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…

Inform Your Face

They say that children are very perceptive.  That they pick up well on our moods and our attitudes. I believe that tends to be a spiritual thing as much as a physical thing.  The last time I went back to Oklahoma to spend Christmas with Scornful Mother, CPA Sister, et. al., I had a bit of a blow up with SM that resulted in an abrupt change in our relationship.  At the culmination of this exchange when SM had put her hand up in my face, potentially to hit me and I reared back, glared at her and said, “Don’t! You! Dare!”  I looked down at Precious Niece #1 and saw that she had a confused and possibly frightened look on her face.  It broke my heart to see and at the same time, I was just so angry, that I could do nothing about it.

I believe that we never actually outgrow that perceptiveness.  I think if we trust our guts and follow our instincts we will find that we are, as full grown adults, still very perceptive.  It has been my experience, since I started therapy nearly two and one half years ago, that when Insightful Therapist states (generally not asks) that I’m experiencing a certain emotion, she’s almost never wrong.  If I stop and consider what she said, I’ll usually realize that, yes, in fact, I was feeling that emotion, even if I hadn’t realized it before she said it.  She’s a therapist and they are trained, (she’s quite skilled), to be open and really listen and observe their clients during their sessions.  I’ve been learning that I have the inherent ability to pick up on these things.  I think we all do.  Especially when its someone we’ve gotten to know.

The problem is we don’t usually trust ourselves.  As we grow and we are entreated, first by our parents, and then by the rest of society, to behave in certain “socially acceptable” ways we learn to be deceptive and dishonest about our feelings and emotions.  And as we learn this we also become less sure of truth of other people’s feelings and emotions.  You’re interacting with another individual and their tone of voice, their body language, their facial expression or some combination of the three tells you, this person is angry at me.  So you ask them, “Why are you so angry at me?” and they say, with steam practically coming out of their ears, “I’m not angry at you!”

It’s the very foundation of our perceptions and our faith in our own understanding of them.  Evidence tells me this, but the person says that.  Either they’re lying to me, or I’m wrong. And even at that, it’s generally not “socially acceptable” to assume someone is lying to you – especially not your own parents – so you must be wrong.  Eventually, as you age and branch out more and more into the world, you begin to assume that your perception is wrong and that you can’t know what the other person is thinking and feeling and therefore you should not assume you’re perception has a chance of being accurate.

I can still remember, on occasion when I was but a wee small lad, Scornful Mother would tell me to stop being angry (yeah, because that works) and I’d tell her “I’m not angry.”  She would say, “Well then, inform your face.”  Clearly she was presuming to know what I was feeling.  But you see, she was in front of me.  Looking at me.  Seeing my facial expressions and my body language.  More than likely, she was right.  “Inform your face.”  That could just as easily be “inform your tone.”

I was reminded of that phrase just the other day in the Tuesday Morning Torture Session. Douche Bag was acting particularly confrontational and accusatory, particularly toward me.  In the last month or so, he’s handed out random assignments, willy-nilly and without much thought to how appropriate the tasks are for the person he’s giving them to.  He’s given me a number of tasks that are not within my bailiwick.  I used to speak up when he’d do this but he’d just make light of it, crack a lame joke and then move on without acknowledging his blunder and reassigning the task.  So there were two items on the agenda for which he had asked me to get quotes from various vendors.

He wants to replace the Elevator Lobby Directory signage on several of the floors of our building.  He’s pushing for this to happen before the end of the year, for budgetary reasons, but he hasn’t given enough time to make this happen.  He’s also been talking about replacing these for three years so it’s a little hard to get fired up about them now, but he’s been pushing me to get a quote from our signage vendor for that project.  The price per complete unit is set, regardless of the text, and I’ve informed Douche Bag of the approximate cost, but he wants a formal quote in writing from the vendor.  So I informed our contact that I didn’t have all the information I needed to place an order yet, but I needed a quote for this many of that product, installed.  The contact replied that I needed to fill out the order form and then so-and-so in the home office will price it out for me.  I replied that, as I had previously stated, I wasn’t ready to place an order but that my manager was requesting a formal quote.  He told me they don’t generate quotes based on an e-mail and they needed the order form.  So I advised DB that I couldn’t get a quote and of the reason why.

