an Art Director position 8 years ago.  I freaking love it.  In the midst of doing this graphic design stuff, I became a member of an indie rock band called Eric and the Adams. That was four years of adventure, travel and creativity all wrapped into one.  Crazy town.

The last 6 years of my life, I have become happily engaged, bought a home, was the drummer in a rock band, had a child, raised money (not because I’m amazing but because my friends are) for a solo album, worked on tour with a phenomenal musician – learning the hard work of a stage hand, and now….

Well.  Now what?

The message of what I’m trying to convey is that all these humbling opportunities came to me and I had to make a decision.  What do I say?

“Angel, would you like to travel all over the world?”

“Angel,  would you like to come work for me as a graphic artist?”

“Angel, would you like to be the drummer in my new band?”

“Angel, will you record your music?”

“Angel, will you marry me?”

YES!  I said, “Yes.”
Things have been a little strapped because of the way the economy has fallen and I have found myself scrambling to make ends meet.  With that and the very real fact that I mentioned earlier that I just don’t fit the culture of where I am. I realize more everyday that I don’t fit into the traditional role that a patriarchal socially structured environment would want me.  I need to redirect my path.

I have been looking for a way to open doors for myself so that I can step into a new phase of life.

Not too long ago, I was given an opportunity to take a class at a community college here in Tulsa.  It was a radio class.  The class was paid for…all I would have to do is enroll and show up.  If any of you have known me for long, you know that I really enjoy entertaining (when I was younger, I would practice my award speeches out in the yard – I’ve accepted countless Emmys, Tonys, Oscars, and Grammys).  Here’s the sad part…I got wrapped up with too many things that don’t matter, instead of focusing on the stuff that will get me on track.  I didn’t say, “Yes”.  This class would have gotten me on track.  It was my next step and I missed it.  Have you ever done that before…a few weeks later you wish you could go back in time and slap yourself out of your slumber?  Things change for me when I say yes.  No more missed opportunities…

SO, I’m in full preparation of a new chapter…a new “dream job”.  I’ll work diligently at my 9-5er until I can fully step out on my own but let me tell you this…it is not without fear, anxiety, adrenaline, and hope.

photo credit: Stuart Anthony

My partner and I have a running joke from a familiar cliché.

The cliché?  “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”.  Our variation?  “We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.”

I’m lucky to have a partner who supports my ever growing need to push the boundary, break the glass ceiling, smash socioeconomic class, and jar the mindset of poverty.  I’ll happily jump off this cliff.  I’ve jumped off of so many and it has taken me to places I’ve never dreamed.  My way of opening doors for myself is to say, “Yes”.

SO, I say yes to the things ahead.

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Words For My Eulogy

There’s a guy in Tulsa, Oklahoma who is one of our city’s nicest.  His name is Jeremy CharlesImage

I don’t get to spend a lot of time with Jeremy now that he’s nearly super famous and now that my band no longer exists but, he is still someone that I treasure.  I spend a lot of my social media time creeping his photographs and catch myself grinning at the mere fact that one of the good guys are being treated so well in this universe.  He’s one of those creatives that keep me on my toes to do better…to be better.

Yesterday, while getting caught up on my Twitter, I caught a picture taken by Jeremy at the recent KISS/Motley Crew concert at our beloved BOK Center.  As are most of Jeremy’s photos, this was extraordinary.  However, it wasn’t his photo that caused me to stare into empty space for the next 5 minutes, it was his words.  On two separate occasions, he used words that changed my guts, or what my mom calls my “knower”.  You know that place that exists in you where you “know that you know that you know that you know”?  Yeah, that place lit up…like it was on fire.

I started thinking about the greatness of these words and I realized that if I want these words to be mine…if I want these words to ever be used to describe me then I had better start fitting inside their definitions.  In this case, it was used for KISS and them being titans of rock and their empire of success.

To be known as a titan of anything or be equated to having anything remotely connected to the word empire…can you imagine that?  My mind started racing…the kind of racing where I’m certain you could hear whistles and clacks of train tracks.

I think that I’ll start writing my eulogy and once I get it, it should be a piece of cake…right?  Working backwards from the answer in math was a flawless technique…as long as you freaking understood math.  Let’s pretend that I’ve got my mind wrapped around this universe and go from there.

