Don’t Give Up

One of the sadder parts of my job this time of year is the increase in suicides. People get extra lonely and/or their demons ramp up because of the apparent isolation of the holiday season. I’ve been there myself so I always take these calls to heart. I’m not currently on the dispatch floor; however, I had to pull one for court recently. It made me so sad to hear the person feeling so alone. He was straight but it didn’t matter. His pain was once my pain and it touched me to my core. *I’m feeling a bit long-winded today. Grab some caffeine!*

I’m sad to say it but many of these wounds are often self-inflicted. And I say that not as a judgement. Much of my pain from back in the day was my own doing. And while you’d never have known it to see me, holidays were absolute torture. And I inflicted it upon myself over and over again every year. I wouldn’t wish that sort of pain on my worst enemy. It is my hope that my sharing struggles and how I survived it will help others.

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When I put myself on my journey to discover myself, I developed a few axioms to live my life by. Psychologists often teach us to put reminders in our daily lives to overcome our personal conflicts. For me, it turned into blogging. My blog became my therapy. And thru it, I posted my new found axioms (at the time) in the ‘about’ section here for many years as a daily reminder to myself.

  • What you think of me is really none of my business.
  • No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.
  • Be the type of man you’d like to date.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.

These are still a big part of my life. They are the foundation of much of my personal growth over the last 25 years. If you are feeling down, sad, worthless, or unloved, these apply to you. Dear soul, you are not alone. So many of us go thru it. Some of us overcome it, some of us avoid it by maintaining unhealthy relationships or setting standards so high no one can ever measure up, some of us deny it, and some of us just suffer thru it. Regardless of where you are, know that I understand 100%. I’ve been there.

It took many years of working on myself to overcome it. Here is my best advice to help you overcome it. But, and it is a very big but1 to overcome. You have to face yourself and be brutally honest. This simple step will stop everything if you can’t do it. If you can then:

What you think of my is none of my business. It takes a bit of time to wrap your head around this one. Many of our internalized insecurities we inflict upon ourselves. Primarily because of how we think others see us or how we think others want to see us. We twist ourselves into pretzels trying to avoid negative views or stereotypes. The reality is you have to let go of that. Modeling your image after what you think others want you to be will just make you miserable. And you’ll never live up to it because this idea is different from person to person. Or, you will mold yourself into an image so constrained by the view of others you will be even less happy. This is a dangerous path to go down. Instead, just let it go. Focus on what you think. Your opinions, ideas, and thoughts matter. You matter. Don’t worry if someone doesn’t like xyz-thing about you. Focus on making yourself happy. Focus on what you think and believe. This all might sound kind of trite but it will bring power to your struggle, and with power comes confidence!

No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. Happiness within is something only you have control over. If someone tries to put you down, shame you, or otherwise be negative, you have to agree or ‘let them’ make you feel a certain way. If you didn’t believe it yourself, it wouldn’t matter. When you reach a point where you are happy within, this one becomes much easier. You find other people’s projections onto you roll away. Stop focusing on what others think of you and focus on what YOU think of you.

I was fortunate enough to realize I wasn’t happy with myself in my late 20’s. I was even more fortunate to realize I didn’t hate myself so much as I didn’t love myself. I felt woefully inadequate and insecure. Childhood mental/physical traumas left me feeling utterly worthless and undeserving of love. This drove me to believe love was all I needed in my life to “fix” me. I desperately wanted to be loved so being loved would fix everything right? Wrong.  I could post several novels worth of text from my old written journal of me lamenting this.

And when things didn’t work out with someone, I always felt something was wrong with me. Anytime someone rebuffed or ignored my interest it was back to being unworthy in my mind. I stayed in unhealthy relationships out of fear of being alone. These were and are self-inflicted wounds. And they don’t just go away. They become set pathways in our brains. We have to fight to overcome and change them daily. Examine the moments that make you sad when engaging with others, be it in person, online, etc. Find you trigger and examine why you think that way and then work on changing it. It is a slow painful process. It will bring up even more self-loathing until you finally break the cycle.

Listen to my words. Stop focusing on what you need from someone else and start focusing on yourself. It took me years of continual effort changing small behaviors and examining my triggers to do it. Honestly, I didn’t even realize I had until well after the fact. It just sort of snuck up on me. And even then, some of my new found “adulting” made me an enabler for others. I had to then break thru that as well. It isn’t an easy process but it is beyond words worth it.

