Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Aging

So, the past year has been a struggle for me physically. Age is definitely beginning to catch up with me. My diabetes has always been a concern, but unbeknownst to me, it facilitates the growth of cataracts!

Who knew?

And the worst part is that cataracts take time to develop generally at a snail's pace. BUT diabetes vastly accelerates their development. It has been totally scary to be blinded by them and not be able to see like I used to. Finally, earlier this month, I had one eye done and I am able to SEE! I'm amazed at how colorful the world is. It's kind of like viewing the world in high def.

The doctor told me that my other eye is on the verge of losing sight because of the cataract. He said that I was seeing through a pin hole and it was amazing that I could see as well as I did. He expected it to be shut off two months ago. Well, now that I have my one eye back to normal....the event happened such that I can't see through that eye.

Its very disconcerting. But I'm working to remain positive in spite of things. The surgical coordinator at the doctor's office will make arrangement for the surgery next week when she returns from vacation.

So stay tuned! Keep the positive energy flowing in my direction!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Are You Paying Attention?

Sometimes I fear that well meaning readers of this blog don't get it.

As I said in the last post, I'm not trying to come across as perfect...or to impart wisdom that somehow lifts me up into the heavenliness of perfection. I don't write these entries to entertain..or to gloss over my shortcomings...or to necessarily make me look good.

This blog is merely my journal that is offering you to read over my shoulder to see the journey I've been on during the past 9 years or so. At times I'm happy. At times I'm thankful. At times I ponder...other times I'm wistful. Still at other times I'm depressed.

This is a chronicle of my journey. It helps me on my journey of personal growth to be able to review and remember rest stops along the way.

So, if I whine, and you can't cope with it...or it stops making this blog uninteresting to you...then by all means, move on.

I'm not perfect.

Never claimed I was.

********

Today began my second week at a new job. I've been asked to take over a different section within my office that has me challenged by totally new issues and supervising a truly new and amazing staff of professionals. Yes, there is a degree of stress, but its a different kind than what I'm typically used to.

However, today was unique because I got swept up in a new drama from my former unit that is requiring time and energy. Who said that government work isn't exciting.

My new job is temporary. I expect to be in it about 10 months give or take. So, once I sort out some of the residual issues at the old job, I can focus on the new job fully.

Life is good.

*************

I just discovered the ON DEMAND feature of my cable provider. I also found the series I AM CAIT on the E! network which is chronicling the stuff that Caitlyn Jenner is facing as she continues on her journey. I'm totally fascinated and hooked on this series.

My church has a robust ministry to the Trans community and I have decided to become a staunch ally and friend. I went to their monthly meeting on Friday and I was amazed at all I learned. It's a difficult topic to get my mind around...but I am working to do so because I have so many transgendered friends.

It upsets me to hear people of faith make fun of them. To demonize them. To say they are worthy of death and hell, when all they are are normal people who just want to be treated like everyone else. Before it became cache to be gay...and gay marriage....etc.....that's all the gay community wanted.

But with all those advances, I suppose there are still rabid pockets of homophobia, just like there are for TRANSphobia.

I saw online today that ISIS threw two men off a building in the middle east for being gay. As if that was not enough, the group of people who watched them plummet to the ground stoned them upon touchdown. It was painful to watch and know that people can be so hateful.

Just because you're different.

So, as I sit here counting my blessings at being able to live authentically as a gay man.....I want to do my part to help my trans brothers and sisters in their fight for acceptance.

Bitterness

Long ago when I started this blog, I established a cardinal rule. That rule was that I would publish my truth and never use this as a platform to make me look good. It would be my unvarnished truth...and so here it is.

I've become a bitter old queen.

What made me this way today you may wonder? Well, I'm going through a period of time where I am just tired of being gay. In fact, I'm tired of all things gay. Rainbow. Sparkles. Pride.

