The end of 2008 saw the end of a 12 year career in Customer Service/ Professional Sales. That was a rough year for many people- I was part of a 50% staff reduction in my Sales Team, and many other companies had large layoffs as well. I also turned 50 just four months before my unexpected career change. Actually, the end of a career, but not a new one yet. I’ve had many jobs since graduation, and one earlier career in the fine art/craft supplies industry that I enjoyed, but which is no longer viable. In the past seven years I’ve had various jobs and studied for one potential new career, but did not feel called to it.
In 2009 I was able to take advantage of federal financial aid (and the Unemployment Insurance benefits I’d earned) to enroll in Digital Photography courses at a local community college. Courses that would update my 30 years of [film] photography experience. I established PetPhotographyOhio.com (division of The Digital Gryphon llc) to offer pet photography services here in central Ohio. This was a business I had started researching about 18 months before; intending to gradually work my way from one career to another.
Although I did have some clients and enjoyed much of the experience, I was clearly not able to make it a successful ongoing business. After five years I sold off the domain name and closed the business at the end of 2014.
Since then I’ve continued to operate a network of POD (Print On Demand) shops, an online photography gallery (since closed), and now work nights cleaning a warehouse and call centre. These are just barely covering the essentials (financially thinking) but doing nothing to feed my spirit. And the pod-verse is shrinking. Companies are folding and now Amazon has ‘dipped its toes in‘. Expect much more drama and roadkill in the pod-verse in 2016. Yes I am aware of the irony of saying Amazon may kill off the pod-verse while offering my designs there as well as my books of photography and poetry. Just as neo-cons say they boycott companies that support LBGTQ communities yet stay on-line, we each have to make peace with whichever ‘deals with the devil’ we chose to make.
Deep reflection on what things make me happy (and for which I can legally charge) seem to revolve around celebrating queerness and encouraging self-expression. I’ve touched on these things through The Digital Gryphon’s Publishing Division and Rainbow Memoirs services. Also, I’m ordained and licensed to wed folks here in Ohio. The first two enterprises do engage me more than any of my previous employment- but the latter fact resonates at a very deep level.
As I wrote here early this year when ‘coming out’ as a spiritual queer person, “(m)any queer folk reject any organi- er institutional religious tradition. Between the far-too-common rejection (if not outright hatred) queer folk experience in such places, and a sense that no gawd worthy of worship would permit such atrocities to stand, why should we even try to participate in such groups?” This is not to deny that there are openly queer followers of most mainline faith traditions- many with organizations such as Dignity (RCC) and Integrity (Anglican).
For those of us who reject archaic and dogmatic spiritual organizations, but believe there is something- something more than our modern scientific world view can ever explain, I founded Rubber Chicken Ministries with the following Statement of Faith:
We recognize gods as allegorical; representations of a spiritual reality that is neither quantifiable by, nor reducible to, a modern scientific approach.
Rubber Chicken Ministries is a Queer Humanist Ministry with a specific Calling to LGBT/ Queer folk. As I come to terms with being an Elder in my biological family (with Dad’s passing earlier this Fall) and LGBTQ/Kink communities, I return to the work I did in the ’80s and ’90s as hiv/aids decimated my world. Then I sat with folks in Hospice and offered what comfort I could. Now, as an End of Life Doula I have a lifetime of experience to offer more.
So here’s the crux of the matter- to pursue my calling and maintain my outreach through RCM I need to increase my knowledge in certain areas. Should the spirit move you, please visit this page for information on how to donate, or purchase some of my photography and design work that will fund my studies and Ministry.