Solitude, My Fortress

I don’t like people.

Crowds of people. New people. Old people and Young people. Couples, families (not just mine), adults or children alike. Just in general – people I don’t like them.

They make me feel uncomfortable, ill at ease. My skin itches and I want to make them stop looking at me, even if they may not be looking at me.

I feel like I’m obligated to interact with them, to want to be interested in their needs and desires. It’s rude to just kind of walk away from them as they’re talking or just kind of pose random questions that have nothing to do with them.

There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation whee data is kissing his girlfriend and she asks him what he was thinking about during that kiss.

If you don’t want to watch it – he talks about configuring a warp core, indexing the various works of Charles Dickens, how much pressure to apply to her lips without hurting her and more… I can relate to that. My mind is doing all these other things when I’m supposed to be focused on an individual or task. I don’t want to stop my brain from doing the other things it’s doing so I can focus on someone else… it’s selfish I guess.

During the brief time I was engaged I struggled pretty regularly with how much attention he expected. While I was just comforted by him being there near me and for us to communicate and have sexual relations – he wanted me to be interested in his interests and do what he was doing, regardless if I liked doing that or not. It wasn’t ideal for me.

With my two best friends, Suzanne and Eric, I find I don’t really worry about that. I just am and they are just there with me. Sometimes they talk and I participate but I don’t mind them and it doesn’t seem to interfere with what I am doing. When they met I wasn’t even aware they were meeting at the time – I was sitting by the pool with my headphones on and eyes closed. Suzanne had come to find me and sat next to me without disturbing me and then Eric came to find me and they introduced themselves without me even really having to be there. It was comforting. I honestly put my headphones back in without a care that they would be offended or want me to be part of that conversation. I love them – they are just right.

On the cruise ship we had dinner with a bunch of folks one night and were joined by a woman, who I heard was a little sloshed, and she was telling me that I was going to make so many new friends and best friends on the ship. I told her two is enough, more than enough – they call a couple times a year or I do and send emails. It’s a lot to deal with really – why would I want more of that? I don’t know. I told her as such and I was half joking but she was insistent that having more friends was such a great thing – I don’t get that.

During the muster – when we learned how to evacuate the ship in case of an emergency – we were packed pretty tight in there with the other passengers and it was taking forever. I don’t like that at all – don’t want those people to be near me breathing my air and keeping me from an exit. Always look for exits, that’s a good strategy.

Not liking people causes me some issues when I want to meet a guy.

I don’t like bars, too many people – I don’t drink and drunks can be rather annoying. I don’t like pride – way too many people. Or parties – small talk omg please no.

The trick at parties is to ask them questions and then hope they start rambling on and you can just void out of the conversation – once in a while nodding or saying “uh huh” or “hmmm” and you’ll be just fine. If you’re very lucky they catch on and will leave you alone. But that doesn’t really get you a guy.

So I talk to folks on dating apps – Growlr and the like. Many of them would like to meet me and I’ve considered meeting some of them – once in a rare while I will meet one of them out and about.

I went bowling with a nice guy – but started to feel very uncomfortable during the event and shortly after wanted him to just hurry up and bowl so I could go. Nothing to do with him, just wanted to crawl out of my skin and hide somewhere safe.

Mostly on the app I don’t want to meet them, I would rather stay home and not deal with another human being. So I take long breaks off the app and/or men 🙂 Probably not very good for the psyche.

A friend will invite me over, say to meet her new puppy, and I’ll agree to go, but getting to that point when it’s actually time is the difficult part. I start dreading going days before the agreed upon time and wonder if there is anything I can do to get out of it. I don’t like lying so it’s hard to find legitimate reasons to not do things others want me to do.

While in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) I learned skills to deal with people alone and in small and large groups. Shake their hand, ask how they are, try to listen. In groups stay busy – have a job you can focus on and think about – has it been done properly, was there something else that needed doing with that? It gave me a reason/excuse to get away from people too – I either had to shake someone else’s hand or a task needed doing so I could excuse myself – supposedly without hurting their feelings.

Sponsee’s were another matter entirely – It’s your job as a sponsor to listen to them and listen intently so you can help them find a solution. Ugh. That’s like the worst thing in the world to do to me. I never thought I was a good sponsor – I just wanted them to get better so they could go do things and talk to me less… yes, that’s my goal in AA, talk to me less.

