sappho's psalm
Volume 21/Issue 5/2003

Toni Pizanie

 

 

 

 

by Toni Pizanie
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

Riches to Ponder

As I write this note to my community of GLBT friends, I am pondering this, the first day of LENT. For me, this was my most thrilling Mardi Gras season. When I wrote the last article, I had not yet known the true excitement of reining as Queen 42 of Petronius. Today I looked back and thanked the God of my faith for being so generous and compassionate to me over the last year.

It was just a year ago that I found through an Ambush ad the Church of Christ the Liberator. For Gay Christians who find themselves unwanted or uncomfortable in other religious groups, I found this to be a spiritual sanctuary.

With help from friends, family and Fa. Nicholas Romans, I found the courage to allow doctors to stick pieces of mental into my head to reinstate blood flow to my brain.

Then there were months of caring attention while I worked through rehabilitation. As many of you learned during the party seasons, I still canít remember names or details. Yet, Rip insisted that I write which was great medicine and people dragged me to events which I feared would be difficult only to learn that I still had a great time being out and about.

I even experienced the joy of spending my first Thanksgiving family reunion as an out Gay woman to ALL my family. That was a pleasant experience much to my surprise. Christmas was even better as my extended family merged with my natural family. The dinners, parties, luncheons were great fun.

There were many good days during the last year and certainly one of the best was the Petronius Ball on Sun., Feb. 23. The Sunday before Mardi Gras weekend has been the traditional Ball date for Petronius for over 40 years. When the curtains opened and the applause from a crowded auditorium reached the stage, I could hardly believe the joy that filled me. What a grand experience! Wally McLaughlin, our captain who is well known to all Mardi Gras long time insiders, and Romney LeLeux had experienced this themselves and tried to prepare me. No matter what feelings I share I will never be able to explain the first moment when you realize that you were selected royalty by the friends that you worked with all year and are presented to the public.

Certainly the rest of Mardi Gras paled in comparison. It was still a rush being introduced royalty to royalty at the Armeinius and Lords of Leather Balls. It was a delight sitting through their balls. For the seventh year, it was once again fun being a part of the Krewe of Queenateenas. I was just too tired to fight for a place on the balcony and thank spectacular Diva and makeup artist to the Queen of Petronius, Miss Phyllis Denmark, for clearing room for me. She received almost as much attention as the beautiful King Cake Queen Teryl-Lynn Foxx.

If there was a downer during the Mardi Gras season, it was attending a Ball where few guests and Krewe members showed respect for our countryís Flag and National Anthem. Former Petronius King, Jerry Meis, and I stood only to find ourselves surrounded by those seated people who need to be told, Love It or Leave It.

I guess Iíll start my prayers for LENT off by praying that those people filled with hate would come to acknowledge their lack of appreciation and start being part of the solution instead of part of the problem. We are all so blessed to live in the USA. I have seen so many positive changes in our country and state because of so called misfits wanting to a part of the solution. We have only to look at New Orleans to see the great steps taken toward ending discrimination through the efforts of organizations like LAGPAC and nationwide by HRC. It saddens me that there are groups that want to be separate and then complain because they are separate.

It is my plan to give up negative people and things this Lent. I want to continue this 40 days of pondering my life and lifestyle the way it started with joy and thanksgiving. It suddenly means nothing to me to give up sweets or meat or parties. I am going to give up something difficult: anger and gossip are at the top of my list. I will try to expand some positives: forgiveness and happiness.

I hope you have come through Mardi Gras feeling joyful too. Iím planning a short trip to the Coast to rest from the madness. Then Iíll look for you at the Petronius Rush Party on March 23 at Good Friends and at the wonderfully planned Gay Easter Parade on April 20. Meanwhile, ponder your blessings and be happy.

 


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