All Good Things…

I have a problem.  It’s not necessarily a big deal problem, it’s just a problem.  I get bored.  I get bored pretty easily.  I don’t have ADD or ADHD or AED or any other acronym you might think of.  I can sit on my ass for hours watching TV or movies.  If I’m reading, I’ll stop because I can’t keep my eyes open before I stop because I’m bored.  It’s other stuff.

Those of you who visit this blog with any regularity have surely noticed that the posts have tapered off.  It’s because I’m bored.  Well, maybe bored isn’t the right term.  I’m… dissatisfied.

I started blogging last June.  I started my first blog here on WordPress two days before my 33rd birthday and had big plans.  I called the blog “Started Living” because I wanted to get out there and start living my life, something I hadn’t really been doing previously.  I created the blog on somewhat of a whim because I had something I wanted to say and I needed to get it out there.  I searched for a title that said what I wanted to convey and that hadn’t already been taken.  It’s amazing how I’m always behind the times on certain things.  I searched for “Life Starts Now”.  Somebody had it.  They hadn’t updated it in a long time, but they owned it.  I searched for “Starting Life Now”.  Same story.  “Starting Life”, “Starting Living”, “Life Starting”?  Second verse, same as the first!  Finally, I punched in “Started Living” and I got the glorious “this title is available” message.  I ran with it.

“Started Living” didn’t feel especially catchy to me.  I was frustrated with the lack of cleverness or even any real meaning behind it.  In the early days I reported some big events.  Part of my motivation behind the blog was to live more openly about my sexuality and to have a focal point and a reason to get out and start living.  I came out to a few people and I documented it on the blog.  I attended a smattering of events that happened to be taking place outside the four walls of my own apartment.  But all in all, I did not Start Living and so I started feeling unauthentic with the blog title.  I published my final post on “Started Living” on November 6, 2008.  At that point I had posted 81 articles and had 32 comments.  I’d had over 3000 hits.  But I didn’t like the direction the blog was going and I wasn’t happy with the name and so with my November 6, 2008 post “Started Living Didn’t, Finds a new Home”, I said good-bye to my unauthentic existence as a guy who hadn’t started living and hello to my truly unauthentic existence as “A Drunk in a Hard Place.”

“A Drunk in a Hard Place” was a tongue in cheek, unfunny reference to my life.  The reality is I’m not an alcoholic.  I do drink and like so many other people, I occasionally drink more than perhaps I should.  On one particular occasion, I drank much more than I should have and paid a very high price for that poor judgment.  But as a matter of course, I don’t drink a great deal and it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.  For a time I was reading a blog called “The Drunken Housewife” and I found her writing humorous.  So “A Drunk in a Hard Place” was meant to be a humorous reference to the fact that I do drink, sometimes a lot; the fact that at times my life is really hard (isn’t everyone’s?); and, I hoped obviously, a play on “A Rock and a Hard Place”.  It was meant as a joke, and I think for the most part, it was taken that way, but I became uncomfortable with it.  I left things alone for six months because I hadn’t thought of anything better.  Then one day, finally, inspiration struck!

I spent the last almost three years in therapy, only having taken a hiatus in the last four months to try and get my finances under better control.  I am not, by any means, “done” with therapy.  Insightful Therapist said, “you’re in the middle” during our last (I was going to say “final”, but I hope it wasn’t) session, and I think she’s right, which is why it’s important for me to get back as soon as I can.  Anyway, I have come a long way in the time I have been in therapy and I’m a much happier, better person now.  I feel like I’ve benefited a lot from therapy and I feel like I’ve got something I can share with others and so I’ve started something new.

From today, those of you who read my blog with regularity and desire to deliberately follow me can find my writing at http://riggledo.wordpress.com.  I will not delete this blog and cannot say I will never post here again, but from this moment my focus and my energy will be put into Riggledo.  So, let me tell you about it!

The title is a play on my own name.  I hope it’s something that will be catchy.  In my wildest dreams I hope it’ll become something of a household name, so to speak, along the lines of “Dooce” or “Amalah“.  I’m neither a woman or a mommy so I don’t expect to fall into their league, but it is my hope, that at some point, I will have a following of readers who are as committed as these ladies have and that “Riggledo” will be as much of a “household name” as these ladies.  Perhaps that will never happen but I can certainly give it a shot!

