Spiritual Direction

Jeremy,

I have read every word of what you wrote. And I am proud of you. Proud that you can speak these words to yourself. Proud that you have the courage to speak them to others. Proud that that you are here, proud that you have walked this road and made such astounding progress since the lowest of the low had you in its grasp.

You have arrived at the final frontier, the last great sacrifice that God demands of his sons when they truly seek him. That sacrifice is consecration, a complete turning of body, mind and spirit towards Gods purposes. Consecration, like sobriety, like conversion is not an event, but a process, and you are on the path. Consecration takes the mundane and makes it holy.

It takes that which is low, and base, even evil in us, and puts in its place new motivations that drive us to serve God and serve our fellow men, not because we want to receive in return, but because we are now designed to give. The will to bestow eclipses the will to receive, and we become like stars, always radiating, always bestowing, always shining a light that gives brightness where there is darkness and life where there was death. We begin to reflect God. This is the meaning of a saint.

A saint is a consecrated person. 

Saints are saints not because they are perfect, but because they are trying. The foundation of all spiritual progress, the source of all health, is the ability to bridle the passions and the impulses of our mortal nature. Importantly, bridling the passions is not the same thing as stamping them out. Absence of desire is not the goal. The goal is to elevate our mortal appetites to the fulfilling of immortal purposes.

Eating is a necessity, but eating without control makes us fat and dead. This is gluttony. Sleeping is essential, but sleeping without control makes us lazy, weak, and unaccomplished. This is sloth. Pleasure and comfort should be joys in life, but without control pleasure becomes addiction. This is pride.

Sex is the desire to seek unity with others and with the divine, the deeply ingrained impulse of creation. Without control, sex becomes a whirling tornado that does the exact opposite, wrecking relationships and making us anything but divine. This is lust.

When God begins to rewrite your story, these passions take on a new level. Again, they cannot and should not be stamped out, but they begin to march to the tune of a higher law. You learn to embrace hunger and control your appetite, withholding with the power of your will the ability to eat without real intent, and you begin to eat towards God.

You are the master, because you have utter and complete control over your appetite. Because you are comfortable spending time with hunger, when you eat your taste buds pick up every detail, and your food becomes delicious again. This is temperance. 
You go to bed early and you get up early.

You embrace the discomfort of having to leave a warm bed and face the difficulties of the day. You work hard and you labor until your days allotment of breath from God has been spent building up his kingdom in your life. Then, when your head hits the pillow at night, you are not being compelled by exhaustion, you are choosing with real intent to embrace sleep as a true pleasure. When your eyes close at night, you are filled with the satisfaction of knowing you have earned your rest. This is diligence. 

When you reject the opportunities to drink, to drug, to dull the senses with entertainment that can occupy but never satisfy, you learn to be. You learn to embrace what your life is presenting to you in that very moment. Perhaps it is the discomfort of boredom. Perhaps it is the pain of difficulties in life, in relationships. Perhaps it is the simple stress of daily living. But rather than cover them, you embrace this discomfort. You embody it, you live it, even love it.

You do this because when you have taken the time to truly experience discomfort, when you turn at the right time to a simple pleasure, as simple as a walk in the park or the sight of a sunset, you feel that moment with every fiber of your being, and you are truly satisfied. This is freedom. 

When you feel the urge to express sex, rather than crushing the urge by acting upon it or by trying to suppress it, you let it fill you up. You let that energy fill your whole soul, because that is the voice of God telling you to create, to connect, to help him bring to pass his purpose of filling and expanding creation. Sex is not a single part of the plan in Gods eyes, it is the very driving force.

The work and the glory of God is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He does that by sending his children to earth, to fall completely ans sin darkly so that they might experience true and everlasting happiness and righteousness when they are brought back to him. His children get to earth through sex, but this isn’t just about reproduction.

Sex drives us to build nests to welcome new souls to this earth. It drives us to build up communities where the children of God can grow and be nourished. An exalted sex drive leads us to fatherhood, and fatherhood is more than having biological children. It means being a watchful guide, a disciplined leader, and a tender caretaker over those that God gives you to be your spiritual children. 

