Speaking From the Heart ❤️ 

Consider omitting this from your wedding ceremony: if anyone has anything to say about this union, speak now or forever hold your peace. Most witnesses don’t hold their tongues after you’ve been married for a bit. Especially if they haven’t been holding their tongue since before the wedding. 

This is NOT the time to say anything negative about the party you’ve been invited to or the couple you are celebrating. Why accept the invitation? These days our presence is requested and, even then, we may not get a plus one. Your invite is to share in the ceremony that unites specific individuals, not stew in a bitter silent rage.

Just. Don’t. Attend.

It can be painful if you want particular people present who refuse to attend, however there’s no reason to have these individuals in a space that should be held with love and joy. Having the obligatory heterosexist or classist at the affair only diminishes the intention of drawing support from those around you. Friends and family do have a job to do; if you show up…show up. Don’t forget about or give up on a couple that is newlywed simply because they are going to learn their lessons on the other side of the veil.


Decrying someones marriage to another has no place in today’s society unless it is for the welfare of individuals. 

First things first, do no harm

If no harm is seen by the people actually paying attention then we can leave that degree of ownership and entitlement in the past. We have no place in a relationship we are not invited into unless you are invited in and in that case…be a witness. But the truth is, truth resides between the betrothed. 

Honesty isn’t a weakness. Believing a liar isn’t your fault. It’s the onus of the liar to come clean (so to speak) and therefore not the responsibility of the lied-to. We are not in relationships to spy on our partners. If that’s a habit or concern, deal with it. We should not have to uncover information but discover more and more about each other. 

So, if you feel strongly about your relationship, make sure you get in a few counseling sessions AND know you do not have to explain or justify your relationship. 

Your ceremony is a celebration of truth, the facts of the matter at present. What we see in front of our faces. Make sure your witnesses know this. If you are unable to do this, there should be no invitation in the mail (or a save the date magnet). 

Nelsan Ellis: Eulogy for a True Blood

Nelsan Ellis (1977-2017) is best knows for his iconic work on the hit HBO show True Blood. He plays the short order cook with a penchant for telling you about yourself. Truly a great encapsulation of a queer person of color in a small Southern town. Lafayette was a character created to die in the first book of the True Blood series. Mr. Ellis was so phenomenal he was able to make audiences love him so much and call for his character to remain alive. It was clear to me, however, that this was a no-brainer. Lafayette must live. 

And Nelsan made this happen. He took a character who was mortal and made him immortal. He manifested the life of his character and therefore the life of his career. Watching Ellis in other roles, you can see that his talent is subtle, yet haunting. Something lingers about his portrayals of the secondary character, even tertiary. No matter what role he played, he was all in. He gave Lafayette his life.

Nelsan’s family issued a statement saying that he was ashamed of his addictions to drugs and alcohol. He was attempting to clean himself up and a part of that meant doing it on his own,  “cold turkey”. This lead to his heart failure and a 4 day stay in hospital before succumbing to multiple organ failures. It was a brave show, my friend. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 39.

I wasn’t sure if I should write about this and express my grieving thoughts. I discover that writing is cathartic in and of itself and even if I never post this, it will be a love letter to the man, his family and friends to express how phenomenal he could have been. His trajectory was boundless. Inspiration!

I want to thank Chicago and his mother for giving us Nelsan Ellis. I want to thank Nelsan for being creative and brave enough to pursue acting. I want to thank the creators and producers of True Blood for right casting and right decision making by keeping Ellis on beyond his expiration date. I want to thank Nelsan for giving us a character we didn’t know we needed…but couldn’t live without.

Happy homegoing brother Ellis! We are all too often, in recent years, reminded of our mortality. No matter the age, we are all here momentarily. And you sir, you have reminded me that anything is possible, use your talents fully and we all have demons that haunt us. You are free. 

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 

~sister dora 

Small Affairs

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A wedding isn’t the only occasion to celebrate a time-honored tradition or adopt/create a new one. For me, weddings began to change when women began marrying themselves. This was not so much because they reached a certain age and hadn’t found “the one”, but because they wanted to acknowledge their personhood and validate self love. I still thought it was weird simply because I don’t favor attention and with no bride our groom  I’d have to answer all the questions.

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Then there are dog weddings, cat domestic partnerships and marriages for citizenship, usually(random list,
unrelated to bigotry). I had never considered the myriad of ways people
were celebrating becoming married.

If you’re a couple who has decided to have a family, to bring children into the fold, baptism and naming ceremonies are a great way to bring loved ones together to honor your child(ren) and
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be reminded of our responsibility to keep them. Unlike a wedding, baptisms and naming ceremonies are usually smaller gatherings. This allows everyone to participate in the ritual
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and learn about it’s importance as the day transpires. “A naming ceremony is the event at which an infant, a youth, or an adult is given a name or names. The timing can vary from mere days after birth to several months or many years afterwards. Some of these ceremonies have religious or cultural significance.” Especially, the significance and role of water to wash away, cleanse and renew or feed the
roots of a plant that will continue to grow with you.

Funerals are oft regarded as sad affairs. Just the other day I contemplated the head count of a wedding versus a funeral. There are
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many reasons, usually fueled by avoidance, that people choose to pass on either affair. Both contain their own sets of triggers. But, today, a memorial or funeral ceremony can be a small gathering with great heart. Just consider the traditions of the past. Light a candle or many candles, pray, chant, tell stories, share memories and smile through it all. Each intention you and your guests have to celebrate those at the center of attention can only foster love and possibly improved relationships.
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Within each of these ceremonies must be a personal touch. It is valuable to explain why you are holding the ceremony and what the ceremony represents. If you have made modifications, share the reasoning behind these changes. The more meaning given to the event, the more you and your invitees will enjoy it. You may even be changed by it.

Whichever event you are preparing for, there are many considerations to keep in mind. Who will attend, what is their role in the day (if there is one), are gifts required or in lieu would donations be requested. I recommend that the guest list include people you do not have major conflicts with because the energy they bring will definitely impact the space. It may be a great idea to invite someone who is unfamiliar with the type of event you are coordinating so they can bring their curiosity and support. It may open hearts and create a mindful collaboration amongst family and friends.

We have a tendency to build guest lists from everyone we know. Any name you can remember goes on that list, including the friends your parents went with to college. Then you align the budget to the guest list and realize the small affair has become an event worthy of All Instagram. By keeping the guest/witness list short, you’re sure to have a celebration well remembered for years to come.
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sister dora