Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reclaiming My Life


Slowly, but surely, Frank is coming back – and I think he is much better than ever!

I sense it in very subtle ways:

• I’m laughing more;
• I’m feeling more in control of my life;
• I’m feeling more motivated on my job;
• My creativity is beginning to bounce back;
• My feelings of self-worth are improving.

And the list goes on.

In looking back at the last 7 or so years of my life, I didn’t realize just how bad things had gotten. It sort of slipped up on me.

The sadness….the depression….the feelings of failure…..the feelings of being off-track and not having the faintest idea of how to get with the program again.

It’s a very lonely and helpless feeling.

Most of my days were spent going through the motions.

There was also a relatively new feeling of not caring much about anything anymore. Not caring about doing a good job….or of being a good person – after all, I was told that I was a horrible husband and how I took advantage of other less advantaged people. It seemed that no matter what I did to try and improve things, nothing worked. So why should I try?

It has certainly been a nightmare situation.

I remember being happy and full of excitement about the challenges of each new day. It was just good to be alive. I was ever the eternal optimist -- regardless of my situation. I wasn't afraid of taking risks.....personally and professionally. I trusted myself.

Somewhere along the way I lost it all. My heart and life were full of dread, fear, and uncertainty. I was saddened by most everything. I began to second guess my core beliefs. I became unsure of myself. I lost site of the trust I once had in being ME.

Things are improving.

It kind of reminds me of having been sick throughout a long and dreary night. But outside the window, you see glimmers of the coming dawn -- and the promise of a new day.

I'm at that point in my life.

There's the faintest of glows in the eastern sky....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Early Morning At Frank's House

Well, it is just after 6am on a Monday morning.

I'm awake, bathed, shaved, combed, dressed and ready to walk out the door to my office. I'm actually feeling pretty foxy...which, in the face of my various health problems is a miracle!

I visited my doctor on Saturday. (For some strange reason, she is now keeping Saturday hours as one of the only days she is in the office -- but you won't hear me complaining because that way, I don't have to take time off from work!)

She shared with me the results of my recent bloodwork. The cholesterol total is UNREAL. It is now at 112. With it being that low, my chances for a stroke are further reduced by 40%. All the other numbers are excellent. Even the old thyroid appears to be behaving itself! But, I do need to keep watching the sugar levels. They are very easily thrown offtrack and then I pay for it by feeling so bad. It's just not worth it.

She continued to inquire as to how I'm doing now that each passing day takes me further and further from the relationship I had with Lovey. I told her that each passing day gets better. She told me that I would continue to feel better....and that my bloodwork numbers continue to bear out the fact that actually the divorce has been one of the nicer things to happen to me.

So, there we go -- added confirmation!

I got to chat with my daughters all weekend long. #2 had her first official "gig" in Nashville on Saturday night. She's now working on polishing her performance skills. She said that she had a ball and really enjoyed herself. She's looking forward to the next time she is able to do this. (She was asked to become the vocalist of this band....and this was her first time. They apparently loved her.....)

#1 in El Salvador is having a good time too. She's joined the local soccer team. She loves playing that sport...and has always done quite well with it. I think she's sort of wowed the locals there with her abilities!

My son, the marine, is mad at me because I did not okay his purchase of a motorcycle. There were just too many what-ifs.....and he wasn't sure that the deal was even a good one. So, I told him that we could purchase this upon his return from Iraq in May.

So, he's not speaking to me.

Ah, the life of a parent.

Well, I need to get up from here and head into DC.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Helping Out A Friend

It looks like there are some common themes that run through the lives of us gay, formerly married men.

I know that I've been zinged by a few well meaning readers who say that I write more about Lovey than I do about myself....or that it's time to "snap out of it."

But tonight, I got to chat with someone that is going through a lot of the same things that I have been going through.

Let's call him Steve.

Steve was married over 30 years and has children. He left his house situation a while ago....and even was partnered for a couple of years or so. That fizzled and he's currently in the midst of the mediation process....and negotiating a separation agreement. The final divorce isn't expected for at least another year.

Steve had sent me an email and in part it said, "Kind of down and out today, really feeling very lonely, guess I'll get used to it, but never have lived alone before!"

Well, I called him......and yes, he was feeling all the things that I have periodically felt.

You see, for all the negative feelings you may have toward us guys who are married.....and gay....... You may feel that we have deeived our wives, or that we are just above pond scum in the order of life, we married guys do love our wives.....and we've tried to make the most of a bad situation.

