Tuesday, October 4, 2011


So, it's been a day already - only 9:30am my time.  Work was insane from the moment I came in.  I may have to fire a volunteer who we depend on in the next 48 hours.  He created a very dangerous situation and knew better.

But I notice something different.  Something interesting.

My kvetching recently has been about non-gay things.  The crisis in life is calming down, becoming less urgent.  Part of that, I am convinced, is that I have begun to sit meditation again.  Part of it might be that I realize I am who I am.  What that means, how I instantiate that in my life authentically is my decision.

But bottom line, right now, my complaints are about work.  You'd almost think I was a regular red-blooded American male.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Ok.  So I don't take a lot of drugs and never have. 

But since I've come out I think I've taken more than I have in the rest of my life - other than antibiotics.  And I've done my share of complaining - e.g., my effexor rants.

So I'm still fighting with the pain.  I have two protruding and two herniated disks in the c4-c7 range.  The pain is manageable now.  Acupuncture is working well.  

One of the meds I was on was Neurontin.  It was to help one of the nerves coming from my neck that is causing some of the pain and especially the numbness in the hand.  I had stopped taking it - I really do not like taking pills.  But on the advice of the doctor began taking it again. 


Now I am on wellbutrin for depression.  I should add with significant suicidal ideation in the past.  So I'm prone to depression and suicidal thoughts.  One of the side effects of neurontin is a marked increase in the incidence of suicide and violent death!!

So, last week I'm tooling along doing well.  Life looks good.  The pain is a whole lot less.  One of those interviews went very well.  The other went exceedingly well - they asked me in for a 2nd interview within 2 days of the first and asked for references.  Life is grand.


C says something pretty innocuous. Mother in law is visiting.  I begin to fall apart.  I withdraw.  C leaves for an appointment.  I leave a bit later with all my meds (including the opiates) with the intention of eating them all.

I did not.  Made it home - scared the crap out of C and her mum.  And me.  Still a wreck the next day, but better.  Day after that back to normal.

Now who really knows, but it has been a while since I've felt that out of control - since I was a teenager.  I was VERY lucky not to be a gay teenaged statistic.  The only reasonable explanation is the Neurontin.  It may work for some; I am not one of them.

Bottom line - I will read about all the side effects of all the drugs I take.  I will then try to remember the side effects while taking the drugs, especially paying attention the psychological ones and alerting those around me to them so they can intervene before I crash and burn.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gay Marines

Wonderful story I heard on the way into work today.  Marine Major Darrel Choat

Monday, September 19, 2011

All is well

Well almost!!

Things at home are stabilizing again for me.  In a good way I think.  The roller coaster of the last few years seems to be ending - dare I hope?   Did I mention I never liked roller coasters?

Work is interesting.  I had two interviews over the last little bit.  Both seemed to go quite well.  But the second one aggravated some of my pet peeves.  Why is it that when I drive in stop and go traffic and change lanes to the one that is moving faster that it stops?  Perhaps that's an analogy for life; don't change lanes until you have more information.

The second pet peeve was New Jersey - particularly the Jersey Turnpike.  And not it's not New Jerseyites.  Why in God's name do people park themselves in the passing lane on the NJ Turnpike going the speed limit.  Yes I know the speed limit is the speed limit and one should not exceed it.  But really. 

Years back when we took the entire turnpike a few times a year it was the same.  And both now and then it was not just NJ cars, but a host of other states as well.

Such is life.

On the more important note sometimes I think I should not be thinking of laeving.  The relationship we can have with people is meaningful.  A few minutes ago I was able to hug a homeless woman who lost her baby - stillbirth - the other day. 

That put all of my gripes and pet peeves in a little better perspective.  If I do nothing else today, I've done a lot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pain - of many sorts

So the pain is getting better.  What worked seems to be a combination of acupuncture and massage.  The more traditional medicine has not worked.  I had two painful tests from the regular doctor.  One, the MRI, wasn't too bad.  I kept my eyes closed and went to Cape Cod, particularly P-town and then went to Chelsea in NYC.  It was a nice 45 minute trip.  The only problem was not swallowing for that time.

The swallowing, or lack thereof, was like a pink elephant.  You don't see it (have to swallow) until you hear it ("don't swallow").  I almost made it too!!

The second test was excruciating.  It was an EMG which consists of two parts.  First is small electric shocks.  But then he puts in a needle and does an electric shock.  In my forearm he had to dig around.  5  days latter I have a hell of a bruise.  And the arm that is in pain/numb and back where he stuck me has reacted very badly - sort of an odd rash.

But I survived that.  And that is only physical pain.  The bigger pain is the Board. 

Nonprofit 101 - nonprofits in the US are "owned" by a board of directors (trustees, . . . ).  They have ultimate fiduciary responsibility (financial), assess and where necessary modify the overall goals, mission, and values of the organization, set up the broad themes/needs the nonprofit will address, and hire and fire the executive director (CEO) who puts the mission and broad themes into practice via the program(s) of the nonprofit.  The executive director (me) monitors the operations of the nonprofit and alerts the board to any issues in between board meetings.

My relationship with the leadership of the board has been strained for almost a year now for all sorts of reasons.  And yes some of the egg is on my face too. 

But, when one informs the board that cash flow is so tight that there is a chance of missing the next payroll, what is the appropriate response.  Well  for about a week now there has been no response.  Well to be honest I did get a request for some additional information - detailing of  accounts receivable and payable - that wasn't all that relevant.  And I've heard rumor that a decision about what to do was made - that it was made without my input into the discussion is very troubling.  That I don't know what the decision is  incomprehensible. 

In reality the situation is not too difficult.  We have enough in reasonably liquid assets to meet payroll for about 6 months!! We have money owed to us from state contracts (enough to meet payroll for 12 weeks) that should be in hand by the end of the year.  Also, this time of year has historically been tough in terms of cash flow.  Revenue from donations falls off radically in July and August, while expense continue.  And the situation is exacerbated by a successful and significant expansion of services and capital improvement project where our costs have run ahead of our income; a situation that is slowly rectifying itself.  So, it is likely a short term problem that certainly bears further analysis and continued scrutiny. 

