Thursday, August 30, 2012

HIV Facts...Educate yourself!

Some of you may know that I am working with the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Trying to raise the awareness of HIV/AIDS within the community and trying to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that surround the disease by working on a play to be performed on World's AIDS Day.

And here are some of the more interesting facts that you should be aware of:

1. HIV/AIDS is not a discerner of persons.  Meaning it doesn't give a shit who you are! You could be rich, famous, poor, unknown, male, female, straight, gay, green, purple or blue. It just doesn't care.
2. You do not have to promiscuous to get it. That's right folks, it is possible to get it the first time out.  Remember even if you haven't been sexually active it doesn't mean your partner hasn't. You are sleeping not only with them, but everyone they have ever been with.
3.  3 out of 5 people walking around today are infected and don't even know it.  Get Tested Often. You owe it to yourself and to your partners
4. You can be infected and never have a symptom or feel sick.  Know your Status!
5. Condoms are only 95% effective in stopping the disease.  Be smart about who you sleep with!
6. Be aware that there are people out there that are looking to get infected.  Bug-Chasers, they are under the misconception that after you get it, you can sleep with whomever, without caution.
7. Bareback is dangerous. If both people are Positive, they can still re-infect each other with different strains and create a super strain that is drug resistant.  Understand the risks you take.
8. Positive and Negative couples cannot survive.  Wrong educate yourselves, know your limitations, and what can be done safely.  You can have a terribly effective relationship if your are honest and know what to expect.
9. HIV/AIDS cannot be spread by causal contact. Hugs, sharing drinking glass, eating off a persons fork, using the toilet after. HIV is a fragile virus that dies when exposed to air, soap and water and bleach.
10. HIV/AIDS cannot be spread by kissing or through saliva, you would have to drink over a gallon and have some kind of ulcer or soar in the mouth. Saliva's acidity kills the virus.
11. HIV/AIDS doesn't have the ability or the strength to penetrate the outer layer of the body. In other words, unless it finds an open wound or other way passed the epidermis, it cannot get inside of you.
12. HIV/AIDS is an epidemic and affects you whether you are aware of it or not.  It affects those around you, the health care system, the pharmaceutical structure and a myriad of other things. People you love and who love you may be ill.  There is no gulf, anyone you meet or contact may be positive.
13. Remember, you cannot necessarily tell that a person is ill by looking at them. They may have no symptoms.
14. Just because you have been diagnosed with HIV doesn't necessarily mean you are going to die.  There are new drugs on the market with more being released all the time that can allow you to live a relatively normal life for 30 years or more now.
15. Undetectable does not mean you are not contagious! You still have the disease at the lowest possible numbers in your blood, but it is still present and can be spread!
16. HIV doesn't mean you have AIDS. Converting to Full AIDS is a process, t-cells must be below 200.  Remember it could take an untreated HIV infection 8 to 10 years to become AIDS.
17. It is the fear of ridicule, the shame and guilt that keep us from revealing our status.  There are others like you, who are going through what you have.  We will be your friends and family if other's abandon you. You don't ever have to feel alone!
18.  Is there ever a good time to tell your partner or potential partner you're status? No, you must make the effort, make a moment, be responsible.
19. Rejection hurts, yes it does, but you must be fair and honest with your feelings and status to have a successful union.  The other person deserves the right to make the choice! Be understanding. Hope for the best but plan for the worst is my motto.

There are so many more of these that I could write about, but I think you get the picture I am trying to paint.  As I said at the beginning of this entry, I am working on a play.  This play is about these things and so much more.  I have tentatively entitled it "You Just Never Know", it is my dream and goal that once it is performed the first time. That I will be able to publish it, and it will be a program that is put on everywhere to raise awareness and understanding, to quell some of the myths and misconceptions.  It will inspire hope, calm the fears, ease the guilt and shame, and finally to put a face on the disease.  I want you to identify with the characters, feel the angst and trepidation that they face, their isolation, their fear of discovery, and the persecution that follows by family, friends, co-workers and how hard it is to truly find an accepting and loving partner.  No one ever truly wants to be alone, I believe we are all social creatures, we need to feel love, we deserve it.  We are still human after all.  I want you to love me, hate the disease I have, remember that I am still the same person, I have just had a bad turn.

There are haters out there that once your down, are more than happy to keep kicking holding you and down.  They fear you, they don't understand, the are ignorant of the facts.  Please understand that you can face them and over come their comments, their pettiness and you deserve, and demand to be treated with dignity and respect.  Keep in mind that if we say nothing, do nothing, we are propagating the paranoia, the myths, the misconceptions, we are turning our backs on each other.  We are only as strong as our weakest link. Even in the gay community we are outsiders and outcasts, if we do not come together, build our own network, our own advocacy groups, and raise our voices in a chorus of one.  We will never truly be accepted, the demands of a cure will never be forced.  United we are that much more powerful, our voices can and will be heard.  We will not stand to be put on the back burner, we will not let our unfortunate encounter with this disease silence us and put us back in the closet, or hide us in the shadows.  We are the past, We are the Future, We are the Hope and We are no longer going to be quite victims.  And You know why? Because you can only be a victim if you allow it.  You  are a champion and you are not ever truly alone. You have strength, courage, and a life to live. So live it to the fullest, acknowledge your limitations, and move into the light!  Remember that  EVIL lurks in darkness, plays in shadows and causes mischief. LOVE lives in the light, dispels the shadows and brings forgiveness. 

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gay Relationships and there transitory nature

I find that the gay relationship and the gay definition of love to be somewhat more difficult to pin down and define.  Perhaps the reason why I feel this way is because of their transitory aspect of them.  Let me explain, for some reason gay men seem or appear to change their partners more often then their heterosexual counterparts.    Now, I know this is a broad ranging stereotype and not all gay men change their partners like they do their underwear. Yet, some do! I believe that there is a reason for this and I will explain.  I grew up in the 80's, graduated high school in '86, and joined the Navy in September of that same year.  I met my first lover after boot camp while attending A-school.  We were together for a little more than a year and half in Great Lakes and spent a great deal of time in Chicago. However, he graduated before me and was sent o the fleet.  After he left, I had finally came to terms with my sexuality and my desires and I began to sow my wild oats.  I discovered gay bars, alcohol and men, a lot of men.  When an arriving officer or dignitary would arrive on the ship, they would ring a bell and announce their title. Jokingly, my shipmates would tease me and say that the bells should ring when I came aboard and announce me as the Atlantic Fleet. Because of how many men I had been with.  Now, this is an exaggeration, but there was a time when I was very promiscuous.  Since me and my first had separated, with no set rules or parameters on our relationship.  We eventually did get back together, and went to C-school together spending another 2 years before he was sent back to the fleet. Long story short our off and on again relationship was to endure for seven years total before it ended.  

During that time we both experimented and tried all sorts of different things. What I was going through was what I called my "Slut Phase". I believe that this is something that all gay men go through.  Now hear me out on this...I believe that it is the mental liberation from the norms of society, the revolution of the male psyche and libido as they explore their sexuality.  Hence the instability!  Closeted males are usually pretty straight-laced with their interactions, but really let their hair down and go over the top in their secret adventures, exploring all aspects of the male and female body.  Eventually identifying with which group they feel more able to bond with socially and emotionally. It truly is my belief that we are all born bi-sexual, and that as we develop an affinity forms between which group (male or female) we feel more comfortable with and bond more easily with. I would say that this sexual revolution and experimentation starts in mid-teens and can last all the way up to early 30's.  As gay men get older this trend does seem to slow and calm down for most.  But, there are cases where a person is unable to deal with their sexuality and denies it or continues to hide it til much later in life.  These men may even marry and have families, and sneak out to indulge or scratch their itch on the side.  Only to one day come to the realization that they cannot continue living the lie and hurting everyone they love and care about. These types of situations are usually painful and highly messy. Wife and children feel betrayed and hurt, and don't fully comprehend that this has been a silent and secret battle that has been raging in side of their Husband or Father for his entire life time.  There are the other types that never seem to mature fully and never do come to understand or grasp the concept between love and lust and they will continue to jump from relationship or partner to partner.  But, as I did say as some gay men get older and they mature, they begin to realize what they want and like to settle down and begin building a relationship with another person.

