Friday, March 16, 2018

Age is an issue

Facebook is a great way for people to keep in touch, track down people that have been absent from their lives for years.  But it is also a way for us to keep up to date on things that are happening to people we care about and what they are facing. I am one who hesitates to engage in conflict, but I am not the type of person who shies away from it when it comes my way.  The past several days I have been sitting at home and I have been thinking, reminiscing about my past, reflecting on what I have been through and planning for what I am am facing.  When a friend of mine shared pictures of himself and a simple statement about age, I saw it and thought about what was written and the pictures that were posted.  Then I started reading the comments and what I found troubled me a bit, because I knew exactly what the others were saying, I have felt the way that they are, were feeling. And in my youth I actually participated in the very practice that I am about to write about.

I like to think of myself as a pioneer, a person who puts themselves out there in the forefront and helps blaze a trail for others to follow.  How could I know that simple actions that I had in my youth would impact the lives of others so deeply.  Only now in retrospect can I see that many of the things that I did in my youth have had a resounding effect on others, and that I was one of the people that help inspire and bring about change throughout the LGBTQ community. Yet I am one of the people in this world that is causing a problem and a break in our community.  Though today my ideas are a little different then they were years ago, I still find that I am an ageist.  This is troubling to me because I have so many friends that are my own age and I care about them, but only once in my entire life did I date someone the same age or older than myself. 

Like many in the community I believed that it was my preference to date younger people, but in a sense it was a blinder that I was wearing, I was looking at the outside person and not the package as a whole.  I was one of those high maintenance queens that searched for perfection and could pinpoint ones flaws and faults within minutes of meeting them.  I was shallow and vapid though I thought that my opinions and thoughts mattered.  But a hard life lesson was soon to come my way.  It first struck me at the age of 24 and literally robbed me of my 20's and 30's and scared me mentally and physically for life.  It left me an outcast in the community that I helped mold and create, and today I stay on the fringes of it.  I still consider myself part of the gay community, but I refrain from many of the things that I should still be involved in.  Because somewhere inside of me is the deep abiding fear that I am not perfect and therefore not worthy of love and acceptance into the community that I love and dedicated my life to building.

When I got sick with cancer and then ended up with not 1 but 2 colostomy bags, I turned away ashamed of my body and my broken form.  I secluded myself and sought refuge in drugs and other means to escape the fear of persecution.  Yet, repeatedly human nature has surprised me and I have found friends and sometimes companions along the way.  I have more scares than most, have had more surgeries than most, and I still have the fear that I can't be accepted for me because somewhere in my mind I have decided that people in the gay community are discriminatory against those that don't fit the ideal image of perfection.  Though I have found and joined groups that accepted me limitation, scars and illness and all.  I have found friends when I never thought I would and I have found a sort of peace within myself that I never thought I would because of my battered and broken body.  I have even found people who don't see me as damaged but as bright and shiny star of hope and comfort.  These are things that I would never have thought possible.

But as I was reading my friends post and the comments I realized that there is still a problem with age in the community, that the young still look at those of us with age and have prejudice.  I have come to the realization that I don't look at people the way that I used to, yes I still look at physical appearance, but that is not the person. I have had the unfortunate experience to love a beautiful looking man who was very ugly and dark inside and that made me realize the truth in the adage "you can't judge a book by it's cover".  Yet, my own insecurities continue to hold me in a pattern. I am afraid to put myself out there again and hope that someone can look past the body and see the person on the inside.  I sit in the house day after day and I watching TV, reading and avoiding the truth.  I am lonely, and afraid, these are my truths. Yet, I continue on and do what is expected of me.

Yet, something that my friends wrote stirred in me a desire to once again get out there and make a change in my life.  In doing so I hope that I can inspire others to do the same.  Life for the gay population is different now then when I was growing up.  I have learned that the superficial is not the way to look at another person. Maybe there are others out there that have begun to see that too.  Maybe it is only something that happens with age and wisdom, but I hope not.  I think that if I were to step out of my comfort zone and do something about my situation I might others doing the same.  I am beginning to understand my limitations, accept my physical appearance, and instead of hiding the person that I am.  I am letting the world see the person that I have become. I live my life by example and have been doing so a long time. I write about my life here in the blog, and I talk about my differences to everyone I meet.  My story is one of survival, it is one of hope, and it is one of comfort.  I have lived with 6 terminal illnesses for a long time now and I have done so with courage, and against overwhelming odds. I do it with a smile and a positive attitude that everyone notices.  So, if I can change and look at my mistakes with grace, knowing that I cannot change what I have been and done in the past, I certainly can make adjustments and do something about it in my future.

