Posts Tagged ‘demons’

A lot of ink has been used in recent month examining the change in the Republican party. My take is a little different.

The R’s have become the home of the Evangelical wing of Christian churches and the former John Birchers’. The John Birchers are the most interesting additions to the party. They were the first to migrate to the party when President Nixon embarked on his southern strategy to win re-election. The John Birchers’ were previously the dixicrats or southern democrats that Nixon and the Republicans targeted.  The John Birch Society is a political advocacy group that, in their words, supports anti-communism, limited government, a constitutional republic and personal freedom. The society upholds an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, which it identifies with fundamental Christian principles, seeks to limit governmental powers, and opposes wealth redistribution, and economic interventionism. It not only opposes the practices it terms collectivism, totalitarianism, and communism, but socialism and fascism as well, which it asserts is infiltrating US governmental administration. Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), (who I worked for in 1978) then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.

The society opposed aspects of the 1960s civil rights movement and claimed the movement had communists in important positions. The Society produced a flyer titled “What’s Wrong With Civil Rights?,” which was used as a newspaper advertisement. The group is Anti-Semitic, racist, anti-Mormon, anti-Masonic, and filled with a paranoid fervor. They are against the trilateral commission and at one time tried to tie the Queen of England to an international drug cartel. The UN’s role in the Gulf War and President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘New World Order’ appeared to many society members to validate their claims about a ”One World Government” conspiracy. It should surprise no one that Chuck Colson, convicted White House Aide to Nixon, (found Jesus in jail) was an architect of the Southern Strategy for Republicans as well as a supporter and leader of the Family. The “Family” is the secretive evangelical group responsible for the National Prayer Breakfast and the infamous “C Street House”. I lived in another one of their houses while in college. Sen Brownback (R-KA) in 1999, joined together with fellow Family members, Senators Strom Thurmond and Don Nickles to demand a criminal investigation of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. They run a convert operation and have a burnt earth policy against those who challenge them.

What do these two groups have in common? Both need to feed upon people with low analytical skills and suffer some form of paranoia. The average member of each group is less educated then average and believe the world to be seen in terms of black and white, us against them. There is no room for nuance. In one group there is a constant undertone of conspiracies set to undermine their lives. The others group has that plus a belief that there are invisible forces at work that only they understand because of their special calling. There is an invisible force that created the universe and they have a special intimate relationship with. Because of this relationship they get special treasures after they die. While alive they are give a special insight into the universe. They need to see the world in terms of black and white. The Devil is out to destroy them and their way of life with temptation. This is why they eschew facts and reality because there is no proof to substitute their belief patterns in both cases. Therefore evidence base science directly challenges their belief and cause them to lash out.

(Part 2 – Why they hate education)

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.

I’m back. It’s been awhile and the depression got worse and darker but I think I have turned the corner and understand the roots. The shrink gave me some meds that made matters worse. I remember joking about the warning on antidepressants, warnings that they “increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior”. Wow, they were not kidding. There are a few of us that can have these reactions and it is unbelievable to me how dark it can get.

The good news is that I think I have discovered a root of the problem and can go about fixing it. One part of the problem is that I never wanted to be an attorney. As I mentioned earlier, I went to law school so my obituary would not read waiter. I never thought I would live to see graduation. Now some 25 years later I am in a situation where I can do what I want and I am going to start doing that. Piano, Photography and continue with the athletics and training. Most important is writing. While I reorganize my life a bit I will update regularly. My this weekend the blog will pass 50,000 views. Thanks for your support.

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows
to know you can never look back

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.

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.

This week Rock (or Punk) icon Patti Smith turned 65. Although she spent the past twentyish years in “retirement”, some would say she made a career out of being the last woman Robert Mapplethorpe screwed. The past year has been a banner year for her. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, presented with an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the Pratt Institute and awarded a National Book Award for her memoir, “Just Kids.” Just Kids was her second book published capitalizing on her time with Mapplethorpe. The first was a release of photos of Smith taken by Mapplethorpe.

I have never been a great fan of Smith although I do love the song she penned with Bruce Springsteen, “Because the Night.” The closest I’ve come to meeting her was when I was a bouncer at the 930 Club in Washington DC and she came into to see a show. We do however share a connection and that is Bobby Mapplethorpe. I met Mapplethorpe several times and in different environments. Two times will forever be etched into my mind. The first was through a friend and former roommate. He was the man in the polyester suit.

