Wednesday, February 22, 2012

justified and ancient

image credit.... kriistina wilson

Fortunately analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.

this year has opened up the realization that i still have some anger issues. not just current ones, but some residual leftover justified and ancient pissed off. haven't actually taken the time to figure out what the f**k i am angry about, but i have learned that it's okay to move one step at a time.

as i do the work again with my sponsor i find that the revelations are more intimate. at the same time, my work grows in intensity- both quality and quantity- at the hospital. i am discovering just how primitive and how intricate working with others can be. 

what i do know is that this hidden side of me- the angry side- has protected me for years. it has allowed me to operate "as if" when i most definitely could not have otherwise. this makes good sense to me, but i honestly had no clue that my rage and i had formed a symbiotic relationship. i'm not even sure i have a clue as to how not to be angry- that's a scary statement.

now i am not talking about typical garden variety anger here. no, no, no. i am talking deep rooted thistle type anger that keeps coming back even after you pull it, burn it, dig it. that's the kind of rage i think there is. rage so thick that it protected me from all the times i was used and discarded, all the names i was called growing up. anger that encircled me in denial for the 1st 12 years of being hiv positive- that double helix kept me alive and strong for over a decade as if i had an inner layer of titanium protecting me from the environment.   i know it has been there since my childhood. and i know that it has been my soldier and hero. but i can definitely say it's not serving that purpose in my life today.

this is probably the 1st post of at least a few to process and saute this issue. i pray that i am actually ready to let go of this no longer needed companion. i ask for the strength to trust life today. no doubt this will take time. and i've already been given more time than i had ever imagined.

They're Justified, and they're Ancient,
And they like to roam the land.
(just roll it from the top)
They're Justified, and they're Ancient,
I hope you understand.
(to the bridge, to the bridge, to the bridge now)
They called me up in Tennessee
They said "Tammy, stand by The Jams"
But if you don't like what they're going to do,
You better not stop them 'cause they're coming through
(bring the beat back)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

room for happiness

image credit...domenico cennamo

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed...........Michael Jordan

2012 has been a series of big crazy issues. death, loss, grief, frustration seem to have over-seasoned my life's buffet. in the few short weeks that have passed thus far,  i have found myself feeling plucked and pooped most of the time. and i have also realized that i have been overeating, watching too much tv, and toggling to porn mindlessly while online. it's  certainly embarrassing and not the direction i would like my life to be headed.
please don't panic.... change is in the works. with the onset of sobriety and a spiritual program, the behaviors and reactions to life that used to hurl me into chaos and darkness don't land me out of bounds any longer. i find i still  drift to numbing out, but it's manageable and detectable and i can work with it. 
this perspective is indeed a shift in perception for my life. a miracle. it's not about hating myself because i have ruined my life and made a fool of myself. instead, a sober mind and a spiritual connection has offered me a time out with the skills of acceptance and forgiveness. 

image credit.... domenico cennamo

i deliberated quite awhile for a song to play with this short post. i came to rest on the idea of 1973 by james blunt. that was a tumultuous year for me. it was my 1st and 2nd year in high school. i had already moved twice and changed schools twice. my home life was rife with a very unhappy parent who was medicating heavily with sex and alcohol. i had become accustomed to feeling responsible for their unhappiness and so it came naturally that i blamed myself. i had engaged in sexual activity with an 18 year old from the 1st school who made it his business to tell as many people about it. the shame of being queer ate me inside like cancer. leaving home seemed the only relief giving solution. i left in august of 74, but began my search for a landing pad in 1973. i used some fake id's and frequented a bath house in chicago called man's country. it was rich with distraction  and acceptance for me.  i wasn't the only queer. i wasn't the only freak.  i just learned a different type of shame being around older gay men.
anyway- that was when the drug use started to climb. and the ability to face life got put on the back shelf. i ran from my life. and kept going for almost 30 years. 1973 was a pivotal period. my emotional life got put on hold for decades. here i am 40 years later- still learning new skills to help me stay in the game. 

and as an addendum, i am adding another tune. this one hails from clubland and which brings the post to the present. kaskade collaborates with skylar grey and the lyrics are a bit frothy and both music and words strike a chord with me. the add is to represent the daily reminder that i must give myself that i need to make room for happiness in my life and my heart.