Work is similar to AA. I have certain tasks to do, I can stay very busy and focus on those things without too much interaction with people. But they usually think I’m a good trainer or something and then I have people to teach and manage. Those people ask me questions – sometimes annoying questions they should know the answer to already and I just want to scream out loud and send them all scurrying away.

They don’t fear me, they know I’m usually patient and have an answer they’re looking for. Today one of them came up asked me a question, answered his own question and then asked if that was ok… honestly that was annoying, I likely could have done so many other things during that time.

Employees are akin to sponsee’s I just want them to get better so they can go do things and talk to me less. If they talk to me less I can work more and that keeps me from realizing all the people that keep interacting with me each day.

Work though gives me things to do to keep me focused. I feel comfortable there as it’s an every day thing and I know what to expect (usually).

Truthfully, I feel comfortable and safe in my bedroom. If I have to venture out I try to arrange it so I encounter as few people as possible and can return home experiencing minimal interactions.

Tonight though I drove to the middle of the city to attend the semi-final game for the high school girls basketball team I like – Mesquite Wildcats! I sat comfortably in the stand, surrounded by a couple friends and a bunch of folks I don’t know and was fine. I was focused on the team and how they play.

There I’m comfortable too. But still happy to be home in my room this evening.

Originally published on Niume – same day.

The Journey Out of AA – so far

It’s been a little over five months since I published my story “Walking Away from AA” where I talked about my decision to leave Alcoholics Anonymous after almost 22 years. I stated then that I didn’t have a desire to drink, but I had a desire to be more honest and truthful with all aspects of my life.

Being sober – living a life without drugs or alcohol – is for me. It’s a cheaper life, more enjoyable and less messy… things I need and want. Belief in a “higher power” or “faking it until I make it” aren’t for me, I can’t live that lie anymore. I gave it a fair shot – lying for AA, lol.

So what’s changed really?  Continue reading

What’s Going On In My World

A nightmare woke me up this morning around 1:30 – couldn’t fall back to sleep after an hour or so so I’m up.

Someone was using text messages to hack into my brain – their little profile pic showed it was the Bones villain Christopher Pelant, a very smart computer guy who makes other peoples lives hell. He taunted me in the message a few times, I’d close it and another would open up again. I turned off the wifi and it was there again… pop, a new message from the hacker guy.

I felt as if he was inside my mind trying to erase important data that I needed. I had an image of a tall brunette woman with an axe chopping through walls that were made of magazine paper. “It’s gone, I’ll find it and you’ll never even know it was yours” she said.

I tried to close the chat window again and it just wouldn’t close – Pelant taunted me again, his profile pic laughing at me.

A friend grabbed my hand and said – “shut it all down, shut it all down before it’s too late.” but my other hand went to close the chat window… he squeezed my wrist and yanked out the power cord.

and I woke up

I was kept awake by the thought that maybe someone was really hacking into my brain – like on Johnny Mnemonic and they were taking something valuable. Then I realized I don’t really have anything valuable… so I started obsessing about work…  Continue reading

Angry Gay Rant of the Day

I happen to be gay.

I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I didn’t wake up one day and decide “hey let’s be ostracized and hated for the people we love” – I just have always been this way. I happen to like the way I am. Most people know I’m gay, I don’t hide the fact that I like men. I am not overly flamboyant or girlie nor do I wear lots of rainbows, dresses or sparkly clothing – neither do the men I like.

I am not the stereotypical gay male – most of us aren’t the characters you’ve come to know and love on TV or in movies – we’re just ordinary people who happen to love other ordinary people. Some of us ARE more fabulous than others but the same could be said about straights as well. We are all unique and we all have a right to love whom we want – gay or straight, male or female, binary or non-binary… love is love. Continue reading

Moved

I am almost all moved in – all the essentials are here: iMac, Superman stuff, clothes, soaps, AppleTV, coffee, insurance magazines, some dishes, too many shoes and me of course.

It’s a nice little two bedroom condo – Anne has the bigger room with the attached bathroom. I remembered in the middle of the night to slip on my boxers to go to the restroom that I get to use.

We have a balcony, breakfast bar and our own laundry stuff… all very very nice.. and track lighting which I understand is an indicator that someone is gay (some old movie I think).

I am about 4 miles from the office, the other apartment was under 3. Right next to Papago Park which I enjoy walking.