What do I want for my life, my legacy, and how do I get it?  It only makes sense to start conforming to the words I want people to use to describe me.  Today is the day.  However, it’s not just “the day” for me…it is for you as well.  And I’m curious…what are the words you want in your eulogy?

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What?! Here’s a little sneak peek.

I’ve been battling every aspect of performance and stage fright like a motha…

I decided to suck it up and put something out there.  I had some free time at work today and decided to work on revising a song.  Here it is in all it’s raw glory.  🙂

The lyrics were written in 2009, I think and the song has been rolling around ever since.

Be expecting to hear this on the album…probably much different than you hear it here once the producer gets a hold of it.  Thank you for taking a listen and  hopefully soon, you’ll being hearing the rest of the album in it’s entirety before the end of the year.

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Unintentional

To those of you who know me, You know that I am generally always laughing.  I typically sit back and watch things happen, watch people and giggle at how we tend to view and handle things.  After all, the things that are usually going on in our lives are tiny in comparison to the big picture and the world view of broken countries and humanity as a whole.  I’m learning as I watch Americans, that justice is most of what we rely on to keep our sanity…to keep our society running.  When things start breaking down, it seems that it’s because someone somewhere feels threatened and hasn’t been taken care of “justly”.   For the LGBT community, for Christians, for Muslims, for African Americans, for Veterans, for the poor, the rich, the educated, the uneducated, the sick, the well, the list goes on and on…when we feel threatened or treated without fairness, integrity, and impartiality, we enter a survival mode and instantly try to reclaim what every human being craves and deserves.  Impartial Justice.  The sad part is we expect it but we are not always willing to give it.

I was recently taken out for my birthday to see a movie.  I really enjoy the horror genre and I really enjoy history so it was a no brainer for me to choose to see Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter.  Of course the idea of the movie and even the title of the movie makes me giggle but I went to see it anyway and was quite surprised at the “mark” it left on me.  I thoroughly loved the spin they did to the Civil War.  Strangely though…I couldn’t shake what it did to me.

Thanks to Facebook, I have had the opportunity to see all of the rants and raves from friends and family on both sides of the current civil issue of Gay Marriage and it’s ugly. I live in a red state.  A very conservative state.  When I walk outside, whether alone or with my family, I walk with eyes wide open and short breaths ready to defend myself and my family from what may be lurking near me.  WHY? Why do I do that? Because I’m not safe. Certainly those on FB who vehemently oppose my point of view are capable of doing harm…their posts alone can be terrifying. I can’t imagine what would happen if we met on the street.

We are breaking down.  We are failing to be Americans.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately about the Civil unrest that is splitting our country.  I have a tendency to research the heck out of something that I’m trying to understand….after all “knowing is half the battle”, right?  I went back to America’s Civil War.  Studying it all over again made me ask so many questions.  I wondered at what point in time was Lincoln told he was on the “wrong side of history” when he pursued the idea of emancipation for slaves.  I wondered at what point in time were families torn apart for their personal stances on what they believed to be right, wrong, or biblical.  I wondered how many of my own family died because of this war…I wondered about which side they died for…

I started thinking about one of the next great Civil movements and was flooded with memories as I revisited a trip I took while I was in college to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.  I can still recall standing there with so many generations of different colors of people learning about their struggles and seeing the very site where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of that balcony.  I remember tears welling up in my eyes…I remember turning and looking across the way to where the shooter allegedly took his shot through a bathroom window.  My stomach was sick.

I feel that I must say that I have never experienced tragedy or discrimination as a person of color…well…because I’m not a person of color. I have no personal frame of reference to compare what it’s like to live in that world.  What I do have is the life I’ve lived as a gay woman.

I found it incredibly interesting that a part of the exhibit at the National Civil Rights Museum shares this:

Protest (1940-1955)

Protest (1940-1955): The aftermath of the 1954 murder of 14 year- old Emmett Till and numerous lynchings sparked protests. African-Americans began economic boycotts, sought legal redress against segregated educational facilities, planned a demonstration march on the nation’s capitol, organized voter registration drives and sit-ins, attended grassroots organizing workshops and sought an end to military discrimination.

