Thursday – If I sit down …

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Courtesy:Followeed

It is December and it has been one hell of a week so far. There is much to say, and there has been plenty of opportunity to speak words, or better yet, write them down. Tonight is that night.

Tuesday was December 1st, World AIDS Day. The yearly date when we honor all those who have died, and for those of us who survived that period of tragic times, we remember.

A particular story came to mind on Tuesday, that I thought about writing down “Again” but decided against it. Suffice to say that those of us who were diagnosed with AIDS or today, HIV, we go from Hero to Zero in no time flat.

Back in the day, AIDS was a death sentence. Today they call it a “manageable condition!” Every new diagnosis under ANY circumstances is very sad.

You would think, in today’s gay community, and for that matter, anywhere in the world, that an ounce of prevention would go a long way, yet there are those who continually decide to play Russian Roulette with their lives. Or are caught up in behavior that is detrimental.

One cannot claim ignorance about disease today.

There are still millions of reasons why we can’t stop marking this day, until a cure is found, that would be available to every single human being, to eradicate this scourge.

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Once again, now in the U.S., two deranged killers walked into a service center, and killed 14 people in cold blood, and injured many others.

This is just terrible. And there are not enough words to say that is going to make a hill of beans difference, to those who could do something, but they don’t. There aren’t enough prayers to be said, or vigils to attend that are going to change anything.

Sometimes it is well and good to just not say anything, because someone already has said what we are all thinking, and we are powerless to do a god damned thing.

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Sometime last weekend, I did something to my back. I am not sure what it was, or when it happened, but I have never felt the degree of pain I am feeling today, in all my life. My back is killing me, and I have resorted to taking pain killers just to be ambulatory.

Addicts and painkillers are not a good mix.

At least here, I can phone up my pharmacy and get over the counter medication. In many Canadian pharmacies, they keep assorted drugs behind the counter, so if you know this, that opens up treatment. I don’t need a script nor do I need to see my doctor, but I will see him on the tenth, if I survive that long …

This afternoon baby mama came over to use my computer and as we sat together, she remarked that etched on my face was the look of pain. I can sit down, but there is no guarantee that I will be able to get back up. During our visit, I had several Holy Shit, moments, where I thought I was going to pass out.

I have only so many pills left, before I need a doctors note, and it is the weekend, so no doctor till next week now. And I sure as shit ain’t going to no E.R. because I will sit there for hours and hours, um NO!

It has been rainy / cold the past few days. Rain, that falls in conjunction with below zero temps, means ice on sidewalks.

I half thought to stay home tonight, but decided to go to St. Matthias and hit a meeting. I left earlier than usual, because walking, reaching, bending and stooping is quite the task, which requires some serious deep breathing and equilibrium.

I got to the church and visited with friends before the meeting, and as a friend sat next to me, I had a Holy Shit moment, and I told her that if I sit down, for any amount of time, that I may not be able to get back up.

I waited until the seventh tradition was started and tried to get up, gritting my teeth, because I had to pee … That was a tedious moment for sure. I did get up, but it wasn’t pleasant.

It was a good meeting, nonetheless.

I was talking to my sponsor and a few friends on Tuesday night, and I was explaining that I was riding that “roller coaster of insanity” and what was going on in my head and they responded with, “yup, you are one of us …”

We pushed my cake back until the 20th, because next Sunday is early, and my anniversary falls on Wednesday the 9th. And superstition dictates that you never take a medallion early.

The 13th, is my sponsors Home Group Anniversary on the West End at Loyola. So He will be there, while I do service at my Sunday Home Group. Which leaves the 20th as the first Sunday we can both be in the same place at the same time.

What is good about living in Canada, is this … When shit goes down anywhere else, the media goes crazy. And for the most part, for what it is worth, Most shit going down elsewhere, has nothing to do with us, and when necessary, which is often, I can either turn the channel, shut down my computer, or turn the tv off …

There is so much tragedy. I can only take so much saturation about death and destruction, not to mention, Republican Presidential hopefuls.

I have little patience for crock of shit politics.

Thank God for cable t.v.

More to come, stay tuned …

November 20, 2015 … 11 years

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11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.

I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …

  • Fire Grill
  • Rueben’s Smoked Meats
  • Baton Rouge

This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.

I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.

My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.

The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.

We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.

No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.

Let us keep each other in our thoughts …

Notice I did not say “prayers…”

Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.

One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”

Yes, we really are that stupid.

