Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Hands Are Full!

What a week!

First and foremost: my parents aren't doing very well with their respective cancers. They are soooooooooooooooo frail. It is scary. Mother's cancer has returned...but she is now showing some suspicious symptoms in her head, shoulder and elbow. I pray that these are only strained muscles from the way she sleeps....and I pray the knot on her head is from bumping her head on the car door.

It is so very scary when you're going through this cancer journey with your folks. My heart is breaking inside and I don't dare share it with them where they can see how it is affecting me.

Yesterday, mom was so down. She looked at mean in a very pitiful manner and said, "Bub, I just don't see any light at the end of this tunnel."

I wanted to cry.

Still she is giving it her best shot.

I am spending at least this week with them. Depending on the diagnosis she receives on Thursday, I may spend next week here too. I am working to convince them to come to my house if she is required to do chemo. Right now it is just radiation. But we're gonna see.

And now there is some good news....

In the midst of doom and gloom....and here in the heart of Huntington, WV, Frank may have just found someone special! Yup....when God closes a door, He knows just when to open a window.

I went to church at the local gay affirming church on Sunday....and this guy just appeared.....he says that something spoke to his heart about me....and I had the same thing. He's one year older....and has two adult kids. We spent some time together last night.....and tonight.....and we're possibly gonna spend some time together tomorrow night.

I'm a little shocked by all this....but we'll see.

Mom is tickled.....Dad is oblivious....

I'm amazed....and hopeful.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Daughter, The TV Star!

As I recover from the wonders of my weekend retreat experience, I thought I would share this commercial that stars my daughter! It's for a school in Tennessee. She got this job on a pure lark...and now she may use this as a springboard into acting.

Who knew?

The retreat was awesome in so many ways.

More later.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Morning

I am home today trying to get ready for a church retreat that is being held at a wonderful place not far from Charlottesville, VA. It is literally in the middle of no where. It will give me some time to ponder....to center myself....to try and figure out what my next move is going to be in the chess game of life. Who knows? Perhaps I will be able to further crawl out of this valley I have been in all week.

It has been a very busy week at the office. I have gotten lots done. It just never ends.

I've also been having a good time posting old family pictures to my FACEBOOK page. As a result, I've been hearing from a lot of my cousins and other relatives that I have not heard from or even seen in a number of years. In fact, one of them left me a message and asked me to call him last night.

Well, I did...and it was heartwarming to reconnect with him after all these years. I felt like a million bucks in being able to talk to him. He lives in Ohio...and was asking me about all the stuff I knew about our relatives. (I was a bit taken aback by what little he knew.)

So, this season of my life appears to be about building bridges and reaching out.

Life is so filled with uncertainty. I'm amazed at how naive I was in thinking how steady my life was....with the job...the wife....the kids....the house....the trappings of a successful and "happy" life. That all changed in a flash...and here I sit....at age 52...alone.. Who would have ever thought I would be in this place at this age.

I'm sort of at an ebb right now. I'm not "blue" or depressed, but then I am not ecstatic either. The desire of a significant relationship is still there.......I don't think there are any serious prospects out there for me right now.....even with all the men who have been listed previously who make cameo appearances in my life from time-to-time. Hopefully this retreat will help me.

The song below is one that I just found. It has been out since June....and although the subject matter is a bit "dark" the video is amazing. The melody is catchy, yet haunting... The video is not nearly as dark as it could be.... A couple of the lyrics have stuck with me: "The sharp knife of a short life..." and "Funny when you're dead how people start listening..."

I posted this elsewhere, and was asked by a friend to tell her what I thought it meant.

I think it means to treat people well all the time....not wait until they are at death's doorstep and that young people do not have a monopoly on life. Life can end in a flash....young or old. Listen to what people say now...don't get all misty after they're gone.

I know this has been a scattered post...but it's kind of like me emotionally these days....

All over the map.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Rainbow in the Valley

I've been in sort of a funk since Sunday. This is no secret...since I have written about it this week.

