The One that got away

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I know what you thinking, or at least suspect what you are thinking. Ahead there is probably a journal about a one true love that got away. First, let me say: I wish ! Wouldn’t that be a recipe for some welcome high drama? In most cases people avoid drama like the plague but this is the one kind of drama we love to hear about. Actually the title refers to the job that got away. (No love story here and I can already hear the groans in the background lol).

To put it simply, I did not get the job I was holding out for. It was a city job, the holy grail of employers. Only the federal government could have topped the city as an favored employer. Getting a job with either of these crews would have made me feel like winning the lottery. Having an “in” ie. my wife as a reference I was banking on getting a fair shake.  I was told it would take 6 to 8 weeks to hear if I was getting an interview. they said ‘if you dont hear from us by then – then you were passed over’.  Even when playing my ace card things looked good. I would take a hefty pay cut to start out with what could be my next new adventure in life. the 8 week mark was a few days ago. I was passed over 😦   Onward and upward I suppose ….

It takes some pretty big life planning to make a career switch at my age (ie. 45+). How do you pick what it is that you would like to do next? If you had the choice, what new direction would you take? It really is my last shot considering my age to have a do-over (no pressure right?). I’ve been at my present job for almost 10 years and although I dont know what comes next, I know I do not want to continue doing what I am doing. You could say I sold my soul for a pay check and now its time to take ownership back. You only live once is a true adage. Its not that I want to change the world, but rather switch to liking my whole day and not just the part that starts after quitting time each day.

Advice is easy to give, not to take. I’ve always loved people coming up to me with their next awesome career idea. I always knew how to get there. It was just like looking at a straight line looking from point A to point B. They would throw up many obstacles that they regarded as insurmountable in their new quest. They were like me in that they already were doing ‘ok’ with their current job but lacked the vision to see how to get to their new career. The career that would finally make all of those days fly by as they became a person that ‘loved their job’. I think the one difference between them and me was they could see what they wanted to do, just not the path to get there.

To all those people that love what they do everyday,  take a quick look in the mirror and share a smile with the luckiest person out there 😉

 

 

Getting Older

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Time for an update ? you bet. It’s the day before my birthday and it feels more significant than new years eve. New years is when I get to reevaluate things and figure out what I plan to do to make the best of the next year. The birthday to me is taken the same way but it feels so much more significant to me. Here’s the latest thats happened for me to think about that is going to influence my choices as this next year of my life gets ready to start.

First the good news. There is a new dog in my life. Surprisingly, it was my wife that pushed for this one. We adopted privately a doggie that was looking to be rehomed as the present owners life situation called for him to down size the numbers of critters he was living with out in the country. She’s almost two years old and is very needy for attention and loves hugs and kisses. She is a cross between lab, boxer and rotti. She is boxer brown all over which is a bronzey colour I have just never seen in a dog before and has a big kissable melon which could be from the Rotti in her.

I’m still in and enjoying a sewing class once a week. Yup, I’m learning about fashion from the inside out. Made a pillow and I’m moving on to a hoodie. Apparently I’ve got some impressively straight lines. I’ve been shocked by the price of the materials and don’t really know how anyone can afford to do this for fun without going broke. I guess we’ve got mass produced garments from China to thank for being able to have affordable clothes. If we didn’t have mass produced clothes we’d all be deciding if we wanted food to eat or clothes to wear. There have been a few downward strokes to contend with in life too.

Due to a crazy foot injury called plantar fasciitis I’ve been spending lots of time on my butt instead of exercising. I quit running in an attempt to see if it would go away but it didn’t. A few snacking incidents has also led to the return of my bad night snacking habit. I swear its like being in a plane flying towards the ground. You know you need to stop and pull up but things happening in life have made this (once again) the one thing that you can look forward to bring you a little bit happiness. I think there are alcoholics out there that feel the same way about their addictions.

There is not a lot of conflict in my relationship with my wife but for the most part it doesn’t surface but simmers beneath the surface. It managed to surface today because I didn’t read between the lines in one of her emails. She was venting about our son getting lazy and not helping out more around the house when asked. Apparently getting this email meant I was supposed to pull him aside as soon as I got home from work today and give him a stern talking to. My question to her was why didn’t you just say what your expectations were in the first place? Ah yes, the battle that can never be won. Score: wife: 1, My self esteem: -1. It’s honestly very exhausting. I keep a smile on my face and do the best that I can to present normalcy so my kids can continue to have a two parent family unit, but sometimes the price can be so high. You know what I mean?

