Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

Repost from Last Xmas

This past Christmas I was accused of persecuting christians again on Facebook because I posted a little ditty “Help keep the X in Xmas! My response last year still stands! Frack’m if they can’t take a joke!

I’ve lost three months of my life recently to Pristiq. Pristiq is an antidepressant that I started and from the very beginning I felt it was wrong. I lost interest in reading and writing. I lost interest in weight training and sex.  I lost three months. I knew I wanted off the drug but every web site I visited talked about listed testimonials of people who various reasons (lost insurance leading the way) have had to go cold turkey of the drug. People complain of Massive headaches and nausea and light-headedness. All of which I have experienced to one degree or another. None to an extreme or uncomfortable level.

This past week when I went to refill my prescription, I lost the new bottle. Faced with going out of pocket or cold turkey I figured I would try going, over Christmas, cold turkey without my Pristiq (I am still on Abilify). As I say So far the only thing I have noticed is last night I read 4 chapters in a new book. The Last Werewolf. While on Pristiq I was unable to read an entire page from that book. I am now driven to get back into the gym and last night took a long walk with the dogs and Ed after dinner instead of napping. I am relived to be back in sorts to a large degree. I still won’t watch the hallmark channel yet. Why ask for depression or tears. I do, for the first time in months feel in control. Something I have not felt in months.

Is that the goal of the mental health professionals, to give people socially acceptable ways of feeling numb? I thought it was to develop the tools to maintain control. I’ll keep my therapist but I am dropping my pill pusher psychologist. I want to develop my own tools for handling my life and life experiences. I don’t want to feel dead.

This morning was my weekly head shrinking. One of my greatest fears is becoming addicted to therapy. How do I know when I am all-better, cured. I’m happier. There is no doubt about that. More stable but how do I know when my mood disorder is over? Thoughts? I am in a better mood.

My therapist relayed a story from when he was in school and was told by a professor that they were not allowed to judge anyone for any reason. My thought becomes that if we as a society do not point out unacceptable behavior. I am a much bigger believer now in the “social contract”. I believe as a society we have let too many people off the hook for their actions whether it be obesity or living off the government dole on manufactured disabilities. Unless people are held accountable for their actions this kind of behavior will continue. My therapist calls this being judgmental. If so then I guess I always will be judgmental. I do now wonder whether this is healthy for me or not. I don’t see it changing. Thoughts?

Anyway, enough psychoanalyzing myself, I’ll save that for the professionals. I’m going to count down to Toronto. Two more days and Ed and I actually get to spend time together. He’s been working so much and so hard for so long it’s going to pleasant to be off the grid. Save for a few phone calls or Skype calls to my mother the following six days will be off the grid. I will however try to keep people posted through the blog and Facebook as Internet allows.

BDSM is not abuse. It does not take a power hungry “monster” to make things happen. Who ever posted this… genius!

This past week Ed and I celebrated our anniversary. 19 years ago we met in Washington DC at the March on Washington. One year ago on the same date, we got married and the US Courthouse in Washington DC. A more in-depth revelation of the day we met can be found here.

There is a certain synergy to this weekend in New York. The connection is Ghost.

I am writing this today while flying to New York to see a few shows for our anniversary. This brings full circle the “incident” on our wedding eve that almost derailed the wedding.
Last year as we prepared to actually get married, Ed and I decided that we would write vows. Not to be used in place of the ceremony used by the Clerk of the Court, but to exchange between ourselves. We both spent time, energy and heart writing them. I thought, since we both have a love of good movies, that mine would have a theme. I tried to incorporate as many movie lines into mine as I could remember.

