Philadelphia – The Return

This entire flight process was a mess from start to finish.  When I arrived at Charlotte Douglas International and went inside, there was a very long line from the check in desk to halfway down the terminal.  Fortunately, despite the fact that there was a long line and only two people processing the passengers we were able to get through with relative speed.  I reluctantly handed over my bag of clothes and rushed off the the security checkpoint.  That’s when the shit began. Had to take off my vest, belt and shoes which I anticipated from previous experience.  Then I had to take out everything from my laptop bag and separate it into individual bins which was annoying. I get into the X-ray scanner and immediately remember that my iPod is in my left pocket so I have to go back and take it out and put it in a bin of its own.  I was so embarrassed and anxious at this point I wanted to cry.  I went back in the X-ray, passed inspection and hurriedly rushed to collect my things, nearly dropping my shorts and showing my off my ass in the process because my belt was off. After gathering my bag and shoving everything back in, I grabbed my bag and and tried to put my belt back on missing a couple loops above my butt.  I finally, FINALLY, get to my gate – A8 – and am greeted by the fact there are no seats open and a fellow passenger tells me there’s a delay of an hour because of weather in Philadelphia. Matty tells me there IS no bad weather in Philadelphia so we’re all left wondering what the fuck?  Turns out we leave on time after all which makes me wonder why the “delay” but I don’t care at this point.  At this point I’m ready to scream.  While I’m loitering around the gate I do notice a shorter than me bearish guy giving me ‘the look’ but as soon as I catch him looking at me he looks away.  Twice.  Maybe I still got it, ha ha, but who am I kidding?  Being the only leather clad, rainbow sporting person on this flight I’m pretty sure it’s glaringly obvious what I’m going to Philly for so I find it a bit silly that people ask me what I’m going there for.

This is a photo of my “admirer” I snapped after we got to Philly.  

First flight in 6 years.  It still fascinates and terrifies me to sit in a plane and watch and feel it take off.  It’s amazes me that we, as a species, have achieved this marvel. Passing through the clouds (and quite a bit of turbulence) it feels like you can almost reach right out and touch them.  Flying through them is fascinating as I have been an earthbound creature the majority of my life.  Watching the earth fall away beneath me and seeing roads become small trails and cars like ants, trees become an endless sea of green twigs and houses and buildings become small squares on the ground.  It was an amazing shared experience with the rest of the passengers as we collectively watched this all unfold together.

But next time I need to remember to bring Dramamine :-/

This was where we started in Charlotte.  Taxing along the runways until we were in position to take off.

This was shortly after leaving the ground in North Carolina.  Not that the phone takes the best quality photos, but these clouds were pretty amazing.

This was the view for a while.  Everything looks so small from up above.

It’s a hazy flight for sure.

Quite a bit of the flight was like this.  Nothing to see except the plane wing and one of the airline’s many animal mascots.

The entire flight I wasn’t really worried about anything other than ‘I hope my checked bag is on the freakin plane’.  Oh, and whether or not we were going to crash because there was a LOT of turbulence.

NOT enjoying this part of the flight!

After a long, scary and miserable time in the clouds, we finally break free of the soupy canopy and I can see the ground again…and Philadelphia!  My initial reaction wasn’t what I had imagined it would be.  I had felt that, upon laying eyes on the city I might burst into tears in front of the other passengers.  But instead, I felt a sense of calm wash over me as though a long time wandering lost in the dark had suddenly and abruptly ended.  I was back.

As we coasted down the runway, I landed to the tune of Total Eclipse of the Heart [Mobius Loop Mix] and began to be filled with intense anxiety at the thought of meeting Matty’s family and friends and the unnameable dread at the minuscule possibility of running into any of Jeff’s old friends while I was here.