You channel that infinite power into creating, presiding, directing, providing, and being a wise and generous father. This is Chastity. 

You write about Todd with extreme reverence. He was God for you. Now you have matured to the level that he stood at when he reached out his hand and snatched you from the abyss. 

Of all the titles God has, and he has many, he has asked us to refer to him by a name that means more to him and should mean more to us than any other. He is our Father. 
Todd was God for you in that moment. God reached through his hands and spoke through his mouth to put you back on the path to happiness. Now it is time for you to let God do the same through you.

You have been where your children are. You have walked their path, you have carried their sorrows. Now you stand a few steps above them, you have matured, you have mastered, you have received a measure of light above them. Now turn, and stretch out the hand that was stretched out to you. Speak the words that your Father spoke to you, and the same words that one day your children will speak to their sons and daughters. 

Adopt them. Love them. Cherish them. Raise them to do good. Teach them that there is a God in heaven who loves them enough to save them. Be patient with their shortcomings. Catch them when they fall. Admonish them when they act against what they know.

Reach down and strengthen them when their knees are shaking and they are learning to walk. Be the father that you needed at their age in the process. One day they will write their stories, and when they write your name, a tear will come to their eyes, and a lump will come to their throats, as they write your name.

Jeremy:read:God.

I love you.

Mental Health Stories – Amended

Mental Health has been on the dashboard for the last little while. We have been touching on this topic here for a bit. Long ago, nobody ever really spoke about, or even cared about ones mental health and well being.

Last night we spoke about anger. Which leads back to page 417 in the book, about acceptance, and that if I have a problem with someone, that problem ALWAYS stems back to myself? I disagree.

Way back when, men were supposed to suck it up buttercup, and say nothing and bear our pain like Marines and Troopers. I did that for a long time, until it got unbearable, then I drank my pain away, and that was a disaster.

Now I am sober, and vulnerable, and raw, and honest, and truthful. I know my friends do not like when I express myself. Or have a feeling or an emotion. They just don’t know what to do with me when I feel something in public or to them. They usually run in the other direction.

A friend of mine and I agree, we are not doormats, or punching bags. I said last night that if I feel something and I am hurting or feel slighted or angry or upset for any reason, I will tell you, point blank that I am pissed ! I’m not gonna suck it up and believe that a problem with anyone stems back to a problem with me. That’s where I now disagree with the Book.

Men are not supposed to feel, or better yet, say anything about what we are feeling. But spend some time with Brene Brown, and you will change your tune very quickly. I survived emotional bottoms in sobriety, and I know the very few, FEW people who stood by me and tried to help. Many did nothing but watch me crumble under the pressure, because nobody knows or wants to be vulnerable. UGH.

I hear our women talk about certain topics in a group setting, a few of our younger ladies talk openly about their emotional challenges. But we don’t usually hear a whole lot of stories about mental health. But women suffer a great deal as well, and a lot of the time, men don’t really pay attention to them or their stories for that matter.

Women, like some men, suffer in silence, because of trust factors and that how could a man ponder what a woman goes through on any given day. Most of our women keep to a small circle of confidants. Women in Montreal, have their own meetings and spaces that are safe, and away from men as a rule. So I don’t want to leave our women out of the story, or say that they don’t suffer mental health issues as well. They do.

If you need help, get help. If you need to talk, there are ways around this to find people who will listen. There are a multitude of services in many city centers that offer mental health assistance.

Mental health is important to everyone. We must b able to say, Hey I am fucking hurting, listen to me forGod’s sake. We should not have to suck it up buttercup and be freaking VULCANS around our friends and family.

My first go round with mental health issues happened when I was in the eighth grade, when my father’s mother had had a stroke and he took me out of school, and flew me 1500 miles to her bedside in the hospital. The thought was that if “I” showed up, it would jog her memory so hard that she would wake right up.

Obviously, that did not work.

But I think about that now, and how I was thrust into a situation, not of my own making, and was expected to be the Golden Child to resurrect my grandmother, who was already gone.

She would never return to normal, again. ever.

My father resorted to the bottle. I went back to my “normal” life, school, friends, activities. Junior high was the best time of my life, better than high school. I had a lot of fun, and I did a lot of service, and got an award upon graduating in ninth grade.

