Saturday, January 31, 2015

Moving forward and letting go! (it can be really hard)

Life is in constant motion, and waits for no one.  You don't know the day or hour that it might all come to an end.  So, how do you move forward and let go of the past? The answer is not as simple as you might think.  History is a bitch, and can cause many problems as you try to sort out your life and take your next steps.  I find that 2015 is going to be all about is all about me and my dream. I can't sit back and let the past overtake me again. I have to keep my head up and keep going forward. I can't let anything pull me backwards.  Too often my life has been mired down in drama, some of my own creation, most not.  As one boyfriend once stated "Bryan it isn't you it is all that extra".  At the time I had no idea what he was talking about, but I have seen first hand through the first part of January just how I attract and keep drama close.  I have the penchant and desire to try and rescue everyone in my life.  I can't do that, I really can't even take care of myself at the present time. So how in the world can I help someone else?  The long and the short of it is I can't.  So instead of crying over my past actions, I have had to make changes in my life and the people that I hang out with. I am even contemplating changing my location again. I am not real happy where I am at in life.  But I know that I am where I am supposed to be at the moment, I just can't help feeling that there is a major change brewing on the horizon, and that it is going to change everything about me and the way that I view life.

It took the loss of a dear friend this past week to pull my head out of the sand and look at the situation I have found myself in.  See, I created the environment and made some poor decisions.  Which for those of you that know me you know that this is nothing new for me. I have a tendency to push those that love me and want the best for me away and attract the ones that harbor ill interests.  But, from my many conversations with Mary Benefield about my relationship issues and the trials that I have found myself in over the past year.  I keep hearing her words over and over in my head "Bryan you can't choose who you fall in love with, but you certainly don't have to take the abuse and you have to cut your losses and let go."  I finally did that when he left me in April I was devastated but it was my friend Mary that put things into perspective for me she said " you were on an emotional roller coaster and have cried and been hurt so many times, maybe you need to give someone else a chance."  I am amazed at how astute her observations were and how well she had read the situation. Because once I stopped caring and took the first step forward, it became easier.  Now, as the months have climbed and he has been away, I have finally found someone that has a mutual respect for me. We are closer in age and have so much in common.  But, the circumstances under which we met and found ourselves in currently sure is something to write about another time.

It is funny how life bring people in and out of our lives at just the right moment.  You know that there just has to be a cosmic hand guiding the choreography of our lives.  I can't believe that chance brought you too me.  No, I think it was God that planned this a long time before I was born.  He knew the trials and fires that I would have to go through that honed and tempered me into the steel that I am today.  The heat of the fires have cleansed the impurities from my life and have left sparkling shining steel.  Life is a series of adventures, but remember adventures takes us on a circuitous route. When fate intervenes we are taken directly where we need to be.  I think that today has been a day of learning and exploration for me.  I am sitting with tear filled eyes thinking of my friend Mary, but I know she wouldn't want me to hurt. She would want me to be happy and use my head. So that is what I am doing. I am putting down what I am feeling and thinking about.

Sometimes the past just needs to stay where it is.  It can only complicate things and cloud the future if you let it. So let go. Move forward and move onward.  I have reached a conclusion this evening when my ex and his new boyfriend phoned and said that they wanted to come and see me. That they want to be my friend.  But why now, what is the purpose of the visit?  Why did the boyfriend have to ask me if I thought I would be uncomfortable?  Something in this is just not adding up for me.  So I am going to have to tell them that now is not the time to come.  I am not sure why but I have a feeling that if I let them come all sorts of drama from my past is going to come flying up in my face.  I think it is best to leave lying dogs lie right?

Mary would tell me that I am stupid, that I haven't thought this through and that I should tell them not to come.  The person that I am seeing now has pretty much told me that he isn't down with the drama and that he doesn't feel comfortable with me meeting them without him here with me.  See, sometimes you just have to have closure and once you have it you have to let go and move on.  You can't be the friend that you were in the past and you don't honestly know how your emotions and feeling are going to react when you are in a situation like this.  I am in agreement that I should pass on this visit for now.  That I need more time I remember the pain, and the hurt that was caused when the ex left, do I really want to remove the light layer of skin that has finally covered that wound?

You can't take a step forward if you are tied to your past.  There has to be a point in your life when you just let go and move on.  You let those that left you behind sail on their own way because you have made it through the wilderness and you have made it to the other side.  I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to cling to their past.  I analyzed my own past and realized that it was my own fear of rejection that was holding me in a state of perpetual hibernation and stagnation. I couldn't move forward or backward because I didn't accept myself for the person I am or have become. I was dependent on the images that others had of me.  Now for the first time I am seeing the man staring back at me in the mirror and I do understand that in order for me to move forward I have to have complete acceptance of myself and what has become of me.  I have to be comfortable in my own skin. I have to love myself and I have to embrace my uniqueness and as Mary would say "embrace your Awesomeness".

It is true each of is unique, we are awesome and have a story that makes us unique.  We are an art piece that is coming together under the masters hands and we have to trust that He knows what He is doing.  We are being molded, melded and formed for a specific task and everything that we have come through and endured have made it possible for us to be strong in the face of the odds arrayed against us.  We are never alone in this world and nothing is beyond our reach and grasp if we embrace and accept ourselves for who we are. Understand and accept your limitations, disabilities and abilities.  Take each new day and learn something new from it.  For when you learn something new and share it with others it helps you move along the road of life.

No matter what you think or believe no relationship is painless and it won't last forever.  True that love never dies truly, that there will always be some sort of feeling there for you, but you can move on when it ends. You can find someone new.  Even if you were like my grandparents and endured a relationship for over 50 years. My grandmother died before my grandfather and left him alone.  So even in a perfect world nothing lasts forever and nothing is permanent and if you take the chance to love, realize that eventually you are going to feel pain.  Everything ends, everything has it season and then it is over.  Life doesn't wait for anyone, get on and hold on tight because it is going to be a long and bumpy road with lots of obstacles, hurdles and pitfalls.  But just wait till you get through you are going to be a unique piece of artwork, priceless and precious.

