Melancholy

This time of year gets me a little down.1  Today, marks the anniversary of my beloved Coopers’ death. I am not sure how he touched me so deep, but I still long for him. The intensity of his death has diminished but the longing for him is as strong as ever. He barreled into my life like a little dynamo and I was better for it. His absence is felt often but more so this time of year.

Next month also marks the anniversaries for the death of both my father and mother, albeit decades apart. Their anniversaries are less than 2 weeks apart. I’ve mentioned before the memories of my mother have become dull. I still have a funeral card to keep her face alive in my mind; however, the memories themselves tend to blur after so many years. I was 5 when she passed. I’ve always wondered how my life would have turned out had she survived her battle with cancer. I can’t honestly say I knew her well enough to know what she would have thought of me being gay. I like to think she would have come to terms with it. The story of my adoption leads me to believe this. For those of you who have not read my history here, I was abused/neglected as an infant. In a defiant act to my birth father, my birth mother asked her friend, my soon to be Aunt, to adopt me. It was out of the question for various reasons so she brought me to her brother, my soon to be foster dad. The story goes that once my foster mother held me in her arms and saw how terrible I looked, that was it it was decided. So yeah, I like to think, however much it might have pained her, she would have come to terms with it, or at least that is what I tell myself. I do remember my mother was gentle but utterly fearless when confronted. I’ll never know and I’m ok with thinking she would have accepted me.

My father and I were estranged for a long time after my abrupt departure from home. We didn’t speak for many years and even after that it was always strained. We never regained the bond that a father/son normally reach to some degree in adulthood. We did get closure together before his death. I say we because I got a closure I didn’t realize at the time that I needed. I now remember him with sorrow for the relationship we could have had together had he not rejected me at such an early age. I find the pain/trauma of my childhood has taken a backseat to the regret of never having a better relationship with him. I do wonder if I had tried harder to mend fences and be closer after our reconciliation if things would have been different between us. I didn’t feel the onus was on me, but now that he is gone it is one of my regrets nonetheless.

It was several years after the death of my father before I realized my melancholy moods around this time of year had meaning. When I notice the turn of my inner mood I now reach for the memories. There is some joy in it as well. In recent years, my memories of Cooper have tended to blend with my thoughts of the past. I guess with the anniversaries being so close it makes sense. As I’ve aged, I have also found many of the good memories from my childhood sprinkled in amongst all the painful ones. I discovered I find solace in remembering the past. In a weird way I think I look forward to it. I am not one to dwell on the past, but pulling up the memories strengthens me today in the now. I pull the memories up, even some of the painful ones and I remember. I remember what got me here and I remember who I am because of my past.

Be well, my friends.

  1. As apposed to the madness we are slowly coming out of now in the political world []

Playing It Straight

I was chatting with a FB friend the other day who came out late in his life. He asked me if I had ever thought of going thru life pretending to be straight. He was shocked when I shared the idea had never even occurred to me.

If you’ve been here long enough1, you’ll remember I “left’ home at a very early age. I was also sexually active very early. That said, at the time I still wasn’t actually sure I was gay. When I told my dad on that fateful day, I remember just telling him I liked having sex with guys, not that I was gay. It might seem like I was dense but I had no idea what it was to be gay. All I knew were the stereotypes thrown around every day.  My understanding of “being gay” meant I had to be super effeminate , wear dresses, or want to have sex with animals or kids. And while I turned myself into a stereotype many years later, at that time none of those things applied to me. It wasn’t like I could talk or ask anyone about it. There were no cell-phones, internet, or social media back then. My small town didn’t have ‘dirty magazines’, much less gay ones. We lived so remote we didn’t even have a landline phone.  For a few years I thought I was a straight guy that just liked sucking cock on the side. I kid you not, I thought that way.

Fast forward to my early 20’s, I survived my stepmother’s torment, being thrown out on the street, M’s death, and a near suicide. These things changed me so deeply I can understand why it never occurred to me. The evolution of my understanding and acceptance of myself negated the very idea of pretending. It just wasn’t an option. I could theorize over it but that seems pointless.

