Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Where does it go! Why so fast

They say "Easy Come, Easy Go", and I immediately think about my money. Getting paid once a month really sucks and usually by the 10th of the month I am totally flat broke. Especially when I was used to getting paid every other week and quite a bit more than I am making now. If it was just me that I was supporting my money would go a bit further I think. My income was never meant to support more than one person. But for three years I was doing considerably well.

But, then my relationship failed and my ex took off to Atlanta which threw me behind in every aspect of my life. I got behind on my electric, cable, rent and just about every other aspect of my life. I ended up losing my condo and from that moment forward I gave been struggling.

In December I finally got tired of struggling and made a move to try and correct that situation.  At this point I have come to stay with a friend and his partner.  I have taken control of my medical situation and have reached out to try and get myself established in Jacksonville.  January has been a month of appointments trying to get the care I need and establish myself with the appropriate agencies that can help me and keep me off the streets.

Though this journey is just beginning I am hoping that they end result will bear the fruit that I need. But if January is going to be any guage as to how things are going to be then I maybe in trouble.  Because before I knew what was happening my money was gone and the struggle has been real.  Though my luck has turned around a bit with credit. I fear that it might cause me to drift back in the wrong direction financially. So this evening I started laying out a plan to get a budget in place that should help me plan a bit more towards saving money.

Further, by encouraging my partner to fill out and get food stamps will help with the food situation thus making February easier financially.  This month was full of unexpected expenses that I shouldn't have next month. There were 3 trips to and from Daytona that I had not planned on or prepared for.  With that being said I know that next month there will be trips back to handle legal business but after that things should go back to normal.  I am not sure what the outcome of court is going to be but I am hoping that no matter what I will be able to start saving money so that I can finally get into a new place that has everything that I would like to have again.

Flying by the seat of your pants and not budgeting adequately can lead to living from paycheck to paycheck. This year it is my goal to get away from living that way. I fear that the next several months are going to be full of struggling to get to that point because I know that no matter how well you plan unexpected expenses crop up.  Yet by May I hope to have created a buffer that will take care of those. But as with everything in life you have to start from square one and move forward.

I have never found a way to jump ahead and stay there. Because there is always something lurking around every corner that you haven't thought about or included in your original planning.  When I was working full-time and I had money it was easy to over spend and live beyond my means. Then when I got sick, unplanned and unexpected, I was forced to leave the work force and depend on social security. This was definitely something that I wasn't used too and I still struggle with the amount that I currently make.

Though I do believe that I am finally getting the hang of things and becoming more comfortable with my means. I still find that my money goes out way faster then it comes in. Yet, with the proper help and support from my partner I think that it will become much easier in the future.  I know in the past that we talked about money and finances, but apparently it was a lesson that I needed to learn all over again. Because here we are talking about it once again. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you have more withdrawals than deposits it is easy to go out of balance and negative.  Therefore it is important to know what your expenses are and budget accordingly.

In my budget I am padding in a $100 buffer each month. This will be applied to savings and will add up rather quickly. This will I hope give me the opportunity to eventually replace the things there I have lost and give me the ability to fix some of the negative things that are affecting my credit at this moment.

In a couple of months hopefully I will be able to come back to you and report that "Easy Come, Easy Go" is no longer something that I fear. That I will be able to report to you I have stopped living from paycheck to paycheck and that I have been successful in saving money each month.

Here is my advice to you on a simple budget. Gather all your monthly bills and expenditures together from the previous month, pull out a notebook and at the top record your projected monthly income. From there it is simply enough to create a line item for each bill subtract it from your projected income and keep a running tally of what you have left after each line item.  As you pay each bill  go back to your budget and record your actual. Compare your projected and actual and keep track. This will also be useful to you when balancing your checkbook each month.

As I have noted some of my projected payments will not be as high as my actual so already I have created a buffer and will be able to save more in the long run or that is my hope and goal.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you. Laugh often, love much and live well.

Uncle B

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Easier written

I find that it is much easier to write down my thoughts and feelings then it is to verbalize and say them aloud.  Expressing oneself is vitally important in today's world.  Learning how to release pent up feelings and emotions is essential in maintaining successful relationships.    Yet, in my experience you must begin with yourself. During the past year I had to relearn an old lesson that I should never have forgotten. It took me years to learn that you have to be completely honest with yourself and with others that you are in a relationship with.  During the past year I was less than truthful in dealing with my partner.  More to protect him then in attempts to hurt him. Yet, damage to our relationship has been done.  I am not sure if the hurts that I caused and the damage done to our relationship can be undone. 