At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.

More to come, stay tuned …

 

Friday … Calm Courage

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“… Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself; trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended.”

We have tweaked the blog a bit. A little bit of change, with a few new images and a new header we are featuring. This photo comes from my preacher friend Gordon in Texas. This was his worship space where he ministered to his flock for many years, before giving up his church to go into the field and find God.

We are in a rain today, sun tomorrow, rain to come, and sun to follow kid of pattern this week.

Today we were on the upswing.

I spent time with a friend, and we followed that with a meeting. Tonight, the night was still bright at nine o’clock as I walked to the bus stop on the way home.

Tonight’s topic: Trouble – Constructive or Destructive

I listened to the reading twice and I did not think that I would have anything to say, until a friend drew upon this line from the reading.

Troubles … I’ve had my fair share of troubles. God has a funny was of making his presence known, and that usually happens when I am in serious trouble. Someone up there is watching me and keeping an eye out for me as well. Because I seem to have navigated this life, well, sometimes living on the edge it might seem, at certain times.

When have we transcended our troubles ?

And at what point point does transcendence take place ?

What would you call transcendence, how would you know ?

An old timer once said to me that, in order to see wisdom, you need two things:

The benefit of time, AND the experience of hindsight.

When we find ourselves in trouble, sometimes that trouble might seem, insurmountable when we are in the middle of it. And it might seem that trouble will never end. In most cases, save certain troubles, let’s say, life and mortality, troubles come and troubles go.

It is how we manage these troubles that matters.

As a young person in my family home, there was trouble. And I surfed it to the best of my ability. When I moved away, that trouble ended, but that did not last, because where ever I went, trouble seemed to follow. I must consider my youth and naivete. Add to that, my own blindness to the one trouble I had, that I never realized was a trouble (read: Problem).

Often when we read the Big Book, Bill had a certain way of writing. He never used the same word twice. If he was trying to get a point across to you, he would use as many words, that meant the same thing, without telling you that that was what he was doing, and I did not learn this until recently, when someone pointed this out to me.

You could use the word “trouble” or you could interchange the word with “problem.”

I skated through life, until I hit my mid twenties. I thought I was getting by, when I really wasn’t. I was involved with someone who was walking trouble. When that relationship went south, one night I walked into a bar, alone, and on that night, my life changed.

God began his slow emergence into my life. He knew better than I did, that pretty soon, I was going to need his help, because the trouble that was coming, would rock my world.

I can share these stories with you, because I know for a fact that in certain cases, I squarely faced trouble, and I transcended them.

TROUBLES SQUARELY FACED …

I was at work on a Sunday afternoon, and my mother called out of the blue. She tells me that my ex boyfriends mother called HER, to find out if I had seen him, because his mother could not reach him.

A few days would pass. Eventually, the police got involved. We found him a few days too late, and by that time he was long since dead. By this time, I also had the bar job at night. And God, in his infinite wisdom was right where He needed to be.

And not a minute too soon.

Suicide is never a good thing, for the one who kills themselves, nor for the persons they leave behind. How do I describe what it felt like to have a coroner call you and ask you to come and identify remains ? How do I quantitatively explain the gravity of such a request?

Do you know what a corpse looks like 5 days in ? I do…

His mother’s last words to me, after I identified him, and signed the papers to send his body home for burial were these …

“I hope for the rest of your life, the last thing you see when you close your eyes is my son’s dead body !”

I can tell you that twenty two years later, I can still see him, as I did on that fateful day.

I was still drinking. Let me tell you, I drank A LOT of liquor in the days that followed that day and that specific conversation. God was watching. Very closely. My friends, at one point, tried to intervene in my excessive drinking. They got me into therapy. Suicide survivors therapy.

For months, it seemed, I sat in a room, with family members, who were left behind. And I listened to them recount their specific war story every time someone new showed up. I kept on drinking, and I was working at the bar.

Todd passed an edict that nobody could drink while on the job. Ok, that was cool. There was plenty of time to drink after hours. And I did that. For a calendar year.

The second big trouble hit. I get a call from a certain friend, who tells me that my ex killed himself, because he was diagnosed with AIDS. Well nobody told me that !!!

Soon after that, I got very sick. I was in the middle of two tragedies.

One, facing the loss of a life, Two, facing the end of my own life.

That is when God stepped in definitively and took control.

