Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fear: Flight, Fight or...?

As I have mentioned in a couple of recent posts, I'm sorta, kinda, entering the shark-infested dating pool, hoping to find that bottle-nosed dolphin among the hammerheads. And not get too badly beaten up in the process.

I've also said I sense something is afoot, whether that dolphin is about to swim into my life or not, or maybe it's something else entirely, I just don't know, it's just my intuition.

Regardless, all of the above stirs up a couple of things in me: fear, and his twin brother, anxiety. 

I figure I have two basic choices: flight or fight. I can run from them, giving them control until the next time they show up. And then I'm faced with the flight or fight dilemma again. Or, I can fight them which is an energy draining struggle. While I want to emerge victorious, I may be too exhausted from the battle to savor my victory until much later. And by then it may not have as much meaning. 

But, I have a novel approach I want to try. I'm going to invite those troublesome twin bitches in for a frank discussion. I will take them out to par-tay! I will not only party with them, I will embrace my fears and anxieties and make them as much a part of me as I can! Let's face it, they already are. They are me. I am them. We are a living threesome.

And we always will be.

Me: So, you're back. Why?
Fear: You invited us. You're thinking about asking someone out for a future date.
Me: So I am. Let's talk. 
Fear: Why did you invite me?
Me: I'm afraid he'll say yes and then won't show, or he won't like me.
Anxiety: And me? 
Me: I'm afraid he will.
Anxiety: Will what?
Me: Both. Show up and like me.
F & A (in unison): Ah. And if he does....
Me: He'll want a second date.
A: So....?
Me: And maybe a third, and maybe living together.
F: Yeah? And?
Me: He might change his mind after that. 
A: Have you ever thought he might be having these same thoughts about you?
Me: I don't want to get into his head. It only feeds you two. 
F, turns to A: He's catching on, this one. 
A: Seems we may have our work cut out for us, now!
Me: (Blushes) um, I'm right here. 
F: Yeah, we know, we're not stupid.
A: So, back to your boyfriend.
Me: He's not my boyfriend! 
A: (Teasingly) Yet. 
F: It's just a dinner. That's all, just a meal with a man who wants to get to know you. 
Me: Yeah, I guess it is just that. 
A: (tauntingly) For now! 
Me: I'm going to smack you. 
A: Ooh, an aggressive top! I like that! He might too.
Me: I'm not going there.
F: Where?
Me: Having sex. 
F & A (together): Someday you're going to have to.
Me: And I'll deal with you two bitches then. 
F: (sneeringly) We'll be waiting.
A: With bells on!
Me: Why am I not surprised? 

I might as well as learn to embrace these two bitches, and their kid brother, Depression (who usually shows up after I've given in to those other two) as they will always be a part of me. They are a part of life. After all, by embracing them and by honestly conversing with them, I will learn so much more about my true authentic self. 

All of life's decisions involve some fear and anxiety. It's normal. It's only human. If I didn't have these feelings, I'd be a bit more worried.
It seems I'm tied to those bitches forever.

They're just part of life. 

And, I'm tired of them messing with me.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stairways to...


Greystone Manor, Beverly Hills CA

I sense something is afoot.

And I can't put my finger (or toe) on it. It's been brewing a while, and I have felt it.

I look back and view August 15, 2010 as a big turning point in my life. It's the day I received an email from my then-husband of one year and ten months asking for a divorce. It seems he no longer loved me as a husband, but as a friend. It seems he needed an email to tell me. 

I had been in a depression up to this point, and fighting acknowledging it. I attributed it to twenty-seven years' teaching at the same school, a sixty mile a day commute, the recent purchase of a house, a stagnant social life, and many other factors. Once the dust settled and the separation and subsequent healing began, the depression lifted. It seems he was the cause of it. Or better said, my not recognizing that the relationship was no longer meeting my needs; intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And I couldn't end it for some reason.

It is now nearly four years later, and I have climbed out of that depression, slid back down into it a few times, but never as far back into that abyss as to where I originally began. I figure we have to take some steps forward and a few backwards once in a while as we climb up or the climb itself becomes overwhelming and we might give up. Kind of like doing a cha-cha.

San Vicente Lighthouse, San Pedro, CA
The last six months seem to have been an intense period of growth for me. I don't know who or where to attribute it to, but in reality, do I need to? I should just acknowledge and bask in the reality of the fact I am in a great place right now.

