Magic Pills

I just read a blog post that has really got me thinking.  It started with a tweet on Twitter.  Anita1956 said, “Would I take the straight pill? Here’s my answer.” with a link to her blog http://tinyurl.com/aa78mp.  Here’s what she said:


The Straight Pill

Date March 13, 2009

If there was a pill that could make me straight

…..Straight in body

…..Straight in mind

…..Straight in heart

…....I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would restore all my lost friendships

…..And regain my parents pride

…..And give back my families respect

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would return me to my former ministry

…..And the admiration of the congregation

…..And the loving welcome of the church

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would replace the love I have for my wife with an equal love for a man

…..And we could legally marry

…..And we would be granted full rights under the law without fighting for them

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill would mean no one would reject me for being who I am

…..And for saying what I believe

…..And for standing boldly as one who follows Christ

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking such a pill could take the world back in time,

…..Before I came out of the closet,

…..Before I said I was gay

…..Before I knew I was gay

…..Before inequality touched me

…..Before hate revealed its ugliness to me

…..Before anyone rejected me

…..Before anything was lost to me

…..Before I ever questioned God’s love for me

…..…..I would not take it.

If taking that pill would make me straight

…..And famous

…..And wealthy

…..And talented

…..And adored

…..And beautiful

…..And thin

…....I would not take it.

…....I would not take it.

…....I. Would. Not. Take. It.

I would never take a pill that would make me straight because

…....I love being who I am

…....I love being whole and free

…….I love seeing the world from where I stand

…....I love knowing God from this place

…....I love feeling passion burning in me for equality

…....I love being part of a people who are courageous and relentless

…....I love being one in Spirit with every queer youth

…………..With every gay man and woman

……………With every bisexual man and woman

…………..With every transman and transwoman

……………With every ally and friend

……………With everyone who questions, doubts and searches

…….And I love being one in Spirit with you

……………Bound in hope, and faith, and love

……………Bound in God

If there was a pill I could take that would make you straight

………..And taking that pill would end all your confusion and anxiety

……….And remove your fear that God has rejected you

……………I would not take that pill even for you.

You are gay.

…..You are not wrong.

…..…..You are not sinful.

…..…..…..You are not evil or perverted.

…..…....…..You are not unworthy.

…..…..…..…..…..You are not a mistake.

…..…..…..…..…..…..You are not to be ashamed.

You are gay.

…..God loves you.

…..…..God holds you.

…..…..…..God stands with you.

…..…..…..…..God delights in you.

…..…..…..…..…..God calls you “My own.”

If there was a pill that could make me straight

…..And make you straight

…..And you

…..And you

…..And you

…....I would not take it.

…....I would not take it.

…....I. Would. Not. Take. It.

Before I even clicked the link to her blog I answered that question for myself.  “Yes!  I’d take that pill in a heartbeat!” Being gay is one of the biggest struggles I’ve ever dealt with in my life and most of the time I feel like if I could chose not to be gay, I would.

Growing up in a “Christian” home as a gay boy is an incredible challenge.  It is made abundantly clear to you from the beginning that homosexuality is wrong, that homosexuality is a perversion, and that homosexuals are damned for all eternity.  There is an incredible amount of fear that is driven into Christian children about hell and sin and damnation and we learn from a very young age that we want to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t go there.  This results in tremendous amounts of guilt and shame.

For me, the shame was too much to bear and I denied who I was for most of my life.  I chose to believe that I was not gay, that there were other, perfectly legitimate reasons why I was aroused by the images of the male models in the International Male and Undergear catalogues I subscribed to when I was a teenager.  I convinced myself that one day, when I met the woman God had in store for me, I would be physically attracted to her and I would feel normal and complete.

I finally began to admit to myself that I was gay and accept who I was about four years ago and I said it out loud for the first time when I told my therapist two years ago.  By this time, I had read the bible, The King James version, from cover to cover and learned that what I had been told my entire life was cut and dried, well, it really wasn’t.  I learned that there were a lot of discrepancies between the things I had been taught to believe and what I determined for myself in those pages.  I learned that while the Bible is an important resource that there is more research to be done and so I did.

I researched on-line the question of whether homosexuality is an immorality, whether it’s a sin and what it means to be gay and a Christian.  When it all started, I went in search of something definitive that would tell me what I was already sure must be true:  That Homosexuality is, in fact, an irrefutable sin.  What I found instead, was a whole lot of the same rhetoric, the same answers and explanations about why homosexuality is wrong, with all of the same holes that I had yet to explain away.  The same holes that made me question the accuracy, the validity of what I’d been taught.  These holes left me with questions and doubts.  The explanations didn’t sit well with me.  They didn’t feel… They didn’t feel true.  I believe that we all, each of us, possess a spirit that is to some extent or other, in tune with the Holy Spirit.  I started to realize that the reason these explanations didn’t feel or seem right to me is because my spirit knew they weren’t.  My spirit was hungry for the truth.

So I dug deeper and I found several resources with more information.  I found resources that did a better job of explaining what the various Biblical references which are used against us might have really meant.  I found scholarly authors who had a deeper understanding of what the times and the languages were like, and how the Bible might have been translated incorrectly over the generations and centuries that have passed.  And I found a reminder that the God I love and serve is a loving God who wants the best for me, who wants me to be happy.  I finally came to accept that the thoughts and feelings and urges that I was stifling for so many years, close to 30 of them, were normal and natural and a part of me, who I am, the way God made me.

I didn’t take this information lightly, and I didn’t set out to find justification for me to behave in a way that was not morally right.  Honestly, I set out to prove, once and for all, that what I was taught my whole life was absolute fact and that I had to continue to suffer until God saw fit change me and make me “normal”.  I resisted the things that I read that told me that I was OK as a gay man.  I resisted the urge to rejoice at the affirmations that I found because surely, as my mother would have told me were she involved, I was “possessed of the Devil”, I was “being deceived.”  Surely it wasn’t possible that I could, in fact, be gay and be acceptable in God’s sight.  But the evidence mounted, the case was made over and over again… and my spirit?  My spirit was at peace.  I stopped hurting.  I started healing.  I told my four closest friends.

