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The Real Exodus, Bread on the Seder Plate, and More on Passover

Preface: I probably should have posted this earlier this week so that my Jewish readers would keep this in mind during seders. However, I’ve been extremely busy doing absolutely nothing these past few days, and came back from Boca Beach Club and Resort a bit too late to post in time. Touche. Nonetheless, I offer you some insight about one of my favorite holidays, Passover. Better late than never, am I right?

Every year, we celebrate Passover and recall the story of redemption. We were slaves in Egypt for many years and finally freed, beginning our long journey into the land of Israel. Passover has been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. No never-ending, boring temple services, like Yom Kippur, and no feeling like Christmas was so much cooler, like on Hanukkah. During the seder, five year old me would use puppets to animate the ten plagues. (I swear, there is even a stuffed ‘boil’ that’s white and pus-filled. It’s awesome.) Eight year old me would dunk everything on the table into the salt water and find it hilarious. Twelve year old me would laugh at my younger sister, because she was finally able to sing the Four Questions by herself, and that meant that I didn’t have to do it anymore. And seventeen year old me happily enjoys four cups of wine. Overall, Passover is just a good time. My family always makes it special, whether it’s my grandmother putting a sheet over her head while pretending to be Elijah the prophet, or my stepdad singing Diyenu with ridiculous facial expressions. And I know matzah may get old after a week, but that first seder night, it’s actually very exciting. And who doesn’t love charoset, are you kidding?

But there’s more to Passover than the twenty bucks you win for finding a cracker with a weird name (Be proud, I actually found the Afikomen this year.) The story has always been one to resonate with me personally. We may not be physical slaves in the land of Egypt anymore, but we each are bound by personal chains, slaving away to the world around us. We all have something that holds us back from living our lives to the fullest and from beginning the exodus to our own personal promised land. Maybe it’s a busy work schedule that prevents us from spending the time we wish we could with family. Maybe it’s the loss of someone or something significant to us that seizes us from adjusting to everyday life again. Maybe it’s the stress of school that makes us forget more important things in life, like happiness. Maybe it’s the inability to recognize what makes us unique, and use it as something to motivate, and not hinder us, in this world. And to be honest, I don’t know what we’re waiting for. Are we expecting a burning bush to capture our attention and tell us the right path? Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, but you catch my drift. Our ancestors may have needed G-d’s mighty hand to cross the sea and fulfil their destiny. But the truth is, in order to stop internally slaving away, all we really need is to do is to look inside of ourselves.

To me, Passover is also a time to celebrate diversity. I once read about a discussion in the 1980’s at Oberlin College. It was suggested that a crust of bread would be placed on Jewish lesbians’ seder plates, which was sought to convey a previous statement made suggesting that in the Jewish religion, lesbians belonged as much as bread does on Passover. I freaking love how bad ass this is. If placing chametz on the table in a household that was just cleaned to be made kosher for Passover isn’t the best way to go about this, that totally makes sense. But I do urge you to try being the bread on the seder plate of life, if you will. Be outrageous, own what makes you unique, and show the world that you absolutely belong in your community.

Happy Passover from a proud bread on the seder plate, xo

Your Guide to Pride

Last weekend, my friend Bryan and I ventured to Ft. Lauderdale PrideFest. With so many different pride events in the south Florida area, each experience is different from the next. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed after a few years of attending various events, it’s that while each pride event is different, there are always very similar groups of people in attendance.

If you’ve been to a pride event before, you’re familiar with the many faces and personalities of attendees. And for those of you who haven’t, here’s your humorous “Guide to Pride.” (And hey, it rhymes.)

The Obsessive Newly Weds: Like, gay people are even more excited about tying the knot because they can’t even get married legally in most places. So it’s a big freaking deal. These pride attendees most likely got hitched in some random state, and are possibly celebrating their honey moon during pride. How to spot: Overly affectionate, looking nauseatingly in love, or simply just wearing shirts saying so. Examples including, but not limited to: matching “I love my husband”, “Mrs. and Mrs.” and other obnoxiously corny T-shirts of that nature.

