Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thanks 2013, I Needed That!

As I reflect on 2013, and anticipate 2014, I am looking back in order to look ahead and become more aware of who I am by acknowledging who I was. I had initially planned on reflecting on all the events of 2013, but chose not to. But, instead I found a post I initially wrote this past summer, but for some reason never published. And yet, it seems very apropos for today. ~JB


Among the definitions of pride at Dictionary.com are these:
  1. a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
  2. the state or feeling of being proud.
  3. a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one's position or character;   self-respect; self-esteem.
Looking at some of these definitions, or portions thereof, a proud person could be considered almost haughty. I guess it's how you carry yourself. 

After all, pride comes before the fall.

For many of us, Pride does come before the fall, in the summer. 

In June.

And we sometimes define it as a giant party.

I have attended various LGBTQ Pride events, on and off since coming out. I marched in the parade a couple of times before meeting my first partner and then, we would attend it and watch it together. But after a while, it became the same parade year after year. I mean, how many times can you watch hot young men dancing in their underwear (or less) to heart-stopping bass-thumping music on the bed of a flatbed truck?  What made the parades worthwhile were those community organizations that marched: Aids Project Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Gay Teachers of Los Angeles, Evangelicals Together, and Black and White Men Together were some of the community organizations that marched in the parades. Some of those groups are no longer appearing in the parades or have disbanded altogether. 

As LGBTQ visibility grew many major companies began having employee groups march in the parades.  Let's not kid ourselves, it was to show their acceptance so we would give them our business. After all, some gay couples allegedly have more disposable income as we don't have children to raise.

Stereotypes change, and same-sex couples are indeed raising children. But, I digress.
Group Shot!
Enough of the history lesson and back to the meaning of pride.

I marched in the parade this year.

I have been following both the National Office and Los Angeles Chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network on Twitter, @glsen and @GLSENLosAngeles, respectively. When I saw a tweet asking for more marchers in the LA Pride Parade, I signed up.

7:00 Parade morning rolled around, ugh. But, I'm usually up anyway as my cat can't tell the difference between a work and non-work day.  I performed my morning rituals, and decided not to drive to  West Hollywood, as parking is a major headache on a regular day, and now with a gatrillion LGBTQ people storming the smallest city I know of with the seemingly most restrictive parking, finding a place to park would be a major migraine! So, I opted for public transport.

We've started moving! I'm carrying  their banner!
There were two reasons I decided to march this year. When my ex left, I could count my gay male friends without lifting a finger. Not even one. Our married life had left us somewhat reclusive due to budget cuts, the regular housework, the house and yard maintenance, the furry children and the sheer fatigue from teaching.  We had been members of a gay dance club, but when he began his coursework for his teaching credential, his time for dancing was limited, and even though I continued going, we eventually dropped out. And the people seemed to drop us. 

With no gay male friends, I lost touch with my gayself. What does it mean to gay? Other than the attraction to other men? Do I have to like Judy Garland songs? Or Lady Gaga? Katy Perry? Musical Theater? Must I go to brunch on Sundays? Or throw/attend lavish awards show parties?  I needed to find that community support, that community understanding, that community itself. I needed to expand my social circle. I needed to come back out.

Somewhere along the route!
I also needed that sense of pride from the community. Coming home to animals who love me is great, but they can't talk to me, reassuring me the bigots are wrong, they can't help me talk through rough times when I feel the pain of discrimination, of bigotry, of buried self-inflicted homophobia. I recall very clearly how proud I was, how loved I felt when I first stepped onto the parade route all those years ago. The energy this time was different. I still felt love, but maybe I was used to it after all these years. Maybe it was because I was older and no longer fresh out of the closet. I was about two years out last time, not thirty. Maybe the crowd was more used to the parades, since its inception in 1970.  

Maybe I just did it for my own sense of Pride.

JB- And, maybe I did it for my first steps in moving forward back into the community and into 2014! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Change is in the Air!

In my most recent posts, I've discussed some signs of change(s) possibly coming my way. To recap, right after I signed up on a spirituality focused dating site, I received the following signs:
  • a sign from a friend saying I was braver, stronger and smarter than I gave myself credit for;
  • a sign from the Squirrel totem to prepare for change, not once but twice in a row;
  • a sign from my subconscious saying my soul was ready to meet its mate;
  • a sign to learn to let things be when my car's check engine light suddenly went off after two days of being on, which suggests the problem seemed to correct itself;
  • a sign that, when I gravitated towards malachite from a group of six stones in a photograph, I was signaling the Universe what my deepest desire was and/or amplifying my current emotions. In New Age healing, malachite is a stone used to amplify the soul's deepest desire and current emotions. Uh-huh. Being that I have recently admitted I would like a relationship, I may have inadvertently set things in motion. Fine. What will be, will be. (Cue Doris Day!)
These many signs so close together certainly cannot be ignored.

And these many signs might mean a big change is on the way.

I went on to say that maybe the coming change might not necessarily be something normally associated with a big change, like career, romance or finances, and it could be either negative or positive. 

It's simply a change, I can't avoid it, just prepare for it, as Squirrel suggests, twice.

As 2013 comes to a close, and we embark on 2014, I feel positive. I do indeed sense a change is in the air. The economy is improving, (maybe I'll get a raise!), I'm more open to meeting guys (a potential boyfriend on the horizon?), I'm pushing myself to work on my next novel (a NY Times bestseller?), all of the above? (Let's not get crazy!)

Perhaps the change in question is just my attitude in general, which could lead to some of the other changes down the road. Let's just hope that when I return to teaching after winter recess, I can retain this positive attitude. 

But, just in case, I did buy a malachite stone. 
After all it does match my eyes.

Friday, December 27, 2013


It is said you should never judge someone until you've walked in their shoes. I say you should never judge anyone, period.

I prefer to believe you will never truly know someone until you have walked in their shoes or, at least, in a similar pair. After all, they may wear a different size than you.

I recently began seeing an openly-gay therapist, as opposed to a gay-affirmative one. Yes, there is a big difference, as a gay therapist has actually walked the walk and talked the talk needed to help their LGBTQI clients realize their full potential, and has actually experienced the same identification issues, bullying, shame and internalized homophobia the client may be confronting. That is, they walked in similar shoes.

As I have been dealing with putting myself back together following my divorce from my husband, some deep seated issues dealing with self-esteem and internalized homophobia surfaced, possibly stemming from issues around my family of origin, which prompted me to seek out a gay therapist.

I am happy with my decision.

He has challenged me to look deep into myself. Good. The other therapists did as well, but coming from his own gay perspective, he knew what questions to ask and how to ask them. Yet, I have pushed back challenging him. Good, I'm standing up for myself.