This is just a part of the reason why young gay men find it so hard to settle down and maintain a relationship, the other part is the misconception these young men associate and call love.  Because in actuality as they are going through the "Slut Phase"  lust and hormones are substituted and mistaken for love. It is really easy to confuse intense physical attraction with love and to proceed to try and make a relationship happen. This then brings up a question in my mind, which comes first the relationship or love?  My thoughts on this are mixed, but I will endeavor to explain. Lust and love, flip-sides of the same coin aren't they?  It is hard to have one without the other, though I guess in some cases it can be done. Lust is the initial stages of love, that if nurtured and treated correctly can grow into love. See the key to understanding love is that there has to be a mutual attraction, which is then combined with knowledge, acceptance, and understanding of the other person, this then forms emotional ties that bind the together as one.  To explore does a relationship have to have love to work?  The answer is NO , keeping in mind that two individuals can come together to benefit one another.  This is a relationship that is based on mutual trust and admiration, it is formed as a partnership just like a a business.  Over time, feelings can develop from that base and develop into a healthy and loving relationship. Again, the secret is that Love, in all it forms is a journey or a path that we are on. It is a fragile thing that must be tended and cared for.  It cannot be mishandled or mistreated in anyway or it will simply wilt and die.  With all that being said you may even begin to wonder if love is truly a blessing or a curse.  But I think that really is just a perception, because just as love and lust are flip sides of a coin, so are blessing and curse.  It just depends on how you care to look at.  Love being such a fragile thing can easily turn to hate.  Unfortunate, but true, in the wrong hands love can be a weapon of disastrous proportions or it can be a balm to heal and cure all things.  View point and usage are the two things that can turn it from a blessing to a curse in a heartbeat and vice-versa. 

It is my humble opinion that you need to be wise with your heart, be frugal with your love.  I keep telling you that it is a precious commodity, and once given is very hard to get back, be cognizant of who you give it to and be wary of their intentions. If you are like me and attracted to younger men you need to be aware of the transitory nature of the beast. All men are the same, we have eyes and we often see things that attract us.  The difference is as we get older we have a broader experience base to draw from, and maturity and patience that exceeds that of your younger counterpart.  It is from this experience base that we draw from that keeps us from throwing our partner away on chance encounters.  But, because they don't have the same, you must expect that there might be indiscretions on their part that you may have to weather, if you choose to continue down the road of relationship.  Keeping this in mind I recommend that you should only invest as much love into another person as they return to you.  If the love you give out isn't immediately returned in full measure cut your losses and get out.  You seriously need to get as much as you give!

So my dear friend after careful consideration and exploring the facts, I think it is inevitable as young gay men explore their sexuality and burgeoning libido no matter how desperately they claim to want to settle down and be in a relationship, it is very hard to maintain.  If you are young and gay, I sincerely urge you to explore whatever you can, be safe as you do it and love wisely, be honest with those you enter into relations with, because if you aren't completely 100 percent honest with them you are going to end up hurting yourself and the person you care about. If you are older and more mature and like younger guys, be aware of the transitory nature. Expect to be a player in the cosmic shuffleboard of relationship.  If you are patient enough and understanding enough, and can endure the cheating, you may wake up one day and find that your perseverance has been paid off.

Be wary of how you spend your love and who you give it too! Don't get too wrapped up in the idea of love and miss the genuine thing.  Know who you are getting involved with and protect your heart.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Monday, August 27, 2012


My friend Jaime McNeal from Facebook broached a topic with me the other night. He wanted me to explore my thoughts on Love as a curse.  Now, I wrote an entry last night juggling the thought is Love a Blessing or a Curse.  But that wasn't precisely what Jaime meant so today I decided to rework the concept and do a compare and contrast between the two aspects of what we call Love.  So this is going to be Curse vs. Blessing and we shall see what we come up with.


In the broadest sense of the word, Love can blind you to the machinations of others.  So if they don't have your best interests at heart they can use your feelings against you. Love binds us to others, and it can rob us of our identity if it is mishandled and used as a weapon.  You must be careful who you give your heart and love to, it is a commodity that can be greatly misused and turned against you.

Now when you meet someone for the first time, you are exposed to the facade they present to the world or their public face or mask.  It is only after time that we begin to see the real person hiding inside.  You may wonder why some people seem to change over time, well it isn't that they really have changed they are still the same person, you are just seeing more of them than they had originally shown.  In my heart I don't believe anyone ever intentionally plans to enter into a relationship with malicious intent, unless they are a psychopath to begin with.

There is a honeymoon period when you meet someone, that is the time period that begins when you first meet and start to come together as a couple. It is that grace period where the hidden person has yet to be revealed. This period of time can last up too perhaps a year.  Love is a journey, it is not something that just boom happens and you are there, and neither are the subtle approaches of mental abuse.  It is a gradual increase of criticisms and slight of words, that are aimed at wounding you, they are used in the heat of an argument, as I have said before word wounds may never heal properly, because they fester and infect long after they have been said.

Do we ever really know the real person?  I am not sure we do unless they are 100 percent honest with you, and trust me those types of people are few and far between.  It is time that becomes the great equalizer.  It is over time that you begin to see patterns develop.  People live by patterns, they are our routines, and habits, and if you are observant you can start to read them.  If the relationship starts to become over bearing, or you start to loose your sense of identity, then I think you will agree that love is a curse.  If your relationship is co-dependent and you have no individual independence then I would say  again that love is a curse.  The same aspects that can make love a blessing are surely the same that make it a curse as well.  But there are subtle differences and nuances that you have to be aware of and look for.  See Love is kind, caring, compassionate, long suffering, patient, enduring, blind to the faults of others, and when you are in the midst of it you can't seem to think rationally, and at times you don't even recognize what is happening because it is so subtle and slow that one day you wake up and wonder how you got to the place you are at, and why the hell are you still with the same person who has been putting you down for years and criticizing you, who has been so jealous and demeaning that none of your friends want to be around.  The same person who had decided that you weren't enough for them any more and decided to step out and fool around with someone else.  The same one that brought home a disease and passed on to you, because they were callused and careless and honestly never truly gave you a second thought. See in relationships the person who has the least invested physically, emotionally is ultimately the one with all the power over it.

Look for the signs that go along with the co-dependency, the controlling and violent tempers.  Because before you know it you start making excuses for their behavior, you rationalize to yourself that you guys have just hit a rough patch, or your partner is just under a lot of pressure, or a thousand other reasons.  Let me tell you something, it truly isn't going to get any better and if you stay, the mental abuse, the put downs, and snide comments, as well as the heated arguments are going to increase, and one day, before you know those same things have turned into physical abuse.  I have to tell you I have been down that road, and stayed there for far too long.  Sometimes it is easier to make the excuses, cling to the past, and hope that something might change. There will come a time and a place when you realize that it never is going to happen, that you have been wishing on smoke.  That enough is enough and you are going to have to leave.  Don't fall for their lies and cries that they will change and that it will never happen again, because it is Bullshit, they are not going to change, it isn't going to get any better, somewhere along the way the relationship got sidetracked and it has come too far to turn around now.  No one has the right to lay a hand on another person.  Pay attention to what is said when you are arguing, because you will find out that those are the true feelings of the person, and the resentments and disillusionment that they have been harboring.  Listen closely, and when you hear them you should know that it is time to go and move on because life isn't going to get any better, it is just going to get worse.

Ultimately, when someone really loves you and you have gotten to know them truly, then it will be a blessing...


Love is kind, enduring, never boastful or proud, compassionate, caring, patient, long suffering and the list goes on.  But what is love really? Love is a combination of intense attraction mixed with emotional and physical ties, that bind two people together.  Love is a seed that is planted and if nurtured correctly, and tended to can grow and bloom into something spectacular.  Love is easy going, never forceful, it is accepting, and takes time to grow and develop. It is a journey of discovery and growth, between two people, the catch is that there has to be open and honest line of communication with each other for it to work.  There has to be a base of friendship and mutual trust and understanding.  Problems arise when people try to move things along too quickly, they don't let it mature and grow at it's own speed.

