The Words Will Come

Just start writing….  The words will come…  Just start writing…

That’s what the great and powerful “they” always say, right?  Just start writing, the words will come.  And the truth is, the great and powerful “they” are not wrong.  This strategy has worked for me many times before.  It’s just that, there’s a lot of stuff going on and swirling around in my brain, and I haven’t quite figured out how to sort it all out yet.  How much of it to share and how much of it to keep to myself.

Despite my best efforts I’m still inclined to worry a bit about what readers of this site will think of what I put here, and yet, I’m actually quite proud of my last post.  Yes, I discussed some “mature themes” and yes I admitted to some activities that, in the past, I would have completely kept to myself, as much out of embarrassment, as anything else, but I think it’s a good thing that I posted that.  I spend a lot of time in this sort of “in-between” stage of life where I feel like, I shouldn’t do anything I’m ashamed of and therefore I don’t do anything I’m ashamed of…  Yet I’m ashamed of things I really shouldn’t be, and therefore, this philosophy holds me back.

There is an excellent chance that I’m confusing shame with fear, or shame with unfounded guilt which causes fear, or some other tremendously deep and impressive introspection that I’m not quite clear about and obviously can’t manage to articulate…

I’ve come a long way in the last several years of blogging, and even before that.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve gained a considerable amount of emotional and mental independence (not to be confused with the physical and financial independence that I’ve had since I was 22).  But “a considerable amount” can be just a drop in the bucket when you’re coming from a place of such dependence…  Or co-dependence.  There are still a good many subjects and issues about which I can hear my mother’s voice, or more to the point, her judgmental, disappointed noises.  Tsking and groaning and sighing (oh my!).  And it’s not like she even needs to know about my behavior and my activities, but it doesn’t matter if the physical being knows anything because the non-corporial manifestation of her that exists in my subconscious is ever-present and equally judgmental.  And, of course, I think I’m inclined to project that judgement and condemnation onto other people both local and afar.  I imagine the gasps and the shaking heads of the people who might read my words, the disappointment that might come from having the image of me, which they have created, sullied by the revelation of the things I don’t dare say.

I am aware, as I write these words, that I’m creating a proverbial mountain out of what many would see as an equally proverbial mole hill.  I am also aware that, while I do value the regular readers of this blog and would hate to put anyone off, concealing things about myself and allowing the fears of other’s opinions to hold me back is not only destructive and hurts me more than it does anyone else, it is potentially more destructive and hurtful than not acting because of the fear.

I’m human.  I’m alive.  I’m male (stereotype).  And like everyone else, I have needs, both physical and emotional that need to be fulfilled, one way or another. The truth is, while I’m over here hiding from that fact, all of you are probably reading this blog and assuming it; assuming that I take measures to have my needs fulfilled (trust me, I do), you just don’t necessarily want to know what those measures are.  Certainly, there is a fine line between open and honest sharing, not leaving out pertinent details, and this turning into a very different kind of blog from what it has ever been before.  

Prior to the vague implications and poorly shrouded subliminal information in my last post, I believe I have discussed specific sexual activity on my part, exactly one time on this blog.  One time in five and a half years.  Meanwhile, any regular readers probably haven’t given my sexual endeavors much conscious thought, but have unconsciously assumed that I have not lived as a eunuch.  Society, as a whole, tends to frown on free and open discussions of sex, or so I have generally believed.  Yet as I write that I realize it happens far more frequently than I am comfortable with, and I have to question why that is.

Why am I so uncomfortable with it?  Why is it so hard for me to discuss it?

Certainly, it is, in part, due to my lack of experience and a fear that engaging in such conversations will result in any number of uncomfortable situations where I can not contribute as much to the conversation as people might expect me to; something I generally prefer to avoid.  But part of it is because of that non-corporial manifestation of my mother that exists in my subconscious, which is ever-present and tremendously judgmental.  It comes from a  damaged place within my psyche that is influenced by my mother’s constant over-vilification of sex during my childhood to the point that sex scares me.

