Words

Dad never really asks me about my life. He knows I’m gay. He’s fine with it. But our phone calls are usually him venting about his mother. He wants me to visit. And I want to, mostly. Except for the whole part where we never discuss my life. Not really. He’s my dad. I love him. But he doesn’t really know me.

Last time I talked to him, we were talking about all the traffic in Portland (he lives near there). He mentioned Pride was going on. This was at the end of our conversation. He asked if I was seeing anyone. I said no. He told me I should get out there and live my life.

I don’t disagree, but also he has no idea what I have done, and been through, over the last eight or so years since my partner and I split up. He has no clue. Yet he also never acts like he’s interested. And then he tells me to get out there and live my life. And his words have haunted me, because something inside me is scared that he’s going to suddenly die and I’m going to be left with those words. Wise advice, but with volumes of unshared content that he will never know or understand. Content that explains who I am and why I’m that way. Content that explains why “get out there and live your life” is not always easy.

Maybe I’ll get to see him, and maybe we’ll talk. Maybe someday he’ll actually know me before one of us crosses over, and conversations become more difficult.

But I still can’t help but to feel haunted by his words. I had a friend, the person who knew me best, the person I didn’t block out with walls because I knew he could see past them anyway. The last words I got from him were “I validate you!” He was commenting on a FB post I made about how I looked in the new glasses I had just gotten. But, then he suddenly died and his words seemed to become a message from the other side. His final words to me that I will carry with me until it comes my time to join him. Not just any words. Words I needed to hear. Words that meant the most to me because they came from him.

This haunting; it floats around inside of me, spontaneously amplifying random instruments in my emotional orchestra. The song it makes is deep and powerful.

Reasons for Living

There’s a song, by Duncan Sheik, called “Reasons for Living” on the soundtrack to the tv series “er”. For months, in the late nineties, I listened to that soundtrack most nights when I went to bed. That one song in particular stuck with me. I think it just really made me think about life and about the things that are really important.

Anyway, fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I learned that “er” is streaming on Hulu. I immediately thought of that one song. I pulled it up on YouTube and listened to it. It has been in my head ever since.

Emotionally speaking, I’m at a strange and dark place right now. Many factors have contributed to this. Loneliness, work stress, the general state of the country.

And it’s getting to the point where it scares me a bit. I’m not exactly sure what to call what I’m experiencing. I wouldn’t say I’m suicidal.

It’s more like this line I remember from a Robbie Williams song; “I don’t want to die, but I’m not keen on living either.”

I feel like I’ve lost hope in the future and confidence in myself. All attempts to move above and beyond come crashing down.

What am I fighting for? Is “something better” even an option for me anymore? I know what logic would say. But emotions don’t listen to logic.

The latest set of circumstances started with some significant changes to my workplace, which caused increased stress. Then I got a summons for jury duty. I was actually fairly happy with this. It would be a getaway from work. For the last three and a half weeks, it has been a lot of calling in every day to see if I had to report for jury service. For the first couple weeks I only went in once. Then late last week we started the actual jury selection.

I wanted this. I wanted the break from work. I was even doing some spiritual work to help manifest this and make it happen. This is something I haven’t done a whole lot of lately.

And for a couple days, it seemed to work. I was picked as one of the jurors, at least tentatively. We hadn’t finished the process yet. Then suddenly, the judge tells us he has to call a mistrial. We were all dismissed.

I was very disappointed. Now I would have to go back to work, at a place I don’t feel appreciated. On top of that announcement, my boss sent me a snarky text saying how she’d like me to report my schedule every day.

She’s being pissy because she doesn’t want to have to do my job for me anymore. Which really boils down to, she can’t really delegate it to anyone else, and she’s mad that she has to actually be at work working instead of off running her personal errands on company time.

And yes, there’s that voice in my head reminding me to be grateful that I even have a job. And I am, but I also don’t like being at a place where I’m not happy or appreciated.

Finding a new job is proving to be a difficult task. I don’t even really know where to look. A big part of me wants to get out of this town. But I don’t know where to go, and asking for guidance on that hasn’t revealed any helpful information.

I have been feeling, out of it. That’s the only way I think to say it. I walk around and it feels like I’m both here and not here at the same time. I find it hard to remember if I did certain things, as they feel like faded dream memories instead of actual experience.

