The Soundtrack of My Life – 25 – Dream a Little Dream of Me

I am so far behind on these posts. I had finally caught up but then life got increasingly complicated.

We recently went on a road-trip to ultimately end up in Denver, Colorado, to see Chris Stapleton. This was my husband’s previous birthday gift. On the Thursday before the concert, and literally packing up our belongings to head to Denver from Rapid City, South Dakota, I got a call from my mother’s hospice nurse. In a calm tone she informed me that my mother was no longer able to swallow. The plan going forward was to stop her medications and give her only small amounts of liquids using a lollipop style sponge.

Not even five minutes later, the BF got a phone call from his grandmother that his grandfather (who had Parkinson’s) was refusing to eat. Since he made it clear he didn’t want a feeding tube, he was starting hospice care.

The whole drive to Denver I debated with myself, and for those around me, whether I should cut the trip short and go home or continue on. As it was, we either rushed home to see my mom before she passed and miss out on seeing Chris Stapleton (one of my husband “bucket-list items”), or continue on to the concert and miss a chance to say goodbye to her. I ultimately felt that the concert was more important. Life is for the living, and I had said goodbye to my mother many times before.

The universe decided my decision was the incorrect one.

The Friday before the concert the brother-husband asked me what time the event started the next day. I opened up the app and discovered that Chris’s concert had been postponed to the subsequent weekend. Four days after we were scheduled to be home in California. Shoot me. We had briefly, briefly debated staying the rest of the week, but the financial pressure that would have put on us would have been entirely too much. Sure it would have been fun, but ultimately would have left us scraping by. Also, it would have potentially made saying goodbye to mom impossible.

With that final hiccup, we packed our shit up and headed home.

The moment we got back into town I visited my mom and would every day after. I sat in a wheelchair, at her bedside, talking to her and rubbing her arm. For about 75% of the time we spent together she was out cold. She would wake up intermittently, look at me, and then go right back to sleep. At this point she was mostly non-verbal and could barely mumble out a coherent phrase. She did, however, manage a “I love you.”

Two weeks to the day she could no longer swallow, my mother passed. I got the call as I was heading out the door for my workday.

I don’t know if it’s because I saw this coming, a mile away, or I’m just a monster, but I have barely cried in the wake of her death. In comparison with my pop’s, this fact is deeply troubling to me. With him, I could not stop myself. Every thought or relatable song caused me to breakdown. However, now, all I want to do is hide away and sleep. But the responsibilities of my life keep that from happening. Which is a good and bad thing.

Since I got the news, I have been listening to two of my mom’s favorite singers: Anne Murray and Mama Cass.

I wish this song didn’t say the mama and the papas. The song is Mama Cass (aka Cass Elliot.) Anyway, I think my mother enjoyed her so much because, like my mom, was a bigger gal. It showed that the world wasn’t entirely body obsessed.

Saying that though, my mother’s was healthier than a horse. We had opined a few times that she would have survived the black plague, her immunity was so strong. The unfortunate thing is that her mind wasn’t included in that level of health. All of this unbelievably cruel, but that is life.

While I haven’t cried… I am deeply depressed. And perpetually angry. (But I have discovered that I tend to route my sadness into rage.) I just don’t want to do anything. Even writing this is agonizing, but I can’t let myself get so far behind that I can’t keep up.

This song is one of those that will forever make me think of my mom. Hearing it I am back in our station wagon, with the gray interior, on our hour long drive home. She’s singing along in her falsetto, bouncing to the beat.

Can’t be bothered

I’m supposed to do a post in my “Soundtrack of My Life” project (2 actually) but I cannot be bothered. Right now I want silence. I don’t want any music to attach itself to this memory, this time.

Life sucks. Mine seemingly moreso. I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m not the only one going through what I’m experiencing. For every one of my situations there is someone else effected.

Let’s start off with the most broad and work our way down…

First is the world. It feels like every society collectively got together and put the most incompetent and insane people in charge of running the world because “we couldn’t be bothered” to deal with it. As a result everything is falling to shit. All of the progress made has been undone because a small group of people feel they have that authority. And because they know/sense that their power is dwindling and they are willing to watch everything burn to maintain their power. It sucks that as I get further into adulthood life sucks even more. At least… the utopia we envision gets dimmer.

Next is my work life… this time of year is usually our busiest. We can barely keep up with the demand for appraisals. And I’m lucky if I even get 1 bud request. And even then it’s usually some bullshit assignment outside of my usual market. So if it’s slow now… what the fuck is it going to look like in winter? Good thing my mother is dying and I’m getting my inheritance. Figures that any kind of gains I get will be wasted on just surviving this bullshit. Fuck the middle class, right America? and here I know those effected are everyone in the real estate market. So I’m not alone but… damn.

