Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lost, Alone and Scared

Over the past few days my world has been in a constant state of flux. Meaning that nothing has been constant, everything has been in perpetual movement.  When that happens the mind looses focus and thoughts can drift impossibly far distances. Emotions which are tied to thoughts are also out of flux with the rest of your body and you withdraw from the physical.  Now to explain this is rather difficult but I think this is a possible reason why we sometimes can be in a crowd and feel all alone.  See it doesn't matter what you are going through when the mind detaches and starts roaming and grasping at straws and random thought patterns, we become un-anchored to the the world around us.  We have a tendency to wrap up in these thoughts and can't fight our way back to ground.  I described that on my Facebook page on Saturday. My emotional state was such that I was upset, angry, profoundly sad, and I couldn't tell you which way was up or down.  I felt trapped in a surreal place of existence and I couldn't quite wrap my head around reality.

Because of a promise I made I can't divulge all the details of what I am going through but I can tell you this much.  When you care and love someone and they are lost to you for whatever reason, your mind creates solutions and equations and thousands of excuses as to what is really going on.  Problem with all of these scenarios that are playing out in your head, you have no foundation or basis in which to draw from, so your thoughts become cyclical, and you go from thinking the worst to the best, and before you know it your orientation is totally screwed up.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of emotional discovery, where you find out that what you once thought was not reality, even though all indicators seemed to point to a fact, when you finally get up on it, you realize that you had misread them, or mislabeled them as fact when they were just feelings.  Which is the funny thing about feelings, they can feel so real that you can almost believe them as fact, when in most cases they aren't, they are just interpretations of the facts that the brain and heart can process.

I can tell you it is a terrible feeling waking up one morning and finding out that everything you once believed in was a lie, that what you thought of as fact, was just in fact illusion created by yourself to keep from facing the truth.  Trust me when I tell you that it is a hard pill to swallow.  Humans are amazing creatures, we have not only the ability to reason, but we also have the ability to feel, and when you put reason and feelings together we get a sort of mental image, problem is that feelings are not as reliable and our images are easily shattered.  When something happens in your life that causes you to doubt everything it is very hard to pull yourself back together.  See, I am not a stranger to the world of addictions and drugs. I am not a stranger to lying to myself to make myself feel better, but I have learned over the years how to come to deal with these falsehoods, and I stand before you a different person.  See I am brutally honest with myself and those around me these days, because I hate to have the feelings of being lost, alone and scared.  I would rather get the initial shock and pain over with than have to deal with it on an on-going form.  So, I gave up on trying to kid myself.

However, there comes a time when we run into individuals that aren't quite at the level that you are. You have asked them repeatedly if they care about you and love you, if they are sure that you are the one they want to be with.  If they aren't at the same place you are, the answer you might get may leave you totally wondering as to your position. See I am a firm believer that everything starts with self and works its way outward. So if you are honest and truthful with yourself you have a greater ability to accept the things that are handed to you.  Some things you wouldn't even expect that hit you with a firm foundation of reality and truth behind you, you will be able to face them and overcome them with ease.  But, every so often something comes along that blind sides you. Something that comes from an unexpected corner, a place where you weren't looking or had thought you had gotten past, and it can rip your sense of reality right out from under you.

You may not understand what I am talking about or where I am coming from with this, and that is absolutely okay.  What I want you to understand there are times when you can be lost, alone and scared and it is not of your own doing.  You can feel those feelings under many different circumstances and I am beginning to understand the amount of pressure that it can put on another person who cares about you.  See, I am beginning to understand the physical and emotional toll of my health conditions on the person that I love.  I am beginning to understand that he has to stand there and watch as my health deteriorates and it makes him feel powerless and vulnerable and angry that there is nothing he can do to make the situation for me any better.  See I can understand him feeling lost, scared and alone during these times and there is nothing I can do to ease that burden from him.  The exact same thing is true for someone doing drugs and the other one not.  The person who is sober might think that they have the power to change the other person but they don't.  You are not a god, you don't have the power to rescue someone else.  The just don't understand that they are loosing not only themselves to it, but you as well. The hardest thing is for you to watch someone circle the drain.  Somewhere you have to be the stronger person and cut them loose and let them go.

2013 is about to start and you don't want to start it off on the wrong foot. There is nothing you can do to change either of the above situations, so inevitably you are going to have to walk away.  The situation is toxic for both of you and you are going to have to cut it loose or end up dragging yourself through the proverbial gutter.  It is hard to say these things because I know that they hurt.  But as sure as I am sitting here today, I realized that some situations are just beyond our control and reasoning. There is nothing I can do to alter either of the scenarios mentioned above.  This is for you, the one that asked me the question what to do if your partner has left you and decided that the drugs are more important than you. I have to tell you a hard truth, I am familiar with the world of drugs, and the effect that they can have on someone.  You are going to have to cut the string and let them go. No matter what happens from this point you must stay strong to yourself and your convictions.  If you give in know you have lost the battle.  I know this from experience once you give in and let someone back into that world it is virtually impossible to get them back out again.

I wish you the best of luck my friend. Because I know how hard it is at this time of year to be going through this alone, but believe it or not I am in a similar situation here in Los Angeles.  I can't go into details as I said earlier, but I do totally understand your feelings of isolation, loneliness and heartbreak at what you are going through.  I sympathize with you and I too am going to have to make a tough decision and pray that God will give me the strength to make it through this with my spirit and heart still intact. I hope you understand that you are not actually giving up on the person. It is going to take more than you to break the hold of the drug that has your friend.  I would never advise someone to give up on another person.  I am not giving up on my friend, I am not supporting or condoning his behavior, but I can't watch it tear apart my relationship and my life again. So if it takes me letting him go and moving on so be it. Lord is my witness that is the last thing I want to do. But, I know I can't make him change and I am not enough of a substitute.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Learning to Live Again

How do you come back to life after almost dying 3 times this year?  How do you come back to life after your world has shattered because your husband died?  How do you come back after you've had a serious injury that has left your confidence and self-esteem injured.  The answer to all of these questions is the same answer, you have to learn to live again.  You have to pick yourself up, and you have to carry on.  Make sure that you give yourself the appropriate mourning period, find and celebrate the silver lining of the situation that you have found yourself in. Remember, that there is always going to be a silver lining to every situation.  Finally you have to look at yourself, really look at yourself and love yourself in-spite of everything that that is happening to you.  In situations like the ones above, we forget to love ourselves and except ourselves for the person that we are and who we have become.  We have a tendency to loose ourselves in our own situation and suffer through it on our own.

Just realizing that you aren't alone, that there are people out there that care about you and are there to support you and help you deal with any situation is the first step in making it through.  From there you have to face yourself in the mirror, accept and deal with the emotional impact of what has happened to you.  If you are brutally honest with yourself you will find a strength that you may never have known before.  We are never given more than we can bear, nor are we ever left to face these types of hard times on our own. Take the time and look around you, you are going to be surprised at how few people you once considered friends  are there for you, however there are going to be others that are still there waiting for you to see them. I realized a short while ago, that when times are tough and you are down or out or even sick only a select group are going to be around for you. It seems that all the others only are around when times are going good and you are up.  These are the ones that I would let go, they are not true friends at all, they are hanger-on's.  People that at every chance are kind and considerate to your face, but behind your back they have only their own interest at heart.

If you remember I have a belief that there are those that come into our lives that are needed and stay an allotted amount of time before they move on.  We each have a support group, those that stand by us through thick and thin, and are willing to go the distance for you when times are tough.  These are the ones that you need to cherish and appreciate. They are going to be the ones that are going to help you pick up the shattered pieces of your life and rebuild it.  These are the friends, relatives and loved ones that are going to accept you and what is going on in your life and offer support and help through the rough times.  These friends are true friends and are hard to find, but when you do, you need to cultivate and nurture them so that they last.  When I tell you that you need to start learning how to live again, these are the ones that are going to swoop in, help dispel the despair and darkness that has descended upon you.  Because believe it or not when something major happens in your life depression is virtually inevitable, it is your friends that will bring joy and light back into your life and help you over the rough times.