Back to the resolutions for the next year of my life. Keep up the fight against my depression, keep up the fight against my addictions and keep hope alive that one day I can experience ‘normal’ one more time.

 

 

When Your Anchor Leaves You …

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*** Warning sad story ahead ****

To anyone that would ask I would say she was my anchor through all the good and all the bad. She was keeping me alive, keeping me sane. That my friend, gave her real importance in the world, a purpose. At only 14 to 16 inches tall she had quite the cross to bear but she did it with a smile….every day. Here is her picture below:

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Friday January 19,2018 my little friend and companion went to be with the lord. Even though I am not particularly religous I want to believe that she lives on and will never truly be gone from my life. That she still walks beside me everywhere I go. You see, I still need her and love her and that has not changed.

Even in my darkest days, I always knew I had to stick around to take care of my baby. Who would comb her, feed her, keep her water bowl full, give her a quick pat or kiss on the head why the rest of the house stormed on by ? Everyday I did at least one thing to let her know that she was important and not forgotten. She gave me purpose.

Putting your dog to sleep is considered by society to be the kinder way to transition your pet to the here after. Let me tell you, it may be kinder for the animal but it is not the easier option for those that love them. Up to two days before her final day I had already had many a full out private cry session. It was the kind of emotion I didn’t even know I was still capable of experiencing. I like to tell myself that the measure of tears is measure of the love you had for them.  That being true, there was a lot of love present.

Everyday I think I’m good, feeling better. Then a simple trigger will remind me that she was here. Her empty bed still lies in the kitchen, her frozen little poops trapped in the snow till the spring and that deck. Keep it shovelled or she will pee on it forsure ! Time to head to the kitchen and pull some food out on the counter. You’ll know where she’ll be. At your feet ….. forever and always, I love you.

 

Happy New Year Everyone

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Greetings all, its been a while since I last posted but that doesn’t mean a lot of crazy things have stopped happening. Have you had any new years revelations or decided that the new year will bring different things for you ? Things that will provoke and challenge you ? Strangely enough I’ve had quite a few.

Off the top of my head lets start with the biggest change: I’ve applied for a new job. Whats different about this job ? well first thing, it has absolutely nothing to do with computers. That is probably one of the weirder things for a computer programmer to say. The truth is I’ve b*tched about my job to all that would listen for the last decade. If I get a new job those receivers of said b*tching will get a break. What straw finally broke the camels back? Well as new years approached I had to be honest and tell myself I could not see myself doing this for the next 15 years of my life as I sailed into retirement. When I think about doing what I’m doing for another 15 years I also start to think a bullet to the face would be something I would look forward to more.  Sorry, took that a little too far? Well you get what I mean…It would be a really painful existence and not geive me a lot to look forward to except pay cheques. I’m pretty scared of change so this is a big step for me.

Second crazy thing that has happened is my fashion forward thinking. Fashion I would say has become my new favorite thing to learn about. Being cheap as H-E-double hockey sticks,  it all started innocently enough with me searching for used clothes on kijiji. I mainly looked for premium stuff people were willing to unload cheap. These few odds and ends really jived with me as I started to read a new fashion book: ‘Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life’ by George Brescia. Go buy it or look it up at your public library. Strangely enough this guy was right. Wearing a few pieces that I absolutely loved made me feel a lot better about myself which led me to keep on going with investigating newer clothing and pieces that is keeping the momentum going as my confidence started to grow. For someone stuck in wrangler jeans and the owner of tons of polo shirts this has been a pretty enormous switch in life. My current work has a wear whatever you want policy and I took it to the casual extreme. This is the second biggest change I’m making, going from the “I dont care” look to the watch out, hot guy coming through look. Thank you George Brescia !

Third crazy thing I’m about to do is learn sewing. Lucky I already know I’m gay so I don’t need to stand back and say “how gay is that?”. I’ve signed up for a short evening class to break into sewing. I’d like to learn how to hem things and tailor my own clothes to make them fit better. Probably the cheapskate in me coming through but I find the idea a lot of fun. I get to buy a sewing machine and all of the bits and pieces needed to make this happen. I could go out an get things tailored, but how much fun would that be? ok, that would be fun too just keep in mind I cheap so I’ll be doing this sewing machine adventure on a budget initially…who knows I might really get in to this.