I recently shared my newest online adventure with him, stating I signed up for this spiritual dating site to meet friends and develop a social life. As best I can recall, our conversation went something like this:

     "Oh, come on, Jeff! You signed up on an online dating site just to meet platonic friends? Seriously? Admit it, you were looking for a relationship."
     "No, my initial decision to sign up stemmed from my realization I needed a life, I needed to meet men to start having that life that didn't revolve around my work, my house, and my sick aging cat. If a relationship did happen, fine; then, I'd explore the option. BUT, it was not my conscious reason for signing up. I'm not sure I'm ready for one."
     "Oh, I think you're ready. And, I think you were also looking for sex."
     "Perhaps, and yes, it would be nice to be held and touched again. But, I don't want to feel like a cheep whore afterward."
     "I mean there's always Craigslist, but why subject myself to possible physical, and emotional harm just to get off?"
     "You're absolutely right. I think you're very lonely."
     "For a boyfriend, just to have a boyfriend, no. For a social life with a circle of friends to hang out with somewhat regularly, absofuckinglutely."

We discussed strategies on how to achieve that last goal: bars/clubs-possibly, but not the ideal way due to the alcohol element; social organizations-better, but it can take time to break into the groups/cliques that are already in place; professional organizations- better, but then I'm still focused on work issues, another area of my life where I'm having major concerns.

We sat in silence for a moment, he was looking at me rather intently.
     "What are you thinking?"
     "I'm wondering what you're feeling, Jeff."
     "I'm overwhelmed."
     "I can imagine."
     "But, in a good way. I need to confront these feelings and answer these questions."
     "It's all positive. I'm exactly where I need to be."

So, he got me to admit/accept:
  1. I actually am lonely, but more for a social life than a boyfriend.
  2. I actually would like a relationship, (but I'm not settling for less than what I deserve).
  3. I actually would like a little 'action,' but nothing meaningless.
  4. I actually am in a good place.
And I believe it.

All of it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Take A Chance on Me

I love ABBA, I admit it. I grew up in the disco era, and their music called to me! Maybe it was a foreshadowing of my time spent in the gay dance clubs? Who knows. One of my biggest regrets is not getting to see them in concert, but since they never toured North America, I can hardly find fault in that.

One of their earlier songs, Take a Chance on Me, (January 1978) comes to mind right now. It's a song between two people where one is asking the other to take a chance and consider him/her for a relationship. Sounds a bit like begging, I know. 

"If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown, take a chance on me."

But, I'm seeing it in a different way.

I took a chance on myself. 

As I'd posted before, I signed up on an online spiritual dating site in spite of my feelings about online dating in general. I am learning to be 'in the moment' and that's what I did. I stated in my profile I was looking for friends first, as I believe the best long-term relationships start from a friendship and take time to grow into something more. But, men react to a physical attraction as well. So, how does this all play into my beliefs? I don't know, I'm so confused. 

Anyway, I took a chance and sent a message to a guy I found attractive.  There was something in his eyes I liked, and his profile sounded nice. An honesty. And he was handsome.

He replied saying he thought we had something in common and we agreed to meet within the week, then the date was postponed to the following weekend and now that gave me an extra week to build things up in my mind. A very bad habit I need to break. This became an opportunity for me to seriously force myself back into the present moment, and not think ahead.

We finally met, and we had a nice time walking and talking. We were relaxed with each other, very comfortable. I wasn't sensing any pretense on his part, nor was I consciously showing any. When it came time to part ways, I gave him a hug, and suggested we get together again. He agreed. 

Via email, we set up a second meeting or would this be an actual date? Was the first meeting an actual date? Or just a meeting to test the waters? I'm so confused. In my mind they both were dates. 

After our first meeting or date, my mind went into overdrive. I liked him, we were somewhat compatible, yet there were some things I knew could become challenges in anything long term. Maybe we were destined to be friends, only. I was still determined to learn to let it be.

Yet, on our first date while sitting on the park bench talking, I began thinking about things more physical. Yes, I admit it, I was entertaining nasty thoughts, while still thinking there's something missing here. How can I justify having those randy thoughts while suspecting he might not be THE ONE? I became even more determined to let it be and just be in the moment.

Our second date went well, he was willing to play it by ear as I had a service technician coming to my house sometime the morning of the second date. I'd call or text him when I'd be on my way. The technician arrived, finished his job and went on his way in the first hour of the time window the office quoted me. I sent an email suggesting we just meet at 1:00 at the restaurant and go from there. He agreed. What a great guy!

After meeting, having a nice lunch and another walk and talk, we parted ways. I suggested another date, a hike to a spot on a hill to take in some nature; he thought it would be a nice outing. 

All this time, I was determined to let things be, and just let the situation play itself out. The big step of what about the physical component of any relationship was weighing on my mind. Was I attracted to him enough to 'do it'? Did I want to because he was interested and therefore convenient?  What was this gnawing in my gut that something was off? 

Well, there won't be a third date, after all. It seems he doesn't feel we have enough of a 'connection'. He decided that, even though we have some things in common and are comfortable with each other, there's not enough of a connection to pursue anything more serious. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have met him, and appreciate his honesty. 

Yet, maybe there's enough of a connection for a platonic friendship, I suggested. But, even that felt like I was stretching things.

Maybe that was the gnawing in my gut, I wasn't feeling enough of a possible romantic connection.

I was drawn to him for a reason, now I need to find out why.

At the least, I took a chance on myself and stepped out a bit. And I enjoyed my time with him.

Maybe that's it. 

Keep taking chances on myself. 

At some point, it will pay off.
ABBA at the Mamma Mia movie premiere in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Soul mate?

Lately, I've been blogging about signs of a big change coming my way. When we first think of change we often think of something physical: a new job, a new house, winning the lottery; or perhaps, we think of something emotional, a new relationship, or a shift in a current one.

What if the change is neither?

What if it's mental? Or spiritual?

I'm talking about, attitude. Some people view an attitude as the way you approach something, like a project or even, life.

Or, better yet, dating.

I had a shift in my attitude towards dating and signed up for a spiritual dating site and started chatting with a nice man and we made a date to meet. And then the signs started appearing. True to my past behaviors, I began suspecting the signs were telling me my soul mate was on the horizon. And I had a date a week later. Quelle coincidence! I had to rein myself in to keep from believing he was the ONE. The first man I chatted with on this new site. How fortunate could I be to meet him on the first weekend I'd signed up!

But, what is a soul mate? Many of us, myself included, believe a soul mate is the ONE person we're destined to spend the rest of our life with. Our one true love. The product of Hollywood movies, and literature. The ONE who understands us, the ONE who completes us.

I grew up a child of divorce, and vowed that would never happen to me. I would meet the woman of my dreams and we'd be together forever. Then, I came out, and believed I'd meet the man of my dreams and we'd be together forever.

I must say, neither of the two men I've had long term relationships with were the men of my dreams. But, I loved them just the same. Now, I've been widowed and divorced.

I've come to accept that relationships are vibrant living entities unto themselves. They grow and change as the people involved grow and change. What causes us to grow and change? Our circumstances, our paths, and many, many other factors.