Another thing that you have to do is find a new outlet, something that you enjoy and love to do.  This will help take your mind off of your problem or issues and allow you to start enjoying yourself again.  Remember that sometimes we have to immerse ourselves in a new project to take our mind away from our own problems.  I have found that listening to other's problems and issues helps take my mind off of my own issues and offers me an outlet in which I can help someone else and ease their problems.  I have found myself often times offering to help others which in turn actually helps me with my own issues.  See, each experience is a learning experience and believe it or not, most of the time someone is going through something similar to what I am going through and by helping them, helps me figure out what to do in my own life.

One of my earlier blog entries was about how do we get over the death of someone that we love, and what I have found is that we never truly get over their loss.  Our friends can help ease the pain, bring back joy and life into our lives and help motivate us to get up and out and do things again.  Because death, illness, or tragedy often holds us to in place, keeps us from going out and doing things.  One of my dearest friends lost her husband of 24 years recently and according to her daughter the passing sucked the life out of the house and her mother, she asked me to come and help out which is what I have done.  I can tell you that since I have been here that the energy level has changed in the house. No one is sitting idle wallowing, we are getting out and doing things and the depression and darkness that was once here has virtually vanished.  Now, I cannot make the pain of her loss go away, I can only make her laugh and take her mind off of the sadness for short periods of time.  But keeping her busy and giving something other to think about seems to be helping out greatly.  On top of that my partner's sister had a baby and that has breathed new life into our little family and that has also helped take our minds off of our problems.  It is amazing how things work out.

As you know yesterday I talked about how each of us has come through such trials in 2012 and how I am expecting a huge turn around in 2013.  My hope is that my message love, forgiveness, compassion and acceptance is taken on by each and everyone of us as the new year begins.  Please take the time to tell those that have stood by you how much you love and appreciate them. That they mean so much and have touched you in so many ways.  Sometimes we don't do that enough, and we really need to let others know exactly what they mean to us.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19th Status Update

This year has been a tough year for everyone of my friends, and me as well.  I am thankful that it is finally drawing to a close, and on the heels of all the hard times comes several blessings that I want to share with you.  Every day cannot be a picnic and something I have learned coming through 2012 is that you have to take the good with a measure of bad.  But, with hope and faith things will work out for the best, whether you want to believe that or not, it is really true.  As we went through the Thanksgiving holiday we all stopped and gave thanks for the things that we were most thankful in our lives.  But, that was just one point in the year, we need to take a closer look at our daily lives and be thankful daily for the small things that happen to us.  Once you begin to do that you are going to see that the smallest things add up together, these little blessings may not seem to mean much, but when you take a step back and look at how they multiply you will be amazed at just what you can have come through.

As 2012 draws to a close, I have to tell you that I have a new family, that has opened their hearts and home to me and accepted me with open arms.  They have done everything they can to make me feel like I am a part of their family and special.  For someone that hasn't actually enjoyed Christmas or the holidays in many many years, this has been a big shock and surprise.  Since coming out to California my life has been filled with such joy and happiness that it is hard to contain.  God has been so good to me this past year, has brought me such loving and caring friends both in Florida and in California that I can hardly believe how lucky I have been.  Everyone one of us has a story, something that we had to face and come through in 2012 and here we are we have made it. There have been people that have inspired us, motivated us and given us the strength to push onward even when it seemed the darkest.  This holiday season take the time to reach out to those that have been around you and by your side, give them the praise that you feel in your heart.  Tell them how much you appreciate them, and all that they have done for you.  None of us could have made it through this year without our support group, our family and friends that stood by us in our times of trouble and despair.  These are the ones that have made it possible for you to look back and marvel at all that you have endured and come through and deserve the highest praise.

Though I can't put everyone's story out there I want to point out a few that have inspired me and given me hope for a brighter tomorrow and a happier future.  These are stories that show strength, compassion and love.  These are fighters that even when the toughest of times seemed too much to bear they pushed ever onward and have come through.  I know a lot of you think that I am something of an inspiration through everything that I have come through, but I have a dear friend that lost her husband of many many years, who opened up her heart and her home to let me come out to visit.  She has started to live again and with just a little visit and several hugs brought Christmas back into my life.  Then there is her daughter who I have been close to since she was 8 years old that told me what was happening and wanted me to come.  These two have shown me what the meaning of Christmas is all about, love, hope, happiness and joy, even inspite of troubles.  Here is the unique thing about me and my friend, whenever we are apart our energies and lives seem to get off track and turned upside down, most of the time a phone call between us will straighten out our course, though sometimes it takes a bit more like a visit.  I can tell you that since being here I haven't felt this good and strong in a long time. The depression and despair that had seemed to fall over the house quickly evaporated once I got here.  Now with the Christmas tree up and house all decorated it seems like life is finally coming back to the house.    Then there is my friend and partner who while I was going through my own health crisis's and issues in Florida was going through his own all the way across the country.  Even though at times he wasn't sure about "Us" or "Me", we made it through and are together.  Speaking of him, he just had neuro-surgery just two weeks ago, and what a boost to his self-confidence and self-esteem it has been.  I haven't ever seen him this happy or excited since I have met him. Another friend of mine found himself in a horrible living situation that did nothing but weigh him down and destroyed his health. Yet, through it all he maintained a positive outlook and repeatedly demonstrated his strength of character in all of his emails and Facebook postings.  It takes a strong person to endure circumstances like that, and to do it with such grace and love it has truly been inspiring.  I am also wanting to mention my new family Voncellar, CeCe and Mary, thank you so much for being the greatest influence on your son/brother/grandson, and accepting me whole-heartedly into your family making this one of the best Christmas's ever!  Then there are my friends at the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau who have been there with me through every hospitalization, every health crisis and personal /emotional crisis I have gone through this year.  Even though each of them had their own health issues, and problems they made me feel accepted and part of their circle. Thank you guys you don't know how much you all mean to me.  You are my family!

I know times are tough, money is tight, and Christmas this year might not be as perfect as you want it to be, just know that Life doesn't always seem to work out as it is planned or pictured. It can be better or worse depending on your point of view. Even non perfect circumstances can bring contentment and happiness. Though we may wish for the perfect picture of our minds eye, understanding that you just might not get it makes it that much easier to accept. I have often been filled with disappointments by not understanding this little concept, but this year I have a whole new set of eyes and a brand new understanding of how things truly are.  We have to make our own happiness, our own perfect moments, don't wait around for life to give them too you.  If you do, you will be closed off to new and wondrous things that are out there waiting for you.  Understanding this will also help you to understand that even though you aren't exactly where you want to be, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  Nothing worth having comes easy.  It is the stuff that you have to work hard for and struggle with that are the things you treasure the most.  As this year ends make sure you ring it out with good cheer and a song in your heart. Let go of the past, surrender yourself to the future, take that leap of faith and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are going to be happier and more successful in the new year than you ever have been before.

Even as I am getting ready to close this entry, a miracle of life has been granted to my family.  We are welcoming our newest member born just a few minutes ago a new nephew.  A new year, and a new life, what better symbol of hope can there be!

I love you all and wish you a very happy holiday season. Make sure you give praise to those that deserve it, cordiality to those that don't and share the joy and happiness of Christmas and New Years with all around you.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Expect the Unexpected...