I would not hit another crisis point for a long time. My alcoholism was going full bore at the time. And I was dating all the wrong men. Really, when are we ever really dating the creme of the crop when we were drinking?

In my twenty fifth year, I had broken up with the boy I was dating, who was a serial liar and cheater. Life then was pretty tough. My living situation was really precarious. But it was then that Josh decided to kill himself.

One weekend afternoon, my mother had phoned me out of the blue to tell me his mother had called her and that Josh was missing. And could I find him? I called the cops in Fort Lauderdale and my friends.

They found him dead in an apartment outside the city center.

I drove out and sat in a squad car with a detective, while they worked the scene, and later brought him out in a bag.

The next day the coroner called me to identify his remains. To this day, every time I close my eyes, I see him in my minds eye, or what was left of him by that point. And his mother’s curse: She said : “I hope for the rest of your life, every time you close your eyes, you see my dead son!”

Like I had anything to do with his suicide.

I ended up at the bar right after that chore, and I began to drink myself sick.

I drank for weeks.

At one point Todd and Bill stepped in and got me into a suicide survivors group. If you have never sat in a suicide survivors group, you haven’t lived.

That 13 week experience, made me drink even worse.

A year later, I got very sick and was diagnosed with AIDS, and told to go home, kiss my ass goodbye and wait to die.

Imagine !!!

There was no therapy.

There was no assistance programs.

It was just the Todd and the Bar. And the men inside of the bar, who all died, there are only two of us who survived that maelstrom.

The day I took my first, LAST drink, and Todd had stepped in to save my life, my job became my salvation. I did as Todd asked, I did not fight the process.

I got sober, and I lived.

After my relapse, and return to what was my life, I had a therapist who helped me re enter society and begin to live again, after the disastrous end of another wham-ban relationship from hell.

When I moved to Montreal, I got into an alcoholism aftercare program, and had another therapist who did wonders for me. She really set my life in order and got me on my feet in this new city. She helped me acclimate and learn about the culture and people of Montreal. While I counted my sober days. I had her through my second year of sobriety.

My husband mental health journey was a real eye opener for me, because I had to learn on the fly, what to do for a bi-polar human being. I took care of him, the best way I could and we navigated pretty alright. Albeit, we had a few hiccups and found that not every health care worker was the right health care worker, and not every insurance company was on the up and up, and not every human we dealt with was honest and kind.

We deal with mental health on a daily basis, because Bi-Polar is a life issue not a seasonal or short term issue. It is an Every Day Issue. So I have to be on point as best I can, but every once in a while, I need a breather too.

Being estranged from my family as I am, the death of my father was rough, because he went to his grave hating me and wanting me dead. I knew this because it was what my mother had parroted from him to me over the years.

I had a rough few days, maybe a couple of weeks.

That is what is is.

The rooms are not therapy per se, but we talk a lot, about a great many things. For the last eighteen years, I have been talking my way sober. And my life has gotten pretty big.

Really grateful for that.

Honor Thy Father and Mother

In my life, I’ve studied the Bible. Religion. Theology. I know my teachings, and my faith life. The bible says, “Honor thy Father and Mother.”

I disagree with the Bible.

I don’t honor either of them. And never will.

Today is Mother’s Day. Everyone I know, inside and outside the rooms, whether sober a long time, or a short time, is to repair their bridges to their parents, because you only get one shot. Once they are dead, it will be too late to do anything.

The last time I spoke to my mother, probably three years ago, she said the same litany to me. Her favorite stab me in the heart phrase is this:

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN

In my life, when it counted, when I really needed guidance, they tossed me to the four corners and said, “Have at it, we are done with you.” I left home, because they would not allow their gay son, to live any longer, under their roof. My father had ample opportunity to kill me, and He did try, valiantly.

I THINK OUT LOUD TODAY, WITH THE PREVALENCE OF GUNS IN OUR SOCIETY, WE HAD A SHOTGUN AND A PISTOL IN THE HOUSE AT ALL TIMES, LOADED AND LOCKED. IT WAS A VERY GOOD THING THAT I NEVER RETALIATED FOR THE ABUSE HEAPED ON ME BECAUSE MY FATHER KNEW I WAS GAY, AND WAS GOING TO BEAT THE GAY OUT OF ME.