For those of you that know me I have gone into great detail in the past about my previous relationships.  I have been in several long term relationships, and I have come to the conclusion that the way to make it work out is that you honestly must be open minded. You have to be willing to try new things, experiment, think outside the box, you have to keep it interesting and alive.  I believe that along with Love comes responsibilities, that must be taken on by both parties. It is a fluid, a moving and growing thing that is never constant, change is part of what a relationship is all about.  Remember that it is a journey that we are on, and love is apart of that journey.

Flexibility, honesty, and compromise are the key ingredients to a successful relationship and the development of love. If you truly love someone and they love you, things feel so easy, you fit together, there is no struggle.  You feed into each others wants, needs and desires. Your goals are intertwined to take you to the next level. You are accepting and you don't feel jealousy or envy, because you already know in your heart that they are yours.  Love is a two way street and it is something that is felt and if you aren't getting back as much as you are giving out then I think you might need to consider bailing out and looking elsewhere.

A long time ago I wrote this abstract on love.  I am going to reprint it here hopefully this helps you understand what it is supposed to feel like:
Love is patient, kind and understanding;
Love is accepting and enduring;
Love is a seed that grows and matures;
Love is freely given, never with strings attached;
Love nourishes and flourishes with attention;
Love is never judging or demanding;
Love is a flower that grows from friendship, respect and trust;
Love is laughter, sunshine and praise;
Love makes you feel good about yourself;
Love is confident, Love is strong, Love heals, Love nurtures, Love protects, Love forgives, yet never forgets;
Love is uplifting, it is wholesome and pure;
Love is a kind word, a firm hand, and a tough taskmaster;
With Love you can move a mountain, soar to the highest heights.
Love can be blind, it can bind you, it is believing and hoping for the best in human kindness;
And above all else it's yours to give and take. Give it wisely, nourish it with attention, reap it's harvest;
It should never hurt or cause pain, but if it does tend to it, its a sign that it needs something.
And if it isn't returned it can burn and wither, but keep the faith, when it finds a fertile place that is receptive and warm it will burst forth again and flourish.

As you have read this I hope you can see that Love is both a blessing and a curse depending on how it is manipulated and used.  Think of it as a coin, on one side you have blessing and on the other curse.  How you handle it and perceive it is what is going to make the difference.  

Jaime, this is for you buddy, I hope it points you in the direction you are looking for.  I have to tell you thank you for the topic, because from the original entry I wrote, I have a new topic for tomorrow.  "Why are gay relationships so transitory?" 

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Rekindling a Relationship from embers to full flame--An Experiment

As many of you know I have embarked on a new adventure in my life. I have flung away my past, changed my venue and pretty much all of my friends. Moving to a place where I knew absolutely nobody, an hour and a half from where I grew up. Challenges have presented themselves with my health, yet I took initiative and decided to change my fate on Friday 13th, also known as Freaky Friday, a day that legend states one can revers ones fortunes.  Some of you maybe away that my relationship status changed a few weeks ago from single to it's complicated.  You may have seen my entry on "Gay Relationships and long-distance". Some of you might have guessed that entry and several others have been this change.  Parts of the story have to remain a mystery for just a little while longer yet.  However, there are a few things I can take the liberty of discussing with you! It is not my normal style not to offer full disclosure of events, as you are probably well aware from reading my blog.  But in the interest of mutual agreement we have decided to go this route.  I feel obligated to assuage some or ya'll's fear by giving you a general background on the situation and what our plans entail. But as with all things his is a dynamic, a work in progress, and subject to change without notice.  So without further ado I shall explain.

This relationship is not one of frivolity, it hasn't been entered into lightly at all.  A great deal of energy, sweat, and tears have gone into it.  If my memory serves me correctly, and I am sure if it doesn't I will be corrected.  But I believe this Thanksgiving day will be our five year anniversary. Strange as it may seem and as hard as it is to believe, I think I am right.  Because Sterling and I broke up just prior to then.  It was Sterling who brought us together initially, and another person named Will that kept us together. Now, you have to keep in mind that this relationship has always been open til now.  You might even say that we were FB's (F--k Buddies) that grew to care too much about each other.  Approximately one year ago give or take a few days, tragedy struck and we were separated by distance and illness. At which point I didn't think we would ever see each other again. Plus, my situation in Atlanta rapidly changed as well.  Due to some hard work of some "frienemies" I ended up literally on the streets of Atlanta where I stayed and learned how to survive and chase that paper! Some of you know exactly what I mean! I actually learned the art of hustle.  Let me digress for a brief moment and explain this, I have no regrets about what happened and I most certainly wouldn't change a thing.  I learned a lot of valuable lessons that will go a long way in my life. Back to the details, anyhow in October of last year I met someone named Bobby, that I hit it off really well and for a little while I thought we were going to be a couple.  Well as fate would have it I ended up getting sick and had to have surgery, which eventually let me to call my dad and ask if I could come down to Florida to stay with him.  Of course, I hadn't realized at the time that he wasn't living in Orlando, that him and my step mom had moved to Ormond Beach.  They agreed and in February I moved back to Florida.

I kept in touch with a few people, especially Bobby and I asked him to come down, he said he would  and that he wanted to. That he wanted to give us another try, but here we are in September almost and he still isn't here.  On March 5, 2012 I had a trip planned to go to Atlanta to get my things, visit some friends and possibly get Bobby and bring him back after the weekend was over.  Fate, stepped in again and the trip never actually happened.  My colon ruptured in two places and I started to bleed  to death. I was rushed into emergency surgery, died on the table three times, I am told and spent 29 days in intensive care.  I was told that my prognosis wasn't looking good.  That the doctor's didn't think I would make it till Christmas. So, I got on the computer and I tracked down all my close friends and ex's to let them know what was going on.  One of them is the person this is about by the way! When we talked I found out that he was going through his own battle and struggling with his help as well.  He also chose to inform me at the time he didn't consider us broken up and that we were still together. It took him six months of patient perseverance to break down the walls surrounding my heart and mind to get me to understand that he truly loved me.  Now here's the interesting part we talk, text, chat, Facebook, all day everyday since March. I have had a miraculous recovery.  THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT THROUGH THIS!!!! /As of last doctor's visit there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with me whatsoever now.  My prognosis is perfect health.  Can you say AMEN, I believe in the Power of Prayer!!

Here I sit 4 1/2 years later talking with someone that literally had to beat me over the head for me to accept his love. Originally, I was going to go see him, but he had some disappointing news last week, when he called me I could tell how upset he was and so I had him tell me what happened.  Once I found out and heard the sadness and the defeat in his voice, I invited him out here to see me for a visit to see if he liked the area, and to possibly see if this might be a place that he might be willing to move too.  He accepted and will be here on Sunday, September 2, 2012.  I am definitely stoked and excited about this and yes very happy. I am also scared, I want everything to be perfect.  But I know that nothing ever is.  I am also starting to work tomorrow, because I was bored sitting at home and I wanted to get out and meet new people, plus have a little extra cash. So now do you fully understand where I am at?  A 4 1/2 year old FB relationship turned into a serious monogamous new relationship. We both know how we feel toward each other, this past year of separation has made us realize how much we care and need each other.  We could have easily lost each other because of what happened to him and his near death and then mine...

How do I take these smoldering embers of love, lust and passion and fan them back into the roaring flames of desire, romance and ecstasy, with a sprinkling of fantasy thrown in?  Hence the need for my social experiment!

We have the theorem and hypothesis and we postulate that we can accomplish this in a short time frame, and our efforts are going to go into trying to prove and document that they are correct.  Since the subject isn't arriving till next Sunday I cannot give you the answers.  But, I promise you a full report once the experiment concludes.  Here is how the experiment is going to be conducted.  First, subject has a cursory knowledge only of the experiment.  A closed environment is being arranged, a private place at an extended stay for the duration of the visit and experiment.  External variables are going to be minimized, no outside influences will be allowed to enter the test area.  Only the two participants at the hotel! Working on adapting my work schedule so that excursions and adventures can be conducted around the visit.  A whole sprinkling of romantic surprises , including a dinner with the parental units.  Such romantic experiments include walks along the beach together at sunset, shopping excursions to find outfits for his performance dates..unfortunately he has to perform while he is here. Along with apartment/house hunting excursion, followed up with a trip scheduled to visit Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando.  Maybe even a visit to the old Mouse of the South himself. Since it has been years since I have been there.  There is even a work trip scheduled to Atlanta and a few other surprise I don't want to lay out here because, MR. MAN does read my blog daily.  Though, currently I think he is 4 days behind and has a lot of reading to catch up on.