As most of you are aware the first few days of December have been extremely busy for me. We had rehearsal for the play “Faces of AIDS” on Thursday November 29th and the actual live performance was on December 1st. Now keep in mind that December 1st is World's AIDS Day and it is also my birthday. This year I turned 44, which is surprising and amazing in itself since no one ever thought I was going to make it to be this old. But you know God has different ideas and plans for our lives and if our work on earth isn't finished then he just might not bring you home. Actually if you want to know that truth of the matter my life started picking up speed right before Thanksgiving and hasn't actually slowed down yet. But as I was saying since I was co-author of the play and a member of the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau and this was a benefit to raise funds for our organization to help us meet the grant requirements, it was my duty to help set up the space and get us ready for the performance. However since it was my birthday I was expected to make an appearance at my dad's place to have a little celebration before the rehearsal and set up, so that is just what I did and it worked out well, I was able to get to the Museum of Arts and Sciences early and help the cast get all set up and organized. Now when I tell you that the performance was awesome, a good time was had by all, I am not selling us short. For the amount of time we had to rehearse and get this under our belts we did a fabulous job. We had a great turn out and when we opened it up to questions and answers the audience participation was excellent. I want to again tell the members of the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau once again, Good Job, Well Done and I am so proud of you.

But that was just the beginning of the adventure that was going to start on December 1st, after the Faces of AIDS Benefit, most of us went on to the Streamline Hotel for another fund-raising event that was to benefit Outreach Community Care Network an AIDS Service Organization of which I am a client of. They are the organization that helps administer the Ryan White Title funding for Volusia and Flagler counties. They are almost like a pride center, they offer medical services, case management, and a whole host of other services. But I digress as usual here. The benefit at the Streamline Hotel was in Tribute and Remembrance of Billie Boots. Who was a pioneer and champion in raising money for HIV and AIDS from the very beginning. I am proud to say that I knew Billie and the huge heart that he/she had for those infected and affected by HIV. For those of you that haven't figured it out Billie was a female impersonator or as some might call her a Drag Queen, no matter what your choice of titles for Billie, I will just say this an Entertainer that really loved Entertaining. Now back in the day when I first met Billie I was a struggling and aspiring female entertainer myself and I had a stage name of Idora Dixx and for years I traveled the drag circuit with folks like Billie Boots, Gilda Golden, Rusty Fawcett, Carmella Marcella Garcia, Paige King, Daniel Hunter and the list goes on. It was at this fundraiser at the Streamline that I ran into my past and reconnected with some great friends and entertainers that I had lost touch with over the years. It was a fabulous night and a great time supporting a worthy cause.

It was also that night that my tooth broke, so Monday I spent the day trying to get in to see a dentist to get it fixed, and then start packing, because my friend Judy decided to call me Sunday December 2nd and pay for my plane ticket out to L.A. Then Tuesday came and I had an appointment with the dentist in Orlando so my friend Mary Bennefield and I jumped in the car and drove to Orlando to see the dentist only to be sent away because I had an infection and my insurance would only cover extracting the tooth. Wednesday my friend had neuro-surgery and I promised to take Mary grocery shopping and run errands. Thursday I had to clean house, do laundry, meet with the Vocational Rehabilitation people and so many other things. Because I was leaving on my trip to California on Friday. Now normally I am not so manic, but I really wanted to get the house clean and everything put up so that when I came home from this trip everything would be done and I wouldn't have to do anything but come home and relax. Because in my experience I usually need a vacation from the vacation because I am one of those people that is always on the go.

Now the whole reason why I am telling you all of this stuff is to demonstrate that we need to always expect the unexpected and be amazed and surprised when miracles happen in our lives. Because let me tell you a bit more about this past week, the things that just jumped out at me and happened. These are not all bad things, most of them have been pleasant revelations and I want to demonstrate them to you. See the way things were happening, me being sick with pneumonia right after Thanksgiving, the play rehearsals, then the benefits, I just had no time to think let alone do anything but react. Because of that I was open to the unexpected and great things happened. I think in a way because I wasn't feeling well, and so much was happening around me, my mind just disconnected and I was open to receiving the unexpected. Now what am I talking about by the unexpected? Well let me tell you, the unexpected are events that take place around you and include you that you are unprepared for totally. That being said I will use the play event as an example, even though I had helped write the script for the play and helped with stage managing and blocking the cast, I wasn't actually prepared mentally for the performance. I had just been out of the hospital for 7 days and my mind couldn't remember my lines to save my life. But when it came down too it and I was on the stage and the action was happening around me, a peace settled over me, it almost seemed like time slowed down, and the action around me faded just a little, and the words poured out of my mind and mouth like I knew what they were supposed to be. That my friends is the unexpected. Moving on, I was exhausted and my feet hurt from being on them all day, I had no intention of going to the Streamline that night, but I had never been there before and everyone was talking about going and somehow I just agreed and went. Bam! The unexpected happened, not only did I have a fantastic time and got to hangout with my new friends from the Speakers Bureau, I also ran into some very old and dear friends from my past. I actually reconnected with a few, exchanged numbers and have made plans with them for after my trip to California. So see, the unexpected just jumped out at me and happened. The rest of the week was just happening so fast and everything was a blur, I didn't think I would even have time to catch my breath let alone get everything done that I wanted to get done before I left, but as I shut the door on my apartment this morning I smiled on with contentment everything was completed and done before my father ever showed up to take me to the airport.

Here is another example of expect the unexpected, and it wasn't necessarily a good thing either, see the unexpected can be either good or bad depending on the situation and the circumstances that surround it. I got up this morning had a few last minute things to pack, which I had put out in the living room by the suitcase so I would see them when I got up, I got all of that done with remarkable precision, even had the ticket laying on the coffee table in a place where I would see it and pick it up. Dad got there and I scooted around to get him the stuff I wanted him to take home because I thought it might go bad while I was gone. As we left out I gave the keys to my neighbor so she could collect my mail for me and stuff, and had dad take me to the gas station to get an electronic cigarette so I could have something to smoke on while I was in the airport and on the plane. Once I paid for it and got back in the car I looked around and couldn't find my itinerary or e-tickets anywhere. I couldn't find them in the car, we went back to the gas station and they weren't there, and then we went back to my apartment and I looked around and couldn't find them anywhere. All my careful planning and making sure I had everything went right out the door. I had made dad come over early so I could be early to the airport. Got there just a little before noon and guess what the flight didn't leave until 3:55, it was supposed to leave at 1:52. Then my connecting flight in Charlotte was also delayed. Again, it is me, I should have expected the unexpected!

Honestly no matter how hard I try to plan something it always falls apart or turns out a colossal mess, however if I do things spontaneously and by the seat of my pants it usually turns out spectacular. I have been told that it is a part of my nature as dictated by my zodiac sign which is Sagittarius. I am not sure how true that is but I know that things seem to flow better and have better results when I just wing it as they say. So, what is it that I am trying to tell you in this article? I am telling you that you have to be open and flexible. Life rarely goes the way we want or plan, you have to accept the inevitable and just go with the flow, the unexpected isn't always negative, it can have some positive benefits as well just like in my examples. The truth is life just happens and no matter how carefully you plan, sculpt and try to make things happen, it might just go awry for no apparent reasons. Realizing this will cut down on the stress and disappointment you feel when it happens to you. I have told you before that life is messy, full of twisted and colorful characters, chance events and encounters, adventures and all sorts of things that will get you totally filthy dirty if you let it. Enjoy it, go out there and get crazy wild and totally dirty, but have fun doing it. Don't let your temper flair because your vacations plans got screwed up, go with the flow, enjoy yourself. I am sure that if you just let it go, go with the flow and enjoy yourself no matter what you are going to have the time of your life.

Life is crazy, hectic, and doesn't conform nicely or neatly into rigid roles, rules and plans, so you have to expect that you are going to be thrown a curve-ball every now and then, that your plans are never going to happen as you expect them to and that you have to be flexible and enthusiastic enough to just go with it and enjoy it. This trip started off pretty good and I am rolling with the flow here, and I am happy that I did, I haven't gotten upset or stressed out at all and this is going to be the best trip ever, wanna know why? Cuz, I found out that my boyfriend is coming to meet me tomorrow which is totally unexpected, but totally welcome. Again expect the unexpected and be open to change. It is all about acceptance and adaptability.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's 2 a.m. and I am still awake!