I still struggle with the internalized homophobia that I was raised in.  I still struggle with accepting myself, but now, it’s because I’m programmed this way, not because I really believe that there’s anything wrong with whom I am.  I have to believe that as time moves on, I’ll struggle less and less and be more and more content in my life.

What I really struggle with, though, is the shame.  Not shame because I think there’s something wrong, but shame because I’m so sure everyone else will.  I get anxious when I write something like this because I’m sure that someone will read this and tell me that I can’t be both gay and a Christian.  (Of course I can.)  I’m afraid someone will read this and begin to scrutinize me and my behavior in a different way now that they know I call myself a Christian.  (I’m not living my life for those people, but no one likes to be judged.)  The truth is I hold myself up to the measure my mother has set out for me and I know I fail miserably.  Most days I’m OK with that.  I know I will never measure up to her expectations and I know that most of her expectations are unreasonably high anyway, but part of my internal programming is to see her expectations as those of all Christians and I assume I’ll be judged and condemned by all of them for one reason or another once they learn that I call myself one of them.  (I don’t really call myself one of them and I suspect that will make for another lengthy blog post in the future, but the terminology is the same even if the intent is different.)

The shame that I struggle with has crippled me with regard to coming out to my family.  Not a single member of my family knows that I’m gay while I have to believe some of them may suspect.  It is with this knowledge that as I bring this post nearer to its conclusion and prepare to press that “publish” button I am shaking and feeling genuine anxiety about putting this information out there for the world to see.  You see, my Twitter account updates my Facebook status.  My brother is my only immediate family member who is on Facebook.  I post links to my new blog posts on Twitter which means they’ll show up on Facebook as well.  It is not a stretch to think that my brother will actually see this post and because I am such a coward, this is how he’s going to learn the truth.  Will he say anything to me?  I don’t know.  Will he tell other members of my family?  He might.  Am I disappointed in myself that I can’t just say it to them?  Of course I am.

So if such a pill existed that could make me straight, would I take it?  I’m afraid that is not as simple a question as I first thought it was.  I’d be inclined to take it.  I’d never have to worry about telling my family the truth.  I’d never have to worry about facing the internalized doubts and fears that persist.  I’d never have to worry about having to tell people in my daily life.  And I’d never have to worry about trying to learn how to date as a gay man, or find someone that I could happily spend the rest of my life with.  Life would certainly be easier if I were straight.

On the other hand, maybe taking that pill would be like turning my back on everything that I learned in this process; that God did not make a mistake when he made me; that I am gay because that is how God intended it; that there is nothing wrong with me just because I’m gay; and that God loves me every bit as much today as he did the day I invited him into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior and the only thing that has really changed is, now, I know the truth.

If there was a pill that I could take that would make me straight, would I take it?  I’m sad to say that it would be a tough decision to make, but in the end, No, I would not take it.


———————————————————————————————

My special thanks to Anita, author of the blog that started this, first for writing the post to begin with and second, for granting me her blessing to re-post it here for all to see.

Patience, Grasshopper

I guess when I was a kid, I wasn’t  very patient.  Scornful Mother used to tell me on a regular basis to have patience.

“Honey, you just have to have patience.”  She’d tell me.

“I have patience!” I’d reply exasperated.  “I’m a Pediatrician.  I have little patients.”

I’m sure it’ll come as a huge surprise to find out that Scornful Mother, didn’t find this particularly amusing.

Unfortunately, I’m really not much better now than I was back then.  I’ve learned that throwing a tantrum or heaving an exasperated sigh, usually won’t make things happen any faster.  And I’ve learned that, sometimes, things that are not within my control?  I just have to wait, no matter how much it sucks.  When I keep my wits about me and remind myself of this fact I usually do OK, but it’s easy to get really uptight about it and throw a tantrum (even if it’s only in my head.)

bbbsI’m in one of those situations right now.  A little over a year ago, I applied to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.  At the time they were not able to accept me into the program because I have a DUI on my record that I got in January, 2004.  BBBS requires that you not have had a DUI within five years, and that you only have gotten one ever.  I reapplied late last year, knowing that it would take time to get the process done and that by the time it was all settled I’d probably have hit that 5 year anniversary.

It’s been a bit of a long haul.  The person with whom I’m dealing laid my application aside and forgot about it.  I waited nearly two months before I finally e-mailed her to find out where things stand and that’s when she realized what had happened and set me up with an interview.  I understand how something like that can happen, they’re a non-profit organization and they’re understaffed, I’m not really angry about it, it just adds to the level of stress I feel about it.

I had the interview and it went fairly well.  The coordinator told me then that it would take some time to find a suitable match for me.  As liberal and progressive as the bay area seems to be, she told me that a lot of parents and guardians do express a desire for their child not to be paired with a homosexual.  This is disappointing certainly, but not such a huge surprise, I guess.  She told me at the end of the interview that she would send out my reference checks the following week (It was a Thursday night) and then it would just be a matter of how quickly they came back.  She didn’t send the reference checks out for three weeks.  Again, they’re understaffed so I can understand how this can happen.

A couple months passed after she sent the reference checks out and I hadn’t heard anything, so finally, I checked in again with her, and it was at that point that I was informed that I had, indeed, been accepted as a Big Brother.  She informed me that there is an orientation/training session “late in February” and that she’d get back to me with more information.  I’m still waiting to hear about the training and I already know I’m going to have to follow up with her to get the information.

I’ve passed the five year “anniversary” of my DUI.  I’ve been accepted into the program and now I’m just waiting to be matched to a “little”  I do understand that these things take time and I’m not angry or upset about it, it’s just the waiting…

I hate waiting!  And I’m anxious about this.  I know it’s a good thing for me to do and I hold a lot of hope that I’ll be matched with someone with whom I can really connect and be a help.  I’m sure that once we’re settled into the relationship it’ll be great…  I’m just dreading the first meeting and I want to get it over with!