He then went on to ask about the removal of an out-of-service HVAC unit in a storage room.  This is something that has been in his hands for a very long time.  He asked me to get a quote from a certain vendor to remove the unit, to ask our engineers about who can remove and dispose of the coolant and he stated that he would put in the construction request for our in-house construction people to remove the duct-work.  That construction request comes to me and he hasn’t done it (in over a month) so I didn’t see any sense in rushing the rest of it.  He came down on me in the TMTS for not having taken care of the HVAC unit.  When I reminded him that he had said he’d do the construction request and he hadn’t done it, he back pedaled a little bit and I said, “You understand that these things are not in my hands, right?”

“Yeah, I understand,” he said.

“Because you’re acting like this is all my fault!”

“No, I’m not.  I know it’s not your fault.”

Then inform your tone.

Douche Bag stepped into my office yesterday morning with a stack of papers in his hand, pertaining to a “spring cleaning in the fall” project he was pretty much single-handedly working on, and asked me, “What’s your schedule look like today.”

“Well, I have a meeting with [Furniture Vendor] at 11:00.”

“Good,” he said, “I need you to coordinate all this stuff with the vendors today.  They’ll be here at 1:00.”

“How am I supposed to know where this stuff is?”

“You know the contacts,” He said, “ask them,” and then he walked away.  I don’t know the contacts.  I know people who may or may not be the official contacts and who may or may not have submitted the paperwork for the clean up.  Just asking the contacts, wasn’t going to do the trick.  The vendor didn’t show up until 2:00.  I gave them the paper work and the names and phone numbers that I knew and sent them out into the world.  They never checked in with me again.  I was at work until 6:30 and I never heard from them.  I could only assume they were done.

This morning about fifteen minutes after I arrived, DB came stomping into my office flopping copies of the paperwork in his hand and said, “I need confirmation that all this stuff was picked up.  There were fifteen boxes on the sixteenth floor that didn’t get picked up and the department had them stacked up on their conference table.  Oscar (one of our janitors) and I had to go down and move them ourselves, into the hall.  I want those picked up today.  And I want a quote for that HVAC unit (which he still hasn’t put in his construction request for) by tomorrow.”

I called the vendor to inquire about the work and before I finished explaining why I was calling the contact said, “Oh yeah.  They’re not finished.  There was way too much stuff to pick up in the time frame that was agreed upon by Douche Bag.  They’ll be back out there today to get the rest.”  They did not talk to anyone about that when they left yesterday and so it is largely on them but either way it’s not my fault that this thing I had nothing to do with untill he dumped it on me didn’t go right.  I asked about the HVAC unit and the contact stated that they could take it today, too.  I explained that it wasn’t necessarily part of this program but that DB had instructed me to get a quote from them to uninstall, disassemble and remove the unit.

“Oh.  That’s not what he and I discussed before.  I told him a couple weeks ago that we could haul it out, but we don’t have the ability to uninstall it.”  So first of all, DB had me spinning my wheels on this for nothing because the people he told me to talk to about doing the work can’t.  But even worse, DB has been talking to them directly about it without my knowledge and I would just have been doubling the efforts.

I informed Douche Bag of all this information and reminded him that, again he’s acting like it’s my fault.

“I know it’s not your fault,” he said.

Well then inform your tone, dip shit!  Inform your tone.

Theraputic Mistery

Therapy was tough tonight.  There was a moment that kinda slipped by me until after it was all over.

Insightful Therapist and I briefly discussed, at the end of the session, the fact that I had been honest with the Match Support Specialist (MSS) at Big Brother’s and Big sisters, on Thursday, about the fact that I’m gay.  IT asked me if that felt significant to me, to have “come out” and been so honest with the Specialist about something that is so intensely difficult for me.  I said that it did not, because much to my surprise it wasn’t nearly as difficult for me as I thought it would be.