Not sure where all this came from...but it is there. I'm tired of meeting nice guys...eligible guys...who are looking for every other kind of man but me. I'm too young. I'm too old. My hair is too silver. My hair isn't silver enough. I have a slight belly. My belly is not big enough. I'm not a twink. I'm not a bear. I have no muscles. I have no washboard abs. I'm not the correct sexual position in life. I'm too smooth. I'm not smooth enough. I'm chubby. I'm tall, but not quite tall enough.

Get the idea?

I'm just me.

I wonder if there is someone out there who "gets me."

Is there?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Arriving at Sad Conclusions

This has been quite a busy week for me. At the beginning of it, I learned from my boss that I am being reassigned into a new job effective on Monday. My boss says that because I'm a good manager, I need to take over a different unit to help undo damage done by a bi-polar mess that left us two weeks ago for a new job herself. The BP has done significant damage to the unit, and it is going to take some time. I anticipate having to work there for at least 6 months. So everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!

This past Tuesday, I underwent cataract surgery in my right eye. It was scary for me in that I did not know what to expect. As a result of the stress, my sugar levels went crazy. But I'm happy to report that all went well. I can see beautifully out of my right eye. I can officially begin to drive again on Monday. The doctor is working to schedule my left eye to remove he cataract from there too. So look out!

While being away from work this week, I've been binge walking that old TV series, QUEER AS FOLK. I watched all five seasons of it. I had to chuckle because, at the time, I was very taken with it...couldn't relate to much of it...and was overly amazed by the portrayal of gay male relationships. This was because that during its run, I couldn't relate to the relationship aspect. I had no friends. I remember thinking how this group of male friends cold be so close without having some mass orgy every Friday night! LOL. You see, up until that time, I thought being gay was all about getting laid. I didn't think much about the feelings and commitments that people make. I guess I was in the heart of gay adolescence.

In this viewing of the series, I found myself longing to be Emmitt -- not swishy and queeny, but to have a man in my life like he was able to snag with the pro football player. Although the football player identified as not gay...but liked "having fun" with other guys...he deeply cared for Emmitt...and ultimately came out...and acknowledged his feelings...and his genuine care for Emmitt.

Gosh, why couldn't I find a man like him. Oh, not a pro football player....but just a really good man that is willing to connect emotionally and deeply on levels beyond the physical connection that takes place in bed.

As the series progressed, I guess in some respects I'm more like Ted. The geeky older accountant who always seems to find the wrong men. Then, when he meets someone he really thinks may be the one, something happens from left field that derails the relationship. Gosh, I don't want to be him! I don't ever want to come off as desperate. After all, I'm not really. I just hear the clock ticking as I become older and older. With each passing day, it seems my options shrink more and more and the likelihood of meeting the one grow remoter.

So, I've decided to back away from the hunt for a boyfriend. I've wasted so much time and energy with nothing to show for it. It hurts. But, I have a full life and refuse to lower my standards or hook up with someone out of desperation.

Sad, but true.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How Is Your Garden Variety Bisexual Doing?

A few posts back I wrote about my excitement at meeting the new man named "John." I had sort of written him off as one those garden variety bisexuals that we gay men tend to run across as we navigate dating's sometimes treacherous waters.

He is a beautiful man physically and inside.

He is the type of guy that I feel is totally out of my league...yet, I made some type of positive impression on him.

I have to say that I was totally let down when he told me he was so into women. Mentally, I marked him off m list. BUT...he has continued to text...everyday....and my thoughts about him are beginning to shift some.

Here are some of his texts:

"I welcome male intimacy."

"We should explore this. It feels so good and all this texting back and forth does too! I am really bad at dealing with loneliness. I have often felt alone here. I often feel like a man on mars. It felt good when I met you...and it still does."

So, I guess I have nothing to lose in exploring this.

In some of his texts it's almost like he has to throw in his interest in women to comfort himself. It's hard to explain...but his comments about women are so random.....and almost mechanical. Talking about their physical attributes is close to vulgar...but the tone he uses with me is altogether different.

Stay tuned...

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Life are can be interesting.