So not all my issues have to do with the gay thing.  Phew!  Just when I thought I was becoming a drama queen. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kids and school and insecurity

The younger kids started school the other day.  I was roughest on the middle child and C.  Middle child tends to be the most sensitive.

All three had been homeschooled until last year when the oldest went and did well.  This year changing circumstances made it necessary to send all three.  The circumstances being insecurity - both in my job (in a way I have taken a significant pay cut this past February) and in our relationship. 

The insecurity is doing nothing for me.  I am convinced that it is at the root of the shoulder and back pain - which is now almost gone.  But is replaced with a minor ongoing heart issue.  And is certainly the cause of the depression  - mostly controlled at this point with the help of a little white pill.  I can hear Grace Slick now - One pill makes you larger . . .  .

I know, a whiny gay guy is not attractive.  But at this point that is most of what there is.  The options are clear to me:

1. Stay and make accommodations to the marriage so that I can be both gay and married.  C has ruled out opening the marriage.  And, to be honest, it doesn't hold a lot of attraction to me either.  I am a one person guy and the complication of one relationship is enough.  It works for some and more power to them.

2.  Stay and be monogamous.  It is not in my nature to be on the down low.  I have said I will tell C before I have sex with a guy or for that matter anyone else.  For me this has meant cutting off the gay part (pun partly intended).  It means a shunting aside of who I am.  Or at least I have yet to find accommodation.   Now I have seen where both monogamy and the appearance of it (being on the down low) seems to work.  Again more power to them.

3.  Which leaves #3.  I feel like Sherlock Holmes - when you have eliminated the impossible what remains, however improbable, is the truth.  Now my issue is that I am not sure that 1 or 2 above are impossible, but the have been so far.  What remains is separation/divorce or some radically different sort of relationship with C.  And that is heart breaking. 

I go irregularly to a group of gay married guys in a nearby city.  There are only a couple of us whose marriages are good to excellent except for being gay.  For many divorce was the only rational choice.  But in my case C and I do very well other than that one no-so-little thing - I'm gay. 

Again, I know whining doesn't help and I've covered this ground so many times in my own head that it seems I've worn ruts in the brain that are difficult to get out of. 

So, steps for today.

  1. Continue to manage the pain with both conventional and alternative methods.  It is manageable now.  A couple or three weeks ago I couldn't type.  I am doing it now without thought or hesitation. 
  2. Continue to search for a new job while not burning bridges here.  Assume that there will not be movement where I am currently that will be sufficient to make me stay, but don't rule it out.  Continue to reflect on whether I could really be out here and asses the impact if I were to be out. 
  3. Find an affordable, experienced, gay friendly therapist who doesn't have an agenda.  I am not in therapy at this point - neither individual or couples.  The last one seemed to have an agenda - to convince me I am bisexual and that the marriage could work.  This will have to wait until after the copays are over for the shoulder/back. 
  4. Begin to sit in meditation again at least for 20 minutes in the morning.
  5. Continue to breathe and realize that there is a way out even if I cannot see it at this point.  
  6. Remember that I did not choose this path.  I am not responsible for the society that left the closet as the only option for me.  But I am responsible for my behavior now.
A tall order.  I will work on #4 tonight and tomorrow which will bring many of the others into perspective.

Monday, September 5, 2011

There are a lot of us out there

In checking out my stats I noticed that one post has more than three times as many hits as any other - Is it possible to come out of the closet late in life

There must be a ton of us out there for that to happen - or those of us who come out late in life are really dumb and keep coming back to the same post over and over. :-)

Maybe this generation will be different, although I don't think it will be as different as we may want it to be.  The resistance to being LGBT seems to be growing more militant among many Christians.  There is not a lot of room for coming out in that sort of environment.  Then there is the fear and ignorance that is carried on by such hateful speech and attitudes even when done "lovingly".  

But it  is good to know that I am not alone.  When I first began this struggle I thought I must be the only gay man who was married to a woman or at least we were few and far between.  Fortunately that is not so.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Laying Low

Sort of trying to stay under the radar. 

Work trying to keep things going well and they are.  Irene (the hurricane) did not make things any easier there - we had some water damage and served more people.  I have two job interviews scheduled.  One is within commuting distance, barely; the other is not.  Doing my best to keep it all together there and not attract too much attention.

Home also trying to keep things going well and they are.  We are maintaining a status quo that seems to be working at least right now.  Trying not to rock the boat there either.  So far so good.  Now one of the conditions I'd set for moving on/out was that I have a better, more secure job.  That could be in place soon.  But I know that the last time I had a couple of interviews set up they both went south.  However, these two are more in keeping with my skills and experience.  We'll see.

Pain-wise also trying to keep it together.  I'm off the pain meds other than ibuprofen.  And I am in a lot less pain than I had been.  I am mobile and able to get through a day reasonably well.  I'm not sure of the cause of the pain and in a sense it doesn't matter if I can function well.  So be it.  The pain was overwhelming and drove away all other considerations.  Sex, job, all were on the side line.  That has begun to change with the physical improvement.

So, a status quo that portends to be short-lived.  I'm just not sure where the changes will be.  Such is life.

I had an interesting comment the other day on this post about my dear mother-in-law.  Meta-language - interesting.  I thought to simply disregard it as applicable in this case because my dear mother-in-law is not all that capable of doing something for others, so her behavior wouldn't be about helping C.  But then it dawned on me that MiL could easily have done it all for her purposes - to have her family look good and avoid a scandal.  Of course, I'm laying low with regard to MiL too!!

It is really a long strange trip.  It would help if I had a destination in mind!!  Sure serving God and my fellows is a good generic goal, but in the end it doesn't show a specific destination.  But perhaps it does serve as a compass. 