And I’m pretty certain my blood pressure is up too. I haven’t been tracking it. I probably should. But I can feel it. It feels off.

There’s more to the picture I just painted here. But I will save the other details for later.

Last Night’s Dream 

In last nights dream, myself, and several friends, were engaged in some horrible battle with an unseen nemesis. We were all beat up pretty bad. It was obvious it had been an epic battle that had lasted a long time. We were at a crucial moment. We were finally near the end. Either we were all about to die, or we were about to finally defeat our foe.  Then our enemy, (perhaps foreseeing our possible victory), triggered some kind of gadget which unleashed a curse on us. My friends and I were sent back in time. Our mental state, (memories and such), remained the same, but everything else went back to the way it was 20 years ago. We found ourselves right back at the beginning of this battle we had been fighting for the past two decades. 

A few friends just slumped to the ground, obviously mentally defeated. A couple of others started crying. Everyone was saying things like, “We’re gonna die.”; “I can’t face this again!”; “All that suffering, we have to go through it all again.” I watched as, one after another, their spirits were broken. 

Then I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. I suddenly yelled, ” OH MY GOD! YOU GUYS! MY HAIR IS BACK! WOOOO HOOO!” And then I proceeded to rub my head and excitedly bounce around the room, like a boy who just found out he was going to Disneyland, while shouting, “My hair is back! My hair is back! Yippee! I have hair again! Best! Day! EVERRR!” 
I wasn’t disappointed in the situation even a little bit. At least until I woke up. 

Buck Moon dream.

At the edge of a forest, a 13 years old girl crosses paths with a VERY pregnant woman, with luminous white skin, wearing only a white, knee-length sun dress. The woman seems concerned that the birth hadn’t happened yet. The girl asks the woman if she can help her. The woman peers down at the girl and says, “You? What do you know of birth?”

The girl replies, “I know plenty! I delivered my little sister, you know?!”

I’m watching as the girl reaches over and raises the woman’s dress. The woman is not wearing anything underneath the dress. I advert my eyes as not to seem like I’m starting, even though I don’t think either of them know I’m there. I watch, sort of indirectly, as the girl reaches down and feels under the woman’s belly. I assume the girl is feeling to see if the woman is dilated. I notice that the woman has, what I think are, several large utters hanging down around the perimeter of her labium. At that, I can’t help but to look. I realize that they are not utters. They’re penises.

The girl feels around the woman’s belly, then instructs/helps the woman to squat down. When the girl and woman squat, I don’t see all of them. It’s as if they are squatting behind an opaque, waist-high wall. I only see from the chest up of the woman, and the girl’s head. I hear a sound like something wet hitting the dirt. The pressure of squatting has caused the woman to defecate. The girl helps the woman stand back up, and says to her, matter-of-factly, “And there’s the excrement indicator.” And the two share a look as if they both now know the birthing process was about to begin.

The woman turns and heads off into the forest.

Talking to the clouds. 

I was going to write about how I had this great idea to go visit my dad in northern Oregon for Father’s Day. About how I realized that it’s also Pride weekend in Portland this weekend and how I was hoping to be a part of that too. About how I was all packed and ready to go when I re-evaluated my finances, and realized I just couldn’t afford to go. I was going to write about how I feel like even more of a disappointment because I had to text my dad and tell him I wasn’t going be there after all. 

But that’s just the outside layer of my pain and frustration. At the core, it’s mostly about not having any local social connections.  I have nobody to help me out. Nobody to talk to. 

I need to get out of this area, but I don’t know where to or how. If I’m just getting by here, how am I supposed to make it somewhere else where it’s more expensive? 

I recognize all I do have going for me. I am grateful. 

I know things could be much worse. …. And that’s kinda the problem. Anything happens to me, (injury, sickness, loss of job,) and I’m screwed. I have no support system. And that scares me. 

I’m nervous about my health because I know this isolation I’ve been in for years now is taking its toll on me. On many levels, I don’t even feel like a person anymore. I’m just a robot, a machine.  I’m on auto pilot to survive. But I’m not really alive, I’m not living.  

I once had the brothers of my spiritual path. But the two I was most connected with have died. Several of the others have gone there own way and aren’t really around anymore. And several of the remaining ones are going through their own difficulties right now. So, there’s not really a solid outreach option there. 