Occasionally I realize that I have been carrying around some baggage that has not been fully dealt with. Even though I would liken it to be of a small carry on size, it still causes discomfort until I get the courage to deal directly with it.

Such was the case recently pertaining to a situation involving a very close friend. He's been dealing with "stuff" and I suddenly found myself sitting across from him as he expressed his pain. But the funny thing is that is identical to what I went through with him a few years ago.

It had bothered me. It was raw. I felt like I had something truly wrong with me. I felt as though I couldn't move on. It affected every fiber of me.

So, as he sat across the table from me commiserating, I grew a pair of balls and said, "I know EXACTLY how you feel and here's why."

I didn't dump on him. I didn't say this to inflict wounds to his already wounded spirit.

I did it as a pure teaching moment. While he felt totally devastated with a woe is me attitude, I used it as an opportunity of showing him that you can get passed the the issue. AND...it makes you a much better person.

You see, I dealt with the hurt and bad feeling about this friend years ago. So, I could speak matter of factly. Directly. Without the deep emotion I had originally had. After that meeting upon reflection, I was totally amazed at how well that discussion turned out. I was especially amazed at how much growth I detected in me.

Yes, bad experiences force us to grow. Sort of like those mysterious growing pains we have as children.

But as painful as those can be sometimes, we can rest in the comfort of knowing that we are growing.

Only living things grow.

On this Sunday morning, I'm in a good place.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Building a Successful Life After Coming Out

Well, I've been invited to a discussion on the topic of "Building a Successful Life After Coming Out." I have decided to attend this. It should be interesting. It's set for a week from this Friday.

I wonder what this kind of "Successful" life is? How do you know that you are leading a successful life after coming out?

I suppose that folks on the outside looking at my life would think I've done just that. Here are my accomplishments: divorced, survived financially, redefined my spirituality and faith background, create a strong network of friends, maintained the love of my children, maintained my job, came out to my parents who accepted me, survived the loss of both parents in quick succession, explored hobbies, took chances and discovered new things about me, etc.

But down deep I still feel like a failure -- at times.

This is because that my parents always epitomized a stable loving relationship. They modeled this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They were together 56 years. They told me that I would get married. They said she would be my best friend. They said that I could tell her everything and be honest....be vulnerable, and that she would always have my back. "You'll grow old together," they said. She'll support you through the good times and the bad.

So growing up I always thought my life would be just like theirs. I'd be like Ward Cleaver on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. Perfect wife. Perfect kids. Perfect house. Perfect life.

For 25 years I thought in spite of my gayness...and quasi coming out, I had it all. I had the wife, the family, the house, etc. As a gay man, I even had a married lover who was in the same boat.

Then it was all gone. My world changed. The woman I trusted with my deepest most intimate secrets....the one I had been told to trust above all others -- betrayed me, almost gleefully. Shortly thereafter, the man that I truly cared deeply for, "set me free" because he thought he was holding me back.

So I lost in love two times in rapid fire succession.

How much weight do I put to these two major collapses in the overall theme of "Building a Successful Life After Coming Out"?

I just don't know.

Databreaches

In this era where there is a greater emphasis on cybersecurity, or should I say lack thereof at some sites, I'm very conscious of scams and the like. So far during the past year I've had my check card replaced three times due to a databreach. Then add to this the hacking into government computer systems -- specifically the Office of Personnel Management...well, as a government employee...I feel tremendously violated.

I have free credit monitoring. My social security number is being monitored. (I had just had my clearance renewed, and found out that database was also compromised. So I'm one of the lucky ones that is suspected of some stranger accessing all my information and the social security numbers of my family members I put on my clearance forms.

In the past week, I've received an unusual number of robo-calls from the IRS saying that a lawsuit is about to be filed against me. My daughter received one of these at her office.

I also have seen an increase of people who appear to be friends of mine, that say in part that they are on vacation with their family and were mugged. They have no money. Can I wire money to them to help them until they get their cards back.

All of these are classic scams. If you get a call from the IRS....don't provide any information, but hang up immediately. The IRS does not contact people like that and threaten. Don't provide social security information or bank account information. If you receive emails from friends on holiday....do not respond.