Let go of your past, it is holding you back.  Embrace your fears, let go of your guilt.  Accept that life is challenging and that you are learning new lessons every day.  Keep in your mind always that this too shall pass, and you will be okay.  Release, take that step, it is never to late for you to change and it is never too late to start over. Many of us have done it plenty of times. Each time we have started over the blessings of letting God have the reigns of your life and lead you is so rewarding you forget about the pain and fears and see only the positive blessings that are flowing your way.

2015 is a year of change, embrace it,  jump on and hold on for dear life, because you are in for a journey and you never know where you are going to end up till this cycle is done.  I honestly believe that life comes at us in a series of cycles and at the end of each cycle if we take stock of where we started and where we are at the end a great distance has been traveled and many lessons have been learned along the way.

So, I want you to take away something from this entry.  I want you to realize that rebirth, renewal and strength are gained by the many trials you have faced and come through.  Nothing last forever, nothing ever could.  Life, love, happiness and hope are found within yourself and no where else.  Complete and total acceptance of yourself is required for you to move onward and upward and when everything is said and done and your life has finally come to an end. You will know in your heart just truly how precious and priceless you really were and that so many lives were touched by your passing that you couldn't have ever guessed.  It all starts and ends with you.  Let go take that first step.  It will be hard but I know you can do it.  Embrace your own Awesomeness and let no man hold you down again.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you!

Uncle B

Bigger than Life

Today has been all about a very dear friend of mine that I will never forget.  Someone that never had much but was happy and content with everything she had.  She wasn't self-conscious, vain, or envious. She was brutally honest, courageous, and magnanimous.  Was never to busy to talk, had great shoulders to cry on, and a smile that lit up the room.  She always saw the good in people, never found fault, never stayed down for long and always had a kind smile, warm heart for anyone that came into her life.  She was a very dynamic force and one that couldn't be contained in one body.  Maybe that is the reason why God took her so young!

Her memorial service was today and so many people got up and spoke her praises.  She had a personality that was larger than life.  She wanted to change the world and strove to do so with her volunteering with the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau.  All she ever wanted was to change one persons life, to reach one person with her story. But she impacted each and everyone of us that knew her. Mary was the embodiment of warmth, sun, caring, love and sharing.

She traveled all over telling her story over and over again to groups and individuals alike. She didn't care what others thought, she only cared about what she was fighting for.  She dreamed of a world where there was no such thing as HIV or AIDS and fought towards that end.  She would make you laugh, cry and even shake your head in disbelieve because she was bold and courageous.  Whatever she felt she said.

Souls are attracted by vibration and not by looks, and Mary taught me that.  It didn't matter to her what you looked like, or how you dressed we were all the same to her.  When two souls resonate together they recognize each other and form a bond of friendship and love.  I still remember how she flirted with everyone and didn't care what they thought about it.  She lived in the moment and nothing could take that love of life away from her.

I was fortunate to live close to Mary.  I got to see her a lot, we also talked a lot on the phone and she helped me through some very difficult times in my life.  She had a light inside of her that drew people close, her personality was such that once you were in her orbit you were her friend.  That light inside of her could drive away the darkness and for a brief moment when she was around you knew that anything was possible.

Yet, in the end God chose to take her from this earth and bring her home.  I have mixed emotions about that.  See, I depended on her guidance and her words of encouragement when my life got into some tough spots.  I don't have anyone like that anymore, she was it.  I am going to miss our talks and how she boosted me up and never tore me down.

So what would I like to say to Mary?  Well, I would tell her thanks for taking the time to teach me how to embrace my own Awesomeness and reminding me that everything we do, is building us towards something else.  She saw ahead of her that there were endless possibilities and  opportunities to share her testimony and her story.  When I say that Mary was larger than life, I mean exactly what I have said. She was bigger than life, she radiated warmth and acceptance with the greatest of ease and she gave great big bear hugs.  She wasn't afraid to touch you, nor tell you about yourself if you were in the wrong.  She lived in the moment and by doing so she achieved what most of us envied.  An openness to talk, a freedom to express exactly what she needed to when she needed too. She was comfortable with herself, her situation, her looks, and everything that made her up.  I admired her honest, conviction and courage and I hope that just a little of each of those has rubbed off on me.

She gave hope where there was fear, she gave love unconditionally and expected nothing in return.  Though she may be gone, I don't think it will ever be possible to forget her. She had a great impact on so many of our lives.  For that alone I know she will live on forever in each and everyone of us.

Thank you for keeping her family and friends in your prayers.  What more can I say, Mary saw a world in which change was possible and she struggled to help bring it about.  I can't tell you how grateful I am that she chose me to be a part of her family.  She helped and loved beyond any situation.  She was so full of light and life that it was nearly blinding to look at her at times.  She knew what she wanted and set about trying to get it. A spirit of a lion and the heart of a lamb.

I am going to miss you so much, but I know now that she is with me everywhere and I remember the words she told me when my partner left me and did all those things to hurt me. "You deserve better than that Bryan, you deserve to be happy".  Now, I know that the secret to happiness is found only with ourselves and no where else.  Thank you for reminding me of that.  I am jealous or even envious of her, see it was so easy for her to talk, to get her story out. She wasn't afraid, because there is no reason to fear the truth.  Again, thank you for the lesson Mary!

Oh yes, I have a voice and I write in that voice, but speaking I tremble on the inside.  She told me over and over again, to just be yourself and it will all work out. Guess what she was right and I am still here today.  She didn't have transportation much of the time I knew her, but it didn't limit her much. She still made it to Group and Positive Champions meetings.  I don't think I have ever seen her discouraged for more than a minute. She never gave up on anyone!  She always saw their goodness and she brought that out in all of those around her.