Mortality, that, is one of those troubles that many don’t surmount and win.
Death is a forgone conclusion…

I can tell you that in both situations, I surmounted those two troubles, and I have transcended them. I have more than twenty years experience of time and hindsight, to offer.

When people began to get sick, it was inside a flurry of live fast and die young.

Where all of my friends decided to go out in a blaze of drugs and alcohol, Todd decreed that he would never let me go that way. He stepped in and kept me focused on living and surviving. He chose me, out of all those sick men to help. Probably because everyone I knew, including my family, tossed me to the gutter and I was alone.

All of my friends are dead. I am, very soon, going to cross my twenty second year, and I am still here. Those two very cathartic events in my life have come and gone. And while I was in the middle of them, it seemed that they would never end.

I can tell you squarely, my troubles came to an end.

I don’t know why I am still alive, nor why I lived and everyone else is dead.

God, is the only one who knows that answer, and He hasn’t shared that answer with me.

That means I get to tell this story as many times as I have to, to teach you all what can happen when one allows God to come step in and take control. Hopefully, these specific two stories will change a life for the better.

And maybe, just maybe, I will save a life.

I did not know what “Calm Courage” was. Todd did. I did not know if I would live or die. Todd did. I did not know life would end up this way, Todd did.

I don’t know how he knew, but he knew things that I needed to know.

I know … Now …

When I finally got to “that day” (read: the day I was supposed to die) And I was still alive, Todd helped me decide what I was going to do with myself. I was going to live.

I can tell you, that it was not the easier softer way, No, I took the long way round.

In the doors, out of the doors, back in the doors, I survived a third cathartic “trouble.”

God stepped in a third time and saved from me from imminent death.

Since I got sober the second time, my troubles seem insignificant, when I look at them against the lens of having survived suicide, my own mortality, and a near death experience.

There is no trouble I can’t face and deal with.

Unlike, many people on the earth, who walk around (some, blindly and not knowing from one moment to the next), I have someplace to go when I need help. It might cost me a loonie ($1) or a toonie ($2) at best, or it might cost me the price of a cup of coffee.

How much would you pay for someones life experience if you knew that experience would save your life? You can’t monetize life experience.

The rooms provide things for us, that normal human beings probably spend thousands or more dollars trying to find solutions to their problems.

If only everyone was an alcoholic.

They would have access to our fathomless bank of experience.

Today I have “calm courage.” I know this, because my experience has shown me where it saved my life, when I should have long since died.

I don’t often recognize it and sometimes I take it for granted.

All I need to do is stand in front of my medicine cabinet.

Instant gratitude…

More to come, stay tuned …

IT DEFINITELY GOT BETTER – 5 Years on …

Acceptance-Quotes dot netFive years ago, the “It Gets Better” campaign began.

It was the hope that the many voices around the world, would bring hope and strength to young people who were, at that time, suffering from bullies and negative attitudes.

The other night, a friend of mine, put up a video on the fifth year anniversary of his original video talking about just where he is right now, five years later. His message:

IT DEFINITELY GOT BETTER !!!

This blog has been the center of my life, for many years, and where we are today as a community is a result of all the work I have done for the past five years and more.

So much has changed in the last five years, that it would take me hours of going through past posts to give you an idea of just what happened.

I was 42 when It Gets Better began. I was beginning to figure out that wisdom was beginning to come and that has only deepened over the years. I am 47 today. I would not have changed anything about the journey.

In the gay world, the youngsters tend to think us old fogies are now, “Over the hill” and could not “possibly still be relevant.”

I assure you that I am not over the hill, nor irrelevant.

I have a history and a story that needs to be remembered and shared, because young people of today’s generation have no idea what it was like just twenty years ago. Because that is when the story really starts.

As Dickens writes: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Things were pretty bad and they really needed to get better.

And in the end it took twenty years for that to come to fruition.

The dawn of social media bright all kinds of trouble with it. Insulated kids who were alone and at home after school, now had the tools to reach out to their peers and the rest of the world. That was not necessarily a good thing. Because we all know what happened.

Social Media brought the instantaneous attack to the fore.

You didn’t have to wait to have conversation locally, thoughts and feelings went global, like wildfire, overnight. And young people, like their adult counterparts were fair game.

Then we saw the ugly side of humanity enter the picture and teens began to kill themselves because of haters and internet trolls. For them it was not good, and it needed to get better.

I am here to tell my young readers that It Does Get Better.

You just have to hang on and walk forwards. Believe in us. Some of us have seen life get very ugly, we have seen human beings get very ugly (without the aid of social media) to begin with.