When I got sick, and was going to die, I called a family meeting, and begged for support and help. My Mother, My Father and my Brother, said nothing. They did nothing. They did not help me, or even deign to pick up the phone and call to see if I was ok, in all of almost thirty years since.

I survived, By The Grace of God and a key few people.

Todd was the leader of that rag tag group of men who kept me alive.

I lived because strangers to me, other than work colleagues, stepped up and decided that I would live and that they would see to it that I did live.

I LIVED

On New Years Eve Night into Day 2001 – I had worked an all night shift at the bar, doing lights, and got home around 8 am New Years Day. I got into bed to sleep, and my mother called at 9 am and told me they were in Miami, and HAD been in Miami for an entire week. Unbeknown to me. She said they were coming to visit on their way out of the city.

My father drove up, parked the car in a fire truck emergency zone, and gave my mother TWENTY minutes to visit with me. We walked around the block, we spoke, and she got in the car, and they drove away.

That was the very last time I saw both my parents alive.

My Father Died on January 7th 2018. Hating me with his last breath.

When I moved to Canada in 2002, I spent two years, every other week sending mail to Florida, trying to get my mother to respond. I mailed packages of stuff, and letters. For two years I did this every other week. My mother did NOT respond, ONCE.

Over the ensuing years, I would call my mother when I thought it was appropriate, like a death or something big, I thought would be important to tell her. She usually said the same thing to me.

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN.

I do not honor my Father or my Mother. They did not honor me, nor did they support me, after they figured out I was gay. They did not help me when I was sick. They never once called, none of them called, my Father, my Mother, nor my Brother, in this lifetime, to see if I was still alive.

I think about my father now, more often. I connect him to a particular piece of music that I wrote about some time ago here. I talk to him too. I see the good that he had, and I try not to dwell on the bad that was there too.

I think my mother is still alive, she lives with my brother, and they both want nothing to do with me.

So fuck me for trying.

I spoke to my brother three days after my father died, and he said and I quote: “I don’t want to know about you nor your story. They all blame for for all of their problems.

They say that it was my choice to leave the family, like I did, but none of the take responsibility for the parts each of them played in pushing me out of my home so young, to severely crash and burn as a young alcoholic.

I made self preservation decisions, because I wanted to live, because of all the shit heaped on me for my entire life. I did not decide one day just to up and go because of only myself. I made those decisions, based on repeated mental, emotional, and physical abuse.

My parents only wish, during the years I was living alone and on the edge of death was this … They just wanted me to die, already, and could that be today, for God’s sake !

They did not care if I lived, because they were only concerned with my impending death. And I was not going to give them one single opportunity to be able to claim my corpse and do whatever they wanted with it. I would probably have ended up in some cemetery, buried alone, if even that, for all of eternity.

NO FUCKING WAY

It really is a bitch being almost 52 years old, being sober almost 18 years, and learning so much about life and people. I respect the place of humanity in my life. And it breaks my heart every year to know that the family of origin I had, will not grow up to the point, where they would deign to speak to me. You don’t abandon your children. Gay or Straight.

Happy Mother’s Day you Bitter Old Woman. I hope you choke on your words, when you take your last breath.

Wednesday: Open Doors

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Keeping it together, when we mourn loss, is sometimes sketchy. Emotions come and go, just like feelings. The farther from the point of impact, one gets, doesn’t necessarily put one in the clear. This is so true, depending on the circumstances of the loss.

Our kids are mourning.

I think, all of us, who are adults, feel for them deeply. Even more, if we, ourselves have children of our own. It is terrible and sinful that trolls in space have been demeaning and degrading the suffering of our kids.

I’ve heard it sad today that the next President needs to be a rousing, angry bunch of kids. They are on the march, and they are moving society and a nation, all by themselves. Albeit, with some superpower support from some in Very High Places.

I grew up in Florida. Over my lifetime, growing up, we had seen our fair share of crime that hit our home several times. But life was safe. I mean seriously, when I was an elementary school kid, we had keys to the house and we would come home after school and have all afternoon to hang out and play.

