December 01, 2010

"Don't Hold Me Back"...

Life is short, so fuck it.

That’s the take away I have received from Showtime’s new series The Big C, starring Laura Linney (who will always be Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City heroine Mary Ann Singleton to me). In this new series she plays a forty something named Cathy. She’s a wife, mother, sister, schoolteacher, and is a play it safe, typical member of society. Suddenly, she finds out she has cancer. Stage four cancer. And not the kind of cancer that Izzie from Grey’s Anatomy miraculously recovered from. No, Cathy is going to die. End of story.

But it’s not the end of the story. What makes the series so powerful is not Cathy’s mortality, but instead, how she chooses to live each precious, not guaranteed moment between now and when the end does come. So, she decides, in so many words, that life is short, so fuck it. She’s going to do and say the things she has never had the courage to because time is running out. So in this case, the big C is about change.

I’m one of those fellas who gets an emotional release and is heavily influenced by the books I’ve read and the television programs I watch. I’ve always felt that you can be educated as well as entertained by them if you open your mind.

As I sit here writing, with a marathon of The Big C playing in the background (I’m taping it for my Mother, who hasn’t mastered the art of recording), I’m left to wonder why we wait for something life altering to occur to motivate us to do the things we want to do or say the things we want to say? Haven’t we all experienced or seen enough in our lives to have already learned this lesson?

In 1995, my boyfriend (my first and my best friend) committed suicide. I turned eighteen the day he was buried. Welcome to adult hood. I often write about him and that experience because it has been the catalyst for so much of who I am today.

I remember our last conversation like it was yesterday. I remember him sounding resigned. I remember being frustrated with him. I also distinctly remember neither of us saying, “I love you” when we finished talking. That’s kept me up more nights than I care to admit the last fifteen years.

From that dark place though, something beautiful has risen. I’m a more affectionate person now than I might have otherwise been. I’m big on hugs. I think giving someone a hug can, at least temporarily, make all the bad stuff go away. I’m also big on telling the people I’m close to that I love them. Constantly. Even if I’m pissed off at them. Even if they want to smack me upside my tragically bleached head. I still live in that magical place where goodwill and love will always wins.

I’m also big on sharing my experiences with as many people as I can through my writing. When your number is up, it's not going to be the things you possess or the thoughts in your head that people remember you for. It will be the love you showed and the life you shared with the world that hopefully leaves a lasting impression.

I say don’t wait for something monumental (good or bad) to occur to make you the human being you ought to be. Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop to be the person you want to be. Start today.

And really, you should check out The Big C. It’s brilliant.

November 01, 2010

Learning To Fly...

I do not consider myself a religious person by any stretch of the imagination. Of course there’s been the occasional “Oh my God” uttered in the boudoir of a suitor or more often than that me staring at my own reflection the next morning after a late night hair coloring bender that didn’t go over so well. Word to the wise, bleaching ones hair at three o’clock in the morning with minimal lighting is always, always a tragedy in the making. Ask Marilyn Monroe. Oh, wait. You can’t. She’s dead. See what I mean?

But I digress.

Yes, I believe in hair color. Religion and the God thing? Not so much.

However, the older I get and the more I travel down this road we call life, I am starting to believe that there is something out there responsible for all of this, the world I know.

And I don’t necessarily mean that in a “there must be someone to blame for all of this bullshit” kind of way. Thanks to therapy, I’m still quite content looking at my parents with scorn whenever I feel put out or whiney when things go wrong. I once heard it said that therapy is a like a game you play where the answer to every question is “my mother”. Works for me.

No, I’m quite content blaming humanity for the ills of the world. Disease, famine, and poverty? We could control this these things if we worked together. Discrimination, inequality and racism? Ditto. But we won’t, it seems. Working together? We’re all too busy looking out for our own interests and ourselves. The well to do are only concerned with being well to do. The pretty are only interested in being pretty. You know what I mean.

But something (or someone) is responsible for all the beauty in the world. And though reading the local paper or watching the evening news might convince us there is no such thing, there is still a lot to appreciate in life.

I’ll take your rhetoric spewing, conservative politician clamoring for votes and counter him with my socially conscious activist who spends every waking hour busting her ass to make the world a cleaner, safer place to live. I’ll take your schoolyard bullies who think tearing someone else down because they are different is so fucking cool and defeat them with my group of friends that love me no matter who or what I am, which is so much fucking cooler.

I’ll take your indifference and hate and deflect it with my love every opportunity I can.

Something (or someone) is responsible for that.

You can call it God. You can call it a higher power. You can call it whatever you like. But whatever it is, it’s more compassionate, creative and far more intelligent than us mere mortals.

Now that’s something worth believing in.