So I have taken to writing this piece about age.  I have never let it define me or limit my actions. I have taken care of the things that I must and have been there when others have needed me. But that is not all to my life.  When replying to my friends post, I was reminded of the things that I have done in my past, the accomplishments that I have made, and the triumphs, as well as the defeats.  But in all of this I have been a motivator and an instigator for change.  I have been as I put it a pioneer and I have done things that at the time seemed inconsequential, yet had far ranging affects on my peers and those that have come after me.  I may not have been able to rescue everyone, I haven't been able to save the world, or help as many people as I had wanted too.  But in my life there have been thousands of lives that I have touched and I have helped and they are out there. They know what I have done for them and I am not asking for any praise or thanks.  I am looking to those people to help me spread the word that age is a number, physical beauty is a thing that fades with time, and that we must look at the persons heart, soul and attitude to find the things that we are missing in our own lives.  A friend found a sense of belonging and community in his church, he found acceptance and he also found a feeling of wholeness and completion the likes that I have never really felt other than in fleeting times.

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are things that you need to think about before you wrinkle up your nose at the affections and attentions another casts your way.  Don't let their age be a detractor, because with age comes experience, wisdom and understanding and with those things comes the added bonus of compassion.  I don't know how to change the world or change how the gay community looks at one another, but I can tell you that without my friends of age I wouldn't have made it as far as I have in life.  I wouldn't have been able to face the uncertain times that I have come through or had the strength to persevere when all about me seemed bleak.  I have come through some dark times and very rough medical situations and I have become a stronger person because of them and their advice.  I never gave the appropriate thanks to those that came before me.  The ones that fought for gay rights, however, I have performed in the play Stonewall and celebrated those lives.  It is unfortunate that many of the younger generation know very little to nothing of the days of the 60's and 70's that gave rise to our "Gay Movement" of the 80's and the "Equality Movement" of the 90's and 2000's.  What I can honestly say is that I am grateful to have been a part of those times, I wouldn't change my involvement and actions in anyway. 

So here I sit and I want to begin a new movement, be a voice for compassion and understanding and hopefully change the way the younger generation thinks and feels about us the old guys.  I am tired of being a Yuck or Gross.  I am still an attractive person and I have more to offer today more now than ever.  I am stronger and wiser.  Age hasn't made me less fun, I still can keep up with the 20 years that still are in my life.  But I am not looking for love there anymore either.  I have tried repeatedly to find it in the younger generation and have been left wanting and disappointed.  I am tired of feeling like I am being used and unappreciated.  I am comfortable with who I have become and I have surprised myself that there are those out there that find me attractive and have shown some interest in getting to know me.  Honestly, with my medical situation the way it is I am not really hoping for any new developments, but I am learning that my time isn't always the right time.  I have faith in God and His plan for my life, and if He decides to put a new face in my equations then who am I to argue or find fault.  At least I know that I am not alone right now, I have friends, and people that care about me, and I am not far from my family if something happens that I should need them. 

Let me remind those out there that old is not ugly, old is not boring, old isn't anything but a state of mind.  I am one that can talk about this, I am almost 50 now, and I still do things that I did when I was in my late 20's and things I should have done in my 30's but because I had cancer and missed almost all of those years, it took me some catching up to do.  I have a unique perspective about things because I experienced a lot of them later in life than most.  I found knowledge and wisdom in older friends when I was going through some really tough medical issues.  Those friendships have enabled me to survive and adapt.  It is the job of us that lived through the 80's till now to enlighten those that are younger and teach them about the past and the hardships that we and those before us had to endure.  Gay pride is not a marketing theme, though lately it seems to have become commercialized, no it is a time to celebrate our heritage, our loss, and to remember those that were taken from us early by AIDs.  It is also a time to celebrate the victories that were won and the sacrifices that were made to get us to the place we are at today.  Not only do us of age have things that we can teach the younger generation, we can show them understanding and compassion, offer guidance, and wisdom and help them through the issues that they are facing.  Never forgetting that we still have a long way to go yet in the battle for equality and acceptance.  We have the moral obligation to unveil the myths and misconceptions that surround HIV and AIDs we need to honor the memories of the friends and family that we lost during the height of the epidemic. Plus, we need to remind the world at large that AIDs is still with us we are still loosing brothers and sisters still today to this disease.  Though it isn't the media focus that it once was we would be neglect in thinking that we have vanquished and won.  The war is still being fought, and many are still being persecuted because they have been diagnosed. 