Kaskade – Room For Happiness Lyrics (Feat. Skylar Grey)

Sometimes I wish I never felt the influence of you
‘Cuz now I feel a disconnect, like an open wound
Where you once were, there’s now a space that runs as deep as hell
But every morning when I wake I tell myself
Don’t be fooled by your emptiness, there’s so much more room for happiness
Don’t be fooled by your emptiness, there’s so much more room for happiness

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Grey Allegory

i went to see "the grey" over the weekend at my favorite metroplex theater. i didn't really know what to expect, and i was a little skeptical about the trapped survivor story and the possibility of cannibalism. i must say that even with these unwarranted prejudices, the film hooked me quickly and kept me engaged throughout.

"Northernmost Alaska. Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a for-hire security hunter/marksman under the employ of an Alaskan drilling operation. His job is to protect the "ex-cons, fugitives and assholes" from the area's indigenous carnivores: bears & wolves. In one instance Ottway spots a grey blur on the horizon. He draws the rifle from his shoulder bag, follows the blur as it nears a trio of workers working on a pipe, and fires. The wolf slumps on the ground and Ottway puts his hands on it's still breathing chest. He feels it's life slip away. Ottway daydreams of his wife (Anne Openshaw); they both lay on a bed with white sheets facing each other, smiling. He writes a letter to his estranged wife, summing up his depression. One night after his shift, in the drilling operation's tavern, Ottway grows sick of the rowdy patrons. He walks outside, pulls out his rifle and sticks the barrel in his mouth. As he is about to pull the trigger, numerous wolf calls echo in the distance. He takes the barrel out of his mouth.

Ottway and many other crewman from the drilling \operation board a commuter jet bound for Anchorage, being de-iced on a runway. Ottway stores his rifle in the overhead bin, takes his seat, and closes his eyes. Another grunt, named Flannery (Joe Anderson), wakens Ottway and annoys him with questions about his sex-life. Ottway tells Flannery to either shut up or move. Flannery exits the row and finds a seat elsewhere. As Ottway sleeps the other travelers are disturbed by the turbulent flight. Flannery annoys the others by telling horror stories about airplane crash victims. The plane is rocked by massive turbulence. Ottway awakens; he sees sparks erupting from the cockpit and watches the ground grow larger in his window. He lays himself flat across his row and buckles himself in. He watches the hull tear away.

Ottway lays on the same white bed as before, and stares at his wife. They're covered by a billowy sheet. Ottway awakens in a desolate, snow-covered field, alone. He gets to his feet, surveys his surroundings, and runs in the direction of smoke. Beyond a bluff lies the wreckage of the plane. He scrambles down to the crash-site and happens upon Flannery, injured and pinned under his seat. Ottway helps him up, doing his best to distract him from his bisected seat-mate. Ottway makes his way inside the fuselage where he finds a half dozen survivors. One of them, Lewenden (James Badge Dale) is spurting blood from his abdomen. Hendrick (Dallas Roberts) comforts Lewenden, telling him that he'll pull through. Ottway takes one look at Lewenden and tells him as tactfully as he can that he will succumb to his wounds; that death will feel like a warm blanket that slowly overtakes him, and to accept it while thinking about his daughter. Lewenden slowly passes, to the shock of the survivors around him." reposted from

it occurred to me that this modern fable could easily translate into an allegory for addiction. a few hardcore users find themselves in a s place where they have to fight to survive. as they see their companions fade to gray, first in a group, then individually, there is an obvious struggle to remain human while simultaneously developing the skills necessary to survive. being chased by wolves and lacking food and rest adds to the terror in a concrete way. one by one the hardcore team is picked off by the pack of beasts who are cunning, baffling, and powerful.

it is definitely not an uplifting tale. it is dark, suspenseful, and gory. this reflected image of a mad struggle to survive settled over me like a fog and still lingers. there are so many travelers among us who are trapped in their own hell. they continue to scramble to find safety, with death happening around them without notice.  this has been very much like my experience with life. simply staying alive can sometimes become a royal gorge and i have found that only a spiritual connection can transform the drudgery with purpose. this is my truth. life was a ride, but somehow the adventure changed and became grey. and the wolves that were my constant consumption became fierce, colorless, and cold.