And to that extent it might give a direction. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Checking in

Been an interesting couple of weeks.  Irene dumped a lot of rain including a inch in the garage and basement.  Other parts of our county were a lot worse off as was work - I got called in just as the hurricane was hitting its peak.  Had a meeting at work with those above me - our relationship has been damaged perhaps irrevocably.  I bear some of the responsibility; I think they bear much more than I do.  Have two good nibbles on jobs.  One is a bit closer to family.  The other is significantly further away.

But the real kicker has been the pain. 

It seems that the muscles in my upper back have tightened up (due to stress?) in a way that is impacting a nerve on my right side.  I've been incapacitated at times with the pain.  Last night (Monday) I was able to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time.  No such luck tonight. 

I went to acupuncture today and he did a bit of acupressure as well.  The regular MD has not been a lot of help.  There diagnoses have been all over the map.  I cancelled the scheduled MRI because of the co-pay - $1,000!  The vicodin and then percocet prescribed doesn't touch the pain.

The acupuncture seems to work. 

And interestingly enough when I am active and acknowledge the pain I seem to do better.  Ignoring it doesn't work - interesting corollary to the larger situation.  Ignoring being gay and married doesn't work.

Bottom line - am on the mend slowly.  Seeing this as indicative of and likely caused by where I am vis a vis C.  It's causing stress that is eating me away, consuming me.  But when I sit with and acknowledge it all, the stress moves back.

Instead of life imitating art we have body imitating psyche.

C has been amazing throughout.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pinched nerve

Wow!  Pinched nerve somewhere on right side.  Two doctors in two days not a lot of relief.  Typing hurts the right side.  Perhaps it's muscular - stress!!

More later - I hope.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Off the deep end

She may have finally done it.

About a year ago my mother-in-law lost it on me, threw me out of the family, because she was upset that I didn't appreciate her outing me. 

Well now she's flipped again, not at me but at C and some of her sibs and their spouses.  There were two family cookouts over the weekend (mercifully I was only at one). 

Our guys were then supposed to spend a few days with her so C and I had some time as a sort of late 25 anniversary present.  The kids are home; C is at the end of her rope.

Mother in law (MiL) is a bit controlling and is not able to be honest even to herself.  She seems to have lost any filter on her mouth.  And she fears being left alone.  She is very insecure.   A volatile mix.  

I am civil when we meet - got brought back into the family with a half-assed apology.  I'm not invested enough in MiL to work to do more.  C is invested; it's her mom.  But C feels another relationship slipping through her fingers.  You'd think MiL could get out of her own way to help her child.  Ain't happening.  She is a text book narcissist. 

And she's really good at seeming to help others - it's sort of spooky. 

Point is - C is abandoned yet again.   And my ability to help is limited at this point.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

 Now I've been known to be a bit dramatic on occasion.  Netflix is a wonderful thing now that one can stream so many movies.  One that you can stream is Olivier's Hamlet is one of them.  There's a good number of LGBT themed movies as well available steaming or on disk - no I do not work for Netflix :-)

So, I put Hamlet on the other day - the description states that Hamlet's tragic flaw is his indecision.  Not being a Lit major I hadn't really given it a lot of thought.  But in thinking about it Hamlet's torturous indecision about what to do with an intolerable situation leads to more grief, pain and death, including his own.

Now at the risk appearing overly dramatic - all of this sounds all too familiar.  One of my fears is that my indecision/procrastination will have deleterious effects on C and the kids.  In reality I think it already has.  It also has had such effects on me as well.   And, frankly, I have said with Hamlet:

"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!"

(I am not, today, in a space where I say that.)

Hamlet, through no fault of his own, is faced with an unbearable situation.  Hamlet's father, the king, is killed at the hands of the father's brother, Hamlet's uncle.  The uncle then ascends to the throne and marries Hamlet's mother - so quickly that the meat served at the funerary meal is available for the wedding meal, albeit cold.  And I thought I came from a dysfunctional family!!

So too those of us who are married and gay are in an intolerable or at least difficult situation.  I know that I did not say one day - "Hey, I'm gay so let's marry some unsuspecting woman"  Even those of us who knew we were gay when we married often did so out of a genuine and misguided belief that marriage would make things right - would straighten things out so to speak.

The tragedy only comes in if there is a tragic flaw in the person who finds themself in this situation.  The flaw leads a series of decisions and actions that are tragic - that cause harm that is unintended and unwanted by the tragic character.

So, the question I have to ask myself is - "If I cannot commit to C, what should I do?"  "Is it better to stay or leave until there is a decision?"  I don't know if I can commit to C for the long term - I'm not sure what that would look like.  This is especially the case since any sex/intimacy outside of marriage is off the table - far off the table as far as C is concerned.  This is part of what I want and probably what I need.  Therefore, there is a radical incompatibility in being married and gay in my case.

Honestly, I am not sure how great the incompatibility is.  But I do know that right now I cannot commit and therefore will not.  Moreover, I am not sure what commitment would look like in our current circumstances.

At this point I am prioritizing.  First is finding a new job.  I have a meeting soon that will likely show me that the search needs to be sped up or can be at the current pace (or even slowed down or a real long shot halted).  It is possible that this could involve a move - if so I will have to make some sort of decision out of fairness to C.  If it does not involve a move then I have some time.  A new job would be a distraction in a good way. 

But underneath I want to avoid the sin of the Prince of Denmark.  I don't want to wait until a tragic ending is unavoidable.  But I am not sure what has to be in place to make a decision.  That is the crux; that is what I have to figure out.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dreams - Some Dreams Cannot Be

C has said several times over the past couple of years that her dream is gone - particularly she's said that she had always had a vision of us growing old together.  Now she knows that it was always a dream that might not be fulfilled.  But it makes me think -   

Not all the dreams we have are able to work - some are mutually exclusive - some are hoped for then lost.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What's in a bowl of ice cream?

So a few years back - probably about 5 or so I successfully battled weight.  I was about 155-160lbs when I got married.  My weight had creeped up to a point where I was uncomfortable.  I got down to about 185lbs (84kg) with a combination of diet and exercise.  I kept the exercise until the beginning of 2011. 