Day after day of nobody to hang out with; nobody to sit and chat with. It’s now been about two years since I’ve shared so much as a hug with another guy. 

And part of me feels like I have no right to gripe or complain. Yet it is also blatantly obvious that there is this painful, gaping void tearing me apart inside. So what am I supposed to do? Let it consume me in silence until there’s nothing left of me? Talk about it/ ask for help? I dunno; feels like I’ve been standing in the middle of a crowded room, screaming for help, for quite a while now, and the crowd just seems to go on as if they can’t hear me. So, why waste my breath? Am I supposed to fight and do what I can to manifest myself a better life? … Part of me knows that’s the better answer, but I also know that I feel beat-down exhausted from the efforts I have and do make. 

I find myself so very full of disappointment, and most of it is disappointment in myself. 

I need purpose and meaning; something to live for. I’ve not yet found it. 

I need social connection, I have a couple Twitter friends who keep me afloat. But ultimately, I need more than water wings, I need solid ground. I need direction, and hope, and love. Do those things exist for me anymore? 

Rainbow Flag 

It’s not just a flag. Certainly, it means different things to different people. To me it represents my acceptance of who I am. I am reminded of the first time I really looked at it and acknowledged it. I was in my late twenties. I hadn’t been out very long. I went to a gay club for the first time. A big experience in and of itself. I remember seeing guys standing up on the stage area twirling rainbow flags. It was kinda mesmerizing to watch. Some of them were very good at it. But it wasn’t just about their twirling skills. It was the statement they made by doing it. It was the first time I had seen Pride displayed in such a way. And I’m not sure I even fully understood that at the time. I just knew that, up until that night, “gay” had always been accompanied by some degree of secrecy, discretion, or even shame. But these guys, this display, had none of that. It was Pride, and beauty, and joy, and love, all expressed with these spinning rainbows. And as I watched throughout the night, these guys would just keep going. Song after song they would twirl and spin their flags with a dedication like I had never seen before. 

Sure, I’ve seen lots of Pride flags, and many displays of Pride, since that night at that club, but none have stuck with me the way those flag twirling guys did. 

For a few years, I lived in San Diego, not far from where many of the gay businesses were. Before I moved away, I went to the gay bookstore and bought myself a large, rainbow, Pride flag. When I hang it up, I don’t just see a flag. I see the courage it takes to accept it and what it stands for. I see, and feel, what it means to stand among the crowd and hold that flag high. 🏳️‍🌈

The day Otter and Bear joined forces. 

The cool part about my recent tattoo experience was that I felt completely comfortable with the artist. Yes, he’s cute, and I’m sure that helped a bit. But, he is also an awesome artist and very good at his profession. The place I went to has always given me great customer service. Something interesting that I experienced was that I found I really enjoyed the touching. Ok, yes, an attractive guy was touching me. Of course I liked it. But, on a non-sexual, completely platonic level, I just really enjoyed being touched. Well, aside from pain of the actual tattooing, of course. Something as simple as gently wiping my arm while cleaning off the tattoo, or even while prepping for it, was very enjoyable to me. 

I suppose I can attribute this to having not been touched by anyone in a long time. We all need a certain level of physical intimacy, even if it’s something platonic like a hug or a reassuring hand on the shoulder. And I haven’t had that in quite a while. It’s not something I really thought about going in to my appointment. I just kinda realized, in the moment, how nice it felt. 

And I find it amusing that I had this experience while getting a tattoo of an otter, which for me, in part, represents embracing, and balancing, the feminine energy side of myself; as well as all the other things Otter represents. It feels like a sort of affirmation that this energy, this Otter medicine, is what I need right now. 

I have dwelled, for years, in bear mode. Be strong, endure; as the waves of hurt and heartbreak have crashed repeatedly into me. Just be strong. Bear strength. I can get through this. And, I suppose, I have. But living in a constant state of endurance; of just hanging on and making it to tomorrow, isn’t enough. It’s not a balanced, rewarding life. 

In order to really live, I have to let people in. I have to chase my curiosity. I have to play and learn to enjoy life, in spite of all the unpleasant things. And I feel like this is a particularly difficult time to do that, yet also a particularly important time to do it as well. 

Together, Otter and Bear will guide me. 

Another friend crosses over.

