Monday, October 16, 2017

On Coming Out...

So for those of you who may not know, October 11 each year is “National Coming Out Day.” First celebrated in 1988, it allows for those of us who have a different sexual orientation to celebrate who we are and to challenge those still in the closet to break down the closet door and to join in on living a healthy and happy life.

It troubles me when people make fun or ridicule the concepts of gay pride and coming out. Some say, “I want straight pride.” Well, I’d like for you to stop and think about this. For years I made myself sick from trying to be what some would say is “normal.” I went so far as to get married and to have children and to enjoy all the trappings that are associated with the concept of marriage. Deep inside I was a miserable creature. I was not happy. I was told that people like me were ungodly, unholy, perverted, and satanic even. I worked hard to cover. But somehow, the authentic you always works counter to covering up your true nature and I failed many, many times.
Still I did what was expected. I joined several “ex-gay groups” that told me to pray it away. So I prayed. It didn’t go away. I fasted. I cried. I became super active in my church. I shunned social gatherings and certain church functions for fear someone would suspect of find out. I read my Bible. I read everything I could get my hands on concerning reparative therapy. Nothing worked.
I fell deeper into depression and feeling second class or even into the ranks of steerage. This while I was a faithful church member and devoted Christian.
So, in those instances where people suspected, I suffered taunts. I was bullied. I was laughed at. I was whispered about. I was threatened with harm. I was screamed at and told I was going to hell.
It was not a good feeling. So, with God’s help, I slowly came to terms with myself. It has been a long and winding journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
To those of you who think it’s a choice of some kind, why would someone choose something that is the subject of such ridicule and derision? As diverse as the world is…..from folks’ skin colors, their customs, their religions, the variety of plants and organisms, differences in hair and eye color, body shape, is it no wonder that there are differences in sexual orientation?
It does no good to demonize difference.
Humankind is guilty of doing this throughout the ages. Someone somewhere always has the desire to be “superior” or part of a higher class.

The impetus to make me decide to come out broadly occurred last fall, when a former family friend in the Huntington WV area wrote me a blistering comment here on Facebook letting me know basically how awful I was to have GLBTQ friends. She ended her tirade by making fun of my feelings of ministry…and for my serving communion to these individuals “If you’re called to the ministry,” she said, “then I’m the Queen of Sheba.” She defriended me. Not heard from her since. But that ignited me to come out in a broader way. You see, my family of choice here in the metro area….and my friends here….and my kids, my former wife, and various other folks all know that I’m gay. They still love me and routinely let me know it. They care for me. And they have been beacons of light and life to me.
My parents knew and were supportive. The only folks not clued in were my extended relatives in WV. So I decided to just put it out there back in May. Oh some have said some hateful things that have found their way back to me. Others have said nothing…and some have gone so far to say “If I have nothing good to say, then I say nothing at all.” These are strong examples of the affirmation that I have received from the folks who have said before how much they loved me.
However, all is not dark and gloom in WV. A section of my family there have offered their unconditional love and support. This is probably because they told me about all the folks in their branch of the family who are gay. They have gotten used to the idea of difference and support it. I have even had relatives come visit me…that I’d never picture coming to see me – just to let me know of their love and support.

It’s times like that that I am proud of who I am. For the first time in my life I have self esteem….I have an unfathomable reservoir of love for people. God has given me a special love for people in the LGBTQ community especially who are suffering from depression….family rejection….hurt….and thoughts of suicide. And…I understand. I know what all those feelings are like.

So, yes, when Pride Month happens in June…I’m gonna be in the festival with my church—praying and offering communion to those who are hurting because the church has inflicted such painful wounds. And on National Coming Out Day, I’m celebrating that I’m just as God intended.
So, if you are a closeted gay person – one that is afraid of your shadow…afraid of rejection…hurt….shame, call me up. I’ll be your advocate, your cheerleader and I will offer my unconditional love and support. You don’t have to feel alone.

Finally, one other thing as I reflect upon nearly 60 years of life with all the ups and the downs.
Isn’t it ironic that God took my mother on National Coming Out Day 2010 and my dad during Capital Pride 2011?

sLong Time, No Hear...

It has been a while since my last pos...and a reader sent an email expressing concern, wondering where I've been and if I was okay.

Well, I guess I'm okay...but I haven't felt too inspired to write lately.

I did go to the beach alone over the Memorial Day Weekend. I had a good time, but it was scary. I was uneasy about going alone, but I did and I had a good time. I'm glad that I went.

