Dear Mom

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Dear Mom,

it is 2:39 AM and you would not be impressed under the circumstances. Its been a while since we talked and as my brother said we do have a special connection and bond. There are things I feel like I failed you with and wish we could sort through. They include the big three:  religion, marriage and relationships.

Religion is a big one with you and I have yet to give it a fair chance. Does watching Billy Graham count as a step in the right direction? I hope so. He’s been doing these 30 minute promo videos that focus on the lives of three people whose lives have been changed. The show paints a pretty picture of life with God in these peoples present lives. Do you think this can happen for everyone, even me? Do you still feel the same way? Your faith is amazing, I’ll give you that.

My marriage as you last heard was still doing well. It is doing well, but not in the sense that you think, it is not a true marriage. You see we are just two best friends doing the best that we can trying to remember to take life slow.  I wish I could report there was any sort of love in the room for my wife but my emotions have been punctured and beat up too badly to try and bring them back up to the surface to ever think about rekindling anything deep with this person ever again. On the plus side I’m sure that is how she feels about me too. It makes what I am about to say next a little bit easier.

On to relationships and what I do feel, where there are certain confessions I should make. While my marriage was imploding and I was in the long process of rebuilding myself, all of the pieces of the puzzle came together an I determined that I was gay. Everything I went through as a teen and young adult gave me the sense that they were lacking in meaning some how and now I know why. Perhaps where you are right now you can see through your old beliefs that this is not wrong. How can love when found ever be wrong? After all, God is love right ? Perhaps with connections with the guy upstairs you can accept this. Sorry to have it come out in this way, I should have taken the opportunity to tell you in person. please forgive me for that.

You see these are some of the things that weigh on my mind at 2:39 AM while I think about going back to sleep. I’ll try harder to give God and religion a chance and not speed through life without giving something so important to you a decent chance. I’ll continue to keep the family a priority and keep the bonds strong as everyone moves forward through life. You hopefully, will have forgiveness in your heart for me not telling you sooner I was gay. Oddly I picture you praying for me right now at the time of my confession 😉  Tell dad I love him as it was not said enough or in time. You can tell him the news and catch him up, I think he would like that. I have not forgotten him.

It’s getting close to 3:00 AM now and I feel the sleep creeping back again. Please give my dog a good night kiss on the head for me when you see her as I miss her too. Thanks for being there and listening, I knew I could count on you waiting till the end and hearing me through.  Don’t ever forget I love you too.

Good Night and God bless

 

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Exercise

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kimmy

What does Kimmy have to do with exercise? Truthfully it was the first show that I watched when I started on the treadmill and the arrival of its new season seems to be a sign that I take my first stab at trying to exercise again in a long while. It was the perfect plan …. it was the four seasons (?) previous where I started to make the weight melt off before so it seems like a sign that with the arrival of the new season, the timing was right to take another shot at this.

This is not a weight loss story. If you’ve read my entries before you’ll know a lesson often arrives with these little revelations in my life. Mental health is not something I understand but acknowledge is something I do grapple with. Typically a compulsive action starts to occur and I need to figure out what is triggering things. This time I’m quite convinced a lot of this was related to my quitting nicotine gum. I’m not a fan of smoking and I find I fall off the wagon every so often which I figured had to do with being on a nice strong dosage of the gum. Me and self medicating are a really, REALLY  bad combination.

Its also around this time that things are just off the charts going ‘bad’ when I remember that exercise did actually lift my moods to almost an acceptable level. Then along comes the new season of Kimmy Schmidt. I gave Kimmy and the treadmill a shot once again to try and re-align myself.  The result? Kimmy was great, the treadmill kicked my but, I schvitzed but I did feel the tiniest bit better taking it all in afterwards. Is this a sign of things to come? Did Kimmy save my life?  Sometimes we forget get to invest in ourselves when we suit up to fight mental illness and I’m going to try and keep going and see what happens.

 

 

Do you fear coming out? What happens when the roadblocks disappear …

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The way I see it, I have two big challenges front and center with me: Should I come out now that the road blocks are all gone and if I did what would I come out as ? Let me put out there that it would not be the worst thing for me to get outed via social media or by me being involved in pro LGBT activities or expressing my opinions. I think I could live with it happening that way. What I am talking more about here is coming out in the traditional sense of announcing it as a matter of fact to those that matter in my life and hoping they still remain close. Further to complicate this, announcing your new sexual orientation requires stating what your new norms are. A tougher thing to do especially if you don’t like labels and being put into someones tidy little ‘orientation box’.

After my mother passed away, it took me some time to realize there wasn’t a lot of reasons to remain closeted anymore. It was her I felt I was protecting from the radical turmoil that I could unleash on to my life and hers. Was I being a big weenie for holding this in? probably. If you mix in the problems with anxiety and depression that I have, you start to weigh these decisions more heavily trying not to have anxiety and depression controlling the outcome. Things are not always seen as clearly as others without these problems would see them. What I do know is that there is a sense of peace flowing through me regarding my ‘secret’.

I had a fight with my wife the other day at the end of the night as we were settling in to watch some TV before bed. I was ready to enjoy some quiet time together but she had other plans. It was time for the classic ambush and time for me to explain why the old me came back after an appearance of the ‘good’ me surfaced for two days after my mother passed. Did you know there was a ‘good’ version of me that I constantly try to live up to? I apparently was more thoughtful, kind, attentive and I became a good listener during this period. She did not like that life had gone back to the usual. I on the other hand did not see it. I was still being myself believing I was being more attentive, more kind and more appreciative of my surroundings and family. If there was an improvement in the situation I attributed it to us both being off work and having tons of time to think about things and be reflective. I did ask why she felt the need to attack me in this way and what kind of positive outcome could possibly come from having a ‘conversation’ this way. I didn’t really get an answer to this but let the blows fall as they may cursing myself for letting my guard down in the first place.  Thats when it occurred to me if I really made her that unhappy I could offer to leave, come out or both. That still blows my mind to think of the options now that the roadblocks are gone. As I reflect back on that event I feel a glimmer of hope that there might be something good on the horizon or perhaps just change.

Quite possibly the worst part (for me) about coming out is claiming a sexual orientation. It seems like it is socially acceptable to go to the same gender. ie. I liked girls but realize I’m more into men. It however seems like you break what is acceptable and you have a problem if you (as a male for example) want to be with women, men and then women again. This feels like a one shot deal and you better get it right. Oddly this worries me as I am one of those people that always has a backup plan. If I truly believe what I’ve said then you would realize there is plan B once you put it out there. You can only do this once and it will stick for always. No pressure …

No coming out discussion would be complete without doing some inner reflection on just how ready you think you are. Are you ready ? How much have you prepared yourself mentally, financially or socially? Is this something you can just roll with and everything will be alright? As an introvert, I can say that often I’m guilty of over thinking things, especially the larger decisions in life. I think that if you can keep yourself in a good place mentally you are more likely respond appropriately to whatever life throws your way and that includes whatever stresses come your way as a result of coming out. These days I think this is often referred to as self care.

Perhaps my hesitation to come out is why I push the envelope daily and express myself a little more each time. When it happens it will happen. Some day what is on the inside will be on the outside… and you’ll be first in line to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

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.