However in 2018 I plan on giving my relationship one more try. One more effort to right the wrongs that both of us have done to our relationship. If it doesn't work out this time then I guess it really wasn't meant to be.  This is a new place for me, a chapter in life I have seldom chosen to walk down.  This will be the first time in years that I have chosen to put myself in a place where I am willing to go back with someone and try to erase all the pain and failures of the past.  Literally, I have been down this road several times with this same person.  Each time they promise to change to be different and better than what they were. So far each time the situation either remained the same or has gotten worse.  I just hope that he can abide by his decision this time. Has not been lying to me and just saying what I want to hear. Because I really don't want to waste my money once again bringing him into my life for it to just blow up in my face once again.

With the title of this entry in mind I see that I am doing it once again.  I sit here writing about my feelings and my fears. I will have plenty of opportunity to talk about them on the return trip to Jacksonville.  That's if he is actually going to come with me this time. 4 other times in the past I have made the offer to have him come with me and 4 times he has backed out.  What he needs to understand is that I am doing this to help him.  I am jeopardizing my welfare and my place to stay as well as my personal funds trying to help him.  However, this is the last chance that I am willing to give him. I am not going to be doing the drugs and other things that have been common place in our relationship,  I am not even going to entertain opening that door not once. 

Well, it has been two weeks since he came up to Jacksonville. It was a very expensive endeavor bringing him up here, but I knew that it was going to be. Money this month went so quickly that I have had to change some of my plans. With him being up here my rent increased by $200.00 and food has become an issue. However, as things go I think that everything will work out once him and I get established here in Jacksonville.

With the amount of doctors appointments it really isn't possible for me to get a job and go to work. Though I have thought about it more than once. I have been trying to encourage my partner to at least apply for food stamps and try to get some other types of assistance. He has asked me to help him and since he had to go back to Daytona to meet with pre-trial services I think that I will take the opportunity to work on applying for him.  With at least that much help it will go a long way towards easing part of the financial burden that has been on my shoulders. From there getting him and my ID's straightened out will possibly enable him to get a part time job which would also help. If I can convince him that he needs to give me $350 a month for his portion of the bills not including what he gets in food stamps will make it so much easier for him and I to get a place of our own.

My goal at this point is to try and fix the damage done in the past. To encourage and open honest and direct communication. Promote getting at least a part time job so he can help me with the bills and get the things he wants.  It is my hope that I will be able to bridge the gap between writing about my feelings and actually expressing them.

By writing this entry I have become more focused on what I need to do and hope that with his help and the encouragement of my friends that he will begin to see the need to try and change and help me. He feels that he needs to be around to help take care of me. But the truth of the matter is that he really needs to start by helping me financially and get us back on to stable ground. This will be the most beneficial thing that he can do, which in turn will help me both physically and mentally.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you. Laugh often, love much and live well.

Uncle B

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Even Today

Today I met with UF Health CARES only to find out that my paperwork from Daytona was not conpletely faxed across. I couldn't prove that I ever had a registered viral load. Too the doctor that reviewed the portion of the test that came across the fax it looks like I have always been undetectable.  This one mistake made my entire visit there non-productive. I had to have my blood drawn to get a new proof of positiveness letter and reschedule my appointment for 2 weeks away. This is rather disappointing because that means it will be another two weeks before I am finally enrolled in Ryan White services.  I can tell you that the visit wasn't entirely a waste. I met Brandon during my visit, a highly intelligent young man who besides being heterosexual, he was also born with HIV.

Though we didn't have as much time I would have liked. I got to discuss a bit of his story as I told him my own.  One thing that I was capable of doing was answering many of the questions that he had.  I am amazed that even today persons with HIV can still feel prejudice and stigma. Which can trigger deep depression and feelings of fear, persecution, alienation. All of which can instill a deep and abiding sense of worthlessness and a lack of self-worth.  Which according to Brandon has often made him feel as if he were a burden to others and unlovable. 

