I couldn’t have said at the beginning of this year that I would have anything to be thankful for outside of what I have every other year, but I hadn’t anticipated meeting Bill this year either.

So below, in no particular order, are the things that I’m especially thankful for this year:

  • Bill (my special guy that I’d given up finding at all)
  • Suzanne and Pat (a guy couldn’t ask for better best friends)
  • Gary my roommate for the last 12 or so years
  • Jim, Ana and the DiLuigi clan – not just for my job but for all the wonderful things that they bring to the world each day.
  • Mouse my cat (she actually loves Bill too, she’s so smart)
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – really not one thing on this list would be possible without AA.
  • World of Warcraft ($15 a month for hours and hours of entertainment and virtual friends)
  • Annie’s Grilled Chicken Salad – love that
  • Family – both real and adopted
  • Comic Books
  • iPad
  • Kindle
  • Music
  • and TiVo

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope you have as many if not more things to be thankful for this year. Thanks for being a part of my everyday and showing me the better side of humans.

Chapter Five

so at this point I’ve given up the whole charade of making my life fiction… and I’m telling the truth instead, I’ll have to edit the parts of Chapter 1 where I talk about things that weren’t true.. oh well

Chapter Five

Just the act of keeping a secret gave me stomach cramps on and off for about a year. It was bad enough that I had been in and out of the doctor’s office trying to figure out what was wrong with me and no one had a clue. I didn’t think it was the secret that seemed silly; a secret couldn’t do that could it? I guess it depends on how big of a secret.

A bunch of us boys had gone camping with one of Mom’s friends that weekend, there was some festival that all her friends and her wanted to attend so we were sent camping. Just two tents in our area and yes they were large enough, but soon it was me and the adult sharing a tent and a sleeping bag as all the other spots were taken. I really didn’t think anything of it and soon enough I was asleep in the tent.

I woke up rather startled when I felt a hand on my pants unbuttoning the top button and soon the zipper being pulled down – I bolted up in bed, left the tent and lit a smoke (I was a rebellious teen who smoked and drank already at the age of 12) making sure to redo my pants. He stayed in the tent and I just chain smoked for a while, but didn’t do anything else. Nothing else happened that weekend while camping and I didn’t think too much of it after – when he dropped us off at my Mom’s I overheard him relating the story of having a dream he was with a beautiful girl and when he went to fondle her found something unexpected. He and my Mom laughed it off, but I knew he was establishing a cover for himself in case I said anything – which I didn’t.

A smart kid would have kept his distance at that point I think, but he was the first adult male to pay attention to me in my memory so I wasn’t sure if this was wrong or not, I did have a feeling of uneasiness at first but that was quickly replaced with love and admiration.

In the beginning of the seduction of me he would bribe me with alcohol or cigarettes to get me to try new things, sucking on his cock or kissing him, but after a while I would do it without any external reward at all, I spent most of my free time with him.  He came home from a weekend away and said he brought some porn for us to watch, when he put the video in he pretended to be shocked that it was all guys, claimed he bought it from a large bin of unmarked tapes. I don’t know why he was still playing that particular part, but I didn’t buy it I knew he liked what we were doing and at that point so did I.

I thought he loved me and that I’d likely spend the rest of my life with him, never mind the fact that he’d also taken advantage of 11 other young boys some of them while I was there participating – he would be mine I was sure. At twelve years old I didn’t really have concepts of what a lasting relationship was, most every adult I knew had been divorced at least once so this was new to me. He never hinted that he would keep me forever and knowing something about pedophilia now I know he would have needed a young boy, he would have little interest in me in a few years.

Why I didn’t say anything? I don’t know, I didn’t want to ruin it probably. He never asked me to be quiet about it, but it was understood that this would not be accepted behavior somewhere in my consciousness. I never told any of my friends nor did I write about it in my diary it was all internalized though and I would frequently wonder where this was all going if anywhere at all.

He and I took a trip to Chicago together one weekend and I had some initial fears that he would sell me off or introduce me to other adults that would have their way with me but none of that happened – I met some of what he claimed were his family and we turned around for home.

During all this I started to get my stomach cramps, they were painful and had me in tears most of the time that they would happen. Nothing seemed to make them better or go away and there were no triggers, it would just start to hurt for no reason at all. At first my Mom and Grandmother didn’t believe me, but the pain was real and soon we’d be at the doctors. They ran all kinds of tests and x-rays, he even came in for visits during one hospital visit where they were running extensive tests. I wonder now if the nurses and doctors didn’t spot signs of abuse when they were examining me or if they just ignored that as a symptom.