It was a little difficult to say, but far less so than what I had anticipated.  The MSS asked me about my relationship with my family and in particular my parents.  Describing my relationship with Dead Beat Dad was easy.  I pretty much don’t have one.  I’d like to.  And I am sort of working on it, but for the most part it’s just too difficult.  Vengeful Mother on the other hand is a little more difficult to explain.  I just told the MSS that my relationship with VM is strained, that I wish it wasn’t and it’s a work in progress, but that VM is very emphatic about her Christian beliefs and that she and I have some conflicts of interest, namely that I’m gay and VM wouldn’t be OK with it if she knew.  I informed the MSS that my family is not yet aware of this.

What I was expressing to Insightful Therapist, though possibly not completely clearly, was that despite my expectations, it didn’t feel like such a big deal to tell the MSS that I’m gay.  IT was asking me if that felt like a significant experience to me and I said, “No.”  But what I was saying was, “No. It didn’t feel terribly significant to tell the MSS about my sexuality.”

As I was leaving the waiting area of Insightful Therapist‘s office, it suddenly dawned on me.  She wasn’t asking me if it felt significant to tell a virtual stranger about my sexuality.  She was asking me if it felt significant to me, that it didn’t feel significant to tell a virtual stranger about my sexuality.  My answer to that question is, “Yes!  That’s huge!”

There was a lot more to our session tonight.  I’d hate to suggest that I’ve got it all worked out and narrowed down to a handful of factors, just to be wrong, but it seems to me that I’ve stumbled upon something.  It’s my fear that’s holding me back.  I am, truthfully, and shamefully, terrified of taking any steps that might move me forward.

I’m terrified of going to AA meetings, or Coming Out Support Groups.  I felt sick to my stomach and like I might pass out when I was seriously considering the possibility of volunteering with the HRC.  It’s not that I don’t think I can do anything with them.  I know I can.  But there are people there.  People that I don’t know.  And when I began to imagine what might come next after filling out the volunteer form, I was in agony… sick to my stomach… light headed.  I felt like I might just faint, right here in my chair whilst I considered such an absurd thing.

I’ve had so many experiences of rejection by people in randomly public situations that I don’t really feel comfortable taking the risk any more.  It’s easy for Insightful Therapist to nod her head and say, “That must have been so painful.”  But it’s so much more than painful.  It’s debilitating to think of taking the risk again.  To consider putting myself out there for such treatment to be issued, because what IT doesn’t convey that she understands is that it will happen again.  Maybe not on such a grand scale.  Maybe not in such an oppressive manor, but it will happen again.  And it will happen every time I put myself out there.  For every person who will treat me with a modicum of respect, there will be fifteen who will treat me like so much dog doo on the sole of their shoe.  Like I’m something to be dealt with and forgotten about.  I just want to be welcomed, treated with respect and dignity and love, just for being who I am.  To be treated like I’m Somebody’s Somebody, but I can’t shake the fact that, no matter where I go or what I do, There will always seem to be a majority who does not like me.

Two Is Better Than One

My latest foray into sobriety was pretty short lived.  Not that it was very whole-hearted.  Or even particularly necessary really.  But I had decided to take a little break from the drinkin’ for a bit.  Certainly only for a little bit anyway, as the holidays are coming up and between celebrating and trying to forget there was bound to be some inbibation taking place.

Anyway, I was down to my last couple bottles of wine in the rack and I just decided to not buy more when that was gone and take a little break from things.  The final bottle was finished off on Saturday and that was to be the end of that for a while.  I thought maybe, I’d only drink a single drink when I was out for dinner, or at a friends (Read: Green M&M‘s since I don’t have any other friends that I socialize with.)  Otherwise I’d just not drink.  For some reason, voicing this decision to another living soul is a little too intimidating for my taste.  So when it was decided that Green M&M was going to come over for our weekly/bi-weekly Dancing With The Stars viewing party I mentioned to her that I didn’t have any wine.  She was going to bring a bottle from home but it wasn’t going to be cold because this conversation took place after she’d already left for work.  Upon further discussion however, it was suggested that she should bring dinner with her from our favorite Tacqueria, Tacqueria Cancun in Berkeley, CA.  They make really excellent Mexican food and sell it out of a restaurant in a really terrible location.