I promise the results of this experiment will be published detailing what was done at the conclusion of the experiment.  There shall be a little vlogg interview with the subject giving his views on how this turned out and what he thought of said experiment.  Along with that we plan on releasing a podcast as well.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Break Free from your past to Victory!

Everyone of us has a past, that is a fact! For that matter you have some people that are running from theirs or are trying to escape it.  Then you have the flip side that don't have, shall we say, such a checkered or troubled past, just ordinary so too speak. No matter what the deal is with your past there are some things you need to be aware of when trying to start a new chapter of your life.  When I am talking about a new chapter that could be any number of things from new relationship, new job, new friends or organizations, seriously anything.

First thing you have to remember is the past is behind you, it is what you have done. It is what you know and in retrospect it is 20/20. Meaning you can see it perfectly.  Next thing you have to remember is that the past is immutable and unchangeable, it cannot be reworked or rewritten.  The unfortunate thing is it is the gauge upon which most people measure their future happiness and direction from.  The problem with that is we have a tendency as human's to rationalize and objectify past relationships.  This can greatly interfere with starting a new one, but we will cover that later on.  The third thing is there is a reason why it is called a past.  Seasons change, people grow and behaviors  that once were prevelant mutate or morph as we grow and learn.  Fourth, as we grow, learn and change a learned habit or behavior has changed, morphed or was left behind for a reason.  Look closely why you stopped doing something, carefully because you may find there was a reason or motivating factor that brought on the change, and guess what that reason is probably still there. Fifth, it is impossible to go back and recreate certain likable aspects of your past because no two moments, situations or people are ever going to be the same and you run the risk of destroying the tenuous path you built to lead your forward.  Sixth, you cannot live in the past! Time, circumstances, situations, players will change of course they have too. As was stated earlier no two moments will ever be exactly the same. Plus, trying to stay in the past hinders you from ever moving forward.  Past drama and baggage will surely trip you up and weigh you down.  That added weight clouds your judgement and impairs your vision.  It is sad but true for every new beginning there has to be an ending.  Accept that and move one.  Leave the past where it is. A good rule of thumb to consider how far forward can you possibly move if you are looking backward?  If you're fixated on your past you will be rooted where you are at and cannot move anywhere. If you aren't moving you become stagnate.  You cannot learn, you cannot grow and further yet you cannot experience anything.  Take it as a sign the past is a dead end, a road once traveled that has reached an end. Learn from it, use as a map or blueprint, a learning tool, for where to place your feet on the road ahead.  Look at the past pitfalls, potholes, detours and signposts so you don't run afoul, but keep it moving forward.  In other words, use it as a guide, learn from your mistakes, forgive what has come before, but don't forget lest you repeat them and crash.

Along with everyone's past comes a whole host of things. For one thing there are rewards and consequences for the choices you have made. It is unfortunate that not all actions and consequences are immediate.  Some things are slow and creep up on you, and you have to be ready to answer or atone for them.   Trust me everyone's past come back to bite them in the end.  You cannot change or avoid them forever.  For those that have a bad or checkered past you may never truly escape the judgement's and persecution that haunt you for what you have done.  It may even be impossible to return to the place of your past and ever succeed.  You might very well find your forward path is blocked and forever closed.  An example if you will. A friend of mine has tried so hard to make a positive change in his life. He has left Atlanta and returned home to regroup, retool and hone his skills and focus.  On several occasions has tried to return to Atlanta and has been unsuccessful thus far.  Now, background  and insight, though he has gone home, taken advice and has launched a very successful career.  He is human and has made some fatal mistakes at each and every possible return.  Let's look closely at the situation, careful to observe and understand then we will tell you how all of this can be changed for his benefit.  Over the past eight years or so my friend entered deeper and deeper into the drug culture of Atlanta, the party circuit, that I myself was a major player and purveyor of.  He built a reputation of being belligerent, violent, stubborn, weird and psychotic at times.  Rumors, innuendo, and tales of his exploits soon preceded him every where he went.  His reputation became one of that of a thief, a liar, a cheat. He fed into that with his temper time and time again, fights would occur  people got hurt, police had to be involved, etc.  Once a reputation precedes you it is very hard to change people's opinions and minds.  Innocent gestures, meaningless actions are silenced by the deafening roar of the past.  You're discounted as having changed before you can even demonstrate you have.  Nothing you say will be heard only dismissed out of hand, it seems pointless and frustrating. How can you change all of that?

How can you stage a return? Become triumphant? And demonstrate you have indeed changed?  The answer is simple really, you must first understand what you are up against.  Really open yourself up, search deep within yourself. Be brutally honest, understand and acknowledge your past. Be willing and able to reap what you have sown, be strong enough to weather the coming storm, because it will come! You must realign your life toward your focus and your goals.  Then you must shift your life 180 degrees, what once was in the open now becomes guarded and private.  You must change your habits, your friends. You must be selective and choose who and what you allow to be near to you.  You must let your work, deeds and actions speak for themselves. Become almost reclusive and secretive. Create and air of mystery, never showing weakness or lack of focus.  Change your routine, and if you can openly embrace the tide of skepticism, innuendo, show strength of purpose, passion and conviction in the face of detractors and doubts.  If you can break those habits that people expect to see, and if you can't then hid them so well that no one will ever see.  In order to break the past you mush show or project a clean break. I am fond of saying a change of scenery and friends maybe what it takes. You create a new persona, a public face that is what everyone will see, you guard that jealously and protect it at all costs.  This is what you will become.  Turn away those that would tear you down. Cut them from you. You must maintain at all times a united unbreakable front. Let your passions and actions be your words, your platform.

Those from your past will talk, they will jeer and try to bring you down. You must become the master of spin and damage control. Negative publicity can always be turned around and spun to have a positive light. Embrace your past, acknowledge your failings, but show you have risen above them, defeated them and have made a change.  Don't run from those things make them work for you!  Remember everyone is a sucker for a hard luck story, people always root for the underdog.  Your career must take precedence, you must curb your personal feelings and your inner need for gratification, turn your addictions into the drive and motivation you need to propel you forward.  Never forget where you came from but keep it moving forward.  Give back to the community be charitable and comfortable to acknowledge what you have come through. Show how you rose above what you were and how you triumphed over it. Own it, rule it, once you can do that, it can no longer hurt you.  Be candid and open, know in your heart that once it is out there under the spotlight of public life and the intense scrutiny that will follow that it can no longer hurt you, it could possibly benefit you in the long run.  Remember that in darkness and shadow deceit and misconceptions grow, and from that darkness can erupt a tidal wave of past misconduct that can pull you under if you aren't ready. Live in the light and keep it right and you will have nothing to fear!  You must be brave and suppress your insecurities, because those are the two biggest things that will hold you back and keep you from taking the risks necessary to carry you to the next level.

So what have we learned?  How can we be triumphant and dispel the myths, misconceptions, preconceived notions that linger from our checkered past? That to move forward we must make a change, understand that our entire life is up for scrutiny and review. Create a public facade that you want the world to see. Break the mold and the habits that hold you in place. Admit your faults, embrace your differences. Become focused on your career and goals, change those you hang with. Be compassionate with your detractors, show how you rose above your addictions and limitations, cast them in the light of victory. Show how you beat the odds that were stacked against you and that you truly have learned from your past.  Be a role model, give hope, courage and love through example. Actions speak louder than words! Remember your roots and be gracious. Put everything in the light keep nothing hidden.  Keep it moving forward, be guarded and careful of who you let into circle.  Do what you do! Be who you are and you can't fail.  Make sure your goals are attainable and reachable. Be a leader not a follower.  Know your voice and your message, defend those who can't defend themselves, embrace and be passionate about a cause that is greater than yourself. You are a champion, you have overcome and demonstrated it at every turn.  Be fierce and proud, don't be afraid to speak out loud!