A long-term marriage is not easily forgotten.

You just can't turn off the feelings of hurt and loneliness.....EVEN WHEN YOU'RE GAY.

Steve was feeling that tonight.

We chatted through the miracle of the telephone for about 45 minutes.

Finally Steve said that he needed to go and get ready for his week ahead. Before he hung up, he said, "Frank, thanks for listening to me. I feel so much better. Thanks for being a friend."

We hung up.

I felt lifted up -- not that I was "down." But I felt really encouraged because I was able to encourage him.

Maybe I can do more of this in the future for other men who are having a hard time adjusting.

And just care...

Wisdom Comes with Age

I got up really early this morning.

It seems like this is the new pattern for me. Years ago, I'd try to sleep as long as possible before the family and I would head to church. Weekends were generally a blur of church-related activities. I was the head of the Sunday School Department; I was Chairman of the Board of Deacons; I was the choir director, newsletter editor, and prepared the Sunday Morning bulletin. On top of all that, I handled publication of the church's telephone directory.

Now looking back at that time period, I feel really sorry for myself. I was so busy with church work, it didn't allow much time for me to be occupied with the gay thing.

Perhaps, I should say it didnt' give me much time to explore the gay world.

So, I spent a lot of sleepless nights...having unhealthy thoughts behind the happy Christian facade.

Wisdom does come with age.

So, I guess this is why I feel so paternal around some of my younger gay brothers from my current church. Aw, they all seem so well-adjusted. The majority of whom are partnered. Still, it's the younger ones that I find myself wanting to just wrap in my arms and say....."Dare to be who you are....and enjoy life. It's a different time. It's a different place now."

Wow, when I was in high school....and junior high for that matter, I was totally miserable. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I was always labeled the class faggot.....and it HURT. Because I knew it was true.....the words were said with such disgust...and hatred.

The hurt penetrated my very bones.

The teachers would just turn a blind eye to it all.

By the time I came home in the evening, I was emotionally spent -- a wreck.

I never told my parents.

But this is when I began the massive construction project in my mind that I am working so hard to dismantle today. I built tall sturdy walls. I isolated myself. I became very shy when it came to being around others. I felt that if I opened my mouth, "gay" would fall out and then the words of derision, hatred, and hut would pile on.

So it was at that point I decided to through myself at my studies full force. I became known as the class "brain"....and "Mr. Responsibility."

But still I was alone.

Yes, I do have a very protective streak when it comes to some of my very young gay friends. I don't want to see anyone hurt them....or belittle them. I'm so very proud of them....for living openly and proudly with the partners of their dreams.....

Maybe one day I will be able to do the same.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jane

I finally got up the nerve to call Jane back.

Thankfully she wasn't home.

I left a very cheerful message that said that I had been extremely busy and was hardly ever home. However, she should feel free to call back at her convenience.

So, I've done my part.

I've done the polite thing.

If this persists...I'm going to have to clue Jane in on the fact that I play for the other team.

In the meantime, I've heard again from my friend who gave me the tour of the leather convention. He had a blast he says and the considerably younger guy he was with here really is beginning to mean a whole lot to him. That's great. I just can't seem to wrap my arms around how all the extremes in the leather community can translate into love.

Oh well, this is just my observation. I'm a boring old vanilla kind of guy.

His friend (who lives in NYC), has been talking to him about moving to Washington, DC to get a good job that is more in line with my friend's professional training. He's got a ton of ministerial experience....PLUS....he has formal training in public relations. I don't understand why the boyfriend doesn't encourage him to move to NYC while he is at it. Not sure why there should be a 5 hour distance between people who care for each other when one already lives in Indiana and is willing to move to the East Coast.

Again, what do I know?

Awful news about Heath Ledger.

Another one gone way too soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here We Go Again!


Well y’all.

It’s happened.

Someone has begun to show interest in old Frank here.

Yup.

It’s true!

The real funny thing about all this is that in the midst of just keeping on my happy face…and going about my daily business, I hadn’t realized that it would/could happen.

Well, apparently it now has.

Shouldn’t I be happy you may wonder?

I guess I would be ordinarily, but there is just a slight problem here.

The interested party is a woman!

EEK!

Gosh this has certainly stirred up a lot of very old and I must say, forgotten memories of what it was like with Lovey.

The same old butterflies exist.