See, I hate Berkeley to begin with.  It’s crouded and poorly laid out.  Getting anywhere in Berkeley, in my opinion, is far more difficult than is worth whatever you may be going there for.  Because of this, I do not go to Berkeley any more than I absolutely have to (which is actually ever Tuesday night since that’s where Insightful Therapist‘s office is.  Fortunately she’s just on the edge of town and getting there and back isn’t too much of a nightmare.)  Green on the other hand grew up in Berkeley, and thinks nothing of the chaos that surounds the burg.

Since Green would be going through Berkeley to get dinner, she’d be that much later getting to my house, which was understood and perfectly ok with me, but then she suggested, “While I’m doing that, you could go to the store and buy a cold bottle of wine.”  I don’t think she really appreciated the humor in that statement.  “…buy A bottle of wine”?  Just one?  Really?  Funny, funny girl!  Why buy one, when you can buy eight?  The wine in question is comparable in price and quality to Two Buck Chuck so it wasn’t a tremendous expenditure.

I went to the local grocery, (real name Lucky, but I insist upon continuing to call it Albertson’s, because Albertson’s has always been the superior brand and I do not like that they reverted all Northern California stores back to the Lucky brand) to purchase the aforementioned vino and then headed home, with just about an hour to chill the wine and clean house enough to make things presentable for the delicate sensibilities of the fairer sex.  When I arrived home I immediately put one bottle in the freezer, and two bottles in the fridge, ostensibly so that it would be cold the next time I wanted wine.

The bottle in the freezer was split down the middle with dinner and we each had our share.  A while back I took to adding diet lemon-lime soda to my wine – a spritzer if, you will.  It was entended to cut the wine and have it go farther but instead it has just made it easier to drink faster.  Anyway, I opened the second bottle after I finished eating my burrito (Carne Asada, if you must know.)  By the time I turned off the TV to go to bed a little before midnight, I had finished off the second bottle.

This doesn’t actually, really concern me all that much.  I mean, it’s not like I “tried” not to drink it and couldn’t help myself.  I just didn’t give it much thought.  And I wasn’t drunk when I finished it.  It takes a lot more than a bottle and a half of wine to get me drunk.  And I didn’t have a hang over when I got up this morning.  Yes, I over slept, and yes I was late for work but that’s because I was up until after mindnight, and because I slept so badly over the week-end.  (I oversleep and am late for work on an almost daily basis, so today is nothing special.)

Maybe I’ll take another break from “the bottle” after these remaining six are gone.  Or maybe I’ll just throw in the towel until January and then give it another shot after the torture of the holidays has blown over…

Miscellaneus, Meandering Introspections (With A Song And Dance To Boot – OK Maybe Not A Dance.)

I’m stuck. I feel completely bogged down. My mind is cloudy. There are so many things that I want to be doing. So many things that I need to be doing, but I can’t seem to make any progress. Part of it is that the things I need to be doing I do not want to do.

I’m at work, of course. That’s where I should be in the middle of a Monday afternoon, but work is the farthest thing from my mind. I really need to get out of this job. I get absolutely no satisfaction from it whatsoever. There’s a lot of busy work that I could, of course do, but I’m just not interested in it. I have tasks that Douche Bag has given me to do, but I know he hasn’t thought of them again, and honestly, if they’re not any kind of priority to him, why should they be to me? Some of what he’s asked me to do, shouldn’t have been put on me in the first place, but as usual, he’s completely out of touch and doesn’t think about what he’s doing.

My mind is just full of random thoughts about what I want, where I want to be, how I want to change, what I’d like to be doing.

Last night I lay in bed, wide awake until about a quarter two, just staring at the ceiling and wishing. Wishing I wasn’t alone was a big part of it. Not just not lonely, but really not alone. For the first time that I can recall, I had this longing to be held. To be wrapped up in a pair of big, strong arms. Leaning back into a smooth, hard chest and listening to a deep, soothing voice whisper into my ear, that things were going to be OK. It wasn’t a sexual thing, although, I’m sure it would have lead to that. It was just a need to be taken care of and to know that I was not alone in life. Not alone in my world. That I was not going to spend my life that way. I felt so small and weak in those moments. So alone and unwanted and powerless to change it.