When I say bigger than life that was Mary. Yes it was and I think that she burned so brightly to everyone around her that her poor body just couldn't handle all of it.  When I tell you that she loved, she did!  She loved Gay Men! She Loved Children! She Loved to talk! She loved to hug everyone! So today was Mary's day and will remain for me till tomorrow. Today was a day that was sad, somber, yet funny and exciting as well.  I have a heavy heart because of the loss of my friend but a big ole smile on my face as I sit here and remember.

You maybe wondering why I am telling you all about my friend and her life and what she meant to me.  So, let me tell you that there are lesson here that you can learn from. Something each and everyone of us can use in our daily lives.  You may not believe me, and I am not sure that I do yet myself, but I think as all of us gathered today to remember our dear friend something magical and wonderful happened.  We were reminded that life is fleeting, and that we need to cherish those around us.  We need to surround ourselves with family of our own choosing, be inclusive of everyone, fear nothing, accept everything, live in the moment, cherish the life you have and what you got.  Take back your power, live for yourself and throw your hands and heads up in the air, don't care what others think of you. Just do you and everything else will fall in place.

What can you learn from Mary?  Everything there is to know about life and living.  Learn something new everyday, share it with those you love and those you don't know. Live in the moment, experience everything with baby fresh eyes, those eyes of wonder that still see the magic in the world.  Keep those you resonate with close to you, because like souls attract like souls.  Stay positive, focused and tell your story to anyone who will listen.  Everyone has a story to tell and you never know where a casual conversation might lead you.  Seek the goodness in others, freely give kindness to those you love and give love to those that love you.  Speak your mind and your heart will follow, don't filter out anything.  Someone described Mary today as having the gift of Transparency and I think that is a place where we should all strive to be.  You never had to guess what Mary was thinking or feeling you could see it and feel it.  That is what is meant by being transparent.  We are all given a voice and we must learn how to use it. Your story is unique just as was mine and Mary's but there might be someone out there that needs to hear it. You may save someones life, or your words might heal their hurting soul.  Your story could change 1 persons life and like Mary said "If I can reach or help or change one person than I have accomplished my task".  Mary changed a lot of lives, so many hearts, and will live on with each of us who knew her.

But, now my friends as you read what I am writing about  her, she will also live in you.  You may not have met her, you may never have seen her. But you know her spirit, her heart, and the magical way she changed the lives of each and everyone of us that came in contact with her.  Please take away from this entry if nothing else, one person can inspire change in the world. Yes, you can. All it takes is you to find your voice, tell your story, and live your life like Mary lived hers.  Trust me.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you!

Uncle B

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Mother Forwarded this Message too me...Pretty Funny!

I have often felt like this: What about You?

An Itinerary for 2015:

                       I have been in many places, but I've never
                       been in Kahoots. Apparently, you can't go
                       alone. You have to be in Kahoots with someone.
                       I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one
                       recognizes you there.
                       I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have
                       an airport; you have to be driven there. I
                       have made several trips there, thanks to my
                       children, friends,
                       Family and work.
                       I would like to go to Conclusions, but you
                       have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical
                       activity anymore.
                       I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place
                       to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
                       I've been in Flexible, but only when it was
                       very important to Stand firm.
                       Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more
                       often as I'm getting older.
                       One of my favorite places to be is in
                       Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing
                       and pumps up the old heart!
                       At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
                       I may have been in Continent, but I don't
                       remember what country I was in. It's an age
                       thing. They tell me it is very wet and damp there.
                       */PLEASE DO YOUR PART!/*
                       You can do your bit by remembering to tell this too
                       at least one unstable person.
                       My job is done! Life is too short for negative
                       drama and petty Things. So laugh insanely,
                       love truly and forgive quickly!
                       From one unstable person to another. I hope
                       everyone is happy in your head - we're all
                       doing pretty well in mine!

If you think about it the author takes some very valid and interesting states and makes them see like physical locales.  I really do feel like I have been to some of these places, maybe even been a frequent visitor there during my life.

Just think about I bet you will find that you have been to many of them yourself.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Friday, January 23, 2015

Reflections of the past

Sometimes I sit and ponder the what if's and could have been's  of my life.  I wonder where I would be had I not made some of the choices that I did.  Would I still be working for the State of Georgia, would Joe and I still be together, and would we still have the vending machine business, the house in Snellville and the cabin in Blue Ridge?

These reflections aren't painful now, but were once, I have learned so much from the time I left Florida and moved to Atlanta.  I found out that you can't change your life for another person, because in the long run they aren't going to appreciate it.  They are going to do something foolish and the next thing you know so are you.   Had Joe never started smoking Meth, and me getting involved in the whole thing, my life would have been totally different.

I wouldn't have met some of the people that I have along the way.  I wouldn't have gotten to experience all the different things that life showed me when I was living on Buford highway and again when I moved back to East Point. Nor would the brief stay in Dallas have marred my relationship with Victoria.

See, I know where my life veered off course, and I can see the issues that it caused.  I am no longer sad, because at least I did those things, experienced them and had some fun along the way.  I am sorry that Joe and Victoria got hurt, and that in my cavalier attempt to solve the problems, I found that running away to be the expedient answer.  I am older now and I look back and I see the image of the man I was and the person I am today, and I am a totally different person, living in a totally different world. I am still on the fringes of the old drug infested life, but I feel the change in the wind and I know that I am going to be carried away in a different direction.

I know in my heart that I am not young anymore, that there are limitations to my physical abilities, but they have not changed much in 10 years, so what am I bemoaning about, what is the problem that is holding me steadfast to the past.  Why can't I let the past rest in peace and overcome this obstacle?the answer seems to be me!

It is doubt my friend, doubt keeps you locked in place, freezes your steps and won't let you make a move.  Fear is also a factor, what if I fail and what will happen to me then? These are the troubled thoughts that clog your mind and keep you from action and change.  It is what keeps you in that dark place and keeps the light from clearing it all away.  As I said in my last entry that I have had patches of light in my darkness, but I see clearly that I could move forward if I just let go of the past.  Forget where I have been and let go of the fears that are holding me captive.