I have come to believe everyone we meet, for however long, is a soul mate of some sort. What they bring to us, to our soul, determines how long they may be in our life. I no longer believe a soul mate is a permanent relationship, nor perhaps, even a romantic one.

The one true love that curls our toes when we see that person, when we hold that person's hand, when the lovemaking transcends the physical and becomes more spiritual is what some are calling our Twin Flame; the one who brings out the best in us, the one who is our complement, the one who never asks us to be something we are not.

According to Twin Flame theory, both people are simultaneously inspired and toppled by the power of the union. Sounds like you'll be thunderstruck when you meet your Twin. However, as humans still have and exercise free will, your Twin may choose not to act upon it. Or, you may not. The power can be so strong, it could even frighten people away which could be why Twin Flame relationships are so rare. Could something this good be true?

Or maybe even, am I good enough for this relationship? Am I worthy of something so wonderful?

If, as the signs tell me, something is changing in my life, and if, IF, my Twin Flame is on the horizon, it is my every intention to take it so slow, because

Yes, I am worth it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

More from Mother Mary

In my last post I had come to the realization I needed to really work on letting things be. 

I saw the benefit of that this week.

Wednesday morning halfway into my thirty mile drive to work through an uphill, unpopulated area of Los Angeles County, my check engine light came on. I have OnStar in my car, so I called and asked for an on demand diagnostic and the results came back that something in the cooling system wasn't working properly. I made it safely to work, and at an appropriate time I called my service advisor at the dealership. He thought it might be the thermostat. He also said it shouldn't be too big of a worry and if the car begins to overheat, I should turn on the heater. (!) Okay. I'll take his advice, crazy as it sounds.

When I left school that afternoon, the light was still on and stayed on all the nerve-wracking way home. I had been thinking about taking the metro in to work for a while, and now seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. So, I timed out the train schedules, and adjusted my alarm clock accordingly. I was now getting up half an hour earlier and leaving the house forty-five minutes sooner than I was used to.

The engine light was on all the way to the station and I made the transfers with minimal waiting time. The return trip was also successful and actually made it home around the same time as I was used to. My cat was happy.

Friday was a repeat of Thursday as I had decided to make this a more regular thing to save wear and tear on my aging car. However, on the way home from the station that afternoon, the glaring amber check engine light went off! I called OnStar and explained to the technician what happened, asked for a new on demand diagnostic, and it came back clean. Nothing seemed to be working improperly! My car had healed itself! I checked with my service advisor about mechanical miracles and he said it sometimes does happen. I asked if I should still bring it in and he said, I kid you not, "Let it be."

My first reaction was to take the car in and repair it, something I could not afford to do, either financially or time-wise. But, I need to get to work. There's still the metro.

Continuing on, yet in a slightly different thread, I am still receiving messages that something big is about to happen in my life. I was scrolling on Facebook and a post caught my eye. "Which of these stones do you prefer?" was the headline. I tapped it, and scanned the six stones and made my choice; the pretty green one to match my eyes! I glanced at the text below the picture and was directed to read the paragraphs associated with stone #2, the one I chose, green malachite. 

It seems, according to some, that the ancient properties associated with malachite is that it is not to be used in healing rituals as it is a mirror of the soul. If the person wearing it is in a negative mood, the malachite will magnify it, and likewise for someone in a positive mood. The paragraph went on to say that malachite has been thought to be a megaphone for what the user is feeling or thinking and then projecting those emotions or thoughts into the Universe. It also has been used in helping balance the heart chakra and assisting the wearer in cleansing emotional impurities around relationships. Interesting.

Now, do I believe a stone can do this? Not necessarily, but I don't disbelieve either. I believe it may be something to anchor the mind and let the mind actually begin to heal the body and spirit and then put the energy out there for the Universe to pick up on. Do I have any malachite lying around? No, but I do have amethysts as it is my birthstone and it's purple, one of my favorite colors. Am I going to run to the nearest psychic book store for a malachite stone, maybe. I just like the stone. The fact that I may use it to focus my positive energy and overcome the negative energies I've been feeling lately may simply be a byproduct. Besides, it's a pretty shade of green. 

Yesterday, I opened my Animal Messages app, cleared my mind and asked for general advice and selected a card. Squirrel again! This is twice in a row I've been told to prepare for big changes!

So, I've been told I'm braver, stronger, and smarter than I give myself credit for, that I seriously need to prepare for big changes, my subconscious woke me up with thought, "when the soul is ready..." which I finished with "he will appear", I have been validated to just let things be, I gravitated toward a stone that will magnify my thoughts and feelings to the Universe as well as balance my heart chakra. Is all of this a bit much? Am I over-reading the signs? Have I gone wacko?

The biggest and possibly strangest coincidence in all this is that these signs all appeared after I began chatting with a guy online and we decided to meet.

Maybe the signs were there all along, and they're only coming into focus because I have this date. 

I'm just going to let it be.

But, a little malachite couldn't hurt.

Besides, it matches my eyes.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Messages, Moments and Mother Mary

Very often we get messages from our Higher Power, whether we call it God, the Universe, or something else. And very often the difficulty or confusion for us lies in the fact we do not pay attention to them.

Or, we over analyze them.

I've been paying more attention to my instinct lately. I realized I needed to start living my life, or at least having one. I've also been trying to live more in the moment and act accordingly. I've opened myself up to being more receptive to dating and joined a more spiritual dating community.

I've been getting some messages lately, confirming I've done the right thing.

One of the first signs I received after making this decision, came from a friend, and this sign reminded me I often sell myself short. So, in this new phase of my life, this is to remind me I can handle what ever happens. I am in control of myself.

I also like to use different sources for daily meditative thoughts and affirmations. I also like to tune in to messages from animal totems. I have an app that has different messages on virtual cards picturing different animals and their messages, comparable to a tarot deck. Sometimes I will use one of the messages as a meditation for the day. The day after I received the above sign, I opened the app, cleared my mind, and randomly selected a card.

I drew the Squirrel card.

And Squirrel's message is: PREPARATION-Get ready for big changes. As the squirrel anticipates the changes of winter, he prepares and gets everything ready and in place. For me, this change could mean a new job (not likely in the middle of a school year), a new relationship (possible, but I'm not holding my breath especially so soon after deciding to be more active) or a major move (again, not likely). While I can't anticipate what change is coming, I can prepare my mind to be open to the nuances of the change itself. With change comes the potential for worry, which in turn makes the change a lot harder. I need to rely on family and friends for support during this time. And, above all, I need to BREATHE.

This morning, three hours before my alarm was to go off, I woke up to this thought stampeding through my head: "When the soul is ready..." and that was it. That was the entire thought that disturbed my sleep. Yet, I immediately finished the thought with the words "he will appear." It was automatic, a knee-jerk reaction in the daze of interrupted sleep. It all sounded so familiar, but where had I heard it before? I'd actually read it in an article on soul mates.