I decided that whatever was about to happen, was going to happen and that it was out of my control an to just ride the waves of the storm as they came.  Once we had landed and made our way to the gate, I sat rather impatiently and watched as the other passengers exited the plane.  I was on the next to last row so I had a rather lengthy wait.  We were told to find our baggage at carousel 6 and I had nightmares of the last time this happened – not knowing I was to pick up my checked bag in the breezeway outside the plane and walking on my merry way to find Jeff, only to be told I was supposed to pick it up as we left.  I raced through the airport, stumbling at the end of each of the moving walkways, toward baggage claim.  Once there, I anxiously waited for my duffel bag to appear and lo and behold it rounded the bend just as I approached.  I grabbed the bag and dashed out on to the busy, loud street.  The pulse of the city was alive and well and it coursed through me, filling me with the energy that I’ve never felt anywhere else but at the same time, I was tired from the journey here and was definitely ready for some solitude and quiet time.


I texted Matty and waited for what felt like an eternity though it was only a few minutes.  As I watched car after car pass by, several with Lyft logos in the windshields, I saw nearly every car get rear ended as they all drove impatiently through the pick up area.  Finally, a friendly face appeared in the sea of strangers as Matty and his friend Craig pulled up to whisk me away.  Craig shook my hand and took my bag as I awkwardly handed it off to him and then he jumped in the back seat.  Finally, the man I came to see was here before me at last.  As we left the airport, it felt wrong somehow that I wasn’t heading to center city, to Jeff’s house, but instead heading out into the Philly burbs to Matty’s place.  It reminded me of some of North Carolina: run down houses and old businesses, left to crumble under the weight of years and the onslaught of nature’s wrath.  We chatted for a bit on the way and thankfully Craig didn’t say anything about my southern accent.  We dropped Craig off at his house and continued on our way home, but first he gave me a kiss.  I felt warm and tingly at the brief touch, but satisfied all the same.  The rising anxiety at meeting his mom came in waves, but I held it together as we stopped at a store so I could pick a few essentials that I didn’t feel like fighting to carry on a plane (read: adult butt wipes and lens wipes).  Afterward we continued on to home.

We pulled in the driveway as his sister was pulling out to leave.  His mom was standing on the porch.  His sister pulled back in to say hello and Matty sighed deeply in irritation.  I was about to meet the woman who, a year ago, ‘wanted my muffins’ and I was both tickled and nervous.  We chatted briefly about my flight and I recounted the boredom and turbulence then finally went in the house.  Matty’s mom was both what I expected and not what I expected at the same time.  The wear and tear of her life was clearly visible on her face, but she was as welcoming and sweet as I imagined her to be.  We talked, again, about my flight and I gave her a hug then we finally retreated to the upstairs to the sanctuary of Matty’s bedroom so I can put my bags down, finally.  This was when I accomplished the first task I set out to do while I was here and that was to return the pair of his underwear to him that he (somehow) left at my house last year.  The house is two story and very well kept to the point that I’d never have known that it had been burned down without them telling me the tragic story.  I’m in love with the hardwood floor, the upstairs bathroom with its tiled floor and shower, but not so much the stairs.  Every time I cross the hall to go from Matty’s bedroom to his game room (and vice versa) I have terrifying visions of falling down the steps and breaking something like my leg or the front door.  Speaking of Matty’s game room, walking in here was akin to this:

Seeing his collection that we’ve talked about, and that I’ve seen random glimpses of in photos, in person is awe inspiring.  I’m amazed at the love and dedication spent amassing such a collection.  I can only say wow at what I have seen and can only think that collecting all this is true dedication personified.  I can only hope to one day have such a collection myself.

It’s full of GAMES!

We finally relaxed on his couch in his room surrounded by games.  I feel welcomed here and relaxed, but a bit out of place for some reason.  Needless to say at this point, the majority of my anxiety had passed and it was time to finally relax for the evening with my bubster and begin our vacation together, because tomorrow was our first Pride event.

Bubby! ❤

Philadelphia Pride

I didn’t really know what to expect from a Pride event beyond a ton of people and lots and lots of symbolism everywhere.  I had always imagined Pride to be a huge, extravagant affair with over the top characters and people everywhere.  The reality, however, was much different from the fantasy.  These were just ordinary people like myself and Matty, just declaring that we’re here and we matter and we’re just people like you.  But I’m jumping ahead a bit.  First we have to actually GET to Pride.

