NO is a complete sentence !!!

Who really has our best interest in mind ? Our parents, our family, our husbands, or our wives ?

It has been said that NO is a complete sentence.

If you have heard these words spoken, you know who I got them from.
She is very famous.

As children, our parents are supposed to do the right thing and keep us safe, to keep us from personal harm, and from making mistakes. When my parents said the word NO, it came with usual violence that followed.

I reflect that as a boy, listening to my parents talk among their friends, I learned a great deal about what was coming. The abuse heaped on me was high, and that usually coincided with something I heard them say.

I knew right from wrong. Obviously. Disobedience was usually met with abuse, from both my father and my mother. Alcoholism was the fuel.

I’ve often said that, and I repeated this story earlier tonight, with one of my guys, that as a teen ager, I was an upstanding citizen, employee and friend.

I had the right friends, I had the right jobs. But that all changed when you introduced alcohol into my life. Then, everything went out the window.

I forgot …

How many of us forget things when we drink ?

Alcoholism followed me out into the world, and was waiting to take me down, on the first occasion I walked into a club and drank. Coming out, as I did, IN a club, with the people I wanted around me, with the right music, and experience, made that night epic. And it was.

Nobody was there to say NO. Never, ever.

From twenty one, until I hit twenty five, No was not part of my lexicon.

Until the night I walked into that bar, unawares of who was watching me then. I got my drink, took a stool, and sat down, surveying the environs of that little hole in the wall. It was definitely rough and tumble. And I was definitely looking for rough and tumble.

Then Todd stepped out of the shadows and made his entrance, said hello and changed the course of my life. I’ve said before that encountering Todd, in my memory, was akin to meeting Almighty God, Incarnate.

Because in time, I would seriously need God.

Todd knew I was looking for trouble, and in one cursory inspection of me, inside and out, he figuratively said the word NO.

That was the first time I reflect that thought, here. I’ve never said that before and had not thought of it before.

I got my way into his employ.

My drinking followed.

After a crash and burn suicide experience, and trying to drink myself dead, for the first time, both Todd and Bill, sat me down and tried to get me some much needed help. Suicide survivors meetings, will make anyone drink more than they had originally started with.

A year later … On July 8th 1994, the world caved in on me and I was diagnosed with AIDS. Told to go home, kiss my ass goodbye, and wait to die.

I called Todd home from Provincetown and I told him I was gonna die.

He said and I quote …. NOT ON MY WATCH !!!

Over the next 46 days, I attempted to kill myself.

On the 46th night, drunken and in a coma in a club parking lot, Todd appeared with my friend Danny. That night, Todd definitely said the word

NO !

“This has got to stop. And I am going to make it stop, if it kills me in the attempt.”

As a young gay boy, nobody had ever said the word no to me. I could command, just about anything. Alcohol, Drugs, Sex …

Nobody ever denied me my pleasure, because, I was young, tanned and good looking.

Give someone AIDS, and UGLY goes deep to the bone.

You don’t know what it is like to go from Hero to Zero in twenty four hours flat. To have your family, your friends, and your boyfriend, go running for the hills, never to return, or support you.

I was alone. But was I really alone ? NO

Todd was the only human concerned with keeping me alive. I said this earlier tonight, He could have chosen anyone else in that bar, to save. He chose me. Don’t ask me why, but he chose me.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would call that Divine Intervention.

These stories are all stacked in my PAGES —> over there.

The discussion of the word NO has been on going for the last month, or short a month by a few days.

Todd knew what I needed. He was the only man on earth who knew that kind of information. The day he told me that I could, and should trust him, I knew I could trust him. Implicitly.

He never spoke a cross word to me. He got angry for sure, many times because in the beginning I was willful, arrogant, and stupid.

I learned quickly, that if he looked at me directly, and I saw how either BLUE or GREY his eyes were, told me all I needed to know, without a word spoken between us.

I told my friend tonight that NO is a complete sentence.

We are lucky in this life to be able to count, just ONE other person, in our life, the one who has our best interest in mind. Today, I am that one person for a few people. As is my husband for me.

In reality, my husband does not hold a candle to Todd. They are completely different people. Todd’s role in my life was EPIC. And I will never see that kind of EPIC again.

Many nights, Todd said NO to me for one reason or another. And over time I trusted everything he said to me, as if it was God speaking wisdom, because if you look at me today, and wonder why I am still alive?

There are only two possible answers: Todd read God.

I knew that obedience was key. I learned that early on. In our dynamic leather relationship, I was obedient to one man, Todd.

He kept me safe from myself. He kept me safe from everybody else. I was on a very short leash, so to speak, AND I was sober too. Or getting sober.