Be the man (or woman) you’d like to date. I know for many of us in the LGBT umbrella, loneliness and a sense of belonging are severely lacking.2  Ironically, it dawned on me once while a previous boyfriend who I’d remained friends with was at dinner with me ranting and railing about ‘where have all the good men have gone‘.  I finally got so annoyed I just blurted out, “why don’t you focus on being a good man first!”  He wasn’t amused to say the least. However, that moment was more of an epiphany for me than him. I felt many of the things he wined about. At least he was detoxing by getting it all out.

As part of the struggle to actually be a man you’d like to date, you will discover you become a better man. Until you let go of the idea that someone or something else is needed to ‘fix’ you, you will never over come this. You will continually get into codependent relationships that feed on your insecurities. I know from experience! I spent so many years torturing myself with ‘if onlys’. If only I could find a man to love me. If only I could be more masculine. If only I could be more attractive. If only, if only, if only, if only…  It never ends!

When you finally start living for you, not for what’s missing, you’ll find the better man is less of a focus and that yearning for a ‘fix’ will dissipate. You might still want a partner in crime and then again you might not. Either way, the idea will shift from being unhealthy and painful to a healthy pursuit of a life goal.

You might also be pleasantly surprised that more men will be into you. We are innately drawn to confidence in others, romantic or platonic. When you tackle this and overcome it, your natural confidence will increase and I guarantee you others will notice.

Treat others the way you like to be treated. This is routinely known as the golden rule. And it is. How you treat others should be more important to you than how others treat you. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to imply you should let people treat you poorly. However, when this becomes a mantra, you find it reinforces the first one above. You cannot control the actions of others. You can control YOUR actions. Being a better man doesn’t mean always being right. This is a painful lesson in the gay community. A big one for me revolved around the sexual conquest that is so much a part of being male. In our carnal or romantic pursuits, we tend to value others we see as less-attractive less. This lends to treating them poorly or as unworthy. This is one of many examples. I mention it because it touched me personally. Your struggle here might be different.

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These four little phrases drastically changed my life. I still strive to live by them. And I don’t always succeed. But like any goal, it is the struggle to get there that gives it meaning. You are struggling this year, reach out to those closest to you. Even if they don’t understand, they can listen. They can help YOU get it off your chest. Just the act of admitting it out loud can be therapeutic. It doesn’t have to be family, it can be a friend, a coworker, or an old booty call you connected with. If not, call a local hotline. A quick Google+ search will give you help. Don’t let it beat you. You are worthy.  If this once utterly broken soul can do it, so can you.

If you made it thru my rant, I wish you love, warmth and happiness.

And as always, hope springs eternal….




  1. hardy har-har. pun intended. []
  2. And let us not forget the folks who deliberately feel alienated by the stereotypical view of our community. This angst is also self-inflicted. []

One Year

Well, it’s been 1 whole year since I took my admin assignment at work. My how time flies. It doesn’t seem that long at all.

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One year ago

I’m still enjoying the assignment. And yes, I’m still struggling with the hours. I just can’t seem to develop a consistent rhythm. It’s the going to bed part I struggle with. I can’t seem to get sleepy around 2100 (09:00pm). If I hit the gym hard that day I usually start getting a wee bit sleepy by then; however, if it’s a cardio or off day I’m awake for at least another hour. This makes me sleepy the next damn day. Arrrrgh.

Beyond the hours, I’ve settled into it. It isn’t hard, I just crank thru documents and audio/video files on a daily basis. Work comes in, work goes out, work comes in, work goes out…and repeat the next day. Pretty simple. I’ve learned quite a bit about our local Sunshine ordinance as well as our version of the Freedom of Information Act.1  I still work overtime from time to time in operations. It keeps my skills up and I miss the camaraderie of being with my coworkers. I’m isolated in a tiny office with just one coworker. We get along just peachy (some might say too well. heehee) but it isn’t the same as being in a room with a group of your peers.

The assignment is up to 5 years so I’m barely a year in. I have the option of rotating out after 3 years. I’m not sure I’ll stay the full 5. On the upside, I’ve finally gotten used to having holidays off! It was a bit surreal after over a decade of working most holidays. One can actually plan to do things that aren’t just on my weekend. Who knew!? hehehe  Half the time, we just sit at home and enjoy the time off. I’ve become such a home body. I’m still struggling to shrug it off. I know we should be out doing ‘stuff’, but video games and the couch are always so alluring. Shawn is just as bad; however, he seems to shrug it off a little easier than I do. He helps motivate me to plan trips and get out of the city.

So here I sit ‘working’ up a storm. It’s my Friday on a holiday week and I’m looking forward to the weekend!