I spent some time this week-end, trying to think of ways to change my life. Things that I could do to try and find some fulfillment. All the things that I thought of, lead to feelings of fear and anxiety. Sickness even. I feel so overwhelmed. So desperate.

It’s not the depression, Per Se. I’m not in the same place I was in February when I had to take time off of work and attend an Intensive Outpatient Program to try and get my feet back under me. It’s hard to explain how it’s different, just that it is. I feel more like I’m on the verge of something and if I could just figure out what the next step is…

I’ve really enjoyed keeping this blog. I’ll admit that some entries have been better than others and I’m sure this one will end up at the bottom of the heap, but maybe if I can write out my thoughts I can begin to pull back the veil a little. The blog has been fun. I’m finding that I really enjoy writing and it’s something I would like to be able to do more of with more talent. I’ve often longed for a form of employment that doesn’t require a 9 to 5 scenario and that doesn’t require me to go to an office for a specified period or on a specified schedule. Something that allows me to work at my own pace (more or less) and is fulfilling to me. Oh, and something that pays well. I feel like writing could be that thing. But I don’t know what to do with that thought.

I’ve done some (read: not a lot of) research on the subject of writing classes but everything costs a lot of money. I’ve thought maybe I could just try submitting some random pieces to some newspapers and/or magazines but really I don’t know what that process entails, or whether they’re interested in such things. I don’t know the legalities of it all. Does my work belong to them if I sent it to them for consideration without prior arrangement of compensation or conditions? Do they want only things that are topical? And if so, how do I know what to write about and send them when I don’t know how publishing works, and, at least in the case of magazines, a few weeks will pass before current events are written about I could be perpetually behind the times.

I’m tired of working for a manager and an employer who doesn’t appreciate me. I realize this is a common affliction but I’ve never had it this bad before. My job is not important. It’s not important to me, certainly, but it’s not important to anyone else either. Douche Bag rarely pays attention to what I’m doing. He asks me to perform tasks that should be handed off to Unsvelt Girl Who Runs or most recently Fantastical Engineer and then the only time he pays any attention is when he’s complaining or “yelling” about something. It’s not that he’s abusive or hateful. It’s that he’s oblivious and ignorant.

There is absolutely no appreciation shown for my work. And I suppose, you might say my paycheck is appreciation enough, but you’d be wrong. It’s not appreciation enough. Don’t get me wrong. Appreciation without the pay check wouldn’t be enough either, but both are really needed in order to be gratified.

I don’t want my job to be my life. Unless it’s something really great and exciting like, writing best selling novels, or being a big movie star. And even if it were, I’d still want time away from the work. I’d still want friends who really want to see me, spend time with me. I’d still want to be somebody to somebody.

Somebody to somebody… I wonder if that’s really what this is all about. Just one real connection to make all the other shit in my life more tolerable… I’m thinking now of the song by Christina Aguilera:

“Somebody’s Somebody”

Watchin lovers walkin’
Hand in hand they pass me by
Wish I was one of them
Wish I had somebody
Wakin’ up beside me
Looking into my eyes at night
I want a love to call my own
I want someone that I can hold
Want someone wanting me
Wanna feel how it feels to be

Somebody’s somebody
Someone’s someone
Some sweet lover’s lover
I wanna be that one
Someone faithful to someone faithful
Someone kind to someone kind to me
Somebody to somebody who loves me
Who loves me

Spending all of my time
Spending all my time with me
Where is that someone who
I can give my time to
Searching for that lover
With the love that will change my life
I want two arms to hold me close
I want the thing I need the most
Somebody needing me
So I can feel how it feels to be

Somebody’s somebody
Someone’s someone
Some sweet lover’s lover
I wanna be that one
Someone faithful to someone faithful
Someone kind to someone kind to me
Somebody to somebody who loves me
Who loves me

What I’m looking for
Is someone to love me more
Than I’ve been loved before
With love so right
What I need to find
Is someone to hold me tight
What I mean is I want to be

Somebody’s somebody
Someone’s someone
Some sweet lover’s lover
I wanna be that one
Someone faithful to someone faithful
Someone kind to someone kind to me
Somebody to somebody who loves me
Who loves me