Is this the change that is coming? Will my soul mate soon appear? Has the Universe decided I am ready whether I think I am or not?

Time will tell....

So, the messages are telling me:
  • I'm braver, smarter and stronger than I give myself credit for; 
  • a change is coming, so I need to prepare my mind (and my heart), rely on others for support and not worry about it; 
  • and my soul is ready to meet a possible soul mate, at least according to my subconscious, which woke me up to tell me this. 
Trouble is, I've over analyzed messages before.

As, I'm working on just being in the moment, and following my instinct as I open myself up to the possibilities of dating, I will follow those words of wisdom from Mother Mary,

Let it be.
To read the article on the Soul Mates, click on this link.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Empathically Introverted

I am soooooo going to get mail on this one!

I grew up watching the original show, Star Trek, and was interested in giving Star Trek: The Next Generation a try when it first came on. After one particular episode early on in the series, I was done. Finished, no more Star Trek for me. (Until Deep Space Nine and Voyager came on and I gave them a try for a while) I loved how, in the original, Captain Kirk had to trust his instincts to make decisions. In this particular Next Generation episode, Captain Picard, a fine Captain in his own right, cheated in making his decisions. Well, in my opinion, he cheated. He had help Kirk did not have. Picard's help was in the form of an empath, Counselor Deanna Troi, who could 'read' or 'sense' other people's emotions. In other words, she told Capt. Picard whom to trust and whom not to. Give me a break.

I have been thinking about Deanna a lot lately. But, why?

Because I have begun to suspect lately I'm more of an empath. Empathy is defined as 1) the identification and understanding of another's situation and feelings; 2) the action of being sensitive to another person's experience and feelings and 3) understanding and entering into another person's feelings. Whenever my dog's kneecaps slipped out of their socket and he limped around the room yelping in pain, I would go into shock and nearly faint until it worked itself back in again. I nearly passed out when the vet removed the sutures from my cat's operation knowing how she felt to have the sutures slide though her like that yet never having had abdominal surgery, nor sutures.
I haven't wanted to start dating for a number of reasons previously stated: lack of money, lack of time, lack of energy, lack of desire, fears of rejection, fears of intimacy, fears of repeating past mistakes, I could go on yet again, but I won't.

Yet, something new has come up in my dating avoidance scheme.

I seem to be more caught up in others' emotions and what I might or might not do that might hurt them. I see emotional issues from their side rather than mine and then think how my actions will affect them; e.g., in addition to the lack of time/energy/money, if I'm not looking to settle down, should I even be available for dating? Is it fair to give someone a false idea or hope? The idea physically pains me.

Yet, some would say its presumptive of me to think he would find me suitable enough for marriage after the first sip of coffee. Maybe conceited, even. There is a chance, I'm not what he's looking for. Plus, I haven't dated in over twenty-five years, I can't possibly expect to have a perfect first date, the first time out.So, I'm bound to make mistakes the first few times out.

And still others would ask me why is it such a big deal? You both might like each other, or not. If you both do, great; take it one day at a time! If you both don't, move on. If he does, but you don't, he's a big boy and can take care of himself. Stop taking care of him and take care of yourself. And if he doesn't but you do, then start taking care of yourself, and move on.

But, am I taking care of myself by not dating at all? One could argue I am. Another could argue I'm hiding out.

And, if I'm still trying to figure myself out, is it fair to drag him through it? A friend I confided all this to suggested he might want to take that trip with me. What if the Universe has conspired for me to learn something from him?
I will just have to learn to live with my empathic sensitivities...but, how? I guess I'll just have to stay in the moment.

In addition to thinking I'm more of an empath, or at least highly sensitive, I'm beginning to suspect my self-imposed isolation has turned me into an introvert, or at least I'm becoming more aware that I could be one and always have been. In the Huffington Post article, 23 Signs You're Secretly an Introvert, I solidly identified with eleven of the twenty-three signs, a bit less with the others and the only one I could not identify with at all said introverts tend to have low blood pressure, I don't. Among the ones I most strongly identified with:
  • small talk is cumbersome;
    • yes, stimulate my mind!
  • parties are to catch up with friends, not meet new ones;
    • more names to remember and what you do and who you're with
    • gods, more small talk
  • I tire easily when overstimulated, especially in social settings;
    • see parties, above
  • I can feel alone in a crowd;
    • see parties, above
  • I don't get energized from my surroundings;
    • too much external energy saps my own
  • I can be "intense";
    • I'm just trying to remember what you said to me
and lastly,
  • I'm a writer.
    • it's easier to express emotion through writing than verbally
      • it's also an Aquarian thing
All this will make it hard to meet someone, especially at the beginning with all the cumbersome, but necessary small talk; and then meeting his friends, and his family, etc. My palms are already sweaty.

So, am I an empathic introvert or an introverted empath? Does it matter which comes first?

But, knowing this also gives me something to work on as I venture out of the safety of my shell.

To read the Huffington Post article, click here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Separate Ways

It's funny how music can speak to you at different times.

I am not a real fan of rock bands. It's often hard for me to make out the lyrics among the very loud music.

However, there is one rock band I do like.


I mean, I like them enough to get their greatest hits, but not necessarily enough to get all their CDs, though I do confess to having one, Escape.

Shortly after my divorce, I was listening to the greatest hits CD when this line from the song, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) jumped out:

Someday love will find you,
Break those chains that bind you

I play that song often when I need to remind myself not to give up hope on finding that someone special.

I had the CD on in my car the other day and the song came on. The lines jumped out again and this time a new feeling came along with them:
He's out there, I just need to break these chains that bind me. Not only do I need to break these chains, all these difficulties are something I need to go through to find him. We won't find each other until I do.

So, what are these chains I need to break?

The chains of self-acceptance, self-reliance, control and trust.

Self-acceptance has been difficult for me. As I posted recently, I have always seen myself through the eyes of others. I always tried to fit in at my new schools when my family moved, and invariably I wouldn't. The negative messages I received began to prey upon my self-esteem and now seem to be flaring up again.

Self-reliance is a two-edged sword. I am very good at it and also deflecting it at the same time. When I get sick, I keep going. The laundry and chores don't do themselves. The substitute doesn't do as good a job teaching my students as I do. The world doesn't stop, so why should I? My ex-husband would get a case of the sniffles and call in sick, watch television all day and play Camille. I needed to be on my deathbed to call in sick. Even then, I still fixed dinner and did what needed to be done. So, I can take care of myself when I'm sick. But, what about when I'm not? I have a hard time recognizing exactly how self-reliant I am. As I look back on these last three years after my ex-husband left, I have difficulty seeing the progress I've made. No, I have difficulty accepting the progress I've made. I have refinanced my house, I have reduced the amount of the other debt I have by over two-thirds, I have taken steps to make the house more mine, I have grieved the loss of my two dogs. I am still struggling financially a bit, but I have some breathing room. I have accomplished all this on my own!