Suicide is Never an option. Your Life Matters. Every one of you matter. Even if you can’t imagine what that means on a greater scale, but you do.

All you need to do is page back and read. The history of what it was like, what happened and what it is like is here for you to study and learn from.

In just the last calendar year, life has changed so much.

Having all that we need, and being satisfied with that is no small accomplishment.

All you need to have is someone in your corner rooting for you. Someone who speaks kindness to you and supports you. If you can’t find that at home, find it here with all of us. Amid all the ugly internet assholes, there are genuine people who care about you and all we want is for your happiness and survival.

You’ve come so far and you have your whole life ahead of you.

Life is about the Journey, not the destination.

Just keep walking. Believing. Trusting.

We are out here.

You are never alone.

It Does Get Better.

Friday … Pride … Tour La Nuit Montreal 2015

tumblr_mn0exfnZhI1ra77uvo1_500 heartblackCourtesy: Heart Black

The weather is holding, which was very good tonight.

As the weather gets good, things to do outside increase. There is no time to waste when the weather is this good, because sooner or later, Mother Nature is gonna piss on us.

Tonight in Montreal, was the Tour La Nuit. The first of two bicycle events circling the Island of Montreal and the mountain. The Big Bicycle event comes on Sunday with the Island wide riding event.

I had checked on the transit website before I left to make sure I would not find my travel route blocked. Well, that did not go so well. I departed with PLENTY of time to get up to the church, and made it all the way to my bus transfer, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a stoppage sign on the pole at the bus stop. On TOP OF THAT there was a bus sitting in the bay, with a driver behind the wheel, going no where fast.

I stood for a bit, I had my tunes and my patience was ok. But that did not last. People started leaving the bus queue and others were talking to the driver. I waited, patiently. After while, with the bus still sitting there, I went to talk to the driver.

No Bus – Streets Closed – If you gotta get there, you are gonna WALK !!!

I half decided to turn around and come home. I got past the turnstile, and almost to the platform, and met one of my friends coming from a train that just went through. I told him, “no buses…” And his reply was, “well, we’ll walk it, 20 minutes tops!” I know the route, I could walk it blindfolded.

So we walked a mile to the church.

All the main streets were blocked off. The tour began at seven and began to wind its way around the island of Montreal. Numbers were nominal. We sat two groups. People had decided to walk the mile to the meeting instead of turning around and going home.

The weather was on our side tonight.

Two kinds of Pride

“The prideful righteousness of “good people” may often be just as destructive as the glaring sins of those who are supposedly not so good.”

In sobriety, is there any kind of good pride? Not really.

We are supposed to become, humble, quiet, right sized people. Knowing that we only know a little, that more will be revealed to us. That we are not the center of the universe and that that world does not revolve around us.

I don’t have all the answers.

I’ve learned a few things about pride, righteousness, arrogance and bullshit.

Over the years, I have learned to pick my battles wisely. Like my fellows, I have various opinions on every sordid topic that we are all reading and seeing on tv, hearing on the radio, and seeing in print. I just choose not to give you my opinion, unless that opinion is backed up with honest truth, book studied knowledge and/or practical life experience.

Over the years, I have dealt with certain self righteous people. Over the years, I have dealt with people who thought that I could not possibly be honest and sober (read: at that point in my sober journey). Even when those certain people were rifling through my life tearing me apart in word and action,

I learned that I should never engage negative criticism, for ANY reason whatsoever.

Just wait a while, keep your mouth shut and eventually they will tire, and they will go away.

Eventually they got tired, and they went away.

I survived, two of the biggest hits to my pride and my life, a few years ago.

I can say that I added a few letters to the end of my business card. Twice. And that paid out to one community that disparaged me in ungodly ways. I can also say that I stayed sober, after being hit by people who wanted to drag me through the mud because of my choice in recovery methods.

Now in my late 40’s I do know certain things as truth. I know who I am, and what my message is and what my goals are. And its not about self righteous pride or ego. I have enough people in my life that keep me in check.

We all laughed at ourselves for an hour. That was right sizing.

I walked all the way back from the church to the Metro. 20 minutes tops.

There were thousands of people riding their bikes around the city, all lit up, some dragging baby buggies behind them. It was very exciting and people were in a festive party mood. Many people had front row balcony seats to watch the spectacle.