There.  I’ve said it.  Sex scares me.  It doesn’t just make me nervous or uncomfortable because it’s “new”, it scares the ever-loving shit out of me in a way I don’t even know how to combat.

Logically, I know it shouldn’t.  Intellectually, I know that sex is a perfectly natural, and healthy thing.  Through the power of study, meditation and independent thought, I have even arrived at the conclusion that I believe pre-marital sex is not only not wrong, it’s important and healthy.  Reasonable, not overly graphic discussions of sex in general, are not something to be afraid of and shy away from, particularly when they lay the groundwork for a further story…

Yet any discussion of my own sexuality (not my sexual orientation, but my sexuality) makes me very uncomfortable and self conscious.

…..

I have a date tomorrow night, and I have mixed feelings about it.  I think it’s a date.  I didn’t really think it was a date when it was discussed, but it seems that it is a date.

Everything I have said here that leads up to that revelation does not, in any way, mean I think there’s an expectation or obligation for sex tomorrow.  In fact quite to the contrary, I think it’s clearly understood that sex will not be happening.  Rather, it’s about how this date came about, and how my shame, prevented me from writing about it before now.

In this wonderful, 21st century world in which we live, there is an iPhone app for absolutely everything.  Seriously.  According to one source in October, 2013 there were approximately 1,000,000 apps in the Apple App Store and that number just keeps going up.  If you can realistically conceive of it, there is probably an app out there for it, already.  And society (and men – stereotype) being what it is, there is more than one app for on-line dating and people-meeting available that uses the GPS signal in phones to show you the profiles of any number of people within a certain distance of where you happen to be holding your phone and looking at that app’s screen.  The first time I ever heard of one of these apps, I downloaded it on my phone, because it was free, and I was curious to see how it worked.  I never had any delusions that I would use the app as it was intended.  I still don’t.  That’s not my style.  But because I have discovered that my, once thought to be impeccable, gaydar is, in actually, completely for shit, I thought it might be interesting to see the faces of other gay men in the area, see if there was anyone I recognized and might, therefore, meet organically and get to know, in real life.  Of course, I wasn’t about to post my own face, because I would be mortified if anyone knew I had even heard of the app, let alone actually downloaded it and look at it once in a while.  I rarely initiated conversations with anyone, and even more rarely did anyone initiate conversations with, or respond to, me.  When they did, it was, without exception, overtures toward having anonymous sex.

The block button is my friend.

Through all the bullshit that went down with The Guy this summer, one good thing did come out of it.  Well–  He doesn’t, by any means deserve all of the credit, it was the whole unfortunate experience with that short-lived job.  From the day I walked in the door, I was determined not to hide who I was or try to keep secret the details of my existence that have been so hard for me to freely share, verbally, in the past.  It was a fresh start in a new place, with a new group of people, and I was determined to start things on the right foot.  The Guy figured it out, or believed he did, from the very first day.  So, apparently, did my boss, though she couldn’t say so until I revealed it to her.  All she said was “I knew you were ‘family’.  Well, I was pretty sure, anyway.”  I learned to be more open about myself.  I learned not to fear people’s reactions.  (To this day, I have not had one person outside of my family react badly to learning that I am gay.)  I learned to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, because these people were all new in my life and if they learned the truth up front and they didn’t like it, well, there was no loss.

Thanks to The Guy, I started to feel better about myself, physically.  Again, he doesn’t get all the credit.  Over the last two and a half years, I have lost approximately 70 pounds.  The man I see in the mirror today, is definitely not the man I saw back then.  That man’s clothes don’t fit me anymore.  I still have a long way to go, but I’ll gladly take what I can get.  I’ve learned to appreciate my body in its current form, to take control over the things I can, and not obsess over the things I can’t.  But at least for a little while there, I believed that, not only did someone find me attractive, but someone who I was attracted to, found me attractive.  Due to the nature and circumstances of our involvement and the end thereof, I temper any excitement at that fact with a healthy dose of he-was-full-of-shit, but at the very least, I learned what it feels like to appreciate having someone pursue me due to physical attraction.

