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i hopefully have come through a few month ordeal with a repeat of drama. it is amazing to me how quickly i can become triggered by others. these others are usually gay men, too. i must have a deep-rooted distrust of a certain type of gay guy. i don’t know quite what the origin of this is, but i do know that it is real (or not) and it cuts deep when it makes an appearance.
i have somehow made progress since the first resurgence, but it still affects me enough to have made a location shift at my job and hold me in frustration for these last several months. i suppose i need to determine exactly what is required for me to feel safer. i may not always have the luxury of alternate respite. but if it hits again, i know that the pain and uncomfortability is so sharp and so encompassing that it is nearly impossible to see beyond it.
nonetheless, i am getting closer to insight. this incident has only lasted about 3 months. i have found a way through and can see the light. i do believe that my instincts are right-on here, btw. i think that there are personalities that don’t care and are self-focused that don’t have my best interest in sight at all. but this is not a requirement. nor should it be an expectation. i should expect myself to take any hits that come my way. and if i step back, i see that i can. those hits just stir echoes of my past and it’s excruciating.
but change is happening. i have made my decision and am making my moves. the universe has smiled once again and opened a space for me to feel safe.
today i am harking back once again to those 80’s of my history. there was a “no-wave” movement out of NYC and many bands claimed to be connected. this band- shriekback- did indeed seem to qualify as part of that movement. dave allen of “gang of four” was part of this ensemble and this tune got underground radio airplay as well as having a short but powerful lifespan in clubland. have a listen to “my spine is the bassline”.
Last Friday, i was invited to see a small independent film that was written, directed, and starred in by twin brothers Logan and Noah Miller. They grew up in Marin County California with the burden of their father being an alcoholic- well a drunk, really. They found refuge playing baseball and entertained the idea of having careers in professional baseball. Those dreams were crushed along with others. This reality can be devastating to any child, but maybe because there were two of these guys, or maybe because their father loved them in spite of his illness, they have managed to emerge from their situations with dreams and drive in tact it would seem.
The brothers also attended the film showing and participated in a Q & A afterward. I got the sense that this had been a real journey for these guys. The process of creating a film had most definitely been a labor of love and of exorcising demons. They discussed their father with compassion and respect, no doubt in spite of the years of let downs, broken promises, breached boundaries, and squelched dreams. Perhaps that upbringing trained them in a way for the grueling task of writing a screenplay, securing actors, funding, locations, financing, and distribution.
And they have accomplished something that so so many young persons (and otherwise) have dreamed to do since the onset of moving pictures. They have completed a film and delivered an honest and intimate picture of living and loving someone with addiction. The performances (including the twins’) are understated, believable, and compelling. It was frequent for me to forget that I wasn’t watching the story of someone I knew. Ed Harris, Brad Dourf, and Robert Forster make up the cast majority besided the brothers playing themselves. This is a quiet film, but has a lot to say during the pauses.
I went with a friend, both of us being in recovery. My friend seemed frustrated because the story wasn’t more about the father. But for me, this reminded me of what I have learned all during my recovery, It’s not always about me. This story is about the peripheral and collateral impact that alcholism can and does have on the people who live with and love persons who are afflicted.
I would recommend this film. Again, it is small and it is NOT a blockbuster. But it is an American tale (both the subject and the making of it) that deserves attention and reflection.
it’s interesting to mark the progression of my own life as well as the bloggers i have met since i started this journey 3 years ago. i don’t know if i have progressed at all stylistically, but i know that professionally, i have morphed into a counselor, (and hopefully a caregiver). this is not what i had intended, but it is where my journey has taken me.
i started writing about recovery, and just experimenting with examining my thoughts and feelings during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th years of my sobriety. i remember the 1st commenter on my blog kickintina. he was a man in utah struggling with his own meth use and had sent me a comment on his way to rehab- which didn’t take that time. but i think his next attempt worked, and he has been sober and directed towards sanity since. he’s working, he has put all his legal troubles behind him (that i know of). there are a few similar stories to these. one man in san francisco, a very talented writer from la, an activist from toronto, a very sweet schoolteacher from south africa who now lives in taiwan( he didn’t do meth, he drank), and i have befriended a recovering meth addict/blogger from atlanta-now residing in ft. lauderdale.