Next is dealing with the impending loss of my husband and my mother. Here the pool is smaller. But once again, I’m not alone in it.

My mother is more immediate. I imagine she will pass at some point in the next few days. She lost the ability to swallow over a week ago. And while it has returned at random points in that time period, it has been gone for the most part. Luckily she has been medicated for most of this time. I envy her. I wish I could sleep through this and wake up with the news that it has all happened. But even then… the voice in my head says, then what is the point of living? Life is the good and the bad. It just sucks watching my mom go. However I’m glad she’s not present for it.

My husband is losing more of his ability to do things every week. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like for him to rely on myself and tony to do anything. He can’t eat, drink, relieve, move, or dress himself without one of us there. That would be maddening for me. Yet he has the most optimistic attitude about it. He is truly a saint.

In the end I am selfish about all of this. I can only focus on how it effects me. But I MUST remind myself that the universe and all it’s events don’t revolve around my experience of them.

The Soundtrack of My Life – 22 – Love for a Child

I just want to preface this next post with a warning. This deals with some sensitive content around “sexual abuse” trauma, and if you are at all uncomfortable with such topics I do ask you to stop reading. I don’t want to trigger anything for anyone. This is, above all, a safe space. So, if you wish to continue I very much appreciate your continued patronage of my ridiculous little life.

This song was from one of those albums that completely defined an entire “era.” This came out right at the time that my husband and I had finally “split.” After 4 years of cheating on him and getting caught, we had decided to break-up. The only caveat being, we would still live together and sleep in the same bed. What we were doing at the time was staging what our future relationship would turn into. For all intents and purposes we were “broken up.” In reality it was an open relationship, but my husband and I were so opposed to that kind of “gay culture” (at the time) that we had to call it something else.

Out of this entire CD, there were 5 songs that just hit specific points in my husband’s and my relationship and some of my past experiences. This song, “Love for a Child” made my husband think of me. It told the tale of how, I’m assuming, a young Jason Mraz grew up just a little too early under the distracted attention of his disengaged parents. The line that specifically spoke to my husband was:

“…and making love at far too young an age
And they never checked to see my grades
What a fool I’d be to start complaining now”

It’s true, I was exposed to sex much, much too young. As a result I became overly sexualized and started to believe that I was only good for what I could offer sexually. I’m certain it is what set the foundation for my sex addiction.

The first time I was sexually abused was by a neighbor kid when I was 3. I have snapshots of what happened with him, but the one thing I remember with clarity, was my mother’s rage from finding me buck naked in the backyard. She had only checked on me because the neighborhood boy left in a hurry and I hadn’t been trailing behind.

“Why are you naked?” She had shrieked.

I remember following her back into the house, staring at her back. Her dress was beige with different colored strips and she was wearing flip flops.

All I can recall was after that event I was no longer allowed to play with that boy. Why, I didn’t know. Being the good kid I was, I followed the order.

It’s weird because that entire neighborhood was rife with kids down to do sexual stuff. When I got older there was a boy who would only ever want to play with me if he wanted “something.” He had a code name for it and I knew, once I heard that phrase, that it was gonna happen. He called it “working bears.” Which… As a gay adult man is funny to me. Bears… come on.

Once this kid got what he wanted he would turn on me. There was one time where this asshole got all of the neighborhood kids to gather on the lawn of the house across the street, and they called me a faggot. That is not an exaggeration.

My saving grace was getting out of that hell hole. My mom’s department was moving from Southern California to the Central Valley, and my mom jumped at the opportunity. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I knew, even at nine years old, that a fresh start has limitless possibilities.

While I wasn’t sexually assaulted by neighborhood kids in our new town, I was teased and bullied. So, progress, right?

I was mainly teased for being fat. I was also weird. I had adopted the mentality really early on that I rather be strange than normal. I would say “thank you” every time someone said, “You’re weird.” The need to conform to what everyone else was doing was something I never believed. That is, unless, it was awesome. (Aka power rangers bitches!) Otherwise I marched to the beat of my own drummer, and usually kids don’t like that.

The internet made making friends way easier. I had a ton of online pals who had similar interests and were also a little kooky. It was in the digital space where I found my community.

What I also found was internet pornography.

The problem with having technologically illiterate parents is that the kid ends up setting all the shit up, and therefore learns how to manipulate the programs to do what they want. Even though my parents had me on the setting for “child safe” content, I knew exactly how to remove any restrictions. And when my hormones were raging during puberty, I would change my browsing capabilities to include adult sites and I would spend HOURS perusing every photograph.

This was all gay pornography, by the way. Never once did I search for images that featured women. Why would I want to pretend when my windows of opportunity were so short? Let’s get right to the good stuff. The only problem is then I would have an identity crisis with post coital clarity. It’s super fucked up to have religious dogma mess up your orgasm. And I firmly believe it affected my ability to even relax in the moment now. I feel this immediate urge to not be where I am. To cleanse myself of my “sins.”