Riggledo is a conglomeration of my last name, Riggs, and what is part of the focus of the blog, to help my readers to remember that they’re “OK” just the way they are.  In other words, my name is Kevin Riggs, and I’ll do just fine just the way I am!  Riggledo (and so will you.)

OK.  End of the shameless self promotion!  And I hope this is not a “good-bye”, but rather a “follow me”.  I’m headed over to Riggledo and I hope you’ll come along!  See you there!

One Down, Two to Go

Stop me if you’ve heard this. I thought I’d told this story but I’m not finding it in my archives.

When I was about seven years old, Scornful Mother asked her boss if she could do the Janitorial work for her office of about 35 people for extra income.  Now, for SM this amounted to coming straight home after work and picking up the three of us kids, taking us out to eat at our then favorite restaurant, Bill Knapp’s, and then taking us back to her office where she put us to work.   She sat at her desk at the front and did who knows what while we cleaned.  I won’t go into all the crap feelings that surround that topic, but what I want to say is that even from a young age, I have always felt like it was stupid that she took us out to eat before taking us to “her second job”, effectively canceling out the additional income with the additional expense.

Dead Beat Dad, who was raised by parents who did seem to think that how other people in their lives spent money was somehow their business never hesitated to express his own judgment at Scornful Mother’s penchant for taking us out to eat and then complaining about not having enough money.  It’s funny how, despite my own feelings on the subject, I have the inherent need to defend her.  “She was raising three kids on a secretaries salary.”  “She worked all day and had to feed three kids, at night.  Who wouldn’t rather go out to eat than have to come home and cook after that?”

There was a disconnect in the story for me.  I remember Scornful Mother taking us to the grocery store.  We had to walk around in a single file line behind her and not touch anything, including each other.  I remember the grocery cart being filled to the top.  What was happening to all this food if we were eating out all the time.

A couple years ago, I happened to be in the same place with Dead Beat Dad and CPA Sis, and somehow this topic came up.  CPA Sis told him, “What you don’t know is that she’d have panic attacks about writing such a big check, spending so much money all at once.  She’d get to the front with her full cart and she’d experience anxiety about it and have to leave the cart behind, without buying any of the groceries.”

I never knew this.  From a rational perspective this seems ridiculous to me.  I know it’s not good money management, and yet I can understand it…

credit-card-debtIt is my goal for 2009 to pay off my credit cards and have no debt aside from my car payment which I do want to pay ahead on and get completely out of debt ASAP.  I received a very large income tax refund this year.  Not enough to completely pay off my debt, but a large amount all the same.

I’ve already written a check to Green M&M to pay off all the money that I know I owe her.  (Over the years there have been lots of loans which will never be repaid.)  I’m just waiting for the check to go through the bank.  Part of my “new leaf” has meant keeping close track of my expenditures, how much I’ve spent, when I spent it and when it comes through, and how much I have left to spend.

I just went on to the website for the credit card with the highest balance (and interest).  The balance on the account was $887.05.  I knew I needed to pay it off.  I knew it was a financially sound decision.  I knew I had to do it… And still, my finger hovered over the mouse button for several seconds before I clicked “submit”, with thoughts going through my head like, “But this is 65% of the money I have to spend.”  and “I won’t have any money left after I pay these off.”  Suddenly, I had a flash of understanding about what it must have been like for Scornful Mother at the prospect of writing those “big” checks at the grocery store.

I’m proud to say, I clicked the submit button, and in that one move, I wiped out a third of my credit card debt!  Yay, me!

Now, If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to cuddle up in the corner and wait for my pulse to return to normal and cry it out!

Results Not Typical

I was checking my Hotmail earlier today and I looked at the top of the screen at the ad that was there.  This is what I saw:

results“Results not typical” it says.

Well, isn’t it convenient that Marie’s results just happened to come out the way they hoped they would.  Because I’m certain that they put her through the same paces that Betty Lou Boyd in Boise goes through as she attempts to do this program all on her own.  I’m certain that Marie Osmond didn’t have any special guidance or assistance of any kind while she was on the program.  And I’m sure the photo used for this ad wasn’t doctored in any way shape or form.