The night before we got married we sat in our hotel room in Washington DC, Ed in my lap, and I gave him my “vows”. He read them, a little misty eyed, looked at me, and said ditto. I started to fume.
Is that is? Ditto? I poured hours into this and all you can say f@*kn say is ditto?!?!
I was pissed, or hurt, or just flummoxed. Any sense of romance was gone. My mind was racing trying to convince myself not to totally blow up and cancel the wedding. It took 18 years to get me to the alter and all he could say was f@*k ditto! I could not believe that Ed could act so callous. It was so out of character for him. Maybe it was just nerves hitting. I could not understand. I was nearly ready to head out the door for a long walk before he realize that I was truly upset and not projecting faux pain and indignation. Then he ask – “have you never seen the movie Ghost?” “No, I hadn’t! And I hadn’t seen Porky’s 3 either.” (see above comment about love of “GOOD” movies).
Since that night, I have come to find out that I am one of the few dozen people in the industrialized world who had not seen Ghost. Every person that weekend and after I went to for reassurance that I had been wronged squealed that that was the perfect response. Even our straight, 6’4″ 290 pounds of muscle, trainer congratulated Ed on a great response. I had been wronged damn-it and I kept looking for someone, anyone, who would back me up on that. Finally, four months later I found someone who had not seen ghost. They were from Europe but none the less she had not seen ghost. However once Ed explained the reason for his response, she “awww, that’s so sweet.
Today, after a year of trying to find someone who would let me play aggrieved victim or romance, I give up. I concede that that was a great response and I was really upset that I didn’t think of it first. Let me be clear. What Ed had written was beautiful and made me misty (actually I tear up at McDonald’s Olympic ads).
All that is a prelude to this weekend. For our anniversary, Ed is taking me to Broadway to see “Ghost the Musical.” I’ll let you know later how many Kleenex I go through.
As for the rest of the wedding eve, I calmed down and we headed out to the DC Eagle for our bachelors’ party. And no, you can’t see those pictures!

The other show we are seeing Saturday is Spiderman! Cannot wait!

I had hoped to get back to regular blogging about the Exquisite Fuckery that is the Republican brain. Alas, I am back to suicide.

This past week the New York Times carried an in-depth piece on the recent (New Years Eve) suicide of self-help guru/therapist Bob Bergeron, age 49, who was writing “The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond.” He left behind a suicide note written on the book’s cover page: “It’s a lie based on bad information.” An arrow pointed to the book’s title, according to the report.

At first I laughed at the sardonicism of the circumstances. Here is a man who had it right and couldn’t accept his own teaching. The NYT author mentions In Dancer From the Dance. Dancer was one of the first gay themed books I ever saw or read. Unlike today, when I was coming of age the only out(ish) gays were Paul Lynn and Liberace. The only stories about gays were depressing and fatalistic. Portrait of Dorian Gray or Dancer.  In Dancer, the main character commits suicide “rather than facing getting older and watching his beauty fade.” Bernstein asks, “Had Mr. Bergeron made the same decision?”

I personally find it irritating when people tell me 50 is the new 30. NO 50 IS 50. 30 is 30. Don’t confuse the two. The other day some butt-wipe made a comment about me being old. I turned and in my best daddy voice said, “I have been your age. I had fun! It was the age when sex didn’t kill and when drugs were recreational. There is no guarantee that you will ever be my age. I have the advantage.” For the two years before I turned 50 I started telling people I was 50. That was number to be proud of. I survived the early days in the trenches and front lines of AIDS and Anita Bryant and all the craziness that was the 80’s and the Reagan error. I earned my scars, physical and emotional, and I am proud that what I did – what we did. We helped created a climate where kids in Bumfuck Montana can take same-sex dates to the prom.

I wouldn’t go back in time if you paid me. To me the joy in life is incorporating all you learn and moving it forward. There is nothing more silly that a forty something year old man trying to act 20. It just screams insecurity. The only time a hat should be worn backwards is when he’s giving head. I am not saying we should be wearing golf shorts and argyles up to our knees. But nothing is sexier that a secure man dressed confidently and age appropriate. Men like Tom Ford, Daniel Craig, Anderson Cooper and George Clooney are all examples of men acting their age. There is no sin in that. The whole inner beauty cliché is over used, but the mature man just knows. The young set may always be randy and ready to screw. It’s just a shame that they lack the necessary skills to actually please someone else. Or even last long enough to make it interesting. Most importantly to me, is that they keep my interest long enough to get home. I wonder if my generation was as shallow as todays 20-30 year old set.

There is a reason every story about people attempting to hold on to youthful beauty ends poorly. The Evil Queen in Snow White and Dorian Gray lose everything in their pursuit of youth. Peter Pan who never grows up, goes back to face his empty life. There is a reason young people are pretty. They have to have some positive asset something to attract a mate.

Just saying.