Control comes in many guises. I don't see myself as a controlling person in that I want to control what others say or do, nor do I see myself controlling and manipulating others for my personal gain. I want to control what happens to me; I want to know I am safe. I don't go to haunted amusement parks because I don't like to be scared. I want to know what's going to happen. I want to know the airplane I am flying in will land safely. I want to know when I go out I will have a good time. Some of these things are in my control, some aren't. I can't control the weather, so I have to have to let go of that and trust the pilots. I can control if I am having a good time. If I'm not, I can change the situation or the venue, if possible.

Trust is a big issue with me right now. I've been hurt by so many people, both platonically and romantically, I find myself holding back in order to protect myself. It's invariable we will be hurt and often by people we love. Forgiveness is the key, so they say. I disagree, I say there's nothing to forgive, they made a decision to act on something, and we must move on with the consequences. Karma is it's own reward.

But, trust also implies trust of self. I have been diagnosed with GAD, General Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety can be manifested over the fear of the perception of what is going to happen and not being able to control it. Part of the reason I don't want to date right now is anxiety over many aspects of dating. But, I am learning that I can take care of myself and remove myself from an uncomfortable situation. When I realized the User just wanted me for his sexual plaything, I ended it.

Trust also involves believing things will work out the way they are supposed to, whether it's God, the Universe, Fate, Destiny or just whatever. My ex left, and my life is better off without him. I am learning to trust it will all work out for the better in the end.

It all comes down to just being where I am at the moment and accepting I am where I need to be right now, not worrying about the future, nor dwelling in the past.

I'm ending this post with this verse from another Journey song: Be Good to Yourself

When you can't give no more
They want it all but you gotta say no
I'm turnin' off the noise that makes me crazy
Lookin' back with no regrets
To forgive is to forget
I want a little piece of mind to turn to!

And that's what I'm doing, turning off the noise that makes me crazy so I can be good to myself. 

And continue my Journey.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Everything happens for a reason. 

Or, so they say.

Sometimes we see the reason right away. Sometimes it takes a while.

I have come to believe my divorce happened so I could continue to grow as a person. And eventually be better for it. And therefore, happier.

I came out to my students a month ago. They are nine and ten years old. The world has not ended, no parent has complained to my principal, nor has anyone complained to me and I just held twenty-eight of thirty-three parent/teacher/student conferences.

It started innocently enough. I had not planned on coming out to them, but it had been on my mind. Something was compelling me to consider it. We were beginning a unit on "People Who Made a Difference." Our introductory piece was on Thurgood Marshall, the first black US Supreme Court Justice and I called on a student to read the opening paragraph. He began "Thurgood Marshall was denied application to the University of Maryland Law School because he was....Mr. Ballam, I can't say that word, it's a bad word."

It seems he couldn't say the word 'black' as he sincerely thought he was being disrespectful since he was describing a person. That lead me to start an impromptu discussion on the proper and improper use of words, and that some words used one way can be quite proper or quite offensive when used derogatorily, like 'bitch'. This in turn led me to the saying "That's so gay" when implying something is stupid or uncool. I merely said "And as a gay person myself, I find that very offensive." 

There was some initial reaction, a bit of shock among them, some whispering, but we went on. My coming out generated some interesting questions and discussions from my students:
  • I don't know what 'gay' means.
  • How does a gay person know they are gay?
  • I thought 'gay' meant happy.  So, what kind of gay are you; happy or the other kind?
  • Do you like boys?
And the one I was waiting for: Do you have a love?

I thought I answered the questions as best I could:
  • It means when someone likes another person of the same gender.
  • When they realize they like someone of their same gender.
  • It can also mean 'happy' and I am both kinds.
  • Yes, but grown up ones.
  • No, I don't. (Though I could have used the "That's too personal" escape according to my principal, mostly on the last two, whom I kept abreast of the discussions in case of parent phone calls.)
Two students later confessed to me that they had gay family members; aunts and a brother.

Maybe the reason for my coming out was to generate this discussion among my students and maybe even with the first real live gay person they know.

At the conclusion of one parent/teacher/student conference, as I walked mother out the classroom, she suddenly asked her daughter to take the younger sibling to the restroom and then turning to me, she asked if I had noticed any change in her daughter's behavior since the beginning of the year. 

I thought for a moment and couldn't come up with any noticeable change, either positive or negative. 

The mother went on, "I can tell you this because I feel comfortable with you, but I just entered into a relationship with another woman and my daughter was a bit rebellious, and she pushed me away. But she seems to have settled down a bit recently."

I motioned the woman back into the classroom, closing the door behind us.

I began, "I came out to the class last month, and I want to share with you what your daughter said to me."

The mother looked curious, yet apprehensive.

I went on, "She came up to me privately and said, 'Mr. Ballam, I want to thank you for being honest'."

Mother gasped, "She said that?"

"Yes," I said, "and I was very touched by her comment."

A tear began to well up in her eye.

Maybe the reason I needed to come out to the class was less for me, but more to bring a mother and daughter closer together.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The True Question

Lately, I've been thinking I'm confusing the pull I am feeling towards some men. A man I described in a recent post was very comforting to me during a difficult time. He was also very affectionate in that he hugged me at his place of business, and I later found myself thinking of him as a potential boyfriend when I wasn't even attracted to him physically. Perhaps I saw the potential of a friendship, rather than a relationship and was confusing my feelings.

After all, I hadn't been dating for the twenty-four years of my two long-term relationships and even now I can't say I've truly dated in these last three post-divorce years. I mean, I've only met three men in a kind of dating situation, i.e. online, and a fourth in his place of business and I'm not even sure he was gay. Needless to say, my dating skills are bound to be a bit rusty, if not downright corroded.

So, how do I tell which is which when I'm trying to build a gay social circle and/or maybe, possibly thinking about finding a boyfriend, especially while I'm doing both simultaneously? Is he friend material? Does he have boyfriend potential? Either? Neither? Dare I ask, both?

Add one more conundrum: I believe the best relationship starts out as a friendship and grows from there. Plus, I was not as physically attracted to my partners as I would like to have been, so that aspect of both relationships waned early. This time, I want to be. No. I need to be. So, do I only make friends with attractive men? How shallow can I be?

I think my head is going to explode.

The answer to my first question is time. I have to both make it and give it. I have to make time to get out and socialize. I have to give time to let friendships develop. I have joined a couple of gay groups to get out and socialize but for now it all seems so infrequent. The groups meet once a month, and usually during the same weekend. I do need one day a weekend for household chores and such. So, I have to choose which group to attend.

The answer to my second question is instinct. I'll know by my instincts if he has BP, boyfriend potential. I do want to say here that the very first man I felt had great BP did not fit my 'ideal' type of man. Usually, I'm drawn toward tall, muscular, dark-haired men. He was tall, skinny and (gasp!) blond! We just had an amazing mental/spiritual connection which made him very sexy. I guess I'm not as shallow as I may appear.