We had an early start that day.  Getting up, showering and getting dressed.  I had bought a leather vest because I knew I was coming to this event and originally wanted to come in style, but style has a pretty hefty price tag so I ended up coming on a sort of budget.  I wore some camouflage shorts with a white shirt and my leather vest on top, leather hat and leather cuff.  I had a feeling it would be warm with all this on, but I had no idea what I was in for.  After leaving the house and making a pit stop for breakfast at the local Wawa we headed to the train station to meet Matty’s friends Craig and his husband Dean.  I had met Craig briefly the day before and thought he was nice (and cute) but I hadn’t met Dean before and didn’t know what to expect.  We arrive at the train station and wait for a minute until we see Craig and Dean pull up in their car.  While waiting we spot a small group of young lesbians (at least we assumed) laughing and waiting for the train.  We get out and wait with Craig and Dean until it was time to get on the train.  Dean is a big, gruff looking daddy bear but he’s also very friendly to me and gave me a hug.  My anxiety was starting to abate, finally.  It felt good to finally be able to let my guard down and take off the mask I wear all the time back in North Carolina.  We get on the train and, before getting there I had a feeling I should’ve been carrying cash, so I had to ask Matty to buy my ticket.  I was so embarrassed.  We pass the time on the train talking about movies and games and such.  Dean and I have a small duet of a couple songs from Rocky Horror after I mentioned that Matty had never seen it before.  We exit the train, finally, and go to street level.  I drop my sunglasses case along the way but fortunately some random guy chased me down and handed it back to me.  Once we get to street level I’m greeted by the sight of city hall, just as I remember it.  I follow along with Matty and the others and as he reaches out to hold my hand as we walk, I feel a certain sense of love and pride and acceptance that I never feel back home.  Once we reach the sanctuary of the gayborhood, I’m a little excited and realize that no matter how much I perceive myself negatively back in North Carolina, here I’m one of them, I’m accepted unconditionally for who I am.  The phrase ‘go where you are celebrated, not tolerated‘ rings in my mind as we stand and wait for the parade to start.  We stand and wait for a while until the signal for the parade is given, at which point the thunderous roar of motorcycles comes to life and fills the streets with a rallying cry.  What followed was a colorful march of people from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all nationalities and sexual natures.  I tried to photograph and video as much of it as I could, but I also wanted to be in the moment with the others instead of constantly living things behind a lens.  One of the many stand out moments from the parade was a couple of guys peddling pride t-shirts, advertising them to the shouts of “GAY FUCKING PRIDE!” as they walked through the crowd.  I turned to look and, sure enough, the words ‘gay fucking pride’ were plastered across the front with a lengthy slogan on the back that I didn’t catch all of.  I turned my attention constantly between Matty, the parade and our friends Craig and Dean.  Occasionally, one of the marchers in the parade would hand out (or throw) pride items like beads, wrist bands and such, so often, watching the parade quickly turned into a game of duck and cover.  I was lucky enough to be the target of a pair of bead necklaces at one point, so I quickly separated them and gave one to Matty as a memento of our first Pride event.  During the parade, some cowboys came through on horseback, but none of them really did it for me and one of them looked terribly uncomfortable.  I hoped that the horses didn’t shit but, unfortunately later on, the stench of horse poop filled the air.  For the next few minutes, life was a bit unbearable with the scent of horse shit, weed and whatever the guy near us was huffing out of his vape.  After a while, Matty and company spotted their friend Butch in the parade and tried to get his attention but unfortunately he didn’t hear them and kept on going.  Not long after that, the parade was over and it was time to head to their favorite watering hole: The Bike Stop.

The following bits are NOT safe for work and not intended for all audiences.  Proceed with caution!