Gay Shirtless Latinos: They are such tools, have insane abs, and are probably standing by a booth trying to sell calendars or porn that, of course, they’re featured in. Gay Shirtless Latinos may not be the best English speakers either. How to spot: um, they’re Latin and shirtless. And are flaming homosexuals. I made a joke to a Gay Shirtless Latino standing by a calendar catalog booth last week, and told him that I couldn’t speak Spanish, so I probably wasn’t a worthy customer. He spent a few minutes telling me that I didn’t have to be Spanish to buy his calender, because it was in English, thinking that I was completely serious. So yes, either not so proficient in English or just unfamiliar with basic sarcasm. 

Too Butch To Function: This, folks, is your stereotypical lesbian, and it would be crazy for this to not make the list. How to spot: short hair, unisex tank, and probably wearing boxers. I really don’t need to spell this out for you.

Confused Scene Middle Schools: They probably had their parents drop them off at a local movie theater and found their way to the pride festival across the street, looking to become more “in tune” with themselves. How to spot: obscure band T-shirt, dyed hair, possible piercings, and a face that reads “I suffer from teenage angst.” Most (NOT all) of these kids don’t even end up actually being gay, they just make out with people who have equally angry emotions at random scene concerts. Or just really freaking want to feel accepted somewhere?

Supa Fabulous Drag Queens: Honey, they’re the life of the party and are walking in heels way better than any classy bitch I know. Not to mention they always look better than you, and are dressed to impress. How to spot: probably on stage competing in some really tacky drag show, lip syncing, dancing, and making really hilarious jokes. If you ask me, a pride event is not complete without drag queens. 

Homosexual Manthers: It’s like, the male version of a cougar. Or rather, the gay male version of a cougar. (Urban dictionary says the term “manther” is a thing?) They are always reminiscing on the pride parades back in the old days. You can hear them continually marvel over how far the LGBT community has come. How to spot: Seriously, just look for someone who looks like your grandpa; probably waving a rainbow flag while sitting on a lawn chair. Homosexual Manthers are often seen chatting away with young people about how awesome this pride is, or trying to pick up a twenty year old gay guy. And to be honest, probably the second option.

Adorable Allies: How could we forget these guys? And for us gay people, we can spot allies as easily as a black person can spot a white person at a NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) event. How to spot: They are wearing a “Straight Against Hate” shirt, because god forbid they get hit on, or doing dumb things like calling someone wrong gender pronouns. Jokes. Where would we be without you, allies? We love you. You’re sooo adorable.

Flamboyant Theater Flamers: These gay guys can belt any Broadway song beautifully, and booty-pop better than Beyonce. Here you have it- your stereotypical gays. How to spot: Passing out flyers for their latest community theater performance, while rocking a tight, pink v-neck and humming along to pop songs or musical numbers.

Nudists For A Day: Let me preface this by saying that usually I’m all for the “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” motto. But most of these people REALLY don’t “got it.” How to spot: This needs no explanation. Like, I think they seriously forgot to wear clothes. This isn’t a nudist gathering, it’s a gay gathering. Nudists For A Day are (not) wearing, most likely, but not limited to: (men) really tight speedos and (women) mesh net shirts with no bras underneath and (other genders and such, come on, we’re all about equality here) just seriously no freaking clothes. Seriously, i get the whole “We’re here! We’re queer! Look at us being bold!” era but really no one wants to see that. So, shout out to the really fat bald guy in the speedo who was twerking on the dance floor at Ft. Lauderdale Pride last weekend.

Fear the Femmes: Honestly, how could I not put this in? They’re the least “gay looking” individuals, according to stereotypes, but just as prideful. For real. How to spot: We’re just pretty.

Supportive Parents: The story goes as follows: their kid just came out to them, and when he/she/other pronoun explained that he/she/other pronoun really wanted to go pride for the first time, they felt bad saying no. This was totally my family when I came out at like, 15 or something, and dragged them to pride. Never again. How to spot: They are awkwardly walking around, avoiding booths that are giving away free condoms, and their jaws that drop to the floor whenever a “Nudist for a Day” or “Supa Fabulous Drag Queen” walks by.