That same old sick feeling in the pit of my stomach is still right where it has always been.

Here’s some background information.

Let’s call her Jane.

About nine years ago, Jane and her son became a close family friend. She was divorced and her son was interested in #1. They dated for about 2-3 months. So, Jane was constantly in my house.

She and I became fast friends. However, I caught little glimmers of resentment she had for Lovey. When Lovey would make certain comments or exhibit certain behaviors to me, I’d catch this woman rolling her eyes or shaking her head.

Even at a holiday celebration that year my mother said to me, “Frank, you need to keep an eye on Jane. I believe she has a big time crush on you.”

I laughed it off.

I guess I was in my gay, feeling ugly, sorry-for-myself phase.

When I went with #2 and Mom O’Lovey to Christmas Eve church at the church we all once attended, Jane was the first to greet me.

“I’m so sorry about how much you have been through. It’s hard. I know. Let’s get together after the holidays and have dinner!”

I sputtered….and said…”Well, Jane, give me a call and we can see if we can schedule something.”

So now, she has called and left a message at my house. Thankfully I wasn’t there to receive the call…..I do spend a lot of time away from the phone, but still. Jane is making it clear that she is “interested” in me.

I need to return the call.

However, the great thing about all this is I am a bit older and a whole lot wiser than I was when I was in the “God-can-change-me….all-I-need-is-a-woman phase.”

Still, I’m amazed at the feelings I am experiencing…especially the fear…..

Gosh, as I near the age of 50, you’d think this would be easier as time goes on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Lively Day

Wow! It certainly has been a lively day here on the blog. I've received a number of "interesting" comments.

Aw, for those of you who have contacted me backchannel to offer words of encouragement, thanks. However, I do thrive on lively discussion.

It's quite intriguing to me to receive this kind of feedback though. The tone of some of the comments lead me to wonder if in fact they are from women who have suffered bad experiences. I do understand....and my heart goes out to those women.

However, I'm not the typical gay guy who went out of his way to make his wife's life hell. If anything, I tried everything to compensate for my shortcomings. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the gay thing helped prolong the marriage, that would have otherwise died a long, long time ago.

I generally say that my wife and I had more issues between the two of us than TIME magazine!

Oh well....that was then. No need to rehash all that history....if you want to "catch up" feel free to check out older postings here.

In the meantime, I appear to have gotten over the bitterness that I have been fighting for the past few weeks. The profound sadness also appears to be at bay.

So hear I am with the dog....and relaxing after a very productive day.

Crocodile Tears?

Dear Croc!

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

It appears though you've missd some very important concepts/posts in my bog. I mean, I didn't just one day jump out and say "I'm Gay!"

Out of over 25 years of marriage, she knew for over 24 years.

Tears? Hmmmm. She didn't shed any....for sure. Ask the kids...from whence she is estranged. Her life shattered? Aw...c'mon...she was too busy with her ministry to even notice or care about anything other than herself..... The kids suffered......I suffered.....

Nope....the gay thing was a blessing to the marriage.....it's what made it last so long. Had she been married to a straight man, he wouldn't have put up with all her stuff.......and would have divorced her 2 years into the marriage!

Suffer?

Lovey?

Not her style.


My goodness.....

Obsession?

Obsession with the EX?

I don't think so.

But yes, there are some unprocessed feelings that are now surfacing....part of the mourning period I suppose. They are just now surfacing.

Feeling sorry for myself?

Hardly.

I've made great strides along the way. I've landed on my feet. I'm busy trying to identify those things that make Frank happy.

Not an easy task.

Life has a way of moving on with or without us.

But I'm definitely onboard the train.

Oh I have my moments.

But let's be clear:

I'm dealing with a sprig of bitterness at my ex because of all the hell she put me through during the separation. Plain and simple. It didn't have to be that way.

Yeah, I knew I was gay at the beginning, but I was told by society, by the church, that I could change. HOG-WASH. But, had I not been married, I would not have the three marvelous children I now have....and I wouldn't give that up for anything.

A recent commenter says to "lose the bitterness" ... "move on."...."don't you think she (the EX) has a right to be bitter..."

Hmmmm.

Interesting concept.....but how does one lose the bitterness, especially when one doesn't know why it surfaced at this point. Move on? I'm doing my darnndest.

Oh yeah....I forgot. The EX.....

She should be bitter......after all my gayness is all about HER!

