Saturday, February 10, 2018

Feelings. So Many Feelings.

I've been thinking of writing again since I stopped my cooking blog last year. I have been putting it off by watching TV, playing Nintendo, surfing the net. Today I can't any longer and I wish it was a better reason than someone dying.

Yesterday my niece and nephew were in a car accident and ultimately, my nephew died this morning as a result of it. The problem that I am having is not that he died. My problem is that I don't feel sad about it. I have not cried over it. I have cried, but only because my heart goes out to my brother and the pain and regret I am sure he is going through. His family, sadly, are strangers to me. I can't cry for a stranger, no matter how hard I am trying.

The history here is complex, so I will simplify it. They are Mormon. I am gay. They have an issue with it (majority, I feel, is my horrible sister in law) so cut me out of their family's life for years. It wasn't until a few years ago my brother and I started talking. It was just a year or maybe two now that I met my nephew in a 30 minute stop over as they were passing through my mom's place. We were "Facebook Friends" and at one point he was going off so ignorantly about gay marriage I unfriended him and the rest of my brother's kids (I never friended my brother). Slowly we friended each other again, but I rarely followed them and I see now my nephew and I never friended each other again.

So some more feelings...I am feeling ANGRY. I am angry that my brother and his wife secluded me from their family so that I don't know their kids. The same this is with one of my sisters. I don't get invites or FYI notifications to baptisms, missionary farewells/homecomings, weddings (although my brother's oldest daughter did send me an invite to her wedding...1-2 weeks before it happened), birthdays. I hear about these things from my mom or my sister. What makes me angry is that I am mad at myself for not feeling bad he died, but have a hard time feeling bad because he is a stranger and he's a stranger because his parents stopped him from getting to know me. I remember my nieces (my sister's daughters who grew up with me around) telling me that my nephew and other nieces would make fun of "gay uncle Stephen" and they would stick up for me telling their cousin (who didn't know me at all) how great Uncle Stephen and Walter were and to stop talking bad about us because they didn't know us. I am ANGRY that they could speak words like that about someone they never met and can only assume they heard such negative things by someone who did know me, my brother and his wife. I am angry the most I know about this nephew is that he was adamantly against gay marriage, had made fun of his gay uncle, and he was friendly (according to people on Facebook commenting about him). When I met him he seemed funny and pretty nice.

That brings me back to more feelings...feelings of regret for not being included or trying harder to be included. I not not one to beg to be in someone's life. You either want me there or not. If you want me there I am there for you always. You don't want me there, no skin off my back. Begging to be there is a waste of my time and energy. So it is not in my personality to try to be in someone's life who clearly doesn't want me there. So I didn't try. I did my small part of sending my brother's family a Christmas card each year...many year with no return card. I wanted to remind them I am still here whether you want me here or not. But my efforts rarely went beyond that; honestly it was more than they were doing so I felt I was at least putting some effort. I don't regret not doing more. I regret they didn't do more until recently.

I feel for my niece who I don't know at all other than the 30 minute meeting where I met me nephew. She was driving the car that ultimately killed her brother. I feel for her and the mental damage it will do to her. I feel bad, not as a family member, but as a human being looking from the outside.

I feel scared and anxious. I plan to go to the funeral. In doing so I am going to have to deal with a lot of things I prefer not to: my sister in law, my dad and his cunt wife, the Mormon church and all the hypocrites I grew up around in that religion. I plan, need, to bring my husband. It will be the first time he meets/sees (since I don't intend on interacting with my dad and his cunt wife) a lot of my family. I know I need to go. I need to support my brother. Times like these are not about me and having to deal, they are about being there for those we love even if it is a mental sacrifice.

So many feelings this morning that I needed to get out. I feel much better now.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Unemployment Day 1

It's been a while since I've written anything on this blog. As the title of this post suggests, I no longer have a job. I could make it a long drawn out story as to why I no longer have a job, but I think it's better that I leave short and sweet. The short of it is, I followed my own advice and at the same time I went against my own advice. Here's what I mean; for years I would tell people that "if you hate your job, quit." I also would tell them that "it's really stupid to quit a job when you don't have another job to go to." So what did I do? I hated my job so I quit...without another job... and I've never been happier.