You will know beyond a shadow of doubt that you have then made the transition, you have become that public face.  Never run from your past because you can never out run it. You can never hide from it either.  Remember "What's mead to be will always find its way" be up for the challenge, regard the fates the sisters three: Fate, Karma and Destiny. They weave the tapestry of life, be careful because at a whim they just may snip your thread and end your career. "Into the light Carol-Anne" let the world see how triumphant and successful you can be.  Reward yourself, be honest to your self and your cause. Watch and see how easy it can be!

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Don't ask me Why?

My heart's so sad that I could cry
And I'm not sure if I want to live or die.
A careless word from your lips smashed me like a fly.
One soft kiss would lift me so high
I left my past so high and dry
so I could live and never lie
how hard would it be for you to try?
oh why can't we see eye to eye?
You never stopped to ask me why?
Do I want to live or die?
All I know is that I don't want to say good-bye
When I said I was fine couldn't you hear the lie?
you asked me once again to try
I opened up and started to fly,
I was atop the world so high.
Only to cling to hope and watch it die.
Don't ask me why we live to die.
All I know is I've got to try,
to win you over to my side and whisper softly a lullaby
that will make things right for you and I
Don't you want to go higher than the sky?
Don't you see our loves dangling from this tiny wire please stop yourself and ask why?
You are ready to throw away our love like a die.
Don't kid yourself with another lie
you have to let it go that past of yours, in order to give it another try.
You told me that you wanted  my ???
was it attention? why?
if all we are going to do is walk back into that pig-sty.
Don't ask me why I cannot cry.
I broke down my walls surrendered to you my personal "I"
No longer me but we alone to live or die.
Is what I thought! Was that a lie?
How can I feel so low when I was so high
Where do we go now? For another try?
I am not sure I can take this pain, if we fail I will die
You are my world, my light, my life, you know why?
Because you said it was me that made you fly!
So why?
Do you want it to die?
You haven't told a lie
but never really said why!
Do I give you another try?
Or should I sit and cry?
Never to understand why,
I wasn't enough to be your high!
My lips so soft and dry
as I kissed you and looked in your eye
I knew right then my soul would die
my heart so crushed it couldn't cry
Oh how I wish that I could die
you couldn't leave your past behind it was your tie
to hold you back from me oh my.
I guess this really is good-bye
Didn't I say don't ask me why?
I wanted to live or die.
Don't ask me why we cannot fly
Don't ask me why?  I cannot believe another Lie,
I guess this is how true love comes to die! ~ b

As you read this I tried very hard to use the same words over and over again to paint a picture of longing and sadness.  A part of this I was feeling tonight, but only a part.  This was not truly aimed at anyone, but it does beg to ask the question why is it so hard to leave our past behind and start over?   I hope it prompts some of you to think about the decisions you make, how they affect those around you, and to honestly look at your past and leave it where it is.

Tomorrow's blog is going to be about just that the past..

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Risks must be mitigated in order for you to profit in love or life

Surely you know that in order to succeed at life you have to take some risks.  The important thing to remember is that whenever you invest your money, time, or love, you need be extremely careful.  Just like a business who is about to invest money they run a risk analysis.  This means that take a careful look at the risks to the business plan to see what their potential losses might be.  They balance the risks against the projected return on investment to see if the return justifies taking the risk.  In our personal lives we must do the same thing on a much smaller scale.  Before you invest your money or heart in anyone you need to be sure of the motives fit in line with your personal goals.  Look closely at what your potential return on investment might be.  If you believe the risks are acceptable then by all means move forward.

What I am trying to say is this.  If you honestly care about someone and you feel that their feelings for you are genuine then look at the risks involved with that relationship.  You may find them acceptable at the time.  But it is also important to reevaluate your relationship as time moves on because the risks, consequences and circumstances might have changed.  In my own personal life I can tell you that when I met Joe I was living in Orlando with my brother and a good friend Stewart.  Joe and I hit it off right away, and we spent the first two weeks of our relationship together almost inseparable. After that we kept talking and before I knew it my lease term was ending at my apartment and I had a choice to transfer my apartment lease to Atlanta so that Joe and I could be with each other.  Which at the time the risk was minimal, though I was investing my heart into someone that I had just met recently.  Now, I will never tell you that I made a mistake when I did this, but I didn't take into account that I would be leaving my job behind and I would have to find work in a new city.  Luckily, it didn't take me long at all to find work because I was with a temporary agency.  My move turned out to be a good thing for me, before I knew it Joe and I were buying a house together and our lives were off and running.  The relationship lasted for 12 years, however around year 7 things started getting out of control, we were fighting all the time and drugs had entered the picture and the actual dynamic of the relationship began to turn. He wanted to explore his sexuality and experiment doing different things. I had already been down this road during my first relationship and was extremely hesitant.  This became a bone of major contentment and at that point in my life I should have reevaluated and did another risk assessment and return on investment. If I would have done that I would have saved Joe and I, five more years of turmoil and fighting, which became both mental and physical.

As people our goals and moods can change over time, if you are in a relationship you need to make sure that the goals that you have as a couple mesh well.  Individual goals need to intertwine with the couple goals, if they don't you are going to drift apart and the relationship will self destruct.  Now, I can tell you how devastating that can be after investing so much time with someone and how hard it is to pull yourself back together.  When something like this happens in your life because you didn't mitigate the risks, which basically means you need to seriously look at them, identify them and do something about them.  By mitigating the risks you can save yourself endless hours of pain and misery.  Investing your heart into someone is a scary and exciting thing, but if not handled right you could open yourself up to hurt, disappointment and disillusionment.

Now, let me tell you a little about what is going on in my present relationship, and the risks that are involved with it.  As of tonight there have become some really hairy snags that are going to need to be addressed and fixed before one of us gets hurt.  Now, normally I am not a jealous person and I have been in sexual situations with my partner and other people in a group situation before.  As a matter of fact we went from a love triangle where I was in love with him and his partner, now keep in mind that I had encounters with his partner before they ever met, which sort of made the transition easy and bearable.  I got along with both, but that ended more than a year ago now.  Since then we have been trying to establish ourselves as a couple.  There are some things that are going on right now that are risky, things that I am not necessarily 100 percent comfortable with, and before I can proceed any further, I need to address these issues or take the risk of getting extremely hurt in the process.  Now, trust me I understand the motivations behind this and I understand the financial implications, but all afternoon I have been trying to establish that we need to be more private, that we need to keep others from being in our life and relationship, and now the door is opened for him to make some money using his body, and connections make things happen at the time frame of his choosing.  I applaud his herculean efforts, and I understand the sentiments.  But it gives me pause does he really understand what I mean when I say I don't want to get back into that life, that I want to stay as far away from it as possible and that I want to focus on my career and his?  I don't honestly believe so.

Keeping in mind that I promised I wouldn't get mad when he told me and I haven't, I am trying to work within the framework with the options he has given me, but I want to exclude myself from participating in the actual event.  Honestly, I would be perfectly happy with him doing his thing and then coming to see me, let him have his last fling and get it out of his system, if that is even possible. Because I walked away from that life, and I know that once I open that door back to that world I will be tempted beyond my ability to fight to keep from plunging back into that world.  Not saying there is anything wrong with that. Most of you that read my blog know exactly what I am talking about. You were there with me, and some of your are still there.  But for me with my health issues and new found liberty, I do not necessarily want to screw up where I am heading.  Please understand that I am not judging any of you.  The addictions and demons I fight are private and well documented in my blog.  My heart is at risk, what if I loose him to that world again, what if this time I am not strong enough to pull him back as I have done in the past.  I lost one person in my life to Meth and drugs/sex parties, I don't think I could do it again.  Here I am 4 1/2 years later, wondering am I doing the right thing again?

Time will of course answer that question for me.  I know that my own personal conviction is not strong enough nor do I think I could stand to see him in the situation that he described to me on the phone.  Yes, I love him with all my heart, but I am starting a new job. I have things going for me in my life that are important and I am passionate about. I don't want to jeopardize all that.  So after hearing the risks and assessing them as I have here, I have come to the mitigating part. I have told him to do his thing and that I will come and get him when all is done, bring him down and we can do our thing.  See a part of me doesn't want to see all the other people touching and messing with him. I have been there and done that. It is my turn to have him all to myself, so if this is the way feels it needs to be, then I am fine letting him do it and then pick it up afterwards.