  1. FOIA applies to federal agencies. We have the California Public Records Act (CPRA) which almost mirrors the FOIA one. []

TBT – Throw Back Thursday

I have a rare contribution to TBT. This pic is from the early 90’s. I don’t remember the exact date. I found it in the oddest place looking for a blank CD-rom. I have no idea how this pic got in the cabinet, but there it was.1

People never believe me when I tell them how skinny I used to be. Here is a prime pic of how truly scrawny I was. hehehe  I no longer know the 2 guys in the pic so I didn’t think it fair to share their faces w/o permission. I barely recognized myself when I stumbled over this pic. But look at how damn skinny I was!

My body isn’t the only thing that has changed since then but I’ll get to that in a second. You can see the genuine smile on my face. The one thing I always had, even then, was my optimism. For a frame of reference for you long time readers, this was a few years after my near suicide but before my stint at being homeless. I didn’t have a pot to piss in and yet I greeted every day with excitement. Life was carefree and simple.

tubs baby

But to know me then was to know a contradiction. Maybe not the best term but it’s the best I can think of at the moment. I was so damaged and yet so happy to be alive. I woke up every day and eagerly ran out into the world. There was no fear of what might happen, just my determination to keep going. So few ever knew how truly conflicted I was inside. I think in part because I didn’t consciously realize it myself then.

Tangent/  If you look closely, you can see a black bracelet on one wrist and a watch on the other. The bracelet was a cheap piece of rubber but had so much sentimental value to me. It was the last thing M, my first love, ever gave me before he was killed and I wore it for almost 2 decades of my life. I’d also developed a knack for collecting cheap but unusual watches and probably had about 30 of them at this point. I wore a different one every week. This was all still pre-internet. /tangent

It should come as no surprise I moved around a lot. I was searching for a place to ‘fit’, a place to belong. I wanted it, but more importantly I needed it. I also tended to move-in with any guy who showed more than a passing interest in me. I was living in Galveston at the time but was preparing to move to Houston. I needed a place to put down roots so I could move past just surviving. Years later, when I got a chance to move to SF, I jumped at it. I almost fled I left so fast. SF gave me a chance to start over yet again but this time for myself. I didn’t move for a guy or anyone else. I moved for me. Without knowing it, it gave me a chance to stop and assess my life. Having a new place far away from everyone and everything I knew gave me a chance to dismantle the shell I’d built for myself. It gave me a chance to shed my coping mechanisms. I left behind not only a weak body but also a weak mind. I worked hard to get ahead in every way possible. And I’ve come so very far. I’d never have thought it even remotely possible back then.

Today, looking back on it feels as if I’m looking at someone else’s life thru my own eyes. I remember how damaged he was and how hard he struggled to survive. I remember how hard he worked to make sure no one ever knew how horribly inadequate he felt 24/7. I remember how he chronicled and buried his pain in journals. I remember how he hung onto any ounce of praise or attention sent his way. I also remember the few souls who truly befriended him, some who are still in his life today, some not. He was like a tumbleweed just blowing in the winds of life. And yet, all of that aside he was happy. (Ok, no more third party references to myself)  A total contradiction. But, I had survived so much by then why wouldn’t I have been happy? Actually, I was obnoxiously gay and happy at the same time. *giggle*

In this silly picture I am reminded my past gives me strength to face my future. My past failings do not define who I am today. So while I remember that broken shell of a young man, he is not me today. I honor his struggle to move forward the best way he knew how. I rejoice at his silliness, his indomitable spirit, and his unwavering desire to survive. All of which is still with me today.

 




  1. I converted it courtesy of the Google+ Photoscan app, which works surprisingly good. []

Ever After

The blog title is also the title of one of my favorite movies. It came out in 1998. Drew Barrymore and Angelica Houston were two of the leads, not to mention Dougray Scott.1  It’s the modern day remake of the Cinderella story. It’s quite good if you’ve never seen it. It was on cable again recently and of course I got sucked into watching it. I noticed at the end, I wasn’t wistful or lonesome this time. That got me to thinking. 

Back when I was an insecure mess and still trying to figure things out, this movie always made me lonesome and wistful at the same time. Lonesome for the obvious reasons and wistful for a love that transcended life. I just knew if I could find the ‘right love’ life would be perfect. The movie is the epitome of the love conquers all fairy tall. I was sold hook, line, and sinker.