There has been a break in blogging over the past few weeks due to the difficulty in seeing clearly in the darkness of a real depression. It has been a number of years since I have been in this deep a depression. For the first time in almost twenty years I am actually seeing a professional.

I had forgotten the difference in being depressed and hitting depression. Sad is ok because it makes you appreciate the happy moments. This depression had no hope of happy on the horizon. A few factors built the hole and a few factors came together to break out of the hole.

One of the key factors building the hole was the fact that my lab work came back with a positive viral load for the first time in almost ten years. There is a huge disconnect between the attitudes of younger people who are getting infected for fun or whatever reasons. They believe, maybe incorrectly, that there will be medications available to them that will always keep the disease in check. Then there are the people I came of age with, the few remaining from my generation.

We became the walking dead

I came out in Washington DC in the pre-AIDS days. This season of fun and excitement soon turned to the dawn of the dead. My friends and lovers soon became walking corpses almost overnight. Healthy, playing racquetball on Monday, a cold on Wednesday and a cough by Friday. Saturday a trip to the ER when they began coughing blood and dead the following week. Drowned by their own lungs. This was my life. This was their death. For ten years I waited for my turn. Expecting that at any day the virus would explode in my system and take me like it did so many other of my generation. It is hard to unlearn a decade of learning that was pounded into my psyche.

A few of the lucky ones actually had family or friends with them at the end.

Every trip to the local stores, every time I took a buddy to the doctor or came to clean their house was a reminder of what I had to look forward to when it was my turn. In times like this when the virus makes it presence known I realize that I am still waiting for that explosion. I realize how many are dead and wonder why I’m not. I was a bigger whore than Barry, Ron, Mike but not Andrew. They are gone and I’m in a hole of my own making as dark as any grave.

Logically I understand that things are different now. I could live another twenty plus years without any problems. Those thoughts can’t change or explain the past.

So what is helping me climb back out of the hole? Bottom line, like a ghost that can’t cross over, I have unfinished business.  I have several books that I’m currently reading. The common thread in them is that we use energy available to us to create our own reality. We can be energy vampires and drain people around us or use the energy available to us to create a new reality. That is what I’ve started to do. One of my perceived obstacles is that I feel as though there is no one to support me. That after years of being people’s confidant, strength and counselor, there was no one with time for me. I began to realize a couple of things. First was that I had not really let anyone get that close to me again that could see me when I not in control. Second, that I probably need to do it on my own.

The facade we show is usually enough to hide behind.

I have long felt that to many people like to be victims and want other people to either carry the blame for their failings or in the alterative seek out the attention reserved for true victims. I have started to reshape my energy so as not to be a victim of my past. There is still a world of difference I can make in the lives of other. I hope for the better. More important, there are things left in that not only bring contentment but long-term happiness. I also need to stop relying on comfort food. I added ten pounds on in the form of a severe “zinger” addiction.

I look forward to more blogging in the coming days and weeks and I hope this time I can get completely out of the hole. I am going to spend a lot of time in the next few days setting long and short-term goals for myself in a lot of different areas.

This past week has seen the reemergence of the red-herring, “war on religion” screams from the GOP. The Catholic Church is crying foul over the Presidents plan to have all business health insurance plans cover contraception. Combine that to the recent Republican legislation in Virginia that requires women be forcibly probed in order to prove the age of the fetus. We see a full fledge attack on our right to be free from religion.

Women in Virginia who want an abortion will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure. This is a medically unnecessary procedure in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill, a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound failed, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

During recent testimony on the insurance bill, I was left speechless at the sight of a table of Catholic clergy testifying before a House of Representative Committee exerting their right to deny federal law and refuse to cover some woman’s health coverage under a separation of Church and State argument. No women were allowed to testify on the Congressional bill concerning churches that operate businesses refusing to cover women’s health option.

This would be the same as the catholic clergy that argued that separation of church and state meant that the local government authorities did not have the right to investigate sex abuse charges. These are the same people complacent in the sex abuse scandal now claiming moral authority to defy federal insurance law. This has nothing to do with doctrine but apply when the church runs a business. The church argues that if they are running a business, that they should be able to pick and choose what laws apply to them based on their interpretation of their doctrine.