Good lord I am a mess.

Finally after a few years of this ritual I needed to know if I really was “gay.” The only way to do that was to take what I had seen in pictures and put it into practice. At 13 years old I started reaching out to gay men on-line to meet up for sex.

There were only two who were willing.

The first one knew that I was a chubby pre-teen and he still agreed to meet with me. I had arranged to meet him at a Wal-greens around the corner from my house. There he would pick me up and take me back to his place. I logged off, jerked off, and found the terror in my ridiculous plan.

I logged back on and told him that my dad was a cop and I was going to turn him in. He freaked the fuck out on me. I panicked, again, and then told him that wasn’t true. He responded with this filthy e-mail saying how he was going to find me and kill me. I deleted it, but I should have turned that shit into AOL and regret not having done that to this day.

This episode left me frightened from another attempt for a about a year. Then the draw to do something about my desires pushed me to try again.

The second person I spoke to was “Scott.” He was an over the road trucker, in his 40’s, who agreed to meet with me. I lied about my age, but even when I was “honest” about being “16” he still agreed to meet with me. (God, my rage is building.)

Like an idiot I agreed to have him pick me up at midnight at the end of my street. I thought that this was safer than him picking me up at my actual house. (I didn’t want him to know where I lived!)

Like a hooker waiting for her next trick, I waited out on the corner.

Sidenote: no shame to sex workers. I just say that because of the irony of the scene.

Scott pulled up in his beat-up, aquamarine Mazda sedan. I got in and he drove me to his house just a mile down the street from my own. He snuck me in, and as we were on our way to his room someone started to come out into the hall. He yelled at them to get back in their room, to which they immediately did. He ushered me back into his room and we did stuff on his water bed.

Shortly after I met him for the first time, he dropped me off and I walked back home saying, with “absolute certainty,” that I was definitely not gay. I did not enjoy that. He smelled, he was hairy, he was old. I was not into it. With hindsight I know now it’s because I didn’t enjoy it with him. Even though, plot twist, hairy and older are very much my type. Do with that what you will.

While I wasn’t coerced into anything (I sought him out and initiated the conversation) he should not have agreed. Once he learned my age he should have shut that shit down, explained to me that that isn’t appropriate or even legal. He should have known that I was not emotionally or mentally prepared to deal with that choice. But, he did not.

The thing I find so insane is: why would he risk everything to do it? He didn’t know that I wouldn’t have told my parents. I could have turned him in, told them where he lived, or helped with a sting operation through instant message. All of these I should have done, but that would have meant telling the truth to my parents. Instead I kept it to myself to deal.

I look back on this with regret. I took from myself something that should have, at the very least, meant something special. Instead, I treated my first sexual encounter as a case study. One where the results were skewed and that, inevitably, didn’t hold any weight in my future choices.

I wish I could say that I never went back, but I met up with this dude three more times. Each time more repulsive than the last. My “favorite” had to be my first time performing penetrative sex on him in the back of his semi, parked in a Rite-Aid parking lot.

There is this video going around TikTok that states: we are who we would have felt safe with as a kid. The truth in that statement is unreal. These encounters turned me into a grizzly bear when it comes to kids and sex. If I hear someone has been harmed I get very, very angry. I want to do everything in my power to protect them from the mind fuck that comes with it. I want to keep them from ever having to deal with that kind of trauma. The only way that will ever happen is that we must sit down with our youth and have very honest and open conversations. Without them it makes sex this secret, sinister thing. One in which we need to feel shame in. And while that is not always true, there are shameful acts (as depicted above), it should come with no emotional baggage.

Mental Sigh

Ugh… I hate re-establishing my anti-depressants. They make me moody as fuck. I go from one extreme to the next and I just want to scream most of the time. And these feelings are made worse when I go on social media and see the state of the world. Can’t one thing go right in my life? Just one? No? My entire life has to be in chaos? Cool.

For the record I didn’t deliberately stop taking my meds, not like all the other times in the past. This was just a glistening example of my overall laziness. I ran out and instead of (doing the adult thing when I saw this coming) ordering more, I just let them run out. Now I have to do this song and dance again. It is my own fault. Will I learn from my mistake and make sure I have a back-up bottle for when this time comes? God no. The one thing I refuse doing is learn from my mistakes. Especially when it comes to my mental health.

Speaking of, social media is such a bastard. At one moment it lifts me up and makes me happy, connects me with people… and then at the same time it rips my heart out. Logically I understand it is the algorithm and if I want to cease the endless flow of political bullshit I just have to make a new account or interact with something unrelated. However, I will not be starting a new account. Well… one visible to other people.