However, this time around I think a few things occurred to me. Relationships need love. They can’t really survive without it. But the idea that love makes everything ok is utter bullshit IMO. Love doesn’t keep people together. While it certainly helps brin them together, staying together requires a lot more. Frankly, we need to stop force feeding the fairy tale idea to our kids or at least provide some balance. The older I get the more I see love as a lubricant that helps all the other parts of the id slip/slide around each other. Or maybe it’s like a really elastic glue. It stretches to allow growth but pulls individual pieces of ourselves into a cohesive pattern. Like real world lubricant, it dries out and can crack if not nutured or renewed. For gay men I think we spend so much of our lives trying to fit in and belong we get caught up in the idea of the perfect relationship. I know I did. For years, I felt like if I could just find the right guy my life would be all better.2  He’d fix all my problems just thru love. In reality, I wanted someone else to fix my own failings. I spent all my time hoping to find the right guy intead of trying to BE the right guy.l It took me long enough to realize it doesn’t work that way. No one can ‘fix’ you but you. 

Lawd knows I’ve had my bad relationships. And some of them have been doozies. I used to think of them as failures. I don’t anymore. For along time, I was too dysfunctional to even notice much less learn, but I did eventually. I learned relationships take work. They need more than love and even then they aren’t perfect. Perfection is a myth reinforced by our fair tayles. I’m sure I drive Shawn crazy at times, in fact I know I do, but that’s the best part. We can drive each other crazy and still realize we love this person. I’m learning successful relationships are about loving someone for their best qualities and still accepting them for their flaws. 

I won’t pretend to know the future. I’ve certainly been burned rambling about it here before. I am happy Shawn and I have a good foundation. I accept all of him. And while there are times we get on each other’s nerves, I still love him every day. I hope that lasts for us. For the first time in my life I am able to love in a way that is healthy IMO. I’m not clinging to him out of misplaced fear. I’m not with him because I’m afriad to be alone. I’m not with him because I feel incomplete. 

I love the idea of growing old with Shawn. Two crotchety old fools getting on each others nerves but never wanting to be a part. I totally love love LOVE that idea! And I could see it happening. But…if things change and one of us felt unhappy, not fulfilled, or we just grew apart, I’d be ok with that too. I love hime enough I’d still only want him to be happy. I’d like to think I love him for the right reasons and I’m secure enough to want him to be happy over us staying together. I don’t think that means I care less, just the opposite actually.

I’ve always said love with limits is just a form of control. True love isn’t a testament to how long a relationship lasts. To me, true love is loving someone knowing it might last a lifetime or it might not. True love is based on how you love, not how long you love. So while I can enjoy the fairy tale movies, I realize these stories are meant to inspire us to love, not to teach us how to love. 




  1. Boy, he used to do it for me. hehehe []
  2. I should post some snapshots of my really old journals. They were so sad. []

Anniversary of Mom’s Death

I think this is the first year I haven’t been sad during the anniversary of my mother’s death. It snuck up on me and the grand day arrived before I even knew it.

In year’s past, without even realizing it on a conscious level, I would get sad for anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. I’d start searching my thoughts and feelings to figure out what was wrong and realize it was her anniversary. And for you long-time readers, I’m sure you know I’m referring to my foster mother, not my step-mother.

I’d like to think I’ve reached a point of happiness and contentedness in my own life that I no longer yearn for her in my life. She was only in my life for a few brief years as a child but all my best memories of childhood revolve around her. Even though I was adopted1, I never felt like she treated me any different. I was her baby boy and the memories I have of her are full of love and good things.

For most of my adult life I always wished she was still around. I felt like I needed her. I felt like if she’d survived that brutal fight with cancer my life would have been vastly different. I can’t know for sure how things might have been different. My soul ached for her in the early (miserable) days of adulthood. I still remember crying myself into exhaustion on her grave one year in my late 20’s. I’d been away for several years and felt like I was disrespecting her memory. I was so lost as a person back then. I felt robbed of her love and potential influence. I remember being embarrassed it took longer than I thought it should to find her plot. The cemetery had grown and changed over the years and many of the familiar markings were gone. I remember how completely adrift, cold, and utterly alone I felt when I left her grave that day. It was probably the second saddest day in my life.

Obviously, I survived and moved forward. And yet, every year around this time a wave of sadness would hit me. Some years I knew in advance and embraced it, other years it just happened and I would scramble to figure out why I was so sad. This year the big day came and I was fine. It was a shock to look down at my phone and realize the day. I felt a small pang of sadness for a moment and then smiled.

I still remember her and wish she had been a bigger part of my life. I still wish she was here in this world with me. None of those things have changed. So what has changed? I haven’t forgotten her. Is it just time and age? It might be a bit of both but I like to think it’s another sign I’ve grown up. Gone is the injured boy locked inside the body of a young adult man. In his place is a man mature and experienced enough to handle the world and his own shortcomings head on. It’s certainly been a struggle but I like to think that. I think she would be proud of the man I’ve become.