Yup, I forgot about that!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where Did THAT Come From?

I've had a very quiet day. I posted that in the previous post.

However, the one thing that I seem to be dealing with now seems to have come out of no where. It's something I thought I had dealt with....and I suppose I've taken care of a lot of stuff and gotten rid of it.

But in the past 2-3 weeks, I've had a sprig of bitterness to surface.

I'm not sure why that is.

I'm very bitter about the divorce....about the way my ex treated me.....the things that my ex did...and most of all...the fact that she almost gleefully outted me to anyone who would listen.

Not to be helpful.

But to make her look good.

It bothers me.

But, upon further reflection, I guess what made this surface is a comment that my daughter, Laura (#2) told me during her Christmas vacation. She said that when she met her mother's younger sister in Atlanta last fall, over dinner one night, she blurted out, "You DO know that your dad is gay don't you?"

To which my daughter responded, "Well, if I didn't I certainly do NOW!"

When I've asked my EX if she told her family, she says, "I can't remember!"

Hmph....

I've been robbed of my coming out experience....of being able to share it with whom I want to. My EX took it upon herself to out me to everyone.

Yup...this is where the bitterness has come from.

A Quiet MLK Day.

I'm still amazed at all I saw at MAL yesterday.

I don't mean to sound critical and please keep in mind that this is the comment of a very boring and dull...vanilla kind of guy.

But with all the stuff I saw up close and personal yesterday, is it no wonder that the religious conservatives go all ballistic about us gay folks? l mean, there were all kinds of things going on in public. I even saw a very few ladies....like maybe 3 or 4 out of several hundred gay men. I saw three hispanic maids from the hotel wandering through the exhibit hall on their breaks. GEE...I wonder what they thought! YIKES!

Well, for all that excitement, today has been very dull and boring. I've been home all day...curled up mainly with my dog....listening to the wind blow. I've just not been interested in doing much. I'm just not in the mood.

I talked to my daughter in Nashville a couple of times. She seems happy. However, she was grousing about her mother not returning an important email she had sent last week. She said that when she finally got an email from her mom, it was very brief....nothing substantive.

"You're surprised?" I asked. "I am amazed since you know how your Mom's only interest is in church."

Silence on the other end of the phone.

I changed the subject, but my little comment certainly drove the point home.

I work very hard not to mention their mom in my children's presence. When I spoke to the Marine on Saturday, he started grousing about her as well. I held my tongue.

I never want it to be said that I'm trying to turn the kids away from their mom. She seems to be doing a first-rate job of that herself. Still, I know such accusations are gonna be hurled...but I just can't be bothered by it.

So, we'll see.

In the meantime it's just me and the dog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Guess I'm VERY Old Fashioned


I've arrived at the conclusion that I am a very old fashioned guy.

I don't think I'm your typical gay guy.

Oh, I've had those rites of passage kinds of experiences. I've explored. I've tried various things. I've tasted serious love with another man. My gayness has cost me my marriage. I've wasted many, many good years and been so unsure of myself. I've spent a hunk of my life feeling like a pervert. I've been so unsure of myself.

I've spent so many miserable hours.......crying....praying.......trying to change. I tried so hard.

But it's just not something that will happen for me. For whatever reason, this is the hand that was dealt to me and I have to be comfortable with that.

An interesting thing happened to me today. A good friend of mine called to say that he was in town for the Mid Atlantic Leather convention in Washington. He wanted to know if I could come and meet him and spend some time with him.

Well, summarize, he and I got to spend some time visiting.....and then he told me that he wanted me to go the the Mid Atlantic Leather exhibit hall.

I should preface this by saying that I've always been attracted to men in uniforms.....and yes, certain types of leather outfits tended to catch my attention. Well, I practically went into cardiac arrest when I saw the hundreds and hundreds of men who were circulating throughout the hotel.....and in the exhibit hall. The testosterone was flowing so thickly, it was almost hard to breathe.

Men in uniforms......men in athletic supporters.......barechested men..........naked men trying on various garments.......and there was graphic porn playing everywhere. On top of all this, there were all kinds of items for sale. Athletic supporters, dildos, chastity belts and paraphenalia, porn, music to fist and to do other things by, testicle crushers, rubber outfits, leather outfits, electrical torture equipment, restraints, whips, chains, harnesses, etc. I saw a good looking man walking around with out a shirt, and his back was totally covered in scratches. It looked like he had really been flogged very hard

I then turned a corner and went into another exhibit area, and there was a man kneeling in front of another man, doing what a man does usually in a position like that to please another man.

