Life and Death, part 6

Ever text someone at just the worst possible time?

Yesterday, I asked my friend Alex if he’d like to get something for dinner before he went to work.  His response was something I didn’t expect.

I can’t, I have the girls until I have to leave for work because mom had to make an emergency trip to Canada to see aunt Yvette.  She has lung cancer and it has spread to both breasts and other parts of her body.  She’s opting for doctor assisted suicide at the end of the week.

Ouch.  Needless to say, he’s not taking this news well as after that he was more than a little upset at her decision.  Having witnessed firsthand what cancer does to a person, I feel like she is justified in her decision to end her life while she is still in full control of her faculties.  It’s what I would want were I in her place.  It’s what I will demand if I’m ever in that situation.

I still remember the daily living horror of watching my mother wither away while she had cancer.  Initially she was herself, only sick.  But as the last year of her life went on, the pain became unbearable and the sickness slowly eroded her humanity until what I was looking at from day to day was a husk, a shell of a human being, kept alive by drugs and our selfishness, our inability to let her go peacefully.  Had I had any say in the matter and any level of maturity (I was 17 when she died) I think I would have had that talk with my family about letting her go, whether they liked it or not.  I can still remember her last night at home.  I stood there with my father and watched helplessly as she went through her death throes and finally stopped breathing.  This is the personal hell I endure, that I live with from day to day.  Most of the time the flames don’t bother me, but today I feel their wrath.

My knee jerk reaction to Alex’s disdain for her decision to end her life was a simple question:  who would you be keeping her alive for, her or yourself?  It’s a painful question and not one with an easy answer to say the least but I think it’s one that everyone with a sick and dying relative should think about.

Relationships, part 15

Family

So earlier today, myself and someone close to me were having a heart to heart about family and what that meant to both of us.  If you go to Google and ask it for a definition, you will of course get the traditional definition of ‘parents and children’ and ‘things that are appropriate for both parents and children’ but neither of us were speaking in these narrow terms.

At one point in the conversation, he says to me “I’m at the point where some of these new gay friends I’ve been making feel more like family than my actual family, know what I mean?”  I certainly knew exactly what he meant.  I was overcome with emotion at some of the thoughts I was having after I read his text and was also reminded what mom said to me one day during lunch.  She said that more often than not in her own experience, family wasn’t always someone that was blood.  Family was whoever was there when the chips were down and still had your back.  I agreed with her wholeheartedly.

To me, family is a lot more than a mom, a dad and children.  Family is who’s got your back.  Family is who helps you when you need it no matter what the cost is.  Family is who still loves you at the end of the day no matter what you’ve done or who you are.

After reading his text, I was reminded of one episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 5, where Roxxxy Andrews has her breakdown on stage.  Ru is wearing that weird green dress with one sleeve when she says to Roxxxy “We as gay people, we get to choose our family.”  I can’t even type that sentence without getting choked up.  I didn’t realize it until that moment, but that’s exactly what I’d done.  I had chosen my family since my own family didn’t really want anything to do with me anymore after my parents died.  Ru really hit the nail on the head and hit me right in the emotional breadbasket.  When I watch the show, it makes me feel better to know there are people out there that have gone through the same emotional stuff I have.  It makes me feel closer to the people on the show, hearing about their lives before they got on and what it’s been like for them.  I don’t just watch the show for the fashion and the cat fights, that stuff is just a bonus.  I choose who I let in my family.

We also spoke of having support when coming out.  That was another point at which I was awash with emotion.  I didn’t really have much in the way of support when I came out, at least it didn’t feel like support to me.  Some teasing and definitely some changes in attitude from everyone I knew.  In all the years I’ve talked to other gay men about their life experiences, it’s usually one of three scenarios: your biological family just straight up turns its collective back on you; your biological family already knows and they’re just waiting for you to tell them or your biological family doesn’t care and loves you anyway.  I try to be supportive when I hear that someone is coming out or is on the verge of making the announcement because I remember how alone I felt afterward, how I needed someone to just tell me things were going to be ok.  Support can make all the difference in the world.

Gay people, gay families, are more than just a label.  We’re people with hopes, dreams, fears, needs and wants just like everyone else.  We fear persecution and hatred, we need love and a place of peace to live in, we dream and hope for a better tomorrow and want our voices heard.  We tend to look out for each other more than our hetero counterparts do.  We know the struggle, the hardships we face, and we don’t want anyone else to fall victim to that.  I’d like to think that my chosen family can count on me, that I’m definitely the type that has your back when the chips are down. When it seems like the world is against you, I’ll be your sword and shield.  I’m not afraid to make more enemies, even if that means making an enemy out of a blood relation.