Yes a part of me wants to be there, but will it be good for us? I don't think so, could it become a distraction? Could it be the beginning of a pattern that is bound to be repeated time and again? I sure the hell hope not, and yes it is definitely going to be a distraction.  Once the genie is out of the bottle I don't believe there will be a way to put her back inside again, and I am finally going to loose him once and for all. Because I cannot be what he wants in the end.  FEAR!

Life is full of risks, it is how we approach them, view them, and simply try to mitigate them that will help protect our investment in to each situation.  If the risk is greater than the potential return, then my advice to you is to leave it alone and move on. However, if you find the risk is at an acceptable tolerance, take the risk, get your return, but keep in mind constant observation and reevaluation is key to any successful venture.

I hope this make sense to you and that you can understand in a real sense that you need to be frugal with how you invest your time, money and love, they are not cheap commodities and are hard to replace once they have been poorly invested.  Stop and evaluate the situation, make the assessment I talked about and be totally honest with yourself. If you can accept the risks move forward, if not, then beware of them and move on.  As I am so fond of telling you life is short.  I told my Facebook family tonight just a little while ago, love can endure a lot of things like distance, trauma, drama, but it cannot endure betrayal and doubt.  Make sure you know yourself and your partner before you go down the road that I am sitting on tonight.  Because on one side is happiness and the other is a great big abyss, where will I eventually end up? Only God knows now.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Friday, August 24, 2012

You just don't know, Do You?

You never know who you are going to meet when you wake up in the morning, nor do you know who might be watching you.  I had a very fun and exciting experience this morning after my meeting with the Chair of the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau.  But before I get into my experience I will fill you in a little bit about what was discussed at my meeting which led me to today's story.  Jeff and I had a meeting scheduled for 9:30 this morning to discuss our upcoming World's AIDS Day event and we each shared our vision of the performance that our group is wanting to perform to bring a greater awareness and understanding of the fears, stigmas, guilt and drama that is associated with having HIV/AIDS.  This meeting was highly beneficial and our ideas were well meshed and in-sync with one another, and since I volunteered to outline the script and write it, we decided that I should run with the ball.  So after this meeting I had a few errands to run before I headed home. Interestingly my car drove me right to the Ormond Beach Public Library so taking that as I sign I headed on in to the reference and information desk to find out where I could locate a book on plays and screenwriting.  Since I have written things before, but never written a whole play on my own I thought it wouldn't hurt to have some references to look at while I am working on this project.

I wish I would have gotten the woman's name that helped me because my experience was of such delight and inspiration I am extremely thankful I ended up there.  She took me right to the section that I needed and she asked me what I was writing about.  An open door is all I need to go into who I am and the organization I represent, so I told her everything, then I also told her that I do work with cancer patients, survivors and their families.  This is when she opened up to me and we talked about her mother and her mother's battle with breast cancer.  We laughed and joked and it was an extremely meaningful interaction.  Before I left she asked me for a card, which unfortunately I don't have at this time, but I will have some printed up soon.  I am getting so many requests for one, I just need to have some in my wallet at all times.  So what I did was follow her over to the information desk and I wrote out my information and while I was doing that she mentioned that she had a friend who was working so much, and didn't know anyone, and that he had no social life to speak of.  Now, she told me he wasn't HIV Positive, which really wouldn't have mattered to me either way, but she also told me that he was dealing with the loss of his partner and needed to meet some friends.  Well of course you know me I can't help myself when I learn of someone in need so I made sure I gave my email address, cell phone number, blog and told her to tell her friend to call me. I also told her about my friend who has been battling for his own life in a different manner, but how excited I was that he has agreed to come to Ormond to help me look for an apartment.  I told her that I think it would be wonderful to meet her friend and guess what my friend and her friend have something extraordinary in common, both are song writers, musicians and performers.

What an amazing turn of events, how fortunate was I to run into her, that her and I would have a similar story.  You never know who you might meet, where that chance meeting might take you.  How by being open and receptive that encounter can impact other people's lives and change the direction and energy around them.  My eyes were opened to this kind woman and her friend and it touched me and struck a cord in life on a very personal level. As much as I am dying to tell you all about my friend I made a promise that I intend to keep, so all I can tell you is that over the past year my life has been in turmoil.  When we parted ways last August, I didn't know when or if I was ever going to see him again.  I didn't know if we were still together or what the deal was.  I had met someone in October but things didn't last, and when I got to Florida I thought that person might choose to come down here and be with me.  However, with his situation as it was he couldn't or wouldn't whatever the case maybe.  But, Facebook reconnected me with the one who left me last August in March after my big surgery and where I died on the table twice.  So it was a big deal for me.  I am rehashing all of this out so you can understand the immediate connection I felt with this lady and her friend.  Once me and my partner reconnected via Facebook it would still be several months of talking and emailing and cellphone calls, etc. before we even broached the idea of our parting, and what it meant.  I had no idea that he had a seizure and was in the hospital and that is what caused him to disappear, that he was scared and his family was across the country from where we were at, and he couldn't get a hold of me to let me know what was going on so he went home. Let me tell you that when he found out that I was sick and dying and scared he was there, he wanted to drop everything for me but due to his own physical limitations that was impossible right then.  But we talked and decided that we had never broken up, that we still love each other and that despite the distance, and the illness we are going to make our relationship work.

As I am talking to this woman and hearing about her friend and his need to meet other people like himself that it struck me, with her friends recent loss and both me and my partner almost loosing one another because we both almost died that there was a definite connection there. Then after hearing how her friend was a songwriter, singer, musician and dancer and had just worked hard to open a dance studio, how there was another connection with my partner and me.  I don't believe in random chance, I believe as you all know too well that people are put into our life for reasons we may never understand.  But, we do realize that there is a need on everyone's part that can and will be fulfilled through that meeting.  I learned years ago that you cannot go through life being shy and introverted.  If you live in a shell you are going to miss out on the fun and excitement that this roller coaster called life has to offer. When I was young my parents moved me around a lot. Every two years I was starting a new school and having to make new friends.  I really didn't like it and when they finally settled on the Orlando, FL area, I thought it was going to be just like every other time, so I stayed in my books and hid in my room. I didn't want to put myself out there in anyway, I did make 2 friends that were my neighbors, but that was it.  On the first day of school I got on the bus, I was in the 8th grade and was assigned a seat next to this boy who would become a huge influence and impact on my life.  His name was John Hope and from what I hear he is a stand up comic today.  Which I can't say surprises me at all because he was such a great guy and a good friend.  It was John Hope that got me out of my shell, taught me how to laugh, encouraged me to let my personality fly, to become outgoing and meet as many people as I could.

Here is a little insight about dear old Uncle B, I was a late bloomer, I had terrible hair, wore huge bulky glasses, but I was smart, funny, out going, and socially into everything and there was no one I didn't like or count as a friend.  Oh I got my share of picking on, but something strange happened, even those detractors the ones who picked on me, I eventually won them over and made them my friends.  I excelled in my studies, but also in my outgoing lifestyle.  Which in tenth grade I would figure out that I was attracted to boy's and girls.  Sorry Stacey I never told you.  Maybe it was good that we broke up before prom our Junior year. Here, is the other thing, I didn't know which way my life was going to go. If you want to know more you can read my blog entry about the "Defining moment of my life" and you can find out a little bit more about my first male lover, David Hodge.  Life would never be the same for me and I can tell you that by the time I graduated high school, I knew every single member of my graduation class, and I was friends with every single one of them.  The popular guys, girls, cheerleaders, jocks, the nerds, preppy kids, you name it I knew them all. I was not in their groups per-se but I was a part of them.  I was the social butterfly, a networker, which I have used successfully throughout the rest of my life. It worked when I was in the Navy, when I was in government work and even now in my advocate and activism work.