Around the time of Capital Pride in June, I was asked by a gay colleague about my experiences at my office. As we chatted about my 40 years there, he asked if I would be willing to share it in an article to the gay contingent within the agency. I gave it some thought and agreed. Just before PRIDE it hit the streets and I had "come out" to the entire agency. Further, my colleague sent out an email to my immediate office congratulating my coming out.

So, since I had basically blown the hinges off my closet door at the agency...I decided to go one step further and pasted the article in its entirety on my Facebook page. This was done to make sure that all my relatives in WV were clued in. Well, the relatives from WV have been totally silent. However, I have heard from one branch unbridled support...including a whole nest of gay relatives! Who knew?

The amount of support I have received from other friends has been phenomenal. I am so thankful that I did the deed.

It's a great feeling to finally be able to live authentically. Due to the toxic nature of some of the family I have, it's okay to never hear from them again -- I mean really. I know longer need to please them or to try and keep them contented.

So, as you can see, it has been a busy summer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Baby Steps Forward...

So, the romantic trip to the beach with Chris has now changed to the trip to hell. I haven't been able to find a person who is able to join me. So it's either don't go....or suck it up and go and make the most of a spacious two bedroom, two bath, oceanfront condo ALONE!

I'm also a little reticent about going alone in view of the health scares I've had in the past month. Slipping into two diabetic comas back-to-back was totally scary. The only thing that saved me was the fact that my children saw them both happen and they immediately called 911.

According to my doctors it was because my sugars were too controlled. My A1C was a 5.0. Which isn't even considered diabetic.

But its dangerous for someone like me for sugars to be kept that low. You run the danger of having what happened to me.

So since then, I've been watching my sugars....I'm off two key diabetic meds including the insulin. My numbers are better and I'm watching my sugar levels constantly. So I think I'll be fine at the beach.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

And So It Goes...

So here I am...nearly two weeks after Chris' departure. I think I'm moving through this experience as well as can be expected...but I still face some unexpected speed bumps that hurt.

Upon his departure, I established a new account on SCRUFF...and I posted an ad on Craigs List. He had been in my life for four months...and I had not been on any of those sites the whole time. But in his way, Chris gave me a lecture about how I must not have loved him as much as I said I did because I did this. Ouch. That hurt. He didn't get it. On top of this, he never deleted his SCRUFF profile the whole time.

I've been on several dates with wonderful men...but I've played it low key. Nothing to write home about. No relationships begun. No glimmers of romances to come. Just time fillers. Experiences to be had.

And then there is the beach next week.... which I dread.

Originally I scheduled this as a time for just Chris and me to be together. I paid for it. It's nonrefundable. It felt like a cold slap in the face when he said that he had made other plans. So I guess I'm not friend material either? The condo I had rented is a two bedroom two bath one...and he could have had his own room. But I suppose I'm chopped liver. Not worth being near....not worth spending time with in any capacity.

So, today I am trying to navigate this new normal...allowing the hurts to heal. To mourn the profound loss and wonder what happened....and to mourn what could have been.

And so it goes...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Back to the Drawing Board

So, here I sit trying to come to terms with the fact that Chris ended things. April 8 he did it...then moved out on May 10.

I'm a bit in shock. I just don't understand...especially with the strong feelings he had expressed to me and had shared with you in his post here.

So, I won't pretend that I know the reasons. I don't. I know what some of the things he said..but they don't really make sense. My birthday was a fiasco. My kids and he did not get along...but to them, he was a complete and total stranger, who moved in too fast...and tried to be their pal. He got upset because of this...and I told him that he and I were in relationship...not with them. They would come around...and they would have.

I suspect there were other factors...including the fact that on April 17 and 18, I went into two diabetic comas that left me near death. My sugars dropped unexpectedly and I wound up in the hospital for a week. My BP went through the roof...and they had a hard time keeping my sugars up.

So that was scary.

Perhaps in his sight, I'm nothing more than damaged goods.

I dunno.

I tried so hard...

I'm still in shock. I'm doing much better health wise....but he is gone. Sad to say, I was in pretty bad condition since last summer when Stan got married to his SCRUFF trick. I thought it was my emotions that were wreaking havoc with me...but it was my diabetes. My fog has lifted and I feel much, much better.

But emotionally I feel empty...I'm somewhat distraught. When he left, I immediately put up a profile on SCRUFF...and posted an ad on Craigslist. Primarily out of hurt. I just needed to have a mindless release with some male figure that would make my hurt go away.

Chris saw them and now accuses me of not really loving him as much as I said I did...

My point is why should he care? I did not do any of these things until he walked away. I ditched my profiles on SCRUFF, GROWLR, GRINDR, JACKD', MISTER, MATCH, and SILVERDADDIES, when he and I started our relationship. He never gave up SCRUFF but remained on it the whole time. He said he was looking for friends for us.