After all, there’s a reason we refer to each other as ‘family’

Relationships, part 13

So it’s been about 3 weeks since the election results and I’m still not sure how to take it.  I still don’t know how anyone could have willingly voted for him.  I still don’t know how I’m supposed to work with people that I know voted for him without blowing up and biting their heads off.  I’ve been successful, so far, in simply not talking to them and avoiding them as much as I can.

I just want to wake up and have this nightmare be over, but I fear that it’s going to a 4 year descent into darkness that there won’t be any coming back from.  Once this is over with, you still have to share space with those people.  Still have to (either willingly or unwillingly) interact with them.  I don’t know.  I’m of the mindset at the moment to simply cut the ones that voted for him completely out of my life, or in the case of total strangers just dismiss them entirely.  I certainly don’t think I can help anyone that voted for him with a clear conscience.  I just don’t do second chances.  It’s like giving someone another bullet for their gun because they missed you with the first one.

People are angry, people are upset, people are afraid.  Battle lines are being drawn left and right and I really don’t know who I can and can’t count on anymore.  I really think that Tess Rafferty really hit the nail on the head:

I am so damn tired of trying to see it from the other side. I’m trying to discuss nuance while they paint us and our candidates with the broadest of hateful brushes.

I’m tired of pretending that it’s somehow reasonable to teach creationism in public schools with my tax dollars, while you tell me that two same sex people who love each other, getting married, somehow threatens your marriage.

You voted for Trump – I am tired of trying to see things your way while you sit in your holier-than-thou churches/white power meetups, refusing to see things mine. Did I just lump you in with white supremacists? No, you did that to yourselves. You voted for the same candidate as the KKK. You voted for a candidate endorsed by the KKK. For the rest of your life, you have to know that you voted the same way as the KKK. Does that feel good to you? Here’s a hint – it really shouldn’t, especially if you call yourself a Christian.

I’m tired of pussy footing around what offends your morals while couching what offends mine, because racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia offend mine.

Let me say it right here – if you voted for Trump, I do think you are a racist. I do think you’re homophobic. I do think you’re a misogynist. Racism, and homophobia, and misogyny are all a spectrum, and you’re on it.

Don’t like getting painted with the broad brush of racism? Now you know what it feels like when you get told that you want to rip a baby out of a mother’s womb at nine months when that’s not what happens. That’s NEVER, what happens.

I tried to be polite, but now I just don’t give a damn, because let’s be honest, we don’t live in polite America anymore. We live in ‘grab ‘em by the pussy America now. So thank you for that, being polite was exhausting.

And don’t come at me with how you just didn’t like Hillary, this was bigger than Hillary. This wasn’t your standard “I just want lower taxes and smaller government” Republican – we had Germans warning us that this guy was scary. And still you cried – emails and Benghazi or “that voice.” And still there’s been mountains of evidence proving that nothing that you think Hillary did was that big of a deal or even true. Some of the finest minds in the world have drawn you graphs and charts proving that no crimes were actually committed, and you were either too dumb or willfully ignorant to care.

And if you really cared about crimes, you’d care about any of the three pending against your candidate. Take your pick. I’d start with the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl, but if you voted for Trump, you probably don’t care much what happens to women. Doesn’t matter anyway, she received so many death threats from your political peers that she dropped the charges. But ask me again why more women don’t come forward.

And speaking of smaller government and lower taxes, enjoy not getting mine. If Trump actually does what he says he’s going to do, then your petty backwards state and your small angry town can pay for your own school to not educate your children. I live in California, the largest economy in the United States, and the sixth largest in the world. We’ll be fine. But have fun affording all those children your health insurance won’t pay for your birth control to prevent. I’m just kidding – you’re not going to have insurance. Won’t that be just great again!

The truth is, that for those of us on this side, there is no ‘when all this is over.’ Things are just getting started. We think last Wednesday was bad – we don’t know what bad is yet. This isn’t something you get over, this is something you endure. We’re going to face a tax on every right we fought the last sixty years to gain. The deck is so stacked against us that we may not win. The best we can hope for is gridlock. And that’s just nationally. Internationally, who the fuck knows what this lunatic is going to do. And the scarier thought, is that the only thing worse than this guy, is the guy who’s one angry tweet away from the Presidency – Mike Pence – advocate for gay conversion therapy and mandatory funerals for fetuses.