The Summer Festival season has begun. For the next three months the city will be buzzing with activity across the board, from concerts, to Pride festivals, to fireworks, to the Best Jazz Festival in the world in July. Let us not forget, the biggest draw of the summer will be the Montreal Grand Prix, that is the crown jewel in Montreal’s crowning events.

I got on the train, came home, and in the end, I got here, at the same time I usually get home on a Friday night. No loss there.

More to come, stay tuned…

We Are Here

918I was born in 1967 in a small town called New Britain Connecticut. Family was all one had, in whatever form they came in. And I was lucky that I HAD all the family I could use because we all lived fairly close, a short walk or a short car ride from point A to point B.

Back in the day gender roles were set in stone. The binary system was held in place and I never heard or saw any “other” gender role or met anyone who lived “outside” the norm.

But history tells us that Gay existed well before I was born, and it was a silent life of hiding in the shadows and living your lifestyle behind closed doors, or in places that you could be yourself, but in my reading of history, those stories are few and far between.

I didn’t know that “other” existed until I was in grade school and happened upon reading material my father had collected and was reading around us, as if to say, leaving mags around the bathroom was commonplace and not “wrong.”

I had a little transistor radio with one of those little ear pieces that I listened to at night. And I was so interested in a certain radio show that played during those years. You wouldn’t find them on any dial today, or maybe you would, on some internet channel. Times have changed.

There was a particular radio show hosted by a woman who invited guests on to her show in the hopes that she would hook those guests up with callers. One guest piqued my interest when he identified himself as a Master, and was looking for a sub. I didn’t know what that was, or maybe I did, after reading my father’s mags…

This was not a heterosexual match up show, it was a Gay match up show. This guy was a regular on the show.

What was this, and why did I find it so appealing ???

I could read by that point in my life. And I read well.

Along with Readers Digest, Playboy and Penthouse magazines another little booklet was meat and potatoes. I wasn’t interested in titty girls and naked women. Variations was written for the person who straddled the sexual fence.

After my rebellion at day care, I had a key to the house and that’s where we went after school. I was a nosy little shit and I had to know everything about family. And I was like that for many years after that. My father (in hindsight) was living a double life. I know that today.

The words he spoke, were very different than the actions he was displaying behind the scenes. His internalized homophobia was rampant. I think he read magazines and lived vicariously through them, while he abused me terribly, hoping to beat the “gay” out of me later on.

My father would not have a GAY in his house, but he was one himself, he wasn’t just bisexual, it was full on gay.

My mother was not exempt from this. She actually participated.

They say gay is a choice. Let me ask you this, can a child make a choice of that kind of proportion and know for sure that is what they are or want to be? Or as happened, I came across informative reading that 100% informed what side of the sexual orientation coin I would later land.

It wasn’t a choice. I knew. I knew right then and there. But I didn’t know what it meant.

Fast forward into our last move into the house we lived in the longest.

I did not know anyone who was gay, or better yet, I had never met anyone who was transgendered. My parents kept us out of the social discussion. I listened to them talk about the Queers and the Gays and those sick people with AIDS, who should just die already.

My parents met other families, some with means, and others not so much. All of these kids, us and those we came to know, grew up together. Family dinners, holiday banquets, birthday parties, and summer barbeque’s were the stuff of legends.

My introduction to Gay had begun.

One of my friends, who is still my friend to this day, I call her mom my step mom, because where my mother failed, she had stepped in and filled that role. She would have wedge wood china dinner parties, and invited people from across the spectrum.

That is where I met the gay men who would facilitate my walk across that proverbial bridge, when it came. I straddled the orientation line because my father would beat me after every dinner party we attended to make sure he would beat the Gay out of me. He abhorred Gay, but he loved reading about them, and having sex that was well outside the normal vanilla sexual slant.

My parents were not so vanilla they loved their chocolate side.

I dated girls throughout high school. I kissed girls, but I had never had sex with a woman, never have, and never will. I could never be who I wanted to be, as I was educated in what that meant by people who were.

When I learned to drive, and get around, I discovered Gay “in community.” Back in those days, pride flags were something I learned about, because they told me what I needed to know, as I drove through particular neighborhoods.

The “Gay community” moved from one section of the city to another, trying to find a footing for itself. And they went from sparse to the entirety of Coconut Grove proper. There were gay stores, gay shoppes, gay bars, and gay festivals.

Later when Gay grew, us gays moved from the mainland to the beach. Miami Beach, the mecca for retirees and snowbirds, now shared space and lives with the gays. It took a long time for that community to grow and then flourish. And it did.