October 04, 2010


It’s eleven o’clock at night and I’m hiding in a stall in a bathroom on the third floor of a college dorm wondering how the hell I ended up here?

Okay, actually, the first thought that entered my head was who the hell cleans this place? I know we boys are generally messy, but good God almighty, this place is disgusting. At some point fellas, don’t we learn to aim?

But I digress.

Yes, I’m standing here because, in a moment of weakness, I forgot that I’m almost thirty three, and turned back into a horny teenager all because a cute guy who goes to school here invited me over because he thought I was “funny and cool” and if I was “into it”, we could “have some fun.”

Yup. That would be how I got here. Full figured, sassy and brassy, blonde me. This guy, who could be my son if I were a reckless, heterosexual fourteen year old back in the day, thought I was something special. I certainly thought he was something special. I’m a sucker for blue eyes, goofy smiles, and big…personalities.

And I’m hiding in a bathroom because?

Somewhere between the hellos, “do you want something to drink?” and his boxers flying over my head (which thankfully didn’t take my hair off with them), I started to panic just a little.

If I were to die right now, is this how I want this ship to go down? No pun intended. What would my Mother say? “If only he would have quit whoring around and settled down!” Then she would launch into her rant about how my being gay denied her her right to be a grandmother (she still doesn’t quite understand that being gay does not biologically prevent me from fathering a child…it’s just the idea of having one of my own makes me want to stand in the middle of the interstate and pray for a drunk driver to find me. What? Too much?). But that’s another story.

I felt odd. This was supposed to be a casual hook-up like the others. Not the best time for my conscience to show up. He’s usually in the other room listening to his iPod and checking his Facebook account.

Just tune him out, I thought to myself. Focus on something else (“Something other than you being a complete tramp and setting a bad example for this young man?” Oh, damn it! Knock it off, conscience!) Out of the corner of my eye, I glanced at the boxer-less wonder’s music collection. He actually had CDs. That was a positive sign and made me less like some lecherous grandpappy. In the few discs he had was Jessica Simpson’s country CD. Now, I don’t mean to be disrespectful toward the mom jean-wearing singer, but if listening to her music isn’t a reason to flee the scene like the building is on fire, I ask you, tell me what is? At that point, I told him to hold his…thought, politely excused myself and proceeded to haul my big ass down the hall as fast as I could, taking refuge in the aforementioned bathroom of ill repute.

In said bathroom, I came to the stunning realization that 1) I should have brought my cleaning supplies with me and did these nasty boys a favor and 2) I can’t do this anymore. At some point, everybody has to grow up and accept who he or she is and what they are.

What I am is a thirty three year old guy who has been spending the better part of his life fucking around because real intimacy scares the shit out of me. Hooking up with a younger guy, for example, sounds easier because they haven’t yet dealt with the crap you deal with by the time you’re my age: broken hearts, broken promises, and the reality that no one’s life ever turns out the way they expected. Also, if you go into these things like I typically do (no drama, no strings, no expectations) you’re not around long enough for anyone to get hurt. It is what it is. Having “some fun”.

But even this has a price, dear readers, and I finally realize that it’s more than I’m willing to spend. I guess I would rather feel empty but be able to respect myself in the morning than continue to fill my emotional voids with mindless fun and debauchery. It’s kind of like diet soda. It quenches your thirst, but has no real nutritional value.

Feeling better and more emotionally clear, I scurried back to the dorm room of shame to end the night as graciously as I could. He was still sitting where left him. His…friend, was still present as well.

I suppose I could feel better about myself tomorrow…

February 01, 2010

Bad Romance...

"Oh sweet Jesus, holy frickin' Christ."

With apologies to devout religious types (Greetings, but why are you reading this column? No offense, but don't they kick you out of your clubs for associating with the likes of me?), this is what I declared upon running into one of the giant Valentine's Day displays Retailer X had situated in the center of its establishment.

I just wanted to run into the store and grab some essentials. You know. The basics. Milk, oranges, condoms, hair products. Having what little self esteem I possess ripped from my person and left to drag behind me like some bloody carcass was not on my grocery list. At least not this week.

But that's exactly how I felt running into this monstrosity. Heart shaped decorations, boxes of chocolates, cards, and terrifying stuffed animals in various shades of pink and red with their psychotic smiles and dead eyes glaring at me piled high from floor to ceiling. It was enough to make me want to take out a major artery, but I was afraid that would only contribute to the display's cheerful color scheme.

Bitter, party of one?

Okay, I admit it. My animosity towards Cupid's holiday is a little ridiculous, but not without merit. Being single, which has its advantages I assure you, really sucks this time of year.