Today a whopping 223lbs. (101kg).  Not where I want to be.  Especially since all you gay guys have the reputation for being picky.  I know when I'm in a crowd I'm often more attracted to the women than the men (sort of) but only because we men seem to have let ourselves go.

Thus the new widget on the blog.  If it disappears you'll know the weight isn't going in the right direction ;-)

So the goals
  1. lose 2lbs. a week at least for the first bit.  
  2. eat at or below the level indicated by an external source (using Livestrong.com)
  3. exercise regularly again - 2 years ago I would run 4 miles in under 40 minutes at lunch.  
This will
  1. get me in shape
  2. help the health
  3. help with the depression
Downside - no bowls of ice cream - at least as I was having them - for the next bit.

Big upside - doing something positive again form myself.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Did I mention that I have most of August off?  Probably for the last year. 

It's a wonderful thing and not so wonderful thing to have so much time off.  For the past couple of years it's been particularly difficult as we come to turns with tgt and what  it means in our lives.

First the wonderful - I got to spend a couple of hours mountain biking with the younger two kids in a nearby state park.  What a wonderful time the three of us had.  It is things like that that make the vacation wonderful.

It also gives time for C and I to spend a bit more time together.  That is good and not so good.  I try to avoid talking and inevitably feel better when I do talk - talk about perversity.  She feels alone and isolated - like I have one foot out the door.  That might be closer to the truth than either of us would admit. 

Today though she asked the question. She was feeling isolated, disconnected and alone.  So we took a walk through the neighborhood.  She asked, "Can you commit to me."  She is having difficulty staying present in the moment.  And I had to say, "No, I cannot."  Not that I will run out the door tomorrow or up and run away suddenly.  We also talk a little bit about that fact that all of this is taxing on the kids. For instance, #2 Daughter was in tears after our bike ride today for no apparent reason. 

Then as we continued to talk it dawned on me - worst case scenario is that we divorce, but keep the interests of the kids primary and treat each other with dignity and respect, caring for each other on some level.  And that as a scenario is not all that bad. 

Actually, the worst case scenario is that I crawl back  into the hole of repression - that scenario is toxic.  But that goes unsaid - we both know that that is not an acceptable scenario from experience. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You have nothing to fear but fear itself

FDR said "You have nothing to fear, but fear itself."  Cecil echos that when he asks, rhetorically, "Why do I fear the answer."  That is, why do I fear the choices I need to make about staying with C or not - and that I think the answer is I have to go. 

Interestingly, when I acknowledge that I have to go I can be more present to and with C and the kids - we're just home from a county fair and had a fabulous time.  Even more oddly when I acknowledge I should go I feel like I can stay.  My thought is that this is because I am finally comfortable knowing where and what I am and then I think - Hey I could live like this.  Then the cycle begins.

But back to the point at hand - what do I fear in leaving C.

Cecil is undoubtedly right - I fear the unknown.  I am one of those boring guys who will at least sometimes (not always anymore) choose a mediocre meal at a chain restaurant than try something new.  The unknown is scary - not knowing what to expect.  I don't think that the world will hate me fortunately, but I do know that coming out at work would not be a good idea and coming out to the people we went to the fair with tonight would be disastrous.  My kids would be upset if/when C and I did not live together because that would mean they did not live with both of us.  But they would not, I believe, reject me.

But the fear of the unknown is only the tip of the iceberg.  I also fear hurting/harming C and the kids.  Some of that is undoubtedly excessive pride, but a lot is real.  C and I grew up together in a real way.  We have been together for over half our lives.  I remember her younger siblings when they were younger than our youngest. Our separation/divorce will harm the kids - divorce always does.  It does not have to be devastating, but it is not a walk in the park either.

I fear the end of a vital relationship - some of that is above in length of relationship.  But I will also miss C.  She knows me FAR better than anyone else.  I trust her more than anyone else.  I fear losing her.  And her Cecil is right - I fear the unknown.  I haven't dated in a long time.  And I didn't do that a lot or very well.  Will I end up a lonely old guy.  And back to C - will she end up lonely.  The answer here is easy - no - not if we maintain the people we are.  Both of us are the sort who are good friends. 

I fear the financial consequences of separating.  They are real for both of us.  We nonprofit guys are far from overpaid - at least this one is.

So Cecil was right - the unknown is at the center of most of the fears; he's righter than I first thought he was.  The fear of hurting others is real and not an unknown.  But I know that doing what I am doing now is harmful.  There is stress and tension in the house and in our lives that is not spoken and named for the kids - just, "Dad is having a tough time."  What an understatement, but "Dad was seriously thinking of killing himself" would be too much.

To carry on with  quotes from WWII figures - "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."  Winston Churchill

And that is really the place to turn here.  The fear is real and not unrealistic, at least not entirely so.  The road is not an easy one.  But regardless of where it leads I can work to see the opportunity in every difficulty.  It is when I see the difficulty in every opportunity that I get stuck.

The difficulty is in being a gay man married to a woman.  The opportunities I see there:
  1. I am alive and well.  David is not.  He was the guy I explored with in the 1970's.  We parted ways.  I went into the closest as the AIDS crisis began.  David died "after a short illness" ten years ago.  His parents would not say more than that.
  2. I have three wonderful children.  I am not the same person I would have been with out them. 
  3. C - I value and appreciate the time we have had.
  4. I have the opportunity to have a redo - to relive adolescence.  It wasn't so good the first time!!  I was looking out at it through the doors of a closet.  
  5. I am not the man I was when I married.  I have grown up; I am stronger; I can now face that greatest fear.  "Honey, I think I might be gay." 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Creative Tension