I hate waiting, but I’ll just have to have patience.

I have patience.  Wait– Let me say that again.  I have patience.  Give me a minute.  I’ll convince myself in a sec… I have patience!

Oh, LORD, give me patience!!!  And if you could hurry?  That’d be great!

It’s Just Emotions Taking Me Over

big-edenLast night I watched another gay themed movie I recorded to my DVR, off the Logo Network, Big Eden.  I didn’t really know anything about it other than what I’d read in the very brief description on my DirecTV programming guide.

henry

Henry, Big Eden

sampa1

Sam, Big Eden

Big Eden is the story of Henry Hart an out artist living in New York City who is about to have a gallery opening when he receives a call from a friend in his hometown informing him that his Grandfather who raised him had suffered a stroke.  Henry abandons his opening to go back to see Sam, who he calls “Sampa”.

dean

Dean, Big Eden

Not long after arriving back in Big Eden Henry finds out that his childhood friend – and unrequited love – Dean has moved back to Big Eden after his divorce, with his two young sons so that his parents can help him raise his children.

pike

Pike, Big Eden

grace

Grace, Big Eden

Henry is introduced to Pike a Native American man who operates the local general store.  Pike is known to be very shy, but Grace, the friend who notified Henry of Sam’s stroke asks Pike to assist Sam and Henry by picking up meals from the local busy body widow and bringing them to Sam’s house for the men (apparently Henry can’t cook).

The movie has a rather predictable element to it; a love triangle between Dean, Henry and Pike and an unsurprising outcome with Henry and Pike falling in love.

There were several things about this movie that I was surprised at how I felt and reacted to them.  To start with, Henry has never told “Sampa” that he’s gay.  It’s never really explained why this is, it’s just clear that Henry is afraid.  It seems as if everyone knows the truth except for Sam, or does he?

Henry is asked at one point, “Do you really think he never figured it out?”  And that question is answered in a scene late in the film when Sam confronts Henry about what his plans are.  Henry came back to Big Eden to check on Sam after his stroke, and stayed for a year.  Sam tells Henry, he’ll be “joining” Henry’s Grandmother soon and he’ll need to know what to tell her.  After Henry attempts to avoid the conversation, Sam says to him, “You won’t tell me who you really are.  Why?  Is it shame?  Did I teach you to be ashamed?  ‘Cause if I did, I did a terrible thing.”  Henry responds by bursting into tears and laying his head in his grandfather’s lap, allowing the older man to comfort him.  After Sam dies, Henry says to Grace, “I never told him.” to which Grace replies, “Well.  He knows now.”  I was a little confused and maybe slightly annoyed that no one pointed out that clearly Sam already knew.

It is clear from the beginning that Pike is attracted to Henry and wants a relationship with him, but Pike has always been a very stoic and quiet man, easily rattled and embarrassed, unable to adequately express his thoughts and feelings.  For a time he seems almost to dislike Henry as he avoids contact.  Day after day, Sam and Henry invite Pike to join them in the meals that he brings and he declines.  Then one night, Henry is out and Sam invites Pike to stay.  Finally, Pike accepts.

After just a few days of delivering meals to the men which have been prepared by a local widow, it becomes clear that the meals are not very pleasant tasting.  Pike takes a book entitled “The Joy of Cooking” from his lending library and studies it.  The next day Pike prepares a delicious meal and delivers it to the men.  The regular invitations are extended, the usual declination given and Pike returns home where he himself eats the unenjoyable meal provided by the widow.

As the movie progresses it becomes clear that Pike has feelings for Henry which he does not know how to express.  Many of the peripheral characters begin to see what’s happening and attempt to help.  Eventually, Pike comes by with a meal for the men but Sam is asleep.  Henry invites Pike to join him and after a few attempts to escape, Pike finally agrees.  They have a very pleasant conversation and a friendship grows.  Naturally, as must happen in such a story, Henry does not see what’s happening.  Henry is learning more and seeing more of Pike but does not understand Pike’s feelings.

Midway through the movie, Sam has a medical episode and has to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  Henry spends the night at the hospital with Sam, awake all night.  In the morning, Dean comes and takes Henry home.  It’s been clear that there is a relationship developing between the two but it’s slow and awkward.  Until this moment, you’re not really sure what is going on with Dean.  After returning to Sam’s house from the hospital, Dean offers to cook some eggs for Henry and while he is cooking there is a moment of vulnerability and tenderness when Henry places a hand and then his head on Dean’s shoulder and places his other arm around Dean.

dh-kissDean pushes the pan aside and turns toward Henry.  The two embrace and there is a brief kiss before Dean turns his face away and they hug.

“I can’t,” Dean says.

“I know,” is Henry’s reply.

“I want to.  I just can’t,” Dean repeats.

“I know,” Henry says again.

There are a few things about this movie that affected me.  The first is the relationship between Henry and his “Sampa”.  It is so clear to the viewer and to everyone else in Big Eden that Sam knows Henry is gay.  There’s even a scene when Henry is away at a town picnic so Pike stays and shares dinner with Sam.  After they eat, the two men go out by the lake outside Sam’s house to watch the fireworks.  They’re still outside when they hear Dean’s truck pull up to drop Henry off.  Pike and Sam observe what might be construed as a tender moment between Henry and Dean but but is in actuality more a push-me-pull-me exchange about the nature of their relationship.  Sam looks at Pike and says, “I’m sorry, son.”  He knows that Pike has feelings for Henry but they both assume there’s something there between Henry and Dean.

