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Fear…

It’s easy to keep making excuses why we don’t want to do something. It’s easy to come up with different reasons why we don’t want to something. It’s easy to create stories why we don’t want to something. But the fact is that they are all excuses, reasons, and stories.

The reality of why we don’t is usually quite simple and non-complicated. The reality of why we don’t pursue options, take adventures, just jump usually falls under one answer. Usually can be labeled by one word: FEAR!

Fear can keep us from love. Fear can keep us from relationships. Fear is strong enough to keep us from taking that job we always wanted or going on the vacation we have been dreaming of. Fear is weaker than LOVE but sneakier.

Fear makes moving on, moving forward, and moving past it a hard move. Fear can bring down a person, a home, a country, the world. Fear can corrupt every logical thought with doubt, angst, and sorrow. Fear has that kind of power.

Fear, my friends, can keep you safe, guarded, and secure. Fear is a great body guard and keeper but a horrible counselor or therapist. Fear makes ice cream taste better on a lonely Saturday night and sad movies even sadder.

Fear to conclude this story is the reason I haven’t said I love you. Why I haven’t been open enough. Fear is the reason I pull back and why think I’m really strong. Fear is why ‘This’ is never good enough and I’m always searching for more.

So I’m slowly breaking that relationship, slowly I’m letting go the word. Slowly I’m growing into my own and taking ownership of my world. Slowly I’m standing firm and can only move forward. Slowly, with fear there is no other way!

A Piece of Me…

I want to make sure that from the beginning it’s understood that I’m not putting down the dating process. I feel like with every person I meet the possibility of finding an ever lasting relationship gets closer. My romantic side will not die, it may take a beating, but it will not die!

I just feel like not everyone is ready for a person like me. I say “Like Me” because I’m sure there are more guys and girls like me out there… I know there are. We are active, we socialize, we are independent, some may be in Recovery and some may be HIV+.

I’ve met some that give me a run for my money and that I admire for all they do. Some are what I like to call “Bench Warmers”; never really get in the game but are great cheerleaders. Either way we count them as part of the team and encourage them.

So here is where the tougher part of the process comes along, well at least for me. Being Positive is sometimes a negative when it comes to intimacy. It doesn’t help that I know the do’s and don’ts of sex with a Positive person. The other person has to be up to date.

Before I let anyone come into my world I need to know that they know what they are getting into. I didn’t this time and it left me feeling hurt and empty. I don’t forget that I’m Positive, I just shelve it… This last visit reminded me… And it hurt… Like a slap in the face hurt!

So my tip for you folks reading is that HIV+ are sexual, we can have sex. We know how to be safe and take care of our partners. But if you aren’t sure about what you are doing or how to handle the situation don’t go in, don’t sign the contract.

Don’t go to war without a gun.

I will survive this… Just part of being Positive… But it did take a piece of me…

This is the first time I come back and edit an entry. I don’t edit myself often but this time the story didn’t end there…

The person included in this story read it and called me out on my shit… It isn’t always the way we see things. I’ve been told that there is usually your version, my version, and the truth. But my feelings get in the way and I only see what I think I see… You see…

Once we talked and argued and yelled and I almost hung-up. We realized that it just wasn’t meant to be. For more reasons than HIV… There is distance and careers… We both want the same thing but can’t have it with each other.

So if you come back and read this: Thank you for an amazing week, 

Lover.

 

I’m the Baby…

Hello friends it’s been a while since I’ve been around. I’ve been dedicating my time to video-blogs and podcast, writing other projects that I forgot about coming back here, to where it all started. But so many new things have happened, some good, some great, some not… But be reassured that through it all I have kept my sanity… Well, part of it!

Since we last saw each other I have been through individual therapy and now group sessions. This is where I want to start off and as time goes by I’ll add to the story. I am going to tell you about yesterday’s session, I’m writing on Tuesday and the sessions are on Monday. I can’t tell you who is in the group but my doctor’s name is John Timberlake, awesome man.