I posted a face picture on the app, and filled in a simple profile telling people what I was about, and what I was and, more importantly, what I was not looking for.  I tried to put the hurt and shame of my experience with The Guy behind me and see what came next.  Suddenly, out of the blue, people started initiating chats with me.  Talking to me.  Having real conversations with me.  Much of the time, those conversations end with “so when can we hook up?”.

The block button is still my friend.

Early this week, I crossed paths with a guy we’ll call “No. 1” (not for any reason you’re likely to think of, just go with it) who was deemed to be a “likely match” by some inexplicable algorithm the site uses to suggest people you might like, based on your reactions to their previous suggestions.  No. 1 had a very relatable profile, with a statement about relationships, fidelity, and where he stands on the subject that I happened to like quite a bit.  As it happened, he hit the little “like” button on my picture and I hit the little “like” button on his, and the app was kind enough to let us each know that the other “liked” us and suggested we chat.  So we did.  And he was a nice guy.  And he appealed to me.  And we exchanged phone numbers and I suggested that we should talk again.  I even considered asking him if we could meet for coffee or something sometime, but I decided against it.  The next morning, he sent me a text message and asked if I might be free on Saturday after he gets off work at 8:00.  I am and said as much, and we set up what I thought of as “meeting and getting to know each other better, face to face.”  I know. I know.  That’s pretty much what a date is.   Only, I didn’t think of it that way.  I didn’t think of it as a prelude to anything.  I thought of it as meeting a potentially nice person and getting to know him.  (Again, pretty much what a date is.)

My mind is reeling with this.  Really, it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if it is a date.  It wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if I enjoyed our date.  It’s just…  I admit it.  I’m terribly skittish.  And it pisses me off.  It’s not fair, that this one experience with this one, completely fucked up guy, has done such lasting damage in me.  I want to move past it.  I want to put it out of my head and forget about The Guy entirely.  I sure as shit don’t want to let him affect how I handle dating going forward.

But I’m so afraid of taking another chance.

I’m not sure I’m open to a relationship right now.  I’m not sure I’m ready to date right now.  When I agreed to meet No. 1 and we settled on a time and place, I thought, “Great!  That’s that.  I’ll see him on Saturday and we’ll have lots to talk about,” and I’m sure we will, only, he continued to text and talk to me after we settled the plans.  He has texted me every day since then, and I can’t quite explain why that bothers me.  It just does.  He has made some fairly innocent comments here and there that really have me on edge.  I’m probably reading too much into it, but he has made some comments which elude to the prospect of a relationship with me and I’m so not in that place.  I mean, we haven’t even met yet.

And all I can think is, “Oh my God!  I’m The Guy!”

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The End

I grew up in a family and a world full of abuse: some violent, some physical, mostly emotional, all horrific.  I never learned how to care for myself in that world and was constantly subject to the whims and mood swings of my abusers, be they family or school mates or even the occasional teacher.  Because of this, or maybe in addition to it, I was cripplingly clinically depressed for most of my life.

Almost four years ago, I started blogging.  I didn’t really know what would come of it and it was hard at times, because the truth is, I don’t know how to censor myself or not be open and honest in my writing.  This is a good thing since I’m not really capable of being completely open and honest in my face to face communications.  I’m constantly censoring myself and holding back.  As it turned out, blogging was very therapeutic for me.  Where I’m not any good at developing relationships in the real world, I’m good at dealing with people on-line.  While I’m not able to cultivate friendships face to face, people on-line and in the blogging community are very nice, friendly, supportive people.  Obviously, that’s all about the circles in which one travels, but I managed to develop some good circles; surround myself with good, decent, honest, caring people… Or so I thought.