Believe it or not I went to bed rather early tonight, I had a very long day and couldn't find anything on television and didn't feel like watching a movie, so decided to call it quits.  I actually laid down and covered my head with the blanket and closed my eyes.  Slept maybe 2 hours and something woke me up, there was a chill in the air and I was uncomfortable. I got up went to the bathroom and decided to log back into Facebook.  There was nothing on my wall, but I noticed something over on the right hand side of the screen. My boyfriend's brother had put something up on his wall about being bored and so forth.  I have no idea what made me scroll through the list of posting notifications to find his name, but I did.  When I clicked on his name I was taken to his wall.  Now, a few weeks ago he was in Tacoma visiting my boyfriend and I had made some comments on his picture on my partners wall, but I never sent him a friends request I just subscribed to his public posts.  Anyhow, I digress and none of that is really important.  What is important is that when I got to his page, I saw a picture of my boyfriend all hooked up to wires and tubes sleeping in his hospital bed.   Now this in itself wasn't anything spectacular, except that it was.  See I checked the time stamp on the picture and it was posted at the same moment that I woke up.  Now believe it or not for some reason I thought that the surgery was supposed to be today Thursday, so you can imagine my surprise when I got a call earlier in the evening from my boyfriend telling me that he was out of surgery and that it was a success and that he was okay.  I knew that something was up from the tone of his voice so I asked what was going on and he told me that he was in a lot of pain, but that I needed to call him tomorrow on his cell that they were going to keep him overnight and possibly tomorrow.

Why I am telling you all of this is because at the exact moment that his brother put up the picture of him on Facebook and asked all of his friends and everyone else to keep him in prayer while he was recovering, I woke up from a dead sleep.  Was drawn to the computer and then to his page and the picture.  Of course a lot of the comments on the page were what happened, what's wrong, and that everyone was going to pray for him.  Which was very cool and greatly appreciated let me tell you!  I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and the awesome healing power of faith and God.  I was able to comment on the picture and let everyone know that I had talked to my guy and that he made it through surgery and everything was fine and that he was in pain, but everything else was good.  I was also able to take that picture and share it with my friends and loved ones on my page, and from there it was sent out to others. When I tell you that this was the start of a very powerful prayer chain you aren't going to believe how many people saw the picture clicked the like button and forwarded it on.  At last count is was over 3,000 people, and for each like = 1 prayer for a quick and speedy recovery.

When I tell you that God is good and great, answers prayer and delivers miracles in our daily life even today I hope that you believe me.  Because I am living proof. My life is a testament to the awesome healing power of God, the power of prayer and the simple act of faith.  Now, of course this is not about me, but I will tell you this much, in March of 2012, my partner was sitting exactly where I am on Facebook talking to his friends and asking for them to pray for me. My colon had ruptured in 2 places and I was rushed into emergency surgery and died on that operating table 3 times.  I spent 19 days in intensive care, and here I am whole and healthy talking to you.  God is the great Physician and the Ultimate Healer, and through prayer you can be delivered, all it takes is faith and being open and receptive to receive the blessings and miracles He will bestow upon you.  God is so good that it doesn't even have to be a surgery or an emergency to provide little miracles in our daily life.  But they are subtle and if you aren't watching you may miss them completely or even take them for granted.  Me finding this apartment and moving in and staying here for almost 3 weeks rent free without a lease or any binding agreement is proof of that.  I was sick when I was asked to  leave from where I was staying, as a matter of fact I was being driven to the emergency room when I was told that the room I was using was needed for someone else.  Within a matter of days I was able to move and get this place and be comfortable.  Yes finances have been tight, but you know what I have been here over a month and a half all by myself and making it.  Yes there has been some struggling on my part but the fact of the matter remains the prayer was answered.  I was delivered and a miracle took place.

Now, when my partner finally recovers from this surgery he has a home of his own to come home to.  This is a place that I found that suited our needs and it was with him in mind that I chose this location, and have been patiently waiting for him to be able to travel and come back to me.  I am thankful that the surgery finally took place, he had been waiting for so long and was so anxious as the date approached.  This too was an answered prayer, the timing was a little off for what we actually wanted because our original plans were that he was going to meet me in L.A. on Saturday and we were going to spend Christmas and New Years together this year since we were separated last year and didn't get to spend it together.  But, see God's timing is not like ours and this was God's will that the surgery took place now, and in the long run it is actually better that it happened this way.  Because now once he is recovered enough to travel he is still coming to meet me in L.A. and from there we are going to come back to Florida.  There is no more having to wait for the surgery, no more second guessing when the surgery is going to be, and he is now free to come home and be happy and work on the future.

I have to say all in all I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift than this.  It is also during times like this that the pettiness of life is stripped away and the truth is laid bare for the whole world to see.  Over the past 4 days or so things have been moving pretty fast for us, and communication was strained  and someone said something to me that caused me a moments pause, had me doubting the sincerity of my partners intentions and brought me darn close to questioning whether or not he loved me.  Had me looking in shadows and thinking things that may or may not be true.  Yet, tonight as I am sitting here talking to you and writing this it occurs to me that all that has gone on before is of the past.  It cannot be altered or changed and really doesn't matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of the world.  See I know the truth, I got the phone call from the hospital bed telling me that he loved me and that he was okay.  That he wanted to call me and let me know what was going on.  He could have easily had his mother or stepmother do it. They were both their at the hospital with him. But he picked up the phone in pain and under the heavy sedation and made the call to me so that I wouldn't be worried and that I would know that he was alive and well and in God's hands.  So all that petty crap, all the stuff that was floating around in my head was swept away with relief and happiness.

See it doesn't matter about any of that other stuff, nothing matters at all to me except that he made it through, everything else from this point forward is going to be new territory and we are going to face it together. Despite what anyone else has to say.  Trust me we made it this far together, there is nothing that is going to hold us back now. Keep this in mind always.  God doesn't care who you were, what you did! He only cares who you are, who you will be, and what you are going to do.  The past is just that the past, it cannot be changed, but the future is unwritten and you have a story to tell.  Be a beacon of hope, a light of truth, and friendship. Extend the hand of love and be conscientious of your fellow man's feelings.  If you do those things this world is going to be a brighter and happier place for all of us.  There is too much darkness and negativity in the world today, and the only way to combat it is with love, laughter and hope.  Face each new challenge with a positive attitude and faith in your heart and know that you are going to be victorious.  Here is another secret, only hate, evil and negativity thrives in darkness, and when it is exposed to light it withers, runs and fades away.  Love and friendship and laughter are the light my friends, and with God and prayer on your side you cannot loose.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Never limit yourself

I am always amazed when I hear people saying things like "I don't like that" or "I can't be friends with you because you are too old".  I guess because it has never been said to me personally yet at this point in my life. See I guess I have what you call good genes, because I look younger than I am by ten years or so I have been told.  It doesn't hurt that I don't act my age, and on most occasions I am surrounded by people half my age.  But it doesn't just stop there, all sorts of people make snap judgments and stick with them as fact.  My brother and father do it all the time, they refuse to try something new, they say they don't like it but have never in fact tried it.  How can you know that you don't like something if you don't try it?  In my mind it isn't possible to not like something if you haven't tried it.  Making snap judgments may just keep you from experiencing something that is truly memorable.  When practiced on people it will cause you to build a false perception of someone, which when you finally get to know the person, that perception you created from your judgment shatters and you are forced to reevaluate the person under the new understanding of them that you have gained from getting to know them.