Databreaches continue to happen. Be watchful and vigilant.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Again...

Who said being gay and trying to date is boring?

Well, I was all excited about "John." He was perfect...in so many ways. He really stirred me up...and I was strongly attracted to him....his presence....his attitude....his body. Aw...he would be perfect for me. AND on top of this he is two years older than me.

So, really, no fly by night kind of person at all.

BUT....there always seems to be one in dating.....

Yesterday he began texting me....fairly frequently throughout the day. It was friendly banter....and some of what he had to say got my hormones running amok....but I kept things in perspective. Clearly, he has lots on his mind....and I seem to made something of a profound impression on him.

But today he said that his first orientation is ladies....

Uh...huh....another one of "those."

So that pronouncement has rather put a damper on me. Perhaps it shouldn't...but it does. It means that he is bisexual...which is fine....but I'm hunting for a gay dude.....one that I can finally be his primary relationship....and not someone's second fiddle.

Been there...did that.

Most recently with Zach. For 12 years I did that with him...and I was just as guilty. He and I were both married to women...but we carried on like teenagers....with our wives blessing.... We had a long run. That breakup, coming on the heals of my divorce, nearly pushed me under. But I fought to stay afloat....and I succeeded.

So, I'm not excited at the prospect of going down that path again with John. Guess I'm going to go silent for a while with him. See what he says and does next. I just don't have the energy to respond to him right now. And as hot as he is...I don't want to be an option...I want to mean something.

So here I am ... again!

Same song, second verse.

Monday, July 06, 2015

John

An interesting turn of events has happened for old Frank: I've met someone.

Yup...it was one of those chance meetings that occur when you least expect it. On Friday I had been invited to a cookout that was a sort of pre-Independence Day affair thrown by a good friend. I was surrounded by about 35 gay men...some partnered....some single. I went to this gathering without any particular agenda. I was looking for a good burger and hot dog.....and all the trimmings in the hot summer sun.

The conversation was lively. The whole picnic was abuzz about the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Clearly everyone was excited about hat prospect...and I am a bit too...but without a partner in my life...getting worked up about an institution that didn't work for me originally seems odd now.

So time passed and after about 4 hours, I was tired...and planned to go home. I had already said goodbye to the host....and I was making my way to my car when John approaches. He was coming to the picnic late. Had he been any later...I would have missed him. But when he got close to me he stopped.....looked at me directly in the eye, "You're leaving?" he asked. I said, "yes, I am...I have a lot of other things I need to do."

"Aw...I'm sorry about that, I'd like to chat with you....I'm John, by the way."

Now, readers, this was no average man. This was a good looking older man with almost a "high and tight" haircut that emphasized his salt and pepper almost stubble on his head. He was square jawed. And I noted that underneath his rather snug fitting t-shirt, was a rather imposing set of pecs with abs to boot. He had on shorts and beefy legs.

I sputtered, "I-I-I'm Frank."

He stuck out his hand...and as he did this, he asked, "Do you have to go right this second?"

Looking at this human being with the perfect body....oozing of testosterone....begging me to stay.....well...I didn't need a whole lot of convincing to hang around a bit longer.

So we went back to the picnic. I found an empty chair...and before I could do anything, he had found a chair and plopped down right next to me!

This will sound silly....but it was if he and I were the only ones at the gathering. Some of the other men came to chat, but he sort of ignored them...and it was clear he wanted to know all about me. Needless to say, after all the negative experiences I have had in the world of meeting available gay men, I found his attention flattering and I felt my heart pounding in my chest.

We talked about everything. He told me what kind of work he did. He told me of his background. I told him mine...and then he asked if I lived close by. I live within about 2-3 miles...and he asked if he could have my contact information. He wants to go to dinner...and spend time getting to know me better. I told him that I would like that too.

So I gave him my email address....and my cellphone number.

I finally had to leave.....and he said he did too. We said goodbye to the host....and there beautiful John was....walking me to my car!