Not a single tear has fallen. Another friend, another spiritual brother, is gone, and it’s tearing me apart, but I push the pain down, deep inside. 

Part of me wants the pain to consume me and obliterate me. Because, if all that’s left is facing heartbreak after heartbreak, alone, I don’t want any part of it. 

I’m angry. Angry at myself for failing. Because surely I have failed as a person if I never feel the hug of friends, or have a shoulder to cry on, or see love in someone else’s eyes when they look at me. 

I remember not long after my partner and I met. We were in bed, talking, and the topic of the guy I was seeing before him came up. That guy had been my first. First in many ways, but most notably, the first person I let myself love completely. I hadn’t the scars or walls at that time, and love flowed freely from me. It hurt immensely when we broke up. 

I kept a good portion of that pain inside of me. I had nobody to talk to about it at the time. It wasn’t until that night with my partner, that I was finally able to let go of that pain. He held me while I cried. We weren’t even partners at that point. But I loved him so much for that moment. How many people would do that? How many people would comfort the person they’re dating while they shed tears over the person who came before? How many people would help the person they just met get closure? 

The point is. Even alone, I have an extremely hard time letting go of my emotions, of my pain especially. I suppose it’s because, to do so, you must let your guard down. You become vulnerable. And when you’re alone, you have to be strong. You have to keep it together because nobody else is going to take care of things while you take a time-out to heal your emotional wounds. 

I just build wall, after wall, after wall. And hope that someday there will be someone I can feel safe enough with that I can let those walls down. I know it’s a broken way to live. But that’s all I can manage right now. 

For Them. For Us

For about a week or so now, I have been wondering about things we do for the dead. I found myself wondering if these things matter to them, or if we are just doing it for ourselves. What sparked these thoughts is that there is a movie coming out soon, and I know one of my friends, who died several years ago, would have wanted to see it. Upon learning when the movie would be released, I told myself I would go. I would go see it for him. I would likely see it at some point anyway, but I wouldn’t have been so adamant about it if not for the association with it and my friend.
But I began wondering if this was really for him,(did he get anything out of it?), or was it just for me.
Then the shooting in Florida happened. And I couldn’t help but to think of those that have died. Amongst the tears and pondering, I was reminded of an experience I had several years ago. I have previously only shared this with my spiritual brothers, as it was a spiritual experience. I realize that those not of like spirituality may not fully understand, or know what to make of it. But I feel the desire to share that experience here. Why here? Maybe because I feel this isn’t just a (gay) lesson to be learned, or, in my case, reminded of. And maybe because I feel it’s past time for these experiences to be shared with everyone, not just the inner circle that is the LGBT community.
……..
A message to my spiritual brothers. August, 2012.
“Greetings, brothers. I have an experience I’m wishing to share with you all.

Sunday night I went out rollerskating. It wasn’t very crowded at all. Maybe 10 people at most were there. Note; this isn’t an actual roller rink, but rather a community building that serves as one. It was rather warm in the building so the front doors and the side door were open. I was skating about just fine. My main focus was on remaining upright. I’m not a terrible skater, but I’m by no means an expert either.

About an hour or so into the evening of skating something interesting happened. The lights were mostly off. Only the multicolor lights that spin patterns on the floor were on, plus the light from the open doors, which wasn’t too substantial. A song started playing. At first I didn’t recognize it, as it is a remix of a song from 1980. I had been standing off of the skate floor, taking a break, but I had an urge to return to skating as this song began, and I did so. Something about the combination of the song playing and the lights flashing triggered that tingly feeling that I get whenever someone from the spirit world is trying to get my attention. I let myself zone out and tune in as much as I safely could while skating. I realized it was the MWLM, [Men Who Love Men], ancestors who were trying to communicate with me.

At this point, the song had progressed enough that I recognized it as a dance remix of Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind.” I had certainly heard the original version of this song before, but I had no particular connection to it. I like it ok, but had no special affinity for it. I opened up and just tried to listen to the ancestors. As I did so, I suddenly felt like I was in another time and place. I felt like I was in the late 70s or early 80s. I was in some other skating rink in some other part of the country,… but more than that, I was in many different skating rinks in many parts of the country.

In this vision that filled my mind, (and I call it a vision even though it was more than just images. It was emotional feelings and other sensations as well.) The skate floor was filled with people. I realized that they were mostly MWLM Ancestors who once skated like this. They did so for recreation, but also for the feeling of freedom, the exhilaration, for the connections with each other that they shared in these places, and for the escape.