Have you made any new years resolutions ? Any of them that are going to rock your world like mine? Even the small changes can be scary. Post them below if you are comfortable doing so. I’d love to hear what other people are up to.

Netflix and Chill ? Not the way I do it …

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Getting things out in the open is very therapeutic. It makes you re-evaluate what you are doing and where things are going. You’ve got those subtle changes and the larger ones that can change your life. One of my changes involves Netflix …. and a treadmill. Hidden away in my basement alone and in private I sweat to the latest Netflix has to offer. Up inclines, down hills and the straightaways … I …. I … exercise ….

Did you ever know you were supposed to do something but you just refused ? You felt like giving life the middle finger one more time? You’re in a life situation you never wanted and things involving ‘you’ haven’t gone right in a long time. For me it turns out exercise is the equivalent to being on the right path. The sweat you give, fighting against yourself somehow nudges you closer to a place you want to be.

Unable to be your true self, in my case being a closeted gay guy, its going to take a lot of life changes to get to where I need to be. Your cross to bear might be something else. Pulling yourself up and your head above water seems to effect us all in different ways. If only you could catch a break and figure out how to do that. Most of us are looking for that one thing to kick start the process before we take one more step down.

Yes, exercise has been a dirty word in my vocabulary for a long time but it looks to be my first step up. I’ve got many aspirations. To be fashionable for once in my life and develop a style, to be attractive to myself and others, to be involved more in the outside world and be one of those people that does things. I’m thinking you may also have a mental list of these aspirations too. Go to college, leave a dead end job, get a nice/nicer house. Oh shoot, those are mine too .. but you get the picture.

I’m seeing results now regarding weight loss and developing a shape I can be proud of. Ok, I’m not really REALLY proud yet and I see that road can be a long one. What can I say, one day I won’t just be nice looking from the neck up. I’ll be the whole package. For now knowing that this is even possible is enough to give me hope. Hope that one day I’ll be who I was meant to be in all ways. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to ‘Netflix and sweat’.

What’s Up with loving the Ladies when you’re gay ?

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This is probably somewhat dicey topic with gay men as some of them prefer to have nothing to do with women. Just the thought of what is found under those clothes can run a chill down their backs and make them run in the other direction. This is the impression of what is stuck in my brain regarding the stereo type I grew up with portrayed in the media of gay men. Run fast and run hard in the opposite direction as women approach. Does this stereo type of the gay man still hold any water ?

What about the rest of us that find more of a connection with women than hetero men? Lets say the women at the office or the gym, at church ? I’m not saying that your eyes aren’t wandering while you at the gym but there is an easier connection with women and in my case the connection is easier to make than with straight guys.

With women, whats not to like ? They spend more time than the male population getting ready with makeup, putting some thought into what they wear (all the time), smelling good, looking after their bodies and are willing to open up emotionally or are prepared to have good conversations. Add in the part of their social norms that allow them to publicly wear a tight workout outfit for every day attire. Yoga pants people…. need I say more? Yoga pants !?!?

You know I’m not talking about all women. There are plenty of women out there that do not fall into this category just as plenty of men do not either. I think each of us notices/knows women that do not have any of these characteristics. For those you have my permission to run away from and far from. Ok, a little humor there, but I think you know what I mean. Staying in focus with our topic, I’m still looking into what I call a strong non-sexual attraction to women that I’m trying to explain why this attraction would happen to a gay male.

When you see these attractive women does this cause you to question your sexuality ? Does it make you want to flip your facebook to say interested in men AND women ? In my case it does mess with me on occasion and I don’t think I am the only one … which of course is why I decided to write about this. Those kind of doubts can plant a seed if we’re not careful that can lead our minds astray. Especially if you are just a baby gay and have only recently acknowledged your sexual identity.

Truth be told I’ve learned that Yes, you can be attracted to women without losing yourself and who you are. Lets face it, both genders are capable of being hot. The biggest difference I care about is the one I actually want to see in those yoga pants and the one that I wish to let into my heart.

Fridge Failed. How am I supposed to go on ?