Many of us are tired we have battled long and hard, created a better world for those that come after us, but we are not able to rest just yet, there is much left to be done.  I am reminded every day that I wake up that I am still here way longer than any doctor ever predicted I would be.  I have overcome some incredible odds and I am still fighting today.  We can't let the younger generations forget all that has come before, the heritage, the community, the bonding that we felt and developed in the 80's in the fear of the unknown disease.  Community centers were born, research centers organized and help organizations established that have become the norm.  We need to remind the young that many thousands gave their lives, tears, and suffering for these mediocre changes that we have finally received.  Yes today is a better place, there is a bit more acceptance in the world, but there is much hatred and bigotry still out there.  Our community still suffers from many such forms, and maybe there needs to be a movement inside our own movement that tries to foster change.  Ageism is a form of intolerance, and discrimination that we cannot and shouldn't allow to fester in our community.  We need to look beyond the sexual revolution and think towards a more unifying and holistic love of ourselves.  To look to our elders and still love them and accept them, to show respect and compassion.  Being gay isn't defined by sexual attraction alone, it is being comfortable with those that you are more drawn towards, who you can associate and understand better. We are different yes because of our desire to be loved and we enjoy sex with the same sex, but it goes beyond that I think or at least it does for me.  I feel more comfortable with women as friends, but I feel a kinship and bond with males that I cannot quite describe. 

The human heart has the capacity to love and bond to many different things, and people.  We need to understand ourselves better, look at our motivations, and think about what where we truly feel the most comfortable.  Age is a number, it doesn't define us.  It may limit us physically, but emotionally and mentally we are still those same 20 somethings that we once were in a much more experienced and worn package.  Most of us wear our age well and are proud to do so.  Every year that I am here I am thankful for.  I have worked hard to get here and I plan on hanging around a little longer, if I have to do it alone then so be it.  But, I don't think so there is someone out there looking for the inner me.  When they finally stop looking at the outer me and see the inside they will find what they are looking for. Until then I will keep trying to raise the awareness that age is not something to be afraid of, it isn't something ugly, it is a gift, it is a treasure.  Hopefully others will begin to see that we are of value still and we have things been through situations that can help them, we have lessons we can teach and we still have our voice to make change happen.

So from the age of 49 looking back, I remember the days when I was afraid of being 30, then 40, and of course 50.  But look here I am I have made it this far, have learned much, endured more, and I have something that I can help the world to understand and that is the human spirit.  I know how to give hope, how to inspire through living and comfort just by being there.  Life is a journey that doesn't end.  I can tell you that I am still going through some things even now, but in the end it will have made me that much stronger a person and will give me another lesson that I can teach another person.

So don't wrinkle up your nose at the attentions of those older men that admire you, take it as a compliment, get to know them, maybe just maybe you might find what you have been searching for and it was right in front of you the entire time and you just couldn't see it because of the blinders you have been wearing.  Age is beauty, a gift and something to be cherished.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you. Let me encourage you to live your life full with laughter, love and light.

Uncle B

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Rebuilding from the past

When I first moved to Florida I came with nothing except the clothes on my back, literally.  I had on a t-shirt and a pair of sweat pants and nothing else except a broken cell phone.  During my first 8 months I experienced some setback such as going into the hospital literally 2 days after I got here.  I was in there for 14 days because my colon ruptured in 2 places while I was in there.  However, I was able to make a recovery, get a job and was able to get clothes that I needed and I was able to purchase things that I wanted along the way.  I got a job, bought a car, and got my own place on top of all of those things.  I can't say that I was happy but it didn't take me long to get furniture.  Luckily there was a place called Our Father's Closet not too far from my house that gave me a sofa bed, and some other items like a coffee table, end tables and a lamp.  I got a TV from a pawn shop and I was on my way.  Over the past 6 years or so I ended up loosing several places where I had lived, ended up homeless and most of my stuff ended up in storage units from Florida to Pennsylvania, which I had successfully kept up with till last summer when I had an unfortunate run in with the law.