So as we were sharing and it came to this woman who was talking about her mom and how she never shows her love, how hard she is and how she feels abandoned and the issues that come with it. It struck a cord because I remember when I used to be really close to my mom and how I miss those moments.

I remember as a kid laying on my mom’s chest, sitting on her lap and I could smell the Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes and coffee. How I could hear the beat of her heart as I lay there. It was so comfortable and safe and as soon as I felt okay I wanted to run and get away. But now I want to be there again.

I tried so hard for so many years to be a grown-up, to be her equal, to be her friend. I tried to gain the respect of my Dad but showing him how grown up I was. What a big man I had become. Like a kid playing dress-up and putting on dad’s shoes and not being able to take a step never mind walk.

I forgot that my parents have 40 years more experience in life than me and that no matter what I go through I will never catch up. I realized how much energy I have used trying to be a different member of the family and not enjoying who I am. I am the baby brother, the fun uncle, mom and dad’s little boy.

I said it in the group that I had to find my “Inner Jan”, if you remember ‘The Brady Bunch’ show where Jan say’s Marcia-Marcia-Marcia and tries to be different and fit-in in a different place in the family. Not realizing that she is just where she needs to be…. Well, I’m there now!

I’m tired of fighting a never ending battle that I created myself. A war against what was set in place as soon as I was born and can never be undone. I had nothing to do with it but I can claim it as my own. I can be the best little brother I can, the best son I can, the best uncle I can.

Because trying to be anything different has royally sucked. I’ve been horrible at being the oldest or the smartest or anything other than the spot I have within the family. That has nothing to do with my place in the world, I can strive to be all those things outside but within the family I have a place and I should do my best to do that well.

Again, I type this now with tears in my eyes, I would give anything to go back and be a kid. To have fun playing while my sisters watch me, while my mom rocks me in her arms, while my Dad and I watch reruns of “Adam 12” on TV. When I didn’t worry about where the groceries came from or how the food was cooked.

Yes, I’m embracing my spot within the family and I’m going to the best I can to be an uncle, brother and the baby!

Vacation Stress…

My trips to see my family usually start the same way; I go on a 2 week long agonizing stress diet. All I do is stress over what’s going to happen and what people are going to say. I stress over the trip, the flight, the whole thing!

I write monologues: because I’m such a psychic and I know exactly what everyone is going to say that I have the whole trip scripted. Everyone should get a copy by the time I get there and be ready to reply to my lines.

I have entrance and exit cues: because I have people that I want to see and have time limits. You can only take some folks for so long and others you want to see as much as you can. Plus they should have their schedule cleared for my visit.

Food; I have favorite foods that you can only enjoy in South Texas and I expect everyone to have kept themselves from those places so that they will want to eat there with as much excitement as I have. Starve for a year if you have to.

If possible get in touch with my friends back home and get updated on the latest inside jokes so that when I make a comment you will laugh at just the right time (please refer to the above paragraph and get your script).

Get caught up on what’s going on in my life so that I don’t have to tell you long stories and bore you with the details. Because if you know me, I remember all the details, you are my Facebook friend you should stay in touch!

Of course this is more of a wish list than actually happens on my trips. Things never turn out exactly the way I want them to. Folks just don’t follow the rules. But I’m glad that they don’t because they always turn out better.

My life is so full of surprises and my family is part of that. They teach me so many new things, they have interesting new things that weren’t there last year, and they treat me like time hasn’t passed, like I never left.

There is something magical in my mother’s eyes, in my father’s voice, in the laughter and the tears. The aroma of my sister’s cooking and the even the soap she washes her sheets in. I swear I even miss the cigarette smell.

But now I can share special moment with my nephews as adults. Now I can tell them about my dreams and goals. Now they don’t want to be cowboys and ballerinas they have real jobs and even children, careers and lives.