the film is harsh. its cold and it's frank. i was hooked from almost the start. i liked seeing it on the big megaplex screen, too. the scenery was a character and added so much. i sit close and move my head from side to side. wide screen should be wide screen- gray or not.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

the love remains

it all seems so very distant. i loved and laughed freely at one time in my life. there was a different level of joie de vivre and the expectations were higher and less concrete. i wouldn't trade those days, but i couldn't live them again either. i have experience to shape my perception.

i find the blues, and jazz, and melancholy tunes so much more appropriate now. not always. but sometimes- maybe this time of year-the language and topic of love and romance is more evident. and when i hear it, i look backward. the loves i have now are not in tandem with romance. i haven't trusted in 25 years. i have been hiding that long.

but i do remember distinctly the soft and smooth and sometimes jagged edges of love. the feelings haven't died, maybe they've just ambered

it is often said that "it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." i concur. on many occasions i have called upon the sustenance of love lost to get me through dark times. and i will always have those times. i love many now, but the passion and the romance are not at all the same. not a complaint at all, just a notation. the loves i have had remain the loves i have had.

i wish you all a valentine 's day chock full of love (and chocolate)

this is me in 1986.
this one is for you paul

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Celebrity Butt & Nuts: Zach McGowan Nude on Shameless

i got so many hits with people googling this, i thought i would at least post it so they would have come for a reason. i hadn't seen it until i looked for it.

Celebrity Butt & Nuts: Zach McGowan Nude on Shameless

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

life on life's terms

image credit..... david archer

Life is about living, loving, learning and of course laughter. Living life on life’s terms has much to do about our attitude toward our life. Do we choose a positive attitude or invite misery? Do we choose change or stay in our old comfort zones even if they are unhealthy for us? What thoughts do we hold and keep our attention on? Yes, we have the choice at any moment to make changes in our life if it’s not working for us.

Our life is all about change and choice. Within each of us is the ability to create and live the life intended for us. We only need make the changes and choices that are truthful, honest and right for our own life. It is my hope to offer new ways to accept changes in your life; from the not so difficult to the huge and very challenging ones. As we learn to accept changes that come about and learn new skills to walk through change, we have the opportunity to create and live a life of love, peace, serenity and happiness.

i stopped by a small clinic to help a friend who is a counselor there. he has been ill lately and i will make myself available to help in any way i can. he runs groups for parolees, most of whom have done 8 years or more inside. he sweetly refers to his guys as the ones nobody else wants. it is obvious he has a real and defined connection here.

there are about 14 guys who slowly arrive, make their nest for the hour, and settle in. there is also a sense of something else, although i'm not sure what. the respect and the love that is felt for him in here is concrete.  it is a rag tag bunch of fellows. all are working, and working on staying out of the joint. 2 guys are graduating tonight, so the protocol is that they will run the meeting, starting by sharing their process and their progress with the group.

but before this takes place, my friend starts the group off by introducing himself (there are 2 new people who don't know him). he apologizes for not being around the last month or so, but has had some stuff going on.
he continues with "here's the deal guys. i have been diagnosed with 2 types of cancer in my abdomen. they don't even know what kind it is. i was told i have about 6 months to live. i have started chemo to arrest these tumors in my stomach and they don't even know if it is going to work. if it is effective, i may have 2 more years, but if it doesn't, it falls back to the 6 month diagnosis.

naturally you could hear a pin drop. there is not a sound, nor a movement for a short while as these rugged and  tender witnesses absorb what they could of the information just laid down. not a stir. it was almost like one of those science fiction films with individual cylinders keeping bodies alive, all in the same room, but each one so separate and needing its own life support.

my friend continued with the group and introductions.

this was a very spiritual happening  for me. i can't remember when i have felt quite so humble. i don't ever think i will forget either the silence or the power in the presence of  it. nothing more to be said really.

my friend is living life on life's terms.