So now’s the time you might want to see things from my side. Because, if we’re all going to have to be friends after this, imagine me having to be polite and having to respect your vote to take away my rights and freedoms and those of my friends, while we fight desperately to try to hang onto them, because that is what you did.

I honestly just don’t think that I can be friends with anyone that voted for him.  I know I’m pretty upset at the people that voted third party and the people that simply chose not to vote.  My anger toward them is such that I created a new Facebook account and added them all to it while simultaneously kicking them off my main account, just so I don’t have to interact with them again if I don’t want to.

I know that everyone is one this whole “we need to unite and come together” kick right now, but this is personal.  If I can find a way out of this country to Canada, then I’m leaving as soon as possible.  “Do you think that even if you go there, you won’t be affected?”  Of course I know I’ll be affected if I go there!  I’m not dumb, but I am tired of my tax dollars going toward a country that apparently hates my guts even though they don’t even know me.  You want this country to yourselves?  Fine.  I just wouldn’t bother asking me for help if the need ever arises, because I’ll willfully stand by and watch you drown in your own blood and I won’t lift a finger to help.  Maybe humanity as a whole is the scum of the Earth and deserves to be wiped out.  Right now I just feel like we’re beyond any sort of redemption or reconciliation.

Make no mistake, you’ve definitely made yourselves an enemy.  And I don’t mean just myself.  Marsha P Johnson started this fight and it’s not going to stop, not anytime soon.

Relationships, part 12

Jeffery,

I’m going to go on. I’m going to go on living to spite you. To spite myself. I’ll never forget what we had. How could I? You have me several firsts. Several intimate moments. Special dirty things that we used to do together. Sorry our ending was what it was, but I feel that’s what you wanted. I will go on living, go on loving, I will go on this journey alone if that’s what I must do, but I will go on regardless. I will go on regardless of the fact that part of me is missing, that I am damaged. Hopefully my next love can see past that and help me put the pieces back together, the way I tried to help you.

Relationships, part 11

I will be 37 in 15 days.  Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.  I haven’t really celebrated my birthday with any enthusiasm in years.  I don’t have anyone special to spend it with, so I just feel like it’s any other day.  But I do tend to get away with whatever I want on my birthday, so I suppose that’s a plus.

Marshal and I are still talking.  I up and asked him to take me with him when he leaves after his college year is over.  I was half joking, half serious.  I think it would do me some good to get out of here, either for a break or permanently.  Because of him, I’m still exercising in my off time.  I bought a weight bench and I’ve started making meals for the entire week.  This week’s meals are all chicken and rice with either broccoli or asparagus, plus a side salad.  So far, I’m liking making my meals this way.  When I’m tired from work I can come home and just heat up one of them and I’m done.  I haven’t had any sodas in days and no junk food.  I’m trying real hard to lose weight and get in shape this time, and I’m not going to quit no matter what.  I can still see he and I being partners or husbands or whatever you want to call it.  Maybe he’s good for me and I just don’t know it yet.  Maybe he’s good for me and Gerry is all wrong for me.

Gerry and I haven’t gotten to talk much lately because of work schedules and the fact that I don’t really want to play Neverwinter at the moment.  I have this irrational fear that we’re going to meet (if I can ever get my damn passport application submitted) and he’s just not going to like me as much as I like him or he’s just gonna want to fuck me and be done with me or someone that’s important to him (like friends or family) is not going to like me and then he’s not going to like me.  I really need to stop overthinking the whole thing and just meet him.  Granted, it won’t be the end of civilization if he doesn’t like me or want to be with me, it will just be the end of me.  I really don’t know how I’d feel if he didn’t want me.  I keep having these recurring thoughts/daydreams of meeting him and it just turning into a disaster.  I really would like to marry him, but I’m so afraid

Life and Death, part 4

It’s getting close to my bed time (I hate getting up early) but felt the need to write a little before I went to sleep.  I guess laying here watching my new hour glass has inspired me somehow.  I’ve always enjoyed watching them empty for some reason.

I’m getting up early in the morning because of work.  It’s the last week of doing freezer trucks for the year, finally.  Hopefully, if Scott really isn’t coming back I’ll be able to bid on his job and get the hell off doing vacation relief.  I hate it.  At least this dreadful summer is nearly over with.  The light at the end of this long, horrendous tunnel is drawing nearer.