The Fidelious Charm he erected over the bar worked its magic.

I spent many, many hours, inside that charm filled space. It became the proving grounds for life lessons, love lessons, and survival lessons.

All that Todd was and is today, is deep within me. Every word spoken, every lesson he taught me, every ounce of love he had for me too. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I can even pat myself on the back if need be.

I don’t need anyone to do that for me today.

Confidence, Humility, Compassion, Love …

The day I said goodbye to Todd, he said these words to me ..

If you do one thing, in this life, you will help another human being the way I helped you. You must carry forwards good fortune and love. Because if you don’t, I was a waste of time.

Todd, for sure, was NO waste of time, or effort, on his part.

It has been many years since the last time I spoke to Todd, but I have. I don’t have his number any longer, because it is filed on an old hard drive that is sitting in a box, in my bedroom.

You never know when GOD is going to step out of heaven and grace your life. Will you know it when it happens?

We are connected to all that is, by the particles that make us human. Those biological building blocks that began the universe UP THERE !!!

A little bit of the universe is found within each of us. Deep within the make up of our bodies. The universe, UP THERE, is filled with the building blocks of life, OUT THERE. It seeded the earth and human came to be.

So that little piece in us, is directly connected to the whole of the universe. We are connected, by invisible umbilical to the universe Out There.

The universe is always listening. For we are connected to it temporally.

The universe knows what we need before we think it. But the universe respects our free will, it never imposes itself on us. But gradually entices us with breadcrumbs, and Angelic, and Godly counsel.

We should be so blessed to recognize God when He shows up.

I know God. I’ve met Him, in the flesh. He spoke to me, He cared for me and kept me alive, to do, this … To talk about Him and what he means to me, to certain people in my circle.

I’m still alive. There is no question God had something to do with it. However, in the thick of dying, I never thought about God, I thought about Todd. Because it was Todd, who had my best interest at heart.

And I would love to think, if he met me in the flesh today, he would be pleased with the man I became.

There is a God, and I am not God, and my navel is not the center of the universe.

If you don’t have humility for the simplicity of life, you loose…


Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Parisians are mourning tonight, as one of the most important cathedrals in the world, burned. it is said, at this hour, that 60% of the cathedral has burned, but major portions of the church building has been saved.

Worry was that the Rose Windows on the North and South faces of the building would collapse. It seems at this hour, that they indeed are still intact, after firefighters in Paris doused the building with water, saving whatever they could, after an immense burn that has taken good portions of the roof and the church spire down.

I’ve never been to Paris, but I have friends who live close to the city and have shared their thoughts with the world.

Notre Dame has survived more than 800 years, and has survived manic holy men who attacked statues in the church and the building also survived wars, unscathed. Fire, on the other hand is capricious. It does not discriminate, as to what it chooses to eat.

We offer our prayers to the firefighters of Paris, and to the city of Paris and her many people, who have been standing guard close to the fire, singing hymns as a community.

This, the holiest week in the Catholic Church, marks from Palm Sunday, yesterday through to the Easter Triduum next Sunday.

The loss of Notre Dame Cathedral cannot be understated. Emmanuel Macron has said that a vigorous rebuilding program will begin, once the flames have been extinguished and an assessment of the damage is complete. Then the world will come together and we will rebuild the church.

Spring has Sprung !!

Montreal hit the 15c mark today. The first stretch of double digit temps this season. The windows are open for the first time. The breeze is blowing. Me thinks that winter has been pushed out of the province.

With that said, I opened the bedroom windows for the first time today, and took down my weather plastic on the windows, and hung the air conditioner in the bedroom as well. I usually do that on the first day of the change over so that I don’t have to worry about it when temps top 20 to 25c and it is too miserable to do anything.

The climate in Montreal is particular because we sit on the St. Lawrence River. We are not that far off from the river, we can see it from out living room windows down to the south. We are about 15 minutes from the river.

When it gets above twenty (20c) it becomes a bit too warm outside. Last year we had a heat wave and many people died, because normally, Montreal homes do not have central air, or even air conditioners in the units, as we only get heat as standard.

The best thing I did a number of years ago was to invest in an AC unit. It saves a lot of aggravation when it warm up too much.

Last night, I hit the Friday meeting, and found out that several of my friends came down with the same cold/flu I did this past week, Everybody was down and in bed for the entire week. We’ve been through the winter rain, snow,freezing rain, snow, rain cycles, and our bodies just could not handle another day of swinging temperatures.

Everybody is on the mend.

More to come.

Walking in the Rain

It only took five minutes of walking in the rain, with just a toque on that caused me an immediate immune response.