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Nope, I wish I was joking but my fridge had been dead for almost 3 weeks now.  For a family of four this is the equivalent of not having heat in the dead of winter. A real pain in the @ss but some how tolerable. This is not so much a blog entry about a fridge failing as it is about life and dealing with random bad things that happen. While i was on vacation I took along a book … that which the title fails me right now but the main point stuck with me.

I for one can not figure out what the frick life is about. As long as I am not in pain then things are pretty much on autopilot. You know the kind of pain I’m talking about: a tooth ache, having the flu or some other issue like a sprained ankle… throbbing pain that makes you take something (medication?) to stop the discomfort.

Back to this book I read. the main premise is that life is a bucket of sh*t where things constantly go wrong. Your car breaks down, someone you know dies, your job sucks, or your fridge dies for an extra long time 😉 and its pretty much an endless list of stuff going wrong. Granted, we are not talking about it all happening on one day but over time.  But wait ! There books does come with an answer.

I am summing up here, but the book said people that can be happy amongst all of this chaos and things going wrong are those that learn to adapt and and move past these things. Life likes to be unpredictable and guaranteed the bad stuff will happen and it happens to all of us. Just remember those of us that can adapt and move on are those that can spend the most time being happy.

This made sense to me. If you cant let go of things and constantly wait for the next bad thing to happen how could you possibly be happy? It is a simple switch in how you think and my own thinking that the day is completely blown if it doesn’t go perfectly. Happy is still a foreign concept to me but somehow I feel like I turned a corner and promise myself to better take advantage of the time where bad things arent happening. After all, we earned that time.

 

They were the best of times …

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They were the worst of times … or as I like to call the annual family summer vacation. A test of ones metal, personal values and overall ability to cope with your loved ones in a confined space. Actually about 2 tons of metal in the form of a dodge mini van.

When I sat down to write this I hardly had the time to work on it but currently I am back in civilization attempting to recall exactly what happened during vacation. this went fast…very fast. the days were loaded and I drove a lot. then we hit the last week of vacation where we were holed up in a cottage with our in-laws. this is something we have been doing for a fair number of years now.

When you go from super busy to no tv or wifi and daily early morning fishing trips to the lake pier, you have to survive with others in a whole new way. Generally under these conditions I resort to curling up somewhere to read a book or generally just try and stay out of the way of those that are hustling and bustling trying to keep the household afloat and meal preparation time which is basically all the time when you are in a cabin in the middle of the bush.

I’ll be the first to admit under these conditions many of my personality flaws seem to shine through in Technicolor: anxiety, the social separation and or depression like to manifest at these times. Usually these things are kept in check by routine… so things definitely get squirrely when I need to pick the activity to follow up on. Put quite simply I’ll make a lot of bad decisions  like staying back at the cottage while the kin folk (Wife and kids) go to splash around at the beach. This is something I should naturally want to do but my natural childhood programming doesn’t even have this on the schedule.

You see, when I grew up my parents were always busy. Dad would be off doing odd jobs when he wasn’t doing his regular night time job (school custodian). Mom would be settling in after a busy day for some religious TV programming finding ways to not get stuck on earth and left behind during the rapture. Always involved with solo activities. If we did get out, it was to go to the beach with another family on a lazy Sunday. This would happen once or twice a year. I’m not saying I’m the way I am because of them, but it would seem appropriate that I learned how to do things as a family from them.

To catch you up, this kind of living does not fly with my wife. She had the opposite experience growing up. Her dad would take the family out on yearly trips and constantly do activities with the kids. I actually get into a lot of trouble from my wife for making choices today about doing things with everyone else or as a group. She doesn’t get mental illness, anxiety or depression even though she knows I suffer from all of the above. I face the wrath of wifey for my actions; the cold shoulder, avoidance, being yelled at treated poorly in general. I get treated in kind poorly for treating others poorly (even though in most situations I cant see what I’m doing is wrong).

I keep trying. I’m not a bad guy. I’m educated, have a good job and contribute a lot of income to our lifestyle. Its just difficult for me to connect with others in more than a superficial way.

I really dread these ‘free time’ style vacations now and will continue to through the future. I don’t know how to fix myself and I have a high standard to live up to. Medications for your problems can only take you so far. Some of us just spin around looking for ways to be better or to get better. Perhaps cut people some slack when they don’t fit into their expected roles and instead try to help them do so. To everyone out there in the same boat I wish you continued strength and resolve as you continue your fight.