Sometimes as a gay man, the loneliness is at times unbearable. However, in the midst of all this...I heard from gentle Doug today. He called to say that he was thinking about me and he wanted me to know how much he missed me.

Even though he is married.....and it can't go anywhere....it was still nice to hear.

Especially today.

Friendship, Sex and Longing

On one of the online groups I'm a member of, a thread has emerged that is of particular interest to me. It's simply entitled, "Friendship, Sex and Longing." The group is composed of men who are married to women and are out to their wives. Each person's situation is different....they have negotiated their own paths to marital fulfillment.

On person in particular wrote:

"To finally have friends who understand what this is all about is huge. After spending years alone in my thoughts, same sex thoughts that no one must know, to have a good friend who I can share it all with has been so healthy for me.

A large part of my wife's acceptance of my having bi/gay friends has been the benefit of the "me too" and "I understand part". When I come back from a night or weekend away with my friend my wife sees the inner peace and self acceptance that I gain and it spills over to my being a better more fun husband. It is a transformation that our wives need to see with their own eyes to believe."

This post stirred memories in my own life....during my marriage. I had met another married man...in similar situation to me....and we hit it off immediately. We were together for 8+ years. When I divorced...he couldn't take it...and just backed out of my life.

During our time together, his wife noted on many occasions "how good we were for each other."

The issue was finally on the back burner.

Our times together made us better husbands.

I know this is hard to understand for some of you...but it worked.

For a season.

This post triggered memories....and so I sat and wrote this. It's not the typical fare I offer up here...but it was worth remembering. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Moving Merrily Along...

Who knew?

I was moving at such a rapid pace...and kind of expectant as to what was going to happen in my life next. After all, I have six gentlemen who have entered an orbit around me. They definitely were not there before. It kind of made me feel a bit giddy. BUT...I'm not able to share all this with any folks other than you all out there in cyberspace.

There is this great temptation to go after the first man who gives me any attention whatsoever. This is not a good thing. In following this trajectory, I see nothing but disaster.

I have begun to take better care of Frank....mentally and emotionally. This was shown in my recent dealings with SEX GOD. He called looking for action...and I'm feeling a bit used. I don't like feeling that way. Sure a fantastic romp in the hay is fun to do...but in the long run...what is left after the romping is done.

I told him what I was looking for. I told him that I was not into control queens. I want someone who is not afraid to let his affections show up in normal living. This poor guy is afraid that someone is going to find out that he and I have been "romping". I'm tired of the cloak and daggerish relaitonship we have...

I am not...and refuse to be....anyone's dirty little secret.

So between that......the fact that I spent time with K on Sunday.....and the fact that he and his wife and her companion all drink and drink and drink.... Well, even though I am attracted to him emotionally and physically....and if his wife dumps him tomorrow....I don't think he is the one for me....and thus will begin putting some distance between him and me.

Andy is still calling me. We talked on the phone for almost an hour yesterday. So he must really be liking me.

Dan is preoccupied with Scott.... I saw him briefly today....and he was behaving differently. Not ready to handle additional drama in my life right now. I have waaaay too much now.

Doable has not been around or communicated with me since he said I was doable.

And...dear Doug... Well, I've heard from him. But that can't go anywhere either.

So, I am starting back at square one.

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The Not So Good Weekend

I did not really enjoy my Labor Day Weekend at all.

Oh, I got lots done. Did a ton of laundry. Did some ironing. Cleaned the kitchen and all that stuff. BUT...I was alone.

I actually thought I had gotten past it all. I thought I had grown beyond the feelings of loneliness and I was really looking forward to spending some down time with myself while my daughter went off to middle Tennessee for the weekend to spend with her sister.

I was wrong.

I was down.

The memorial service did not help me much. Sadly, a great deal of my feelings hinged on that service. The old fundamentalist christian way...and teaching....started me down a path of wondering if I am really on the correct one...or just being deceived.