His most relevant question for me was how do I stay positive and grounded? Luckily for him I was asked almost the same question not an hour before by the social worker for my primary care team at the VA. My answer to their question was simply that first I don't dwell on my illness and second that I use my blog as a sort of catharsis.  That's right my coping mechanism is writing in my blog as well as telling to others my story every chance I can.

Like Brandon, I still deal with stigma and fear. I also know from our talk today that fear is a constant companion. Like me, we both fear how others will react to our disclosure of our illness. How others will receive us.  The fear that others will reject us and thus diminish our hopes for a relationship. There are now treatments that a mixed couple (one poz and the other not). This maybe an option for some. But what if your potential partner isn't willing or not educated about it.  However you decide to handle this dilemma is up to you.

But there is a whole lot more to Brandon than meets the eye. He feels compelled to help others, he has dedicated himself to the expansion of HIV research. In his own words he felt like he had a debt to pay becausr of everything he went through and his still being alive. With that debt in mind he dedicated himself in his sisters memory to constantly trying make a difference and help those around him.

Whether we want to accept it or not fear, misconception , stigma and prejudice still persist today. There are groups like the positive champions speakers bureau that work hard to stem these injustices and seek to educate and elighten the community of the truth of this disease. Back in the 1980's and the 1990's HIV/AIDS was headline news. There were marches, charity drives, concerts and an outpouring of information. Now,  there is barely mention of AIDS Related death's and one rarely hears of the infection rates. Yet, one thing that I have learned is that in some of the nations largest cities. The majority of people being diagnosed, are dianosed with full blown AIDS versus being diagnosed with HIV.

As I explained to Brandon that my telling of my story has a two fold reward for me.  It gives me the opportunity to talk to others one on one about what I went through and how it has affected me both positively and negatively. The second is that I am inspiring hope in others who might have given up on themselves and society in general.

One of the things about me is that I truly enjoy talking to people and it makes me feel like I am helping others and gives me a sense that I am giving something back to the community.

So if you are looking for a way to cope with your feelings of anxiety and depression or are looking for ways to deep or cope with stereotypes and stigma. Then maybe you should take up writing and talking to others about your story. I honestly think that you will find that your depression lessens and your self-worth will increase.

You are not doing this for yourself alone yet you will reap the most benefit from doing these things.

As always my hopes and prayers are with you. Love deeply, laugh often and live much.

Uncle B

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Journey Forbidden

The past four years have been difficult and interesting to say the least. I've been evicted from 4 different homes lived on the street twice, during the past two years. I don't know if it's me or the journey I'm on or if it's a combination of things but it's not what I want. I know that I'm not happy, I know that my health has suffered. And that I need a stable environment where I can rest my head.

As the new year 2018 begins I hope to make a new resolution where I am the focus and everyone else takes second place. This will be a first for me, as I have taken care of so many people in the past that it has become a part of my nature to feel the need to take care of others. Yet, as I look back at 2016 and 2017 it pains me to realize that I have put others before me at Great cost to myself and I've lost everything repeatedly. If I was going to do this why am I not at home in Pennsylvania taking care of my mother who is paralyzed from the waist down. Today is a turning point as I realize yet once again how alone I am against the world. Many times I have asked myself when will there be someone who wants to take care of me. When will the person emerge that loves me as much as I love them? The person who can accept my shortcomings as well as my strengths? I had my hopes and expectations raised yesterday only to have them dashed once again by refusal to come with me. For me to yet once again stand alone when all I had hoped for was someone to stand beside me.

All I can tell you is that I put myself in this position.  I put myself in love with someone who doesn't care as much about me as I do them he doesn't want to be with me  he would rather take time off from the relationship then work on it. Yet he tells me I'm the one who ran away rather than face my problems. Actuality what I was trying to do was get away from being on the street to become stable and productive and create a new beginning for the relationship. This is the first time in 4 years that I ever put myself before the other person but it felt good for me to do something for myself for a change.

By no means am I saying I'm easy to get along with or I'm easy to live with. As a matter of fact I know I'm set in my ways I'm almost 50 and the person that I was seeing is half my age maybe that's where the problem lies,  he still wants to party and do things for himself. I'm looking to build a relationship and a future for myself and another person. Maybe he is right maybe we do need to get away from one another for awhile and see what the future holds in store.