So back at it.  Reasons that I took a week:
  1. I was depressed.  Seriously depressed.  More than I had been in a very long while.  It was not good.  It was however briefer.  I switched from the generic effexor (still getting occasional brain zaps) to generic welbutrin.  It does not seem to be working as well on mood or depression.  Although I have a lot less side effects.  
  2. I was beginning to take myself too seriously or at least the blog.  I was checking the number of hits on the site as some sort of affirmation of who and what I am.  I forgot that I was writing the blog for me more than for anyone who  might read it - hope that doesn't burst anyone's bubble :-).  But I've found processing out loud, so to speak, with the blog works.  I have another that is completely private - this one for some reason works better.  I then see how right or how asinine I can be.  A lot of the comments have been  very supportive and/or helpful. 
  3. I needed to see if the blog helps or hurts.  It helps me.  And that is the bottom line I keep overlooking.  In my journey through being gay and married and a father of younger children (youngest just turned 10) what helps me.  Somewhere along the line I have internalized that I don't matter, that I should sacrifice myself, etc.  That leads to all sorts of craziness and dishonesty - we all work to meet our needs one way or another even if we "seem" to be self-sacrificing - or at least that is my experience.  Of course my needs matter.  So do those of C and the kids.  And as a dad there are times the kids needs are prioritized over mine - hell a lot of the time that's the case.  But my needs don't fall off the map no matter what - that is not a moral judgement, but IMNSHO is a matter of fact.  I can look at them upfront and honestly or I can ignore them and let them play behind the scenes.  Today I choose the former. 
    So where am I at this point.  I am afraid to have a deep conversation with C because I fear where it will go.  I do not see us having a future.  This will cause pain.  I am not ready to move out, to be away from the kids, or frankly be away from C since she is my main support through all this.

    I want to live on my own as a gay man.  I want to remain married to this wonderfully supportive woman.  Part of the issue is that my wants are conflicting.

    Fear.  Paralyzing fear seems to be where I am at this point.  

    The problem in my history is that then I pull back - way back - into a (seemingly) impenetrable shell.  And I have begun to do that already.  The therapist C and I were seeing has dropped off the map.  We went on vacation, she went on vacation and I haven't reconnected.  And I don't want to.   Nor am I motivated to find some one else.

    Then when I have pulled in enough the depression hits hard.  The suicidality then follows pretty quickly.  I remember this as a kid when I first shut (slammed shut) the very thought that I might even be a teensiest bit not entirely straight!!  Seriously - I couldn't even think around it.  I spent a good bit of time putting myself in harms way.  I was actively suicidal for most of the teen years.  That has continued, very infrequently, over the years.  But since I've been dealing (or not dealing) with being gay and married it has returned more.

    I'm back in - or still at - a place of tension.  I hope it is a place of creative tension.   I had written about that some time ago.  The blog helps me move through or at least lessen the negative aspects of the tension, relieving it to a level that is tolerable.  In the midst of the tension I get all to easily to a place where I see no workable solution. 

    But I cannot see the future state of the picture.  What I see is the current state.  I don't like it very much.  I'm depressed. C is depressed.  I am walking around ready to bite anyone's head off for the smallest of reasons.  I've been walking around like Sue Sylvester on Glee - I'll slap you down for no reason whatsoever. 

    I can sort of see the tension - I don't look forward to it.  But it can't be any worse than the current state except that it is unknown.  Again fear of the unknown is the chief motivation for not moving.  And the tension holds positive promise.  There is a future state out there - not all the pieces will be idyllic or even okay.  But it holds promise to be better than the current state.  The only promise that the current state holds is to get worse. 

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Going offline

    All thanks for the support. 

    Gotta go offline.  We'll see how it goes.  Might be longer than a week.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Taking Pause

    It's so easy to get so wrapped up in all of this. It can block out other things that matter.  I've spent years going over being gay and married and what that means.  It has sucked up a lot of energy and even a lot of joy.

    Taking time off is a necessary thing - not to try to make it go away, but to get perspective.  Sometimes I am able to do this intentionally by doing things like stopping for a moment to see and appreciate beauty - the moonrise the other day, sunrise this morning, a child joyfully running about. Going to a car show yesterday with the two younger ones was a way to do that - we just argued about which cars we liked.  #2 daughter and I liked the same one most. 

    Then there are the moments that really give pause and put things into perspective. Two such events happened for me yesterday.  One of my volunteers was in a position where it was best that he call a woman to notify her that her son had died a week ago.  She had not known and the medical examiner would not release the body without positive identification from a relative.  I don't have all the details yet, but informing a woman of the untimely death of her son trumps anything in my day.

    Then yesterday C pulls me aside.  She and #1 daughter have been talking.  They spent a good bit of Saturday sequestered while I had the other children.  It seems #1 thinks she may be bi.  Or perhaps lesbian.  While I buy that there are people who are bi (sorry couldn't resist), I think it can be a stopping place that is safer and easier to deal with than being gay or lesbian.

    I am not out to her or her sibs yet. 

    What a bombshell.  Thousands of thoughts went through my head in a matter of seconds - that explains #1's self-injurious behavior, wonderful someone to walk the journey with,  joy (and jealousy) that she can do this as a teen rather than wait until she in her 40's, I should come out to her, we all should be in therapy . . .  We'll see how that works out in the coming weeks.

    There is joy on the other side of the journey I am on as a man who is gay and married to a woman. Indeed there us joy on the journey and sometimes even because of the journey.

    Today I will grab some of that joy.  

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Throwing Stones

    Yes I did pull over on the highway to take this one.
    Moonrise over the hills.
    Moonrise over poverty.
    Been doing a bit of reflecting over the past couple of days.  Some of it was just taking some mental time off and looking around.  The pictures don't do it justice, but the moonrise on my way into work was amazing. 

    It is a wonderful thing to take a moment and look around.  The moonrise in front of me over the river and the sunset behind me were poignant.  One beautiful thing was waning as another was rising.  Each wondrous in  its own right, but not compatible together.

    Then I get to work and all goes well - I work from 8pm-ish to 10pm-ish on Thursdays.  The poverty is palpable.  Other pictures showed a glorious moon next to a boarded up city-owned (but identifiable) building. 

    After work I got home and took two of the kids to see HP7.2 (the new Harry Potter movie).  Yes we were some of the fools in line for a midnight showing.  And we had great fun.  C was sick and could not come.  The eldest was away.