I could not stay in Miami to be gay. My father would not have a gay child in his family.

I moved away to be gay. My alcoholism came along for the ride.

Over a decade saw me hit new highs and lows, and over time I not only became the gay in my family, I became that gay with AIDS in the family. Two strikes and I was out.

It was the gay community who stepped in when I really needed it. When my parents tossed me to the curb, it was the gays, who took me in and I am still alive because of just how good they took care of me. Over a hundred of my friends died, but I survived.

Because I did what I was told.

I listened to real people, gay people, show me how to survive. And if you think gays are not compassionate or loving, you are dead wrong. You say we are sick and perverted, well, some are, and I love them for it. What is life without a little “spice.”

Where Heterosexuals failed to take care of their children, where very sick homosexual adults were tossed into the streets, kicked out of their homes, tossed out by lovers, the good gays stepped in and did what they had to do for the least of these.

I fell away and walked out the door on four years of sobriety and it was the worst mistake I have ever made. When I returned from my disastrous gay odyssey to hell, I moved to the Beach.

Rental assistance afforded me an apartment two blocks off the beach, in a gay friendly building with gay friendly people who had my best interest in mind. But I was still drinking.

I prayed for an alcoholic to bring me back, and he appeared.

I was thirty four. I wasn’t a beach boy. I didn’t have the looks nor the money.

So on my first sober day, I returned to a gay meeting. Nobody noticed me.

What I did find was a group of straight men and women who did welcome me and provided everything I would need to live soberly.

I moved to Montreal. By this time, by my family’s standards and resentment list, I had four solid strikes against me.

If you want to be gay and live a life of your dreams, move out of the United States.

Every day I read articles and watch videos of just how sick heterosexual people are. I read articles about heterosexual people doing the worst indignities to the least of these.

Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of actions that are abhorrent to me abhorrent to all of us.

I am ashamed to call myself an American. There is only one reason I retain my citizenship.

But for all intents and purposes, I am a Canadian.

Gay is all over. From city to city, from province to province and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here we have marriage equality. We can walk down the street holding hands and not fear some asshole making a scene. Cities have dedicated Gay Villages.

Here is where my gay education took another step in its evolution. At a particular meeting I was introduced to a trans woman, who we all love and respect. I actually heard her speak a few weeks ago.

Who knew from trans boys and girls, men and women?

In the last ten years or so, gender rules and assignments have expanded. It the most wonderful time in our lives. No longer in the shadows, kids, young people and adults are making their stands to proclaim who they are.

But in the United States, sadly, beatings, killings and suicides are the norm.

Around the world we know that LGBT people are being killed, ostracized and imprisoned for who they are. Sadly the world is not moving ahead with acceptance and love.

I’ve known a handful of young kids battling with who they were born as, coming to see who they really are. Some have been in transition for a while now. There are pockets of locations where kids are being allowed to explore who they are, with support and love, but that is far from the norm.

Kids killing themselves because of internet trolls and hatred by family and friends is terribly disturbing. We have to step up and be their voice in a world that wants to only shut them up.

Over the last few years I have become friends with a family that is remarkable. One son is gay, One daughter is in transition at age six, and the third son is in the mix.

I’ve witnessed what it takes to parent a transgendered child. Parenting any child is hard work, it is a lifetime calling for parents. And we know, by what we are hearing and seeing, children are being born into families that really, should never have had children to begin with.

That is another stark reminder of just how sick some parents really are.

We’ve witnessed celebrities born into celebrity lives. Growing up one gender, and today a handful of them are who they really want to be. The transgendered community is growing in leaps and bounds after a handful of celebrity transitions.

Last night was a watershed moment for Bruce Jenner. It was a watershed for all those boys and girls still in the mix, making lifetime decisions about who they would like to be and who they really are.

We Must speak for them. We must stand up for them. We must accept them.

WE MUST LOVE THEM.

We must love each other, even if we do not understand why they are doing what they are doing.

Phil said this last night, “I may not understand but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, respect!!!”

Kanye said it best …”I am nothing, if I can’t be who I am!” Being true to ones self is the key to a life flourishing.

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Kids are killing themselves because of bullying and indignity.

We must stop this trend any way we are able.

It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger one to raise a trans kid.

Who do you know today? Do you know a gay person, Do you know someone with AIDS, I am sure all of you know someone who has faced or is facing a terrible fight for life because of illness.