Though I find myself once again in the strange and perilous position. There is someone who has shown interest in me, someone who likes me for who I am and wants to be with me.  Here's the truth of the situation, I want to better myself, I want to make sure that I don't end up exactly where I have been. I don't want to settle for anything. I don't want to be around all the drugs and the people whom I got away from. Many of those people helped me to the streets, they took advantage of my kindness and goodness and took what they could and left me to fend for myself broken and penniless.

It is time for me to be happy, time for me to focus on me. Yes, I would love to be in a relationship where there is someone who loves me as much as I love them. Someone who really wants to be with me and see me succeed. Someone on whom I can put absolute trust. But, I am scared that this person doesn't exist. That I am kidding myself and setting myself up to be hurt once again. This is my forbidden journey, to explore and find that one soul that completes my own. To know true happiness.

I have worked and struggled all my life. I have watched everything I built come crumbling down around my ears as the years passed by and the cancer remained. It has been 26 long years and I am extremely weary of the struggle and the fight. But, here I am once again pouring my heart out wanting what I have never once found. I have thought I found it in the past. Spent years trying to make things work trying to create my ideal when it may not exist anywhere but in my mind.

Relationships are full of compromises. They are an agreement between two individuals traveling in similar directions to stand together as one and fight and build something together. If there is any hesitation, doubt, fear or other impediment the progress and the union will become unstable and falter.  Just as in a fight it takes two, so does a relationship. No more than two and no less. Anymore cause rifts and currents that pull and tear at the foundation and less then two is an individual. I am ready for a real relationship.

You want a chance I am willing to give it but don't screw it up because I am not sure that my heart can take another break. The last person I gave a chance to let me walk away. I came back to get them and they made excuses why they couldn't come. Now, when they have no where else to turn they look for me to come and help yet the help was just there yesterday and they let me go once again. They want me to bring them here this weekend when I offered tomorrow or Friday. What is two more days going to do for them? Will they really be ready then. I don't think so. They are not wanting to stay with my friends who have graciously opened up their home to give us a place to stay. Who are willing to give us time and space to get ourselves together before we have to go off on our own. But he is insistent that he doesn't want to and can't live with other people right now. When I told him that my friend Travis was in the car he didn't want to go out and even meet him. This hurt me. 

So I hope that he reads this that he sees what has happened and finally figures out what he wants and needs for himself.

But as for my wants and needs. I want it all. I want everything
I want love, passion, compassion. I want the kissing, hugging, cuddling and most of all I want to be finally happy and I don't think that is too much to ask for at the end of this forbidden journey.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you. May you love hard, laugh often and live fully for life is too short .

Uncle B

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Letting go

You may think that taking steps to help myself might look like I may be running away from my problems.  But the truth of the matter is that I needed to look out for my health and well-being, because no one else is going too. Being tossed around on the streets is not a place for someone like me who has so many things wrong with me physically.  I just had a kidney removed back in March and lately i have been showing signs of esophagus cancer. This is something that needs to be taken very seriously. It also needs a stable environment in which to heal and get better. So when things really started going south in my life i chose to take my friend up on his offer to leave behind the world of drugs and uncertain stability. I chose to pick up what remained of my life and head north to a new life i had hoped that others would be happy for me. But to my surprise the people i love the most chose to let me go and stay behind.

No matter what i choose now i guess i am totally on my own. I had hoped that being away for several days would let the others know that i did the best thing for myself and that asking them to come with me is my attempt to make a new beginning for both of us. No matter what anyone else thinks i have not abandoned those i love and who trust me. I have never given up on them and never will. Life is too short for running away. I have chosen a new path and and with any luck a new destiny for myself and those that love me.

It has taken an act of letting go and walking away from my old life in order to create a new life, a new path. In order for me to move forward i needed to shed the old self and begin a whole new life. Moving from Daytona was the first step in the process. The next few days i am going to try and get myself in order. Meet with the VA and medicare to get myself into treatment and make sure that my health is once again taken care of. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Hopefully over the next few weeks my partner will realize that we need each other and will choose to come with me. This will help me greatly to achieve stability and peace of mind.  I can only hope that those of you who read and follow my blog will support my decision and help me convince him that i need him in my life and without him I will never really be safe and healthy.  He is not something that i would willingly or happily let go of. He is my whole world and the one who i depend on most. I have been gone 3 days and it feels so much longer. I don't think he really knows how much I depend on him or how much I care about him.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you.