I was on the street literally from July till December.  When a friend of mine reached out and opened up his home to me and allowed me to come and stay with him and his partner.  I am extremely grateful to Travis and Demario for allowing me to come into their home.  Life hasn't been kind to me if the truth is to be told.  Most of you already know from reading and following my blog that I have several medical issues and the list seems to be growing longer each passing month.  However, the month of February I took the time for myself and I started rebuilding all of the things that I had lost over the past several years.  This month I took money and bought myself a TV and I also got myself a computer and a printer.  I even purchased a tablet, however, my mother being in a similar situation to mine health wise, I have decided that I am going to send her the tablet that I have bought and wait for a little bit and before I buy another tablet.  It might take me some time but I know that with all the trips to the doctors and labs that need to be done that I am going to continue to be busy till I can get all of these surgeries done and over with that they are saying that I am needing.

I started going to pain management and I am finding that the medication that they have me on now isn't really helping me all that much.  I seem to be taking more and more just to get through the day with out any pain.  So I expressed interest in getting on Medical Marijuana but currently at the price point that they are charging here in Florida it really puts it out of my reach.  I am not sure what I am going to do.  I am pretty sure that my friends aren't going to want me staying with them forever, and I am sure that it would be better to get out on my own.  But, with only being here a few months I am still not sure of my way around.  My friend Travis grew up here and is very familiar with the area so I rely on him pretty heavily.  I just fear that I am getting on their nerves and making them uncomfortable in their own home.

I have been here exactly 2 1/2 months and I am hoping that in the next 2 or so that I will have enough money saved up that I might be able to get out on my own.  However, this is something that I am trying to work on.  Though with every turn something seems to come up and I end up spending money that I wasn't planning on.  My mother's cell phone died totally and wouldn't turn on at all.  This was a necessary expense and I was glad I was in a position to get her a new one.  But since I have been here I have been running into all sorts of obstacles.  Like the UF Health here in Jacksonville is not in my network but the one in Gainesville is.  I am frustrated by this.  I am also having trouble with Ryan White here, for the past 7 years they have been paying my copays to the VA and here in Jacksonville they won't.  I am not sure what I should do and starting next month the VA is going to start garnishing my check.  Further, my partner had me bail him out of jail and then missed court. So now the bondsman is coming after me for the 3000.00 so that is going to end up coming out of my check.

So it seems for every step that I take forward, I end up falling 20 steps behind. I am not sure if I am going to recover from this fiasco altogether.  I figure that during this time when I have the little extra funds available to me that I should purchase the things that I want and need before all the garnishments hit my Social Security check.  That way when they do come I will not be needing things, I will have already built them up from.  My next big expenditure is going to be the installation of my own internet here at the house that way I don't have to rely on my friends totally for everything.  Sometimes I just feel like they think that I am trying to take advantage of their kindness and I don't want to overstep my bounds.

Overall, I am feeling great about the accomplishments that I have made since I have been here and the change of environment and scenery have really helped me maintain focus towards furthering my goal.  My big thing is that I am really trying to fit in and at times I feel like I am keeping my friends from the things that they are needing to do because they are worried about me.  Over the next month or two I am hoping that I will have either saved enough money to get a vehicle or a place of my own.  That way they won't think that I am wasting my money on things and not making sure that they are taken care of.  I also need to figure out how to work around my direct deposit issues with the credit union that I am a member of.  I like the fact that I can transfer funds directly from my checking account directly onto my credit card and not have to worry about incurring an fees or late charges.

That is another thing that I have accomplished. I was able to get myself 2 credit cards.  I am hoping that I will be able to begin rebuilding my credit and work towards getting myself totally back on my feet.

Right now I am worried about my upcoming appointment with the neurosurgeon I am waiting to see what type of treatment he is going to recommend. At this point I have had 3 MRIs and I have to schedule a PET scan tomorrow.  I am struggling to keep up with all of my appointments and getting to and from them conveniently.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I set out on rebuilding my life from the remnants of my past.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Learning to be

I am searching for an elusive truth, trying to learn how to be comfortable being alone. This is a very elusive truth, something I cannot seem divine on my own. I have always defined my life and happiness through taking care of other's. By always putting someone's else's need above my own. To surround myself with other damaged people that I thought needed my help. Yet, what I was doing, it seems has been setting myself up for failure every time. I always thought that I was doing good by helping people. My lesson this far has just taught me that I am scared of being alone, of facing my illness with no one by my side. To exist by myself, afraid that I would die alone and unwanted.