Is any of this starting to sound familiar?

Freedom Rides (1961)

Freedom Rides (1961): Segregated interstate bus and train travel was illegal by 1961, as well as segregating travelers in bus and railway station terminals. The Freedom Rides were planned to expose the continued practice of discrimination despite federal laws. <<<<< Did you catch that last part??  Even now I hear the echoes of history in the voices of our state leaders.

When you get a chance, watch the documentary…it’s so incredibly moving.  The picture below shows the aftermath of how the mob forced the crippled bus to stop several miles outside of town and then firebombed it.  As the bus burned, the mob held the doors shut, intending to burn the riders to death.  I watched with tears covering my face.  I just don’t understand.

SO…thanks to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I started thinking about a new Civil War.  People are vicious and the violence is turning towards the new civil issue.

When I came out of the closet at 17 years old, I was forced into a gay to straight program.  Not physically forced but when you grow up in middle America and you want to be a missionary for the rest of your life, being gay is a death sentence.  Not only did I have to attend and flourish in this program in order to be a missionary with my church, I was also fighting to stay out of hell.

When I went away to Missionary School and Bible College, I was outed by church leaders and was “forced” to attend another gay to straight program or would be kicked out of the organization.  I did attend and worked my ass off so I could stay, only the leaders were so mystified as to what to do with me, they kicked me out anyway.  And it wasn’t just a “sweep it under the rug” scenario either.  I had to stand before the staff and entire student body and confess to being gay and confess to misleading everyone I knew there at the school.  I was humiliated.  It was the point in my life that I realized that I was about to lose everything that I had worked for…since I was 14 years old…I worked as a missionary and planned on doing that for the rest of my life.

This is when I broke.  Not because I was gay…but because the church considered me useless and broken.  I was sent home.

Upon my arrival, I was told that if I ever wanted to work in the ministry again or be a missionary again, I had to complete yet another gay to straight program.  I had one more chance but I was near exhaustion and this one was vowed to be more intense (3 programs rolled into one long journey with curriculum from Exodus International, Purity with a Purpose, and Restoration Outreach) and completely stripping me of all ability to think on my own.  I was removed from my parent’s home and placed with a church family who, while they loved me very much, had no real idea of what I was going through.  I was completely alone.   I was spiritually, socially and mentally beaten to nothing.  Nothing.  Do you understand what I am saying?  I had no ability to make decisions on my own.  I couldn’t think past my next breath.  I did nothing but live eat and drink this program.  I poured every part of my being into the only stable thing I had…and that was my God.  And even so…I was dying.

Not only did I attend these programs, I did so well, that I became a spokesperson for them.  I spoke on many panels to many universities about what life is like as an “ex-gay”…all the while still being gay.  So…let’s talk about the here and now.  Why THIS post?

How do all of these things add up and what do they have to do with me now?  I watch all of the strife and conflict happening to my community and my brothers and sisters, Christians and Gays and once again, my stomach is sick.  It’s caused me to think about what would happen if we had another Civil War.  The country would split North and South.  My family would also split…some fighting for Gay Rights and others fighting against.  My little family and I would have to pack up and leave Oklahoma…we might even have to escape.  Another “underground railroad” of sorts.  We would lose everything.  What a sad thing to think about.

Here’s what it’s like to be gay for me:

The tragedy, discrimination, and fear that I’ve lived with for 20 years…

According to church and my most of my friends and family from there, I am going to hell.  I am broken.  I will never be a whole and healthy person because of this “choice” I’ve made.  I will never be allowed to be a missionary or minister again with the organizations I grew up with.  They choose to look away and not acknowledge that after all that I went through throughout these programs, after having nothing but God, I did not choose this.  I am this.

