Category Archives: Blog

Remembering Bernie

On World AIDS Day I want to share a memory of someone special to my heart.

One of the most influential people in my life died when I was 17 – he died of complications due to the AIDS virus. My foster brother Bernie was an incredible creature. I can’t even hope to convey how unique he was and how large an impact he had on my life in the handful of years I had him. Circumstances had us placed in the same home, a home that could handle kids who came had high profile cases or dangerous families. To say it wasn’t a great time in my life is a disgusting understatement. But Jaysus, when Bernie pranced out with, “It’s a girl! I have a new sissy! Can I keep her?” He freaked me out with his swishing, dramatic effusiveness. The minute the foster parents cleared the room, he dropped the affectation from his voice, cocked his hip, got in my face and set me straight. “Don’t touch my shit, stay out of my room, and keep out of my way – or you’ll regret it.” Whoa! The princess had claws! And he was a princess, a diva, and a drama queen of the highest order. He had the tiaras to prove it – or did eventually. He was exhausting at times. Looking back, he could have been the poster child for ADHD.

Over the next few years, this kid who was 17 to my 12, became my world. He let me tag along with him and his friends, he let me sleep in his room, I wore his shirts and jackets – he was my safety net. He was my heart. Once he aged out of the system, our foster parents let him live in the basement apartment. Most nights I snuck down to sleep with him still. Then one day, when I crept down the stairs, I found him in a messy, bloody heap by the back door. Someone had hurt him. Bad. He refused to let me get help. You see, that kind of thing doesn’t happen to guys. He knew that Chicago Police wouldn’t do anything to his attacker… his boss, a respected businessman. They would say he asked for it, or he was lying… we’d seen it happen to other boys before. Nothing would be done. It was awful. But it wasn’t over. Within the year he got sick and stayed sick with one thing after another, cold, flu, ear infection, strep throat, pneumonia, cysts, boils… the list went on and on. Finally one doctor tested him for HIV. He was positive.

There’s so much I want to say about this young man who was taken far too soon. There are so many stories and memories I have hoarded away, humorous glimpses into what made Bernie so incredibly special to my heart. He was more than a victim of AIDS. He was ‘make you wet your pants’ funny. He could sing like an angel. He couldn’t cook to save his life, but ate like he had a tapeworm. He would wear a scarf in the hottest days of summer… because he thought his neck was scrawny. He was right, it always amazed me such a skinny neck could hold up his massive head… and I told him so often. That’s what sisters do. There’s one more thing you should know about Bernie – he was mine. Heart and soul. It makes me sad to think that I never had to learn to share him. Never had to step aside to make room for his love. I console myself with the knowledge that I loved him with every fiber of my being, and that he loved me in return.

In the winter of 1990 my Bernie died, he took an enormous piece of my heart with him. It amazes me to realize I only had him for a tiny 5 year window, but 23 years later, his existence continues to have a tremendous impact on my life.

I wish so hard that he had had the advantages of the medications of today – research has come a long way. But there’s still more work to be done. It pains me to see so many young people acting as though HIV/AIDS has been cured and is no longer a threat. That’s not true.

Get involved. Know your status. Know the facts!! My GOD, know the fekkin FACTS!!

I miss you, Princess.



Where I Rationalize My Crush on Seth Fornea ♥… sorta

Hi, my name is Jayden and I have a massive crush on Seth Fornea. I’ve thought about the why’s and I think I’ve figured it out. I’m a ginger… and when I was growing up… it was not thought upon as a positive. The Mexican side of the family thought my coloring was ugly and it really shaped how I viewed myself… until I got boobs. Ahem, the power of red hair and boobs. *sigh* Pardon me while I recall my hot chica days.

Anyway, my point is that it’s wonderful for me to see how ginger coloring is now widely thought upon as a point of favor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as shallow as the next person when I’m lusting after Seth, *swoon* The man is quite simply divine. But when I look at him, once I get past objectifying his hot bod, I feel a sense of comfort. He soothes little girl Jayden – Red headed step-child extraordinaire.

I recently read an article on how Ginger coloring is being bred out of society, and it made me incredibly sad. The freckles, red hair and blue eyes… I’m being slowly fazed out of existence. Obsolete? Noooo! The man in question made a comment about how when women are selecting prospective mates to procreate with – they tend to avoid ginger colored males as they don’t want to perpetuate the gene. He’d even had women tell him this. Really? Can I bitch slap someone? You look at this man and don’t think, “I want your babies!” No accounting for taste or class. Well, I am proud to announce that I made a beautiful ginger darling, (sadly, without Seth’s assistance) who will hopefully one day, beget another (in the far, far distant future).

This lovely creature is coming to my Chicago, he will be within viewing distance, and dancing at Market Days – where I have plans to attend. Omygerd! Heart palpitations. I doubt I’ll get a chance to hit the venue where he’ll be live and in the flesh… I doubt my suburban Nana vibe would get me past the bouncers. *hangs head* But I will certainly be watching for him and Jared – hopefully I’ll get lucky, and they’ll be strolling hand and hand down the six block stretch of North Halsted Street. ♥

You can find Seth on FB:

You can find Seth on Tumblr:

Just Me

Writing, I’d been told, was a waste of time and I needed to focus on – school, my family, raising children, and a career. I coped the only way I knew how… and read, and read, and read some more. Reading has been my coping mechanism for just about every rough spot throughout my life. It also happened to be an extremely effective way to hush the voices trying to tell me their stories. Whenever my muse spoke… I told it to hush, fed it a book, told it to watch television, or sent it to bed without a snack.

Eventually my muse found a way to be seen, if not heard. Photography, it turns out was acceptable… but only as a hobby. I have lovely pictures of my family. 🙂

Things have changed, a once overwhelming tide of influence has been purged from my life. I am surrounded by wonderful children, and a fantastic man who supports my writing. And the freedom to give it my best shot. I am writing my first book, M/M Romance – it’s a scary, nerve wrecking experience – and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am learning so much, and meeting some amazing people along the way. I’m getting comfortable in my own skin, learning what it means to be me.