Lesbian Feminist Hippies: They love the happy energy of pride, and somehow convinced themselves that everyone in the LGBTQ community automatically cares about feminism. How to spot: Their hair may or may not be dreaded, but you can bet your bottom dollar they are sporting baggy bohemian pants, or even head bands. You can probably spot a Lesbian Feminist Hippie sitting under a tree, maybe (definitely) stoned. I’m all for feminism, but I’m here to advocate for my rights as a gay person, not as a woman. Another time and another weekend, my friends, but hey, I like your Grateful Dead backpack.

Really Confused Toddlers: These nuggets are usually under the age of eight and were brought to pride by their gay parents. How to spot: For starters, they’re shorter than most pride attendees, and are probably going HAM (hard as a mofo) at the cryo bank booth, just because they are giving away free candy. Little do they know that’s probably where they came from? Annnnnd that’s how babies are made, kiddo.

"In Your Face" Booth Workers: Basically, they wave petitions in your face as you walk by. "Excuse me, but do you have a minute to hear about LGBT discrimination in the workplace?" Well, considering I’m at a pride event, I would kind of be a jerk to say no. Even though I totally care about this issue, I was actually on my way to the grilled panini booth. But yes! Go ahead. How to spot: They are wearing a shirt with a logo of some respected organization (including, but not limited to: Human Rights Campaign), smiling so hard that it is not even natural, and carrying a professional-looking clipboard. All encounters with "In Your Face" Booth Workers will end in you signing some petition and feeling good about yourself and like you’ve done something beneficial. These are, by far, some of the nicest people at pride. And don’t worry, you can chat and become educated, while still having time to grab that panini later.

And there are so many others personalities of pride. I wish I had pictures to go along with descriptions. (Hey, it would kind of be like People of the Planes, only People of the Prides?) Jokes.

Hopefully this gave you a taste of what to expect if you ever attend a pride event. And who you’ll meet. And who you should befriend. (Tip: It’s not the Homosexual Manther.)

Just for laughs here’s a photo of Bryan and I posing next to ponies. Did you know that there’s a Gay Rodeo Association of South Florida? (Or something along those lines.) Well, neither did I, but it made for a great photo opt. Do you think the horses are gay too?

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xo

Anonymous

Anonymous asked:

Hi! So I heard you speak at IC and then just found your blog and am hysterically laughing and giving you huge kudos for being able to address a touchy subject (for some, at least) while being incredibly funny and witty and making it accessible and relatable to others - so admirable. Snaps to you.

You are great, thank you so much. I’m glad I could make someone laugh besides my mother, xo

m-erm asked:

Hey Shelb. It's madi and I know this is totally random but I just found you're page and I'm so excited and laughing alone in my room right now so I figured I'd say hey. I'm so glad you're doing good down in Florida and I miss you a lot! you should totes come visit Charleston. Anyway, tell everyone I say hi and send my love!

This made me so happy! I miss you and your family so much, we have to keep in touch better. Glad to hear you’re doing well mads, much love

Anonymous

Anonymous asked:

I found your blog on an LGBT news site directed for youth. I clicked and read your blog about coming out to your grandma. I'm glad it worked out. In any case, I want to just say that your writing ability is unbelievable. I thought I was a good writer, but you speak so conversationally, adding in bits of humor. Kudos to you, for being so brave, open, and for sharing your talent as a writer.

What site was that? How interesting, thank you so much,xo

That Time I Told 2,500 People I was Gay

Wait, wait, wait… you want me to what?

What was actually said: At BBYO’s International Convention, one of the largest gatherings of Jewish teens each year, held in Dallas, Texas, we would like you to speak about your work with the LGBT community during our Day of Service morning panel!

Translation (in my sarcastic mind): Please casually tell 2,500 people on a huge stage in three minutes that: a) you like girls b) you like girls and c) to follow your blog. HA. HA. HA.

Cons: social awkwardness, messing up, sounding dumb.

Pros: more readers, gain speech delivery experience, share the work you are proud of, maybe people will want to be your friend, and maybe you’ll get some booty calls (I’m like, totally kidding.)

