@christinelu http://www.christinelu.com "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Ralph Waldo Emerson Sat, 24 Dec 2016 23:08:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.9 http://www.christinelu.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-shutterstock_353058356-32x32.jpg @christinelu http://www.christinelu.com 32 32 I Love Doug http://www.christinelu.com/2010/08/i-love-doug/ http://www.christinelu.com/2010/08/i-love-doug/#comments Sun, 15 Aug 2010 14:57:00 +0000 http://www.christinelu.com/2010/08/i-love-doug/

I have a friend big brother named Doug.

Doug and I moved to China around the same time in 1999.

I was young, naive, fresh out of college and lost in Shanghai.

He was a fashion designer from Malaysia who had lived in New York, Milan and Paris before moving to China.

The city was a tough place for a girl like me to live in during those years.

Doug’s friendship made it fun and gave me a sense of purpose and place.

My first time in a gay bar was with Doug and his friends in 2000.

Oksana and I spent the whole night turning it into a Gay 101 class. We got to ask every question we’ve always wanted to know about gay culture. From innocent to insulting to perverted to curious. They answered every one openly and we all laughed hysterically at the fact that our minds were forever corrupted — but also opened at the same time. To this day, Doug still tells people the story of that night. It cracks us up every time.

Almost a year later, Oksana passed away on Christmas Eve alone in her apartment in Shanghai. She never made it to the party that night. It was Doug who went to check on her early the next morning and found her dead in her living room from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a stupid faulty water heater installed the wrong way by her landlord. She was only 19.

In 2003 when I broke up with my boyfriend of almost four years, I so wanted a break from men, relationships and dating. Erica was right there with me and we spent the year hanging out with Doug and his friends. Shopping and champagne brunches on Sunday became a tradition. Seriously, every straight woman needs a fabulous gay friend in her life. You’re missing out if you don’t. They’re good for your self esteem. They make you feel fabulous. They’ll shop with you for hours. If you’re insecure about jealous women, at least you don’t have to worry about your gay friend stealing your man. What more can you ask for ladies? I digress.

In 2004 when I moved back to the states, I lost track of Doug for a few years after my sister’s suicide and during my very sad and emotionally abusive marriage. Borrowing a recent phrase from a friend who described his own period of time as his “lost years” — These were mine. I isolated myself from people who cared about me because I was in denial about the man I married that my friends had warned me about. I insulated myself with the insecurity and familiarity of a slow downward spiral instead. I never want to be in that situation again. I’m glad I pulled out of it.

In 2007 my marriage ended and I started to climb myself out of my “lost years” — I had no choice, I had a son to support and an ex-husband who wanted nothing to do with us. So I started building myself back up on a foundation based on the old China that I had learned from and the new China I had to play catch up with. I started a company that had me traveling back to Shanghai again.

Guess who had — and still has — a spare bedroom, a big hug and good conversation waiting for me each time in Shanghai?

Doug.

So now that you’ve read this far, you get the picture.

There’s a guy named Doug. He lives in Shanghai. He’s an awesome friend who I love very much.

Doug loves Andre.

Andre loves Doug.

Like many committed gay couples, their relationship has lasted longer than many straight marriages I know – including mine.

I love both of them and am waiting for the day I get an invite to their wedding.

In the meantime, I feel sorry for people out there who can’t understand this.

I live my life with a passion that I only just discovered and embraced in recent years.

It took me decades to understand that it’s ok to follow my heart

…and own the words that come from it.

So for those of you who don’t understand why people like me support causes like this.

Maybe you need a friend in your life like Doug.

 

**UPDATE

Noh8_final

Here’s the final shot from the NOH8 Shoot last month featuring Viv, me and Mona.

Note: You can check out Mona’s awesome post about our day at the NOH8 Campaign open shoot at OC Pride here.

 

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Protected: even in grief, there’s laughter. http://www.christinelu.com/2009/10/even-in-grief-theres-laughter/ http://www.christinelu.com/2009/10/even-in-grief-theres-laughter/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2009 03:26:35 +0000 http://www.christinelu.com/2009/10/even-in-grief-theres-laughter/

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