I struggle on an almost daily basis with the idea of what it would be like to tell my family that I’m gay.  The situations are different.  Henry was just afraid with no real explanation as to the reason why.  I come from an extremely conservative fundamentalist Christian family which believes that homosexuality is a sin and to be gay is to be damned.  I do not share in their sentiments and do not have any guilt about my orientation, but being able to tell them the truth and to explain my beliefs to them is a far more difficult proposition with very unpredictable outcomes.  I watched this movie, and particularly the exchange between Sam and Henry about seeing “Grandma” and I thought, “Just tell him!  It’s clear he already knows and it’s obvious he will accept you!  What have you got to be afraid of?  Do you know what a precious gift this is?!?

I imagined what it would be like to be in a position of knowing that what I have to tell would be graciously and lovingly received without any judgment or condemnation, to know that I could be open and completely truthful about myself and my life with the people who are supposed to matter the most.  Unfortunately, I live with the knowledge that very much the opposite is true.

The real irony is that I suspect that most if not all of my family knows, or at least suspects that I am gay, so it would not come as a surprise to them, yet I’m certain they’re also hoping that I’ll never accept it, that I’ll never act on these feelings.  I’m sure they think that as long as I never act on the feelings and I never say “I’m gay” to anyone (including myself – too late), then it won’t really be true and I won’t be damned.

The second thing about this movie that affected me was the general existence of the character, Pike.  I could relate to him, in a lot of ways.  In the real world, I also tend to be very shy and socially awkward.  I don’t really know how to talk to people I don’t know very well.  I’m very awkward with my feelings and don’t really know how to communicate them effectively or productively.

The third thing about this movie that affected me, which actually relates to the second, is the scene I described between Dean and Henry.  When it’s finally clear to everyone that there is an attraction and feelings between the two, when they finally kiss, and then Dean backs away, saying, “I can’t,” a part of me screamed, “Why not!?!  What are you so afraid of?  Do you know how lucky you are to be loved?  Why be so afraid of your feelings?

And then I began to think about myself.  I began to think how I can’t relate to him after all.  I can’t think of a time when I have felt a powerful attraction to a person.  I can’t think of a time when I was just so overcome by passion that I wanted to rip our clothes off and make love, right then and there.  I can’t think of a time when I was so distraught, or was with someone else who was so distraught and in need of comfort, that the most logical course of action seemed to be sex.  I can’t think of a time when physicality was —

Well… I can’t think of a time when physicality was not a terrifying prospect.  I can imagine that, assuming I somehow found myself in a situation like Dean did, that I’d react very much the same way he did, assuming we even got as far as a kiss.  I can imagine I’d be just as afraid to act on my feelings.  And it makes me angry.  Why should I be so afraid to act on my feelings.

But the thing is, I’m inclined to say I don’t have feelings.  I’ve only been “in love” once and it turned out not to be real.  It fell apart at the first sign of trouble.  And I haven’t dated much in the 15 years since.  I’ve thought a bit lately about the relationships in my life and how I’d feel if they ended.  With the exception of my friend Eve, I don’t really imagine being terribly upset about the end of a relationship and I already know that relationship is going to end so I have time to prepare myself… I hope.

I’ve thought about what my reaction would be if one of my parents died.  I don’t think I’d have much of one.  I don’t think I’d be terribly upset.  I think I’d be relieved in a lot of ways.  I’ve thought how I’d feel if one of my siblings died.  I don’t expect I’d feel much differently.  I’d be a little more upset if CPA Sis died because she’s the only one I’m really all that close to.  But if Ex Con Older Brother died, I wouldn’t even feel like I’d lost anything.

What I’ve determined is that I don’t feel strongly enough about anyone, or anything, to have a strong reaction.  “I don’t feel anything” I thought.  “But wait.  I can be very emotional and passionate when I feel like I’m being mistreated or abused… So I’m only capable of experiencing negative emotions strongly?  That sucks.  And it doesn’t help my case any.  I’d like to date.  I’d like to fall in love and share my life with someone.  How do I do that if I don’t feel positive emotions?

You know, I was beginning to wonder how I was going to bring this post back around and this is it:

I don’t feel positive emotions.  I don’t feel attraction or affection and certainly not love.  So if I somehow found myself in a situation where I was so affected by and attracted to a person (male or female) as Dean was in this movie…  I’d have to be all over it.  I hope that I would not let that moment pass by.

Prayers for A Drunk

Today has been a bit of a mixed bag of feelings and somehow I don’t think it’s done yet.

As a part of my efforts to reclaim control of my life I made the conscious decision to go to bed at “a reasonable time” (is 11:30 a reasonable time?) last night so that I could get up at “a reasonable time” (is 7:30 a reasonable time?) this morning.  My routine tardiness at work has not gone unnoticed and has gotten quite a bit worse in recent months as my general motivation to attend has been dismal at best.  Part of the problem, I realized is that I have a hard time getting up early enough in the mornings.  So I thought it wise to attempt to adhere to the recommendations of so many “experts” and try stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends.  Now, I’ll grant you that sleeping from 11:30 to 7:30 is probably not the best sleep schedule to have when you work a theoretically 8-5 job, but since I’ve been getting out of bed between 7:30 and 8:00 for the last few weeks it seems wise to start rolling that schedule back at a gradual pace.

At any rate, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my decision to work on my sleep schedule and when my second alarm, on the other side of the room went off at 7:00 this morning, I only snoozed it three separate times before I forced myself not to get back in bed when I turned it off.  I put on my robe, (it’s much too cold for my not at all uncommon state of undress that often meets my mornings) and went for my morning pee, after which I went into the kitchen to feed a very demanding Scared Kitty.  He still had a bit of food in his bowl from last night but if you ever needed a lesson in how to act as if you’re starving, Scared Kitty would be an excellent coach. grand-marnier After feeding his royal highness, I went on to make myself a pot of coffee and sort out breakfast.  I finally decided on the Gladware bowl of orange segments I had in the refrigerator.  The segments are lefter over after using the peels to start my own batch of homemade Grand Marnier last weekend, for which I found a recipe a few weeks back.  It takes seven weeks and I’m not really all that optimistic about the outcome but I thought it would be fun to give it a shot,  you should pardon the pun.