I look in the mirror and I see a shadow of the person I used to be. A shell, a caricature.  I used to be a powerhouse, a go-getter.  When I set my mind to a task or wanted something I went out and did it. I had no fear, I was confident and sure in my knowledge and grabbed what I want.  Now, time has caught me, I am older, handicapped, different than I used to be.  I have had the colostomies, I have had so many surgeries and injuries and hospital stays, that I fear I will never find someone who could or would accept me the way I am in the gay community.

I am afraid that I will die alone, a very lonely and painful death. Unloved and not mourned by anyone other than my family and close friends.  See, I know the gay community, I know that they look for the perfect man, they want the washboard abs, the bulging peck muscles, the young stallions, not someone old and frail like me.  So, I keep looking to my past to the ones that have loved me before that know my illness and what I have been through, hoping desperately that one would come back into my life.

Yet, I know that isn't likely to happen. I know that the problems of the past that caused us to break up will most likely still be an issue once more.  So I am in a catch 22 sort of situation. But I am starting to finally come to terms with my life and what it has become. I am starting to finally become comfortable with my body, and the limitations it has.  I think that I may even be ready to take a baby step forward.  We shall see mon a'mi!

Looking backwards into the past will keep you wondering and wandering in the darkness, it will keep you locked into your doubts, and can lead to depression and despair.  Please don't let your fears keep you in place.  Don't be like me and waste so much of your life clinging to the baggage of the past that you forget to live in the moment.

A reflection doesn't always reveal the truth, you have to look closer.  I have said that I see a dim shadow of the man I was. But the secret to all of this is that I still see him, and if I see him, I can still be him.  I just need to get my confidence and courage and move forward.  I have to let go totally of the past and move on.  Was I happy in the past? Oh, definitely at times! Yet, there were times when I was saddened.  Reflections are only 2 dimensional they aren't the total picture.

Don't let your reflection and the face staring back at you hold you in your past. Release it, let it go, live in the moment.  Enjoy the vibrant color and texture of life. See how much more fun and relaxed you will be when you are just living in the moment.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

When you make time still

Last night we talked about how life comes out of darkness and from strife comes change.  I wanted to talk to you more about darkness and moments in our lives when we need to sit back and reflect.  Each of us comes to a point in our lives when we look back over our life and are disheartened by where we are at.  Most of the time this comes when we are down and are trying to figure out which way we have to go.  Darkness has descended on our lives and our emotions are all embroiled.  I reflect back and I look at where I am today and I am saddened because I sometimes feel like I have been a complete failure.  My father said once that Bryan look at your life and what you have lost, you are 46 years old and you should know better.  You cannot help everyone, some people don't want saving, and they just want to take advantage of you and your kindness. You should be so much more secure in your life and situation.  FAILURE is what that message screamed to me, making me feel even worse about myself and the my life.

See, I never thought that at 46 I would be living back at my dad's struggling to get back on my feet and to turn my life around.  If you look back at where I have been and what I had you will begin to realize that my life wasn't so bad.  But from my current vantage point it is just so much easier to see where I am and not where I have been.  Yes, I miss my home, my cars, my friends, my old life, but the loss was not of my own doing.  I had some fault in the matter, but illness took the center stage in my life and rewrote my story.  This can happen to anyone, no matter where you are at in life and what you have achieved, illness can come in and with a wide sweeping reach can take everything away in a blink.  I have been going through a very dark place for a very long time, and it will never be over.  What I look forward to is the bits of light that break through that darkness and for a little bit light my path.  In other words, from 2005 till now I have been in and out of hospitals constantly and have been fighting for my life. I have been sick and there doesn't seem to be an end to this in sight. Yet, there have been spots in this turmoil where I have met friends, partners and lovers, that have made life bearable.

During those times of darkness and when the doubt and despair creep in, I need to take the time to reflect and make time stand still. I need to look back at my life and see the whole thing. See the bigger picture.  See, it isn't where I am at that is important. No, it was the journey that brought me here.  It is what has molded me, crafted me and made me into the person I am today.  When I look at all I have done, been and accomplished my life doesn't seem so bleak at all.  As a matter of fact my life starts looking to like a plot to a movie or a great fast paced book.  I have had such a colorful past, many interesting friends and have been into so many things and through so much drama that you would think that I couldn't have possibly lived like that.  Trust me, anyone that knows me can tell you that I have had a very blessed and magical life.  So,  when I take the time to actually reflect and see the entire picture the story doesn't seem so hopeless or tragic, on the contrary it starts to look pretty darn good.

In our darkest times and we are stuck without light I believe that there comes a point just before the light crests the horizon that we come to terms with whatever it is that we are going through and just at the perfect precise moment that all things seem possible to us.  Like life is renewing itself and everything starts to seem right again in the world.  Now, you might be wonder what in the world am I talking about.  If you remember back to an article I wrote in 2012 I told you that there are no perfect moments in our lives, that time waits for no one and we have to create those special moments by doing little things to make those moments memorable forever.  It is my belief that during our trials, tribulations and pain, there comes a single moment when we have made a decision to change and have started to take steps on that new path that a moment of clarity comes to us and we know that what we are doing is possible.

This is just another point in my discussion that strengthens my argument that out of darkness comes life.  That the strife that we face in life (darkness) is the catalyst for change. During our journey through that time of darkness there comes a moment in our thought process where we begin to look for answers and an escape from the trouble that is hounding us.  I believe that when we sit back and reflect on our lives, and see the journey and the destinations we have had along the way we make time still and our mind calms and we can see all the possible solutions to our situation.

Just keep this in mind that everything changes, and you have to too in order to evolve. Nothing last forever, and in the darkness everything seems possible at some points.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Catalyst for change!