Now, years ago, when I first came to Philly to see Jeff, he took me to the Bike Stop telling me things like I had the looks to fit in at such a place and how it was kind of a cruisey spot.  I was prepared for it and didn’t expect much, but the Bike Stop that we entered didn’t look a lot like the Bike Stop I remember from back then.  The place I remember had brighter lights and sort of a ‘rated R’ atmosphere.  This place was dark and seedy, and I definitely felt like I was on the set of a porno.  We were the first to arrive so we took seats at the bar and the drinking began.  My tolerance was low since I had mostly given it up after Jeff’s passing, but I decided a little booze might help me relax and be less tense and open up a bit more since I had been fairly quiet most of the time since I was kind of an outsider here.  We had a few drinks, swapped stories and stared at the sexy men scrolling across the screens.  I admitted to the others my feelings of anxiety at meeting them and Matty’s family and they told me not to worry about it.  After all, what was I so worried about?  After a while, the alcohol got the better of me and I had to go pee.  Dean (maybe Craig, I can’t remember who) was kind enough to escort me since I was a bit tipsy and we went to a very small, dark room with a trough filled with ice.  I did my business and went back to my stool at the bar and continued drinking.  As more and more people filed in and I continued to drink, I finally worked up the courage to ask the bartender where he got his harness since I had been eyeballing him like a piece of meat for a couple of beers.  He told me that one of the patrons had made it custom for him and I thanked him but I never followed through with finding out about getting one of my own.  Still not that brave with being partly naked like that with my body in its current shape I suppose.  After a while, and a few more beers, I ended up having to pee again this time Matty went with me since he was a little worried since I was not feeling so great.  We went into the same small, dark room, only it had been a while since I had been in because all the ice was gone.  Matty did his business and walked out leaving me there in my drunken state to pee.  Suddenly, some topless strange guy walks up next to me and asks, “Are you pee shy?” and I honestly tell him “No, I’m just drunk.”  Then he asks me the strangest question any man has ever asked me, and that was, “Mind if I have a drink?” and in my drunken state I’m like “Sure.”  What’s the point of going to Pride if you’re not gonna have some fun right?  The next thing I know, I have the sensation of a hot mouth on my cock and I just empty my bladder into his wet, hungry hole.  It’s the most curious and pleasurable new sensation I’ve had in a long time.  Once I’m done filling him up and emptying myself out, he keeps on sucking me.  I’m thinking to myself ‘shit, I’m gonna get my dick sucked in a public place…!’ but apparently the fun was over just as it was getting started because he pulled away and thanked me for what I gave him and walked out.

I hurriedly turned to face the wall to shove my dick back in my jock strap and stumbled out of the bathroom to find someone in my seat at the bar next to Matty so I decided fuck it and wandered off to sit by myself for a minute.  I sat on a section of floor near the pool table and after a few minutes of people watching, Craig saddles up and asks me if I want to go with him downstairs.  I said ok, and walked with him to the door and faced a perilously steep set of steps that went down into a very dark room.  I was both scared and excited at the same time.  Craig helped my drunk ass down the stairs and what greeted me was not at all what I had imagined.  The room was very small and claustrophobic and lit only by a string of red lights that encircled a recess above the bar plus the light that came from the upstairs and the stock room at the back.  Craig bought me another beer, that I knew I shouldn’t have had, but I decided screw it, I’m on vacation.  That was a choice I was going to shortly regret.  After spending a few minutes in the downstairs with Craig, getting a little more drunk and felt up by random men (and Craig who, once he found out about the sensitivity of my nipples kept torturing me but not finishing me off) I was greeted by Matty’s face appearing in the dim light and giving me a kiss.  I was a little relieved to see him in this sea of strangers.  I had a little more to drink and started to feel a little sick, so Matty helped me back to the upstairs to cool off and sit.  I think I scared him (again) a little bit, so he suggested that we go grab something to eat and I said ok.  We went down the street to grab some pizza and I inhaled my two slices while we walked back to the bar.  I admitted to him what happened to me in the bathroom after he walked out and he laughed and said that guy was notorious for that sort of behavior around the Bike Stop.  I still feel a little weird that I let him do that, and that I enjoyed it.  We make it back to the bar after getting slightly lost to find Craig downstairs making out with random men in the back corner along with Dean.  We stand around for a while and join in the debauchery or groping and kissing, hugging and rubbing, but because of the heat and my dumb decision to wear leather on a hot day, I start to feel overheated (and a tad self conscious) so I tell Matty I’m going upstairs to cool off for a bit.  I walk out on to the street and lean up against the building and do a little people watching until Matty appears outside to stand with me for a while.