I let my guard down.  I began to trust people; something I’ve never done easily.  I couldn’t trust my own family, why would I trust outsiders?  But this blog and the people who have been around it showed me that there are people out there one can trust… Or so I thought.

But I got complacent.  And now this safe little world of mine has been invaded.  Now, now that my blog has really gotten a good readership.  Now that there are actually people who like me and want to read my words.  Now there are people who feel it’s appropriate to stalk and terrorize me.  People who think that just because this is a “public website” they have the right to force their way in.  People who think that they have the right to treat me like shit, just because they don’t like something I wrote on MY  blog.  People who relish taking the control over my life away from me.

I have taken the rational, reasonable measures I can take to put a stop to these activities, but unfortunately, the mechanism does not exist in this world for me to protect myself and my rights.

So I have to take drastic measures.

I have to take myself, out of this world.

Not The Only One

I read a post on another blog this morning that I thought bore some sharing.  The post is, at least in part, about the civil and economic unrest in Greece, which, to be honest, I’m not very well informed about, but more importantly to me, the post included this paragraph:

I did not like the word faggot used there. I don’t like it that it’s acceptable by somebody in the public eye to use words like that to berate others in the year 2012. I don’t like it that well-known people can go on TV and use this and other similar words without anyone complaining about it. I don’t like it that racist and homophobic language are equally acceptable. That people can feature in mainstream media, using words like faggot (poustis), sissy (aderfi), nigger (arapis) and ape (pithikos) to describe others. Whether it’s done in a serious or a ‘humorous’ way. I loathe that no one calls them out on it.

I say, here, here!  It’s time more people stood up to this!

The entire blog post can be read here.

Oh Hey Look. I’m Officially A Blogger

It seems I’ve officially achieved a rite of passage that all bloggers must eventually achieve.  I have a troll.  At first I was kind of mad, because he’s really a dick and going out of his way to be so, with direct attacks aimed at me, in an attempt to prove some kind of a point.  But now I just think it’s funny and he doesn’t even seem to realize he’s only doing me a favor.

Generally speaking, I don’t even read his comments.  I know enough from the information readily available at the outset A) that it is him, yet again, and 2) I’m not interested in anything he has to say.    I can get enough from the first few words of his comments to know that it’s yet another hateful, personal attack and I don’t need to read the whole thing.  None of you will ever know because his comments will never appear on this blog and I will not waste my energy reading and responding to anything he sends my way.  Meanwhile, I’m getting the additional hits on my blog and that’s what I want. I’ll reap the benefits.

Like I said, he’s doing me a favor.  So to you sir, I say, “By all means, continue to be a dick.  Keep reading my blog.  Leave your hateful, spite-filled comments.  You’re not hurting me and you’re just wasting your own time, because it’s no skin off my nose and my readers will never see it.

I hope you’re having fun!

Grilled

Strangely, I’m almost as nervous writing this as I was as it was happening.

I had a date last night.  Well, anyway, I think I had a date last night.  It kind of felt like a date, not that I can be counted on, reliably, to say what a date feels like.  I don’t know if he felt like it was a date.  Maybe I just met a friend for dinner…  I think it was a date… A nice date.

There is a gentleman, Gene,  that I have been acquainted with through various forms of social media for close to two years, I would say.  We became acquainted on Twitter and struck up a friendly banter.  He started reading my blog and responding to what he saw directly on twitter and eventually we began e-mailing each other.

Gene is a very kind man and he made a great impression on me.  About 18 months ago, I had a dream in which he played a prominent (though relatively innocent role) and I tweeted about dreaming about my “twitter crush”.  This resulted in a series of e-mails between us in which it was clear that we were both interested in knowing the other better.  The problem is, we are “geographically undesirable” (He lives in San Diego, I live in Oakland, approximately 500 miles apart) and, both of us being practically minded people, a long distance relationship is simply not in the cards.    But we made it clear that if ever and whenever we were in each others back yards we should get together for dinner or coffee or something.

