Humanist, Poetry
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Poem: The Year I grew Up


This is a poem about growing up (not getting older) and realizing we all want to feel alive and beautiful

The year I grew up

This was the year I finally grew up
Like climbing a mountain; gasping at the view from the top
Moments of molting anguish and pain
Once in a lifetime’s enough, my heart couldn’t do it over again
Is it one of those wonders that our fathers have shared?
Yet never added the words, knowing the man tribe eventually go there
I wished the words had fallen on me in earlier years
A right of passage, filled with thorns, and roses
Looking for raindrops of wisdom: there must have been a drought
Was it the modern day metaphor and the ingredients I missed?
The sports car, the lover and dinners with tricks
Afraid to realize I’m no longer 36
Where did youth go, did it tumble away?
Did I think my body and youth would just be held at bay?
My time had come, I knew it was here, I was standing on the ledge; waiting
When youth took my hand and crossed me over the bridge
The warnings to stare straight ahead went unheeded at times
Like a child on his first day of school, watching his mom walk away
The ache of fear, the doubt of being loved stuck to my skin like oil
Would I reach for the moon, carving an unchartered path
Or would I shrivel and die in a red sports car crash
This was the year I finally grew up
And now that I’m here, I feel totally loved

Carl Meadows
January 23, 2014

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I was born in Prince Rupert, BC and I grew up in Port Coquitlam, BC within metro Vancouver. I was a non-conventional boy winning awards for choreography, dance, and led many school performance numbers before grade 6. I also competed as a figure skater and was notorious for doing cart wheels on the ice. I was bullied all through my school years and ended up going to 3 different High Schools and didn't graduate as a result. This was the era of no Gay Rights in Canada. I struggled with visibility, identity and self-esteem. I am one of the lucky survivors as most of my friends died of AIDS or committed suicide. I graduated as a Registered Nurse in 1993 and it was the proudest achievement in my life. It taught me that despite hardships, I could overcome insurmountable challenges. I am committed to making the world more compassionate and doing my part by celebrating LGBTQ contributions to the world. In 2014 I responded to a call to sponsor two Syrian Gay refugees to come to Canada. This launched the beginning of a national Charity called the Rainbow Foundation of Hope. I was the founding President. n my professional life, I am a Registered Nurse and a Healthcare Executive. I live with my husband and our dog Rocky in Penticton BC

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