I’m hoping that once things at work cool down I’ll be able to get back to working out at home again.  I think Marshal has figured out that I haven’t been working out because of work.  I’ve mostly given up on eating healthy due to lack of free time from work and the cost of eating healthy is ridiculous.  I haven’t been working out because I’m just so tired when I get home.  I don’t want to do anything but shower and drink a bucket of water.  I need to quit being so damn lazy and get to it or I’ll never get to where I want to be physically.  I bought a new Fitbit to monitor my heart rate and steps and a couple journals with inspirational quotes written on the fronts so I can write down my workouts (if that’s what it’s going to take).  I want this as bad as I want a gamer husband.

Part of why I’ve been lazy the last coupe of months is because Destiny Year Two is coming to an end soon and we’ve been hard at work trying to complete all the Year Two Moments of Triumph and so I’ve been focused on that at the expense of all else.  I personally am only after the Calcified Fragments and a King’s Fall Hard Mode clear.  I don’t care about the Crucible moment from the list as I royally suck at Crucible so I’m skipping that one.  Part of why we’re suddenly so keen to get this done is a certain someone on my PSN friends list named Dan who was all about trying to get all these moments complete as quickly as possible, even going so far as to try to get raids done with a pick up group.  I tried to participate in one of these groups with him, but the players were just so bad that I had to leave before I said something shitty to the others.  I guess my leaving hurt his feelings or whatever, because he hasn’t spoken to me or invited me to play since.  I noticed that he’s got his King’s Fall Hard Mode done by looking at his trophies.  Hmph.  Good for him.  I did warn the others about him since he’s been on my friends list for a long time and not once talked to me or played Destiny with me until this Moments of Triumph business popped up.  Definitely motivates me to do a purge of my PSN friends list.

Speaking of gamer husbands, the other night in a very uncomfortable chat on PSN, Gerry revealed that he is 5’4″ and ever since then I’ve thought about how nice it would be to cuddle such a little guy.  It would be amazing to spoon with him, hold him close while we watch movies or TV.  I just wish I knew whether he liked me as much as I like him.  I guess if he doesn’t want me and Marshal doesn’t want me…I don’t know what to do from there.  What would be the point of going on from there?  Purely just for me?  Pfft.  I just don’t see why I would want to bother trying hard just to end up alone.

I’ve been sorting through all my Magic: the Gathering stuff and am finally beginning to post it to eBay.  Since no one comes over to play anymore, I don’t see any point in keeping the majority of them.  I’m going to keep a few decks to scratch the itch if I ever have it again, but for the most part I’m done.  I’m not going to bother buying anymore cards.  I’ve also decided that since no one comes over anymore that I’m going to sell off the kitchen table and all the chairs except the matching pair of parsons chairs.  Again, no one comes over here to hang out anymore so there’s no point in keeping it.  Now that William and Dominique live in Hickory, the only one that ever comes over here is Glenn.  These guys definitely know how to make a guy feel wanted, but my thoughts on that are best saved for another post.

Speaking of making a guy feel like shit, I had a really horrible day at work Wednesday, and it inspired me to think about selling off more of the things I have that I don’t need or want anymore just so there’s that much less to deal with should I finally find a way to escape this shitty two bit town.  I’m already looking to sell my cards and the kitchen table and chairs, next I’m thinking about posting my light sabers and a few other things to see if anyone is interested.  I felt like crap when I got home that morning but it was made all better when we managed to clear another King’s Fall raid, this time in the span of about 3 hours AND we managed to get the Warpriest Challenge Calcified Fragment!  That just leaves the Golgoroth Challenge and I’ll have all 50 fragments.  Woot!  I know I’m definitely ready to face a new enemy beyond the Taken.

Eyes are getting heavy, so I think it’s time to curl up with my pillow and dream of the time that I’ll instead be curled up with Gerry bear.

GRATITUDE


This is a post from a Facebook friend that really hit close to home.  Maybe someday I’ll know the gratitude of which he speaks.


GRATITUDE

It has been almost 6 months now since John and I went our separate ways. It has been the longest 6 months of my life. And, in many ways, some of the greatest growth I have ever experienced has occurred over these 6 months. Most importantly, I have learned gratitude. More on that later.