This week-end his nephew is participating in a debate tournament at UC Berkeley and Gene made a point of being here early enough to spend some time with me before getting wrapped up in his family stuff.  When he told me he was coming this way, I was really excited.  I wanted to see him.  I wanted to spend some time with him and get to know him better.  Our relationship has been a little one-sided in that he reads my blog, but he doesn’t write one and he’s very private with the stuff he posts on Twitter and Facebook.  I was excited about the prospect of getting his undivided attention and grilling him on all the things I didn’t know about him.

But as the weeks passed and the time drew nearer, I became more and more nervous.  I wanted to meet him, but what if he wasn’t what I was expecting?  What if I wasn’t what he was expecting?  What if I had misjudged him?  What if he wanted something from me that I wasn’t ready to give?  Was I ready?  Did I want to be ready?  Would we?  Wouldn’t we?  What would I do if it…  ahem, came up?  I went back and forth on that and to be honest, I never really arrived at a conclusion.  I don’t know what I would have done if I was faced with that decision last night.  Fortunately, I wasn’t, and I think it’s for the best.

The truth is, Gene was a perfect gentleman.  He was almost everything I thought he would be, and in the ways that he was different, he was better.

We were both nervous.  We decided to meet for a drink before dinner and to be perfectly honest, I was shaking like a leaf (whatever that means.)  Stupidly, I wondered if I would recognize him when I saw him, but the minute I walked in the door, I knew him.  It was comforting to know that he had been as nervous as I was–  well, maybe not as nervous, but he was nervous.  We had a glass of wine at the bar and talked comfortably for a little while.  And then were seated and had dinner.  It was a fascinating experience to be able to talk so comfortably and freely with someone you’ve never been face to face with, but I realized we really already knew each other.  Certainly more than I thought we did.

After dinner, we shared a piece of cheesecake (really the one inevitable outcome of the evening) and then we walked along the boardwalk for a little while as we talked.

It was oddly hard to say good-bye, though it was time and had to be done.  I can’t speak for Gene, but for me, it was that much more disappointing, knowing that while we’ll continue to be friends and hopefully grow closer now that we’re “real” and not just words in a box, there’s still so much distance between us.

A Drop In – (In which I Parenthesis You To Death)

Oh hi!  I didn’t see you there!  I’m sorry, I don’t really have time to talk right now.

Okay, so, yeah, I’m cheating a little bit… again.  Or at least I feel like I am.  I really don’t have time to write a deep and meaningful post (or even a shallow and meaningful post).  Today is laundry day and I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to Michelle’s house.  She texted me a little bit ago and told me, “Stop playing games,” (I had just sent her my moves in Dice with Buddies – If you have an iProduct and you’re not playing Dice, you’re missing out.  It’s like Yahtzee, but on the phone and it’s fun, quick, mindless entertainment (in which I don’t routinely get my ass kicked.)) “and hurry up and get here so we can go to Red Lobster for dinner.”  (The girl is a sucker for Red Lobster.)

So, yeah.  I really shouldn’t be here right now, but I didn’t want the day to go by without a post (and I likely won’t be home before midnight in WordPresslandia – which is 11:00 my time).  (Did you know, I just learned a new rule about parentheses and periods?  Apparently, according to the Roget’s (I think I’m spelling that right) Writing Guide on my desk at work, the period goes inside the closing parenthesis if the entire sentence is in the parentheses and outside the closing parenthesis when only part of the sentence is inside the parentheses.  I always thought it was always supposed to be inside the closing parenthesis.  Go figure!) (I’m pretty sure I’m also breaking some rule about parentheses inside of parentheses, but whatever!)