How many of us know families with trans children in them?

You shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your spirit, AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Thursday – One Thing After Another

francisLocation: Syria, Subject: Isis Militants Those Killed: Gay men …

“You are Gay, and before we kill you, we will embrace you like a human.”

Then they stoned two men to death, in front of a crowd of people.

You think these words spoken by Pope Francis are timely ???

I still think we need a crack team of commandos to go in there and slaughter Isis militants.

Kill them as unmercifully as they killed so many people who should still be alive.

End of Rant …

Last night I cracked Connor Franta’s book, “A Work in Progress.” This afternoon I finished the read while sitting in my doctors office. (More on that later)

I read a lot of books. I have an entire library of books in my bedroom. An avid reader will probably know, words are everything. What words are used, how they are used, and what those words mean, in the context of the story. Every book is an opportunity to learn a little more about its author.

As I was reading, certain words and phrases jumped out at me.

Because he writes with very familiar phraseology, enough to notice if you are paying attention.

However, there is no mention of any kind of association, and he may just know the words, without the context I was ascribing to them. It may just be his writing style.

But if you ask me, it sounds all too familiar !!!

Our young author, in his twenties now, tells us his story. He shares with his readers just how important the digital age is to his life and by extension, the rest of us … “unless you are forty” you probably don’t know much.

He writes:

“The social generation has taken over. If you don’t tweet on the daily, receive dozens of likes on instagram photos, and know what the heck Tumblr is, then you best get to Googling because you’ve been left behind.

Or you are like forty …”

I found this was the only point in the story where I laughed out loud.

I am forty seven years old. I grew up in the 80’s. The only phone we had was connected to the wall in the kitchen, or if you were lucky, you had your own extension in your bedroom, and I did.

Social media was the local roller rink, or the shopping mall, (Dadeland or The Falls), or church youth groups, specifically. If you wanted to see your friends, you went to their house. And if they were good friends, you most likely spent numerous nights sleeping at friends houses, which I also did frequently.

Social media came late for me. My first computer was a gift from a friend in 2001, and that little box played the crucial role of connecting me to Canada. If it weren’t for that fact and a letter from the government, I would not be here today.

Anyways, social media. I am connected. This blog is nine years old. I have a You Tube account. There are actually videos, made by me, there. I Tumble. That’s where my photos come from. I joined Twitter a year ago to stay in contact with my friends, and that has grown into a social media platform for the blog as well. I have been on Facebook for almost nine years.

That is where I keep up with all my friends in one location.

With one click here, I can publish to all of my social media platforms, all at once.

Every gay boy has a coming out story. No two are the same. Connor is no different. But he was a blessed young man. Coming to know ones self is tough. Especially, when we think we are different. The process of coming to terms with sexual orientation can be long and arduous.

Connor figured that out for himself. On his time. In his own way. He chose who to tell, and when, and then he told his parents. They did not reject him, they turned around and told him they loved him and that that would never change.

How many gay kids get that kind of unequivocal support from parents.

I didn’t.

I knew, before I knew what it was. I listened and decided that coming out would be detrimental to my existence. I moved away to be gay, and my alcoholism followed.

The rest is history.

Oh to write our memoirs at twenty-something… He has his whole life ahead of him. A lifetime of experiences he has YET to have. People he has YET to meet. Places he has YET to go.

SO MANY YETS !!!

tumblr_ljxktkG7IG1qdizh9o1_500 lovepainandhopeI had things to do today, places to go, people to see. On any regular day, I just go with the flow and my days usually goes with little thought to the what, why or the how of it.

I left with plenty of time to make my three train transit and get to my doctors appointment early, because I am always early, in the hopes that I maybe get in the door early, and get out of there early for a change. (Thank God I had Connor to keep me company).

I arrived twenty minutes early for a three o’clock appointment.

There are usually a few people waiting. And usually two doctors seeing patients.

Not the case today. The crowd that was there were all seeing one man. My Doctor.

I read my book, and I finished it as well. And still I waited. When the secretary called me in it was four thirty. I am pretty patient when it comes to the doctor. So shortly before I got called, I calmly walked up to the counter and inquired how long I would be waiting.

While I waited my sponsor called. I was supposed to meet him at his house to pay for the retreat in May, today was the deadline for payment. So he called me and said that he needed to attend to one of his guys, and could we amend our plans. I managed a yes.

Not knowing when I would be back on the Metro to get home.