My friend was flabbergasted by my story. He just assumed we all hid it when we were kids. Funny how we go thru the world projecting our assumptions. I was a bit shocked he thought all the guys in our age group hid it until we were older.  He was married to a woman. No kids, but not from the lack of ‘trying’ as he put it. He also shared with me he felt ashamed to bottom until he was almost 50. I can’t say that surprised me. Too many fellow homos carry this nonsense around in varying degrees to this day. He also shared with me the torment he lived with knowing he was living a lie. He both loved and resented his wife because of his secret. He was careful to avoid anything “too gay”, lest he be discovered.

It was a very interesting perspective to me because it was so foreign to my own story. It was a really good conversation. Anyone having to hide who they are doesn’t have it easy, regardless of the circumstances. My struggle was and is but one of many.

At this moment in my life, most of my coming out is a dull memory vs the sharp stabbing pain it used to be. And while I have wondered at times what my life would have been like had I not come out when I did, it is not from a sense of wishing it so.

  1. oh you single digits few []

Warm Rain

It is rare to get rain in SF this time of year, but even rarer for it to be warm and a thunderstorm! We had one this past weekend. OMG It was amazing1

There aren’t many things I miss about the South, but the warm rain is definitely one of them. Rain here is often cold (and miserable). lol  To get a warm rain and a thunderstorm is a rare treat. Sadly, I slept right through the thunderstorm part. Yup. It was all over by the time I woke up. I did get a nice walk in the rain though. I had to get Miss Daisy settled first. She tolerates it because where daddy goes, she goes, but she hates the rain. Afterwards, I took a leisurely stroll down to Starbucks to get my weekend caffeine fix. I took my sweet-ass time. I missed most of the rain but the tail end was light and just a delight!

I used to love warm rain growing up. I didn’t care if it was ‘stormin’, I like to be in the rain. Anytime it does happen here, I’m always reminded of one weekend playing with my older brother in the rain. We had that game where you run and  standing slide as far as you could without falling. Of course, he always won. But that was never the point. I’m grateful I do have some fond memories of my childhood. Warm rain is definitely one of them. 

It’s funny because people here worry about lightning from thunderstorms like people from the South worry about earthquakes here. And people talk about it for weeks afterwards. Weeks!  

I’m sad I missed the bulk of it, but it was a lovely morning. We’ve been having a mini heat wave so the rain was a nice break from the previous day heat. It reached 96 in the city so I know the burbs were cooking. If nothing else, it put me in a good mood. I momentarily forgot about all the drama in the world right now. It was just me and the drizzling warm rain.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. Even though I missed most of it []

Ghosts of the Past

I haven’t talked about my “issues” here in a long time. Truth is, I haven’t felt bothered by them so there wasn’t a need.

Today, I’ve been overwhelmed with memories of my past. I can’t say anything triggered it. Maybe it’s just ‘my time of the month.’ I’m not depressed by the memories, even though most of them aren’t great. I just can’t seem to shake the progression. One memory will trigger another and down a rabbit hole of deep thought I go…

Anyhoo, it’s been mostly about my step-mother, her family, and my angst at them for never intervening when they saw my step-mother abuse me. I know they recognized it because I would sometimes overhear the adults (her siblings) asking my step-mother, “why are so mean to that boy?” My cousins would just ask me directly. Or they would discuss it amongst themselves in front of me. For many years growing up I worshipped and hated them at the same time. When my family from her side visited, I got a reprieve from the mental torment. It meant things would be more bearable, even if it was just a long weekend. Of course, when they left, I suffered even more for my apparent ‘slights’ while they had been visiting. It was in those moments I hated them most.

When I left home none of them made much effort to stay in touch. To be fair, neither did I. They represented a connection to “her” that was to be avoided. It wasn’t like I was overly stable anyway and there was no cell phones, texting, or even internet. But I didn’t understand that then. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve slowly opened a window to them on Facebook. Being an adult now, my view of them has been complicated. At first, I was resentful more of them didn’t reach out to me. But, I realized that wasn’t fair either. Their lives diverged from mine and I was a distant memory. They had as much reason to reach out to me as I did to them. And it wasn’t like I made a lot of effort either. I kept them at arms length. A small handful made an effort to at least reconnect and “know” me a bit. I’m grateful for that. Our lives are so distant and different so that is pretty much where it ends. We keep a cursory connection at best.