You see, I take my spirituality very seriously. I love my God...and do my best to keep Him at the forefront of every decision....and every thought.

But even though I have achieved a certain amount of wholeness in being queer....and I like the man I have become as a result of these past 5 years or so, it doesn't take very much to stir up a whiff of doubt....and then I begin to travel down the path of beating myself up.

So that's where I was this weekend.

Tonight I meet with my gay men's Bible group. I always enjoy being with my friends. Perhaps that will perk me up a bit.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Being Gay in a Sea of Straights

I am currently in the middle of my Labor Day Weekend -- my very quiet Labor Day Weekend -- a time of reflecting on the past, the present and the future.

I am being honest here. This is being written from the deepest parts of me.

Leading up to this weekend has been a full week. I've heard from my friend Doug a number of times. I had some quality time with the "Sex God". Andy has called and written me messages. I've even gotten messages from "K."

I knew that the memorial service for pastor that was murdered would be happening this morning (Sunday). (See my entry from August 30.) So I thought it would be good for me to go and to touch bases with the widow and his remaining son. (His eldest son is the one who killed him....so very tragic.)

I tried to get one of the men currently in my world to go with me. They each had a thousand reasons for not going. So I took that as an indication that maybe God wanted me to go alone....for some unknown reason. I did...and when I got to that place...which was over an hour away from where I live, I was confronted with the stark reality of just how much my life has changed. AND...in typical fashion, I began to seriously question if my life, in the face of all the leaps forward I thought I had taken, is really in fact, better.

I watched all the folks at the service. They were each wrapped up in their grief....and they truly glorified and deified the pastor. I knew him many years ago...and found him to be gentle and loving....but highly aloof. I worked around it all because I felt as if he were dealing with his own demons...whatever they were.

I also barely knew the son that murdered him. He was totally out of the regular social whirl of the family and spent the majority of his existence during the time of their pastorate at my church, living away from the family. He was rarely mentioned...and it seemed as though there was an aura of mystery surrounding him.

AND...the subject seemed closed for discussion.

I never pried.

So, I remembered all that as I watched the youngest son -- Paul-- the one that my girls had had a crush on -- the one that suffers from Type I diabetes -- take center stage as the leader of this congregation. He spoke eloquently of his father....and he sang. Oh how this young man sang...I am sure his father would have been so very proud.

I looked around me...and the people here were not of my normal social sphere. They were the kind of people that people like me fear. They are the Bible thumpers.....the ones who say "The Bible say so..." I couldn't help but think....if they only knew that I am a gay man. That I was sitting in their midst. I would have been shunned.

As I continued to look....I noticed that there were some very attractive men there. Generally, each was accompanied by women who did not seem to match their calibre. The women were generally of the hefty size....people that I would find quite unattractive. (Not just because I am not attracted to women in the first place....but I dare say that these women would not be found on the cover of any magazines....)

And so I sat there....

Remembering how I sat in numerous congregations such as this having these same similar thoughts....for many, many years.

My wall was firmly in place.

It was a dose of my former reality....and I felt as thought I were going to explode. In fact, this experience played out on my stomach. It ached....and I felt under stress.

After a few moments, I composed myself....and got into the service. Occasionally I would make eye contact with one of the men in the congregation. It was that knowing look.... It's all in the eyes....how they lock in on you....and you just know.

I was not alone.

Yet, they would never confess what happened. No one would ever know what thoughts crossed their minds then in a fleeting way.

Following the service, I made my way down front to view the displays of photographs...some old...some very recent. I remembered this pastor fondly. I saw his wife....and she saw me....and came rushing to me. She remembered me....and let me know how much my presence meant to her. "Take care of Paul...." she said. "Go let him know that you are here."

I walked over to him....and he was delighted to see me. This beautiful, young 29 year old man through himself at me. We embraced for a good little while.....as I told him that I would be here for him if he needed me.

He gave me a piece of paper that gave directions to a reception following church....at another church north of where we were. He wanted me to come there because of his mom and because of him.