For one day of the year, I get to sit by and watch family, friends, and total strangers bask in the glory of their commitment to each other. While they're all sending each other candy and flowers or having a romantic dinner, where am I? Alone. Which is probably good. I'm not sure how I would explain to a suitor why I'm lurking in the bushes with a pair of hedge clippers having just wiped out a total strangers rose garden or why I'm carrying matches and lighter fluid (to burn Valentine cards, silly!).

I'm not sure what I want. I don't want a serious relationship, that's for damn sure. I perform better in a show written, directed, and starring myself. There is no room for double billing on this marquee. The spotlight belongs on me. I know that may sound selfish and self-centered, but to me it sounds practical. I like being independent and self reliant. However, I do get lonely. And I'm not talking about the kind of loneliness that's rectified by meeting someone and leaving your underwear hanging from their ceiling fan (I have that covered, thank you very much.) I'm talking about the kind that is filled by someone who randomly calls you to tell you that they love you, or shows up unannounced just to see how you are. I'm looking for the kind of person that makes my entire day, hell, my entire life, better just because they're alive and in my life. No cute stuffed animals or floral arrangements required. When he shows up, I know I'll be ready to return the favor.

But until then, I'm going to be a whiny bitch and piss and moan about Valentine's Day. And I will probably get arrested for setting fire to the giant eyesore that taunts me and my singleness at Retailer X. Happy couples get to celebrate their day their way. It's only fair I get to celebrate mine my way.

January 01, 2010

So What!

I've never been real big on New Year's resolutions. It's seems a whole lot of work to come up with a list of things you vow to do this year that you didn't do last year, but always meant to. Seriously, I don't know how you feel, but me, at 32, I'm pretty much set in my ways. If there was something that I really meant to do by this point, I would have done it already or didn't do it for a reason. That said, I can't help but get caught up in all the good feelings/will that this time of year seems to bring. So in the spirit of being an optimist (that statement in itself should tip you off that no good will come out of this column!), I offer to you, my loyal following, my Top 10 Things I Might Consider Doing In 2010, But Make No Guarantee That I Will Follow Through On Any of Them List...

10. I would like to become more involved politically and socially with the issues that affect myself and the people around me. I should march for equality, speak out against corrupt politicians and their bogus beliefs/policies, be more considerate of the environment and our planet's diminishing resources and go vegan because animals are precious creatures that should be cherished. I promise to consider doing this once I finish this very interesting chapter in the romance novel I'm reading. And I can dig the newspaper out of the garbage outside to read up on these issues while I finish this bucket of chicken I just started devouring.

9. I will not feed commercialism. I will not hand over my hard earned money to companies that do very little to encourage the bettering of mankind. Also, since money is said to be the root of all evil (was it money or Monday? I was eating my chicken when that memo came out) I will not try to buy happiness. I will however continue to spend a shit load of dough on iTunes, hair products, and cigarettes, because, well, I need something to focus my attention on when I tire of thinking about evil commercialism or the state of the world (see #10).

8. I will quit smoking. What? I said I would spend money on cigarettes in #9? Oh, well. I will stop saying I will quit smoking. There. Better?

7. I will not sleep with your boyfriend/fiancee/husband. Much.

6. I will not get emotionally or physically involved with guys that have the mental capacity of a drunk squirrel. That pretty much means I will become a Monk, because, lets face it, all men have the mental capacity of...

5. I will not become a Monk. Refer to #7 and get over it.

4. I will choose my words more carefully and be more constructive when dealing with others and their feelings. For example, "I don't think this is the right direction for you but you have a lovely heart!" is more sincere than "You give lousy head! What the fuck did your parents do to you? Drop you when you were a baby?". Notice the subtle difference?

3. I will not dwell on negative thoughts. Yes, the economy sucks, some people are treated unfairly and morale is at an all time low, but we mustn't lose faith. Instead I will focus on more positive things. My hair is fabulous and my skin is flawless. Ahhh, I feel better already!

2. I vow to spend more time with my family and friends, love them unconditionally and keep my lips zipped no matter how foolish their choices in life are. On second thought, I will probably stay at home and live vicariously through the television shows I watch, where I can be as critical as I want to and not have to deal with the fallout of my vicious tongue. What the fuck, Buffy? Pick Spike for cryin' out loud! (I'm currently catching up on the complete set of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I know. I'm about a decade behind the times, but remember, I spend a lot of time doing my hair, smoking, and eating chicken, so cut me some slack.)

1. When all else fails (and most of these resolutions will), I will continue to be my fun-loving sarcastic self. This is a resolution I can keep.

Happy New Year, dear readers. May all you wish for in 2010 come true. And when it doesn't, don't worry. There's always next year, and the year after that...