Friday, September 23, 2011

Clay Aiken - The Journey Continues

Today marks an anniversary of sorts for fans who have embarked on this amazing journey with Clay Aiken. On September 30, 2008 I wrote and posted a blog titled The Journey to Clay Aiken (I'm not going to repost it, so feel free to click on the link if you're interested).

I started thinking about what my life would have been like had I not chosen to be understanding and sympathetic, but had I chosen the path of anger and resentment.

The first thing I would have lost would have been all of the amazing memories that I had prior to 2008. All of the fantastic times I had, all those wonderful memories, would have been overrun and tainted by anger - how sad.

Second, I would have missed out on creating new memories.......

I would not have laughed at scooters and whistles.

I would not have cried while listening to a wonderful story of a teacher who cared about a lonely little boy, who made a huge impact.

I would not have wondered "what the hell was that!" when I heard Clay's own version of Unchained Melody for the first time - a moment that left me breathless and wanting more.

I would not have had a wonderful girl's weekend in New York City, seeing Spamalot five times in four days - savoring those final days.

I would not know that it's about damn time! or to Bring it On!!!

I would not know that some kids are just.........

I would not have witnessed Clay & Ruben (or is it Ruben & Clay) in all their timeless glory.

I would not have had a Meet & Greet, chatting about the weather.

I would not have visited Raleigh, been inspired by the National Inclusion Project's Champions of Change Gala or tried NC BBQ (and all the trimmings).

I would not have experienced animation, twitterpation and anticipation.

I would have missed out on Clay dancing.

I would have missed out on friends, fun, laughter, tears, anger, excitement and hours of speculation.

But most importantly, I would have missed out being smitten all over again at every photo, every TV appearance, every tour, every blog, every interview. I would have missed out on learning about new causes and continuing my education on making a difference in this ever changing world. I would have missed out on Clay just being Clay, missed out on realizing that he hasn't changed, he's the same caring, talented, funny, intelligent man he was in 2003.

So, for that, I need to say

Clay, thank you - and to quote a book that you brought to my consciousness - "For you, a thousand times over"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Clay Aiken - Hello World

We interrupt this Clay Aiken blog for a special message.

Hello world. My name is Piper Adele and I have not yet entered this world - I'm still growing. At this point, no one knows my future - if I will be born as a typically developing child or a child with special needs. My hope is, however I am born, that I am born into a world that is caring and accepting of all people, regardless of their abilities.

This is why I'm reaching out from the womb and asking you to please vote for I Am Norm during the month of September in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.

I Am Norm's Mission Statement is:

We are united in our commitment to a world where people of various abilities have equal opportunities. We believe that diversity makes us stronger and that discrimination breaks us down. We know that hatred is a learned behavior and that we can all strive to rise above fear and prejudice. We understand firsthand what we gain when everyone is included in our schools and our communities and how much we lose when anyone is left out. If you want to join us, click here

With the help of many sponsors - The National Inclusion Project, Including Samuel, Mitsubishi Electric Foundation and The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation - I Am Norm is an effort led by youth to benefit youth. While the mission may be to impact the youth of this country (and in November I will be included in that mix), their dream would seep into the fabric of our society, helping to break down walls, to promote inclusion and diversity.

Please, if you have just a couple of minutes every day, help I Am Norm into the Top 10 - voting continues every day until the end of September.

(now back to your regularly scheduled programming - whatever and whenever that may be)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Clay Aiken and Lover All Alone

I have edited this blog about 20 times - first starting out about Clay Aiken and David Foster penning the poignant Lover All Alone - scratch that. Then I started typing about Clay Aiken, the activist - everything from National Inclusion Project to UNICEF, and how admirable I found it that he went into countries, like Uganda and Somalia, that would imprison or kill him for simply being who he is - scratch that.

So let's just get down to brass tacks.

In 2010 a rash of LGBT suicides brought the harassment of LGBT youth to the forefront of the American consciousness. The statistics are staggering the pain unacceptable. As reported on (and I recommend you please click on this link for additional information) Youth Pride Inc.

"And on my own it’s hard to tell my heart
it will be all right
This love it holds, will one day find a home."
26% of gay youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts with their families over their sexual identities. (Remafedi, G. (1987). Homosexuality: the adolescent’s perspective. Pediatrics, 79, 326-330.)

"But a lonesome tomorrow comes anyway
I’m alone for another day. Another day."

36.5 % of GLB youth grades 9-12 have attempted suicide. 20.5% of those attempts resulting in medical care. (Robin, L., Brener, N.D., Donahue, S.F., Hack, T., Hale, K., Goodenow, C. (2002). Associations between health risk behaviors and opposite-, same-, and both-sex sexual partners in representative samples of Vermont and Massachusetts high school students. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 156(4): pp. 349-55.)

"For all I know the feeling and the picture
That I’ve tried so hard to find isn’t mine.
Could be it’s all just a waiting game
Wanna share my everything."
84% of LGBT students report being verbally harassed (name calling, threats, etc.) because of their sexual orientation.

I hate breaking human beings down to statistics, but sometimes - in order to see the full picture it is a necessity.

For additional information, resources and help visit:

GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network

It Gets Better Project

The Trevor Project