The memories of her grows slightly more fuzzy every year now. It used to be so crisp and firm in my mind’s eye. I still remember her face but even it is starting to change. I don’t have many pictures of her but the few I do have help me keep her face alive in my memory. I have zero contact with anyone from her side of the family. I haven’t seen any of them in over 25 years. (Many of them didn’t like that I was adopted, from what I’ve been told) There is only my older brother and myself now to remember her. He is in prison and he never talks about her. We’ve never discussed her once since she died actually. He is many years older than me and we were never overly close, even back then. I certainly wasn’t the little brother he wanted. But, as long as he and I remember her, she still lives.




  1. I didn’t know it at the time. []

46

Well, it’s finally happened. I’ve crossed the threshold. Now that I’m 46 I’m closer to 50 than 40. In gay culture, I’m officially ancient. hehehe  It doesn’t help that my birthday is on inauguration day. I promptly did my best to avoid that shit show! It wasn’t easy considering all the protests.

I don’t get sad or depressed on my birthday. I never quiet understood that but it hasn’t happened to me. I certainly hope it never does. Anyway, Shawn was actually away on work. I was off on the big day but my co-workers made me a whole batch of oatmeal raisin cookies at work. They know my weakness. And yes I ate them all in 2 days. Time to do more cardio.

The big day was pretty quiet. I spent time with da Cooper and just being a home body. I made it to Starbucks to get my freebie drink. Shawn was away for work but came home early Saturday. He booked tickets for us to go see Kathy Griffin! I love me some Kathy G and have been to her shows several times. She was hilarious as ever. She is starting a new tour and was trying out new material. Her show ran long which was a blessing as it was raining cats and dogs all damn evening. One new element was a lot of new references to older hollywood stars. A big part of her schtick is calling out famous celebrities and if you’re under 30 many of the jokes and stories might be lost on you this tour. Being a geezer now of course, I got most of them. hehehe  She was funny and irreverant as ever. It was a great gift.

Shawn got me one more gift in Sharks tickets. We went this past Thusday for a home game down in San Jose. Hockey is one of the only sports I truly enjoy. I enjoy it enough I’ll even watch it on tv. Live games are always great. Shawn thought it would make a nice gift for me, and he was right. I actually used to go a lot when I first moved to SF. The problem is San Jose is at least an hour and half away by car. You can make it in just over an hour by train if you catch the bullet. Sadly, the only trains back aren’t bullets and it’s an hour and half home. It’s an effort to get off work in time to get down to SJ in time for the game. I just slowly stopped going as the effort was just too much. But, it is a fun event and I like that Shawn has an interest in hockey and we can enjoy it together. Anway, the game was pretty good even though the Sharks ended up losing. They are top of their Division right now and doing really well in the Westeren Conference as well.

As mentioned above, I am not saddened as I get older. In some ways I’m fortunate. I didn’t feel like I ‘lost’ my childhood and it was so awful I don’t really miss it. I survived more in the first 25 years of my life than most people do in a lifetime. What’s to be sad about? I’m back in great shape. I’d dare say the best shape of my life. I’ve backed a few lbs of muscle this last year and shed some of the gut I’d built up from complacency. I have a stable job, a roof over my head, a hubby and a doggie that both love me. *Knock on wood*  I’m very fortunate at this point in my life and I’m still relishing it even though it isn’t really new anymore.

So no, I’m not sad to be getting older. I like my growing wrinkles and grey hairs. I don’t blur or “fix” them in my photos/selfies. Wrinkles are often a sign of a life lived IMO. Granted, I do wish the muscles and joints were a bit more flexible. hehehe  I am definitely noticing a difference at the gym. I am not a young man anymore and my joints/ligaments aren’t either. I won’t say it’s harder to workout now as much as it requires some modification. I can’t push my joints/ligaments with abandon like I did as a younger man. They don’t bounce back as quickly and if I push them too far, they break. Case and point, I’ve been fighting tendinitis in both my forearms/elbows like never before.1  I finally had to take time off from working my arms to let them heal. I’m also modifying my workouts to accommodate the fact I can’t just push heavier and heavier weights to gain muscle. There are different ways to burn out the muscles and stimulate muscle growth. I’m trying to be smart about it and have challenging workouts w/o hurting myself.

In my mind I don’t feel 46. If I had to pick age age, I still feel like I’m 30. I think I’m fixated on my 30’s because it wasn’t until then I achieved a level of income beyond just survival. I’m 30 but with 16 more years of wisdom. hehehe  Now if I could just get my joints to feel that way! On the flip side, I have become a huge homebody these last few years. One of Shawn and I’s resolutions for this year was to get out and do more. It doesn’t have to be lots of trips and expenses, but get out be active more. Going to hockey games is a good start!