with all this, it’s hard not to believe that there is something more similar in our journeys than just recovery and blogging. i think we might be part of a larger trend or movement within our culture. i haven’t gotten it all figured out yet, but i secretly hope that we may be helping light the way to sanity and self-acceptance for gay men that has been without light for so long. but i don’t talk much with any of them anymore. we have done our collective dances together and have moved on to our next performances. still i loved them all.
this week had me feeling wrung. i only worked 4 days, but realized that i needed to change some things to remain sane. the wheels have been put into motion for this change, and i hope to know something before the end of the month. i thought i might have to change my career direction too, because the price of working in the field i do- hiv and substance counseling- is proving to be much more costly emotionally than i had ever considered. i seem to ignite the ire of a select few around me consistently. i am not sure if this is because they have their own agendas-as do i- and i somehow interfere with theirs. i am thinking this is part of it. and i also think that i have developed connections and confidence on my own dime, and this is unsettling for some.
what i have to work on is spontaneity in my dealing with blips. when confrontation arises, which it does, i need to address it in a timely fashion. perhaps this will help to prevent some situations that have been painful from reoccurring. but that’s gonna be a hike.
i have a quiet weekend ahead. on tuesday i am doing a presentation on meth and its effects to a mostly hispanic agency and am looking forward to it. this is a kind of outreach that i have begun that i enjoy. at least i know i like to talk.
i went to see a small film called touching home. it was tasty. written and directed by twin brothers, it is their story growing up with an alcoholic father. the were at the screening and had a q&a afterward. funny- they finish each others sentences. almost like 2 parts of a bigger whole..
i am feeling nostalgic- probably most of the time- but i thought i’d share some ancient stuff from my dance hall days that weren’t the most commercial.. but i still love them…here’s omd – orchestral maneuvers in the dark- with “talking loud and clear”
In the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Wilde has his main character reading often from a collection of the same book that is covered in different colored bindings- so that the color would suit any mood he was in. That book was “A Rebours” by Joris-Karl Huysman. The title translates to “Against Nature”.
The best-known example of fin-de-siècle decadence, this novel has been banned and expurgated for years. (We suggest that readers not undertake this book until they have attained the age of 65!) A translation by Robert Baldick (“Against Nature”) in the Penguin series is convenient to read and widely available, but we now present a public domain English translation on the World Wide Web, as part of our project to prepare for the coming millennium. A version in the original French is now online at ABU: la Bibliothèque Universelle. (Look for Huysmans under “auteurs”.)
presently, i find myself struggling with my own nature. i have always decidedly (and impulsively) acted on instinct. i have mostly trusted my intuition and gotten through most situations. that is not to say that i haven’t encountered some (as well as left behind) more than just some collateral damage.
but in a quest to grow spiritually, i am slowly learning to think before i act. this sounds so simple, i know, however first impressions are often superficial. i have been reacting with fear first for most of my life. it has served me fairly well up to this point. i am sure my first friend fear has helped to get me to this juncture and age in my life. no small feat considering some of the very treacherous adventures and interactions that i have surfed.
once again i find myself in a situation that i have initially reacted with fear. but it has not been friendly to me. the fear which so often would fade with a whiskey or two, doesn’t do the same dance without the booze. instead, the fear looms and begins to grow like ivy on an iron grate, twisting and turning and changing the appearance of a thing without much notice.
a part of my life has become choked by this growth, and i am trapped in a situation that is toxic. i can’t breathe, and i wonder how much i must endure in order to participate in this part of my life. how much should doing what i am doing cost me?
my instinct tells me to run. this has consistently done the trick for me, and taken me from point a to point b. but then there’s that collateral damage thing. staying and walking through fear is not my nature at all. i am very well versed in the exit. but staying… whew!
i am here in the dark, not wanting to do what i always do,-run-, trembling with fear inside, and wondering what will happen next. grasping behind me, fervently trying to find something to hold on to, something to give me a clue as to what’s next. something to reconnect me with those things i cannot touch right now- trust and faith..