Someone told me last week that out of darkness comes life, and I have been thinking on that all week. I had been sick and I am sorry that I haven't been able to write, but I am starting to feel a little better with the antibiotics.  Anyhow we were talking about life coming from darkness.  The Bible tells us in the beginning there was darkness and God spoke and there was light, then He created the earth.

Have you ever noticed when your life is turned upside down and you can't seem to figure out which way to turn, let alone figure out what to do and how to solve the issue or the problem that your life seems to take on a new direction and path that you have no idea where it is going to lead you?  Well, I have several times and at these moments my life totally changed and went in a different direction and brought me to a new destination.  I believe that these dark times or trouble times are way points on the road of life.  They make us re-evaluate our entire situation, and though it may seem bleak and you feel desperate and alone you are not.  God is with you!

I know it is difficult sometimes to just let go and leave it up to God, Fate, or whatever you believe.  But, the saying that my grandmother used to say to me all the time, this too shall pass.  Trust me everything has it's time and season.  Nothing last forever and even though our problems don't always go away when we want them too or get resolve exactly as we thought they should.  They are resolved exactly as the should.  Fate takes us to where we need to be.

So, what exactly do I mean catalyst for change?  It is my opinion and belief that we, mankind, only learn our lessons through pain.  Follow me on this, there is a certain amount of grief and pain we feel whenever we hit the dark spots in our lives.  They always say it's "always darkest before the dawn" and I believe that to be true.  What do I exactly mean by this, well for each trial we go through a lesson is learned and I bet there was either physical or emotional pain involved in this life changing event.

Like this month, I ended up running short on money because of some very poor management of my funds. I thought I was going to have to struggle and that I wouldn't have enough food to eat for the rest of the month or gas to get to the appointments that I have.  I was worried, upset at myself for the frivolous spending and full of regret.  However, I left the situation in God's hands, was completely honest with myself that I was foolish to purchase what I did. However the damage, was done and I was eagerly awaiting the UPS to deliver what I had order.  I think most people go through something like this whenever they make a big purchase, I call it buyers remorse, guilt over buying something that you wanted.  It would be different if what you purchased was needed. But this item was a want and a must have.

Needless to say this was a bit of a dark period for me.  Just a minor storm on the sea of life and just a little example.  A bigger example would be the point when in August I went to the imaging center to have an MRI of my back.  I could hardly get up from the bed let alone do much of anything else because my back hurt so bad.  But, I drove to the center, got in the door and was in a wheelchair and in less than an hour I was in the hospital to stay till November.  It was a long hard journey, I was told I would never walk again that my life would be forever altered because I would need to have extra aid in walking and getting around.  But, I did as I always do, I prayed and I plodded on, did what I could and let go of the rest. Here I am now out of the hospital and I still have pain in my back but nothing like I did when I went to the hospital.  I have trouble coughing or yawning because my rib cage is partially compressed which doesn't allow my lungs to fully expand.

Because of that infection and the damage done to my spine, my life will forever be changed. I will not be able to lift heavy objects, fully expand my lungs and I will have to stay on some form of pain pills or substance to keep me going.  I have had to change my lifestyle quite a bit to make the concessions this new body is requiring.  Now I have to depend on other people for help grocery shopping, carrying items too and from my car, doing my laundry and anything requiring me to stand for any length of time.  The pain becomes so great then my legs stop working, I have loss of strength on the left side of my body still and my leg still gives out whenever it wants too.

I made it through. I kept remember that everything has an expiration date, and moves on with time. No matter the trouble you are going through, someone else out there is going through something worse.  If you try and keep that in mind your mountain might not seem to be as high as it was a first glance.  Humans have a tendency to over-react to situations, they panic, and worry especially me. I am the worrier, I have a vivid imagination and every possible bad thing seems to run through my mind before I have even analyzed the problem correctly. So my molehill becomes a giant mountain and I don't know how to climb it, scale its sides or make it around.  These are the things that I call darkness in our lives.  Another, could be the loss of a loved one, the repossession of a house or car. Any disaster that hits our lives head on without any warning.

Pain causes us to change our course.  We either have to climb and scale the mountain or go around somehow.  We aren't perfect and we make bad choices and decisions and we have to live with the consequences.  So when is it that we make this life altering changes?  Not in the average every day problem. But those disasters that derail us from our goals.  They rob us of our breathe and cause us great anxiety or suffer some huge loss.  My friend lost her mother, and her brother within seven months of each other, and while she was planning the funeral for her brother, still mourning her mother's passing, her house was repossessed and she was given a court order to abandon the family home within 3 days.  Now, that is a disaster, a life changing event.  It was a dark time for her, and even now 9 months later she is still reeling from that disaster, but she did what she had to do and stayed true to herself and her faith.

I was trying to figure out the amount of pain it takes to make us change our ways, habits, lifestyles.  I would say it takes and earth shattering, mind blowing, rock bottom place before we change and make a new path for ourselves to walk upon.  I recently lost my best friend and partner, he decided to leave and fulfill other obligations.  But, because of his decision and lack of communication it caused a great deal of hurt, pain and eventually loss.  Not to mention right after that I got the infection in my back and started the downward  spiral in my health.  This loss caused me to re-evaluate my needs and desires.  I went from a 2 bedroom to a one bedroom and started to minimize my possessions. I took and fulfilled my needs and not my wants.

So, darkness, light, pain, trouble. are these the catalyst for change?  Yes and no.  Trouble and pain are found in the darkness, and when they are exposed to the light the change occurs.  So in a way light at the end of the tunnel is a sign that change is coming to you. That you have journey over the mountain or made your way around it.  Keep in mind that anything done in the darkness eventually comes to light.  Meaning whatever you have done in secret or in a hurtful manner will eventually be exposed.  Things that flourish in darkness such as despair, loneliness, depression, anxiety all of these things fade when expose to the light because the light cannot tolerate them, happiness, truth, and change are things of the light and they can't survive long in darkness.