I’m 46 and making another trip around the sun above ground. For someone who never I’d even see my 40’s, I’m looking forward to another successful trip around the sun. And as always, hope springs eternal…




  1. One arm appears to be healed up []

World AIDS Day

***Note – I actually wrote this post in 2015 but thru some sort of typo it got scheduled for 2016.***

World AIDS Day has a special meaning to many of us in the LGBT community. If you are over the age of 40, it is extremely unlikely you haven’t personally lost at least 1 friend or loved one to AIDS. While it is more of a chronic illness in western culture these days, it is still incurable and people are still dying. While I lost several friends over the years, two were very close to my heart and I use this day to fondly remember said individuals. Today I want to talk about Damien.

Damien was the manager of the Club Houston.1 I happened to meet him at a very rough time in my life. The first time meeting him left me a bit rattled actually. I was still young and very naive at the time. And while I’ve always been able to put on a good poker face, I was very intimidated by him. He was this rather imposing figure. He carried himself w/a bit of what I referred to then as arrogance. It helped his image that he was tall and lean. He had long curly hair, of which he he was very fond. He had a reputation for being very strict and frankly, being a bitch. As I would discover later, it was all a cover. He was actually quite kind and generous. He just had a really low tolerance for drama.

For myself, I was struggling to not be homeless at the time and ended up working at the Club for money on weekends. I’d come in and do the weekend bbq and they paid cash. Considering I was sleeping in my car at the time, I wasn’t in a position to refuse. Being funny and social, I quickly went from just weekend work to weekday work on a full-time schedule. Damien quickly fell in love with me (as a friend and mentor). One, I was a hard worker2 but that just served to get his attention. He loved me because, as he put it, “I was the nelliest funniest queen he’d ever met” For you long timer readers, you’ll remember I turned myself into a stereotype back then because I thought that’s what I had to be to gain acceptance. And truth be told, you would not have even recognize me then. But he loved me because I was so fiercely “out.” Anyway, back on topic.

After a little while, word filtered back to him regarding my situation and my routine unofficial overnight hangouts became a sanctioned activity. Employees were allowed to use the ‘gym’ for free. hehehe It was a huge burden lifted for me. A couple of the employees didn’t like me because they knew I’d rat their lazy asses out if they got high and slacked off while on duty. Said slacking meant more work for me. They would routinely kick me out after my time limit expired at night. This left me on the street anywhere from 4-6 hours in the late night/early mornings. The police were not friendly and the neighborhood wasn’t overly safe so I’d drive to a nicer area of town and park in well-lit areas. Anyway, what very few people knew at the time is he also helped me behind the scenes as well. I was the beneficiary of a monthly “employee of the month” program that seemed to only exist for my benefit. Said program paid extra cash to the winner. Damien grew to trust me a lot and was also a mentor to me. Having been thru some of life’s harsher roads before me, he would often share pearls of hard earned wisdom with me.

After a year or so, I moved on. While I had no shame in working there, I didn’t intend to stay that way. I’ve always been a quick study and any time life presents an opportunity I take it. I continued working and finding better jobs to better myself. Damien and I stayed in touch and I’d routinely lend a hand if he asked. An employee would get fired or just disappear and he’d call me for a quick shift. I was glad to help someone who helped me.

When Damien got sick, I was living in Boulder, CO. I caught a flight back as soon as I could and got back in time. It is a surreal experience to see the life and health leave someone you know. Gone was the vibrant man I knew. In his place was the decaying shell of a human being. In a word, it was ghastly. I loved this kindred soul and it broke me in so many little ways to see him reduced to this. When he passed away, I promised I’d never let myself die that way. I’d never let anything reduce me to such a state. (Kids say the craziest things when we think we are invincible)

[This part is new since I wrote this.] So today, I celebrate his life. He wouldn’t want me to be sad or down. He would want me to be fierce and alive. So in his honor, I celebrate the life of all of those we’ve lost due to AIDS. I celebrate the life of those who still live with AIDS. I celebrate their courage in the fight to live. I celebrate the new treatments and drugs available to everyone. Besides treatment drugs we also have PrEP now.3 PrEP is changing the landscape of treatment and transmission.

I celebrate the kindred soul that touched my mine and helped me on my own path.