We worked together doing catering in Washington DC working both for Glorious Food and Design Cuisine. The first time I stopped by his apartment to pick him up for an event, I saw the print on his living room wall. I commented on it something to the effect that it was an expensive piece on a waiter’s salary. He proudly me told me the story behind it. A really funny side story about this picture is fodder for a post later this week. He spoke about meeting Mapplethorpe (in a rest room) and the shoot. He also invited me to meet Bobby who was in town then doing a shoot. I spent the better part of an afternoon watch him set up a shoots and deal with models and scenes.

The more interesting meeting was the next night when I ran into him at a SM play party in Washington. He did not recognize me at first, mostly because of the blindfold he was wearing. We ended up playing a few times later that week and again in New York. I have several pictures from that period including a picture of Bobby and Sam.

I suppose that I shouldn’t dislike Patti. Maybe I’m just jealous of her relationship with Bobby and with history. I am especially envious of her relationship with those at the center of the Woodstock event. I will say that I toughly enjoyed the book Just Kids. Read it cover to covers in a couple nights. If you get a chance grab it! Also, I am convinced that every person that comes in and out of our life does so with good reason. She help form Bobby who in turned inspired my love and respect for photography. I only regret that I did not become more of a groupie when I had the chance. I missed a great opportunity to learn and be a part of something greater than I could see at the time!


 

The more I listen to the coverage of the Penn State-Standusky the more upset I get. During a recent round table discussion that included Dan Rather, New York Magazine’s John Heilemann, the topic focused on why this scandal happened. Rather said that Penn State was so “money-conscious” and that the school’s concern with profits was an “indication of what has happened to the country.” Heilemann disagreed with Rather. Heliemann said the “institutional failure” stemmed from the school’s concern with protecting its “reputation, status, and the privilege and power of adults.” I have only seen one real article focused on the victims. It was written by of all people, a Wall Street Journal columnist. I am furious on two levels.

First, there has been no discussion on the impact of the victims. Just as with the Catholic Church scandal, the Penn State scandal coverage is focused on the accuser. The schadenfreude of watching the powerful fall. As a person who was raped several times in several circumstances I can say with all certainty that it is about pure arrogance.

The Catholic Church felt that they were above man’s law and untouchable. Penn State felt the same. Standusky felt the same as repeatedly violated his victims. His position in the community, like a priest or Michael Jackson, was beyond reproach. The brothers who  rapist must have had the same attitude. One set, being the children of a DC cop felt they were untouchable.

This is a scenario that plays out more times a day than the human brain can conceptualize. Research shows that one out of every three to five women, and one out of ever five to seven men are sexually abused by the time they reach their eighteenth birthday. Although women account for 20% of the [sexual] abuse of boys, approximately 60% of boys and 80% of girls who are sexually victimized are abused by someone known to the child or the child’s family. Rape is one of the most repeated crimes and most underreported crime. I am truly weakened when I read the coverage and see no reporting on the trauma of the victim.

The impact long term differs considerable between boy and girls. Sexual assaults on boys tend to be more violent and are more likely to result in serious physical injury or death than those perpetrated on females. Men who were sexually abused as children are twice as likely to become substance abusers, commit suicide, be prone to illness, have problems in school, be antisocial or overly aggressive, and be verbally or physically abusive to their mates. Because of the culture that exists in much of the world, men have additional constraints that impede their ability to cope with the aftermath of sexual abuse. Because men are expected to be “macho,” or to be in control and not show any weakness, issues are raised that the victim refuses to deal with.

With these circumstances, men and boys who have been in any way sexually abused do not get the support and help that women have come to take for granted in the last two decades. Statistics published in 1992 and 1994 by the U.S. Department of Justice show that only 52% of rapes are reported, that one of two rape victims is under 18, and that one in six is under 12 years of age. There are a number of reasons we choose not to talk about our ordeal; a deep sense of shame, fear of revenge by the perpetrator and of ostracism by friends and family. The most common experience is dissociation. That is the minds desire or ability on the conscious level to escape an unavoidable and intolerably painful situation.

I have talked to several men recently who suffered abuse on one level or another. All of us saw ourselves, as coping with it and that it had no long-term effects. But after a deeper discussion we saw how it still affected the way we view or have sex or dealt with people in intimate relationships.

The reality of the Penn State/Catholic Church scandals is that society will focus on the failure of the powerful to police itself while ignoring the victim because in the face of the victim they will see an emotional intensity that will scare them.