I was shocked.

Maybe it was sensory overload?

I just don't know how else to describe it.

But after my friend had led me through all the exhibit area, he asked if I could drop him at a restaurant to meet his "sir." (This is the man that he is currently having a relationship of sorts with. He was concerned that because he was late, that it was going to be a sign of disrespect to him....ick.)

As we headed to the restaurant, I said to my friend, "You know. I've got to process all this. This was all so extreme. "

He said, "Yes, it is. But what you're seeing Frank, is a group of guys that are into all kinds of recreational sexual activities."

"But," I said. "I'm not into this.....I'm interested in one day having one special guy.....for a regular relationship based on love. I think my problem at this gathering is, I just don't see any sign of love. I've seen all kinds of animalistic sex....and celebration of maleness..... I've seen ample displays of unsafe sex. But I just don't see any evidence of love."

"We stay away from the L word," my friend said. "But we can have lots and lots of intimate friends."

It bothered me.

And, it still does.

My view of the world of leather has changed based on my experience this afternoon. This is just not the life I want.

I'm a very old fashioned guy....and just looking for a one man, man. A man that wants to build a life with one special guy.

Plain vanilla.

That's what I yearn for.

Some day.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Get With The Program, Frank!


I am at work as I write this. It is so very cold outside….and gray. Weather predictions indicate another snowstorm is headed this direction and will strike either tonight or sometime tomorrow. It looks like I am going to get snowed in.

That should help me get the energy up to at least tear down the Christmas tree and all those decorations. For me to do this is a first. Normally the kids enjoyed putting up the decorations and the tree and tearing them down. The girls especially loved to do that. Within an hour or so, you’d never know that there was a tree ever in our midst!

It’s going to take me a little longer though…

I know me.

I’ll look at each decoration and remember it.

I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about this horrible task.

Yes, Frank still has some residual issues to deal with. The Christmas decorations….the snowstorm……the cold….the gray…..all have conspired against me to expose these feelings that I must still deal with.

I shouldn’t be upset with myself. After all, when you look at how far I’ve come, well, really it’s amazing. I’ve survived. And I’m healthy.

I just need to remember to count my blessings.

This is so silly.

It’s just snow.

It’s just a Christmas tree and colored lights, ribbons, bows and doo-dads.

God, I need to grow up.

I need to shut off those old memories and think of the new ones I made this year….the new friends….the new things I did…….and get psyched about the new adventures that await in this new year.

It’s no time to get melancholy and sad.

My life is far from over. I’m not yet 50.

AND, I have four days off from work! To get things done.

Get with the program, Frank!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snowy Days & Thursday Get Me Down


Do you all remember that old Carpenters’ song, “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down.?”

Well, oddly, I loved the song and never found the subject to be very relevant to me.

However, for some reason, it seems that snowy and cold days make me wistful….and somewhat “down.” I’m not going to say that it depresses me because when one says the word depression, all sorts of images are conjured up.

I think the word “depressed” is overused today.

I think in this case, the word “sad” works best to describe how I feel.

It began as the snow started here in Washington. Large snowflakes feel for a couple of hours leaving a nice white blanket out my office window. Immediately, my mind raced back to simpler times when I played in the snow with my kids and coming inside to a nice tall mug of hot cocoa courtesy of Lovey.

I think of the times when my office was closed due to the bad weather, and I spent time inside playing board games or card games with the children.

I also remember the many times we walked to grandma’s house and all the fun we had sledding and building snow people.

Now I’m alone.

Totally.

Alone.

Honestly, at times I look in the mirror and it still shocks me to think about all that I’ve been through and just how much my life has changed. I went from being Frank, the family man with a secret to Frank, the family man, all alone.

The nights bother me the most. I hear every noise. I’m aware of every creak and groan in the house. I even hear the tap, tap, tapping of the ductwork as the warm air makes them expand when the furnace kicks on.

I hear every moan and snore that Davy, the Dawg makes. I’m aware of every times he burrows deeply into me in the middle of the night.

And to think, my gayness brought me here to this place.

Oh, I know that the kids would have left me an empty nester any way…..but I always thought I’d have companionship.

I was wrong.

I have a tinge of bitterness in me. It still hurts – all those many things I had to experience during the separation….and the negotiation of the divorce.