What I never considered is that even though I may not be in a relationship or defined by someone else's need. I am clearly not alone in life. I have friends and family who care. I may not like being by myself, I have discovered that even when surrounded by others I can still be alone, feel unwanted, and terrified that someone would not be able to accept me for the person I have become through all of these surgeries.

It seems that if I look at my life closely and be honest with myself. I haven't let myself be defined by another's need, love and happiness as much as I have by my own fear, my illness and my own perceived idea of not being whole, of being broken. None of this is healthy if I want to be 100 percent honest. I lost myself over and over again. In relationships that couldn't possibly last that were held together by need and dependence.  What I really need to comprehend is that it's okay to do things by myself. That I can survive being on my own if that is what I really need to.  To learn to sleep by myself again and to accept that I cannot change my condition and even if I could.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have become if I had not gotten sick when I did. But the one thing that I can be absolutely sure of is that you can't live your life and move forward by clinging to what ifs and could have beens. Acceptance is the only real way that we can truly moved forward and make progress. Living in the past and looking backwards hinders from taking a forward step. I have never heard of anyone ever making forward progress in their lives by carrying baggage. Trying to carry your past baggage forward will tire you out thoroughly before you can get anywhere.

So for now I am going to live each day one at a time. Accepting my limitations and realizing what I can change and what I can't. I must learn to live within the constraints that my medical condition, doctor appointments and other aspects of my life that are always constant.  I am hopeful that some aspects of my life will start to improve the longer I continue learning, growing and writing. I think that over the next month or two something's in my life are going to improve but like everything it is going to take time. There are no short cuts and I will have to climb one step at a time.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you.

Uncle B


It is surprising how God works in our daily lives. I was feeling a sense of hopelessness and despair because I have been up here in Jacksonville all by myself.  Since I got here back in December, it has been an endless parade of doctor appointments and tests. This in itself made feel very alone and it hasn't left anytime for me to make any new friendships since I have been up here. But, all of that changed about 2 weeks ago. In just one day I got a direct message from God in a very unique experience in how these 3 people came into my life in the matter of just two days at the beginning of February.

But before these 3 individuals were to come in to my life, I made one new friend on January 18th. She also came into my life in a strange way but was just the person I needed that day and I am very glad that she was there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on an ear to bend when my partner didn't get on the bus and never came up from Daytona Beach. She was also the person who took care of me that first afternoon of chemotherapy and helped me as I choked on food and threw up all the way home from Gainesville. She wasn't even supposed to be my driver that day, as a matter of fact she just was in the right place at the right time to take me to my appointment.  Because the original transportation driver decided not to take my trip and tried to cancel my trip. Luckily Tara was in Jacksonville and was available to take me to my appointment, even though we were late getting there. I believe God put me and Tara together that day, not only because I was going to need her, but she needed me as well. I got to share my story with her and I found out that she was going through a difficult time in her life as well. We have kept in touch since our meeting that day and I am very glad that we hit it off so well.

On February 1st I went to have some MRIs done. But much to my disappointment I was unable to get them done that morning, because my kidney levels were not good enough for me to be able to tolerate the contrast that the doctor had ordered. Though, had it not been for my tests being cancelled that I was ready to leave the imaging center early. Which put me in the direct path of a really cool lady whose name is Elaine. She was outside looking for a lighter and we ended up going on a little adventure together while we were both waiting for our transportation to come and pick us up.  Because I had been waiting for my ride to come and get me and they were very late, Humana sent another driver to get me.  As I was being driven home I talked to the driver telling him that the radiologist at the imaging center had told me that I needed to go the hospital that my kidney function indicated that I was experiencing renal failure. I honestly don't remember his name, but the more we talked together it became apparent that there was a reason why I  was in his car that afternoon. His sister-in-law had just been discharged from the hospital under hospice care. Apparently, she had given up all hope and had surrendered to the diagnosis that the doctors had given her that she was going to die.  He told me that he really needed to hear my story and history. That it was exactly what he needed to share with her to give her hope and might actually get her to change her mind and decide to fight for her life. I told him to tell her that God is the ultimate physician and only He could decide when it was her time to leave this world behind.