I’ve been an active member of BBYO, the world’s largest pluralistic teen youth movement, since I was a freshman in high school. While some teenagers find their niche with sports teams or student government, this was it for me. It’s my thing. I spend my weekends at conventions, my afternoons planning programs, and my nights skype-ing best friends from all over the country that I made at leadership summer programs. BBYO is home to my best friends, my shoulders to cry on, my biggest fans, and my second family. I have been fortunate enough to have had an incredible support system all throughout high school, especially during my “coming out”, and to be surrounded by a group of individuals who do not just “accept” me, but celebrate and appreciate me. Even with that being said, never in a million years did I ever think that I would be asked to address the International Convention body. That’s like, a big deal. At least in my book.

The night before the “speech”: I am sitting with two other teens who were also chosen to speak about their work involving community service and/or social action. We each take turns sharing what we will be addressing the convention body about, in order to get to know each other. Side note: I will be giving you my summarized recount.

Dude 1: Friend commits suicide. Devastating. Founds a bad ass organization called “umttr.” Sells really legit shirts. Holds basketball tournaments. Raises lots of money. Spreads awareness about teen suicide and depression. 

Dude 2: Tragic car accident leaves teens in his community paralyzed from the waist down. BBYO chapter decides to host a wheelchair basketball tournament. Kids with special needs also participate. Raises lots of money.

ummmm, Me: I’m gay? I have a blog. Sometimes I write about serious events/LGBT issues. Most of the time it is pure sarcasm. Yay, changing the world, one lesbian at a time?

So basically, these kids are freaking saints. And then there’s me, who will be speaking the following morning to 2,500 people about who I prefer to make out with.

Needless to say, all sarcasm and humor aside, I’ve never been so happy that one of the most uncomfortable (and almost kind of funny) experiences I could ever imagine happened.

Note: I tried to attach a video (even though I haven’t watched it myself, because it weirds me out to hear myself talk) just to vouch that this actually happened for those of you non-youth groupers. But I’m not good with tech stuff. So I guess you’ll just have to believe me. Just like, envision some corny almost inspirational shit about being gay for two minutes.

Done? Cool, now read on.

The response afterwards was overwhelming. I really never expected it. I figured, the majority of people in BBYO knew I was gay- I wasn’t coming out for the first time on that stage, and I wasn’t being courageous. During the speech, I mostly thought about how cool the experience was for me as an individual and an aspiring advocate. I never really thought of anyone else, or that my words would resonate with other people.

But to every stranger who approached me throughout the remainder of the convention, telling me that they admired me or had read my articles online, my day was made brighter, and those are moments that I will remember for a long, long time. For every Facebook message from a newly requested friend, asking for advice or sharing their struggles, I am honored to have been confided in. And to every friend who laughed at me while I was on stage, making me struggle to keep a straight face, you are the greatest.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to the 40+ twitter followers I received in the span of an hour during the panel.

As usual, you’ve truly outdone yourself, BBYO, and I love you for it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to let everyone know yet again, that I am a flaming homosexual.

People of the Planes (POTP) #1 & My Trail Mix Nightmare

There has to be some law, somewhere, that eating trail mix (consisting of countless kinds of nuts) on an airplane (where, let’s be real, peanut allergies are to the 2014 human population as the AIDS epidemic was to NYC’s gay men of the 1980’s) is unlawful. I mean, Food Allergy Research & Education claims that over 15 million Americans suffer from food related allergies, and peanuts allergies are one of the most commonly noted. (Side note: Yes, of course I googled that and went with the first result that came up. I mean, the source sounds legitimate, so whatever.) 

So what the hell does this have to do with my Jewish gay life? Absolutely nothing. My snarky AIDS epidemic comment is about as homosexual as this article gets- I’m sorry. But this really did happen.

A few days ago, I traveled to Boston for a college visit. It involved a plane ride that lasted a little over three hours, so you better believe that I brought myself some snacks for the ride. And by snacks. I mean lots of trail mix. Cool. (Note: Just a cautionary comment so that my new readers don’t think I’m creepy for the images in this blog post. Even though I am. My close friends are aware of my really weird flight habits- I take pictures of people on my planes and nickname them using the brilliance of alliteration. Hence: People of the Planes. I am now ready to come clean: I am addicted to taking pictures of passengers on airplanes. But with great addiction, comes great responsibility. And I am now ready to take on my civil duty of presenting to you the personalities of these great individuals.)