i had breakfast with my friend alex today at hi-rise.. it’s a new sorta deli located in lodo. i love the place actually. it’s down the block from SNOOZE which always has a long wait, and i just think hi rise is much more fun and easier to manage… and i like doing things a little differently. always have…
we talked quite a while about how life is progressing. he has been sober about a year longer than me, yet sometimes i think he is miles ahead of me. he is struggling with many of the same issues i find myself in a quandary over. living life on life’s terms is how it could easily be said. but the living is not quite so easy sometimes. we both agreed that things are much better now than they were when we were fucked up all the time, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting everything to be just the way we want it now.
damn there is so much wisdom in the understanding and application of this. i know the things i am worried about are friggin fantasies, yet my crazy brain keeps drifting to the what-ifs and stepping onto the platform of crazy. and i do it repeatedly and as second-nature. then i also wonder if i have spent so many years living in drama, both external AND internal, that maybe i just go to crazy places in my head because i am wired to do just that. just like a betsy-wetsy doll.
anyway, the validation i got from my pal today is enough to get me through a few more days. i am doing better, no matter how uncomfortable it feels sometimes. and if i am crazy, at least i am TRYING to get better, which seems a nice departure from all the crazy people i encounter who AREN’T trying to change anything.
this is my favorite single from the last Paolo Nutini CD. I love the lyric-” it was in love i was created and in love is how i hope i die”…. i wholeheartedly second that….
Love come down
all the way down
no sleep last night
been dreamin’ of you
please hold me tight
’cause i can’t help the way that i feel
i just can’t help the way that i feel
thief in the night
you took my heart
now danger’s in sight
’cause i can’t help the way that i feel
i just can’t help the way that i feel
there are aspects of being a “sissy” that have caused me grief my entire life. i am not speaking of being gay, but more about being somewhat effeminate- less now than when i was younger. today, on Pride Day, i find myself thinking about what it has meant being gay all these years. i know that “coming out” was a real event and i was thrilled when i had stepped beyond the glass closet and found myself inside with the rest of my tribe. at the same time however, i found myself distanced by many because of my effeminate mannerisms and characteristics. i would imagine this is most easily explained by internalized homophobia. but on a spiritual level, this understanding takes time and work to reach. initially, it just felt like more hate pointed in my direction, and reaffirmed the notion that i was, indeed, unlovable and not what others wanted.
this is a poignant place for me to arrive on this Pride day. i still struggle rigorously- even after 36 years being out- with this same theme. and sadly, i have turned my insecurities outward and aimed them at others over the years. maybe, i still do periodically. i hung out w/ a friend last evening that i dated for a very short time about 16 years ago. never has there been a question that he cares about me. never have i felt judged or as if i might be an embarrassment. to the contrary, he seems to admire and respect the parts of myself that i have struggled with all these years.
this perspective that he seems to hold about me is where i would like to find myself, too. the deep-rooted shame that has accompanied me through this life may no longer be of service. maybe it is long overdue for a departure. i don’t quite know how i will work toward this, but i do completely believe it is the direction i have to go.
SHAME AND GUILT
Shame is not the same as guilt.
When we feel guilt, it’s about something we did.
When we feel shame, it’s about who we are.
When we feel guilty we need to learn
that it’s OK to make mistakes.
When we feel shame we need to learn
that it’s OK to be who we are!……… more about shame here
as i sat with my friend, i realized what a gift this across-the-board acceptance is to me. i didn’t ask him for it, but he has it completely- no questions asked. and i realize that i need to strive towards more of this naked acceptance in my world. truthfully, i struggle quite a lot with my own self-judgement as much as i am challenged by the rest of the world. now all i need is another 50 years or so…:)
Prayer to Overcome Shame
There are dark places in my Being, God. There are memories, circumstances, and scars that are unspeakable to me as I come before you. Heal my broken places, Dear God, and help me to feel my Wholeness. Bring me into the Light with You, God, and let me feel my fullness of Being as a Child of God…. from the prayer goddess