My advice to you is that you might find that if you are open to experimentation and adventure you are open to a whole host of new experiences and ideas that were once closed off to you.  Keep in mind that if you try something and you don't like it you don't have to go back or do it again.  But if you keep yourself closed off to new possibilities you might be missing out on living a full life.  For those of you who limit your circle of friends based on age, weight, looks or religion you could be missing out on meeting someone very special in your life.  See, I am a firm believer that everyone that comes into your life comes for a reason, either they have something to teach you, or you can teach them something, or they could be the best friend that you could ever have.  There is nothing saying in life that you have to like or date everyone that comes into your life, those are preferences and they are okay.  What I am trying to talk about here are friendships, casual relationships, not sexual ones.  Sexual relationships are a bit different because there has to be attraction, and something that you like about the person for them to happen.

Friendships are important and you need to be open and receptive to everyone that comes into your life. Because people are colorful, vibrant and bring depth and texture into your life.  I have told you guys before in past entries that you never know where a casual encounter can take you.  By limiting your scope of experience in trying new things, new people, and gauging them by limitations that you impose on them you run the risk of never getting to know true friendship and the joy of truly living.  You may even be surprised that once you get past your the limitations you imposed upon yourself, you might find that you like and are attracted to new things and different types of people.

I would like to remind each of you that age is only a state of mind. You are only as old as you think and feel you are.  Some young people tend to shy away from meeting and becoming friends with older people because they think that they will have nothing in common.  But you might be surprised how well you might get along with someone older, that you can talk to them easier and have more in common than you could ever have thought.  Further, especially in the gay community young people automatically think that when an older person approaches them that they are only interested in sex.  You might be surprised that it is the people that are your same age that have sex constantly on their mind.  Once you have sex with them, they are out of there, and in reality you had nothing in common with them at all.  Just because someone is older than you doesn't mean that they only want your body.  Yes it does happen sometimes, but most of the time they want get to know you, have been watching you and think that they might be able to guide you or offer you advice or want to help you.

As I was writing this it dawned on me that we allow ourselves to be limited by not only our own imposed limitations, but also the limitations put on us by others.  An example of that would be, that I had always wanted to explore my talents more, I was told by my parents that a person couldn't make money using their artistic abilities, and of course I believed them.  It wasn't until I was much older and had ended a career in Computer Information Technology field that I learned how wrong they were on that point.  I write now and do so full time, it started out as a hobby and has become so much more than that now.  Don't let other people dictate limitations on you, explore your creative side, enjoy life, and be passionate about what you do.  What you are going to find out by doing so is, that whatever you are passionate about, will make you happy and fulfill you in such away that you are going to feel good about yourself.  Trust me when I tell you that money is going to find and follow you if you follow your heart and your passion.  People are going to see it in your work and feel it when they are around you and that is going to draw income towards you.

Life is too short to arbitrarily dismiss something because you are unsure, or someone has told you something. You owe it to yourself to go out there and explore, try something new, be adventurous, and if there is something that you find that you don't like, or aren't into, then by all means don't pursue it anymore.  Like I said when I started this entry you can't alienate someone because you think they are too old, too fat, too nerdy, or whatever other criteria you impose on yourself and them.  Because believe it or not if you give them half the chance they might surprise you and bring something into your life that you never thought possible.  Again, I am not saying that you have to sleep with them, but to discount them off hand without giving them a chance or the benefit of the doubt is limiting to yourself and cutting yourself off from their wisdom, experience and of course their friendship.  Take a chance, not everyone that is old, acts old, or is actually old.  Some young people may have old souls and seem mature beyond their years, are you going to eliminate them too?  Keep in mind that every person you meet, every encounter that you experience and adventure you embark upon you can learn and grow from.  Life is a series of growing spurts.  I was young and foolish once and thought that I would never have friends older than me.  How wrong I was about that, and I think back on some of the decisions I made and wonder what kind of friendships I might have nurtured and cultivated if I had just been open and receptive to trying and experiencing new things. Have you ever heard the term don't knock it till you try it.  That goes with food, adventures, people, new things and everything else in life.  How are you seriously going to know if you don't like something if you never get out there and experience it or try it.

I can tell you now my eyes are open, and I am friends with everyone. I don't make snap judgments these days, and I have friends of all age ranges and I am a happier more rounded person because I do have them in my life.

Give a person a chance, get to know them, see for yourself what I am talking about.  I think you will thank me that you did.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Monday, December 3, 2012

How do you react?

How would you react if someone told you something about yourself or your partner that just plain hurt you?  You don't know the whole situation or story, and the person might be lashing out at you or your partner because they have been hurt by your actions?  Would you confront the person and try to get to the bottom of why they were telling you this information?  Or would you wait to talk to your partner and see if any or all of it might be true?  What if you are already having doubts and insecurities about yourself and the relationship?  How would you react then?  See something was said to me the other night that has been bothering me and I don't know what to do, or how to handle the situation.  See, a part of me knows from the past that what was told to me could be true, but me and my partner have an agreement that situations like what was described to me wouldn't happen.  Now, I know that the person who brought this up, was hurt by something that my partner did and so I am not sure if they weren't just lashing out and trying to hurt him.  All I know for sure is that what was said was something that hurt me.  Then to make matters worse, I haven't been able to talk to my partner about any of this.  For the past two days he hasn't taken any of my calls, and when he finally did call, I asked him if he was some place private where he could talk, he told me that he would call me right back and then hung up.

All of these factors have me guessing as to what is really happening, and since my relationship is already strained because of the distance apart we are and the length of time we have been away from each other, it just makes all of this so much harder.  Plus, there are a few other things that have been bothering me since before my birthday that I have been waiting to talk to him about.  Unfortunately, I am a very social person and I don't do well on my own.  I like being able to talk to him about my problems and issues, which is awesome that I have found someone that I can do that with.  However, there are times like today when I wanted to talk to him, it seemed like it was an inconvenience and he had to go right away, and here I sit waiting for him to call back.  I try my best to be patient, and also as supportive and understanding as I can be. However, he sometimes pushes me to the extreme limit of my endurance, which makes it doubly hard. We have tried to make sure that our relationship is solid enough that we can talk to each other about anything, and discuss it.  We have never had a fight, and as far as I know there have been no secrets that we have kept from one another.  When we first started dating we made a couple of promises to ourselves that we have worked hard to keep in place. Those would be, that we would never go to bed mad at one another, that we wouldn't like to one another, that we would always be upfront and frank about our intentions and discuss things that might be contrary to our normal relationship.

I can tell you that this year has put this to the test in many ways, and I think that he has done a pretty good job of living up to those promises.  I also know that he would tell you that I have beyond a shadow of a doubt. I keep nothing secret from him and no matter how hurt I am, or how hurt he might be from a topic I eventually bring it too him.  As far as I can tell he has been truthful with me about what he has been doing and who he has been hanging out with.  It is hard because we are on opposite sides of the country, but we are doing our best to make it work. When I find it hard to cope with certain situations or when I don't have the ability to talk with him about things I come to you and talk to you guys about it.  This sort of clears my mind and gives me a direction to go in.  So it is rough and hurtful when someone inadvertently or even intentionally upsets that delicate balance.  Now like I stated above, I know from our past, certain activities and things that he has been known to do and participate in, so what was said to me isn't outside the realm of possibilities.  But, on the other side we have discussed these things and he has told me that he wasn't doing them, and that he felt guilty when he tried because I wasn't there with him.  So you can see my concern and confusion.  I love him so very much and I trust him, but the way the statements were delivered to me have given me pause and I would like to find out first hand from him exactly what he has been up too and put my fears and insecurities to rest.

I hope that he finds the time and energy to call me back so that I can finally put my mind to rest on this issue. Because let me tell you the past two days have been rough and all sorts of thoughts have been flying around in my head.  My head tells me that he wouldn't hurt me intentionally like that, but my heart is telling me that it is possible, because it is certainly a way for him to make some money for him to come and see me while I am in California.  But as I sit here and think about this, it really doesn't matter to me, because honestly there is nothing I can do about the situation from where I am at.  It just hurts me that he didn't feel comfortable enough to confide in me in detail his plans so that I wouldn't be caught off guard and hurt like I was.  Like I said the person who told me the details was hurt by something that he had done, and might have been lashing out trying to hurt him and I got caught in the crossfire.

