… Unlike so many of my generation, I’m still here, feel great and ready for the next turn in the road that is the adventure of my life.
Sometimes I wish I could watch it instead of live it.
That is what you can do can do. More interesting than a rerun!
The events of this year have changed the direction of my life.
Wow … I never would have guessed the catalyst for much of this change would be speaking to the Charlottesville City Council about a Civil War era holiday … but why not? As it did for so many, the Civil War changed the course and direction of my family for generations and it is still changing lives, including mine.
Some historians may not agree, but Abraham Lincoln was our first gay president. OK that topic for another day!
For now the video below will give you a rundown of the back story and if you already know it, the amazing hypocrisy of the blow back from NBC29, that is now part of the tale, it starts at ~7:30 into the video.
What price do you sell your basic freedoms as a citizen?
For once maybe we have an issue that can unite rather than divide?
Click the link BELOW;
If you are new to this and who I am, here is the link to my ‘Bio Demo’, more than you would ever want to see of my professional life;
If you want to know about the father that I try to be, as referenced in the first video; take a look at my Flickr account, now close to 10,000 pictures and even a few videos;
Kirk Clyatt – Flickr Photo Stream
Please feel free to email: Kirk@KirkClyatt.com and follow on Twitter; @Clyatt
Also below is another brief except from my book – ‘Tangled Wires’, which may never actually be finished, but gives you a little more background into who I am and why this is an issue where I must make a stand.
Kirk Clyatt – Tangled Wires – Excerpts
… Two quotes both from Winston Churchill help keep me going, ironic because of all the pain I felt going to a high school that bore his name;
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
The other from the dark days of late 1941 in Briton;
“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Still I feel like a warrior, but in the past I was often too afraid to fight for what I believed in, or chose to fight the wrong battles, for the wrong reasons.
There are kids today who are like I was 40 years ago … my hope is they have the courage to see who they are and live their lives as they know in their soul they should. Not what I often did; take the easy way, the expected way or is what the expedient path for the moment. Not to try to pretend and try to convince themselves and others of what they are not.
This tale of my life’s road; a life in many ways that almost got away from me, completely out of control, because of the fear of really facing and being open to the world. My lie by omission caused me to walk way too far on life’s edges, where a fall means that is no coming back and hurt and confused others in the process. Many nights I thought I felt myself falling, my journey was over, leaving just a pile of rubble, because of a life shaken and shaped by fear.
That it will give someone the courage to live the way in their heart they know they should, even if it at that time it seems the much harder, scarier path to take …To do otherwise is to risk repeating some my history, spend years pretending and miss out on what could have been a happy reality.
(The following paragraphs were written in 2006 … because of the brave leaders of the LGBTQ movement of which I was too afraid to be one … in the last nine years, the attitude of many may have changed.)
For those who still believe that being gay is a choice … how much simpler my life would have been and how much more professionally successful I may have been had I been made straight?
There are very few gay and lesbians that I have met that would have made the choice to be gay. It is who, it is what I am, it is not something I chose any more than I chose my parents. I just wish I could have better faced the reality many years ago, but I kept thinking I could, I would change … in some ways nothing would have pleased me more. It never has happened and never will.
Fear … Americans are consumed by it.
Fear that goes way beyond being prudent and careful, the kind of intense fear that is whipped up by our government to suit their own needs and stoked by TV newscasts that often no longer have the budget or the talent to do the kind of reporting that makes a difference … so the easy road is taken.
From bird flu to bed bugs, to the sex-offender living next door to your kid’s school, to you being afraid of that big black man walking towards you on the street … we are so afraid.
There are so many kinds of fear; from the time we are kids … especially if we’re different from the rest, then when we become adults, for so many the fear of what would happen if the truth was known?
Confusion and misinformation leads to fear.
Fear that the other guy may have something better than you.
I have been very guilty of leading a life of fear, but for the rest of my life the story will be different, for me fear will be part of the past.
This book lays it all out as to who I am and how I got here.
My challenge is to put all of the events in some kind of an order that makes sense to you. Of course the easy way would just to go chronologically, but that may not be the best way.
I do have one advantage, I don’t have to use any imagination to write this book because, as Mark Twain said, “The difference between truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense.” There is no way I could just make this story up.
My fear is still not all gone, to exercise it from my life is one of the reasons for this book. Shed the fear and it is so much easier to just enjoy being in the journey, having the experience that is life.
Why am I not overwhelmed with what is happening now in 2015? … It’s kind of been the story of my life;
CHAPTER 2 – MY MEMORY BEGINS WITH A GUNSHOT
I was born into dysfunction; my first memory in life is the suicide of my maternal grandfather.
It was the day after Christmas in 1961, I had just turned 3 on the eighth, my mother, Lucy Lennox Cliatt, still just 24, left Florence, South Carolina early in the day to return alone to her job in Washington, DC. She left me in the house she had been married in just four Decembers before, leaving me in the care of my grandparents.
My grandfather, James Sanders, 61, went out the kitchen door. He was part owner of a small chain of gas stations, ‘Super X’ in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.
How was he carrying his pistol; was it in his hand, in his pocket, in a holster? I don’t know. What I do know is that he went from the kitchen door, about 50 feet to a small white one car garage, climbed into the drivers side of the front bench seat of his ‘56 DeSoto and ended his life and began my memory of life by taking his gun turning it on himself and firing one shot right through his heart.
The chaos of that day stained the fabric of my life.
There was never any consideration of moving from the house. The small garage stood for many more years; I even painted it a couple of times as a teenager and a young man.
I have gone to my grandfather’s grave in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden, South Carolina and yelled at him for what he did, not for what he did to himself, but for what he took from me.
I still wonder why the heart, not the head? There must have been pain as he died in his DeSoto. Was his shot to the heart a last message to his wife, my grandmother, did he feel his heart was broken?
My grandmother was a small, but in her own way very powerful woman, so much so that she ran off my father, James Edward Cliatt, III, at the time of my birth an Air Force officer, second in his class at the Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in 1957.
Her birth name was; Frederica Alexander (Alexandra) Kirkland
My name at birth was; Frederick Kirkland Cliatt
I don’t think my mother had much choice about it.
By the time of my birth my father was already out of the picture, he never saw me until I was six. …
As bleak as the picture looks today … I feel better than when I had ‘it all’.
Life pushes you in ways and into places you would never go yourself.
I am blessed to have survived it all … I am still here, still able everyday to see the darkness of the night fade into the day.
In the big picture of my life the NBC29 issue is not a big deal … the only reason I am spending so much energy on it is because of the important basic issue that it holds for so many … where do your basic rights as an American start and stop and who has the power to unilaterally take them away from you?
There comes a time where you have to practice what you preach … I’m taking a stand.
Please join me … Thank you so much for reading this, right now that is all I ask.
More information on how you can help keep America the land of the FREE coming ASAP!
One of my supporters told me my message is all over the place … he is right. A new consolidated web site coming ASAP as complexities of this story only grow deeper … Stay Tuned!