That very afternoon I had already spoken to Dom, and was telling Travis what the radiologist had said about me going to the hospital. Travis's partner was already in the hospital fighting for his life against pneumonia and a collapsed lung.  His recommendation was to call an ambulance and get to the hospital.  Trying to procrastinate and take my time I called my mother and was talking to her on the phone telling her that I needed to go to the hospital. She encouraged me to go and stop waisting time. However, I knew that I was probably going to get admitted so I packed clothes and colostomy supplies. This kept me busy and prevented me from laying down which apparently was a good thing because the ER doctor told me that had I taken a nap that afternoon I would have died in my sleep because my blood pressure was so low my heart would have just stopped while I was sleeping.

The final person whom I was bound to meet is Richard who was my food service attendant that would take care of all of my food orders while I was in the hospital. He was also one of the only people who I had the ability to talk to multiple times a day and kept my mind off of what was going with me. It also gave me some distance between me and my feelings of being abandoned and having to deal with this crisis on my own.  I will admit that I still was upset and angry that Dom isn't keeping in touch with me like I feel he should.  He still isn't talking to me every day like I think he should since that was his promise to me if I bonded him out of jail. However, I should have known that he never means what he tells me when he is in jail, it never works out.  He begged me to keep him out of trouble, but he left and never came back after he had me buy his return trip ticket. Then to top it all off he never went to court and I have no idea what's going to happen now. I don't know if the bondsman is going to come after me for the money. I am not even sure if they can, I think that I might have a fight on my hands when it comes down to it.

Can you see how amazing God is? How that He brought just the right people into my life at the right moment?  How great these interactions have been on me and my well being?

I believe that if you look carefully at your life you will find that God is working in your life and performing miracles on your behalf daily.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you.

Uncle B

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The funny thing about animals is:

My roommate's found a cat that they brought inside way before I ever moved in with them. She was aloof, Moody and sometimes standoffish. Which surprised me since most animals warm up to me right away, which she didn't. Oh she would let me scratch her ears and occasionally she would allow me to share a chair with her. She would be laying on the back and I would sit with her for a little bit.  She has ventured into my room several times but really never stayed long.

About three weeks ago she actually came in and slept in my room for several hours.  It was a night when I was feeling a little down and lonely. She was locked out of my roommate's room where she usually sleeps and they were not letting her in.  That I guess was the start of our precarious relationship.

The truth be told she is really partial to Demario my good friend's partner. Travis, my friend she seems to tolerate and you could say that she likes him too. Me she treated as an outsider. Never having very much to do with me. Previously when Travis and Demario were away from home she would sit patiently by the front door and wait for them to come back or she would stay in their room.  She never bothered with me.

Four days ago Demario got sick and had to go to the hospital. He was admitted and Travis stayed with him. I had several doctor appointments that day and when I came home I could hear her crying in their room. Which is when I discovered that their door was locked and she was trapped inside. Hearing her cries I called Travis to see if there was a way for me to get his door open and let her out.  He told me about Demario and his condition and that he was going to stay with him for the night and she would be alright.

Travis ended up staying with Demario at the hospital Saturday night, all day Sunday . Monday morning I had to go to see the neurosurgeon and didn't get home til the afternoon. I had expected Travis to be home when I got back from the doctors. He didn't get home for several hours after I got home. I was talking to my mother on the phone and she could hear the cat crying. She asked me how long the cat had been locked in the room without food, water or access to her litter box. When I told her that Travis and Demario went to the hospital Saturday morning she begged me to figure out a way to get the cat out of the room.

Hanging up from my mom I picked the lock opened their room gave her food and water. That was a turning point in our relationship apparently. Because even though Travis was home and stayed the night last night. Maxine (the cat) followed me out to the kitchen when I went to talk to Travis and she rubbed all over my legs and was purring extremely loud.  Then this afternoon when Travis went back to the hospital to visit Demario, Maxine apparently feeling lonely came into my room while I was napping and curled up right on my chest.