    Yes I cried during the movie - quietly.  The pain of death, change, and relationships was also poignant.   The relationship I am in is changing.  I was going to say dying, but I hope that that is not the case.  It has changed. HP 7.2 brought that to the fore for me.  People die, people betray one another, people sacrifice all for love.

    Then shouldn't I sacrifice all for love.  No.  Sacrificing for love is life-affirming; it is healthy; it does not lead to resentment.  If I sacrifice being gay it brings death to my spirit; it is unhealthy and leads to depression and anger; it makes me resent C, the kids and almost everything else.

    So, the Harry Potter series, a paragon of pop culture leads this gay boy to the re-realization that the closet doesn't work; it cannot work.

    The revelations from pop culture continued today (Friday).  The oldest was in NH for the weekend with the daughter of old friends.  The woman was at our wedding.  There's an interesting backstory there I'll write about sometime.

    Any way I have to drive and drive and drive today to get the oldest since C was sick.  I left work at noonish and got home around 8pm.  Thankfully our friend was able to bring the oldest 3 hours closer to home!! 

    My musical tastes are eclectic to say the least - classical, early middle ages, folk, traditional folk, Celtic, Lady Gaga, among many others.  I was listening to a Dead album while stuck in traffic on the Mass Pike.  In the Dark is one of my favorites - "Touch of Grey", "Hell in a Bucket", West LA Fadeaway, My Brother Esau, and Throwing Stones. 

    I know gay boy and the Dead don't go together - at least in my mind.  It's a remnant of smoking pot every morning in high school to suppress being gay.  It worked; sort of.

    So, there I am with a tear in my eye and laughing out loud as I listen to "Throwing Stones". 

    "There's a fear down here we can't forget.
    Hasn't got a name just yet.
    Always awake, always around,
    Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
    Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

    Now watch as the ball revolves
    And the nighttime falls.
    Again the hunt begins,
    Again the bloodwind calls.
    By and by, the morning sun will rise,
    But the darkness never goes
    From some men's eyes.
    It strolls the sidewalks and it rolls the streets,
    Staking turf, dividing up meat.
    Nightmare spook, piece of heat,
    It's you and me.
    You and me."

    That fear.   I don't know what the Dead were talking about here.  But that fear was a fear of myself.  It was a fear of what I knew but could not look at, dared no look at.  Being gay.  It was always awake and always around despite trying to smoke and drink it away - leading me to death - to ashes.

    For some of us the darkness never goes.  But on the Mass Pike on a gloriously sunny day going 20mph in traffic - the Dead reminded me that I am gay.  That that is okay.  That I do not have to have that fear in my eyes.  I have looked that fear in the eye and seen that when I do that the fear vanishes.  The fear (rather than me) turns to ashes.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Agonizing or ulterior motives exposed?

    Two Lives who writes If I Do the Right Thing commented on my last post.  I think he is right - I am on a slow crawl toward the inevitable and agonizing about it.  I am not sure that C sees it as inevitable, but I am by no means sure; that I am not sure is a symptom of our waning communication.  Nor am I sure that she would eventually throw me out for that (which I don't think is a particularly good/healthy thing for her). 

    The agonizing is what interests me here though. 

    More to the point, I wonder sometimes if I am not moving slowly and cautiously so that (in the hope that) C will eventually say - "enough is enough - get the F*** out of here."  She has mentioned this.  That is, she has said that she will not fall into that trap - if I want to go I have to man up and say it.   It would be easier on my part if C does throw me out.  I am not the bad guy then, the guy who left his family to live as a gay man.  I would then, in a sense, be absolved of guilt.  And of responsibility. 

    My issue in one sense is simple.  I want to avoid pain.  I don't want to feel it.  I don't want to cause it.  I don't want to be seen to be causing it.  At work one of my volunteer's grand daughters is in crisis.  She's been married for 4-5 years with a small child and the husband up and left.  Even though that is not where I am or what I am doing there is that fear.  The scorn, disbelief and confusion in the volunteers voice is palpable. 

    Then there is the twisted pride behind some of it.  C once reminded me way back in the beginning that I am not all that important.  If I were to leave she would be able to deal.  Not that it would be easy or that's what she wants, but it would not be the end of the world.  "Now I have become Shiva, destroyer of worlds."  If I leave things will fall apart.  I am the lynchpin, or at least one of them, in the lives of C and the kids.

    Really, I am that important?  C does claim that the kids "would never be the same".  Well of course.  And if C or I die; if a grandparent dies, if a friend moves away, . . . they will not be the same.  Life is, after all, about adjusting to the decisions we make and the situations we find ourselves in with varying levels of control.   Some of that is C trying to maneuver me into staying or so I think.

    But really, the kids will survive.  I am the product of a "broken home" and I turned out okay.  Well not really for quite a few years, but that ball was in my court not my parents.   I will be there more for my kids than my dad was - not difficult given that I hardly ever saw him again over the next 20 years of his life.  I will show up and be counted.  I will man up. 

    So now it's time to continue on the job hunt - more money being the prime goal.  If you know of any good non-profit admin jobs in the northeastern US or even eastern Canada shoot me an email!! 

    And then to read Jim at Conflicting Clarity about a year and a half ago.

    Off to the shrink of Friday and out on the town Friday night.

    The plan is still the same, but it may be time to man up.  My experience tells me that I won't.  At least not right away.  But that in the end I will.  There is not a heck of a lot of choice is there.

    One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is that there are others out there with the same story.  Not only am I not alone in that sense, but I have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of those who have preceded me.  What a wonderful thing it is to learn from the mistakes of others. 

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front)

    I love Wikipedia.  Information that's usually reliable at one's fingertips, at least about some things. 

    So sitting at work today with the brain zaps that are really detracting from my quality of life.  I can't concentrate well, I have the constant zapping - sometimes as loud as an electric bug zapper or crickets and I am on edge - anything can set me into a rage.  I almost had #3 in tears yesterday over nothing, but was able to pull it back in time.