I agreed....and soon found myself in a full social situation with these people.

The people who must not know that I am gay.

So I chit chatted....and talked....and heard their world views....as small minded as they seemed. I learned that the congregation has decided that Paul was going to become their new pastor. He is 29 years old...and has never darkened the door of a seminary. But then, that's how it's done there....in my former life. He came to me twice during the reception to again say how much my presence meant to his family. And to him. I gave him my card with all my contact information. I told him that if he needed anywhere to relax....to see a movie...or share a meal....give me a shout.

I meant every word of it. His best friend is now gone. He's a little boy lost.

It was then time to return to my home.

My visit to my other life was concluded....and I headed home.

Emotionally drained.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I am going to be all alone this weekend.

As I write this, I have no plans: no picnic, no dates, no trips.


My daughter is headed to visit her sister in Nashville. So I will have my house to myself.

I think what I am going to concentrate on doing is cleaning the place....and getting rid of all the filth that has accumulated. I also have so much junk in my bedroom, I am unable to move around safely. I might even decide to try and rearrange a bit. We'll see how much energy I have after I return from taking my daughter to the airport up in Baltimore in the morning to catch her 7am flight.

Stay tuned.

And Finally Some Really Great News...

I am so very thankful for some good news for a change.

As you know, both of my parents have been battling lung cancer. Mom has been dealing with lung cancer, bone cancer, and colon cancer. For her, it has been in remission for over a year...but she has had a reoccurrence in her lung. She is undergoing radiation treatments to deal with that.

Dad has been undergoing chemotherapy for almost a year. The good news is that his oncologist reported yesterday that his latest cans show that he is clean from the cancer in his lung. YAY!

So I am very happy about this.

As we work to deal with each of the challenges facing my parents...I really want to celebrate each small victory we encounter.

What a great way to kick off a holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A New Place

Well, folks, I have arrived.

Sort of.

I had a conversation with someone very special to me a few days ago. We were reminiscing about the dramas we have eached faced....and we have both survived. I remember so clearly how miserable I was -- not too long ago, all because of my sexuality vs. my spirituality.

It was tormenting...and I remember laying awake at night -- many nights -- begging for healing. Wishing for happiness. Seeking answers to my delimma.

And for all that misery and agony. The gloom and the doom. I think I've finally reached a new place of self-actualization. At the age of 52, I can honestly say with no reservations of any kind, that I am happy.

I am happy to be me.

I am VERY comfortable in my skin.

I am surrounded by many folks who care about me.

Oh, yes, there are times that I long for a special man in my life....

Someone's hand to hold......

Someone to snuggle up with.

But I don't have that.

And the real kicker is.....

all this is okay.

Wow...this is certainly a new place for old Frank.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Things Are A Stirring....

It is a bit hard to believe....but I may finally have piqued the interest of someone...and this is someone that I have had a crush on...

First to just catch you up. I have been blitzed by work at the office...so by the time I reach evening....and going home...I am exhausted.

As I drove home yesterday, my cellphone rang and it was none other than Dan! It was kind of cool to have him call me -- especiallly given the fact that he had spent a significant amount of time with me Sunday afternoon....and Monday afternoon.....

He wanted to know if he could come by last night.

And, since I get a particular good feeling at just looking at him....I agreed.

We spent some time just chatting....and I found out that Scott (his partner) has been out of town this week. He returns today.

Dan told me that he wanted me to know just how much he enjoyed spending time with me. He felt that my house was the one place he felt safe...and he felt that he could just relax and be himself.

I told him that I am glad he felt that way.

And I do. It is just so comfortable with him.

But I am not doing anything to break him and Scott up. I refuse to be involved at THAT level.

Then, there's Andy.

Andy called me late last night....and talked...and talked....and talked. I remind you that this is the man who does not like to talk on the telephone....and that I should know that if I ever get calls from him where he talks and talks and talks...that I should know he likes me.

So, he likes me.

This one is a real potential keeper.

Stay tuned...

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