Our schools were safe. We really never saw the kind of violence that our kids have seen over the last ten to fifteen years. People had guns, but, if memory serves, we never thought about using them on each other.

Let alone, on our Kids …

I don’t ever remember any kid I knew, in any school I attended who had problems or issues that would have pushed them to kill innocents, because they walked into a gun shop and bought an automatic weapon, just for kicks.

There were plenty of guns in our house. And we used to go out to the Everglades and shoot cans and rocks. And there are always plenty of guns shows that used to pop up all over the place. But guns were not so much an issue when I was a kid, not to the extent guns are an issue today.

We need smart, and proper gun control.

We need to vote OUT those politicians who are in bed with the N.R.A. All those men and women who have taken SIX DIGIT SUMS from the N.R.A. for their continued
SHUT UP NESS.

We need to wrest control of society from all those who think that guns don’t kill people, and that guns are the constitutional way of life for everyone. Because that is the way it is for so many today. We need human beings in government, because the government is a mockery and a joke.

We need Serious change. And if anyone can do that, OUR KIDS CAN.

Stand with our kids. Support them. Love them. Raise them up.

Over the past little while, I have been posting stuff on Facebook for my friends I grew up with to read, because they all knew my father, and my family, all too well.

What I did not expect was what happened today.

I had been grocery shopping and my little “granny cart that could” was straining to hold everything that I had packed in it for the walk home. On the way back, I ran into a friend I got sober with, all those years ago.

He is of Native decent. And he is sober, almost as long as I am. after he got sober, a few years in, he went to work on the streets of Montreal, caring for the Inuit and Native populations who are strewn all over the city. He has an office, in Cabot Square, right up the street from home, and that is where we found each other this afternoon.

We are friends on Facebook, but we don’t connect there. He has been reading my writings, as they went up. And he was really excited to hear of recent events concerning my father.

He told me to mind my dreams and pay attention to them seriously. Because he said that if I am being visited, it is because my doors are open.

My doors have been open for the whole of my life, is why family, all returns to me after they have passed on. I shared with him that story earlier.

People don’t have to like us he said. Some people are just angry, and may not accept who we are today, even if we are sober. Trying to make restitution and goodness, sometimes is hard in coming. And sometimes we don’t succeed.

The one thing we have in our favor, is that We Are Sober Today.

I needed to hear his words today. They went right where they were needed.

You can always count on your friends. At least I can.

Always keep your doors open …

Octave of Epiphany

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Epiphany fell on January 6th. My father passed away on the following day, Sunday January 7th. I did not realize the solemnity of the weekend until I was sitting in church this morning, at the memorial mass that my friend and mentor, Reverend Donald Boisvert celebrated for me.

Sunday, January 7th was actually the Baptism of the Lord. Mark 1:4-11.

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And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

The weather was cold. There is snow piled up all over the place. At least the sidewalks are all cleared of snow, and it is piled up against the streets. Cars are buried as well.

We sat a small group for the memorial mass this morning.

This story, the baptism of Jesus, takes place at the Jordan River. One of my favorite authors, Brooks Hansen, wrote a book called “John the Baptizer” in it is a very compelling visual of John and his disciples, on the bank of the Jordan, as many people are coming from all points far and wide to see John, and to be baptized by him.

One of the early disciples, Andrew, shows up at the Jordan with the fellow-man named Nathaniel. Nathaniel does not make it into the twelve, but plays a prominent role in the story, as well as the Gospel teachings.

Andrew leaves his family, after feeling like a shroud is cast over him and he seeks to find something within. For a couple of days, he sits with Nathaniel on the banks of the Jordan, till the Sabbath, when John baptizes.

One odd day, a man from Nazareth shows up among the crowd. Every body recognizes him as a Nazorean, by his dress and his looks. The story that unfolds is legend, where Andrew, Nathaniel and the many on the banks of the Jordan, witness the miraculous baptism of Jesus by John.

I mused to my priestly friend after mass, about what my father must have been thinking when his time finally came up. And what took place when he stood before God, and made his peace, and I laughed and said …

Well, he must have gotten up there, and God gave him a very LONG LOOK. They probably had quite the conversation. And as we know, God is all forgiving, and I am sure that Jeannie and Alexander were waiting for him on the other side of the gate to welcome him.