I could sense that the men I saw skating around me had passed on at least 10 or 20 years ago. Some from natural causes. But then I had something else revealed to me. Many of these men had been the victims of the HIV/AIDS outbreak that occurred in the 80s.
This vision, this experience around me, was these men experiencing fun, and laughter, and exhilaration, and love, and connection with each other, … and also escape. It was made known to me that, for many of these men, these joyful memories were some of the last connections with joy these guys had. These were also the memories they clung to when their lives became more and more challenging due to either their own sickness, or the loss of one of their friends/lovers/brothers to the sickness.
My heart nearly broke as I realized this. Partly for the premature loss of so many beautiful, amazing men, and partly because they chose to share this with me. I wasn’t exactly sure why they had chose to share this with me. Maybe it is in part because I used to go skating when I was a kid, and I can relate to having fond memories of it. Or maybe because they just knew I would listen. Whatever the reason(s), I was overwhelmingly humbled to be sharing these experiences.

I wanted to do something for them. The only thing I could think to do was to offer them a chance to feel that joy again through me as much as I could. Much like when I have offered the ancestors to join me in a dance. I called out to them and asked them to join me; to feel through me.
As I continued skating I could feel many presences around me. I focused on all the sensations I was feeling. The lights, the music, the feel of the breeze on my face, everything… and offered all these sensations up freely to these ancestors to share in so that they may, through me, live their fond memories once more.

As the song faded, so too did my perception of the ancestors around me. Throughout the entire experience, there were no words spoken, except at the end as the sensations were drifting away. I heard in a voice that was quiet, yet strong. So strong that it could only have been multiple voices speaking the same words at the same time. The message to me was, ‘Storyteller, share our experience. Let the joy that was in our hearts be told to all so that they may see the beauty we held and carry it with them as they proceed on their path.’

Let their story be told, let their beauty shine and guide us just as our stories and experiences shall one day guide the next generation.”

A Long Time Ago…

A long time ago, about a year, I created this WordPress account. But I didn’t really do anything with it. I guess I had a momentary burst of inspiration, which apparently sputtered out.  I’m not saying the inspiration is back, exactly. But I have to admit that I do need an outlet for all the thoughts and emotions that are buzzing around inside of me. Why not here?

I don’t know what I want this to be. Maybe it will turn out to be mostly just ramblings on random topics. But that’s okay. This is an outlet. One reason I feel the need for this outlet is that I don’t have anybody that I feel I can really talk to right now. At least, not in person. I have people who do fall into the very broad category of “friend”, but they are, mostly, more on the acquaintance end of the spectrum than on the confidant end. So, I don’t really get many opportunities to have real conversations. With the exception of work stuff. So, I really need to at least have a place to plant my thoughts.

Random topic number one; I watch Netflix on a regular basis. Some of it is good stuff. A lot of it sucks. But I sometimes find a series I like, and I watch it all the way through. But I’m kinda out of Netflix stuff I want to watch. So, I’m watching stuff that is not my first pick, but I’m watching it mostly for nostalgia sake. One of these shows is “Wonder Years”. I watched it occasionally when it aired. But I don’t remember too much about it. Anyway, I started watching it. The thing that really struck me is how they talk about things that were going on in the 60s. And, in a sense, it feels so much like how things are today. It’s strange because on one hand, we, as a country, have made great progress. Yet, at the same time, we seem to be right back where we were then. I don’t get it. Why do we hold ourselves back? Why do we continue to hate and discriminate? Why is love and acceptance so hard for us?

What would the world be like if we finally got past all that hate and fear and started working together? We know what humans are capable of when they come together and build something beautiful. Maybe a song, or a building, or a piece of art, or new technology that helps us have a better life. What if our goal was a sustainable global economy? What if we really focused on ending poverty and homelessness? We could do it. Yet we don’t. We’d rather tear each other apart and turn our backs. We’d rather take the easy road.  We’d rather turn our heads and look the other way.

I don’t like to talk about politics much. It just gives me a headache. So, I promise. There will be very little politics talk here. There are way too many other more interesting topics to discuss. But, those are for another day. I shall end my first post with a merbear blessing. “May your day be filled with hugs and cookies.”