Here was the super rad human being that I had the honor of sitting next to on the way to Boston. Featuring my chin.

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I creeped his computer screen (that he is looking so deep in thought at) and saw e-mail exchanges involving divorce attorneys. So, either this dude is getting divorced or he IS the divorce attorney. Regardless, my condolences. I referred to him as Divorced Dan.

Now, what the actual hell does this have to do with a peanut allergy? Mostly nothing. Except that I was minding my own business, eating my trail mix during take off, and then naturally, I fell asleep. As most people do on “long” flights. And I had the most disturbing dream ever. (I almost began this post by jumping into the following dream, with no explanation, to scare the shit out of readers. But, I kind of didn’t want to get sued or for you all to get the wrong idea that I was a malicious human being who selfishly ate peanuts next to people without knowing their personal allergy issues.) Anyways, this is what my twisted subconscious mind dreamed about:

Super-official-sounding-pilot: Flight attendants, please prepare for take off.

Me: *opens my huge pack of trail mix and eats with great relish*

Divorced Dan: *face begins to turn red as throat closes*

Me: *thinking he is fuming because he really wants trail mix and is probably too embarrassed to ask, which is why his face was blushing* 

Me: *being a gold star passenger and kind human being* Divorced Dan, may I offer you some trail mix?

Divorced Dan: *body blows up and inflates like a balloon* *begins seizing*

Random Passenger Who Happens to be a Doctor: Oh my god! He is allergic to peanuts! *runs to Divorced Dan only to look up with puppy dog eyes filled with sorrow* He is dead.

Me: WTF.

and… SCENE.

(Note: I have no idea what actually happens to people with airborne peanut allergies. I’m pretty sure they don’t seize, and I have no idea if they turn red or inflate or whatever, but apparently that was my subconscious mind’s idea of an allergy attack, so please just ignore my imagination. As well as that run on sentence. I’m just telling you how it is, and the harsh realities and imagery of my dream. YOU DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH. I mean, that’s what happened, okay?)

I awoke in a panic. My arm hit Divorced Dan as I shot up and began panting. Pretty sure my arm spasm caused many typos in his e-mail to, debatably (Auto-correct says that that is not a word, but whatever. I’m inventive. Screw the system.) his divorce attorney. Sad. My apologizes, Divorced Dan. Who cares though, I was just happy that he was alive because I absolutely thought that my dream was real for a few seconds.

That pretty much concludes my bizarre story of Divorced Dan featuring Trail Mix. But that is not the end of my People of the Planes (POTP) segment. You see, I had a seat right next to the bathroom. So, naturally, my ridiculous self took pictures of almost every person who got up to pee. I present to you my favorite people of Thursday afternoon’s MIA to Boston flight:

Turtleneck Toni:

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Grey hair, don’t care. Cause I’m rockin’ my turtleneck zip up. 

Wendy-Wu, Sparkly Toms Warrior

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(You can’t see too well in this dark photo, but this Asian was seriously wearing sparkly Toms. Like, I don’t even need to comment.)

Lost In Thought Lilly

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In the arrrrrrrms of the annnngeeeelllllsss *except a slightly more sinister version because she kind of looks like she is formulating an evil plan*

AND MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE:

Elderly Elsa 

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Let it go, let it go… Long flights never bothered me, anyway.

I am sure you are very impressed by my professional-looking stalker pics, but just to prove to you that I am (surprisingly) not a super human, I will also include some token fails. Because, everybody makes mistakes:

(I mean, do you know how hard it is take photos of strangers without them realizing???)

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Plane compartment featuring some shadows.

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1/8th of Lost In Thought Lilly’s head.

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And a blurry photo of some guy that I named Whimsical Walter White because he looked like a slightly more overweight version of Walter White from Breaking Bad.

That’s all folks.

Special thanks to the POTP Boston Flight for consenting to having their pictures posted on the internet. Oh, wait…