So now that the trip home is coming up and I get ready to say good bye I’m glad things didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I’m glad I get surprised cause it makes me excited for next year. I’ll still get stressed before the trip.

 

One Week Vacation Romance…

The great thing of being on vacation is that you get to be someone different for a bit. Even if you are visiting old friends or family there is always a chance to reinvent yourself. On this particular trip I get to be a writer.

Not too famous just enough to show my friends that I’m moving up in the world. Don’t brag about anything published unless I had a magazine copy ready to give out, and I usually did. No book in the works but I’m considering the idea.

There is also the chance to find romance, the wild wind kind, where you meet fall madly in love and then you disappear. I’ve always wanted to say, “Here’s looking at you, babe”. I didn’t get to but it would have been a great ending.

If you have been following my blogs for the last year you are aware of the fact that I have been looking for love through the dating sites and I have been very forward in reaching out to folks. Been on several dates and even repeated some.

This time I was approached by someone that I found interesting too. Looks, attitude, voice, walk, goals, dreams… everything! Okay so he smoked and had a dog, can’t get it all right now can we (some folks know that I’m not a big pet person).

This was a one week romance we met on Saturday for dinner, which turned out to be popcorn and a movie on his bed.  A long conversations about life and the meaning of, about dreams and goals and how to make them reality and a kiss here and there.

Everything was great, I skipped out on some folks to keep his company, if you are reading this and I skipped out on you now you know why. Insert “I’ll come visit you more and you can visit me” conversation, needed in every long distance romance.

Everything sounding too good to believe, yep it was. Then came the last night and it would be that part of the movie where everything reaches a climax and one person ends up not getting on the bus or the other buys a ticket gets on the bus with no luggage ready for a great adventure.

Hold the tissues that didn’t happen. What happened was not on my script, I didn’t get the memo it was more of a tragedy. There were harsh words and some accusations I chucked them up to the tension of leaving.

There were “you don’t love me and I really love you”. There was even or at least in my head a Whitney Houston song playing in the background. A couple of tears shared that will forever remain on the seat of a Greyhound bus.

There was a song playing on the background that over the course of the week became our song. But the real end came when I was deleted from Facebook… What??? Oh no you didn’t… I was deleted!!! So there ends the one week vacation romance.

Compromise and Tolerate…

So we all have couple friends where the two folks in the relationship are so different in personality that we always question how they even got together. Usually we are more or better friends with one over the other, so we start to question how one tolerates the other or do they compromise?

Lets face it we really don’t know what goes on behind close doors, right? There are always two sides to every story and then there is the truth. We see how one treats the other in public but we don’t know in the privacy of their own homes. I mean, from my parents I remember my dad all sweet around other folks.

The definition of compromise: settle a dispute by mutual concession.

The definition of tolerate: accept or endure.

I wondered about it from my former partners. I was very different from most of them, there was usually a bit of tension in public. After the break-up my friends would ask what kept me in the relationship and honestly there was only one answer. Love. Being in love blures the line between compromise and tolerate.

So when that line begins to vanish and we see it all as part of being part of a relationship would we get out if we could? At what point will we snap out of the magic spell of love and realize that we are loosing ourselves into our partner and allow us to just exist and not live, at what point?

I mean when did I forget that I liked jalapeños on my pizza or lime on my salad. That I liked the nice smelling shampoo and had a favorite cologne. Tide over Cheer and two dryer sheets in my laundry. That I iron all my clothes and I fold my underwear. When did I become you?

After the break-up and as I begin to find me in the boxes that I have to unpack small parts of my previous life begin to take shape. The shell of me, which now feels odd, is like an old pair of jeans that I couldn’t wear without loosing some weight. I had to loose you to find me.

So when the fog that filled my head, translating tolerance into compromise, begins to clear and the horizon is filled with my dreams and goals. My wants and needs. Filled with me, I realize that I did compromise a lot so I could tolerate being with you. I tolerated things so I could compromise on the love that I needed.