The moral of this long winded tale is this.  I am looking forward to meeting Caleb, getting to know him and adding him to my ever growing list of long term, life long friends.  Because folks I am a testament that the friendships you make can last a lifetime.  Check out my Facebook and see how many people I have known for over 20 years. You never know who your life is going to intersect with, how your life and story might connect you with others in similar situations as you, who you can grow and learn from. We each need help sometimes to overcome the challenges life throws our way, and how our seeming  chance encounters can change the course of not only your own life but all those that are around you and a part of you.

Remember everyone has a story, everyone likes to have someone else pay attention to them, likes to talk about their story and have a receptive person listen, empathize and even comprehend the depth of their pain and rejoice in their triumph.  Never be too busy to give someone a few minutes of your time. Listen with open heart and an open mind, be receptive to their needs, understanding, sympathetic, and willing to talk about yourself.  Show them how similar your situations are.  You may be surprised that the life you save may be your own.  That you may have had a need to share your story, to get it out there and by doing so helped you realize how to overcome whatever it is, or connect with someone that needs you as much as you need them.  God is amazing and He works in mysterious ways.  If you ever find yourself at a cross road and all the doors are closed, don't despair, take heart that maybe the reason why they are all close so that you could open one that leads you to the perfect road.  Everyone of us needs others in our lives that can understand us, can sympathize with us, who can guide us or we can guide them through the rough patches.  Everyone has a story, a need or a desire that can be fulfilled.  Only if you take the time to listen and understand what they are saying.  Remember that life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. You have to live, live, live.  Take that chance to explore the tapestry and color of life.  You will be glad you did.

As you can imagine, you never know who might be listening or watching you, but your life is a story, your history a tapestry, the world the texture and color that paints your portrait.  Take the time to open yourself up, let the world see the light in you, hold out a helping hand and make new friends.  Life is too short and too hard to do it all alone.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is it your Strength of Character that defines you in other people's eyes?

Or is it what they see in you that gives them hope and strength to face the coming days?  I have attached my first podcast to this blog and you can hear my thoughts on this subject.  Hopefully this will be the first of many podcast to come.  Now, with that being said I would ask you to forgive the long pauses, the um's and the definite sound of me smoking a cigarette throughout.  Don't judge me too harshly this is my first attempt and done on one cup of coffee only.  I promise it can only get better from here!

Now today, my topic is strength of character and by that I mean what others around you see and notice about you! Believe it or not! People around me always comment on my strength, endurance and positive attitude.  They give me credit for things like pulling through cancer twice, leukemia, radiation enteritis, hepatitis c, bowel resections, colostomies, ileostomies and the myriad of other things I have gone through.  They tell me how strong and brave I am.  But, you know what are those really my strengths of character?  I don't count them as such, all I really did is survive!  Now, I am not saying that I didn't fight for my life. What I am saying is this, I didn't know anything else to do. I wanted to live so I kept going.  Sure there were times when I thought I couldn't withstand another round of chemotherapy or radiation.  Where I told my mom I was tired and wanted to quit.

But, the secret and the key to all of this is I turned it all over to God and the power of prayer.  You would be surprised at the hundreds and hundreds of people that have lifted me up in prayers including my mother.  Without them and God I wouldn't be here today.  I actually don't count that as strength of character.  I count that as faith.  See the body and the mind are miraculous things, and God created it and knows it's inner working better than anyone and can heal it.  When I talk of strength of character, I want you to think of those attributes of yourself that other people see and measure. Such as your desire to help them.  To love them unconditionally by accepting them for who the are, their behaviors, hang ups, moods, their decisions and actions.  Yes, you maybe disappointed at times by something they have done, but regardless you love them none the less.

Trust me when I tell you we all have a great capacity for love. There is an endless supply and it's yours to give.  When I think of strength of character, I think of integrity, your word, your bond.  When you tell someone that are your friend no matter what and you are true to it, that is a strength of character.  Each of you can confirm that if I have told you that we were friends you can believe you can count on that.  Further, if I have told you that I love you, you can believe that I do.  Understand that I don't use that word freely.  When I love I love hard and it never fades.  I love you through the good times, the bad times and anything in between.  That also goes for my friendships as well. You are always going to be a part of me and my life.  I am a firm believer that we are the culmination of all our decisions, actions, consequences and friendships, each one of these things goes a long way into building our character. Since we are talking about strength of character I would like to think that all the good points of ourselves are absorbed by our friends and loved ones and makes us that much stronger.

For those of you who have known me for years you can attest to the fact that no matter what I have always tried to help when and where I could, always giving of myself.  One of my ex's called it the Stray Syndrome, I always tried to help those on the street by providing them with shelter, safety, food or whatever I could to help them get back on their feet again.  Over the past 21 years or so I have given freely of myself and if you read my entry on the "Defining Moment" you will understand how one error in my judgement changed my whole outlook and helped mold me into the person I have become.  You don't know how many times over that span of time I have heard how I was two-faced, fake, phony and too good to be true.  That no one could be as nice as me.  Only to have those same critics come back and tell me that they were wrong that I am sincere, that I did care, and thank me for taking the time to help them.  This is my strength of character, a testament to being a loving giving friend, who wanted to help never expecting or demanding anything in return.  I am not trying to brag or toot my own horn, there are hundreds of people who can tell you all about this.  Ask Greg, E, Kameron, Joe, Sterling, any one of them can tell you how I sacrificed myself, my relationships, my home, personal needs to help everyone around me.

In all honesty most of my relationships ended because of my need to surround myself with others like myself that just needed a little helping hand. I didn't think about the consequences of my actions I chose to follow my heart. I know I hurt some really good people who loved me and thought I was kidding myself, that I was throwing everything away. But I wasn't, I truly just wanted to help genuinely and sincerely.  I took their love and their strength, these partners of mine, and I sacrificed their love on that alter of giving.  I am sure that they can see now what I was doing now that I have let out the story of why.

Oh there were the dark times of my life, the drug days! where I taught people how to slam for the very first time. But even then I was conscientious of y duty to help and protect them.  My rule was if we do this we do it together. I watched them, helped them through the experience. I was there offering safe harbor and a place to enjoy the experience without pressure or judgement.  I know some of you may judge me harshly because of this.  But you know what that is alright! because you can't judge me any harder than I judge myself.  There is a difference here that I would like to point out, even though my actions may seem destructive and the help that I gave could be seen as irresponsible, trust me looking back I realize this myself, I wouldn't change my experiences one bit, I may have saved a few people their lives by teaching them the right way to do things and the proper dosages.  Another reason why I wouldn't change anything I have done, is because of all the wonderful people I have met, interacted with and have made a connection too.  Throughout everything, I have been through and experienced it is the people, the love, and friendships that been built that I cherish.  It is the dedication and friendship, love, support, the network that has developed that are a testament to my strength of character.

People look at my life as a learning inspiration.  They see that I live by what I preach, because my message is simple, it is love, unity, acceptance, understanding, companionship and true friendship.  These are the values I have and I show in my daily life.  I help others to the exclusion of everything else and I think that is what defines me.  As long as I am helping other people working towards making their life a better place. That is where I want to be. This is my story! What is yours? Tell me what makes you a person that is strong in character? What makes me want to look at your life and choose it as an inspiration to live my life by?  Get back with me and let me know about that!

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Warning...this podcast is 12 minutes and 28 seconds in length. I hope you will take the time to listen to it again, it is my first attempt please be easy on all the pauses, um's and other obvious mistakes...I will endeavor to try and make the next one better.

A Tale of Longing

Have you ever had a longing you just couldn't fill?
Your heart so torn and broken
Your mind so stretched to the max of your will
So empty and alone searching for loves lost token.

Bitter nights and dreamless sleep
Waiting and wondering what  might be a head
Your feelings so raw your heart might weep
Could your mind let your heart be so misled?

Is someone out there looking to be found?
You look to your past for a clue
Never watching the path you carelessly abound
until you looked to the sky for a sign and knew.

You aren't where you wanted to go
But ended up where you needed to be.
Forlorn and alone how you longed to know
is true love waiting for you to finally see?