Checking my phone while I had the opportunity, I realized that he’d been looking for me while I was outside.  At this point in the day, even though it’s been an amazing experience for my first ever Pride, I’m kinda over the crowd and the noise.  We’ve made our outcry to a massive city where we’re barely a blip on the radar, just a group of rabble rousers proclaiming our existence and place in everything, our right to exist.  We have allies everywhere, but we still look out for each other.  That’s why we call each other family.  We gather our friends and start the long trek back to the 7pm train home, and I watch as they reluctantly tell their friends goodbye as we make our way out of the gayborhood sanctuary and back into the urban jungle.  I watch as several young kids laugh, play and race along the streets and wonder what it must be like to grow up in such a place.  Certainly it must be better than where I grew up because you have more exposure to different people and cultures and ways of life instead of only getting the smallest glimpse of such things in an academic setting.  We make it back to the train station and wait for the train to arrive.  We haul our exhausted selves on board and take seats together, placing our tickets in the seat tabs so the conductors can see.  I take off my glasses and curl up, pulling my hat down over my eyes.  I’m tired and feel like a gross, sweaty man whore and I don’t want to be touched by anyone until I’m able to wash away the sin and debauchery of the day, knowing full well that there’s no water hot enough that will cleanse me of what I’d done.  But you know what?  If I had the opportunity I’d do it all over again.  Nearing our destination, Dean says he has to get off and use the bathroom, it can’t wait.  So I watch, sadly as my new friends get off the train leaving me and Matty on our own in the big wide world.  Reluctantly, I put my arm around him (I still feel really gross) and we ride the train into the night back to where our day began.  I hope I can make it back for Pride next year!


Saturday Morning

Outside the world was dreary, but vibrant with life.  Inside there was nothing but silence and the rolling screensaver from Netflix, another night of binge sleeping through all the episodes of Grace & Frankie.  I stumble, groggily, to the kitchen for coffee mulling over the disastrous and gross state of the floor.  Imagining the horror of tiles breaking as I rolled the refrigerator across them to position it back in its alcove on the opposite wall. Grout and sealant will be purchased this month, I thought, as the Keurig whined about making me a coffee.  If anyone could see my face right now, they’d think I was angry, when in fact I’m just trying to wake up.  I sat down and grabbed my laptop, thoughts swirling in my head like a storm that I must navigate.  The irritating sound of the windows rattling as the train passed by mingled with the tune to Sade’s ‘Soldier of Love’ as I thought about the events of the day.  Finally getting to have lunch with Glenn and William after nearly a month.  Glenn was finally getting the cabinet out of the front room.  It’s all starting to come together in there and will be “done” once I make a few more trips to IKEA for the shelving I want and once I decide whether to keep the rest of my World of Darkness books.  I say “done” as I still haven’t found the kind of video game decor for the room that pleases me that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.  Where’s my damn coffee?  As I sip, I think about the year ahead.  Still filled with an amazing amount of dread over my future trips to Philadelphia to see Matty.  I can’t let what Jeffery said to me at the end ruin this beautiful and amazing city for me anymore.  There is still so much more to see and do and experience.  Fuck him, he’s dead anyway.  Chalk that one up to the mistakes pile along with Stuart and Chris and the innumerable list of things I wish I had and hadn’t said to the innumerable list of people I wish I had and hadn’t said those things to.

How many times have I listened to this damn song? Ugh…I’m a soldier of love, but I need something with a beat. Ah, here we go, some Slayer should do.

Opening my email anymore fills me with vomity horror as it’s never anything anymore but the shitty things that the Trump administration is doing.  Sign these 500 petitions to help save the world.  Yeah, right.  My emails anymore are nothing but an exhaustive list of shipments from either eBay, Amazon or Gaming Relics, or creepy emails from Target telling me “that thing you looked at is on sale, buy it”.  Stop being a creep Target.

Time for more coffee!  I’ve picked up the cup twice now and realized I drank it all.