I was reading a friends FB page and she said some things that I will incorporate here.  I will be married someday BUT for now, I worry about what a nightmare health insurance coverage is for my family…has anyone who’s not gay read what we have to go through just to get coverage?  And that’s just if your particular state feels like offering it to you…which in my case, does not.  I worry about if we should bring our advanced medical directives and the guardianship papers for our daughter everywhere we go “just in case something happens.”  I want to not have to carry outrageous sums of life insurance so that my partner or I would have enough money to pay estate taxes on the house we own, and pay for together.  I want to be able to file taxes as one family unit.  I don’t want to be told by our attorney that if a family member contests either of our wills in court after our passing, that “due to the political climate” that my partner or I would lose and must be prepared to potentially face that issue. I would like to be honest about my marital status on forms I fill out, because I haven’t been single in 6 years. Most of all, I want, my partner to be able to adopt, without me dying, our daughter that we have raised together.  I want to be able to walk beside my partner while out in public without the fear of being yelled at or physically attacked.  I want to never be afraid of losing my job just because I’m gay…or be denied service at a restaurant or spit at while I’m walking through a hospital.  I will not sit quietly and act like I have never been treated grotesquely for being gay.

I worry about RIGHTS a lot.

For those who don’t recall, Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as physical or mental disability, gender, religion, race, national origin, age, status as a member of the uniformed services, sexual orientation, or gender identity;[1][2][3] and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, and movement.

You know…I’ve only had 2 church friends ask me about my life…what I went through and what struggles I’ve had after coming out.  One is someone I met while working in the Philippines.  She just recently contacted me on FB and was the most gentle and kind person I have come in contact with in a long time. And the other is from the missionary school I attended and She has always been by my side.  Sadly, most of the rest have just said, “well, you know how I feel about your lifestyle…”.  Well, you know how I feel when you say that?  You don’t?  That’s right…because you’ve never asked me.  A straight friend of mine who is trying to wrap her mind around all of it said this, “Would you feel loved by somebody if they included rules, context, and/or explanations about your lifestyle every time they spoke about how much they don’t hate you? Only when talking about gay people do Christians feel the need to preface their “love” or “non-hate” with some variation of “I don’t agree with your lifestyle, but…” Christians don’t talk about any other group of people like that–only gay people.

So, I want to believe Christians when they say “I don’t hate gay people.” But sometimes proof of that is necessary.”

For those of my friends who are so frustrated with me using my recently found voice to stand up to what I’ve suffered, I have earned my place.  I have more than just scars…they are my stripes.  It was unintentional but I have become a voice.  By all means, it was determined to be squashed out of me but I am still alive.   I will speak and I will speak loudly.

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Dear God…what have I done.

Seriously, this is the third time that I have started typing a post…what was supposed to be the first post of my life.  I feel like I’ve been flushing a toilet in a rickety twin engine airplane and this tiny hole (a vacuum, if you will) covered with an off-white cracked plastic flap opens and sucks the words right off my screen and into this waste that seems to disappear into thin, crappy, air.

Nonetheless, I have done it. I have succumbed to this…the writing of a blog.  I’m thinking about the fact that there aren’t many folks out there who are interested in reading about the life and times of Angel Adams but I am aware that there are a few around who might be…and for you, I invite you into my heart and head for a journey that I hope we all can see ourselves a part of .  And by the by, I’m not worried about grammar or spelling…well, I’m a little worried about spelling. But for the most part, the words typed in this small window will be spilling out in the form of my thoughts and not so much in the form of my Sr. High English paper as annotated by Mrs. James.  So…suck it.

So…here we are.  The road ahead seems like a long unchartered mess (and that’s my “cup is half full” version) and the road behind is full of potholes that are full of mire and dung (also “half full”).  BUT, don’t let that mislead you into thinking that this is a wah-wah downer of a life story blog.  It is the contrary.  The fun part is that it’s my life…my amazing and incredible “how did I get here” life.  I have trials and triumphs and super tall hurdles that this shorty of a  5’4″ frame finds hugely uninviting but as I type I also hope that you see my every moment is focused on making those hurdles my bitch.

Other than that…I merely take every day as the miracle it is, good and bad. And believe me, there’s a lot of both.  We’re effin human for crying out loud.  Most of the time, I’m just looking around trying to figure out how I got here.  Whether you believe in a higher power or not, you gotta wonder sometimes.  I’m certain that I had no super powers in my possession that could get me to where I am today.  This is my equivalent of “it wasn’t me”.  Take that as you will.

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