The third answer to this question is trust. I just have to trust it will all work out in the end and at the time it is supposed to. 

It will.

I just need to let it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I recently had to write a short biography for a reviewer who was reviewing my book and I called a friend to get her opinion on it. When I was finished, she commented, "Ive never heard you talk about yourself like this. It's great!" First, I wondered if she meant the bio was great, or the fact that I was looking at myself from a different perspective. That got me thinking.

I realized I've never seen myself before. I mean I've looked in the mirror and seen my reflection, but I've never seen myself through my own eyes. I've always seen myself through other people's.

I saw myself as the ugly kid because that's what they called me.

I saw myself as the nerd because that's what they called me.

I saw myself as the faggot because that's what they called me.

I saw myself as the child responsible for his parents' divorce because they separated.

I saw myself as the abandoned child because my father left and rarely contacted me.

I saw myself as the child who was never good enough because I could never live up to my stepfather's standards.

I saw myself as weak because I never learned to stand up for myself.

I saw myself as the mediocre teacher because my students weren't always understanding my lessons, and doing poorly on the standardized tests.

I never saw myself as a decent writer because I never made the connection that the writing I was learning in school could lead to publishing, or that the adventures running around in my head were good enough to write down and perhaps even publish.

In his song, "Outlaws of Love" Adam Lambert sings the line "Scars make us who we are."

Some scars heal easier and more quickly than others. I can barely make out the one on my wrist from when I changed a manual transmission! That was quite an accomplishment! I am very proud of that scar. All of the other physical scars I have came from injuries, hardly something to celebrate. Yet, none of them proved fatal.

The emotional scars above have not proven fatal, either. Still, I have not come to accept or celebrate all of them. 
My nerdiness I have embraced as a gift. I love useless knowledge, and foreign languages. In fact, I am such a language geek, one year in high school I went directly from my German class to my Latin class to my Spanish class. In some of my language classes, if the teacher graded on a curve, my work was taken off the curve as not to skew it unfavorably for the rest of the class. In another class, when one student scored 1/2 a point more than I did, the class went into shock. I mean it was a careless error on my part, but the fact my test wasn't perfect astonished them. And that's who I am. A nerdy geek!

I have learned the truth behind my parents' divorce. It wasn't my fault. Okay, let's move on. My father didn't always call me, and I saw him rather infrequently as we lived all over the western half of the US, while he was somewhat stationary in Southern California, except for the short amount of time he lived in Oregon. I've learned my mother wasn't the quickest to get our new address to him when we moved. So, it wasn't his fault completely. I'll work on this one.

As for my stepfather, even his own son, my half-brother, couldn't live up to those standards. My brother later rebelled, I retreated into my room and read. And while he never berated me for not meeting his standards, perhaps it was his praise I was seeking, which was not as forthcoming as I felt it should have been.

As for the faggot comments, maybe they were aware of something I wasn't back then, but later came to accept and celebrate. Maybe now that the issue of full marriage equality is threatening others, the new bullies are spewing forth their hateful diatribes and that has stirred up some of my internalized homophobia and self-doubt many of us gay people still have. Or perhaps I'm finally accepting my singleness and stepping into a community I no longer recognize or feel I fit into which has me nervous and fearful. I'll take baby steps.

In terms of the writing, it is all very new to me. Writing is emotional, the author exposes his/her emotions and creativity to complete strangers. I have always been more logical in my approach to life and emotions can be frightening. I've never had a class in creative writing, I've never learned how to be creative, or how to structure a story. So, in my mind, how can I just be good if I never learned how? Yes, there are books to read and classes to take so people can develop a writing style and learn story structure. Right now, I don't have time or money to pay for classes or read more books, so I need to trust in myself. Not an easy thing to do.

Accepting compliments for me is not always easy. As a society we are all too often looking for the negative, when we should be focused on the positive. During this new stage of my life, I've been focusing on positive quotes and inspirations. I try to keep this idea in my head:

    When people are trying to bring you down, it means you are above them. (And they don't like it!) [Parentheses mine].

So, how do I see myself now:

I see myself as a kind man, a good person -as I try to treat others as I want to be treated.

I see myself as someone who likes to nurture his brain, they say it wards off Alzheimer's.

I see myself as a gay man, and if you don't like it, you don't need to be in my life.
I see myself as a gay man who is striving not to be a WeHo cookie cutter processed clone longing fit in to some subgroup, but choosing to stand out on his own.

I see myself as a survivor because of the tribulations I have overcome.

I see myself setting my own standards, and living up to them. If I don't, it's not the end of the world.

I see myself as a person discovering his strength as he learns to speak up.

I see myself as a teacher who tries his best to bring his students to the learning, but, unfortunately I can't make them think. I may not be the best teacher to reach that child, and can only hope my best has been a foundation for further progress.

I see myself discovering my gift of writing as I continue, and learning to trust that it is good to those who tell me. All that matters is that I like it. If others do as well, that's extra. Just as I'll never reach every student, I won't connect with every reader. I'll just have to learn the mechanics as I go; after all, isn't that what editors are for?

I see myself learning to balance my emotions and my head, and if I can validate my nerdiness and language abilities as a gift, isn't writing a way of working with language? I see myself as a man learning to trust his emotions. And they're just fine.
I see myself as someone coming to terms with a lot of change at once, and learning to adjust to a new life, one step at a time.

After all, isn't life one big learning adventure?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Daddy Dearest

It seems lately I'm either catching the eye of some young man, or I'm finding myself drawn to younger men. I'm not saying young men aren't attractive; youth can be very alluring, very tempting, very sexual. After all, they're approaching their sexual peak. Yet, many of them still have their training wheels on and don't know how to handle a relationship.

Not that I am an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, I've at least been in two long term ones, but I'm feeling a bit rusty having been out of the dating loop for a few years.

Many young men are drawn to older men for a variety of reasons; and let's face it, money is usually one of them. As soon as I suspect that may be a factor I quickly tell them this daddy has no sugar because I am a single homeowner trying to live on a public school teacher's salary. I can not afford to be generou$. I put myself through college, you can too!

Younger men also like to go out and party all night. As I'm up before the sun, I am beginning to wind down just as the night life is beginning to take off!

But, many young men are also looking for a mentor, someone to help them explore the nuances of a gay relationship, or helping them understand their gay selves. As understanding as some straight parents are, helping your son or daughter understand the special nuances of gay relationships and gay sex can be very uncomfortable.

As I am coming to understand myself in the context of sex/dating/relationships at midlife and find myself re-emerging into the gay male community, I am in no place to help someone else come to terms with himself as well. It would be a case of the semi-blind leading the blind. I'd accepted myself as gay long ago. But now, I'm trying to understand where, or if, I fit in the community now.