Putting out positive bring you positive back.  No one can make you change anything except you.  You have to hit the absolute rock bottom, see no way out, no future, have no hope and even then if you don't have the desire to change you won't. All you will do is wallow in your self-pity, indulge your sense of despair and hopeless. You will wander around in the darkness and suffer until you make the change.  Your tolerance for pain, humiliation and degradation are great and I have myself wallowed in self-pity and been on self-destructive paths, so I know what I am talking about.  Take a chance, walk out in faith and grab the light, for in it you will excel and you will see that your issue, problem, addiction or whatever the issue is cannot keep you down forever.  Remember, everything in this life has and expiration date and that means it isn't permanent and won't last forever, you can and will come through it.  Whether or not it changed you is totally up to you.

Change comes in many forms, and the road of life is not a straight shot, it is rocky, got lots of potholes, obstacles and way point along the way.  It is this journey that makes us into the people we are today.  Keep an open mind be flexible and not afraid of change.  Keep moving forward and do the best that you can do and learn from every obstacle you hit.  Because if you aren't learning you aren't actually living you are just surviving. You could be lost or stuck in a rut but you will never get out if you aren't open to change.  You don't have to continually endure the pain, there is a way out, you just have to find it.

As always my hope and dreams are with you,

Uncle B

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Real man in a relationship

A friend of mine had posted this in our group and I thought I would share it with you because I believe there is great truth in this young man's words and thoughts. Thank you Ely for letting me share your wisdom!
"A real man treats his partner like a priority, not an option. A real man shows his love through his everyday actions. And a real man doesn't have to be reminded..."

I have to say Amen to that because he is preaching to the choir here.  I have been trying to tell people this sentiment but I have never had it broken down to me in such a way.  This is truly a young man who has an old soul and a wisdom way beyond his years.  

You can and You will succeed

Let me tell you a little story about my mom.  Last Easter she was finally able to return to her home after spending 9 long months in a nursing home.  She had every reason to doubt that she would ever leave that nursing home.  The doctors, physical therapists and nurses all told my mother the same thing.  That she would never be able to walk again, that she would spend the rest of her life in that wheelchair.  But, my mother is a woman of prayer and has faith in God and continually prayed for healing and respite.  Over those 9 months she showed great progress but still no one ever thought that she would be able to walk again, and that she wouldn't be able to adjust to this new life that she found herself in.

Now, she had ever right to become depressed and despondent. She was all alone in Pennsylvania and stuck in a nursing home without any visitors except maybe the pastor and his wife,  but because the pastor also works full-time visits were few and even sometimes rare.  My mother told me that each phone call I made to her while she was in there was like having a visit or someone actually coming in to see you.  It broke the monotony of the day and switched up the routine.  I also know this from my own recent incursion at a local nursing home for rehabilitation.

Both, my mother and I had infections that attacked our back and spinal column.  Her's was much worse than mine, she actually developed a huge abscess that actually ruptured and spilled out into her system.  After 9 or 10 hours of washing and cleansing that internal sore out an accident occurred and the nerve endings to her lower body were cut.  She was told as I have stated that she would be paralyzed and in that wheel chair forever.  I was told something very similar during my stay in the rehab center.  Yet, as of today I am walking free and clear without having to rely on a walker or a cane.  My mother called me this evening and told me that she actually got a cart at the grocery store and was able to walk the entire store without any assistance or aid. The wheel chair was left in the car and she did it on her own.

 Both my mother and me have great testimonies that we could share with you and in most cases I have shared mine with you.  But the reason why I am bringing this up tonight is that I feel the need to remind not only myself but you as well that no matter what the situation, disaster, illness, or disability befalls us.  if there is a Will there is a Way!

If you truly believe that you can do something you will be able to do it.  The mind is a very powerful thing, and if we have a need and a desire we can accomplish anything.  Remember that it is always darkest before the dawn.  Which means the hardest part is yet to come but we can see the light and we know that once we reach it everything will be alright.  I remind myself daily that nothing is permanent in this world and that everything passes.  My grandmother used to tell me "This too shall pass wait and see".  You know she was right!

Since 2012 I have been writing in this blog and I have been laying my life out in the open for anyone to see.  I don't think that it is wrong for me to do this because I have gone through so many things that I believe that someone out there is or has gone through some situation that has been or is similar to what I went through and if my experience can help them through in some way then my sharing was all for the better.  As many of you know I have been diagnosed with 6 separate terminal illnesses, yet I carry forward like nothing is wrong. People tell me that it is because I am strong and have a positive nature and outlook.  But honestly, I believe that 90% is prayer and 10% is believing that my prayers are being answered daily.

I have become so in-tuned and in-touch with God that I see and experience miracles everyday. Example, 2 weeks ago I was ordered by the court to attend a drug and alcohol screening to see if I needed to go through some classes to help me deal with addiction.  This was a mandatory condition of my probation and something that my probation officer set up for me.  I had to meet with this counselor and pay $20 and let her evaluate and scrutinize every part of my life. But, as I was sitting there talking with the lady something miraculous happened, I felt a peace come over me and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Spirit of the Lord had come into the room and that I wasn't going to have to do any classes.  As a matter of fact we talked for a bit longer and she asked me to look at her computer and fix it.  Guess, what I did and for the time I spent working on her computer she paid me $20.

This was a tremendous blessing because that was my last $20 that I had and it was still several days till I got my next check.  But, as I have always told you.  You never know where a casual conversation is going to lead you.  By taking my time and actually opening up to this counselor and telling her the absolute truth about my drug usage a miracle was performed.  I knew that there was no sense to lie to her she had access to my entire record so she would have know if I was lying.  Plus, it was easier to talk with her once I told her why should I lie, I would only get caught and she agreed with me.  From that meeting she has contact the organization that I am a member of the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau and has asked for one our speakers to come in and talk to her groups to teach them all about HIV, AIDS and awareness.