So now that time has passed and I find myself living alone and sometimes a bit lonely I think about the usual argument or discussion of where are we going to eat; Mexican or Italian, take out or dine in, I pay you pay. Suddenly I can’t tolerate to be alone and would compromise it all by spending one more night with you.

I would give up the jalapeños on my pizza and not wear the cologne if you compromise and tolerate being with me.

 

One Drink…

I’ve been asked several times if dating is hard when you live a life of Recovery. At first I always said it wasn’t and for the most part I don’t think it is. But there are days when it seems harder than others. There are days when I wish I could go to a bar and have a cocktail and flirt with a cute guy.

I wish my brain would allow me to have one drink and walk away, but last I remember, I can’t do that. I can’t just have one drink, what is the point of one drink. How much can my inhibitions really be lowered with one drink. I’m pretty crazy and silly sober. I would need several drinks to get me where I want to be.

Where you ask, well, at the point where sex is just sex. You see when I was drinking sex was just sex. I repeat that because that’s how it was. Although a part of me wished that the guy I picked up would be the one to make an honest man out of me it was just that. I was a realist in the midst of my drunkness.

I knew that ‘True Love” would not be found at the bottom of a shot glass or in a condom wrapper. Stuck between the sheets or in a strangers shoes. It would be a one night stand or a couple of weeks of dating, well  meeting at the local bar for drinks, maybe some dinner and sex.

But when it came time to take it to the next level the relationship was over. You see for me, and I stress that For Me, there was no example of a Sober relationship to base a standard on. I had never until my last relationship, had a Sober relationship, and the first one was a learning process.

He helped me take the training wheels off and go off on my own. That hasn’t worked out to well. I do find myself missing drunk dating at times. Not that I would go back so don’t start worrying about finding me and dragging me to a meeting or calling my Sponsor. Just that Daniel was more open.

And I do mean sexually. I had no fear. If I was interested I would put it out there. Now I fear rejection a bit more. Not that I wasn’t rejected before just that now I feel it. That, my friends, is the hard part, the fact that I feel it even more than before. Alcohol for all the bad it was it served its purpose.

It numbed the feelings and that in the end is why I drank to hide my pain and hurt. My loneliness and anger. My tears and sadness… One, two, three, four, five drinks and I was ready to go. I miss the days when I didn’t have to feel and could lose myself in a shot of Tequila or a good Bourbon and 7… One drink!

Like, Love, and Hate…

At my age and after many years dating and being in relationships I have done and been just about every kind of person. I have been the caregiver, the lover, the high maintenance boy friend, the frugal one. I’ve sat in the back and I’ve been loud in front all in order to please my lover at the time.

Tiring… Yes. It’s tiring just to write and even more to read over but I did it all in the name of love or the closest thing to it. I have morphed and changed all in an effort to not be alone. All in an effort to be part of something and not wake up in bed alone again.

I have loved big dogs, small dogs, I have even shared a bed with some. I have hated cats, disliked birds, babysat children, avoided places with children. Loud restaurants, quiet places, too close to the highway, too close to downtown. The table is too close to the bathroom.

I’ve had my hair short and left it long. Didn’t wear cologne or used scented soaps. No gel in my hair or no hair spray. Wore a cap and a cowboy hat or never wore a hat again. Wore boots to the beach and sandals to the club. Shorts and a tux even all in an effort to fit in.

Spoke just English and even just Spanish, learned Sign Language and tried to learn Italian. Ate strange food I couldn’t pronounce and some that I didn’t want to smell. Some that looked back at me and I think one that even moved. But I tried it so I wouldn’t eat alone.

I slept on the right side of the bed and then on the left. I slept on a futon and on the floor, on a couch. I slept with more than two persons in bed and at some point I slept outside on a camping trip. I slept in a camper, bed of a pick-up truck and an RV, he was a traveling nurse.