Wednesday: Playboy

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A Young Donald Trump on the cover of Playboy Magazine, 1990.

When my family moved into house number two, in Miami, when I was in second grade, it was a serious upgrade from our two bedroom duplex in Homestead Florida, where we first hit land when we moved from New Britain Connecticut to Florida, in the early 1970’s.

In 1992 – When Hurricane Andrew ran over Florida, Homestead Florida was wiped off the map. It was like a nuclear bomb had gone off and destroyed everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.

It took more than ten years to rebuild that city to what it is today.

Anyways …

My brother and I went to-day care after school for many years, until the day I staged a revolt in the bus taking us there, and I demanded our private bus driver to take me home. That day I got a key from my mother, and she went back to work, full-time, and I became my brother’s keeper for the rest of my life.

We were, what you could call, “Free Range” kids back then.

We knew how to go home alone after school, open and lock doors, in relative safety.

We had “neighbors” back then who paid attention to everyone else’s kids, because we usually wound up, in someones family room or back yard climbing trees and such.

I was more interested in family secrets. My brother did not like nor love me, because my father bred that kid to hate me from the word Go.

I spent every alone hour rifling through every little secret my parents had to themselves.

And I realized that what my parents SAID in the open and the Scripture they preached so vehemently, was NOT the same as what they did behind closed doors, namely, their bedroom door.

You would have thought my father had a Degree in Theology. The way he preached.

I HAVE DEGREES IN THEOLOGY AND WORLD RELIGIONS TODAY, IN FACT…

My parents lived a secret life, that nobody knew about, except me. However, I did overhear, one night, them discussing their sex life with the neighbors, whose daughter was a friend.

Back then, pornography was alive and well, (in the early 1970’s). It had been around a while, because my father had box upon box of porn stacked in a closet in the garage. Over the years, I did a lot of reading. I was in grade school. By the time I hit the sixth grade, I had already figured out what side my bread was buttered on.

I relate this story about Hugh Hefner.

There were, back in the hey day of the Great Miami Beach, big hotels, with huge chandeliers in their lobby’s, the family visit past time, was to drive up Ocean Drive, and Collins avenue, to peer inside those hotels as we drove by.

There was, also, a Playboy Dinner Club on Miami Beach.

My brother and I were so lucky one night, when my father took the family, my mother included, to have dinner in said “Playboy Club.” The women were beautiful, in their skimpy outfits with their bunny ears and powder puff tails. That’s about all I remember of that night.

I wasn’t interested in women.

My father’s reading habits were varied. For the rest of my years, through puberty, my father left pornography in the bathroom, where he would indulge.

They thought their secrets were safe, they weren’t.

I don’t think they really thought that their kids would indulge in a little smut every now and then while we contemplated our navels sitting on the toilet.

Never … Ever …

Along side the Reader’s Digest, was Playboy, Hustler and a little magazine called “Variations.” This happened to be my favorite smut. Because it included stories about men.

My father came home from the Viet Nam war, in the 1960’s with a skeleton. I was named after that skeleton, and for the rest of my life, my father abused me mercilessly, telling me that “I was a mistake and should never have been born,” even knowing that he had named me after a soldier he loved, who was killed in that war, and when he came home and had his first son, he named me after that soldier in honor of him, only to turn around and beat me senseless every chance he got.

My father, being the good father he thought he was, one night, took me to The 94th Aero Squadron restaurant, alongside the Miami International Airport, to give me my Birds and the Bees talk.

That restaurant still exists today. I have a link on my desktop to the webcam atop that building, to watch jet liners take off and land.

I was approaching puberty you see, and he thought it wise to give me a hand up, while with the other, He Beat and Abused me Severely.

The closer to homosexuality I got, the harder the beatings got as well. Because on the Down Low, he was reading Gay Porn, and I had come to believe that if it was good for my parents, then it was good for me. And if they could do something deviant, (I did not know what deviant meant back then) I could do something deviant too.

And everything would work out for me.

Well, it didn’t.