It was dark outside when I got up this morning, so I knew it was raining outside, but the level of noise going on downstairs, was driving me crazy.

There was someone with a raging chain saw, going at something really hard. I’m not sure what that could have been, unless they were cutting down the trees that line the street downstairs.

I just looked downstairs and all the trees are intact and still standing. I guess we’ll never know who was wielding that chain saw.

Later on in the day, I needed to go to the store. I hate carrying my umbrella, so I got downstairs and was suited up as usual. The freezing rain was coming down harder than I supposed.

I walked to the corner, down the street, and returned on the same path. As I got upstairs, I knew I was in trouble. Getting a cold, when least expected, happens on the odd occasion.

I’ve been sniffling and sneezing all damned day. Thankfully I had some cold meds left over, from the last round of sniffles. Sadly, they aren’t working at this hour.

Eight days out now. And I am feeling quite good. Making a change in routine, was good. I crawl into bed after the news, and go right to sleep. I get a full nights rest, instead of wasting two hours screwing around.


You’ll Never Find

You’ll Never Find Another Love like Mine” (written by Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff) is a song performed by R&B singer Lou Rawls on his 1976 album All Things in Time. The song proved to be Rawls’ breakthrough hit, reaching number one on both the R&B and Easy Listening charts as well as number four on the dance chart and number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, The single went on to sell over a million copies and was certified gold by the RIAA.

The other day I was getting my hair cut, and the owner of the salon, a friend of mine, was jamming music. This song, You’ll never find another love like mine, was playing, in a remix format, that went on for twelve minutes.

As soon as you hear Lou sing the first line … You’ll never find …

I am back in my old family home, and it is early morning. Usually 7 a.m. is when my father would turn on the stereo so we’d have music to get ready by.

I guess you could say that this song reminds me of my late father. He died on January 7th 2018.

In 1976, as referenced above, I was in third grade going on fourth grade, at Coral Terrace Elementary School in Miami, Florida. I remember this song playing, like every morning.

And I am sitting in the salon chair, singing along with the song, and visually I am in my head, standing in the living room of that old house, as if it were that very moment.

The house was a 3 bedroom house. The walls were all natural wood, we did not have central air or heat, what we did have was a ceramic brick, gas heater in the dining room. On very cold nights, we used to sleep in the dining room/living room.

I remember once, was had a rolling dish washing machine in that house. We would roll it over to the sink and connect it to the kitchen faucet to wash the dishes. One night, my mother had run out of dish washer crystals, so she poured a full compartment of liquid dish washing soap, into the machine, and started it. If you’ve ever seen a bubble machine go crazy, there were bubbles coming out of the dish washer and spread all over the house.

It was hysterical. She never made that mistake ever again. It was the only dish washer we ever had. After we moved from that house, we did not have a kitchen with space enough for another one.

My memories of places might be faded, but if you play me a song, I probably could tell you exactly what I was doing, or here I was, and at what age I was, when I heard that song in my past.

I have too many blank spots in my memory, of dates and places. I have an entire collection of photos my aunt gave me a whole back, and many of those photos are blank in my memory.

Play me a song, and you have a better chance of a memory connection to that particular piece of music.

Today, I went into my I Tunes, and looked up the remix edit that I heard the other day. It comes in at 8 minutes. It might not be the same play list I was listening to at the salon, but it is close.

Most of the music in my I Phone is old. About 80% of it is from the 1970’s through the 1980’s. I run old when it comes to music.

They don’t make music today, like the used to. Them times were so much more simple. We did not have all the trappings of today, but life was good, when it was good. My father had his good side and his bad side.

This song reminds me of his really good side.

Hi dad …

Friday Thoughts – End of Day

I am re-evaluating what I want. It has been a tough week, but in the end, it all came together. Two nights spent with the people I love, always does the trick, even if my head is in my ass.

Commitments were made and Along the week, I’ve come to a number of decisions that I think will turn out well, as time progresses. I quit one habit, and on Sunday, I quit the other bad habit. And I should be good to go, to put the next round of decisions into action.

Many of my friends have taken up running. A LOT of running. Over the past few months, I’ve watched my friends hit new highs in their lives, and do things they never thought possible before, just by lacing up a pair of sneakers and hitting the neighborhood streets.

Completion of Marathons have been the task du jour.

I have, in my bank, new routines to follow. An old timer I know very well, has been good to me as of late. When I need to pick his brain, about anything, he always obliges.

This afternoon I had a conversation with a local friend who is running a half marathon the end of April. And we got to talking about a race in October that we both might run together. After inquiring about training with him, he was not sure he was the right fit for me, knowing his own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.