And just be.

But, I do want to own what I have accomplished in the years since the divorce. 
  • I have successfully refinanced my mortgage.
  • I have added more to my house to make it more mine, less 'ours'.
  • I have paid down over 75% of my pre-divorce credit card balances, and should be paid off within a year.
  • I have met and dated a few men in these years, and learned more about myself. (And about gay men, in general.)
  • I have come to terms that I may meet someone, or maybe not and I am okay with either outcome. (Though I do have a preference!)
  • I have come to terms that I am normal, and I am human.
  • Sitka, AK
  • I am coming to terms that my emotions are real and not to be feared. They are to be felt and experienced. (Something very hard for an Aquarian to do!)
In reality, I should attribute my growth to me personally, but I couldn't have done it alone.

In early January, I received a spam email from an astrologer peddling her services, and just for the fun of it I sent away for my free report. She predicted I would meet a man who would transform my life. (Of course he would. And yes, I thought I would be meeting a potential relationship.) This was just before I met the medium who read my deceased partner who said I'd meet the love of my life very soon. I then took a class on the foundations of Shamansim and have truly felt more personal and spiritual growth in the few weeks of that class, than in the three years of therapy since the divorce. I believe that teacher may be the man the astrologer referred to in the free report. 

I am not criticizing my therapists, they have been of tremendous help and support and I have also seen great amounts of growth with their help and guidance, but I feel the added spiritual component has been that extra ingredient to further guide me along this path. I am extremely grateful for their continued guidance.

The totems I have met have also been talking to me of personal transformation, Swan and Snake in particular. The place where I feel this transformation is taking place, is all internal as if I am climbing up from the depths of my depression and towards something infinitely much better.

So, what is actually afoot? 

I am. I am simply climbing upward into the next phase of my life and opening up to all possibilities.

Is a relationship involved? Of course. There are several.

The One with My True Authentic Self.
The One with Spirit.
The One with My Next Relationship.

I'm simply getting ready to meet all three.

Greystone Manor, Beverly Hills, CA
And I couldn't be more excited.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Still Haven't Found...

...what I'm looking for, exactly.

Because I don't know what I'm looking for.

And therein lies my problem.

Or, maybe not.

As I have come to accept that I am cautiously entering the dating pool because I am becoming more social, it's bound to happen. Some handsome man will ask me out, I'll say yes, and he's going to look at me across a table, or turn to me while we're driving to our destination and ask or, horror of horrors, at some point text me that inevitable question, "What exactly are you looking for?"

While my first impulse is to reply, "Winning lottery numbers!" I don't think that's what he meant. Yet, I should have an answer ready. And if I don't know what I am looking for- husband, boyfriend, friend-withOUT-benefits, hookup- why should he bother sticking around? Unless he doesn't know either and then we could continue looking for whatever it is we're looking for and possibly find it, or maybe not find it in each other, even if we do ultimately figure out whatever it was we were looking for in the first place. But, then one of us could find it, and the other might not, and that's a whole other scenario. And that's the peril of dating. Someone usually ends up getting hurt.

I mean I am ultimately looking for a husband. I think. There are times when I wake up and want to cuddle, or talk, or make him breakfast in bed and then make him my breakfast in bed. And there are times, I don't. There are times I enjoy being alone. I think all that just makes me human.

I am a typical gay male in a few respects. I mean I'm emotionally and physically attracted to men, I worship Cher, I have artistic sensibilities, and like many gay men I have several friends in my life, who are mostly straight women. I am atypical in that I lack a close circle of gay male friends who live relatively close enough to see on a semi-regular basis, if only to see a movie, grab a cup of coffee, and discuss our horrible dates from the last few weeks, or to celebrate the successful ones and ask our friends to keep us grounded in reality and be our sounding board; "What do you think he meant by that?" or "Should I keep or dump him?"

I must say I do have gay male friends I can share with, however 50-60 miles away is hardly local, even by Los Angeles standards, and few of them are single, let alone single and at mid-life. To a gay person, this family of friends who understands the nuances of our gayselves is crucial to our survival. Who else would understand the rejection we often feel by our blood family? The sting of discrimination often hurled at us? The celebration when the courts rule in our favor? The elation when we feel we are finally beginning to start feeling equal to the heteros? And finally accepting the beauty in that feeling?