Today is the first day unemployed. I've not not had a job since we quit our jobs in Las Vegas in 2008 and moved to Austin. It only took a month and a half for me to find a temp job and start working again. It took me another few months to find a permanent position and be working full-time. I thought that I would be more scared this point, And maybe next week, on Monday morning, when I have no job to go to, the fear will kick in, but as of right now I feel alive. I feel invigorated. I feel excited. I feel like I took the only obstacle out of my life that was stopping me from moving forward. Frankly, I feel FUCKING AMAZING!

So what am I doing on my first day of unemployment? Hell, it's Saturday so I'm doing nothing! I cleaned up the kitchen. I've made breakfast and coffee. I'm contemplating cleaning the house, but instead I'm watching a little television. I might box for little bit. I decided to write for a little bit as you can see. I've also danced in my kitchen, sang around the house, and I've been smiling all day so far.

I didn't quite expect this to be my reaction to being unemployed. I thought I would be a lot more stressed out. I thought I'd be spending this first day digging into job postings trying to apply for whatever I could. I thought that I'd be learning a skill or practicing my Excel workbooks and worksheets, trying to get ahead of the game before Monday hit, and I realize that my world has completely changed when I wake up and have nowhere to go. My relaxed attitude kind of scares me. Maybe it's because I expected myself to react differently. Maybe my relaxed attitude because my gut is telling me what I did was right and that what's waiting ahead for me is infinitely better than what I'm leaving behind. As for the rest of today, I'm going to continue on this happiness hi that I'm riding right now.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Another one Bites the Dust

Well, the last 30 days have been a time for death. I really only thought this happened once you pass 70. Another "friend" died. Its been over a week since I heard. It has taken me that long to process this one. I used quotes around the friend in this because we were no longer friends. It's what happens when there is a falling out.

I have not cried yet. I have yet to feel deeply sad...well, sad at all. I have been thinking about this off and on and have come to the conclusion that the sad part of this whole event is not that he died, but how and that it took his death to hear from friends I don't hear from regularly.

The lesson is loud and clear:
LIVE Healthy. 
BE Active.
DON'T Wait to do things. 
TELL Those you love that you love them regularly. 
CONTACT Those far away more often than at holidays. 
REMEMBER Who loves you. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Street Festivals and I

So I am finding that street festivals thrive in Chicago. There are at least 5 each weekend in different neighborhoods. There is a neighborhood fest, German fest, Polish fest, bacon fest, rib fest, and I could just keep going on and on. The thing about these fests are, they are practically all the same! A street closes down. A company comes in with the same beer and furnishes the booze. And there are some similar over priced foods involved. It is crowded and in my opinion, not that fun.

I think mainly I don't enjoy them because I don't like beer much. So to sit in the heat drinking something I don't enjoy, being in a crowd of people (which I don't like crowds either), and eat food that is not that great and way over priced just doesn't sound that fun to me. I have hit a total of 4 street festivals since I moved here (Plus Gay Pride and Market Days) and I really don't feel the need to do them again. There is always the hope that one will be a little different, but like the Cathedrals of Europe, once you've seen a few, they all tend to look the same after that. Give me a beach day. I'd much rather do that!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lust for Life

So it has been awhile. Far too long actually since I last blogged. Just like with many things in life, I've been putting it off. Not because I don't want to, but because I was lazy, or just not making the time. And just like many things in life, an event triggered a realization that I need to get off my ass and do something about it.

What event? Well, unfortunately death. And old Frenemy killed himself this last week. "Frenemy" you might ask? Yes. We hated each other for the longest time. It was more like we felt each other was taking something away from the other and jealous of it. It was not until years later when we spent a long evening in a friends hot tub that we talked it out and though the years had caused the hate to fade, they also gave the maturity to understand each other.

So while this event stemmed this post, it is not about death, but about life, friends, and living. While I never expected to have someone who I have not seen in a good 10-12 years death cause me to cry, it did. It brought back memories that, actually, were all good. What it also did was cause me to reach out to people who I don't normally. People who I should more regularly. People who helped shape the person that I am and who I love dearly for it. People who live far away, so are often forgotten in my everyday life, until an event like this happens.