But I digress. Some history. I thought I had been in love before. I realize, now, until I met John, I had never truly been in love. It was a fast and furious love. I am sure the kind that made others scratch their heads and say slow down. It was the love I always wanted. All consuming. The kind that starts out with furious text messaging, then moves on to picture and video messaging. And then the phone calls. The first Facetime conversation. The first cross country trip to meet in person. And several months later moving in together. One person totally uprooting their life for another. That was the love. And it was intense.

We were met with several obstacles along the way. We were not deterred. Not able to spend nights together initially, John suggested we use Dropbox and watch movies together via factime. We were creative. My mailbox filled with hand written letters from thousands of miles away. Hand written? Who does that any more? Time seemed precious for many reasons. John has a stage 2 glioma brain tumor. It is still in remission thanks to years of chemo but he knows its there and the constant reminder of a daily regime of pills to thrwart off seizures makes sure he never forgets.

It was a love unlike anything I had experienced. We filled our walls of Facebook with beaming smiles and pictures of all the places we travelled. For a short time all seemed right in the world and nothing bad could happen to us.

But the novelty of something new often masks things and I had failed to notice John was homesick. He had left his entire family, friends, and job to start over with me. Perhaps I didn’t try hard enough to help him adjust. Perhaps I tried too hard. I am not sure either of us will ever know.

In February, John decided he wanted to move back home and I was not to come. It was painful news to hear. My world screeched to a halt. His world screeched to a halt. I was angry. Very angry. I had done so much for him. How could he do this to me? When we are angry we tend to think more about our sacrifices in a singular sense than the sacrifices of the couple together. Over the next few weeks many tears were shed. We cuddled. We made cutting remarks. In the end, he still left. I will never forget that Saturday morning. We hugged and kissed goodbye and I watched him leave. It was like sending a child off to college except he wasn’t coming home. I cried. I screamed. I wanted to smash things. I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to die.

The outpouring of care and love I received from my family, friends and co-workers was incredible. Seeming strangers came out of nowhere and shared secrets and stories of their losses. It seemed everyone wanted to help. I was humbled.

I often wonder if I am a good friend to people. A good neighbor. A good son. A good employee. I only hope I have been a hundredth as supportive as so many were to me.

A young pup I had chatted with many years prior on Scruff reached out to me and shared a blog he had written about his breakup. It was raw. It was hard to read. It was painful. It was me. In this blog titled “My breakup, My body, Everything Hurts,” Alexander Cheves (https://www.facebook.com/beastlypup) discusses a book, or rather a series of short stories or musings, entitled Gratitude written by Oliver Sacks during the last months of his life as he was preparing to leave this earth due to the terminal cancer that was rapidly shutting down his body. I purchased the book on Amazon. It sat on my nightstand forever. I vowed to read it on my vacation in Fort Lauderdale. I did. It was powerful and I read it in one sitting.

Gratitude is what happens when we have accepted our fate, our lot, our situation, and we are not angry but rather thankful for all the good that has happened. Whether we are faced with our own immortality, the loss of a spouse, child, pet or other loved one, gratitude comes at the tail end of the healing process.

Gratitude is the feeling I have for originally speaking to this insightful young man who came into my life for reasons not yet fully known. For he shared a story with me with which I can relate. Gratitude is my friends and family who listened to me go on and on about my loss. Gratitude is for coming out at work to my boss and it not being a total disaster. Gratitude is knowing so many people cared about me. I never realized how many friends I had until John left. Gratitude is the world bringing me John to begin with. For he had a curiousity about the world that was unmatched by anyone I have ever met. He taught me to appreciate nature, to comb the beach for shells, to take the path less travelled in the woods, to take chances. Gratitude is knowing that John is getting back on his feet and is doing well. Gratitude is everyone that has come into my life the last 6 months. I have learned to judge less, love more, and open my heart to new experiences.

A new friend asked me this morning if I was ready to date again. I didn’t know how to answer him at first. I don’t think we ever know when the time is right. But I do know that I wish to once again love so intensely it seems foolish. I miss the “second set of eyes” (quoting Alex) that helped me see the world around me. I miss the warmth of someone next to me in bed. I miss my best friend. Am I ready to experience that again? I am. I hope I do. And I hope I can be a wonderful partner to someone some day. I forgot who sent this to me but I love it:

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”
–Maya Angelo

I hope that someday soon I will post new travel pictures that John will be a part of as my friend and for that I will have the most gratitude.