Every alimony check I write bothers me…..the thought of the 50% reduction of my retirement annuity bothers me.

It all still hurts….

The snow continues to fall…..and I’m haunted. Haunted by the memories of what was….and the thoughts of what never will be.

Friday, January 11, 2008

HIM....again!

I saw him again today.

You know the one.

I've written about him before....

The guy that shares the same first name as my boss.

**sigh**

We almost ran into each other in the men’s room -- LITERALLY!

His presence certainly fills up a room – even the men’s room.

No, this wasn’t a Larry Craig, wide stance moment.

He and I actually chatted a bit.—at the sink. He smiled. God, that smile could melt the polar ice caps. He wanted to know what I was doing over the weekend.

I was tongue tied. God, why do I always get that way around attractive men? I must seem like a moron.

I can't even remember what I said.

He told me how busy he was and that he was trying to get a presentation ready today for his boss. I talked about the new employee in my area that I’m helping to get established in the office.

We chit chatted more and somehow it became appropriate for me to ask him how long he’s been at the agency.

He’s been here only 3 years. Gosh, I’ve been here ten times longer.

I told him that he was a real whipper-snapper.

Gosh, I cannot believe I used that term. Who says that these days? It makes me sound so ancient and like I from another dimension.

EEK!

We continued chatting. I was drying my hands now.

I made him guess how long he thought I’d been at the agency.

He was kind and only guessed 15 or 22 years.

I smiled and felt my insides cringe as the words 30 years rolled from my lips.

He must think I'm 80.

There was a slight pause.

“Of course, I started working here when I was two,” I added.

We both laughed.

He then asked if I was getting ready to leave the agency in search of a peaceful mountain stream…or the beach.

AH HA! My opportunity to share my marital status! So I said, “I don't think so. Since my divorce last year, and the fact that the EX is getting half the pension, I—“

“Need to work until you die?” he completed my sentence.

There that smile was again.

Blinding. Simply blinding.

He shook his head……”Too bad,” he said.

“Yes, it really is.” I agreed.

Then, we parted ways.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Did You See Oprah Yesterday?????




Confession time: I LOVE OPRAH WINFREY!

She's smart. She's savvy. She's funny. She's influential.

Basically she's my hero! Gosh, I wish I could be 1/10th as successful as her.

I am also quite touched at the way she gives back to the world....and to people.....


Yesterday's program was a repeat of a program that ran several months ago.

It was a gay story with a twist.

As a gay man, I get a little tired of the talk shows finding gay husbands and then criticizing how they have "two-timed" their wives...deceived God and country.....and had their cake and ate it too.

So imagine my shock at the topic of women that are married to men.....and they come out as lesbian!

As I listened to yesterday's program, I was struck at the similarities between them and what I and countless other gay men that I know have gone through as they struggle with their marriages and being gay.

The first lady talked to her husband....he was understanding...told her that they would make it through somehow...but they wound up divorcing. After the divorce, the husband too came out as gay. Their 14 year old son is proud of his gay mom and gay dad because now he has 4 parents that love him.

Imagine that!

Oprah said that in all her years of being on TV, she'd never seen anything like this.

I can't say that I have either.

If you missed it, go to http://www.oprah.com and check out the stills, the summary and the video clips. Totally fascinating!

Running Toward Adventure!


I have been so busy the last few days that I must confess, I’ve not been able to focus on what I should be writing in this blog. At times I feel like I’ve almost run out of things to say because my world appears to be coming together and getting into order. I wonder at times if really anything that I say at this point will really contribute to your personal growth or not.

But, I still feel the need to write.

So, write I will until you all quit reading or tell me to get a life.

I keep feeling better and better about myself. I believe that inner wellbeing is beginning to spillover into my appearance. BUT, I’ve got to be really careful. In the past 3 months since I’ve been on insulin and also on the thyroid meds, my bod is beginning to fill out. This is translated: getting fat!

So, I really need to watch it now that the holidays have passed.

As I lead my life each day, I’m amazed at the changes I see in me…both subtle and major.

For the longest time, as an example, I felt I had no really close friends. I was too busy keeping my walls of protection up and I stayed aloof and distant. People who met me during that time probably thought I was a real piece of work. And you know something? They were right. I was a piece of work. At times I felt like I was teetering on the edge of the abyss.

If I fell into it, I’d be lost forever, I thought.