Obviously, certain people are born to be stars, and if you can’t identify them any other way, just get ’em fat and then put ’em on a commercial weight loss program and see how they do.  If their results are “not typical” then sure enough they were born to be a star.

I know I’m cynical, but come on!  Marie didn’t lose 40 p0unds all by her lonesome, simply by following the NutriSystem program without any guidance or extra hand holding.  She probably had (or has) a personal trainer to put her through the paces on the exercise side of things.  And by it’s very nature, she didn’t learn anything from NutriSystem while in the process.  Sure she got her food preordained, possibly even blessed by Joseph Smith himself.  And yes, she probably took note of the fact that the portion sizes were smaller than what she was accustomed too.  She might even have noticed that exercises (if she didn’t get it already) helped speed things along.  But did anyone actually teach her how to keep the momentum going after she got off the preordained, prepackaged, presumably preservative laden meals?  Was there any emphasis on why these items were better and how she could stick to it after she was finished?

The reason why the vast majority of weight loss programs ultimately fail (Kirsty Alley) is because people deprive themselves of their favorite items, their comfort foods, having been told “Starch bad – protein good.”  But nobody taught them what that means or how they can incorporate both into their lives and live a healthy life style.  So they follow the “simple” plan that the weight loss guru du jour laid out for them and one of two things happen.  Either they burn out early and give up before reaching their goal (that’s me) or they reach their goal maintain it for a little while and then slowly start creeping back up to their original weight (anyone seen Oprah lately, God love her?)

Just once, I’d like to see an ad like the one above where the person is still puffy, but not as big as the used to be and the ad says, “I’ve lost 20 pounds of the 60 I’m shooting for and it’s only taken me 4 months to do it!  This program is slow as hell and it drives me crazy but I’m learning and it’s getting easier….  Results completely typical”

Is that really so much to ask?

I Am An Official NANOWRIMO08 Winner, Yay!

nano_08_winner_large

It’s Time!

Well, I took my week.  I took my week to pout and rant and stew.  And then I talked about it.  With my therapist.  She helped put things into perspective.  A perspective I guess I really already had but sometimes it’s nice for someone else to help see it.

This week has been a struggle for me to accept the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8, because it was personal to me.  For the first time in my life, it was personal to me.  It’s the first time that such a bill has been on the ballot, in the state where I lived, while I was not in UTTER AND COMPLETE DENIAL!!

I realized while discussing this with her that it had hit me so hard because it made things “real” for me.  In the same sense as “if I don’t actually tell anyone that I’m gay, it’s not real.  But as soon as I tell someone I am, it becomes real.”  You see, I’ve been around for others of these types of measures.  I’ve watched from the side lines and hoped for the best outcome while not being too worried about it because, “It doesn’t affect me anyway.”  I’ve watched as once again the hope for equality was snatched away like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and I’ve been disappointed at the narrow-minded hate that seems to abound.  But I’ve known that it wasn’t about me and it wouldn’t change my life and so I could distance myself and be unmoved.

I’m used to that feeling so when Proposition 8 came about and I watched the process taking place, I was caught unprepared for the outcome.  I watched from the side lines.  I hoped for the best outcome.  I didn’t worry about it.  And I watched as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory…  And I was affected.  I was hurt.  I was offended.  Dare I say it, I was devastated.  Because this time, personal, it was!  This time I’m not in denial.  I’m not hiding who I am from myself.  I know that I’m a part of the community that was under attack.  Of course I took it personally!  Of course I felt like it was a slap in the face.  Of course I wanted to see something done about it.

So I did something about it.  Last night I became a member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  I bought an equality car magnet which I will proudly place on my bumper so that every one will know that I’m here.  That I’m a part of their community and that I can’t be held back.  I bought an equality pendant on a leather cord which I will proudly display around my neck so that everyone will know that I’m in the room.  I’m in their space.  And that I’m not giving them the gay bug, or cooties.  I’m just here.  I bought an equality key chain which will bare my house and car keys and will be visible for all to see (I don’t put my keys in my pocket.)  And I bought an equality watch so that every time I look at the time, every time I’m asked for the time I’ll be reminded of just what time it is!  It’s time for Equality!  It’s time for fairness.  It’s time to be treated like a full citizen of this almost great nation of ours.  It’s time!