Above all else I want him to know that I am here for him, that I care about him, and that I want him to tell me what he has going on so situations like this don't keep happening.  It is when I am blindsided that I feel like an idiot and are hurt by the words of others.  It is not like he is doing something wrong, however in a relationship those things should be discussed before they happen so that both parties are aware of the situation prior and can fend off the hurtful words and attacks by others.

I hope that he understands that no matter the outcome, my feelings aren't going to change about him, but I want him to confide in me, talk to me and tell me what his plans are before he does them.  I am not one of those people that believes that you should beg for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. I would rather you give me the option to voice my concerns and opinions before the deed is actually done, versus being dismissed out of hand without any say in the situation until it is over and done with.

Remember that all relationships depend on and need open lines of communication, that there has to be a balance that is maintained and that you are absolutely honest with one another no matter the pain that is associated with it.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Saturday December 1st Dual Meaning for me!

You know when I was young December 1st only had one meaning for me, but as I got older and the AIDS pandemic was realized that day was forever changed for me.  Today I am one out of countless people that deal with living with HIV the precursor to AIDS.  Now, a lot has changes since the 80's with the hysteria and rumors running rampant through the country.  The life expectancy of a newly infected person is now close to 30 years with the current drugs that are on the market.  However, that doesn't mean that there still aren't deaths and complications that can arise that can shorten someone's lifespan.  As the title suggest I have now two reasons to celebrate on December 1st.  I guess the first and foremost one would be that it is my birthday, and second is the celebration of Worlds AIDS Day.

This year I am celebrating my 44th birthday, I am blessed and lucky to have such a long life.  Though I have health issues and concerns, I have still outlived some of my closest and dearest friends and loved ones.  See, in the early years of HIV/AIDS there wasn't much knowledge about the disease, how it was spread, and what could be done to treat it.  Many of my friends died a very painful and agonizing death, others became detached because of dementia and other factors.  It was hard for me watching so many of the people I love die, even worse was the fact that a longtime partner didn't even recognize me or know me the day that he died. We had been together for years, I was the lucky one, I didn't contract the disease right away.  As a matter of fact when he died in 95, I was finishing up my first battle with colon cancer and seemed to be none the worse for wear.

I have to be honest I was lost for quite awhile after his death, and so I decided to go back to school and that is when I first discovered my love for writing.  Here we are 20 years later and I am still writing and that is a blessing.  But nothing could take away the pain nor the hole that was left in my life by his passing. However, in 1997 I met an extraordinary person who moved me away from Orlando and my family and took me to the  "Big City" of Atlanta.  Where I actually lived and worked till this year.  I have met some wonderful and beautiful people on my journey, and I have made some big mistakes.  It is also where I contracted the virus that I had so carefully avoided.  I am the type of person that learns everything I can about the diseases and illness I am faced with.  Through that knowledge it led me to a greater understanding of the people that are affected by the disease as well as those infected by it.  See it is important to remember that a person doesn't actually have to be infected by the disease for it to affect them in some way.  None of us are immune to feeling the effects of a friend or loved one becoming infected.  Of course the circumstances and the situations are different still between the affected and the infected.

When I moved to Volusia County in February of 2012 I didn't know what I was going to find.  I came here blind only knowing my father.  Didn't even know the person he was living with. So I was on my own.  No friends, only my dad, no car, no money.  But I came anyway, and I have to tell you that I am happy that I did.  Through my curiosity and wanting to keep up with my medical treatments for HIV, I contacted the Florida AIDS helpline and got some information on resources in my area. Within a matter of days I had set up appointments and began my journey.  My first case manager, was Donna Wood, a wonderful woman who like me cares about people and their welfare.  She took me under her wing and talked to me about several programs that she thought I might be interested in, and by the summer I had joined and became part of several groups that advocate and fight the stigmas, myths and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS.  She also encouraged me to continue my writing and telling my story to anyone and everyone that would listen, for that I am going to be ever grateful.  So this year when the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau talked about doing an event for raising money for our group during the Worlds AIDS Week celebration I quickly volunteered to help.

The group decided that we were going to do a dinner and a play for our fundraiser.  We met with other organizations and coordinated our efforts so that we could do the play and not interfere with anyone else's events.  It was held at the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences.  It was a catered affair, with a wine and cheese reception before, a slide presentation during the meal and then our performance.  The turn out was spectacular, and I have to say that we all had a great time.  It was a learning time and a time for coming together.  We took a topic that is highly sensitive, we broke it down into real life examples, told our story, and we did it in such a way that it wasn't heavy or stale, and gave it a human face, and a little humor and it was met with a great response. I am proud to say that I was the co-author the play, and I believe that throughout the work you can see the upbeat and positive energy that was lovingly put into it.  For those of you who didn't get to attend you missed something spectacular and revealing.

But you know, it was after the play was done and everyone was leaving that I had a chance to talk to some of the wait staff and people that were behind the scenes, and you know what was amazing to me was how open and receptive these young people were to the message we were sending out.  Two of the young men that were on the Banquet line and passing through the tables collecting the dirty dishes were 17 years old, they saw and heard the play, and one of them told me that he had learned a lot about the disease that he didn't know from our play, and that we had taken a taboo subject and made it humorous and delivered it with a delicacy that was excellent.  That the facts and figures that were expressed were done in a way that made them memorable and helped him to feel more comfortable about being tested and finding out more about the disease.  Now trust me when I tell you that I was touched by this. Because our goal is to address the younger generation, educate them, help them to understand the stigmas, fears that surround the disease and finding out that you are positive.

The young man went on to say that he was impressed with me because of my response to when I was asked questions about my health and how I managed to stay so upbeat and positive with all that I am facing.  Honestly, it was him and his willingness to talk to me that impressed me.  See, I am living with it, I have been dealing with it for awhile and I have come through the stigmas, social fears, the pressure of when to disclose and when not too, so talking to others about my illness has become second nature to me.  But here was a young man wanting to know more about what he could do to help bring awareness to his peers and friends and that my friends made the whole evening worthwhile.  Yes it is true that we want an end to the disease, the persecution, and the segregation that we feel when we disclose, but we also want to reach these young people. Help them to understand that safe sex, and getting tested routinely is important.  We want them to realize that HIV/AIDS doesn't care if you are gay or straight, male or female, white or black, hispanic or asian, it doesn't care if you are rich or poor, it doesn't care at all! We are all targets for it.  We also want them to realize that there are cultural differences that will be barriers that they may have to overcome and that there are others out there just like them that are going through the same things, and that there are people who care and are willing to help them.  No one has to face this alone.

Now as I close this entry, I want you to think about this, HIV/AIDS can impact your life at anytime, through yourself or those around you.  You can't tell if someone is sick or infected just by looking at them.  Heck three out of five people today are infected and have no signs of illness or even know that hey are infected.  You just can't tell.  We each have a voice and we can do something about this, we have been too quiet for far too long, people are still dying out there, and HIV/AIDS hasn't gone away.  Talk to your friends and family about it.  Volunteer your time if you have some, educate yourself and learn more about how it is affecting your community. Become a light in the darkness and let others know you care.  Though World's AIDS Day is only celebrated once a year, I hope that you will take the initiative in your own life and make it a celebration every day like I do.