This argument, about protecting religious freedom from government interference, should be of concern to everyone but especially the GLBT community. Drunk with power, the radical republicans have waged war on anyone one and any things that upsets their status quo. In Michigan, Republicans only agreed to consider an anti-bullying measure that did not require school districts to report bullying incidents, did not include any provisions for enforcement or teacher training, and did not hold administrators accountable if they fail to act. Social conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination.

Freedom of religious expression doesn’t give someone the right to kick the crap out of a gay kid or to verbally torment her. It doesn’t give someone the right to fire a gay employee instead of dealing with the potential discomfort of working with him. It’s also a highly selective conception of religious liberty. The same religious conservatives who applaud the religious exemption would be appalled if it protected a Muslim student who defended bullying a Christian classmate by saying he considered her an infidel.

There is a war in America being carried out by those wrapped in a flag carrying a cross. Unless we as citizens stand firm in our convictions, stand firm in opposition to laws written or change to conform to religious doctrine, we are destined to lose the few rights we have remaining. Every little encroachment matters. Every “creation based” science book matters. Every restriction on a women’s right to health care matters. Every bullied child matters. Every business and restaurant hat refuses service to gays and lesbians matters. It should matter to each and every one of us.

An unwanted Visitor

Posted: February 10, 2012 in Advice, AIDS, book, Depression, My History
Tags: , ,

I realize that there has been a lack of blogging. Been trying to get my head in a better position. This past week, for the first time in almost seven years, lab work show that the virus as active again.

Of course I realize that one test does not show a trend. What is as frustrating is that my other labs were not good too. All my diet and exercise and now the cholesterol numbers are not as good as they normally are.

These seem like little things but to me it was (and is) a slap in the face. I live life like everything is ok. Like I am I normal. But every so often I get a stark reminder of reality. Yes the drugs have gotten batter and the life expectancy of people infected with HIV and quality of life get better all the time. That does not mean that the virus has stopped trying to kill me. The meds help manage; they do not dispose of the death sentence.

For those who bareback, breed or seed thinking that the meds will save you, they don’t. They only prolong the inevitable. The meds will not protect you. As much of a front as people have about life and death, reality can come along and put a big dent in it.

 

Just saying.

In December I wrote about my meeting Robert Mapplethorpe. It as a fascinating time. My good friend and co-worker, was the model for “Man in a Polyester Suit.” While trying to find a copy of the picture to post with the blog, I cam across several commentaries on the photo and the model, I laughed so had while reading one by “Mapplethorpe biographer.” I was certain that she made the shit up.  She said; “Robert Mapplethorpe found “god” in a gay bar called Sneakers one drizzly September evening in 1980 after leaving Keller’s [a former S& M bar that was now a gathering place for men interested in biracial sex].

Robert saw Milton Moore pacing up and down West Street, and was instantly transfixed by his beautiful face and forlorn stare. Mapplethorpe invited Moore to his apartment. Upon learning of his ambition to become a model, Mapplethorpe agreed to create a portfolio.”

Let me re-write it to more accurately reflect what happened. Robert met a scrawny ass black dude with a great smile packing serious meat in his skin tight jeans. Milton regular cruised the meat rack in search of bottom boys. Robert saw that Mitlon looked stoned and wanted to know if he had a joint. They went back to Bobbies place and got stoned together and fucked for several hours. Mapplethorpe then asked if he could take some pictures.

Her commentary continues on in very lofty prose analyzing “the genitals … pandering to the notion that blacks existed only as sex objects.” No! He was a size queen and hit a mother load! All that said, I jumped at the opportunity to watch Mapplethorpe do a photo-shoot in DC. I personal feel that most of his best work was black and white. That said his very best was the calla lilies! Although not black and white film, the contrast of the white flower and the black background combined with his eye for lighting are amazing.

My interest in photography started back in high school and I worked part time for the Times Crescent Newspaper, a local weekly paper in southern Maryland. I started as a deliver driver and then work my way in to the photo lab developing (by hand) photos the reporters had taken. I loved the dark room (have ever since). I loved the smell, and the excitement of creating something out of nothing. After the official photos were done I would experiment, overlaying negatives and playing with shadows. To this day I love the look of B&W photos and movies. At times when I frame a picture in my mind I see it and black and white. I guess how different colors are going to look as shades of gray. Just look at some of these photos and notice how converting to black and white actually makes them more striking. In black and white the lines and definition are much more clear.