I think I've touched on this before, but as I have now come to recognize I might be ready to move on, I'm finding I don't like what I see in the community at large. Some men believe in love at first sight, others believe in love at first sex, and still others, possibly the smallest group out there, believe in letting love find them. I am now a card-carrying member of the last group, if not it's founding president.

When I was last available to date, there were no cell phones, there was no internet. (How did we survive?) Now, how he messages you tells you what he thinks of you. If he texts you, that's great. Email is second after a text, and then actual voice call. Or, is the voicemail superior to the email? I forget. Maybe I need my own daddy to help me learn the new rules of dating.

But, as I'm actually older than Anderson Cooper, does that qualify him to be my daddy? In the gay world, it's more of the attitude than the age, though thirty-five does seem to be the threshold into being called a "daddy."

As so much in my life is changing, and the myriad of changes has brought on some recent anxiety attacks, maybe it's best I just continue to move forward slowly. I'll be on the lookout for some nice man to talk to, and let things go from there. (And try to stay in the moment, and not project into the future.)

In the meantime, this is the only sugar daddy I'll be needing, or if some cute young thing starts chatting me up, I'll hand him one of these:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Maybe She Was Right

Lately I have been wondering if my friend was right. After my blog on my anxiety attack, she commented privately she thought my anxiety was a sign I was suppressing my true feelings regarding a relationship (or maybe even just a fling); that I really wanted one, but was denying it. I went one step further and agreed she may have a point, and acknowledged I may be denying it out of a multitude of fears. 

I'd like to add here, I've had anxiety attacks as far back as 1986. I understand anxiety is a fear of the unknown; worrying about the future. I do accept the fact there is nothing I can do to change or control it, so what gives? Maybe it's a fear of the future turning out like the past. 


Following our conversation, I did begin thinking about what she said. And blogged about it. 

I then caught up with a second friend, who gave me yet another point to consider. He asked how much of my idle time I spent thinking about a relationship. After I calmed myself down from laughing over the concept of idle time; after all, I have so little of it between my commute, my approximately 50 hour work week, managing my house and yard, attending to my aging cat, working on my second, third and fourth novels, trying to fit in some exercise, socializing with friends, and taking some time for me, I thought about what he said. After a day or two, I realized I don't think about a relationship, I fantasize about it:

  • What would it be like if he were honest and didn't play games?
  • What would it be like if I came home and he had dinner ready for me?
  • What would it be like if he rolled over in bed and put his arm around me and just held me close?
  • What would it be like if I sat on the sofa playing Words with Friends as he massaged my aching feet?
  • What would it be like if we went for a walk on the beach?
  • What would it be like if we could talk and share our hopes and our fears?
  • What would it be like if he knew how to listen?
  • What would it be like if we sat quietly, each of us reading a book? (Maybe each other's?)
  • What would it be like if we took the time to explore each other's heart, mind, and soul before exploring each other's body?
  • What would it be like if he first wanted to be my friend, then my boyfriend, then my husband?
  • What would it be like if he helped me through an anxiety attack?
  • What would it be like if he understood my fears because he has the same ones?

It would all be wonderful.

I feel I am open to the idea of a relationship; but maybe not to the actuality of one, and maybe not at this time. I am experiencing major changes in my life right now. While change is a good thing, mostly; too much change all at once can be overwhelming. And the beginning stages of a relationship when I'm trying to figure out what he means by what he says or does drives me up a tree and a wall at the same time.

I'm currently gathering confidence to work on a new novel, a very complicated one for my second piece, and that has me flustered because I'm not exactly sure I know what I'm doing or how to proceed. I've always been a logical, linear thinker- wanting to know what I'm doing and how to do it. Even though I have received very supportive suggestions and ideas from a great group of local writers, it's still daunting because of the theme, and plots, and as I explore the characters, I'm exploring myself. And maybe that's what I need to do before I can get to know someone else.

And, maybe it's all right to learn as I go. After all, isn't life itself a learning experience?

Who knows what I'll find and learn along the way?
Hopefully more about myself:

As a writer;

As a gay person;

As a man.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Called Out

A dear friend and frequent reader of my blog called me out on something. After the post on my panic attack about having "animalistic thoughts about the young man on the bus" she lovingly suggested I am only kidding myself. Her conjecture is that I am actually suppressing my feelings about a relationship and that I really do want one, perhaps even more than I am willing to admit to myself or to anyone else. 

Fair enough, she might have a point. I thanked her for sharing her point of view, and thought about it. Could she be right?
Could I be so afraid of a relationship, I'm actually suppressing my true innermost desires for one and hiding behind my fears? Fears such as:
  • Rejection
  • Overstaying the relationship
  • Settling for someone just because he's nice, but less than what I deserve
  • Not learning from my past
  • Settling for someone just to avoid being alone
Or am I playing the "I've-been-in-a-relationship-soooooo-long, I-need-time-for-myself" card too much?

Especially when someone is in front of me.

I've made it clear I am looking for someone closer to my age this time. The Young Man on the Bus seemed much younger than my ex is now. In fact, Bus Man seemed to be about the age my ex was when we first met, 20! I actually think Bus Boy might be a bit older, though. I'm putting him around 25.

But, Bus Boy is history as we never spoke, and he didn't follow me off the bus. And unless our paths cross in West Hollywood (I hardly go there) or on the number 720 bus (which I only take when I go to WeHo) chances are we'll never meet each other again in the wilds of Los Angeles. Unless the Universe's strange sense of humor makes it happen.

I've also made it clear I believe a relationship will happen at the time the Universe says it should. I'm also trusting my gut instinct which tells me it will happen. Sometime, down the road, in the not-too-distant future.

Maybe my friend was suggesting I'm more interested in a fling than a relationship. That, too, is a possibility, maybe even a necessity. Maybe I do need to kiss a few toads until I find my Prince.  Perhaps it's the fears of the fling I'm hiding behind, like:
Disney's The Princess and the Frog
  • Rejection
  • Diseases
  • Lack of expertise
  • Settling for someone just for the sex sake of it
  • Hating myself in the morning
  • Poor performance anxiety
I believe that a fling, if it is to happen, will happen at the appropriate time. And I will just know it will somehow all be okay.

But, for now, I'm happy just as I am and also just where I am on my path because I'm still moving forward.
Who knows how I'll feel when I actually do meet someone interesting?
Maybe that's when I'll freak out and have another panic attack.
Maybe he'll hold my hand through it.
And maybe he'll be there when the attack is over.
My Prince.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chapter Next

I have been so overwhelmed recently. I was in a very upbeat mood, feeling very positive.

Three days later, I am not.

But, I still am, kind of.

Positive, I mean. But, not right now, I will be later.

And, yes, I'm just as confused.

I had a recent epiphany of sorts about two different men who had recently broken my heart. I have come to a place in my healing with both of them where I can wish them every happiness in their lives. And I sincerely mean that. If they are happy where they are, I am happy for them.