Bloodborne.  It’s been 2 years since I beat the game with that gangly British twat’s help then subsequently abandoned once he got the platinum trophy.  This time around, I’ll get the damn platinum since my brothers in arms are playing it with me.  This will be the second game this year that I came close to getting the platinum in the past only to have victory jerked out from underneath me.  Infamous and the trophy glitch and then Bloodborne and someone else’s selfishness.  I can’t even listen to his music now without getting angry since he unfriended me a few weeks ago.  It’s whatever though.  Had anything ever come of it, it would have just been more amazing sex with a crazy person and we all know how that ends.

Looking at my release calendar, I need to do more writing.  Seriously.  I have so much to say and only so much time to say it.

There’s a lot to look forward to though.  E3 this year is going to be amazing.  There’s already been a few things announced that I’m interested in seeing more of (Smash Bros for the Switch? Yes please!) and other things that have been mentioned or shown in the past that I hope make an appearance this year.  E3 is almost like the carrot on the stick to help me and Matty get through the shitty opening to this year. It’s not been good for either of us, but I argue that it’s been a lot worse for him than for me.  10 hour work days along with winter storms that have knocked out power.  Just wanna give him a hug and remind him I love him and I’m here for him, always.  The other big event this year is the meetup in Atlantic City.  I’m still super nervous and full of dread about going to that too, but I’m sure it will be a good time.  Both events are definitely keeping me motivated to get up and keep on living.

Now that I’m fully awake and energized, there’s a lot to do and I have no motivation to do any of it.  Let’s do it anyway.

Relationships, part 17


There was a time that I thought you were the one. There was a time that I thought you could be my boyfriend, my husband, my lover, my spouse, my power of attorney, my widow. There was a time that talking to you every day brought me joy, it brought me happiness. There was a time when I looked forward to talking to you, to gaming with you every day, to hearing your voice, to seeing your face. But now I don’t feel like I’m looking at the same person, I don’t feel like I mean anything to you anymore. I don’t understand what’s changed, what’s happened.

I didn’t think it was appropriate for you to send me snapchats of you and your boyfriend in bed together and I also thought it was a little tacky for you to send me snapchats while you were out doing stuff together. It was almost like you were rubbing it in my face that you had a boyfriend but I was still single. Speaking of snapchat, I found your excessive use of it (instead of carrying on a normal conversation like a normal person) to be very annoying. At least that’s one thing I’ll never have to deal with again.

Thanks for ruining The Smashing Pumpkins for me and I hope you can find people willing to put up with your stupidity enough to game with you in Destiny 2 and Killing Floor 2. If anyone between the two of us should be angry, it should be me. You pretty much just up and left me behind on consoles to go do PC gaming instead. I guess my friendship just wasn’t good enough for you, was it? You’re just like every other faggot I’ve ever met on the internet, only interested in me for my looks and once you got tired of looking at that you moved on. Typical.

Oh, and the beginning of the year when I was sick as fuck for like 3 months and you were being really pissy and annoying because you wanted to carry on a full on conversation when all I wanted and needed to do was rest and sleep? Fuck you for that too. I’m beginning to think that maybe the Canadians in Quebec and Nova Scotia are the only decent ones because the further west you travel the more you guys turn into assholes (just like Americans). I used to think your ex was an asshole for leaving you, but now I’m beginning to think that maybe he had the right idea. You’re just an asshole, plain and simple. If you wanted to know how I felt about you, you could have asked instead of making assumptions and spreading lies. Yes, there was a time that I liked you and thought you might have been the one, but that changed when I realized you’re a fucking drunk just like Jeffery was, and any hope I had for you died when you told me you used MDMA. I’m certainly not going to have anything to do with a drug addict, so why don’t you do everyone a favor and either overdose or get clean before you hurt someone else’s feelings.

I’m leaving you in 2017 with the rest of the trash. Goodbye and good luck.