I brought my carafe of coffee and my bowl of orange pieces into the living room, sat down in my recliner, threw a blanket over my legs and propped my feet up to watch some television.  My DVR tends to build up during the week and I try to clear it back out on the weekends so I don’t get too far behind.  Three episodes of the much maligned and barely watched General Hospital, one episode of Ghost Whisperer, five episodes of The Click List: Best in Short Film, and a misnamed movie all awaited my attention.

Natalia Livingston

Natalia Livingston

Tyler Christopher

Tyler Christopher

I actually just started recording General Hospital again this week after many months of freedom because Green M&M told me there’s some weird event happening at the beginning of each episode that I wanted to investigate and because I read that Natalia Livingston, who played Emily Quartermaine for several years until she was murdered about a year ago in a “very dramatic” story line, has returned to the show but supposedly not as Emily Quartermaine.  Her character has not really been explained yet, but whoever she is, she does seem to have a considerable fascination with Nikolas Cassadine, played by Tyler Christopher, not that I can blame her.

Since I’m on the subject, while looking for a good picture of Tyler to include here, I happened across this rather unexpected gem:

tyler-christopher-nekked-02

Anyway, I don’t watch very much of General Hospital because I’m really not all that interested in most of the characters and I don’t want to get sucked back in, therefore I was able to watch all three episodes pretty quickly.

Jennifeir Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Then it was on to Ghost Whisperer.  I enjoy this show and I have been a fan of Jennifer Love Big Tits– er, Hewitt since she first showed up on Party of Five.  I’m a bit tired of the current, on-going story line, since they killed Jim off and his spirit is now inhabiting the body of another man who died and crossed over.  But I’m still watching… for now.

The Click List: Best in Short Film doesn’t show episode descriptions in the on-screen guide and I think I may have seen all of the current shorts, but I record it anyway, just in case something new comes across.  I “watch” that on four times fast forward and there was nothing new so I was done with that in five minutes.  And that left me with just the misnamed movie.

The play list in my DVR said the movie was called “The Killer Condom”, but the movie that was actually aired in that time slot turned out to be “Dead Serious.”  If you haven’t seen it, I strongly encourage you not to.  It’s about vampires and it’s lame as all get out, but had a sexy hero so I watched it anyway.  Two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

When the movie was over it was only 11:00 and I decided to go out and get my shopping done early.  I made a list of things I needed and wanted from Target and the grocery.  I also needed cat food and gasoline.  With my list made, I hopped in the shower and then got dressed to head out.  I decided to take a second look at my finances before I left and it’s a good thing I did.  I just got paid yesterday but I have to pay my rent and car insurance and after those things happen I only have about $185.00 for the next two weeks.

So much for my positive feelings about myself and my new leaf of better money management.  Yes, I’m essentially up to date with my bills and my rent and car insurance are important, but I was starting to feel like I had things more under control and I wasn’t gong to be hurting for money and then this realization.  I went back over the list and eliminated everything I didn’t need and pared my trip down to just the grocery store.  I forgot about the gas station and the cat food and now those will have to wait for another day, but I spent $90.00 at the grocery and put $40.00 walking around money in my pocket (I only had $5.00 before that.)

I also sent a text message to Green M&M and canceled our plans to go into San Francisco tomorrow.  Wheeler Dealer Landlady lives in The Haight and I have a couple pieces of mail for her so I thought I’d go in and drop those off along with my February rent check and then we could go and play after.  Now I realize I do not have any money for that and it reminds me that I’m not really so well off after all.  Now I’m going to have to spend the next two weeks trying not to spend any money.  I’ve got $50.00 left in the bank that isn’t already spent on paper, and I have to get food for Scared Kitty and gas for the vehicle with that.  I may have to use a credit card (which I’m trying to pay off) for one or both of those things and I hate that idea, but I guess it’s better than having my account overdrawn again.

As soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m going to put the computer down and watch the Lifetime movie Prayers for Bobby.  I made up my mind to watch this movie after I read an article about it in the most recent issue of The Advocate, however, I suspect, unfortunately, that this movie will be difficult for me to watch as, from what I already know about it, I would expect to be able to relate to it pretty closely.  I too, am the son of a “devout” woman who is convinced that to be gay is to be damned.  It’s an issue that is very difficult for me and it wouldn’t really surprise me to find that the movie is a hard pill to swallow.  I guess it’s time to find out.

Not Enough Love and Understanding

It really sucks when your dearest friend in all the world is 1800 miles away.  It sucks a lot actually.

It sucks when you’re only guaranteed one day (not even a whole day) with your dearest friend, once a year.

It sucks when your friend decides that she’s going to bring her boyfriend with her and so your one day (not even a whole day) per year isn’t even one on one.

And it really sucks when people who are supposed to be mature, grown up people, can’t manage to behave that way and have to ruin a precious experience for someone else.

In my post titled It’s All About Eve I talked about my relationship with “Eve”.  I talked about how very important she is to me, and how despite being a gay man, she’s the love of my life.  Obviously, moving to California when she was staying in Oklahoma was a harder choice because of my feelings for her.  I don’t think I knew when I moved that she came to California every year to visit her Grandparents, so naturally I was thrilled when I found out, the first year, that she would be here and I could spend some time with her.

I was very anxious the first year, while driving down to her Grandparents house.  At the time, from where I lived it was a nearly 70 mile drive (this year, only about 45) which gave me plenty of time to worry and stress about how it was going to go.  I knew Eve’s parents, but I had never met her Grandparents and I was anxious about meeting new people (go figure.)  I was asked to be at her Grandparents house at 9:00 in the morning, which seems reasonable enough on it’s own, but with the 70 mile drive on California highways I didn’t know what to expect as far as traffic is concerned, I didn’t know how long it should take (70 miles on all highways should, theoretically, take about 45 minutes).  I left home at around 8:00 in the morning and stopped for gas and breakfast along the way.  I arrived at the house around 9:10 and was hassled for being late, and then sat around for another fifteen minutes waiting for Eve and her clan to be ready to go.  I didn’t care.  I got to see my friend who I missed so much.