I also want to say thank you for all of you who came to the benefit, saw our play and enjoyed yourself. I am glad you came, I am happy that we were able to deliver not hard topic to discuss, but also shared with you a part of ourselves and our stories.  You made all our efforts worthwhile.  Thank you to the Positive Champions Speaker's Bureau for becoming my family, my friends, and letting me be a part of your group.  Thank you for the support you have shown me this entire year as I have been battling my own health issues, and most of all thank you with trusting me with your stories, so that the play could be written and acted out. Thank you for listening to my advice and suggestions when we were rehearsing, and for making this event such a wonderful experience for everyone.

I would also like to say that I am so very proud of you all, for putting yourselves out there and giving of yourselves daily to each other and the community.  Your efforts inspire me and make me happy to have found such a group of loving and supportive people.  I am already looking forward to the coming year and all the things that we can do to help improve our community and our group.

I love you all!

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Acceptance starts at home

Over the past couple of days the topic of acceptance has been presenting itself to me over and over again.  First, in my relationship, then in my own personal life.  What I came up with after dealing with this issue for the past 3 days is that if you want to be able to accept another person, you have to be able to accept yourself.  You have to be comfortable in your own skin, if you ever want to be comfortable loving and accepting anyone else in your life.  Here is what I know, I am not comfortable with all the scars, the bags, and all the limitations that have happened with my body since I have gotten ill.  The truth of the matter is that I was even scared to tell my boyfriend of five years that with everything that my body has gone through, I may never be able to have sex again.  This was something that I was ashamed of, self-conscious of, and most importantly it was a shortcoming that I am very insecure about ever since my illness raised it's head in 2005.

To be honest with you, my self-esteem had suffered, but over the past 8 years, it has begun to make a comeback.  See it was through the efforts of previous boyfriends and relationships that have made me realize my self worth, and through their help my self confidence and self esteem have been bolstered. Yet it has still taken me years to come to terms with my illness and limitations.  It wasn't until I wrote about overcoming limitations in my blog that I actually came to terms with my own.  Yet, it didn't stop there, see my boyfriend suffers from his own insecurities and has a hard time taking compliments.  His self esteem is impaired from his previous relationship and the mental and physical abuse he suffered through.  It is extremely hard for him to think that anyone can care about him, that the feelings that he is feeling is real.  He also has a hard time accepting compliments.  He doesn't actually like attention to be called to him or his accomplishments.  I think that the reason for this is because he has to embrace what has happened to him in the past, accept it and move on. Once he can do that he will be able to accept his own limitations, insecurities and shortcomings.

This is what I know about insecurities, we each have them. Without the love of another it may be totally impossible to overcome those insecurities, to be one hundred percent comfortable in our own skin.  See the insecurities we have will make it impossible to accept the compliments of others, we will still see ourselves as we perceive ourselves to be. We will hold people back by the walls we have built to protect us from having to relive or reveal those insecurities to others.  Basically, we are keeping others at arms length, never letting them to get to know the real us.  It is extremely important when you let your walls down, to let them all down, reveal your deep seated insecurities, reveal to your partner you vulnerabilities and trust them to hold them close to their heart and not betray you.  By doing this you will allow the other person to get to know the real you and together you can assuage and face those fears together.  I honestly believe that through love and our hearts. two people can face and overcome anything.

I know from my own insecurities, that I was holding myself back, that I didn't even have hope, that I was ashamed, embarrassed and wouldn't let anyone close to me.  It took someone that was persistent and very insistent that he loved me.  Then it took him months and months to convince me that he loved me, that the bags, scars and others insecurities didn't matter to him, that he loved the person he saw inside of me and my personality, my brain, intelligence and a hundred other things that attracted him to me.  My biggest fear was that I wouldn't find anyone that could love me, accept me or even consider going out with me because I have the bags, that I couldn't have sex, and that I had all of these scars. Insecurities led to fear and fear can paralyze us and keep us from taking the chances and risks that we need to.  It can keep us from becoming successful and limits our resourcefulness.

It is also true that our own fears and insecurities can make us reject out of hand the compliments others dish out to us, and it can even keep us from accepting criticism. Now this can lead to the build up of pressure and  stress.  Which in turn if not processed properly can lead lead to depression. Now for most of us this is something that can be worked on and overcome, but for those that are in the public eye or even famous this might lead to other problems that may affect their work or livelihood.  A famous singer from Nirvana, Kirk Cobain. could attest to this fact if he were still alive.  Stress and depression from perceived limitations and disabilities can lead us to severe depression and dark thoughts, which might in turn lead us down the path toward suicide.  Remember that thoughts of suicide creep up on us when we feel like we are trapped and our problems are insurmountable and we can't get past them.  It is important for us to face our insecurities embrace them and learn to overcome them.

Keep in mind that not all insecurities and limitations are physical, they can be mental or perceived as well.  This does not make them less real then the physical ones.  I hope that you understand that we can overcome them and face them with the love and support of others.  The first step in this process is to be open and frank about them.  When you can talk about them, even joke about them, you are able to express them in such a way that you can let the healing begin.  Keep in mind that only you can start the process.  You can't live in fear and concern and expect to move forward in your life.  Hiding behind walls and keeping it bottled up inside of you will only add to your pain and stress.  Trust me when I tell you that these fears and insecurities are painful, and only by exposing them to others can you lessen the pain that you feel.  You may be totally surprised when you finally are ready to open up about them that others are just as fearful and scared as you are. That they too have some deep seated insecurities, that are just waiting to be exposed to the light of day. And that by talking about them you lessen the power they have over you and your life.  Also, once you start talking about them you become more comfortable with them, and eventually they will not be a plague to you anymore.

You are not alone in this.  Everyone of us has something about our bodies, our looks and personality that we don't like, but these are what makes us different and unique, and as you express them to others, you will find that they are what gives you the character, drive and strength.  They aren't as limiting as you thought they were.  They may be the reason why you have acted a certain way your entire life, and they could be the very thing that has defined you.  But once you expose them to others, and start facing them and dealing with them, you are going to find ways to accept them and once you do that you can overcome them.  We are not so different you and I, we may have different fears and insecurities, but we have them, maybe by birth or by mishap, or illness.  Each of us are different, but we are still the same.  We each have fear and we like to keep hidden those things which bother us.  But, when you start talking about them, and expose them to the light so to speak you are going to find that there are others just like you that may have similar fears, similar insecurities, or similar illnesses or situations that will make it easier for you to identify with and be more open and forthcoming.  Once you open the flood gates you will be surprised where that current might take you.  You may even find that what you thought was a flaw or insecurity wasn't that at all.

You can't accept someone fully and totally if you can't accept yourself.  They say that in order to love another that you have to love yourself first, and that is true.  Keep in mind that acceptance starts by facing and embracing your insecurities, fears and flaws and dealing with them.  Once you can do that you can accept those that others have.  Communication my dear ones is the key to this as with so many other issues that we face. Man is a social creature, we need the interaction of others to keep us healthy and happy, and by opening yourself up and accepting that which you cannot change and talking about it, you will find yourself that much stronger.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

The One That Got Away!

 Over the past couple of days I have been thinking about my past, as my birthday neared, I took the time to stop and wonder what if? What might have been?  What would be different? Plus a whole host of other questions that we are not supposed to ask ourselves.  It has been my experience that the more we look back and ask these questions, the further it takes us from moving forward to the next phase of our lives.  But sometimes circumstances arise that cause us to look at the past from a different perspective, see things a bit differently.  See it is my contention that one reason why people tend to hold on to the past so tightly is because they glamorize what had happened, time and distance have lessened the pain, and we look backward with fondness.  This makes it that much harder to accept the present, and the hardships that we are facing currently.  We see that our problems are insurmountable and that we can't possibly over come them.  It is our past that keeps us firmly rooted in place.  The future is hard to imagine and if we can't see past our present problems how do we think that we can ever make it through to the future.  Honestly, it is that type of thinking that will lead you back to the What if's, the Could have been's and all the other questions.