Alanis Morissette – You Learn

Oh, oh, oh

I, recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone, yeah
I, recommend walking around naked in your living room, yeah

Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles

You live you learn, you love you learn
You cry you learn, you lose you learn
You bleed you learn, you scream you learn

I, recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I, recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free

Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live you learn, you love you learn
You cry you learn, you lose you learn
You bleed you learn, you scream you learn

I, I, oh, oh

Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you’re gonna have to eventually, anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend

You live you learn, you love you learn
You cry you learn, you lose you learn
You bleed you learn, you scream you learn

You grieve you learn, you choke you learn
You laugh you learn, you choose you learn
You pray you learn, you ask you learn
You live you learn

Relationships, part 16

So a few Saturdays ago I got a friend request from one of my nephews. I know for a fact I blocked him once before so it seems he made a new account. I had toyed with the idea of opening a dialogue to see what he wanted…but I was hesitant.

I’ve been an uncle since birth. He’s a year older than me and his brother is a year younger than me. The 3 of us were pretty much inseparable until our teenage years when self discovery started. THAT was when the drift started. When my sister outed me, I don’t think it helped.

After seeking the advice of friends, people on Facebook and a mostly ignored plea on Instagram, I decided to go ahead and take the next step and talk to him.  This was the beginning of a conversation that I’ve had a feeling in my gut was coming for some time.  I’ve been having thoughts/feelings about my biological family for a while now because I had a feeling that maybe, just maybe, not all of them were against me.  It could also be the creeping realization that age is catching up to us all and there’s only so much time we have left.

Some of my more prominent memories of this guy aren’t exactly pleasant ones, so I decided to err on the side of caution and message him anyway, but with contingencies in mind.  So far everything has been fine and the conversations have been civil.  I’m just wondering about a few things that he said during our conversations.

He wants me to meet his new wife, Angel.  I’m not opposed to the idea, but I’m not really thrilled with it either.  After I worked up the courage to ask him what happened with the other girl he married – Hayley – he told me that after 9 years she cheated on him.  That definitely opened up a flood gate of emotions when I told him I’d been cheated on twice.  That was when I outed myself to him.  He asked if I was currently seeing anyone and I said yes, his name is Matt.  He seemed cool with it and didn’t freak out about it or anything.  I told him that I was glad that he didn’t flip out over and his response is what I’ve been mulling over since he said it:

“Hell no man I’m not going to freak out on ya. That’s who you are and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  No judgement here.  From any of us.”
So does ‘we’ mean just him and Angel, or is he speaking for our whole family?  Was this all just a huge misunderstanding from the get go and I’ve been living with the assumption that I’m not liked by my family?  I don’t know.  I also really don’t know if I want to even bother finding out.  How the fuck do you establish a dialogue with a group of people that you haven’t seen or spoken to in nearly 20 years?  If in fact I’ve been mistaken all this time, then perhaps the record should show that maybe I was wrong.  And if in fact, that’s not the case and I’m just looking at things through rose colored glasses, then perhaps trying to establish a dialogue or even seeing my family again after all this time is possibly the worst idea I’ve ever had.
For the time being, I’m going to keep the dialogue with him open and hope for the best.

Dear Matty

I’ve been waiting for months for this countdown to reach zero, and here we are.  It’s a little after 9am and you just texted me to tell me you’re at your gate at Philadelphia airport.  I’m sitting in my living room, just dressed, having coffee and writing you this letter.  I’m so unbelievably nervous about meeting you in person for the first time.  You’ve told me again and again not to be, but I can’t help myself.  My heart thunders in my chest and my pulse races at the thought of finally getting to spend some quality time with you that doesn’t require an internet connection and use of PSN.  I’ve barely slept at all because I didn’t want to miss picking you up.  I’m so anxious.

After you went to bed, I baked the chocolate chip muffins and ate two of them.  Had to make sure they were up to snuff before I served them to you hahahaha.  You just checked in on Facebook, I’m so excited!  Alex is on his way to get me and then we’ll be picking you up.  Every time I think about you being here I get excited and smile and laugh.  I can’t believe that this day is finally happening!

Fast forward to the end of the week…

This went by way too fast!  It’s a little after noon on Saturday and I’m sitting here on my couch listening to The Cure and wishing you were still here in my arms.  I still feel like an asshole for making you cry this week; once after telling you about my mother and what happened to her and again when we had the talk about us.