I have tried everything to not be alone, done anything to not be alone, and yet today I’m alone. I’m alone writing about why I’m alone and I’m really not any of those things and a lot of those things. I have learned and grown, I have liked, loved, and hated some of those things.

Maybe this time I’m gonna try to find out what I like, love, and hate. I’m gonna give ‘Me’ a chance to decide what he wants and when he finds out what he likes, loves, and hates I’ll meet someone that knows what they like, love, and hate. Then together we can like, love, and hate the same things.

Because in the end I like, love, and hate myself. Sometime apart, sometimes together.

 

I do love Disneyland...

 

Someone To Hug…

There is something about a hug that makes everything feel better and there is a hug and then there is a HUG. You hug a friend, your dog, your pillow. You hug your mom and dad, your brothers and sisters. Hug the aunt you don’t see often and then you hug your grandma.

But when your heart is sad and a tear is lingering in your eye there is only the hug from that special someone that makes it feel all okay. There is the heart that comes with a long passionate kiss that melts the pain away and lets you see the light at the end of the tunnel brighter.

Its the hug from that person that makes a celebration much happier and a birthday wish come true. It makes a promotion seem like the Nobel prize and winning lottery ticket like being assigned to the presidency. Take-out like a gourmet meal prepared by four star chef.

Its that hug that feels your body with warmth and makes your head spin, your knees weak and your toes tingle. Your heart skip a beat and your ears ring. That hug that makes your arms longer, long enough to wrap yourself and that special person two times over.

Its the hug that keeps you from collapsing from pain and holds you up to take on the challenge of the next day. The hug that seems to squeeze all the tears from your body and drains the pain from your soul. The hug that burns when its saying good bye.

The good-bye hug that says I don’t love you anymore or the can we just be friends hug. The I wish I could give you more hug or this just isn’t enough for me hug. The if only you were available hug or if I were single hug. That hug that feels so right and so wrong.

Whichever hug you get sometimes its just nice to be able to have someone to hug.

Happily Ever After…

I think by now it’s no secret that I am on the constant search for a stable, monogamous, exclusive relationship. I still believe it exists and I know that it’s out there waiting for me. I know it is because I see so many friends in one and I’m sure there is one just the right size for me.

I’ve given descriptions of what I want in a partner but maybe I haven’t said what I enjoy so much about being in a relationship. Maybe you or someone you know likes these things too and we can be a perfect match or as perfect as possible. I really don’t think they are unrealistic.

Disclaimer should be that I am a romantic at heart and I do imagine there being love and harmony in my home all the time. I am also a realist and know that at times we may get on each other’s nerves an need some space. And I know that there will be the times in between.

I miss coming home from a long day of work and have someone to talk about it. Share a lemonade in the patio and let the day just melt away while we tell each other the adventures of the day. Be it lunch with the guys or that horrible coworker that smells like tuna.

Who ever has a turn at cooking will make dinner, no need to ask what do you want because we know each other and we know the other will eat it. Even though I want to make Chicken Casserole again and you’ll eat it because you love it even though you wanted Enchiladas.

Sitting down to watch TV and just hitting anything on the DVR because we like some of the same shows and tolerate the others we don’t. I mean really how many marathons of Hoarders can a person watch? But you’ll sit there and let me cry with another melodrama.

The kitchen is clean and the dishwasher is running and we head to bed, brush your teeth and then I go to the bathroom and off to bed we go. We know each others side, set the alarm a good night kiss full of passion and maybe some nookie. Is it time or are we just gonna snuggle?

Wake up in the morning to coffee brewing, you remembered to set the timer. The day starts again as we head out to another day of work. All along looking forward to the end of the day when I get to come home to you. When I get to hug the person that is sharing my life.

Sounds  a little too good? Maybe. Real or fantasy? Either or both. I want it all, I want the fantasy. I want my happily ever after…