He just doesn't get the profound hurt that I'm undergoing. The stark sadness. The feeling of failure. The feeling of being damaged goods. My counselor says that the situation says more about him...than me. But there is very little solace in that if in fact that is all true.

I feel like a failure. All my relationships have failed after all and I'm the one constant.

He also continued to have long telephone calls with his ex BF from out of state. I dare say that person knew more about me and our situation than I did. He also remained in close contact with his ex-wife...who didn't particularly care for me. She kept likening me to his first male lover...who was not a popular item in the family. (I'm nothing like that one.) I feel that he allowed all of them to plant doubts of some kind about us.

So, I'm back at square one.

My one solace is that I've had two wonderful men to say to me privately how much they love me and wish they could be there for me...but their life situations won't allow that to happen in a substantial way.

I do understand that...but I appreciate their sincere concern and for them to bare their souls to me. It has taken away my feelings of inadequacy...and my shortcomings...

Still it pains me to think of Chris...



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ready for Change

This weekend is the official start of my new life with Chris. As I have prepared myself emotionally, psychologically and pragmatically, I find that I'm having to purge myself of many of the ghosts from my past. It's funny, but it seems when things start turning around the ghosts begin to arise from their barren graves to try and torment me and to rob me of the joy I have mustered due to my good fortune.

In this case, I have so yearned and longed for a man to be with and to live life with...and a few months ago, I felt like literally folding up my rainbow flag and putting it away because I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I always found those men who were not really what I wanted...or felt I deserved...and I wound up getting hurt -- badly, in the process.

Then Chris appears in my life. And as he and I have become further acquainted...and his job prospects brought him literally into my backyard....and to the point of him moving in....and the profound feelings we have for each other...well...unless you're gay....and have someone that loves you unconditionally -- warts and all -- you'll never understand. Given my gay orientation, I've often wondered if the way I'm feeling with Chris...and those strong and intensely personal feelings that I have for him, are what garden variety straight men feel for their girlfriends or wives.

I've just never felt this way about anyone. Not Stan....not Zach.....not Patrick....not Lee......

And certainly not Lovey.

But yet here are these feelings for Chris....that seem to wash over my in tidal waves of joy and anticipation.

It is so very hard for me to describe these feelings to anyone. Especially if you're not from a gay orientation.

So, Chris arrives at my house on Sunday afternoon. I'm taking off Monday to be with him and help him to get settled. He begins his new job on Tuesday.

We're both ready.....ready for this big CHANGE!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Random Thoughts

So my ADD has kicked in big time. My thoughts have been all over the place today.

An interesting development has happened with Lovey. For the past little while, I've gotten the distinct impression that she would like to get back together with me...after all this time. It amazes me that given what she had written in 2014 in her journal that I ran across as I prepared for my new bedroom furniture, that basically she thought I was scum. In fact, as I spend time with her now, I get the impression that she thinks she is several notches above me. But that's okay. I refuse to get sucked back into the drama of contests...especially with her.

So, a few weeks ago, my eldest child, a daughter, asked if she could tell her mother about Chris' arrival. I didn't see why this needed to occur, but I gave my permission since it seemed important for her to talk about it with her mother.

As far as I know, that conversation took place.

But...I've not received any fall out from her....heck, I've not gotten any kind of communication from her. Considering she was very, very communicative up until now, I find it odd that she is not being like she was.

She's almost standoffish.

I'm not complaining, but I'm pleasantly amused by it all.

It will definitely be interesting for her to meet Chris -- he's looking forward to that. But I'm not pushing for that in any way. In fact, going forward, if she should invite all of us to visit her home over a weekend or for a family gathering, I will be pushing for Chris and I to stay in a hotel.

He is from the area where Lovey pastors. He's very familiar with it. He still has relatives and his former wives that live there. In fact, he even knows one particular lady minister that Lovey alienated many years ago. In fact, long before he and I met, this lady minister told him about Lovey and how awful she was.

OY.

So its amazing to me that he and I have found each other. We are tremendously excited about the future and all the adventures to be had. Given our spiritual backgrounds, we are looking forward to putting God first in our relationship and seeing where our journey takes us!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Artists Of Then, Now & Forever - Forever Country




This video is quite special to me.  It takes an old song about WV "Take Me Home Country Roads" and comingles it with "On The Road Again" and "I Will Always Love You"  Then it throws in tons of artists all in celebration of the CMA's Awards 50th Anniversary last fall!  Then, you have a special moment in music.  ENJOY!