 

 

Depression Hurts and so does walking into a door …

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There we go the first confession and now it’s out there, I have depression. Technically I also have anxiety but it’s really hard to tell what came first, the chicken or the egg. For brief intervals I have seen counsellors that say the two usually go hand in hand. Why do I mention this now ? I honestly believe that one of the root causes for my depression is that I do not live as my ‘true self’ aka I hide who I really am by being in the closet.

How many LGBT people suffer from some similar conditions ? My guess is quite a few. You always have straight society to contend with and any potential judgement you may fear. Does holding hands with your partner or kissing in public raise the anxiety meter ?Or do you tell yourself instead that “that’s not us and we don’t need to do that” in order to avoid it altogether ?Made you think there for a moment now didn’t I ? Let’s get back to me as I can’t talk about you 😉

I’m presently on vacation returning from the capital of Canada with the family: wife and two kids in tow. Did you forget I am married ? Well that’s the gospel truth. Trying to figure things out while travelling packed tight into a little van, living the dream. I have kids, a house and a cute little dog. Check, check, double check ! As far as life goals are concerned I have attained many of the things we are taught to strive for. 

The only issue with my my life is when things went seriously off the rails with my wife about two years ago. That’s when I finally went and lost it. Mind you it took about 15 to 20 years to get there so this wasn’t just an over night thing. Ultimately rehab was able to purge the deadliest of sins I had adopted to deal with living my life. Had I had more self esteem, self respect, inner strength could I have pulled out sooner ? You Know it ! What’s important to know here is me and my wife live as good friends. Not husband and wife, not best friends and not lovers. Just good considerate friends co-parenting under the same roof. The lack of being physical ended up giving me the time ( after my anger and resentment subsided) to start being honest with myself about who I was. I’m not exactly sure how things would have gone if she had not pulled the plug on our ‘sex life’. Let’s move on to why I felt motivated to write today….and also so I don’t need to add a little thank you for her in here.

This morning I got shut down. What could that possibly mean? Well there are times when I just try to be myself and I’ll get a good rip from my wife. I was running around packing a I was humming the beginning of a song, when our paths crossed and she told me to stop that because I was being annoying. I’ll admit I was repeating the same part of the song. I’m guilty of that. The crazy thing that happens when I am treated that way, being told to shut off a personal trait is I spin off back to two years ago where I think being self destructive is better than being here right now. It takes a while to calm down and not lose faith that things will get better, that I will some day move on and find someone that fully cares for me as I do for them.

Being in addiction is not being free. Being in a bad relationship is not being free. Some how there needs to be an emergency rip cord for those of us that don’t have what it takes to be free right now.  Perhaps people close to you are the best source of help. Until this is sorted, thank goodness there is medication and free therapist visits at the local LGBT centre. Bless everyone that is working towards being free and especially to those that are there to help them.

Are you a little Cray Cray ?

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One thing that I’ve noticed is that maintaining your mental health feels like a larger challenge for the LGBT community. How are your experiences in this department ? I would be curious to know how people feel about this.

I’ve met all kinds of LGBT people and well, quite frankly a fair number out there are full on cray cray when it comes to interacting with the rest of the world. Lets qualify that a little more. Its the people I’ve met through dating sites that leave me prone to giving myself a good head scratch after trying to maintain a relationship/friendship with them.

Where are all of the normal mentally healthy people from our community? To be honest, I’ve found them everywhere else you would find normal well balanced people: Sports activities, special interest groups, church and the list goes on. Decide to develop a special interest and then go forth and check things out !

What if you are one of the people that suffers from anxiety or depression? Do you feel you experience these issues because of your orientation, being out or living in the closet? To some extent I believe living in the closet adds stress to your life which contributes to escalating anxiety and depression if already present. Being out lends itself to all sorts of new challenges, unfortunately I can not speak to that situation having no experience in that department.

Do people that do not seek answers to resolve these problems continue to hurt more than others? It would seem to me that is the case. I attribute this to these problems keeping you away from support systems that let these issues get worse and worse. In the future I’ll be touching on ways to move from being cray cray to being healthier mentally and getting the support you need to becoming a better (at least) happier you.