Uncle B

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Change

Though change is inevitable people do change slowly over time. I always thought that people basically remaining the same. But, I have since learned that it is the people around you who see you acting out of your normal character that try to hold you to the pattern that they are accustom to seeing.

What I have learned is that no matter how much I strive to change my attitude and actions people continue to see me not as to who and I what I am working towards but as the person that they think that I am. While I am striving to make positive strides in my daily life. People want to judge and recall the person you were instead of who you are trying to become.

My life over the last few years has been a constant game of giving up and self-destructive behavior. Most of the time I would wreck havoc in my daily life that it seemed inevitable that I was going to die.  Unfortunately for me God had other plans for me and my self-destructive tendencies amounted to absolutely nothing.  The worse my daily life became and no matter how much my health suffered the stronger my body became and I seemed to bounce back.  No matter how many times I ended up in the hospital and how close to death I came, my health would soon rebound and I would be back to ways.

However, several months ago I came to the realization that I needed to change. That there was no fulfillment in the desire to die. Because no matter what I did or didn't do it wasn't my time. I have watched over the years other people pass on before me. People who might not have wanted to go. See, I felt that in some way I was being punished or made to go through all of these illnesses because I deserved nothing, amounted to nothing. But I was wrong.

As in so many things in my life I based my understanding and decisions on faulty logic. See the reason why I was going through these illnesses was to give me the strength to face the next situation that was to come my way. I finally believe that God has been training and preparing me to help others that are facing or about to face a situation that I have already gone through.

I have tried unsuccessfully to help others and offer assistance when and where I could. But, what I have finally come to the conclusion that I can't even help myself so how can I possibly help others. I lost my home and have been on the street for almost two months straight.  So I have started focusing back on my blog. I can reach more people through my writing than I can through one on one contact.

This weekend is about to begin and this is a weekend where I must sit down and honestly look at my life in close detail and brutal honesty because the decision that I come to this weekend is going to have a direct impact on my future and those that are close to me.  I am going to have to weigh in great detail my living situation and decide what is right and best for me.

For years people have been telling me that it is okay to be selfish and it is time for me to put myself first. I believe that the decision has been made for me I just need to go with it and move on. But, as Monday approaches I will fill you in on my thought process and the decision that I finally reach.

As always you are in my hopes and dreams.

Uncle B

Monday, October 30, 2017

Under the weather

HiSometimes you just don't feel well no matter what you do. In the past two months I have spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and even today I am feeling like I should probably be back in the hospital. I cannot swallow food it all seems to get stuck in my throat and I can't seem to swallow anything.

On top of all of this I have an intestinal blockage and I am I am great deal of pain. I just don't know how long I can go o feeling like this all the time. I just know that the journey that I am on it has just begun. If I can't eat or process food fully then maybe there will be that the doctors can do to ease what I am going through.

It is so hard everyday struggling to eat and feel better about myself when all I feel is pain. Nothing goes down easy and even if it does, it doesn't process properly and gets stuck in my bowel track.  I hope that this situation is short lived and I can move on from there.

I will be finding out if I have cancer once again in the next day or two. I will also be calling about the back brace that the VA is supposed to be having made for me which should help with some of the pain. Anyhow, I will let you know as things progress further.

Just know that right now I am in between places to live and staying in an extended stay hotel in Daytona, hoping that something in my situation will change.  Each day is a struggle there are forces in my life that are pulling me down. I have no idea where to turn at this point.

I guess it is time, I was hoping that something else would change but the current course that things have been going I have to make a decision about my future. For too long I have let everything and everyone go. I am scared of tomorrow but honestly over the past few months I have been trying to make a positive change in my life and yet everything seems to be working against me.

Well, I have this weekend to really evaluate my situation both personal and living. From here it is one hard decision after another. What I do know is that no matter what choices I make are going to have far reaching effects. Not only are they going affect my life but those around me.   I don't know where the future is going to lead but I do know that tomorrow is unwritten and will unfold as fate and destiny have planned.

All I know is that I wish that I had my health and stamina. But of course things never really go as we as mortal humans plan.

As always you are in my hopes and dreams.

Uncle B