At four thirty I went in and started a conversation. About halfway through, doc got a call from someone who must be working at the new Glenn Site. They spent a shitload of money building that monstrosity.

Millions of dollars spent were funneled into corrupt people’s bank accounts.

They built the hospital without consideration for specific needs, for certain departments. So unclaimed space is at a premium. So I listened to half a conversation about what my doctor needs in the new hospital and why, then I heard the other speaking to the effect that, I don’t think we can provide for your needs as you need them, so you will have to take whatever you get.

Doc says … The lives of my patients are on the line here, the words “crash cart” were tossed into the conversation. So that is a thing he says …

The guy responds … Well, I cannot provide what you need.

Doc says … Then I will meet you and we will go to the site and figure this out.

Conversation continues for a bit but does not end with a positive resolution.

We then resumed our discussion, diabetes is being a pain in my ass, my numbers are too high, something needs to change. Then I tell my doc about the pill pushing for a problem I did not have, (and he checked my blood pressure and it was GOLD).

Diabetes doc prescribes a pill for my blood pressure. Tells me to fill it and apply for a home meter that would be free and get sent to me once I visited their site. That was four months ago.

I did not fill the script and I did not take the pills as directed.

So today my doc tells me that the pills he wanted me to take were not actually FOR my blood pressure, but FOR a problem called, Microalbumin.

Something to do with blood and my kidneys.

What the actual fuck ???

Diabetes doc did not tell me any of this. Probably because he had interns in his office doing their homework on ME. He didn’t tell me what he should have told me, instead he gave some excuse.

I did not take the pills.

Meanwhile, the words diabetes doc didn’t say to me, appeared in my chart for my doc today to see and show me on his computer.

So my doc says to me, take the pills and don’t tell George that you talked to me.

I was not very happy.

On the flip side, my T-cell count stands at 1,358. That’s the highest it has been.

I left the office at five fifteen. I had forty five minutes to make my three train transit back into town. I had to stop at the pharmacy and drop scripts to be filled, go to the bank, get my cash I needed and then hit the grocery store all before six fifteen.

My sponsor was waiting outside my apartment when I got out of the grocery store.

In the end, it all got done. I hate having to race the clock.

I was home for forty five minutes, before I had to leave again for the Thursday meeting.

Every meeting is different. And I have learned a great deal from everyone who has spoken on Thursday night. Tonight was no different. What we are seeing and hearing is older folks, in their fifties, sixties and seventies, coming into the rooms much later in life. Older folks, with a few years under their belts. The later the entrance, the longer and painful the run up to insanity and their turning point.

Tonight I heard something different.

People don’t hit their bottoms, there are no bottoms, only an elevator, and it is up to us what floor we decide to get off on.

Our man tonight shared and his message was simple …

“You don’t have to suffer as long as I did in order to get here.”

In other news, I hit another fellowship along with some of my sponsees who also attend those meetings. I am all for trying to forget my slip and the drugs I did, and marijuana I smoked. I try to forget it because it was a horrible stage in my life.

It is a place I rarely go. I never talk about it. And I like it that way.

But that is the issue.

The longer I sit in that room, the more the nightmares and memories haunt me. I am ashamed of the person I became, I don’t know how I could have sunk so low as to go from a middle class white boy who was just an alcoholic, to a looser, white trash, trailer dwelling, drug abusing, pot smoking miscreant with no hope of a life or a way out of the pit of hell I dropped myself into, without having an escape plan ready, should I have needed it.

In the end, I had one friend who knew where I was, who supplied me with the one way ticket out of hell, and gave me a place to recuperate after my near death beating experience.

That man was my angel.

When I made that transit, I never touched drugs or marijuana again. I never went looking for them again, even when I got back to Miami. I still drank, because it was easy and I had the money to pay for it. But even that got old in the end.

And I got clean and sober 100%.

I needed to find someone to talk this out with, I need to dump this shit on someone who can help me navigate this stage of my recovery that I seem to be embroiled in. My sponsor did not use drugs, so I needed to find someone who did. And I found him.

My friend who celebrated twenty seven years sober tonight, is my guy.

I love him to death. He is one of the greatest men I know. Tomorrow we are getting together before the Friday night meeting to chat this out.

If you are going to get clean and sober, then you need to hit all the dark spots and bring that shit into the light of day, so you can deal with it and get over it.

Easier said than done.

But it is a start.

All in a days work they say.

More to come, stay tuned …