You may be wondering why I am telling you all of this, and it is because I want you to know that you can and will succeed at every endeavor that is thrown your way and every obstacle that is in your path, and why do you think that is? Because if you "can conceive it and believe it you will achieve it." For every storm there is a lull or an eye it is when it seems to lighten up a bit and you have a temporary respite from the weather, but there is still more to come and you need to brace yourself for it. Always look for the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining in the clouds, Light dispels the darkness, chases away the shadows, and will eat away at the doubts and depression that are filling your mind.  It is that speck of light in the distance that gives you hope, and pulls you ever onward toward it. Once you see that light you know you are almost home free and that you have made it through. It is not always easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel and those storm clouds can be mighty dark. Just keep in mind what my grandmother used to tell me this too shall pass.  Trust me it will.  Nothing last forever!

The point I am trying to make here is that there is nothing that you cannot overcome. Nothing has permanence in this life and time keeps marching on so if you have the will and the drive you can over come any obstacle that life has in store for you. Just keep in mind that if you keep a positive outlook on life, then the storms and hardships aren't too hard for you to weather, because the negativity just rolls off you like water.

If you don't believe me in this look at my mother's story and tell me that her continued improvement and victories were because she had the will to overcome and she didn't let depression and negativity hold her down. She knew what she wanted and she did what she had to to accomplish that.  that is all I want for each and everyone of you.  To set your mind to a task and own it.  Set you will on it and make it your own because you can and you will succeed.

I am proud of the accomplishments my mother has made and it makes me feel good that she has progressed so far in such a short time. I am also proud of the strides I have made in my own personal life and health, because I know that when the physical therapist told me that I would never get out of that wheel chair, I just had to prove her wrong and I did everything I could to get myself out of that chair and I am so glad that I did.  It taught me that if there is a will and a want you can accomplish it no matter what the obstacles are.

Take each day one at a time.  Put your mind to a task and just do it. It might surprise you at what you can accomplish just by putting your mind to it.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

-Uncle B

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Words are just words without any action to support them?

What I mean by this is you tell me something that you want me to believe you need to have performed some kind of action to support the deed that you are telling me about.  It is so easy for us to lie to ourselves and even easier to lie to one another. Take it a different way, you tell me exactly what you think I want to hear and I am suppose to believe you on the basis of your statement.  However, how can I believe what you are telling me when I know you.  I have been around you and I know your actions and reactions to certain situations.  As a friend we learn each others habits, tricks and faces, and when someone tries to get over on you, The first thing that comes to mind is it's all a lie.

The phrase keeps coming to mind "Actions speak louder than words" and that is a universal truth.  The Bible even states that God helps those that helps themselves.  In order for us to show our sincerity we have to be able to show actionable proof that we did something, that we accomplished something and that we aren't just full of bull.  I know it is so easy to fall into a pattern of telling others what we think they want to hear, but we are just fooling ourselves, the other person knows we are full of it and that we didn't  do what we are claiming.

It is so important more now than ever to be true to yourself. By this I mean you have to be brutally honest with yourself. You have to practice every day speaking the truth and only the truth.  If you can master that then you are on the right track.  Your deeds and your words will reflect one another and you become a person of integrity.  See integrity is something that is so important today, money is scarce, jobs are hard to find and we are all struggling in some way or another. If you are a person of integrity you live as you preach. You are a man or woman of your word.  Nothing can persuade you from that path.  It is important for others to know that they can trust and count on you and that is the other part of integrity.

So let me break this down to you. Integrity is practicing what we preach, being 100 percent honest with ourselves and others, as well as being someone that another person can count on and trust in. There are too many people out there that are living in half truths and lies and they are expecting the rest of the world to believe them and the lies that they are selling. These are the people that you need to avoid and keep out of your life.  You are here to make a change. To be better than you were and are, and in order to do this you must remain positive, faithful and truthful.  The old adage is 100 percent dead on when they say " The Truth Shall Set You Free ".  Try it I am sure you are going to get used to it.

That's right I believe that each and everyone of us needs to work on this issue. That we need to train ourselves and make ourselves be truthful not only to others but to ourselves as well.  It is the nature of a man to tell a lie than to risk hurting another's feelings.  I know this to be true because I catch myself at this all the time and I have to remember. That I would rather someone be 100 percent honest to my face and give me 15 minutes of pain, than for me to find out the truth from someone else the truth, because my pain is going to be so much worse having to find out the truth from another source.  My trust will be broken with you and once trust is broken it is so hard to build back.

What am I trying to ell you in this entry? Exactly what I said at the beginning words are just words.  Words can be used for communication, they can be used to build someone or something up, they can be used to hurt, maim or injure another.  But, words are just that without any action behind them. As I have told you before, the worst wounds that another can inflict are wounds caused by words.  Words that are spoken in anger, haste, or to tear down or degrade another person are words that cause wounds that will never heal.  Trust will be lost, hope, faith, and even self-confidence can be ultimately destroyed by the words another inflicts upon you.

Yet, I have been saying that words without action are just words and that is true. However, using words to wound are words in action, you are openly telling someone something about another, or you are taking something that was given to you in trust and throwing back at the person who entrusted you and that is both deed and action combined.  Why am I telling you this? Is this something that is important?  I believe it is!  Unintentionally I believe that someone has maligned my character, said stuff about me to get others to think about me a certain way.  Now they know that they are lying  but again they are trying to please another so they say hurtful and untruthful things.