When I woke up she stayed with me sat on my phone and notebook while I was trying to make some appointments for next week. She was insistent on getting my attention and having me scratch her.  I guess I made an impression on her and gained her trust. I think that she had finally accepted me into her family and her world. The funny thing about animals is that once they accept you and you gain their trust they accept you and let you in their lives.

Maxine demonstrated early on that she was sensitive to my mood and reacted to my loneliness. That night several weeks ago when she came into my room and slept with me, I believe she felt my despair, depression and loneliness and came to give me warmth and companionship when I felt most alone.  Demario whom she is extremely partial too has not been home and she has been trapped in the room for a couple of days must be missing human interaction.  Tonight she is laying here with me purring, I am home alone and was feeling down when she decided to come and lay with me.

It is my belief that she is lonely and missing her owners and felt my mood and emotions which brought her to come spend time with me. Animals provide unconditional love and companionship when we need it most. But they also need to have that love and companionship returned. Cats love but remain individual and very selective with their affections. Dog on the other become attached and bond deeply with their owners. They are pack animals and follow a single leader the alpha, which in this case is their human owner.

Dogs freely give their love and affection to their owner. Being bonded to their owners and living in the pack makes them very dependent on their human to take care of them. In essence they lose their individuality to the pack they have developed with their owners. They love are faithful and are great companions.

Whether you are a dog or cat person doesn't matter. You have to agree that pets are awesome friends and companions. I think that they also can help stabilize our moods, relieve anxiety and depression. They are empathic to our emotions and moods and are truly there for you when no one else is.  In my experience they also have the ability to help heal us.

After I battled large cell lymphoma and moved to Atlanta my partner Joe and I got two Chow Chows. One was named Pooh Bear because he looked and acted a lit like Winnie the Pooh. The other was a female Blue Chow and her name was Midnight. Pooh was bonded to me because when he was a puppy he was attacked by another dog and I got in the middle of the fight broke it up and took care of him. Also Joe traveled a great deal when I first moved to Atlanta and Poor was all I had for almost 8 months. He was my companion and best friend. I also had a cat named Sneakers at this time who I raised from 4 weeks of age feeding her with a bottle and keeping her safe.  Her mother was killed and I did everything I could to keep her alive.bdo she was already bonded with me.

Sneakers, Pooh and Midnight became my pack. They we're as dependent on me as I was on them.  It is my belief that I enjoyed almost ten years of being cancer free because of them.  Pooh died  seven years after I got him with stomach cancer. Three years after Pooh died I lost Sneakers, she hemorrhaged and died in my arms. She literally crawled to me dragging her hind legs and intestines to get to me. She was 14 years old. Midnight lived a little while longer but suffered a stroke, became blind and became very ill. While the three of them were alive my cancer remained in remission. I believe that all three of my animals were bonded with me and took on my cancer to spare me. I loved them dearly and was with each one of them when they passed. They were my children and my family, I had them cremated and had engraved urns with miniature statues of them attached to their urns.

Unfortunately last summer when I went to jail for 60 days and my landlord decided that I abandoned the house I was living in literally threw all of my possessions away. My social security check was also stopped and I was unable to pay for my rental unit any longer. I lost everything including their urns. But, my point here is that as long as they were alive my cancer remained in remission. It wasn't long after Pooh and Sneakers died my cancer came back and I lost my large intestines. Prior to my first surgery my dad and I found a yellow lab puppy. Her name was little bit, she was a very special dog. So smart and had the loving personality that Pooh had.

If I believed in reincarnation I would swear that little bit was Pooh come back to take care of me. My first surgery was extremely painful. But little bit was with me through it and the 29 other surgeries that I had. She became a service dog and loved me so much and I miss her dearly. Since then I have had other pets. A cat named Tigger who decided that he liked living outside but always came back home. He slept with me every night and was definitely my cat. I had Skylar and Madison both black labs but I lost them all and maybe that is why I am once again battling cancer. Because I don't have a stable environment to live in and I no longer have a pet.

It is my belief that animals as pets love and protect us with their very lived. They feel our emotions, moods and balance our energy and our lives. It is my belief that they have the ability to heal us mentally, emotionally and physically.

However, the funny things about animals is that they are very selective in accepting a human owner. But once they do they are there for you always. They are you comfort and companion when you need them the most.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you. Laugh often, live well love deeply. It's your life your time enjoy it. It's all about you now. Stay focused and do you. Say no when you need to and stick to it.

Uncle B

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