I spent the day with Eve, her infant son and her parents.  After a long, planned to the minute day of shopping, or recreation of some sort, we returned to her Grandparents house where we had dinner, after which Eve and I went out on our own for some one on one time.  I returned Eve to her Grandparents house around 10:00 or so, in the evening and called it a night, before my 70 mile drive back home.  I didn’t care.  I got to spend a long, pleasant day with my dearest friend.

On that first visit, Eve’s infant son, developed an ear infection.  He was miserable and in terrible pain and had no other way to convey that than to cry and fuss.  Eve’s Grandfather, was horrible about it.  He complained throughout dinner that the boy was being noisy and disruptive and why couldn’t Eve do something about it?  He acted like the boy should have been able to control himself and act differently, while simultaneously acting like Eve was somehow at fault for not doing something about it.  Besides his issues with Eve’s son, he was not terribly hospitable to me, but mostly he just ignored me.  I was gracious and grateful and tried to stay out of everyone’s way and was very grateful when Eve and I were able to go out after the meal to spend some time alone.  It was then that she informed me that her Grandfather had always been a vicious, horrible, unkind, temperamental, hateful man and that no one liked him.  The visit’s were mostly for the sake of the Japanese Grandmother, whom, I’ve only ever heard referred to as “Obachan.”  “Grandpa” was only about 5’8″ but must have weighed nearly 400 pounds (if not more) and had difficulty walking without leaning on something to support his weight.

A few years ago Grandpa got very sick (he’s diabetic), was hospitalized and ultimately had to have two or three separate surgeries during which both of his legs were amputated, the right one above and the left one just below the knee.  He lost a significant amount of weight, and not just from the amputations.  He is also legally blind and can’t see anything more than to know that there is a vague shape in front of him that is not familiar but he doesn’t know who or what it is.

When he no longer had legs and was far more dependent on Obachan, his demeanor started to change quite a bit.  He’s still surly and he has some really unpleasant moments but he started to appreciate his wife more and treat everyone with a little more common decency.  Or so I thought.

Three of four years ago, when I came for my visit the whole posse was going to go to a Chinese buffet and I was supposed to meet them at the Grandparents house at 11:00.  By this time, I had grown quite accustomed to sitting around and waiting when I arrived because no one was ever ready and I was bout fifteen minutes late.  This time was no different, except that it only took about five minutes for everyone to get their poop in a group and out the door, yet somehow it was still all my fault.

“They,” (both Grandparents,) “are diabetic and have to eat on a set schedule to keep their blood sugar level,” Said “Big-D”.  This is what Eve’s son calls his grandmother, Eve’s mother.  I can appreciate that and respect that they’re trying to maintain said schedule.  With that in mind, however, I would think they could have gone on to the restaurant and just called me on this new fangled contraption I had, called a CELL PHONE and told me they’d gone on without me and that I should meet them there.  That’s what I would have done under the circumstances.

On that particular occasion, when the waiter brought the check, I reached into my pocket and took out some cash to give to Obachan to cover my share of the bill.  She would not take it and I was told to put my money away.  (This happens every time but I never assume or take it for granted and I always express my appreciation.)  This event was no different.  Obachan refused my money and I said, “Thank you, very much.”  Apparently, Grandpa didn’t see any of this and while he didn’t say anything to anyone at the time, he got his panties in a bunch because I was “ungrateful and unfriendly.”  He told Eve the following year that he didn’t really want me to come around because I wasn’t friendly, I never talked to anybody and I wasn’t grateful for their generosity.  After finding out what his problem was, she explained to him that his perception was inaccurate and stopped him from denying me “access”.  But when I arrived, she made a point of pushing me to proactively say hi to her grandparents.

Now, I know that sounds reasonable enough and like I shouldn’t need to be reminded, but here’s the thing.  I have never been introduced to her Grandparents any more than to say, “These are my Grandparents.”  Eve’s Grandmother is Japanese.  Her Grandfather met her during World War II (I think) and brought her back to America with him.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that fact except that, I can’t understand a word she says!!! Her Grandfather, as I have already stated is blind as a bat and doesn’t seem to even know I’m in the room most of the time.  And again, I’ve never been introduced to them.  I have no idea what their names are or what I should call them, and I realized the other night while telling all this to Insightful Therapist that I can, and should ask Eve, in private, what I should be calling them but it never occurred to me before and I haven’t done so.

How incredibly uncomfortable for someone, who is an outsider to begin with, is tremendously socially awkward and has not been properly “initiated” into the group to be left to fend for himself in such a setting.  And how insanely unfair to ridicule and belittle that person when they don’t perform to your standards.  I was angry when Eve informed me of this turn of events and I wanted to run away and cry after having been put in that situation, but I did not.  I dealt with it, because I wanted to see my friend.

Every year it’s a variation on a theme but it’s the same old story.  I try to make sure I’ll get there “on time” but I’m coming a great distance at such an early hour and a little leeway is in order.  I’m often “late” but not by more than fifteen minutes.  I always have to wait while Eve and her clan finish preparing and I’m hassled because I didn’t arrive on the dot at the assigned hour.  It is ALWAYS Eve that holds things up.  So not only am I harrassed for being late, but I’m forced to sit around and try to make conversation with the people I did not come to see.  After 10 years, this is not such a hardship but it is still stressful to me, because of all the negative treatment I know I can expect.

This year was different from the get-go.  In setting up plans with Eve and the boyfriend, she said, “Just tell me what time you’ll be here and we’ll figure the rest out then.”  This translated, to me, as, “It’s just going to be the three of us so there’s no pressure.”  I told her 9:30, but wasn’t able to get out of the house before 9:15.  I called her and told her this and she said no big deal, no one was ready anyway.  (Big shock.)    I had to stop for gas and breakfast on the way and I arrived at Eve’s Grandparents house around 10:45.  I was ushered into the kitchen/dining room and instructed (by Eve) to “have a seat at the table and talk to my parents.”  Obachan was in the kitchen and I said hello to her on the way through, which amounted to making eye contact with her (so we’d both know who I was talking to) and saying, “Helloooo!  It’s nice to see  you again.”