When the end came it was a boy younger then me that finally told an adult, and then everything came apart. All the boys that spent time with him were questioned and we were all kept apart from one another. I think everyone of us were called to court to testify about what he did to us. I remember them asking me questions before court, but I only remember one specific question “Did he make you and the other boys do anything together?” or something to that effect, and I said no. I think they asked several times, but each time I said no and I know they knew I was lying. I was convinced that if I admitted to those things that I too would be in trouble and be considered a monster as well. The way my Mom had been looking at me I knew she already thought I was a monster, and it hurt. Sitting in court facing him and feeling utterly alone was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. There were a ton of people in the courtroom but he was the only person I could see. I knew I was betraying him when I sat on that stand, but I think he knew that I didn’t have a choice. Not once during my testimony did he look up at me, and God I wanted him to. I wanted him to look up and reassure me, make me feel better or give me a knowing look that would let me know it was all a dream. Once he went off to jail I would be alone again and no one would love me. Sick isn’t it?

The seduction/abuse led to years of therapy (mostly against my will) where old men would ask questions and I would lie to them, or occasionally tell them the truth – that usually ended badly. I’ve even looked at Rorschach tests for hours on end, didn’t make me feel better. It really seemed to me that these professionals were more interested in finding out what was going on in my head and not really interested at all in how to make me feel better about what had happened – maybe they weren’t supposed to do that, but I sure wanted that. Perhaps if I had told the truth consistently they would have seen that I needed and wanted to feel better about the whole mess. Mostly I feared that if they heard the truth they’d lock me up in a room or put me in jail, the thoughts that traversed through my head weren’t thoughts that the general population would accept, somehow I knew. Once Mom came to a session and I told her I had no steady father figure and didn’t know better – this was a slap in the face for her as at this point she’d been married three times already and the steady stream of men coming out of her bedroom was confusing even to a twelve year old.

So the question on most people’s minds is “Did being abused make you gay?” and I really don’t think so, even before he touched me I had thoughts about Superman and Batman kissing and sleeping in the same bed – not that I had any clue what they’d do in bed together at that point. For one Halloween I dressed as a woman and no I don’t think that had any effect either – didn’t make me like drag either thank God.

Friends in high school who I let know about what happened made it their goal to have me have sex with a girl, but they were unsuccessful, there were a few girls that were interested but I wasn’t. I waited to have sex with a girl until I was nineteen years old, and then I only did so at the insistence of friends who didn’t want me to turn twenty a virgin. I was nervous, but I knew what to expect as some of the porn I’d watched was hetero. The sex was ok, nothing that really made me want to do it again there was no emotional attachment to this girl. I didn’t have sex with a man again until I was twenty-one and then again at twenty-four, it was never something that I sought to have – a part of me believed that any sex was bad and wanting it made me a bad person. That’s a little emotional damage from the events of my youth that I did eventually get over.

It does make me not want to have children as I’ve read time and time again that those who were abused become abusers in an endless cycle. Which is really silly, I’m attracted to older guys not younger guys – always have been. People in my life that know my history have never once shown any concern when I’m near their children – for which I’m grateful, I have a ton of adopted nephews and nieces that mean the world to me. I’d probably make a great father but fear keeps me from wanting to. I don’t fear being a violent abusive husband like two or three of Mom’s husbands were, I’ve never been violent.

So it really all boils down to fear. Fear that a man who was hurting me wouldn’t love me, fear that other people would find out about this love and fear that I will be stuck in an endless cycle of abuse of others. You can outgrow fear, or so I’ve read, you can establish a foundation of hope and trust amongst your friends, family and power greater than yourself so strong that fear cannot penetrate it. I tell myself that some fears are healthy, that’s where my foundation sometimes fails and lets the worries in.

Jamez and Bill take NYC

Early following the engagement party at my house, Bill and I headed to NYC via Amtrak for a weekend of theater in the Big Apple. The train ride was smooth and he and I enjoyed watching Toy Story 3 on my iPad which made the time fly by.

When we arrived at Penn Station we met up with his niece Christina before heading off to our hotel the Hampton Inn. We all were hungry so we went to lunch at B. Smiths right near our hotel.

Then we went out to be touristy and before I knew it Bill had purchased us all tickets to see the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular where not only did we get to see Santa, we  enjoyed a wonderful show.

Before we knew it the time had flown by and we were back at the hotel getting ready for our first scheduled show Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Belasco Theatre.  Bill was very excited as he’s a huge fan of one of the actresses, Patti LuPone. In all honesty I thought the play overall was just ok. I wasn’t all that impressed with the story and it seemed a little slow. Justin Guarini of American Idol was in it and he was actually quite good. I think Laura Benanti stole the show though, she was just very funny and entertaining.