    Anyway, C says yesterday that she would like to spend time chatting with me.  Just to connect.  But it's clear to both of us that this is not a good time given how labile I've been.

    But that has made me begin to think of where I am and what I need.  First the job search is going slowly.  I was beginning to think that I could stay where I am.  The work is great, the workers are great, even if being out would be difficult.  But another discussion with those above me made it clear that this would not be wise.  While I only encounter them very irregularly, I want to dope slap them.  They don't get the organization, they don't get the cash flow, they don't do much of anything to help - whine, whine.  So issue #1, get a job; it is time to move on for many reasons.  This will likely involve moving, at least for me.  Which gets to #2.  

    #2 is that I love C, she loves me, we have a relationship that is better than most hetero-hetero ones we know.  But, and indeed it is a big but(t) (nice opportunity to add a gratuitous picture), the incompatibility is too much when we are together.  My experience show that I cannot sanely keep my feet in two different worlds.  I am the one who is split in two.  Sure divorce will likely temporarily split C in two.  Staying together will most likely permanently split me in two.  Frankly divorce will temporarily split me in two - but that will be temporary; I will heal from that sort of split.

    I know the track record too well.   I suppress being gay with limited outlets like the internet.  I become detached from life.  I become depressed.  I realize it does not work doing that.  I get better.  Things are good as they are; I don't want to disrupt the status quo.  I suppress being gay . . . and the cycle begins again.  I mentioned a poem bu Portia Nelson on my June 27, 2011 post that sums up the process well.  I'm on the same street again.  But now I have a map both to avoid the whole and to find a different street. 

    The meds have helped with the depression piece.  In that sense the Effexor did work.  My hope is that the med I'm on now will do that and not have the side effects and withdrawal nightmare.  The cycle was quicker without a deep sink into depression.  In that sense the effexor was even worth it as much as it has had negative effects.

    So, The Plan.

    1.  Maintain status quo for now.  Maybe even let on that I think the marriage can work.  That is a dangerous game since in order to lie I will likely have to come to believe it myself. 

    2.  Set things up to make it easier to split.  Encourage C to go back to school.

    3.  Remember it could be a lengthy process.  I may have to stick around in some sense for a while to set things up well.  I love C and the kids and want to do right by them (and me).

    4.  Job - get one that pays better.  I think a third of my pay will be child support.  I was the product of a divorce where this was not done.  I don't think any support, or at least not much, was paid.

    5.  Be out. 

    Okay not not quite like the to the right with the mohawk.  I have never wanted a mohawk - good thing since I couldn't have a real one for at least a decade.

    Be out like

    Most of this was written yesterday.

    The zaps are a little better right now.  I found a site that says breathing deeply works on the zaps and on the anger.  It also works on my blood pressure which has been elevated.  Yet another reason to restart meditation.  Maybe I will this time.

    I don't like the plan I out lined above.  It sucks!  But it is the best plan out there.  Life is good, but often unfair.  "What's good?  Life's good; but not fair at all."  Lou Reed.

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Effexor Sucks

    My apologies in advance if the post is a bit disjointed - that's how I feel.  I've been of the generic version of effexor since the end of April.  I moved from 37.5 to 75 and then to 150mg pretty quickly.  The good news was that the depression and anxiety lifted markedly within a couple of weeks.

    The depression got really bad over the past bit as I struggled to suppress being gay.  Became dangerous again early in the year.  C and the therapist finally forced/threatened me to go on meds - thank god.

    But then the side effects - wicked dry mouth which went away.  Then the sexual ones.  Lack of libido, then to add insult to injury even when I could get it up I couldn't get it out.  One of the side effects of this crap is inability to orgasm (happens in women too according to a friend). 

    So two weeks ago I talk to the shrink.  He moves me back to 37.5 (he had already moved me from 150 to 75mg).  And adds that if the sexual dysfunction keeps up I could get off it and maintain the wellbutrin he'd put me on.  The dysfunction lessens, but I decide Wednesday should be my last dose given the side effects including blood pressure issues which has C freaked. 

    Then Thursday at 6pm, the time I take the dose, I notice that I feel kind of crappy.  A bit dizzy almost.  And it's like I have trouble finding words or like I'm a printed page with words randomly missing.

    Brain zaps begin later that day.  It feels like and sounds like very small electrical pulses in the head.  Yes, sounds like - auditory and visual hallucinations are a potential side effect.  At least I haven't seen anything that's not there (I hope).  The zaps seem less when I don't move at all - any movement can bring them on.  I went from 9am to 4pm and again from 8pm to 9:30pm with very few.  Sometimes I get as many as 25-50 a minute - one right after the other. 

    Insomnia is a side effect too - hence the 2:30am local time that I'm doing this.  

    Time to be still at least to lessen the zaps.  To sleep - perchance to dream.

    Not sure how long the withdrawal will last.   Again - what a long strange trip

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Highly offensive and offended

    As a former Catholic, former altar boy and, dare I say it, former seminarian, I find  the picture in Michael-in-Norfolk's post HERE  (picture to the right) highly offensive.  The picture equates Benedict XVI with Darth Vader.  This is unjustified and unfair.

    The picture should be retracted as soon as possible with a public apology.  How dare anyone compare the Holy Father to Darth Vader. 

    Now Michael could well have used photos such as these below.

    Or even this video. 

    All are far less offensive.

    We must remember that, in the end, Darth Vader rejected the Dark Side and embraced goodness.  Thus far Benedict and his minions seem more like the Emperor - bent on continuing to corrupt others even when faced with the consequences of their actions.  To equate Benedict and Darth Vader is to do Vader a grave disservice.  A comparison with Darth Sidious with his unrepentant attitude seems much more justified.