I am on both sides of the spectrum here. I have been the one still loved yet forgotten from everyday life. I have also been the one forgetting about special people. The saying is kind of true, Out of sight, out of mind. I don't think we ever intend to do it, but as I think I said many times in the last couple of days "Life just gets in the way". But why? If people are important, they should be part of your life. I appreciate Facebook for that. I can see what people I love and appreciate are doing on a regular basis, "like" what they do, leave a comment of sarcasm or approval, and move on. But that is only for a few. What about the others? Those who don't have a Facebook or post on it. Those who I only have their email or phone number. I have detached from calling people or emailing them. The "time" doesn't seem to be there when it really is. It is understandable though. We do keep social during the week and often forget. And I am not pleading to be better at it. Just stating it really. We are in a world of overload where we often do forget.

While I am making memories with my friends now, here, in the present and place I am now, I need to remember the memories of those in my past and work to making more with them. Could it be a need for a long weekend and flying to see them? OR even meeting up somewhere with them to hang out? I don't know. I am still figuring that part out. But that brings me to something more...having the lust for life also. I am guilty of sitting and doing nothing, and sometimes one needs to do that. We do need to rest. But I don't want to rest from work, I'd prefer to rest from doing fun things that exert my energy. Get out and do, and stop fucking just thinking about doing it! That has been my goal this year is to do. I think I am doing better at it, but not as good as I'd like to be. Is it fear? Laziness? Time? Well, I doubt it is the time. My mother always told me that I tend to always make the time and have the money to do the things I really want to. The rest is an excuse. Honestly, she is right.

I don't know. I feel I am all over the board on this post right now. I don't want to write a tribute to my friend who passed. His memory to me is enough. But I do want to remind myself to live life. To make the time for what I want to do and to DO IT. To think about and communicate more often with those in my past as much as I do with those in my present. To remind people that I love them, even though I don't say it enough. To make sure that I am who I am without apologies. To never regret not doing something. To explore the world and its beauty...the places, the people, the cultures.

I am not getting younger and don't want to be the man on his deathbed saying "I wish I had..." but the man saying "I did everything I wanted to do."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

No Resolutions, but WORDS to live by in 2014

So it is the end of the year, a time when we reflect and see how the last year went and what we hope for the coming one. Often resolutions are made, forgotten or broken and at the end of the year it feels like a failure. I haven't made resolutions in ages and don't plan on now. What I do plan on doing it defining my year with words. Putting the words out there so that I can live them. It was not easy finding the words. You would think it was easier, it is only a word. I tried to think of one, but found 5. Five words that I want my life to reflect this coming year. There is no order of importance. There is only the meaning of them. So I will attempt to not only list them, but define my vision of what they mean for me.

The 5 Words of 2014

1. Love. It is not that I don't love, or love enough, but I think that I don't show it enough to the people I should show it to. I also feel that I don't accept it as much as I should. So love will not only be for people, but for things. Love can bring happiness and contentment as well.

2. Passion. I feel that in the past many years I have not been passionate about anything. I just go day to day "passionless". When I speak of passion I am talking about those things that make you happy that you do. Some have a passion for baking while others have passion for the outdoors. The thing that you love to do that makes you happy, calm and centered. It is my goal to find the passion again. I love to cook, and maybe it is becoming better. Trying new things. Maybe it will be centered around fitness. I am sure I will find it. This is the year to find it.

3. Adventure. I don't think I am boring by any means. I can get bored, but that is by choice to do nothing at times. I want the things that I do do to be full of adventure. No limit as to how big or small the adventure, but it needs to be amazing! Adventure is defined as "an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity." I need more of this in my life. It doesn't have to be hazardous, but it should be unusual and exciting! More of that this coming year!

4. Live. While this one seems obvious, I think people in general don't do it. I find myself finding it "easier" to sit at home, save money, and do nothing, missing out on some of the living of life. The adventures that I seek to fulfil. It is like when Auntie Mame says, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" I want to feast this year! Be gluttonous on what we have in this great city I live in, NO, this world we live in!