But my old timer friend came up in conversation, because he is associated with our Running Room, here in Montreal. Tonight, I saw him at the Friday night meeting and we spoke about a plan.

Firstly he said this … One, you are over fifty. Two, he said that we both carry about 170 pounds a piece. And Three, he said that over taking myself in trying to complete a distance that is, at the moment, out of my league, would be unwise. So we set up a plan of attack, with simple goals to reach over the next month. Then we will regroup and see where I fall on the running scale.

I’ve got a good six months to train up.

One of my friends worked steadily at distance, over a long period of time. He ran a marathon and ran a personal best and got a medal for it. My other friend Jack. walked out his front door and trained for two weeks. TWO WEEKS, having never run before in his life, and completed the Stadium to Sea run in Los Angeles last week, with a 3 hour time.

But they are much younger than I am and in a lot better shape.

Being HIV Positive and a Type 2 Diabetic has its challenges. Being over fifty is my big downfall. I’m no spring chicken and I have to approach any goal and temper that goal by my present disabilities and hopeful abilities to win.

I have a plan. Sunday I put it into action, after I cross off another bad habit and directly affects me lung capacity. Smoking !!!

Take away touching ones self, and point positive sexual energy in another direction is very useful. It focuses you unlike any other focal method. It makes you a better fighter, a better runner, and a better human being.

I’ve learned over the last little while that when I think I know what’s good for me, that usually turns out to be bad advice, because if I act on my own will, it usually turns out anti climactic.

I should never take my own advice ever. Because I loose on every front.

I got a couple of new books in the mail today. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and If On A Winters Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. Both books came highly recommended by my writing teacher. He reads like I do, like a mad man. He also works in publishing, and is an author himself.

Usually what he reads, ends up on my read side table by my bedside.

So the week, five days, on self denial has passed. I am more the better for it. I don’t allow myself to take my own advice. Even if I want to.

Tonight we talked about the Sacred Circle, and what we can find within it, and when necessary, if needed, to go outside the sacred circle for help, that’s what we do. We are not doctors nor economists, nor marriage counselors.

If you need help that the rooms can not provide, Bill tells us that “If he was humble enough to seek outside help when necessary, and it was good for him, it might just be good for ourselves too.”

I have great friends who will go the distance with me. I have the best friends, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

Thanks for reading. More to come.

Happy Weekend.

Uncomfortable

I posted earlier today about my head space this morning. it only got worse as the day progressed. I’ve been uncomfortable all night long. And even spending time with people I love, did not ease the discomfort.

I’m still stuck in my body.

There are things we get to talk about with our friends, those things could be any topic, for any reason, and my friends would listen. There is only one person who has been brought into the Fidelius Charm. There is nobody else, in on the charm.

He has challenged me to become the best version of myself. Which is why he is within the Charm.

And I’m not sure I should bother him, at the moment, because I know he’s filled with his own anxiety about the end of term and the amount of work he has to pump out in the next ten days.

What I have left, is pouring myself out here, and recording how my days are going, from one day to the next. As my daily routine goes forward, knowing what I know at this very minute, being around my friends makes me a little uncomfortable.

I have good friends, mind you, who would never question anything I tell them about me, because they all know me, very well. Sometimes better than I know myself.

I’ve added another layer of who I am to the mix, a few days ago.

On a separately Other track …

I was told tonight, by a good lady friend, that, certain doors have not opened up to me, on one arc of my story, so she told me to just put one foot in front of the other, until that particular door opens.

Because Sobriety does not have a destination …

Making choices, putting a plan into action takes certainty, or a little bit that sounds like certainty. You don’t know if the plan, will flourish in the future, so all we can do is put one foot in front of the other, and stay in our days.

Where have I heard that little gem before ???

Sobriety, and Life in Sobriety is about the day you are in, and even the moment you are in, right now.

Any choice you make in sobriety, is tempered by how well you deal with a twenty four hour period. And when you can’t talk about what’s going on with you, you need to figure out where you are going to drop your thoughts, which is why this platform exists.

For the longest time, this was about my readers. I posted content for my readers. But that tack changed when Brene Brown became part of my life.

This week, I decided that I was no longer drumming for readers or support from the outside world. I decided days ago, to spend my writing time, working on me, in open community.

I had to reconsider what this blog functioned as. BRAVING this blog, the way it was, was no longer tenable.

Now, I turn the attention off of others, and onto myself. For better or worse. I don’t have any gay friends, inside or outside the rooms. That means a no go, for open discussion on just about anything not relatable.

I know I can talk to my Fidelius Charm partner.

Now is not the moment, though.

I get to think out loud here instead.

Putting one foot in front of the other …