    More to the point and with my tongue removed from my cheek, Michael and the NCR are correct to point out the hubris, ignorance and utterly failed leadership of a bunch of guys most assume are straight speaking about gay marriage especially when they ignored, facilitated and/or participated in acts of sexual savagery with children - both male and female.  And then blamed this savagery on "homosexuals" instead of their own complicity and participation. And further commenced on a witch-hunt on gays and lesbians (women religious) as if preventing their participation in vowed religious life will be a panacea.  While comparing Benedict XVI (not so warmly referred to as "the Rat" when he was merely Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) to Darth Sidious might be overstated, it hits far too close to home, especially for those of us who know people affected by predator clergy.  Five.  I know that I know 5 people who were sexually abused by priests.  I am sure there are others who have not shared that with me.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    I am (no longer) alone

    I got a comment from Not Alone who blogs at Gay Married in the Midwest.  He stated, "you are not alone."

    I think that that has been one of the most amazing things over the years.  Six, eight years ago when the process first began, I knew of one person who had come out in a marriage.  It was the woman of a couple C and I knew who came out, moved out, and moved in with another friend of ours.  The husband was devastated and was for some time.  It all happened within the course of a few months.

    So, I thought that there was no one out there in the same situation.  The gay Episcopal priest I went to in the very beginning was very little help - he was no help at all, except that he was cute and I realized how gay I was when I wanted to jump his bones.  The thought still brings a smile to my face and . . . But he did not suggest any connection to a group or individual who were in the same situation.

    Here I was 18 years married (at the time), just coming out to myself and feeling completely alone, isolated and bereft of all support. 

    I felt battered and hopeless.  My solution of suppressing being gay more did NOT work.  That suppression led to depression and suicidality.  Just today I was thinking - I haven't seriously wanted to kill myself in months!!  The sad thing is that that is remarkable; it's a sad thing that I should feel great because I've not wanted to kill myself for months instead of never having felt that way.

    But Not Alone is right.  I am not alone.

    There are tons of us out there - way more than I ever thought.  For those who may still feel alone let me share resources I have found - some of which I've used.

    Internet groups/listservs:

    HOW - Husbands out to their wives - contact Frazer - frazer.jones@gmail.com.

    HUGS - Hope-Understanding-Growth-Support.
    For "mixed orientation couples"  Both must join- HUGS

    MMOMW Making Mixed Orientation Marriages Work  MMOMW

    Bisexual Married Men of America BMMA

    MMOM Monogamous Mixed Orientation Marriage MMOM

    Spouses out to their spouses SOTTS

    The above seem focused somewhat or entirely on working within a male/female marriage.  Some are very explicit that this is the goal.

    Forum for married/bi men HERE

    Closed Loop Relationships They state, "A closed-loop relationship consists of two married men who don't cheat on their wives with other women and who don't fool around with other guys."  As I understand it ideally the wives know.


    Other Websites I found helpful

    Married Male

    Married Gay

    Gay Friendly Religious Sites - haven't always checked these out
    Be VERY careful not to wonder into some ex-gay bullshit.  I've seen Christian, Jewish and Muslim ex-gay groups out there.  It's easy to wander into and REALLY warped.
    I don't know about you, but I've run into a disproportionate amount of guys who are or were raised conservative or Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics and evangelicals.  Perhaps those traditions are  closet makers.


    Gay Christian Network - note they accept folks who think gay relationships are fine and those who think it is fine to be gay, but not to be gay sexually. But they seem to explicitly reject ex-gay BS.

    Gay Buddhist Sangha

    Gay Buddhist Open Forum Yahoo Group

    Queer Jews in Sydney

    Jewish Gay Youth

    This site expired a couple of weeks ago.   I included it in case it comes back online Al-fatiha

    Gay & Lesbian Arab Society


    Inner Circle

    Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association

    Geographically specific sites

    Gay Fathers Association Seattle

    Gay Married Men Washington DC GAMMA

     Other GAMMA affiliates

    Boston Gay and Bisexual Marred Men   My hometown!!  They have wonderful links

    NYC two groups at the GLBT Center - Gay/bi dads and NYC Married Men's Group - Located HERE

    Check out the LGBT Center near you - a directory of US and some others is HERE.  Note it's by no means all inclusive.  The one closest to me is not listed.

    And yes Buddy Bear and others who sprinkle "u"s randomly in words like honour and colour this is an awfully US-centric list except for the Muslim list.  However, I bet that these Gay Married men know where to put the favourite u into you.  Gay Married Men

    I'm sure there are tons of other sites out there.  I found it helpful to ALWAYS look for the links page (or resources page) even if a site I was on was only marginally helpful; I've found many a gem there.  Sort of like checking out other guys blogroll - not that you have to restrict yourself to checking out his blogroll!!
    Some days just suck (and not in a good way).  Work-wise in this case.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Problems of the closet

    So, we're invited as a friend of the family to go to a July 4th party. C, the kids and I go. It's at the house of the father of C's friend. She is the only one besides C to know I'm gay at least as far as I know.

    Now the father is a retired career navy guy - commander if I recall correctly (Lt Colonel equivalent). Anyway he's a sweet guy but a bit of a blowhard, racist, chauvinist and homophobe. We're eating dessert and I'm at another table when I overhear him say lesbian marine. Then it goes on for a bit and all agree at that table that they wouldn't want someone light in the loafers serving with them.

    I am in the closet to all of these people. They would be shocked if they knew - or so I like to think. Not everyone has been so shocked. But the trouble remains and I sit there in silence.

    The second problem of the closet concerns anniversaries.  What do you get for your 25th wedding anniversary? Yes, today, July 5th is C and my 25th wedding anniversary. 

    We got a note on Facebook congratulating us for "an exemplary marriage"  Really?  Well in some ways ok, but as C joked - should I give the person a call and let them know what is really going on.  She won't - the closet again.

    It seems we may go out to eat tomorrow night - for Indian.  We are hoping to get away at the end of July or in August.  But wtf - what do you get for each other when the husband is gay?  A romantic evening or getaway just seems to miss the point altogether. 

    But then it dawned on me.  His and her boyfriends!  That would fit the bill nicely.

    Tomorrow should be interesting.  Anniversary.  Back to work at a place I really don't want to be.  My job search is going poorly.  But again the joy is in the journey and I had some of that today.  Off to bed.