Somebody’s somebody
Somebody’s somebody
Somebody’s somebody
Somebody’s somebody
I wish I was
Somebody’s baby

God, I hate the way I’m sounding right now. I’m not a needy person, or at least I never thought I was. Come to think of it, Green M&Ms mother once told me she thought I was needy, right before she physically assaulted me (there’s a story for another time). But that’s the only time I can remember anyone ever defining me that way and I don’t think it’s true. I’m also not a clinger. I don’t need to hang all over my significant other at every free moment of the day. ‘Course that may stem from the fact that the public displays of affection I’ve been a part of previously never did feel quite right, and any consideration I may have had to public displays of affection with someone who would feel right (a man) were verboten to say the least and more likely to be dangerous. Before now anyway.

No, I’m not needy and I’m not clingy and I’m not desperate, at least not in the way it’s usually stated. I’m not the type to latch on to any man who’ll look my direction, just for the sake of having a little physical contact. I want a real, lasting love with a man who will wake up beside me. Who will look into my eyes at night. Someone who will be faithful, who will want me. Someone who will change my life. I do want two arms to hold me close and I’m beginning to think the thing I need the most really is someone who needs me, because it’s not just a one sided proposition. I need to be held and loved and taken care of. But I need to do those things for someone else, too.

I’ve always heard people say that you have to be happy by yourself before you can be happy with anyone else. I’ve always chosen to believe that because it’s easier than facing the feeling that no one wants me. But I don’t believe that. In fact, I kind of feel like, you need to have an emptiness, albeit just a little bit. You need to be lacking in some way. You need to have a whole in your life, in your heart, that can only be filled by a significant other. Not by any random other. Not by a just-for-tonight other, but by a significant other who will be those things you need him to be and for whom you can fill the empty places as well. To quote a movie (and up the cheese factor a bit) you need someone who will “complete” you.

Maybe a lot of my emptiness is about being without one special person in my life who will mean everything and to whom I will mean everything. Maybe if I had that special someone to share my life with, all the trials of the day would seem like less of a burden because I’d know there was someone waiting for me at home. Maybe I’d be stronger and more able to face the rest of my fears if I had someone who was in my corner, rooting for me all the way. I don’t know.

So I lie in bed and I think about this conundrum. I need a man in my life. I need someone who will be all these things for me and for whom I can do the same… But how do I meet someone to share my life with when I don’t meet people at all? When I’m afraid of meeting people. When I’m literally scared sick of even the thought of exposing myself to situations where I might.

Insightful Therapist (I talk about her often enough, I decided it was time she had a kitschy nom de plume) has suggested a few things that all amount to social gatherings. I made the mistake a year or so ago of telling her that I thought my drinking was “a bit out of hand”, and she’s been on an AA kick ever sense. She thinks that going to a meeting such as that would be a good opportunity for me to learn that there are other people in the world who have had similar experiences as I. And that I can find other coping mechanisms besides drinking (I thought that was what I paid her for.) She’s also suggested a coming out support group. Something I have considered, and honestly since November 4, I’m more willing to do, but I’ve come up with exactly nothing as far as information and resources on the subject. I’m sure I could probably ask her for something but if I ask her, that kind of puts me on the spot to follow through.

But even in looking for the resources to consider the possibility… Sick to my stomach… Every time. I don’t really understand why it is that I have such a physical reaction to the fears that come up around this. If I’m rational about it, I know nothing physically harmful will happen and I might gain something from it. But there is a lot of emotional damage that could be done. A lot of harm to my self esteem that could come from it. And then you add the bonus fear and shame of having to publicly confess to something that I’ve kept locked away inside me for so many years (“I’m an alcoholic” or “I’m gay”) and it becomes too much for me.

So to those of you who’ve made it this far into this post, I apologize for the self-pittying, mopy, drivel. I didn’t really set out to do that… Then again, I didn’t really know what I did set out to do. For those of you who’ve gotten this far, and have an opinion, I’d honestly like to hear it. Please leave your feed-back in the comments, and if you have any resourses you’d like to share, I’d be grateful for those as well.