I guess what I'm looking for now is that family. A family of brothers I can relate to. But, as I search for that band of brothers, I am also keeping my eye open for that someone special who makes me look forward to tomorrow, which also complicates the answer that question.

Because as I am trying to sort out what I generally want in a husband, I'm also sorting out where Prospective Date fits on that scale and/or seeing if he even falls on the I-really-like-you-as-a-friend-but-just-not-that-way list.

Yet, if I were to answer Prospective Date's question, by saying I am looking for "friends" that's an immediate shutdown and limits possibilities and can lead to misunderstandings. I learned that lesson the hard way.

To say, "I'm open to possibilities" suggests I'm open to anything; friends, friends-with-benefits, f**kbuddy, boyfriends, husbands, whatever. It comes off as vague, desperate and maybe even uncaring.

Is there any good answer to that question?

I think it depends on what my intuition says about him and about me at the moment when he asks. While I may believe life brings people into our lives to teach us lessons about ourselves, and there's something for me to learn in this particular encounter, if I were to reply with something like, "I want to see what life lesson I can learn about myself from our meeting," I could come off as snooty, not-down-to-earth or very selfish.

For right now, while I am searching for that band of brothers with the underlying hope that one of those brothers might emerge as possible boyfriend/husband material, I think I'll just respond with, "I'm looking to meet guys and just see what happens. I have no set agenda." To me, that's open, honest, and it's where I am on my path. And I think it invites more conversation.

Then I'll just sit back and enjoy the journey.

(And hopefully a very enjoyable view!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Seven Become Nine

In a previous post, My Magnificent Seven, I described my awakening to the path of Shamanism and discovering my seven Spirit Guides; Bear, Ferret, Sparrow, Stag, Swan, Lion, and Snake. 

As I understand it, Spirit Guides do not necessarily need to be animals, in fact, they usually aren't. Spirit Guides usually manifest themselves as ordinary people, or perhaps famous ones. I've read posts by people who believe Jesus Christ, or Buddha, is their Guide. One musician I met even said his guide was Beethoven. The fact that mine have all been animals is indeed interesting.

What mine are more commonly referred to is Power Animals, or Totems, which are a type of Spirit Guide, just in the form of an animal, though some people say there is a difference. Some believe the Spirit Guides are with you for life, the Power Animals may change once you have learned their lesson.

In my class, we held a ceremony to call forth Spirit Guides, and that's when I met Lion and Snake. The following week, we called forth Power Animals. 

Mine is Bat.

Bats are nocturnal; they live in darkness, yet maneuver easily through it. The darkness represents my fears of moving forward in my new life, and as Bat can move through the darkness, I can move through my fears, maybe not with the relative ease as Bat can, but I can get through them. Bats live in colonies, which again signals my need to socialize more. Bat also signifies change and transformation, and I'm not talking of the vampiric kind!  According to some practitioners, Bat signifies the death of part of my old life for the rebirth of my new one. (I sense an echo of Snake and Swan here!)

Bats are also pollinators in the desert and rainforest, teaching me to be open to the new ideas pollinating in my life, again reinforcing the birth of a new me.

In many cultures, Bat is seen as a symbol of good luck and good fortune in life.

Sometimes, a Spirit Guide or Power Animal may recognize their charge might need a lesson the Guide is not able to teach and may bring another Guide who can. In the Power Animal ceremony, Bat led me to Jaguar. I believe Bat was trying to reinforce to me that I can move through my fears by bringing me to Jaguar, also a nocturnal animal who moves with ease through the darkness on instinct. I should trust my instincts as I move through my darkness, overlapping Ferret's lesson of being observant and trusting my intuition. Yet, Jaguars are solitary animals, so I must be cautious not to over-socialize and not take time for myself. Balance is the key.

Jaguars are also known to reside in caves near water. Caves have often symbolized 'going within, retreating.' Water often represents the emotions. I'm being told to go within to heal my emotions from my past, in order to move forward. And here I feel Jaguar echoing Bear telling me to 'hibernate' to find the answers to my questions within myself in order to heal and to move forward.

In Mayan culture, the jaguar was the supreme animal of his domain, being he was the top predator. He ruled the Earth and all who walked upon Her. They revered Jaguar as a very powerful entity of the rainforest. His strong and powerful body could carry him for miles in his quest for food, also teaching me to pace myself in all areas of my life; work, personal growth, writing, dating, socializing. If I do, I will achieve my goals.