So I sat at the table with “Big-D” and “Saba”, (Eve’s step-father is Israeli) and chatted with them about the weather, and about work (Saba always asks me “hows your job”, it get’s really old trying to be polite and not say, “It sucks big gorilla dick and I wish I could quit but I don’t have any other prospects or any hope and I’ll probably die at this job because I’m worthless and can’t do anything else and I hate it, but thanks for asking.”), GPS devices, an offer of seeds (pumpkin I think), Invisalign (I have it and therefor declined the seeds) and Sudoku.  (Bear in mind, I did not know that it was going to be anyone besides me, Eve and her boyfriend.”)  Every five minutes Obachan would say something I couldn’t understand and Big-D would say, “I’m ready.” and Saba would say, “I’m ready” and I would say, “I’m ready.  What am I ready for?”  and no one would make a move for the door.  Three guesses who we were waiting for, only this time, she had a decent excuse.  Eve was on the phone with the VA trying to straighten something out for Grandpa.

While we were waiting a woman I’ve never seen before wondered into the kitchen and milled around for a little while.  I did not say anything because she had not noticed me,  I was in a room full of people who knew both of us and I was uncomfortable, and I was in the middle of a conversation with Big-D and Saba.  Where I come from, when two people who do not know each other encounter each other and there are others around who do know both parties a third party introduction is the considerate course of action.  Apparently, that is not the case in this household.  Finally, this woman looked across the room at me and said, “Who are you?”  I told her who I was and somehow I became aware that this was Eve’s aunt but still no one made any effort to introduce us.  This was the moment it dawned on me, again, that I was never introduced to Eve’s Grandparents and this is probably the reason I’m so uncomfortable being around them and expected to be the one to start up a conversation.

When Eve was finished with the VA, we headed out with Saba, Big-D and Obachan in one car and Eve, the boyfriend (TBF) and me in my truck.  We went to “the Japanese store” (I’m sure it has a real name, but again, I’ve never heard it – and I certainly couldn’t read it) and afterward Eve, TBF and I broke off on our own.

We had lunch at Tony Roma’s and went to the mall were we went to the movie theater and saw “Roll Models” (Pretty good movie but it was a little bit ruined for me by the six people who decided they had to sit in the top row with us and asked (five minutes after the movie started) if we could move down and make room for them, only to be disruptive the whole time and then I overheard one of them, during the final credits, say, “That’s the first time I’ve ever gone to see the same movie twice in the same day.”)  After the movie we (and by we I mean Eve and TBF) did a wee bit of shopping.  We then left for dinner and went to a Cuban restaurant (I’ve never had Cuban food before.  Don’t know that I ever will again, but it wasn’t terrible.)  After dinner we decided to go shoot some pool but Eve said, “Before we do, I’d like to go back to the house and drop some of this stuff off.”  That should have been the fist indicator of trouble right there, but as I was backing up to get enough distance between my truck and the vehicle in front of me so I could pull away from the curb, I literally forgot there was a car behind me and I backed into it.  Fortunately, it was really just a nudge and there was no damage done to either vehicle and fortunately, the owners of the vehicle (after the hostess finally tracked them down) were perfectly fine with the situation and didn’t even ask for my name or insurance information, but talk about your harbingers of doom…

The three of us returned to the Grandparents house so that Eve and TBF could offload their haul and while we were in the house, Grandpa started in complaining about how Eve had not taken care of all the things on the list…  Every year Eve’s Grandparents give her a few hundred dollars and in exchange, Eve takes care of some items on a “honey-do” list generally having to do with inputting information into the computer, or as in this case, talking to the VA.  Grandpa was having a tantrum because Eve had not taken care of all the items on the list which she said, he had told her not to worry about because other parties were dealing with those things.  And then came an issue with his watch.  (I know what you’re thinking, “what does a blind man need with a watch?” I was thinking the same thing but then I found out that apparently, it talks to him, so, yeah!  OK.)  Something wasn’t right with the watch and Grandpa and TBF went off to Grandpa’s office to find the instructions for it.

I had only been half paying attention as I was talking with Eve’s, now 10 year old, son and watching him play a video game (and I did not want to be a part of – or in the vicinity of – the conflict) so I missed a lot of the action but it was at this point that I heard her complaining to Big-D about Grandpa’s attitude about things and the fact that he apparently holds on to things forever.  “He made a comment about me ‘pulling an Eve'”, she said, in reference to something that had happened when she was 16 years old, she’s now 32.  It was also at this point that I found out that Grandpa had made a point of telling TBF what an ungrateful ingrate I am.

Eve said we should go and sit in the living room and wait for TBF to finish with Grandpa and then we’d go out again.  I asked her, “It sounds like maybe it would be best if I left?”  And she told me no.  That’s when she said we’d leave in a minute.  So we went to sit in the living room and not two minutes later, TBF came into the living room and Grandpa called Eve into his office.

Now, I have tried really hard to look at this situation from other peoples perspective and not be unduly angry but I’m having a hard time not taking this thing personally.  Eve went to see what Grandpa wanted and was gone for almost an hour while I sat in the living room with TBF making small talk (which I suck at) and waiting.  About fifteen minutes into this I felt like I should leave but I felt like if I left without saying good-bye that would be rude and if I interrupted their conversation to say good-bye that would also be rude and give Grandpa more excuses to dislike me, so I sat there looking at the TV with the “The Lord of the Rings” on (Which I do not want to watch.  I read the books as a child and felt they were very demonic) and listening as TBF’s breathing slowed and then turned into a quiet snore.