He told me that he'd be in touch. So, reluctantly I drove away.

So as the weekend progressed, I got busy. I thought of him in passing...and I told myself that he was going to be like so many other men....he'd not email...or call. Or if he did, he'd throw one of those left-field remarks at me...that would just add to my hurt and frustration. In other words, I was not getting my hopes up.

Even though John was so perfect in so many ways...

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, my cell phone rang. It was a strange number.

I picked it up...half expecting it to be a wrong number. WRONG!

It was JOHN!

"Hey, Frank! How are you? How was your weekend? Oh...this is John from the picnic. Didn't want you to think I'd forgotten you..."

I couldn't believe my ears.

We chatted for a while. I was is in a daze. Then he said that he'd let me go. "But I'll be in touch, he said."

I couldn't believe it!

When he hung up...I realized that I now had his phone number....but I wanted to keep it cool....and I don't want him to think that I'm all flustered.....even though I am....and I wanted to ask him so many different things....but I didn't.

So I labeled the phone information with his name. Looked at the number and sighed. Wondering when I might hear again from him.

Well, just now he called me! "Hey Frank! This is John again. I wanted you to know that I was thinking about you today." This time I asked all kinds of questions about him and his training. He did the same for me.

We appear to be going down a really nice path. If this man is the one....Old Frank will be the happiest man on the planet. My life will have become complete with someone special in it.

Gay Marriage!

Gosh...I never thought I would live to see the day that Gay Marriage would be the law of the land...but on June 26, 2015 it became just that! I nearly fainted when it became legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in my Home State of West Virginia, but my goodness...this is even more huge!

In the 10 years since Lovey's and my separation, the tide of acceptance for us gay folks has exponentially changed. I'm no longer ashamed as I was....or feeling second class.

It's amazing that as a gay man, I now have the option to marry the man I love...if I'm ever fortunate to find one. But it's not a priority. If it happens, it does. So you all just keep those positive thoughts and prayers headed into my direction.

In the meantime, I've been dealing with some medical issues. I've finally gained the upper hand on my diabetes. My A1C (long term sugar levels) is as 6.4 at last check. Still working to bring it down further...but I'm pleased. Last fall it got up to 14.9...which is definitely BAD.

My cataract surgery on my right eye is scheduled for August 4. I look forward to this happening and being able to see crystal clear again. Once this is complete...and if all goes well, my left eye will be done next.

On another front, last week I decided to return to GAMMA (Gay and Married Men's Association). It's an organization for gay and bisexual men who are or have been involved in a "straight" relationship with a woman. (Frank raises his hand.) I think the whole gay marriage thing has dislodged some issues that I need to deal with. Plus it never hurts to expand my network of friends.

At the first meeting I went back for...I made several new friends....and I'm amazed at how much I have matured and grown from the days I originally went to GAMMA. It was encouraging to me to see this first hand as I sat and listened to some of the men's horror stories of their treatment during their divorce....or as they are still living with their wives post disclosure.

While I could relate to their stories, I have a more interesting perspective now. The pain of separation is a distant memory...the hurt...the bitterness.....the uncertainty have all melted away. So, I'm now able to look back with a degree of objectivity. Yes, I have some real regrets. I never set out to deceive my wife....but I was listening to folks who were telling me how marriage would "reset" my thinking and "fix" me from being gay. I now know that this advice was faulty and misguided.

I pray that this kind of advice is now passé.

It is not good for well meaning Bible Thumping Christian to assume that "God's Plan" is one man....one woman....one lifetime. There is no guarantee that anyone who gets married will stay married until they die -- gay or straight. Things change....times change.....culture shifts.

Having two people of the same gender in a loving and committed relationship is not evil. If it is...it is the only time that I know of where a loving relationship is considered sinful and wrong....when Jesus proclaimed that they greatest commandment is love.

It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

So we now have Gay Marriage. Western Civilization did not end. Fire and brimstone did not rain from heaven.

Let's see what happens next!