Remembering Uncle Mike

Uncle Mike

A short time ago, Uncle Mike died. That’s not entirely accurate. He stopped being my uncle about 40 years ago. My aunt, who is my mother’s sister, got divorced from Uncle Mike back in the 1970′s. It was a short marriage, just long enough to have a couple of kids. She remarried Scott, who feels much more like an uncle than Mike did.

But I never did call him “Uncle Scott.” In an effort to establish my independence and maturity, I decided to call him simply by his first name. My parents and my aunt didn’t seem to object, nor did Scott. So Scott he was…and continues to be to this day.

How I Lost Myself And Gained A Family


My father was an angry man. I never understood what made him angry, but I did manage to pick up on it. As a result, I entered adulthood with my own anger issues and ill-equipped to know how to deal with them. For a long time, I didn’t.

For years, I avoided the “L” word, the “M” word, and the “C” word – Love, Marriage, and Children. They may have been okay for others, but not for me. I had other things to do.

I’m not sure what motivated me, except fear. I rationalized my bitterness, putting up a front that I was perfectly content living alone, being alone, staying alone. Truth is, I was lonely, bitter, and destined to stay that way. Then one day, I decided to make a change. I began to look for a wife.

Three Things That Made Me Love My Mother More

Tiff & Mom

My mother and I have the traditional Hollywood mother-daughter relationship. My mother is the antagonist and I am the baby cub that simply falls in line. Sometimes I try to prove my womanhood but it really doesn’t make a difference. She will always see me as a four year old with a frog in my pocket.

My encounter with my mom involves her telling me what to do and her missile launching several random questions at me all at once. And, she will not, even if she is eating, allow me to get a word in.

She says things like: Do you have an iron? Have you gained any weight? Did you ever return that library book? Did you lock your door? When are you going to start getting allergy shots again? Does your seatbelt work? Please do not speak to strangers or pick up hitch hikers. And, please do not accept emails from strange people asking you for money online.

How Controlling Ourselves Can Help Change Others

change others

For eight years, I believed that I could transform my ex-husband into someone else. I encouraged him, coached him, cheered him…anything in my power to change him into what I viewed as his full potential. Even though he constantly asked for my help, the truth was, he never put his full heart into it. I wanted him to change much more than he did, and I was so blind by my mission that I never accepted him for who he was. Not surprisingly, this conflict contributed to the end of our marriage.

We want to believe that we are a positive force for change, both in our lives and in those around us. We see role models accomplishing this all the time. Great teachers can mold young minds. Great philanthropists can provide opportunities to those who have none. But just because you want others to change doesn’t mean you control them. In the end, it is up to each individual to live his own life.

So while we can’t control others, there are things in our control that may influence others to change for the better:

Coming Out of the Closet: How I Guided People Through My BIG Change

jeffery straker

I grew up in a small rural town on the prairies of Canada – the town had about 300 people in it. I knew I was ‘different’ while in school but I didn’t actually know I was gay until university. I did my 3rd year of studies over in the UK and that’s when it all started to make sense. When you’re in a different country, all of a sudden you inherit the ability to re-invent and it was magical.

Back in Canada and all done university, I had moved to Toronto for a job I had at the time and was traveling back to the prairies to visit family from time to time. I had come out of the closet in my Toronto life but hadn’t really told anyone back at home on the prairies – it was easy not to, as they were so far away. I had experienced the art of telling people I was gay in Toronto but there was something about telling your parents and closest childhood friends that was a bit terrifying, I have to admit.

Learning to Say Goodbye

say goodbye

Relationships, I’ve had a few. Never particularly long term or overly committed but I’ve had them in one form or another.

I’d say if I could have hopped into a time machine just before I’d leapt into a new relationship, and saw the end before it even started, I’d probably not have dived blindly in the first place! But then I suppose we’d not do anything if we could see into the future, where would the fun be in that?

Except I did have a time machine, each and every time, and it was right inside me the whole time! It’s called my gut instinct.

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