An example of this recently came into my life through a bitter conversation with another person. This person claimed that because of my illness and surgeries that my anus was sown shut and that I couldn't have sex that way,  Now I know that this was said to hurt me and make me feel bad about myself, but here is the rub. I don't have to respond or acknowledge that attack because I know and understand the truth of the situation.  However, for arguments sake I will clarify my situation.  In the past I have had a bowel resection this is where a part of the intestine is removed the two remaining parts are then fused back together.  This causes a stricture or a narrowing of the walls,  Over time this narrowing becomes harder to relax and open because of scare tissue.  So the truth of the matter is this I can have sex that way.  But in order to relax those muscles sufficiently takes time and effort.  It is not impossible at all. So you see where I am going with this?  The attack on me was unfounded and was not grounded in truth, so I didn't get angry at the situation, but I knew where the faulty information came from immediately and it saddened me that they had to lie about me to make themselves feel better about themselves.

When ever someone comes at you with words, take a few minutes before responding and actually think about your response, you will find that if you do this, it will unbalance the conversation and it will allow you to reveal the truth and your actions and words will demonstrate union where the other person will not be able substantiate what they have said.

Be careful with words, especially around children.  Words are powerful and can do great things or cause great harm.  Always remember that if you are true to yourself and honest with yourself you will be the same with everyone else.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

-Uncle B

Love cannot change another person!

I need to tell you my friends, that love is not a cure all.  It cannot be the catalyst for change.  No matter how much you love someone you cannot expect them to change to fit your ideal person.  Love is something that is flexible and if you truly love someone you accept them for the whole package you shouldn't want them to change anything about themselves.

Yet, I can tell you that no one is perfect and each of us has preconceived notions of what life and love is supposed to be.  But, to be honest our ideals and opinions are skewed by our perceptions and what we have gone through before.  See you cannot compare one relationship to another.  That would be like comparing apples and oranges.  Both are fruits but they have different tastes, textures and flavors, each relationship is different. As are the people that you are in a relationship with, no two people are the same no matter what the circumstances are.

If you know a person, and let's say you have dated them in the past and you truly know them.  How can you expect them to be anything other than what they are?  Truly, take me and my ex as an example we came from a world where sex and drugs were the norm.  We had sex parties and had experiences with others in our relationship, yet when I got sick and couldn't party like we used to I expected him to change with me. I had hoped that the love we had for each other would be enough.  But, I realized that I didn't have the strength to save him, nor was I his mother or father, I couldn't inspire change.  Katy Perry said it best in her song "Circling the Drain" I wanted to be his lover not his mother, couldn't be his savior I didn't have the power.  I thought I was the exception, that I could rewrite his addiction, but he would make a hundred excuses why he needed to do it.  I hoped and prayed for change, it never came.

See, I was talking to my best friend this morning and I came to the realization that if you take an animal from their natural environment you cannot expect them to change.  They will still have their carnal nature to contend with.  It is true you can tame a lion, domesticate a cat or dog, but take something wild and bring it into your home, and see if you can change it's nature.  It can be done with skill, patience, and lots of dangerous experimentation.  However, I took my partner from the drug scene in Atlanta and moved us here to Daytona, I thought that by taking him out of the drug filled environment we used to live in, to a place where we knew absolutely no one that I could influence and inspire change in him.  Problem was the addiction was too strong and I watched as our lives started circling the drain like Katy Perry had said.

 He was going to start writing music and I was going to continue writing in my blog and for almost 2 years neither of us did what we had planned and the drugs crept back into our lives and soon our relationship was over. We were both on an emotional roller coaster and neither of us could or would let go of the past and the drugs that were in our lives.

I tried to change someone against their will. I wanted and hoped that the love that I felt for him would be enough to get him to change. But it wasn't and he finally left and went back to Atlanta where for the first couple of months he was heavily stuck in the drugs and bounced around. His leaving was the impetus for change in my life and I walked away from the drugs altogether and I started writing again and started to re-evaluate my life.  

I have noticed that since he was gone that the feelings that I have had for him weren't reciprocated.  I loved him, but in actuality he didn't love me.  No matter what my feelings for him were, and how hard I tried at the relationship it was doomed to fail because he wasn't totally in it.

Now, I have learned that it is so very easy to fall in love, but it is hard to stay in love.  You have to work at it. You have to nurture it and make it work. You have to be willing to compromise and you have to  be able to change yourself. Two people weren't necessarily meant to be together, this partnership or union is something that man created because of the need to feel complete. But if we look out in nature the wolf is the only animal that I can think of the mates for life. All other animals and creatures have multiple mates, they come together during the mating season and they have relations.

I think the concept of marriage and unions was initially something that was created by religion and has now become secular.  Florida just started granting same-sex partners Holy Union certificates.  Which means that these two individuals have come together to spend the rest of their life with. No matter what or who comes into their lives, they have committed to face it and fight it together.  Temptation is always going to spring up, but if you are truly committed to your vow, you will be able to withstand. I know that my grandfather never cheated on my grandmother.  I am sure there were some times that his eyes wandered but he remained true.  In our society today it is so easy to throw your hands up and walk away.  Forget that their are children and real lives involved in your decision.  Not only are you hurting each other but everyone around you that knows you.

It is hard work making any relationship work, but I think it can still be done in today's world. It will take effort on both parties part.  There can be no short cuts, no deceptions, you are going to have to be completely honest with yourself and your partner if it is going to work.  Remember we aren't all mind readers and we will never actually know what is going on in the head of our partner.  But if we share the same goals, same desires and we are helping each other to get there then let it be.  Relationships work better when the two individuals come together and maintain a sense of self and a sense of commitment.  It is important to remain true to yourself and have your own friends and go out and hang with them every once in a while. Yet, maintaining a mutual relationship with your partner, it is impossible to be around one another 24/7.  Tempers flair, interest are harbored and resentments creep in.  Maintaining a healthy sense of self and commitment can forestall and possibly prevent this from happening in your life.

None of us are perfect.  Therefore if we are not perfect creatures how can our ideals and ideas be realistic and perfect? Simple answer is they can't! So if none of us are perfect, and we are trying to be together, how can that work?  The answer is hard work and preserverance, you must want to be together and stay together.  Don't expect love to be a miracle worker and change the person into your ideal because it isn't going to happen you will have to change your ideal and thought process.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B