Soon, I’ll register to volunteer with the HRC.  I’ll help plan the annual dinner.  I’ll help plan community events.  I’ll help spread the word and get to our legislators.  And someday, maybe, if I’m brave enough, I’ll help plan Pride events as well.

No longer am I going to hide my true self.  No longer am I going worry about being noticed looking at an attractive man.  No longer am I going to lower my voice when I talk about my sexuality with the few people who do know, for fear of being over heard.  Let them over hear!  Let hem know that we are among the masses!

I know I still have a long way to go.  I know I still need to be more social.  I know I need to find a way to meet more gay people, and make some gay friends, and, dare to dream, a boyfriend!  I know I still need to fully embrace who I am and what I want and no longer be afraid of discovery and shame.  I am working on that.  I will do that.  I will be proud of myself.  I will live openly and with courage.  I will do my part to further our cause and I will not be side lined by hateful, fearful, ignorant people who can’t see my value in the world.

This is my time.  OUR time! And from today, I will make something of it!  It’s time!

Started Living Didn’t, Finds a New Home

I started this blog just shy of five months ago with the idea that I was going to use it as a jumping off point for my new, less socially awkward life.  I thought if I used this blog as a sort of accounting of myself, I would find a way to get myself out into the world and stop feeling so lonely, and stop being so afraid of new experiences.  While that is still a goal of mine, it hasn’t happened.

In addition, my clever gene is retarded.  I’m not being politically incorrect, or otherwise unkind.  I’m serious.  I’m not clever.  At least not off the cuff clever.  I really wish I was.  Clever is more fun.  Vengeful Mother is clever and therefor you’d kinda hope that I would be too, but alas, not so much.  I bring this up because when I started this blog, I had something I really wanted to say.  I was in a rush, and I was having a hard time finding a clever name for the blog.  I wanted something that was going to represent my goals for the blog and so I tried things like, “Life Starts Now” or “Starting Life” or “Not Gonna Sit at Home Crying in my Wine Anymore”.  Strangely all of these things were taken.  Maybe that means I am clever but too late, or maybe that means that at least three other people aren’t any more clever than I am.  Finally, I stumbled across “Started Living” so I ran with it.

Honestly, I’ve never liked “Started Living”.  I didn’t like it ’cause it wasn’t clever.  I didn’t like it ’cause it was quickly proving not to be true.  Possibly I didn’t like it ’cause I was stuck with it and I get stir crazy.  If that last one is true, I’m screwed.  So, I decided it was time to change it up and after some time, and some thinking, and some false starts with the blog name finder thingy, I finally settled upon a new blog title.

It’s sorta clever, a little bit, maybe, I guess.  OK, I think it’s clever.  More importantly, it’s true and it will hopefully work for a while.

So as of today “Started Living” is no more.  The new blog title is “A Drunk in a Hard Place.”  That may not sound very uplifting.  If may even be a little depressing but well, sadly, it’s true.  Don’t think less of me.  It works right now because well, it’s The Rants and Ramblings of a Practicing Alcoholic.  And sooner or later I’ll get my shit together and it’ll work because it’ll be the equally irrelevant Rants and Ramblings of a Recovering Alcoholic.  Either way, it’s more realistic, and a little more clever… maybe…  I hope.

So there you have it.  A new face.  A new name.  Same ole blog!

I hope you’ll follow along

An Open Letter to 52% of the Voters of the State of California

Dear 52% of the Voters of the State of California-

I want to thank you!

I want to thank you for recognizing that I am every bit as much of a human being as you are!

I want to thank you for finally acknowledging that Separation of Church and State means that even if you don’t agree on a moral level that I should be entitled to marry the man of my dreams, you at least realize that yours is a religious perspective and not a political one and therefor decided to grant me my fundamental human rights to marry the man I love.

I want to thank you for recognizing the direction this country is heading, catching up with the rest of the world, and agreeing to consider me equal, deserving of all the same rights as you.

I want to thank you for voting to defeat this hate mongering proposition to take away my rights to marry the man of my dreams, because you realize that whatever your personal opinion of marriage might be, this issue is much bigger than you or me, and therefore you MUST vote to maintain those rights for all Californian’s regardless of sexual orientation.

I want to thank you for all of these things…

Sadly, I can’t.