Anyway.  Cheating.  Yeah.  I kind of am, because this is going to be one of the most pointless, long-winded, without saying anything, posts I’ve written in a while, but the thing is, how cool would it be if I could post a picture of my February calendar with all those little grey dots over each of the dates, like I did for January?  AND – and I”m not making any promises here – but how cool would it be if NEXT January, I can post twelve pictures of twelve little calendars with little grey dots on every one of them???  So since I didn’t have time (or inspiration) – (What’s with all the freakin’ parentheses, today?) to pre-write and schedule a post for today, while I’m not supposed to be on my computer, I had to stop in really quickly to tell you that I don’t have anything to say today…

Sorry to have wasted your time. 😉

Anyway, I have got a few things bubbling around in the back of my brain and so I’ve got things to write about in the coming days, but right now, unless I want to make THIS a habit, I’ve got to get a move on!

Talk to you later.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thirty-One in Thirty-One

Check this out:

Pretty cool right?  I don’t know if I’ve ever accomplished that before.  Possibly a millenia ago when I first started blogging on my old and long forgotten, top-secret blog.  I think that’s pretty neet though.

I said I was going to make an effort to write more and clearly I did.  Some of it was fluff, but hey, I can’t imagine you want to read deep and insightful every day any more than I want to write deep and insightful every day.  And yes, I’m giving myself credit for being deep and insightful even if I’m not really.  LET ME HAVE THIS!!!  🙂

It’s been a pretty fascinating experience too.  I’ve actually seen my blog readership grow this month.  Crap! I swore I wasn’t going to do this!  I find it kind of annoying when people write about how many people read their blogs but in this case it seems kind of important.  See, I used to want to be a big famous blogger.  I wanted to have thousands upon thousands of readers and I wanted to make money off my blog and I wanted to be able to quit my job and live off the revenue.  (Oh, who’m I kidding?  I still want that, but it’s not going to happen.)  I realized that I don’t have the right stuff for that.  I don’t have an interesting enough life, nor the ability to be all cute and quippy about my life, nor an endless influx of blogging material to draw from.  I also don’t have the business acumen or the social skills to promote myself enough to make it work.  (That’s something that may become a problem for me, which I’ll be discussing further in the near future.)  And don’t even get me started on my lack of technical skills when it comes to web development and making all the different features and applications and websites at my disposal play nicely together.

So I know I’m not going to be a big, rich and famous super-blogger and I’m okay with that.  But here’s what I am.  I am a writer.  I write about my feelings.  I write about my experiences (however uninteresting or few-and-far-between they may be.)  And I write about my views.  Nobody asked me.  And nobody has to read my opinions, but that’s why this is my space and not someone elses.  And that’s all well and good, except, I AM a writer and as a writer, I want people to read my words.  So I like to watch my statistics and see the numbers growing.

Last month, I assume due in part to my increased activity, I went from four blog subscribers (2 by e-mail – and both the same person – and 2 on WordPress.com), to 29.  (Don’t be fooled by the 372 listed at the top of this page.  WordPress is being generous and including my twitter followers in that number.  I guarantee you, most of them are not coming to my blog.  Hell, half of them aren’t even people.)  In addition to the subscribers, I seem to be getting a lot of people randomly coming across my blog through search terms, or because they’ve saved my URL as a favorite instead of using a reader or e-mail subscription.  The truth is, the most hits I’ve gotten in a single day is about 45 and that’s rare, but my numbers have still climbed considerably from where they were a year ago (or even a month ago.)

Thanks to my participation in the Write on Edge community, I’ve gained some additional periodic commenters; it’s no longer limited to only Terri.  It’s awesome to see more participation on this page.  I’ve also been more actively participating on other people’s blogs leaving comments more regularly…  That may have helped with bringing people here too…  Maybe.

Anyway, it’s really been a lot of fun, this month of writing.  It’s been surprisingly invigorating.  I remember, now, that writing is something I need to do.  It’s why I’m on this earth, I think.  (It may not be the only reason, but it’s certainly a reason I can’t ignore.)

So I’m grateful to all of you who read this.  I’m thrilled that you’ve stumbled across these pages and that so many have continued to come back.  I hope you’ll tell your friends…  No really.  Tell your friends.  That’ll be relevant later when I get around to that problematic, self-promotion thing.