Finally, Eve came back into the living room, mouthed, “I’m so sorry” to me, and then woke TBF up to tell us (him) about the conversation.  “Do you know what this was allabout?” she asked.  “He’s throwing his little princess fits, (see I come by it honestly)” she told TBF, “because I’m his only Grandchild and he feels like I come all this way to see him and he still doesn’t get to spend time with me because I’m ‘always off doing other things.'”

Now if I look at this from Grandpa’s perspective, sure, if that’s how he perceives things I can understand why he’d be upset.  I don’t think I’d have chosen that moment to talk about it when my Grandchild had a friend waiting for her, though…  If I look at this from Eve’s perspective, I know she was pissed.  I know she wanted to “have it out” with Grandpa but she was going to wait till morning.  I can understand, though, that if this conversation that you feel strongly that you need to have comes up before you planned to have it, you need to follow it through and talk it out with the other person.  I really do get that.

And because I absolutely love Eve, I don’t want to be mad at her.  Nonetheless, I think she could have handled it better.  She knew I was out there waiting for her.  If I’d been in her shoes I’d have told Grandpa, “Hold on one minute.  I want to have this conversation but it’s obviously going to be a little bit and Kevin’s out there waiting.  Let me go send him home and I’ll be right back.”  And then I’d have come out to the living room and told me, “I’m so sorry to do this but I really need to have this conversation and it’s obviously going to take a while so you probably should go ahead and go after all.”  If she’d told me that I, of course, would have been dissapointed but I would have understood it and I would have gone.

None of that happened, though, and in reality, I’m only seeing this from my perspective and my perspective is that her crybaby, whiny-assed Grandfather, deliberately decided to take that moment to have this conversation.  That “always off doing other things” really meant, going off and spending the day with the ingrate, and that it was his intention to ruin the rest of my visit.  And no!  I am not paranoid.  I can’t help it if they’re all out to get me.

But here’s the thing.  As if that weren’t bad enough and enough evidence to support my argument, here’s the rest of the story:

Five minutes after Eve finally rejoined us in the living room, he wheeled his way into the arch-way (can’t roll his wheel chair on the carpet, I guess.) and started talking, to her as if we were not in the middle of a conversation (I’m supposed to believe he didn’t know I was there?)  He started talking to her and it was obvious that he was stretching for things to say (“When you get back to Oklahoma” (this was their last night in town) “see if you can find out who the ‘author’ of this painting is.”?)  This went on for about five more minutes and then when it was obvious that my time had ended I told her I should be going.  It was about 9:30 PM and we’d had a long day together.

After making me seek out and say good-bye to Obachan and Grandpa, I got to the door with my shoes on my feet, coat on my back and car keys in hand, expecting that she would walk me out to my car as usual (and, I guess, hoping for a bit of an apology for the way the evening had turned out – for which I would have absolved her of all responsibility) but instead, she gave me a hug, opened the door and stood aside.  I hate to think I’m making more out of that then I should but there was an almost physical feeling of not-right-ness to it.  I don’t think she’s ever, not walked me out to my car and I don’t like that she didn’t do it this time.

So here I am, nearly a week later, and I’m still bothered by the experience.  And I’m bothered that I’m bothered.  And I don’t know how I should react.  I want to ask her about it but I don’t want to blame her, and I don’t want to piss her off, which I have never succeeded in doing and she swears I can’t…  but I never believe her…  and I’m sad…  and I want her to be a more constant part of my life…  and I want her to be a boy…  and I’m sad…

Jimmy Has to Ride in Your Pocket or Lock Him in Your Wallet

I was going to write today about my Thanksgiving break and the day I got to spend with Eve, the coolest person I know, and how it was ruined at the end by her ass hole of a Grandfather.  I’ll still probably write that post but as I was surfing some of the blogs I subscribe to it came to my attention that today is World AIDS Say, and I thought it might be a good idea to touch on that instead.

You see, I’m afraid of AIDS.  Silly right?  It’s 2008.  There have been mad medical advancements.  What do I need to be afraid of?  Well, my answer to that would be simple, one word!  AIDS!  That’s what I need to be afraid of!

I’m referring to my lack of sexual experience, due in part to my lack of opportunities but just as much due to my fears about what could happen. I’m sure I’m being completely unreasonable about this.  It’s not exactly all THAT common, is it?  But honestly, I worry about all kinds of STDs.  I worry about taking risks and about thinking I’m protected when maybe I’m not sufficiently and I worry that by taking my chances, I’m inviting the worst.

I know that, as a gay male, I’m automatically at a higher risk than many and to me, that It’s a real concern.  I also know that many people live their entire lives without contracting anything and I have no reason not to think I’d be one of those people.  I’m not stupid.  I know that I have to protect myself and if and when I do engage in sexual activity I will insist on the highest level of safety possible.  But the inherent fear of the whole thing makes me that much less inclined to date.  I have a preconception, however wrong it may be, that gay men consider sex to be an automatic and integral part of dating, even casual dating and I’m not ready or willing to jump into the sack with any and every man that comes along, despite what you may have read, and therefore I find the inclination toward dating frightening.  It’s a real internal conflict.  I do not want to be alone.  I want to be in love and share my life with someone and yet I do not want to rush into anything.  And, I find myself automatically inclined to be afraid of even a first date with someone because of all the pressure and turmoil that could come with it.

It seems lately like society as a whole tends to take it all to lightly, and while I’m sure I take it too seriously, there must be a reasonable middle ground.

I guess I don’t really know where I was going with all this except to say that AIDS is still a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly and that all of society, but gay men in particular should still be very proactive in protecting themselves from this and all other sexually transimitted diseases.  So take advantage of this day, this national reminder of what we’re facing, and recommit yourself to your own, and your partners’ safety.  Always wear a condom, unless you’re certain your partner is disease free, and never, ever, take any unnecessary risks

OK.  I’m done.  Can somebody come get this soap box?  The air was getting a little thin up there anyway!