Hope springs eternal…




  1. One of two large bathhouses in the city []
  2. yes, even in a bathhouse. []
  3. Pre-Exposure Prophylactics []

Stuff

I haven’t really talked about my ‘stuff’ lately, or not in the sense I used to here. And that is totally a good thing! For over a decade, I’ve used my blog to air out my doubts, fears, demons, and general thoughts on life. I started out blogging for fun. It was new, exciting, and totally inline with a desire to chronicle my life. It quickly turned into an outlet to work on my failings. I felt adrift in so many ways for so long and finding an outlet that gave me an opportunity to focus on myself was a life-saver. I don’t say that casually. Thru my struggles here I have become a better person. And as I age and move thru life, the new habits are becoming set and I am stronger than I’ve ever been.1

*Note – This started as a quick update and Jesus, Mary, Joseph, & John it turned into a long winded rant! Grab some coffee*

Lately, in almost a weekly occurrence I’ve observed or experienced small happenings that I would have reacted to in a completely different (read ‘bad’) manner in the past. And I am continually grateful that I can see past things that would have also hurt me in the past.2 If anything, I’m feeling a little sad at how many people I encounter who are so adrift in life like I was for so many years.

I used to think what I did wasn’t really that unique. I’m discovering it really isn’t that common at all. And I’m not sure what made me unique. Was it the resilience I developed from years of mental abuse as a child? Was it learning how to be introspective? Was it blind fate? All of the above? I don’t know. It is hard to express outwardly how far I’ve come. I’ve gone on and on here ad-nauseam about it I’m sure. I struggle to put into words how my mental framework has shifted over the years. And to see me in person, you would notice some differences but you probably would never know otherwise.

I’ve always been good at hiding my personal demons. Call it an unexpected gift from childhood. Not many folks, even my closest friends, really knew how hard it was for me to get by at times. On a related tangent, as hard as my early life was, I was so rarely depressed. The brush with suicide gave me a renewed energy and to this day I can’t help but wonder if that one moment saved me continuously over and over. Now that I think about it, not being depressed made it quite easy to hide everything else. Back on topic, my crippled little id hopped along adapting or borrowing coping-mechanisms as fast as I could find them. The best and simplest exampled involved crossing the street. Yeah, you read it right. I would develop so much conflict in the act of crossing the street at an intersection when cars and people were present. There was this prevailing idea that every person in their fancy cars could see how worthless I was. And they were judging me for my failures and inadequacies. Inadequacy was at the heart of my existence then. I felt unworthy of the simple act of existing. And lest you think me joking, yes I felt that every time I crossed a f**king street alone!

Now imagine the conflict that ensued when my logical and not too terribly unintelligent mind ran into that every time I engaged in life events. Going to a bar was an experiment in how well I could hide the pain while desperately seeking someone to fill the void of loneliness, thru sex or companionship. Picture me trying to reconcile that I’d rather be a top in bed but felt so unworthy of the act I made myself bottom for others. Oh yeah, shit just got real! lolol I made myself into a stereotype (on varying levels) just so I could feel accepted. Most people would kill to avoid being a stereotype and there I was molding myself into one.

It easy for me to laugh now. And even though words fail me at times, these are the examples that really demonstrate the degree of dysfunction inflicted upon me. And to have successfully dragged myself out of that will always be my biggest life’s achievement. One might think it a low bar but such a simple change in focus radiates thru everything I do and am now.

Now I find myself struggling with a way to share this with others and help them grow. Trying to explain it doesn’t seem to do the trick. I’ve tried a few times and it didn’t work. How do you help someone see something they aren’t yet ready to see? I don’t have the answer for that one….yet! *scratches head*

Hope springs eternal…




  1. Who says a bitch can’t work on the outside AND the inside?! heehee []
  2. Hurt is such a simple word but covers a whole host of sins we inflict on ourselves or allow others to inflict upon us []

D&D

Today marks the anniversary of my Mom’s death. She died when I was young. For some reason this year I’ve been thinking of her a lot. She always pops into my mind around this time but this year it seems more insistent. It has been almost a daily occurrence for the last few weeks. A memory will randomly pop into my head or something will invoke a memory of her.

It has been long enough now the memories are beginning to get fuzzy. Some of them used to be crystal clear and others were always fragmented. I was so young at the time. There are a still a few memories that feel so real and vivid. I think I’ve mentioned different memories in past rants. For whatever reason, I have a lot of good memories of her sewing. She enjoyed it so I think I picked up on that. Anyway, she’d be sewing away and randomly look up to see what kind of mischief I was into. On one particular day she paused and looked up at me and to her surprise, I was looking back at her rather intently. She asked what I was doing and I just stared at her. She smiled, I smiled and the moment was gone. She went back to her sewing and I went who knows where to get into mischief. I wasn’t thinking anything overly important or specific. I’m not even sure why this one memory is still so strong. I might have been 3 or 4 at the time. I wasn’t 5 because that’s when the cancer diagnosis came and my life went crazy for awhile.