I had ample years to prune my puberty tree. I knew before I hit junior high that I was gay, but I had to “Play it Straight” for the cameras. Girlfriends, Prom, Dates, you get the picture.

I never once, openly admitted I was Gay. Not Once. I never said those words to my parents. But by the way my father abused me, and my mother allowed it to happen under her watch, they both knew, whether I said those words or not.

“Mom and Dad, I’m Gay.”

I think we can all agree, that every pubescent boy growing up from the early days of Playboy Magazine, till today, probably credits Hugh Hefner with their first orgasm, or quite possibly, their first wet dream.

There was, back in the day, a radio show, that I used to listen to late at night, on my little transistor radio, with the little single ear piece. Back then, on the radio, there were these, what I like to call, “Alternative Variations” on the dating game phone call in shows.

Back then, gay was done in secret, at night, under the cover of darkness, because God forbid, someone find out that you were gay, or that gay even existed, “In community!”

My father gave me the ammunition to build my secret life, that he was living. The same secret life, behind closed doors, and behind my mother’s back.

My father would never admit, to his grave, that he leaned Gay, while “Playing it Straight” for the cameras and the progeny he spawned.

When I hit twenty-one, my shrink, a friend of the family, had taken me aside and gave me some sage advice.

This is what he told me to do:

I want you to go to the local Gay Bar. Park the car, and go inside. Sit down on a stool and relax. Have a drink, hell, have two drinks, and see what happens. He also told me that alcohol was going to be the lubricant that was going to magically make me acceptable in the gay community of Miami. That was the WAY IN …

My alcoholism had already taken off by then. The first night, I was legal to drink, the race was on. And my alcoholism grew to steroid proportions.

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I moved to Orlando to be Gay because thats where every gay boy comes Out of the Closet and also, in Orlando, every gay boy worked at Disney World.

Which was TRUE.

My twenties, were a blur. Alcohol, Sex, Drugs, Irresponsibility …

Until the years that I began to work for Todd. A year before I was diagnosed with AIDS, 1993, through until Todd and Roy moved to San Francisco, in 1996.

I was twenty six when I was diagnosed with AIDS. My family did not want to have anything to do with me, and to this very day, they don’t have anything to do with me.

I got sober on August 23rd 1994. That lasted until my fourth year of sobriety.

I had a two-year window to learn everything that Todd would feed me, in learning how to survive AIDS, what to do in case of emergencies, and those PEARLS of wisdom he dropped into my life.

With Todd gone from my life, I could not keep it together. People in sobriety were very mean. When I spoke at that meeting at three years sober and was told by another alcoholic that “They did not condone people like me and that I needed to go away and not come back” my fate was sealed and my slip was not far off in the distance.

On my thirtieth birthday I legally changed both my first and last name.

EMANCIPATION…

In my thirty forth year, I moved from the United States to Canada, SOBER.

So here we are, mere weeks after my fiftieth birthday this past July …

On December the 9th, 2017, I will hit Sixteen years of Sobriety.

Hugh Hefner is dead. And Probably every boy with eyes to see, has probably, one time or another, thumbed through a Playboy magazine.

As Catholic as my parents were, and as staunchly, they believed that homosexuality was a sin, punishable by death, pornography was part of our house hold. My father left it out to be consumed. And I did.

I don’t know anything about my brother, save we grew up in the same house. He went on to marry and have three kids. And going on thirty years now, he’s never said a word to me edgewise. I don’t know him, nor his family.

And the last time I saw my mother, was on New Years Day 2001, in Miami Beach, for all of twenty minutes while my father waited for us to visit, while the car was running, parked in a fire zone, in front of the building I once lived in.

When I moved to Montreal, my mother cursed me saying that “If either one of them got sick and died, that nobody would call me nor tell me where they were buried.

I never spoke to my mother again, but three times, in the past sixteen years.

Last Summer, 2016, I called my mother to tell her that my cousin Carol had died.

Her response …

“You were a mistake and should never have been born.”

You know, at forty-nine years old, those words still stung. It took me months to get over hearing her say that to me AGAIN. Having heard those words come out of BOTH their mouths for the whole of my life.

That’s my truth about Hugh Hefner and Pornography.