And as expected, many of them tend to be Trump supporters. This isn’t much of a surprise. I only mention it because I routinely chime in when I see them sharing absolute made up stories that reinforce their biases. Reconciling my childhood view of them with my adult exposure has been easier than expected. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. lol

Anyway, I don’t have any wisdom to share. I’m just putting thoughts to pad to help me drag the triggers and emotions out into my conscience id so I can examine them properly. I’ll post more if I figure anything of value out.

Loss

A retired coworker passed away this week. We found out yesterday. She gave 52 years of her life to public service. You read that right, 52 years!

She was an icon of sorts. You either liked her or hated her.There was usually no in between. I sill can’t get over how long she worked. Fifty two years! I’m just in awe of that. She started 5 years before I was born. I can barely imagine working the 30 I need to retire at full benfit.

She could be a pain in the ass a times as she was a bit of a micro-manager. That said, she was also a kind caring person. She would give you the shirt of her back if she thought you needed it. So while she would drive many of us nuts at times, we still liked her. I adored her. And while I would join in at times poking fun at her, I did so in the spirit of affection. Honestly, after 52 years of service she could do whatever the hell she wanted IMO. lol

I never told many people this but she gave me the down payment for my first motorcycle. I’d been with the dept barely two years at the time. She had overheard me talking to a classmate that I was struggling to come up with the money needed.1 I discovered a check tucked into my laptop bag later that night with a note telling me not to rush to pay her back. I had already bought the bike but had stretched myself beyond the breaking point. The purchase was an impulse buy. And while I didn’t regret it, her offer saved me from a very unpleasant conversation with my landlord at the time. I busted my hump working overtime to make sure I paid her back in just a few months. I never forgot her generousity.

We didn’t always get along so well. But we always seemed to get passed any hard feelings. Knowing her the way I did, I just couldn’t bring myself to hate her when she drove me crazy at work. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise I took her death a little hard. I was a bit surprised at how upset I got. She had not been in the best health lately so we all sort of knew it was on the horizon eventually. I guess when you think of someone as an institution unto themselves it is easy to over look their mortality.

Judy, you will not be forgotten. You made your mark on us and it won’t soon fade.

  1. My credit wasn’t the greatest back then and we made a lot less in salary. []

Good Decision

Moby & Shawn March 2015

Today marks the anniversary of my decision to move to San Francisco just under 18 years ago.

It was my 3rd or 4th trip and I’m walking down the Castro just enjoying the “scenery.” I distinctly remember making the decision after seeing a drag queen, a leather daddy, two gym bunnies, and two mommies with strollers all roaming the streets in the hood. No one cared about their differences, no one was even phased by the diversity from several walks of life. It was just all out there.

It was at that moment I decided it was time to make a move. It was a good decision and I have never once regretted. It wasn’t easy as I loved my job at the time. I was living with one of the besties so home life was good as well. Life was going smoothly but I never felt like I belonged. It wasn’t until I moved here I felt I finally found a place to call home.

Fast forward almost 18 years, a failed job offer, several moves around town, 3 significant others, several wonderful dogs and I’m still loving it. The city has and is changing but that is always true of any city. There are things I miss but bemoaning and being bitter over it solves nothing. I prefer to look eternally forward.

It is hard for me at times to look back on my life and believe the scope and depth of growth and change I’ve been thru. Life can be a funny beast. I’ve got at least 14 more years here (until I retire I’m pretty much tied to the bay area). After that, who knows? SF can be a very hard place to live on a fixed income. I remember all too well struggling for several years when I first got here. I was barely making ends meet. I don’t plan to end up in a similar situation when I do finally retire.

Anyway, I’m feeling nostalgic a bit today. I might go for a ride along the beach on my motorcycle later. SF, you are not perfect, but you are very much my home.

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.

*

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.

*

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. []