Each of us has had relationships in the past, but for some reason we have a tendency to compare our current relationship to those that have come before it.  As I said we glamorize it and make it out to be better than it was.  What we must keep in mind is that no two individuals are ever alike, and that in similar circumstances those same two people are going to react and handle the situation in a totally different manner.  Now, what some of you may not realize, is that by constantly comparing your current to the past, it is keeping you from accepting the new relationship as it is being presented to you and you are alienating your current from committing to you, because they don't honestly think that they can compete or compare to your ex.  So what tends to happen is that you end up pushing that person away, they are disillusioned from constantly hearing about your past and how perfect your relationship was.   When the truth of the matter is that if your relationship from the past was so great then answer me this, why aren't you still with that person in the first place. What you have to remember is that the problems you faced and caused you to break up are still there, they haven't changed or gone away, you just don't feel the intense emotional and physical pain that you did when you were with that person.

I am sure some of you have found that out. You have gone back to the ex, and had expected that the person and the situation had changed, but the truth of the matter was the original reason why you two broke up is still there and will come back.  All those petty annoyances that if taken individually would be acceptable, but when added together become something altogether different.  See, each of those petty annoyances added together become a huge problem and you find that you cannot overcome it.  Therefore the relationship once again suffers and you end up breaking up all over again.  But what about the one that you didn't give the chance too? The one that you pushed away with your constant comparisons? What about him or her?  Are you willing to go back and admit that you were wrong, that you were sorry that you didn't give them a chance or do you just walk away and try all over again?  If you are like me in most cases you would walk away and try again, but what if you find out that the one that you let go, is the one that you really want, that they are the perfect compliment to you? What would you do then?  Well, again, if you are like me you would do anything in your power to try and get back the one that got away.

Sometimes that isn't possible, sometimes there are circumstances and situations that are beyond your control.  Other times it may not be the right time for the two of your to be together, so you have to wait.  I have told one of my ex's that our story is not yet over, and I mean that with all of my heart.  I think that somewhere in the future there is going to be a perfect time and place that is meant for just us and in that moment we will be united and get back together.   Though as I have grown and matured, I have started to doubt that! We had our moment, and though there is some connection still between us and feelings that have not yet been resolved, we have proved that we can be great friends.  See it has been a long while since we were together, and we did spend three years as a couple and during that time we both made some very bad mistakes, but at the end of it all we have come back together as friends.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I still love and care for him, I just am not sure that we will ever get back together.  See, God has a funny way of making things like this work out in our daily lives. What if when I told him that our story wasn't finished, meant that the rest of our story was to be as best friends versus lovers?  See, whatever the case maybe he has moved on and so have I.

I am not sure what the future holds for us right now, he is very ill and so am I.  So does that mean that one day we are destined to be together again as boyfriends and lovers?  Or does it mean that we are going to always be close friends and care about each other till the day we die?  I can't answer those questions, but I do know that no matter what happens in my life or where I go from here, he will always be a part of me.  The time that we spent together cannot be replaced by anyone and no one can take away the memories and adventures that we faced and overcame together.  So what does this mean for my current relationship?  Well, it means that I am not going to change anything, or spare my feelings, that I am not going to compare the two together because they are totally different.  But it also means is that if my current and my ex can't get along then maybe they need to come to some sort of compromise for my sake.  See the person that I am with now, was the person that I let get away from me once in the past, and though my feelings for him are very strong, I am beginning to understand that the person that I once knew may not be the person I am with today.  See, just as I have grown and matured so has he, and the changes have been dramatic.

I cannot see the future, I do not pretend to know the Mind of God, and I wouldn't want to even if I could know.  See, half of the fun of a relationship is the melding of the two individuals into a whole unit, it is the discovery and getting to know one another in a more intimate level that adds mystery and suspense to the equation and keeps us wanting to explore and learn more.  Now, if at the end of my discovery phase I find that I cannot accept all of the things my partner does, I will at least have formed a lasting bond that will last till the end of my days.  See, I know that I love the person I am with, but I also know that there are somethings that he does and has done that are not to my liking or taste, and if I am wanting to be with him, I have to come to grips with that and accept them as face value or I have to walk away.  Believe it or not I am not sure which takes the stronger person, to accept, or walk away.  What I do know is that as you grow and mature, and so do they, if your progress isn't on the same lines, then you might have to walk away, I wouldn't want you to compromise your morals or scruples just to stay with someone.

Now with that being said let me talk a little more about why I started mulling over the past as my birthday approached.  See, it has become evident that though the partner I am with has told me the words, and has made promises, I am not 100 percent sure that he is keeping them or his promises.  See, I know how hard it is to break free from addiction and a certain phone conversation brought home the point to me very well.  He isn't at the same point I am emotionally or physically, he is still wanting to reach back into the past and do what we had promised each other we wouldn't.  Now this is frightening to me, because he told me that he was past all of that, that he wasn't sleeping with  others or doing drugs and here I find out that he might be anyway.  His family certainly seems to think so, and then there are the days that go by when I can't reach him on the phone, his refusal to let anyone know that he is with me or dating me.  On the list goes.  See with my ex it was never an issue, he had no problem letting others know that we were together, and there really were no secrets between us, and I am afraid that I have walked right into a trap.  That the cute words, the platitudes of love, are just that. So maybe the one that I let get away should have stayed away.

But the real reason why I have been thinking about those questions and words, is because I am getting older, I am no longer going to find it easy to find someone that can and will accept me with my limitations and physical deformities.  Life just isn't as fair as it should be when it comes to love and relationships in the gay community.  So, what if what I think is a relationship is nothing more than someone playing on my insecurities, and here I have taken what was said at face value and plunged right in headfirst.  I have told you before that we truly never really know what is going on in the minds of others and that there is no way we can read their thoughts and know what is actually going on.  So what I have been doing is looking at the past relationship that I was comfortable with that ended because of circumstances beyond my control and the one that I am currently in. I am doing what I told you not to do.  I am comparing them, and trying to see if there is a pattern here that I should be aware of.  Amazingly, I have to stick with my original assessment, though I love my ex very much, there doesn't seem to be much of a chance that him and I will get back together, and though I know that my current is out there doing whatever it is that he is doing, I have to trust that he is not lying to me and feeding me a bunch of lies to get to his own end.

So do me and yourself a favor, take the chance and the risk of going back after the one that you let get away.  Who knows you may find yourself in a loving and productive relationship that makes you feel secure and safe.  You owe it to yourself to take the chance, find out once and for all.  Because you want to know something, whatever is lost can be found again and that also includes love! So, if like me you are going through it and aren't sure what the outcome is going to be, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you gave it a try and if it works great and if it doesn't "Oh Well"  life goes on and you can try it again.  Keep in mind that when you do go back, and if you cannot get past those things that caused you to break up in the first place that your relationship is going to be doomed to fail just as it did before.  However, if you are truly willing to work and come to concessions and compromise on those things, maybe coming back together isn't so impossible after all.  But you do owe it to yourself to see if the one that you let get away wasn't the one you were supposed to be with.  You might just be surprised, they could be the one, or prove to you that the one in your past was the one.  Only you can decide.

Now if you have gotten through all of this you might see the pattern of my thoughts as they emerged in this writing. See, my thoughts are cyclical here.  I started out with my thought, went to the one that got away and eventually came back to the one that you left.  So what is the right answer, only you can tell, but if you don't try you will never know for sure and those doubts might come back to bite you one day.  I know that Sterling and I will always be friends, and I know by now that he knows where he stands in my heart and my life.  But I also know that I am willing to give Kerry a chance and see what turns out to be the future, either he is telling the truth and really wants to be with me or he doesn't and time will be the deciding factor in this.

I keep telling you that time is short and you never know where you are going to end up or how much time you are going to have. So you owe it to yourself to try and find love, and be happy.  You are the only one with the power to make you happy, so explore every relationship and learn, live and experience.  Because when you finally do find your soul-mate you are going to know beyond a shadow of a doubt.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B