The anniversary of my dad’s death is only a few days from hers. While my dad’s death is much more recent, it doesn’t seem to invoke the same type of memories for me. While he and I patched things up at the end, we were very distant for a good chunk of my life. I’m sure that is why the memories are different. Anyway, I remember my mom’s hair, the scrunched up face she would make during moments of deep concentration. I remember her kind smile and even the thin line her lips made when she was angry. I remember she always liked having me with her. She never made me feel like a nuisance or a hassle. I had a habit of walking into the kitchen and just snuggling up against her leg rather absent-mindedly while she was cooking. I remember my little rocking chair that I absolutely loved. It was in the shape of a horse and it was one of those fixations that kids sometimes get with certain toys. I remember it breaking in the middle of the night one time and I cried and cried. My mom made my dad go out that night and find a piece of wood to fix it. He took it in the back room, patched it up and even fixed one of the little eyes that had come loose. I was beyond gleeful and grateful.

I don’t really know why she is on my mind so much this year. I miss her though. I wish she’d had a chance to see me grow up. I can’t say how she would have taken my being gay but I can’t help but think my life would have been better back then had she been around. She always seemed to be the warm spot for my dad. Oh they fought and sometimes like cats and dogs, but they always made up. Ironically, the best memories of my father are the short years between my mom’s death and him remarrying.

There isn’t any sense romanticizing about what might or might not have happened. My life is what it is and I am where I am because of my life. I talk about her here is so I don’t forget her. She is alive in my memories and if I keep those alive, she will live with me. And even though I probably view her thru the eyes of a small child, I still remember and that is enough for me.

45

Guess who’s year older today? Me!  lol  Forty five years old and still going strong.

Funny, in a lot of ways I don’t feel 45. I’ve always felt young for my age so that really isn’t a surprise. I thought I would have grown into it by now though. haha  In other ways, I definitely feel 45. After my last rant about my back, I’m clearly not as spry as a I used to be. My body, against my best wishes, is starting to show its age. The grey that used to be just in my hair has taken over my beard and is encroaching on my chest. Is it normal for grey hairs to travel down the torso as one ages? I always thought it started at the bottom and worked its way up? My wrinkles are a little deeper and a little larger in number. Anyway, I don’t mind my age. I certainly don’t resent it. I know a lot of gay men start missing their youth to the point of distraction around this time. Not me. Sure, I wish my body was still younger but aging is part of the human condition. I like my wrinkles and grey hair. And unlike some, I don’t feel inferior or less relevant as an aging gay man.

But let’s face it, much of our original culture revolved around being young and attractive.1  Actually, it’s even simpler than that. It revolves around sexual attraction. In that regard, when you delve past the differences, straight men really aren’t that far removed. I realize I’m generalizing here. I’m not attempting to marginalize all of us into one category. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, a lot of guys around my age and older grew up fighting for an identity as well as being accepted. Of course, also being men into other men, sex and sexuality was a big part of our emerging culture. Sadly, many of us developed coping-mechanisms to compensate for our struggles. Many of those coping-mechanisms became wide spread and part of our culture over time. But being part of our culture doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy for us. On a tangent, it isn’t surprising really. We had to overcome stereotypes that portrayed us as weak and inferior on top of fighting to find acceptance in society. Our ‘culture’ grew out of abandonment, rejection, and an underlying need to belong. And mixed in with all of that was fear, anger, loneliness, and desire. The sexual freedom became a trap many of us couldn’t escape.

For myself, I was very insecure as a young man. I found my validation thru sex. And without realizing it, it became a very compulsive habit. It was a fix for a need I could never satisfy. It became a viscious circle and I consider myself very fortunate to not only have discovered this in myself but also be able to overcome it. A success due in no small part to my blogging. And most surprisingly of all, I found strength in myself.2  That strength allowed me to let go of detrimental coping-mechanisms and move on. I can tick off a list of areas in my life where I found the most growth. Realizing my self-worth should come from within instead of how I was perceived by others was one of them. Frankly, I see gay men all the time who have yet to realize this. You can’t overcome what you don’t see as a problem. They often just grow bitter with age over what they perceive to have lost and resent it. Or more astutely, they resent those who still have it.

So here I sit a 45 years old. My life isn’t perfect and neither am I. But I like my life and who I am. I have regrets but they are overshadowed by my accomplishments. I still look forward to my future. In the best of ironies, when I was younger I never thought I’d live to be very old. Now I find myself looking forward to old age.




  1. I say original culture because it is definitely changing now []
  2. To this day, I still get a little surprised to have found it in myself []