I’m going to miss having your big warm body to snuggle up with at night, holding you close to me and feeling the heat of your breath on my skin.  Hearing the sound of you snoring and watching your lumbering form cast shadows on the dim walls of my bedroom.  I’ll miss all those special dirty things we said to each other in bed.  I’ll miss having morning coffee and muffins with you and snuggling under the cammo comforter on the couch while we play games together.

I’m already counting the minutes until I get to see you again.  I miss my bubby.

Your papa bear,


Life Is A Suicide Mission

Do you ever wonder why people kill themselves? I used to.

Way back in school, when I was first introduced to the concept of suicide, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why someone would do such a thing. I get that your life is currently in a shit place and things are bad, but are they really that bad? Little did I know that in a few years, I’d learn why in a very difficult life lesson.

When I was young, I used to listen to all the grown ups in my family talk, I loved hearing their life stories. One story always stuck with me through the years. I don’t remember his name, but mama knew a man that she described as ‘always happy and funny and cheerful.’ She had a picture of him with my sister Regina when she was young. She told me that he had killed himself. Being so young, I had no idea what that meant or why it made her so sad.

Not long after high school was finally over, life decided to really take a turn for the worst. I’d be willing to go so far as to say that it’s the darkest period of my entire life. First, my mother died a couple months after I graduated after a nearly year long battle with cancer. My birthday and Christmas meant nothing to me that year. Then my friend Wendy’s grandmother died at Christmas. Then my father died the following March. Then his mother died a month later. Then on top of all that, I was forced out of my home by my father’s piece of shit sister since it was now legally hers. So I ended up living with my sister. Those were very dark times.

Did I think about killing myself? You bet, and often. I had nothing really to live for, I was merely existing. I often look back on it all and wonder how I made it. I suppose I never gave up hope that things would get better, and I guess in a way they did. Every time I thought about killing myself, I remembered what I was taught in health class in high school:

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

It pretty much became my mantra for years, said silently to myself when the voice within became too loud. I had friends, sure, but eventually they all turned out to be a bunch of fakes except one (he knows who he is.) In retrospect they weren’t really worth living for, but it was all I had. Life got better. Life GETS better, that’s why I’m still here.

Those times I entertained the thought, I weighed the pros and cons carefully. It would all be over; all the daily misery, the suffering, the anxiety, the sleeplessness, the fun and games, the sex, the music, the voices within, the noises without. Would it hurt my family? Probably, but I didn’t really care if it did or not. The ones that it would hurt the most were the ones that kept me from doing it, I stayed alive not for myself but for them. They are why I’m still here.

Those times I entertained the thought, I thought about how I’d do it. Pills? Not 100% effective. Guns? Too much of a mess. The answer came to me at work one night. I had an accident where I hit my right shin on a metal guard and ended up cutting open a vein. There was blood everywhere; every beat of my heart brought me closer to oblivion as I watched my life force drain from me. All I wanted was to sleep. All I wanted was to lay down and die. I was so tired. This was the way out, this was how I’d go out. I was taken to the ER and sewn up and drugged. I felt fine the rest of the night thanks to the wonders of modern medicine. Now that I had chosen a how, all I needed was a reason. An impetus for my destruction.

The years have passed since that night and while I have the occasional bad day here and there I still don’t have a reason to do it.  I like to think about it the same as this guy:

I don’t fear death and/or suicide. Whenever I get low I look at it as a very far off option if things don’t get better. They always do so I’m not worried about it. For me a quote from Neil Hilborn illustrates it best, “I think a lot about killing myself, not like a point on a map, but rather like a glowing exit sign at a show that’s never been quite bad enough to make me want to leave.”

I see suicide as an option, especially if you’re terminally ill.  An option that not everyone agrees on, but it’s an option nonetheless.  Do I still wonder why people do it?  Yes and no.  Why they do it is still a mystery, a case by case basis, but I think I have an inkling.  They just feel hopeless, like there’s no escape, like this misery is going to be endless.  But I don’t wonder about it as much because I feel I’ve lived through the why.

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.