Category: Los Angeles, California

Waide Riddle

So, I’ve just turned 50 years old… OMG! I’ve officially made it and AARP is in my mailbox and email everyday now.  They really want my membership! They’ll get it… eventually.

_MG_1548 masterI confess, I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be at age 50, but who is? I’m not living in the Hollywood Hills, where at age 25, I thought for sure I’d be by the time I hit 30. But, then again, quite frankly, I’ve learned from experience by watching my family and friends, that not everyone is truly cut out to be a home owner. Heck, I’d be happy in a simple small cottage on the beach or in a trailer in a cool city trailer park. That’s me. I tend to get more easy and relaxed as I age. I’ve calmed down a lot. Now, that’s not to say if the opportunity landed in my lap that I’d give up the chance to live in a penthouse in Manhattan. Hey, I’m not crazy! It just hasn’t presented itself… yet.

Money. The issue of employment. At age 50 most of my friends and colleagues are very grounded and in a solid career path pointing to retirement… then headed to Palm Springs.

_MG_1582 masterMe? Well, I’m bullheaded. I got my Cosmetology license at the age of 20, knowing I would own my own salon and be the hairstylist to the stars.  OK, so that never happened… I did have the opportunity to work for celebrity stylists, though, like Jose Eber and Paul Garcia in the 1980’s and ’90’s… then, I decided to go free lance and change the world on my own. You guessed it, that didn’t happen either.

Jay R. LawtonBut, a funny thing is happening as I gracefully age. My passions and my interests have radically changed. Made an about- face!  What was once so important to me and drove me… is no longer there. Nor is it important to me. Holy crap! Try to wrap your mind around that!  Through a very quiet metamorphosis, new and unique passions and interests have presented themselves and awakened within me.

WOW! So, that’s one of the profound blessings of getting older.

_MG_1531 masterI ask myself, what the Hell happened? Then all I can do is laugh. Like today. If I’m going to run my fingers through anyone’s hair, it’s just going to be my boyfriend’s or husband’s. No one else’s. So, what do I do? My real job? Glad you inquired. I have found a new interest that has also become a paying job that I LOVE. I DJ. Not just any DJ. I play the Golden Oldies. The hits from the 1950’s- 1980’s. Music we ALL know. Pop, rock, soul, R & B and I even have a great collection of current Country music. I have a blast. I get lost in it. It’s truly something I love to do. LOVE to do. LOVE TO DO. I also love to write. Poetry. Short fiction. I began writing at a very early age and I’ve never stopped.

I look back and I’m pretty darn proud of my accomplishments and achievements as a literary and visual artist. Not to toot my own horn, but, I will toot my own horn. I have won nine American poetry awards; self- published two books, published short stories, written, produced and directed 4 short films. The UCLA Library of Special Collections has archived 30 of my poems and one of my short films. The Tom of Finland Foundation has also archived my film work.  That’s not too bad, I think. In fact, I’m quite proud of it at my age. So, when I become glum and have my pity party about ‘getting older,’ all I need to do is think of those accomplishments. It makes me smile. It makes me feel good. Because, in the end, no one can ever take that away from me. Ever.     -Waide Riddle

Photo Credits unless otherwise note: Hank Eddleman



Greg Louganis

Los Angeles, California

4db1f8455b69b79e8a90aa17dc738298Dear Greg…

Dear (16 year old) Greg,

I know you aren’t going to believe me, but life is going to get better, and actually the darkness and grays you have been living in will pass. Young man, I so desperately want to just hold you, you are a lovely sensitive, caring young man. I know you don’t see that right now, but you ARE worth more than you know. That feeling of failure will pass, and you will in time allow people in instead of pushing everyone away.

You will make lots of mistakes about what “love” is, and what you have to offer as a person and human being of value. You will learn your Dad really is and was proud of you. He loved you too, but didn’t know how to show it. You are not going to get the love YOU want, but you will learn people do the best they can with what they know. You are going to find the love in yourself and learn to forgive yourself and others. You will forgive Dr. Lee for his reaction to your 9th dive in the Men’s 10 Meter finals. You will in time hold that Olympic Silver Medal with pride, not for many many years, but you will. You have been rough on your Mom, just a few years prior, but you will forgive yourself and she will teach you she loves you, even when you don’t love yourself. She will teach you by example unconditional love.


There is a man you met in your life that will teach you the meaning of the words respect and trust. He will be your coach, and he is a blessing to you to give you proof of love. He will stay by your side when you think no one will. Ron O’Brien will be a love you will learn transcends definition. You will also learn those confusing feelings you are having about “who you love” or fall in love with, it is your nature, to love, and it is just who you are that you love a man. It is ok, you will survive your suicide attempt and something glorious will happen, not right away, you will sulk for some time, but you will start questioning why you are here, and that God doesn’t make mistakes.

You will also learn you weren’t discarded, you were loved when your natural, biological Mom and Dad gave you up to foster care, and hoped for a better life for you. You will learn what an amazing gift they gave you. I know you can’t imagine living past 30 years but you will live well beyond that and learn you can love and be loved. Those hurts, bumps and bruises you are going to let go of, and see them as the blessings of your life, they will teach you compassion and empathy.

fc5f91db4637c71a5cb28c0a30f62069I can barely write this as I feel that black hole you feel as “you”. You are going to stop judging, as others have judged you, you will find you are a brilliant young man, and you will find your voice, it isn’t loud and boisterous, but honest and true. I wish I could hold you close to me, but you will be ok, and you are going to stumble and fall down quite a few times but you will get up, not right away all the times, but you will!

You will face things you could never imagine, and you will love your life! And love the people in it! I know for all that you need to learn, I need to let you go, and in this letter that is what I am doing. I write it out of love but I know I must let you go as well, set you free, free to fall, and free to make those choices, to stand again, taller than you were! I know you will find it hard, but little man I love you and I am so, so proud of you.  Love, your 53 year old you!

(Greg kindly shared a bit of what might make it into his next book, “Out of the Water” with Lawrence Watts.)  Copyright © 2013 ​by Gregory Louganis. All Rights Reserved.

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