As I have said before, these messages resonate so deeply with me. I understand exactly what they mean and how they apply to me at this juncture of my life.

With so many of them to work with, at times I feel like a ruddy zookeeper!

But, it's a zoo I'm very grateful to keep.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


In my prior post, "Did I Just Have a Date?" I described an afternoon where I was meeting a guy who contacted me via a social group, not an on-line dating or hookup site, on a whale watching cruise that he had suggested. I wasn't sure if it was a date or not. It did not go well.

After I'd left my "date," (I'm using that term for lack of a better word), and headed down to the bow to try and get some photos, (and check out other guys), I did find only one other guy I found interesting who wasn't draping himself across a boyfriend, or in the midst of an established group of friends. He also appeared to be young, maybe late twenties/early thirties; not necessarily what I'm physically attracted to, but I was longing for conversation and he seemed to be a nice guy, though painfully shy. Seemingly Single Guy was with a couple of older gentlemen who were trying very hard to find their cute, young friend a husband. Old queens make the most interesting yentas. Oy!

The yentas attracted the attention of Mr. Perfectly Coiffed (beard and all). Mr. Coiffed might have been 30 at the oldest, every blond hair in place-including the facial ones, perfectly white pants (for a ship?), muscle shirt and jacket-vest. Okay, I'm coming off a bit judgmental. But, we're whale watching, not posing at the local bar. All right, so maybe he was going out after the trip and couldn't get home to change. I'll go with that. Actually, there was an email from the organizer the day before saying he'd reserved some tables at Hamburger Mary's, a local gay restaurant in Long Beach for after the whale watching trip. But, still, the majority of the guys were just in nice jeans and a t-shirt. 

Seemingly Single also attracted the attention of another man, a bearish man in perhaps in his late thirties/early forties. Bearish Man stood in the doorway eying Seemingly Single who was trying to participate in a conversation between Mr. Coiffed and his Yenta Godfather who actually was interested in Mr. Coiffed's accidental career of Interior Designer to the stars due to his work as a set designer. 

I kept waiting for a break in the conversation to talk to Seemingly Single. At last the break came, "Did I hear you say you were a California Native?" I asked. 

"Yes. Two siblings were born in the Central Valley and another sibling and I were born in the Bay Area." 

"I was born in the Bay Area, and both parents and one grandparent were also born in California." 



As the ship was now docking and I got to talk to Seemingly Single for what seemed like a nanosecond, Yenta asked Seemingly Single loud enough for all to hear, "We'll see you at Hamburger Mary's?" 

"Yes," he answered shyly.

As I had an hour drive home, and I had a headache that was now late into it's second day, I decided to find a Starbucks and then head home. Having located the closest Starbucks, (apps are indeed helpful!) I ordered my latte and as I was getting into my car, a little voice whispered in my ear, "Go to Hamburger Mary's. Talk to Seemingly Single."

And, as I'm trying to live in the moment and trust my instincts/Spirit Guides, I decided to go.

I eventually found the restaurant, then the group, and eventually a seat, ironically, next to Bearish Man, who was seated at a table next to Seemingly Single's table, with only the space between the tables separating Seemingly and Bearish. Also, at my table were another young man and a friend of his. I introduced myself and more idle chitchat ensued. We kept trying to flag down a waiter for a drink and a menu. Eventually, they both appeared, orders were taken and we settled in to wait for said drinks and food. 

The local chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were holding a memorial fundraiser for one of their dearly departed members. (Something tells me she departs frequently so the order can hold a fundraiser.) The DJ was playing great music from the eighties, the Sisters were putting on a great show, and some conversation was flowing. Sort of. It seems since the guy seated opposite me had brought a friend with him to keep him company, that left Bearish Man and me to talk. I'd ask questions and he'd answer. And that was it. He seemed too interested in the music, I guess, as he was practically dancing in his seat, and loving every other song.

Oh, well. I tried.

And, I look at it like this;
  • I had an adventure,
  • I learned that I like it when people ask me questions in return,
  • I took a few risks (and survived),
  • I had fun. And perhaps that's the most important.
Oh, I also learned Dramamine and beer don't mix well.