After the Women we headed to the Disney Store to look at every single piece of merchandise available, both Bill and Christina are huge movie fans. It was late at night but I swear it was wall to wall people. And then to top the evening off we had NY Style pizza before we headed back to the hotel.

Sunday morning I got up early to get coffee for all of us at the Starbucks across the street, but Bill and Christina slept in and didn’t want cold coffee (can I help that I wake up at dawn?). The breakfast at a diner near the hotel, before we took Christina to the train and sent her back to Yale.

Angels in America (Part One) at the Signature Theatre, started at 2 and we had seats right in the center of the theater – it was spectacular. There was the one guy who smelled horribly like urine, but he wasn’t seated near us – thank you God. We really were engrossed in the story from the get go, the only role that we didn’t feel as real was played by Zoe Kazan (as Harper Pitt), to me it was like she was reading the lines from a book and not attached to what she was saying. She also played one other small role (we think) a young lawyer, which she actually pulled off well – but I’ve jumped ahead, that’s part two.

When Part 1 came to a close we went out to find a restaurant near by and were soon at Forty-Fourth and X in Hell’s Kitchen – where the food was ok, but not anything to rave about. After we were seated Zachary Quinto walked in and sat at a table behind me. Zachary is playing Louis Ironson in Angels in America and is known to me as Spock from the new StarTrek movie. It was rather cool. Just moments earlier I had seen his penis on stage and here he was eating near me… /swoon. I kept my cool and kept eating and trying to engage Bill in conversations, but he was enamored by the site of Zachary and no matter what I talked about his eye kept wandering. I know they were making love to one another from across the room… I can’t take him anywhere.

Even after Bill spent an entire evening flirting with Zachary Quinto, it was a great night. Part two of Angels in America was just as wonderful as part one was. I had seen the mini-series on HBO years past, but the actors and actresses (except where mentioned above) had pulled me so deeply into the story I forgot I was in a theater at all, but living a part of the story.

Monday we were to head home, but stopped first at Midtown Comics and as I browsed the massive selections Bill sought life size action figure of Zachary. Then off to Amtrak where we did crosswords together all the way back to DC.

We had a really great time, if anyone of you run into Zachary while you’re in NYC please tell him to leave my guy alone, he’s taken! 😉

Chapter One

I’ll be adding a few of the chapters here to the blog so you can follow my progress, here is Chapter One, let me know what you think.

Chapter One

Having been born in a mental institution, I often find myself wondering if I’m crazy myself. Fortunately, too often, I run into someone else that I’m convinced is crazy and puts my mind at ease – for at least a moment or two.

My mother, it turns out, was one of those cases where no one even knew she was pregnant, I’m sure you’ve seen them on the news. Seems she was so big when she was admitted to the ward that they didn’t even think to run a pregnancy test. The birth was too much for her to handle and she died giving birth to me; I heard all of this relayed to what had been a long list of foster parents by a loud-mouthed social worker. She informed them that was why I had been to so many homes, but I knew that wasn’t it, I’m not the crazy one but most of the foster parents had been. Some foster homes would turn me down right there or only agree to take me temporarily, and this is the main reason I was never adopted – or at least that is my theory.

Foster homes are always an adventure; you never know what might happen to you. Id met all kind of monsters in them; pyromaniac kids, molesting adults, drunks, drug addicts, and slave labor traders top the list. Each placement I’d find a way out or would be asked to leave – usually if I threatened to tell on the men who wanted to touch me or if I’d defend myself against rotten kids. Those people were crazy, even a young kid could see that. Sometimes I couldn’t get away, those scars will always be with me. There were good foster homes, the one I ended up for the last three years especially, but more on that later.

But it does beg to question, do crazy people think they’re crazy? Probably not, but I’m not crazy… of that I’m fairly certain. Ride the bus you’ll see crazy.

The other day I had left my iPod at home and by the time I realized it I would have been late to work had I gone to retrieve it. I knew I’d hear crazy on the bus, but I also didn’t want to be late for work – so when the bus arrived I walked on, paid my fare and found a seat near the window. In the rare occasions that I had forgotten my iPod before I had learned a few tricks that sometimes keep me safe from conversation or confrontation, lean your head against the window, slouch down and make sure your eyes are closed. Above all, don’t react, that’s the important thing, don’t react.