Now I get to start unpacking and arranging things which is fun. I haven’t had a dresser so I’ll need to think about one of those or hang all my clothes in the closet. My bathroom is very spacious for all my colognes, moisturizers and such… which is good.

Anne already invited a guest to stay with us, her best friend has been here since Friday before a trip to Oz – she seems nice.

I always like to think my favorite color is blue, but the majority of the stuff I own is red or black so maybe it’s red… who knew?

I have until the 17th to be out of the other place and I’ll get the rest of the stuff out one piece at a time, maybe when it’s cooler and I have some energy back.

 

Never Judge a Book by Its Tattoos

I was reading a post on LinkedIn this morning about a manager that requires his team to wear business attire – even if they’re traveling on a domestic flight. The idea behind this  “you never know who you’ll run into and you’re representing the company” makes sense I guess. They say something similar in AA – “you could be the only example of recovery that person will see” so act as if.

For years though I’ve heard the old adage “never judge a book by its cover” – you have no idea what the story is inside the jacket and you might find, by turning a few pages, you rather enjoy the trip down into the looking glass. Continue reading

Rescued #fosterhome

It’s National Foster Care month and I’m an advocate of people becoming foster parents and even of kids joining the system when the situation warrants it. Not every parent, household or family is a safe place for a kid – but you could make a difference in a kid’s life just by offering stability, food, & shelter.

I write about this a lot – not just during this month but during the regular course of year when I reflect on being saved, rescued from a certain path. The only poem I’ve ever written that mattered to me is here:

foster home Continue reading

Verifying the Differences

I’ve chatted a little bit about being on a medication recently for my depression. I’ve always had a depression of some sort, the intensity varied in waves that I was able to navigate through. Until this last fall when it was as if a tidal wave struck me down and the undercurrent was helping me to drown. (Read here: Lost) . This post may be NSFW.

At the direction of my primary doctor I started to take an anti-depressant in late December (he actually suggested I take it in October, I asked him for the script in early December and finally took one at the end of the year). This happened for a few reasons:

  • I assumed it would go away like all the times before
  • that sense of impending doom that nothing can make it better, a little pill can’t possibly help
  • fear that it would change me
  • fear that it wouldn’t change me
  • fear of ostracization from AA friends
  • and that sense of welcoming the dark feelings, reveling in the comfortable dark

Continue reading

Self Image

Ever since I can remember I’ve found beefy, stocky, hairy guys attractive.

I remember finding girlie magazines in the basement apartment of our house – they belonged to one of mom’s many live in boy friends. I remember being just fascinated with the photos in the ad pages of the guys with beards or hairy chests, some of those guys were doing awfully naughty things with other guys and that was amazing.

The first guy I had sex with was bearish – he was a bigger guy and had a hairy chest, no beard or mustache…. and he took advantage of me and some other kids but it still probably left an imprint on what I look for in mates today.

I can’t really get aroused when I see the fit gym bodies or the muscular body builder types, it doesn’t do anything for me… but give me a big guy with a football players build, a wide firm front (not his penis, but that’s nice too) and my stomach will do flip flops and get all excited. Gray hair has the same effect and can be a huge turn on for me.

When I was younger (in my early 20s) I was a thin guy myself (see image from 1995ish)

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I think I looked rather creepy myself. I was pretty thin and usually weighed around 160/170 pounds. I have a hair chest and I couldn’t really grow much of the beard I found so attractive on other guys.

Now days I’m a little bigger, I have some facial hair that guys seem to like there is more gray in my beard than there is black. But I struggle with how big I am… I have old tapes in my head that tell me I’m too fat, that I need to lose weight that no one will find me attractive.

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Many guys do (some women too… icky) find me attractive though and for that I’m grateful. But it’s hard for me to see that in myself.

When I look at myself I wish I had hair on the top of my head, that I didn’t wear glasses and that I was skinnier… But I find all of those things sexy in other men. A bald head, gray hair, barrel chest… yum.

My best friend is a girl… well a woman…and she’s so skinny. But she doesn’t see that herself either. Just like me when I look at me she see’s what she doesn’t like about herself instead of what other people like about her… It must be harder for straight people to compare themselves to what they find attractive in others – facial hair on a girl just doesn’t do it for most.

Society has put certain notions of what is and isn’t attractive on the screen in the media and all around us… but I just like to look at bearish daddy guys… maybe someday I’ll be happy with what I see in the mirror, but probably not. So I’ll just keep thumbing through Tumblr and looking at what I like.