5. Fearless. I look back to the fun I had in my 20's. I was poor, but experienced so many things. Took a month off to travel Europe, took a trip with my best friend to England on minimal funds, jumped off cliffs, moved on a whim (which we still do) and lived life without fear. No fear of being broke, no fear of not making rent. I just did things and everything worked itself out later. I miss that part of me. I became responsible, which is not bad, but in doing so, I lost that fearless side of myself. I became fearful. I was in a relationship. All my choices were now going to effect me and someone else. What if my choice was a bad one and now 2 people have to suffer the consequences. I am done with being fearful. I left this word at my number 5 for a reason, because it  will be the catalyst to make the other ones work out.

As the last few days of 2013 pass, I will commit these words for 2014 to memory. Retain the meaning of them in my soul. Remember to live them and do it! It will be a revolutionary new year full of me being FEARLESS!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving...a day to remind ourselves of what we DO have.

I find it interesting that people take the time to be thankful on Facebook each day of this month. It makes me wonder if they think about what they are thankful for on a daily basis. As a child I would say a prayer and I was always "thankful" for the same things each time: my mom and dad, my brothers and sisters, my home, food, etc. But that became a rehearsed "thankful", it lost its sincerity in repetition. Is this how we are now? We repeat what we are supposed to be thankful for that we forget or take for granted what the thanks is really for? Why do we wait in this country to be be thankful for things until November? I guess because in December we focus on those things we don't have and want (thanks commercialized Christmas). Maybe they cancel each other out somehow...

I am not saying that I think about what I am thankful each day, but I do "stop to smell the roses" multiple times each week and think of how fortunate I am for the life I have. I try to tune out the negativity of others while realizing that sometimes it triggers me to be negative. I guess I am thankful for that self-awareness.

There are so many things that I am thankful for this year so in the spirit of the holiday, I will list them out here.

1. Walter. This year we had the pleasure of being married. Nearly 13 years with this wonderful man and he's not sick of me yet. I am difficult sometimes and he knows when to just let it roll off his back. I am thankful for his patience with me and his ability to evolve with me in our life together.

2. The fact that we can now get married. With the fall of DOMA, it allowed us to be married and gain the rights that we should have had for ages now. I also had the privilege to officiate the wedding of my best friend and his husband. Amazing!

3. My family. Most of them anyway. I do love them all, but some just piss me off regularly and some I don't even talk to. But I somehow still love them all and do care about their lives and well being.

4. My friends. This year has been especially hard since we left many wonderful friends in Austin, who I miss terribly, and have been on the search for new friends in Chicago. We have been fortunate to find some great friends here and many good acquaintances as well. Hopefully this next year we will be able to build stronger relationships with those and acquire some new as well.

5. My job. While I am sometimes in turmoil about what I want to be when I grow up, I am lucky that I work for a company who allows you to explore your passions and try new things.

6. The city I live in. It is a new city and so much to explore and enjoy. As I walk to work and see a building I have not noticed before, or some beautiful architectural detail, I am reminded I live in a city with beauty and rich history.

7. My mind. While sometimes I think I have lost it, I am thankful that it functions and serves me in many aspects of my life. It keeps me calm and self-aware. It sometimes runs too much and interrupts my sleep, but better than it not going at all and becoming stagnant.

8. My physical movement. I am made so much more aware, especially as I age, that the ability to move and be mobile is so important. I am grateful that I still have this ability and need to focus on keeping it and improving it as I get older.

9. My life. Not the breath I have that allows me to live, but everything that surrounds me. I am fortunate to have the things I need, the money to buy things I want. A warm comfortable place to live. Wonderful people to surround me. The eyes to see the beauty around, the ears to hear the sounds of the birds and the city,  and the heart to appreciate what I see and hear. And most importantly, a companion to share it all with.

There are so many more details that I could add to this. So many more things to list, but why list them? I need to think of them regularly, throughout the year. Be thankful that I wake up each morning and thankful I can walk to work each day. Thanksgiving should be celebrated regularly, not just on the 4th Thursday of November. I need to stop and appreciate life more often. Smile more. Love more. Laugh more. And be serious less. Being thankful daily should bring these things year round as opposed to this one day each year.