If I do have demons that I wear on my sleeves, they are the demons of the physical. I have never looked like a model. I could never have looked like a model. I was born with a linebacker physique. As a child, my mother took me to the “husky-boys” department to by pants. I wasn’t fat. Just big. Also I want to look like Tony, not Sven. I wanted that jet black hair and constant 5 o’clock shadow, not the blonde fuzzy that never could grow to a beard. Maybe the issues ran deeper to a rejection of who I knew I was, but I’ve never been happy with my body. I focused that anger on the things I could not change instead of the things I could change. It is only recently, in the past year or so, that I have actually embraced and confronted these demons.

After forty I really let myself go. My weight climbed to 280 pounds with a 42 inch waist. For the longest time I didn’t care enough to do anything about it except complain. Then after seeing a picture of myself I had an awakening. I though for gods sake, I was so fat that I did not even want to tough myself.  Why on earth would Ed want to touch me? That and the medical reports that showed I was diabetic, prompted me to make some changes.

At that point I decided to try this amazing new diet plan. I ate fewer calories than I was burning. I started doing cardio to burn more calories and started weight training to add muscle. It has worked. I dropped over 40 pounds. My waist has doped from 42 to 36 and my chest and back and arms have all gotten bigger and toned. There are actually now pictures of me with my shirt off floating around the internets. and most importantly, I can look down and see my dick. A very big plus!

Now there are those that would say I should have learned to accept myself for who I was and embrace that. I  would respectfully say to them – You’re NUTS!  Again, I believe that we are spirits having a human experience. That the essence that defines us lives past the demise of the vessel we are in. It is in a way a symbiotic relationship with body and energy. Along with experiencing a body, we must learn how to control it.

One of the commonalities of the people I consider great spiritual teachers, Buda, Gandhi, Jesus and even Mohammed was the ability to control their body. To fast. To walk through pain and discomfort. I then compare them to Jerry Farwell, Jimmie Swaggert and others of that ilk. Big fat men with jowls shaking. Rev. Charles “Chuck” Dewease, pastor of the First Pentecostal Church of Youngston, is not ashamed to tell anyone his weight.”I’m a little over 415 pounds and proud of it.”He says.About ten years ago while reading the book of 1 Timothy, Dewease came under “intense conviction” when he read 1 Timothy 4:8a which says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little.” He is using the bible to justify sloth!

I am appalled now that fat people are considered  handicapped. Instead of getting prime parking at the store, they should have to park in the spots furthest away and burn a few calories on their way to get more Ho Ho’s. As a society we should stop making it acceptable to be a glutton and help people get control of their life. This is not a PC matter. It is a public welfare crisis. We pay higher insurance premiums to cover “Fat Scooters”! Ed saw an obese man ride his fat scooter through he drive through at Dun-kin Donuts and get a box of Donuts. He was too big to fit through the front door. He then pulled into a handicap space and ate them all. Really?!?

I realize that people are going to take exception to this way of thinking but there is one main reason people get fat. A lack of discipline. NO ONE IS BORN FAT. We let ourself become fat. Or worse, parents let their kids get fat. If this offends you, go tell someone who gives a fck. We treat cigarette smokers that way. We treat alcoholics and junkies that way. Why give fat people a break? It is bad for society.

Ed works in the ER and several times a month they send patients to the Marine Mammal Rescue Clinic in Clearwater to use their cat-scan because they are too big for the people one in the hospital. One of the leading causes of injury to emergency responders happens during the moving of obese people. Maybe I am like a reformed smoker but as a society we need to make certain behavior acceptable and certain behavior unacceptable. I am by no means advocating that everyone be a gym bunny. But for gods sake take care of the body you have. You only get one each trip through. I have spent more than half my life dealing with a disease that is trying to kill me from the inside. I need to do what I can to make sure I keep a body that can fight this off.

It is even becoming a security risk. The vast majority of kids enlisting in the military are obese. As I have said before, I have always admired the USMC for their discipline. But even they are not immune from this problem. But as the tee-shirt reads – If it were easy, every one would do it. Although I have made a lot of change physically I have a way to go. I still see myself as that fat slob with a 42 waist. By New Years Eve I want to be down to my goal weight so I can focus on building more muscle next year. I need to find a challenge or goal next year. Maybe do an Ironman contest. But as a society we need to stop being victims and become the change we seek.

A few years ago the mirth and girth group moved into bear groups and started called themselves bears. This despite the fact that are in essence hairless. One person on line sent me his picture claiming to be a “muscle bear”. I responded by asking him what made him think so? NO – I DO NOT NEED TO HELP YOU ACCEPT YOURSELF!

There will soon be a posting about the term inclusive and community. We keep breaking into smaller factions based on fetish or type and at the same time trying to be PC and inclusive. I think with with  the development of the internet we have become less of a community and more of a network.