When I had that revelation a couple of weeks ago, I felt lighter, as if a huge weight had been lifted off my heart. It also meant I was ready to move on.

And maybe date someone.

I said, maybe.

I recently spent some time in West Hollywood, a place I have mixed feelings about. I had wanted to go out one Saturday night, but changed my mind. A Facebook friend encouraged me to change it back, but I didn't. I stayed in and began reading a book by an author friend so I could review it and help promote it for him. 

I decided on the spur of the moment the next day to go to the West Hollywood Book Fair.  It was smaller than I recalled from last year. And therefore a bit disappointing. Yet, something else was upsetting me about it. But, I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

When I'd had enough of the fair, I decided to head home. As my car is aging, I choose to take public transport when possible, and I had chosen to do so that day. I headed to the bus stop for the bus that would take me to the subway station I needed.

When I boarded the bus, it was semi-full and I found a seat on one of the benches that faced into the aisle. A couple of stops later a man took the seat opposite me and our eyes met and lingered for that gay-nanosecond that told me we might be in the same brotherhood. I have been wrong before. But, the fact we were in WeHo and the slogan on his shirt, "It's free to look!", suggested I might be right this time.

After that millisecond eye lock, he took out his phone, checked a couple of things, looked around the bus, but not back at me. Okay, he's not looking for a daddy. Good, I don't want to be one. 

Yet, the idea of being with him, began to intrigue me. He had a nice guy aura about him, he was kind of cute, dark and tall with a bit of muscle. He must be intelligent because he was reading about Aerospace Engineering Software, or something like that. Definitely not light material. I kept thinking interesting thoughts about him, and this surprised me as I haven't had these thoughts in a long time, especially about someone who wasn't trying to get my attention. I kept glancing at him, he kept not glancing at me. Or, I missed it if he did. But, I don't think he did.

I began thinking of the afters. Was he a cuddler or an "I'm done and out of here" kind of guy? Was his chest hairy since his legs were? Would he want to see me again? Would I want to see him? How would I feel about myself? And I still wasn't seeing him catch my glance. So, time to stop thinking about him.

At last we arrived at my stop and as I got up to leave, his eyes locked on mine and followed my gaze as I gathered my belongings, stood up and made my way to the exit. He continued eastbound on the #702 Express as I descended below Santa Monica and Vermont Blvds.

It actually started happening on the bus. A small, sharp pain in my chest. It stopped. It continued off and on all the way home without getting worse. I could easily breathe, so I didn't panic. I suspected indigestion, as it wasn't radiating into my arm. Yet. I began to suspect I was having an anxiety attack over my lascivious thoughts about that young man. Was I really ready to move on and begin a single lifestyle of wild abandon?  Or maybe I had just overeaten? But I only had a turkey burger and fries. The discomfort increased as I arrived at my station and eventually my home. Having been through several anxiety attacks in the past, I began to suspect this was a major one and as I could still breathe easily and had been singing along with the CD in my car, I did not believe I was having a heart attack.

I also began to suspect I was having anxiety over getting my next novel(s) written and figure out how to better market my first one, so I can market my subsequent ones better, triggered by the bookfair itself.

Or, maybe it's anxiety over all of it; closing the chapters on the two men above, recognizing I might be ready to mingle a bit more, thinking about sex, and beginning to take myself seriously as a writer. And with retirement looming a mere six years away, it's all together a bit much to think about. Plus, the added anxiety of being at mid-life, owning a home, driving an aging car and being the sole person responsible for it all. Perhaps the stress of recognizing it all collectively was far too much.

I don't have all the answers to the questions. But, it does seem clear my life is making a huge change for the better. Maybe the Young Man on the Bus was simply the catalyst after all that had happened in these last few weeks. Maybe all he was telling me is that I am human, I am male, I am gay and I am not dead, emotionally or physically.

I'm facing a blank page in the next chapter in my life. While it's exciting to see what may lie ahead, because so much is changing all at once, it's also scaring the hell out of me.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fishes, Bicycles, P!nk and Cher

Lately, I've been reminded of the saying "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." 

It seems all I've been seeing and hearing around me is how much I need to be with someone. 

And that's true, I do need to be with someone. 

I need to be with me. 

For twenty-four of the last twenty-seven years I was with someone, two different someones at different times, actually. I feel I gave those two men everything. I gave them so much, I don't know if I have anything more to give. 

(I do, but we'll talk about that later.)

I also feel I gave so much of myself, I don't know who I am anymore. And that is the path I walk; the path to me.

Friends are telling me I need to be with someone who understands me. 

I think that's a no-brainer, but I also need to understand myself first. 

Others have told me I need to be with someone who looks like we belong together.  A bit superficial perhaps, but if the physical attraction isn't there from the beginning, while combined with the other attractions; mental, spiritual and emotional, then I don't feel it's going to last.  And let's face it, men are attracted to looks first and when you put two men together, sometimes it seems they can't get past the outer packaging.

Other friends have mentioned their single gay male friends in passing, their hidden intentions not lost on me.

Other friends have told me it's my writing that will bring me to my next partner. We shall see. One friend spoke of my writing in general, while another believes my next partner will be an author in his own right. Time will tell. 

I see little posts on Facebook saying things like, "to love and be loved is the real purpose of life," "Allow yourself to HOPE, BELIEVE, and TRUST again. Don't let a few bad memories stop you from having a good life NOW!" That's true and I'm working on it, but it still takes time to heal from past hurts.  

I watch some of my friends, both gay and straight, and when their relationship ends, they begin embarking on another, taking little time trying to get to know the other person, and when that relationship fails, they embark on another. Almost immediately. But, I ask, have they  taken time to get to know themselves? Have they taken time to know what they truly want? Only they can answer that question.

I openly admit to being a HUGE Cher fan. She just released her first CD in over eleven years. One song spoke to me as I walk this path. (I love the whole CD, but some songs reached deep into my soul and affirmed to me I'm moving in the right direction.)  I'm not a huge P!nk fan, I really don't know her music well, but I have blogged on one of her songs, Try, in an earlier blog, and when I heard she was collaborating on a song with Cher, I was intrigued. And this is the song they worked on, and in particular, it's the second verse and chorus that really hit home:

From I Walk Alone

There's a tightrope that I've been walking
There's a daisy in my hair
There's a heartbreak that has taught me 
what is raging and that's only love and fear
There's a sadness in my confessions
There's a healer howling at the moon,
And there's a gypsy in me that keeps on roaming
and there's an anger as I get closer to the truth.

But there's a time to dance, time to laugh
time to cry, time to go, time to grieve, trime to cope,
Well, I've still got time to fold, time to hold,
time to play, time to grow, but for now I gotta walk alone.
I've gotta walk alone, I gotta walk alone, I got to walk alone,
But, for now, I gotta walk alone.

Rest assured dear friends, I won't walk alone forever. He's out there. I feel it. I know it.

But, for now I gotta walk alone.

And this is where I need to be.

For now.