What is and was may never be,
Your heart truly was blind
One look one notice could have set them free
Because they knew one day you'd find

They were with you all the time.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau

For those of you who have been following my blog for any length of time you know that I am very candid and open about my life and the illnesses that are affecting me.  Some of you maybe aware if you have been following my Facebook account that I dedicate an enormous amount of time to volunteer work.  Recently, as I was attending the Partnership for Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Planning, I learned about an organization that reached out and spoke to me.  During the meeting they had a Positive Champion perspective, which is a person infected with the disease that talks a little bit about their experience and the stigmas and fears that they faced when they found out.  Now, honestly this hit me so close to home and it made me ask for more information about the group and what their mission was.  Since that first meeting back in April, I have joined them in their cause.

The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau is comprised of HIV-Positive individuals who have come together in a setting that feels like home. We talk about our experiences, what our fears are and were, the stigmas we faced and continue to face, and how HIV has affected our friends and community.  We are a group that leans on and supports one another, and through our efforts we speak out to raise awareness of the disease, we seek to educate others about the issues of living with HIV/AIDS and we hope to end the myths and stigmas that surround it.  Just like so many other illness, when you are told that you have HIV/AIDS, you immediately think that you are going to die, that your life is over, and you wonder how you are going to tell your friends and family what has happened to you.  See in the community at large there seems to be this gulf that people assumes or hopes isolates them from it being their problem.  Since it isn't directly affecting them, they feel safe, and don't bother to learn or understand the enormity of the scope of the disease.  The Positive Champions Speakers Bureau hopes to put a face on the disease, to make individuals understand that it is a disease that doesn't care if you are gay, straight, a millionaire, a drug user, a housewife, a deacon in the church, a song writer, singer, or any other such thing. It can strike anyone anywhere.

Did you know that every 9 1/2 minutes someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV?  And it is everyday people, your doctor, your lawyer, the school teacher, the lunch room lady, your neighbor, your child, or you yourself.  It is a deadly disease, and their is a terrible shame that is associated with it and a guilt that is hard to fight.  There are many ways in which you can catch the disease, but the most common are unprotected sex, IV drug use, having multiple sex partners, etc.  There is a latency in which the virus can remain dormant for a number of years and creep up on you unaware.  Take responsibility for your sexual actions and understand that even that one time could be the time you get it...that one time you didn't use protection is all it takes.  Be sure to get tested regularly.  Know your status!  Trust me it is important, because there are people out there that felt fine, had no indication at all that they were Positive and when the test came back they were.  You don't have to be sick or have symptoms to be infected.  There is a myth that you have to be ill or in the hospital to be infected, but honestly it isn't true.  I had no symptoms, I felt fine, was going for my annual physical with my oncologist and the normal battery of test were run, I decided that it had been 3 months since my last HIV test and it came back negative, that I didn't have anything to worry about so I asked my doctor to run a new one for me with my other tests.  Two days later I was called into the office and told that I was Positive, and that they were going to run a phenotype and genotype to see what strand of the virus I had, but before I left his office he had made an appointment to see an infectious disease doctor the next morning. Now this was because of my medical history, I had been battling cancer and leukemia since 1992 and my immune system was already compromised, by the way this was in 2006. I was placed on a drug regimen even though they caught early on and I had less than 200,000 copies in my blood, and my t-cells were in 600's.

The reason why I am writing about this is because I want each of you to check out our website, it is located at  You will definitely find a lot of information on there, we dispel a lot of myths and stigmas and there are youtube videos that you can watch that will tell the story of some of our champion's.  I want you to encourage you to come back often because each of the members will eventually have their stories up there. You can see our upcoming speaking events, you can even request to have a speaker come to your place of employment or your church or any other type of function and we would gladly schedule the event and speak to your group.  If you would like to volunteer your time or know of someone that might be interested in joining us please feel free to get in contact with me or have them contact one of the members at the site.  Honestly we are inclusive group we do not discriminate in any way, even if you aren't positive, but know someone who is, or have a loved one that is infected we invite you to join our group, because you are affected by the disease as much as the infected person.  As I said the group is warm and inviting, it is friendly and open, we talk and listen to each other.  We support one another, and for some of us this is our family, because for whatever reason our real family has declined to accept us, they cannot wrap their heads around the disease or get past the stigmas and myths that surround it.

No one is going to judge you here, we all have our own story, and I am sure you are going to hear it at one point or another. Even if you aren't a speaker we still ask you to come and join us, we will help you work with you, there are people that come in and give us training on public speaking and how to write a speech.  This is an excellent opportunity to get involved and find a group that really does care about you.  We know what you are going through and we are here to help and love and support you.  We are each of us judged too often already by those around us, this is a place of warmth and safety where you can tell your story and share with others what you are going through.  As you get comfortable, you will see how easy it becomes to talk to others about yourself and your experiences, it becomes easier and easier, almost second nature.  Before you know it, you too are going to be a Positive Champion!

You can also see the Positive Champion Videos if you go to and type in Positive Champions.

Our regular website is

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Gay Relationship are hard enough add distance to it and you got a mess

Now for those of my readers who are gay, you know that I am serious when I say that gay relationships are hard as it is.  But, when you add a long distance romance into the mix you can imagine how difficult that can be.  You often wonder what is happening on the other end.  Mainly because you feel dissociated, that personal connection you have with your partner is strained to the max.  Further, you have to have absolute trust in your partner.  Even the slightest doubt can cause major insecurities to blossom.  Further, as the miles and distance are major factors, you may also find yourselves faced with different time zones and other such impediments that at home relationships don't have to face.

There is also the longing and loneliness that you have to contend with, there is a yearning to be with that person and though it is impossible you try to think up ways of keeping the communication lines open.  You may try video chatting, messaging on Facebook, texting via cellphone, calling and a myriad of other methods to try to whittle the distance down.  I speak from personal experience, I am on a different time zone from my partner, and because of his medical condition and career, we are often unable to communicate.  It kills me when I don't hear from him for days on end.  I found out today that the reason why I haven't heard from him since Saturday was because he is sick and in a lot of pain.

The good thing about my relationship is that I don't have to worry about him cheating, because we have already been down that road.  We have had are party days and fooled around with a lot of people. I know for me that my health will not allow me to do that anymore, even if I wanted too. Further, I know that he isn't interested in anyone other than me. We both have been through an abusive relationship and won't tolerate letting ourselves get back into that type of situation.  Plus, our time together has made us stronger. We talk about everything and every decision. This is the key to any type of relationship.  As I have said before in my article about how to make any relationship work, you have to be flexible and have open lines of communication.  It is imperative that everything you do that affects your life you share with those you love and care about.  What I would love to tell you that as with pain and hurt that time makes it easier. But the truth is that in a long distance relationship time makes it harder to deal with. More and more feelings of dissociation and loneliness creep in.

I would ask you to ask yourself what could you do to bring the too of you closer, and I would challenge you to try and make it happen. Make yourself and your partner happy, close the distance and start over, because I am going to tell you that if you are separated any length of time you are going to have to start over, relearn everything about each other.  In doing so you need to keep an open mind and be flexible to change. As in my case I know that illness is what ended up separating us, and it is what is going to pull us back together. I know we have discussed me coming to where he is at, and then again we have talked about him coming to where I am at.  Which ever way it finally works out is going to be a blessing, because the truth of the matter is we really need each other. We feed off each other and we are actually the opposite of one another. In other words if we were a circle we would each be a half and when combined we would be a whole.

I have been feeling so lost and alone because I feel like a big part of me is missing.  I had fantasies of others and thought that I would explore other options, until the day that my partner and I finally started comparing notes and we realized that we really did love each other and didn't want to have anyone else our lives.  I am so very glad that he is in my life.  Even though we left Atlanta last year each of us going in separate directions we never truly ended the relationships that we had. So we decided that we were going to build on it and make it work even over the distances that separate us.

My hope is that if you are in a relationship, whether straight or gay, that you keep an open line of communication and endeavor to keep an open mind, stay flexible and open to change.  This will make being in a relationship that much easier.  Be willing to give 100 percent of yourself and demand a 100 percent in return. Keep in mind that you have to be willing to accept that no one is perfect...remember that in true love you accept the other person for who they are, all of them as a whole.  A complete package, the good the bad and the indifferent.  Long distance relationships are even tougher, but again I think that the key is talking and having an open communication line.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B