But here I am. I’ve stepped many footsteps back from that edge and I’m enjoying what life has for me.

I’m discovering the old Frank that had been lost for so long. I’m learning what he enjoys. He likes to read. He likes to pray. He likes to explore new places and stores. He loves digital photography and taking pictures. He’s beginning to enjoy making new friends. He’s enjoying the friendships he already has made this year. He’s enjoying his spiritual journey and learning how to minister to others.

Every day is an adventure.

I’m learning to run to it with open arms -- eager to see what happens next – not quivering in my tracks afraid of my shadow!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Wedding Ring

I've had the attached video for quite sometime now. A friend gave it to me about a year ago. It has given me many belly laughs.

So, since this is the beginning of a new year....and for all the people out there who have ever been misunderstood....this video is just for you. Just keep your eye on the minister's reaction!


video

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's Back to Work Day!

Gosh...are the holidays really over now?

I guess so because I'm scheduled to work today and the rest of the week. As I recall, my staff will be out until Monday. So, hopefully I will have a quiet day when I get to the office.

Yesterday started off badly for me. It was truly depressing to sit and look around at my house and realize that all my children are scattered to the four winds. It was bad. So rather than sit in the shadow of the Christmas lights and to feel sorry for myself and to focus on how miserably lonely I felt, I started cooking. I went wild in the kitchen. I baked a big ham, cooked some corn, carrots, peas, mashed potatos, sweet potatos, and prepared cole slaw. I then also featured hot rolls and butter and apple sauce followed by a pumpkin pie.

I then had two gay couples over for dinner and we visited while we ate. Then I took them to the basement where I showed slideshows of some of our events that we've enjoyed together this holiday season. I then let them hear some of the newer recordings by my daughter, #2 and showed her Senior Recital Concert that was professionally filmed in Nashville. (All the guys have fallen in love with my daughter.....and they had wanted to hear some of her music.)

In the evening, my niece and her husband came to devour left overs and to watch a movie.

I found that it was just so good being with people.

I really don't do well alone on holidays.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The First Day of a New Year!


Well, here we are at the beginning of a brand new year!

I went to a party of all my friends last night. At one point in the evening before midnight, I walked out onto the deck and did some reflecting. l thought about all the blessings I have experienced. I thought about last year's resolutions. I thought about all the things I was feeling last year at this time -- the sadness, the sense of loss, the loneliness, and the fear of the unknown.

My mind also raced to New Year's Eves gone by. Forty years ago, for example, I watched the ball drop with my dad. He talked about the new year, 1968 and he wondered what it might bring. What a year that was!

I also remembered that on December 31, 1988 I was lying on the beach in Sarasota, Florida all by myself. Lovey and the girls went with her parents to visit some friends in Tampa. (Now, those friends are gone, Lovey's Dad is gone, and Lovey herself is no longer part of my life.) I was enjoying the hot, summer-like temperatures, the crash of the waves and was dozing when I heard two young women scream "HAPPY NEEW YEAR!" to the life guard. It made me bolt upright....and rouse myself from the dreamlike state I had drifted into. I forgot that it was in the middle of the winter!

Last year I was saddened by the fact that all my friends had evaporated. I was part of a church where people ignored me. It was very frightening to be in this new situation.

My main resolution of that year was to expand my network of friends -- something that went waaaay beyond my comfort zone. BUT, I have worked to do this.

As I stood on that deck at one of my friends' houses, last night, it all came back.

I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. None of those people, except one, were in my life last year.

And here I was, surrounded by people who loved me.

All new friends.

So, life goes on.

I have a couple of main resolutions this year.... Oh, I have the ones that everyone has.....I need to lose weight.......I need to take care of myself physically.....emotionally.......I need to savor every moment that I experience with family and friends.....

But then, I have a couple of really serious resolutions that I will work on every day during the year. One is that I want to get a new job. It's time. I need to jump start my career and stretch.

Then, I have one other resolution that, for now, will remain unspoken. It's more of a need than anything else. But, in order to survive, I need to work on it too.

So, wish me luck....

This is the first of what I hope will become the mile marker that says, "This is where Frank turned a corner into a richer, fuller, and happier life!"

May each of you have a safe, warm, and happy New Year.If you're headed through some of the territory I've traveled....and you're divorcing or separated because of the gay thing...or for whatever reason..... Yes, there is pain....there is sadness.......and there's even a little loneliness. But, it does get better.

I promise.