So when the tap, tap, tap was felt on my shoulder I knew I should have ignored it, but there I was opening my eyes. I looked across the aisle at what appeared to be a lovely lady, dressed nicely for the morning commute with a handbag on her purse. She smiles at me and I say “Yes?” to which point she asks me what times it is. Seriously, she wakes me from my fake slumber to ask me what time it was I’m mildly furious yet kindly tell her that I do not know.  This was pretense of course, she’s not really interested in the time, instead only wants to talk to me, even if I’m not interested in talking to her at all. I lean back against the window and close my eyes, she keeps on talking at me hoping I’ll take part in the conversation – but this time I remember not to react. Bus people are like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if she smiles at me the next time she sees me and considers us old friends.

At the junction I get off the bus and wait for the next, lighting a cigarette and generally go over what is sure to be a busy day. Before the third drag on the cigarette the bus has arrived and it’s full, most of the seats are taken and none of the open seats are windows. There is one guy in the fourth seat back that is hogging up both seats, but past experience has made it clear the odors that waft from him are not worth sitting next to him even if your feet are about to fall off. So I find a seat next to a young man, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he looks harmless enough.

Very quickly I discover that he’s far from harmless. Almost as soon as I sat down he started to chat away at me incessantly. Seems his father was a bad man, he tells me four or five times, so I’m sure he must have been bad. He talks with what I assume is African accent that makes it hard to understand the words I’m trying to ignore. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the lives of crazy people, so I can’t help but listen. It’s not too long before he starts to tell me how he shot his father in the leg, doesn’t tell me why he shot him, but does go into graphic details about the amount of blood and screaming that happened after he had pulled the trigger. (At this moment one of the other people on the bus looks up suddenly at him in horror, so part of me thinks she is either not crazy, or upset that someone mentioned blood or guns or screaming on the bus, any of these are possible) Then the really crazy part happens, he asks me if I’ve ever been shot – to which I answer, “No” and a smile as huge as I’ve ever seen spreads across his face while his eyes get a glint of expectation and he gets lost in his own world. Thankfully, that’s my stop. I make a note never to sit by this individual again come hell or high water.

The work day goes as expected and I’m so overwhelmed with things to do at the office at five o’clock I don’t remember that I had left the iPod at home, so tentatively I head to the bus stop and hope for a quiet commute home.

When the bus arrives I get in line to board and can see the sane people on the bus – they’re the ones wearing headphone or talking on their cell phones (listen carefully to their conversations and you can tell it’s a ruse – they only do that to avoid the crazy people on the bus). There is an empty seat and I sit by the window thankfully, but as I start to slouch in my seat someone comes to sit next to me, I glance up and a guy smiles at me, naturally I smile back, but still slouch down and get ready for my faux slumbering – of course it’s never quite that easy. He of course wants to talk, and at first it’s just casual conversation so I let my guard down and start to participate – bad mistake. Before I know it he lets me know that he has recently had penis reduction surgery, which is of course not something I hear every day but definitely in the realm of possible conversations you’d hear on a bus any given day of the week. He goes into details about how difficult of a life it had been for him up until the surgery no girls were interested in dating him as soon as they saw his humongous member – apparently it was difficult in physical education classes as well, all the other boys gave him a hard time (no pun intended) for the size of it. He goes into very specific details about not just the length of it, but also how enormously thick it was.

If that weren’t enough he wants me to know that they can’t just cut it off at the top, they actually have to take a chunk out of the middle and then reattach the two halves for it to work properly again. The doctors explained to him that there was nothing to be done for the thickness of it, he was dismayed at the news but hopeful that he might find someone who’d be able to withstand his big member.

In spite of myself, I’m fascinated but I’m not sure if what fascinates me is the whole story or the details to which this man has gone to creating such a tale. There are several people around me also listening to him go on and on about his dong, some with smiles others with blushes and some with eyes as big as saucers.

Inevitably, he has to ask the question: “Do you want to see it” and in all honesty, no I had no desire to see this mans reattached penis – not something I’d ever thought I’d say to myself or another human being. Nor did anyone else, as they all suddenly had other things to look at besides this man and me. Fortunately he didn’t pull it out there on the bus next to me – the bus was crowded enough. I politely say no, and luckily see that my bus stop is just a few more minutes down the road. The man with the monster penis looks disappointed that I’ve not wanted to see it but remains quiet for the rest of my ride. When I pull the cord to stop and ask him to get up I can’t help but glance down at his groin area, where indeed there is a very big mound.

So while forgetting my iPod can be an adventure, it’s not something I hope to repeat in the future. Maybe I should just carry a set of headphones with me, that way I could pretend to be listening to music but really listening to all the crazy, without having to actually be a participant. I may not be crazy myself, the jury is still out, but I obviously attract crazy. Ride the bus, you’ll see crazy.