Tales of Pink-Eye and Cancer

My this has been one hell of a week.

It began on Monday where I made an eye appointment because my eyes were red, itching, and would not stop crying. I was certain when I made the appointment with the optometrist that it was probably pink-eye. The doctor however looked at my eyes and deemed it allergies. I was skeptical because I have had allergies my whole life and never had I experienced JUST a reaction in my eyes, but as he was the “professional” I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

The following day, Tuesday, I finally had scheduled a CT scan that I had kept putting off because I had no time to do it. My work schedule has been (and is) hectic, so I never had the time but I figured that since I was so panicked about the blood in my underwear (coming from somewhere it should not ever if you’re a dude) I should make the appointment and follow through.

I went for my exam and during the procedure while they were injecting the dye into my vein it collapsed and instead of coursing through my body, probably, about half of it went into my right bicep. So for a couple days I had a bulging arm, much like popeye. After the procedure I felt silly going because I hadn’t had any further symptoms from the initial shock (aka blood.)

By Wednesday, the “allergies” only got worse and so I made a very quick follow up appointment. While rushing to that I get a call from my doctor. They had gotten back the results of my CT scan and it showed that my spleen and my prostate were enlarged and I was being referred out to a urologist for further examination.

After that lovely phone call, the optometrist (now a plucky, quirky young woman) told me I did in fact have viral pink-eye, the super contagious kind. This was after touching my eye with her bare hands (Smart) and swabbing my eyes with a giant q-tip. The cotton swab must have been just for fun because she did nothing with it and never mentioned it was being sent anywhere for testing. Her answer for my diagnosis was “good luck” and a referral to another optometrist.

Later that same day I got a call from the Comprehensive Blood and CANCER Center. They were following up because I was referred to them by my general practitioner (GP). They needed info to get the ball rolling, one piece of which was my blood work I had done the week prior.

The following day they called again to schedule a consultation for November where I (imagine) will be told I have prostate cancer.

To be fair, I don’t know this to be my prognosis. I am making a giant assumption but all the signs point to that and just like my certainty of having pink-eye I am certain that this is the case.

A few things come to mind, one of which (if there is one) god has a sense of humor. Prostate cancer is slow but trying to cure can result in sexual complications. I won’t die from this cancer, it will just kill any semblance of ever having sex again without the aid of a pump (hard pass).

I found out about a year ago that my uncle had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and instead of doing anything about it he let it sit and it has now spread to his bones. At the time I didn’t understand how one could do that. “It’s such an easy fix.” Sitting in the same position I can see where one would refuse to do anything, as that is the road I will most likely take.

The boyfriend, upon hearing my decision, was quiet. He didn’t really have any response. The husband however was annoyed and told me that my decision was bull shit and I was going to do whatever it took. While I respect his opinion more than likely I won’t be doing anything. What worth do I have if I can’t have sex? I know that’s such a petty thing to think but the psychology behind never having another erection is staggering. I remember a statistic about the army spending thousands on viagra, and I get it. For a very brief time I couldn’t get an erection and maintain it and it is a huge mind fuck for one to endure. (At least it was for me.)

As of right now, this is all just theory. I don’t have solid facts to determine anything or if what I assume to be reality is in fact true. The most comforting thing I do have is that I have two men who have repeatedly told me that they will be there for me and that is what’s getting me through, between my sudden outburst of tears (though those could just be from the pink-eye.)

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Concerns and Observations

As I watch three long term relationships, in my tiny little social circle, coming to an end, I begin to panic and draw concern for my own. Granted, the situation is already convoluted and strange. It breaks all the social norms and we are basically treading in uncharted territory. If it is not known, I am married, have been for the past 5 years (together 15), and I also have a boyfriend, together for 6 months.

There are no secrets. Both of them know of the other. They have met a few times and once all three of us went on a “date” to see Crazy Rich Asians. Even now, as I look back on that event, I don’t recall any emotional awkwardness. It was strange in a sense because with both men there are two very different sets of actions that typically occur. What I’m referring to is with the boyfriend I am very much more “hands-on,” for lack of a better term. He is just more physically intimate than my husband. For instance, when the boyfriend (Josh, because I don’t want to keep saying “the boyfriend”) and I go to Disneyland together we hold hands almost the entire time and in general are more physically affectionate. That would NEVER happen with my husband. Not even for a second. Well, maybe, if we were in a gay bar, located in a very gay neighborhood, and he was thoroughly liquored up. Otherwise the husband (Charlie) is not a touchy-feely kind of person.

This weekend all three of us (and Charlie’s ex/current/”who the fuck knows” boyfriend) will be going to Disneyland for gay days. And for once I am filled with anxiety. Josh and I have set a precedent that will not be met because it would seem cruel to do so in front of Charlie, or vice versa. I am sure it will be fine and it will play out the way it plays out. Fuck, the whole thing is an experiment in just trying shit out and see how it goes, like some kind of emotional Russian roulette. For instance, the movie date and this other time when we all got together to play Pokémon Go. Those times were fine. Surprisingly so. Which is why I don’t understand my feelings for this little excursion.

I think part of it is linked to watching my friend’s relationship break apart. They’ve been together for 9 years and they’re now agreeing to separate. The crux of this particular relationship was that they too were in a “throuple.” My husband (ever the asshole) jokingly asked “who got the boyfriend?” Is their break-up a warning sign for things to come in my own life? But even when I go down that line of thinking I begin to wonder am I just asking this because of societal expectations of what a “relationship” is and should be? Or, in this case, is it just how it played out regardless of situations/factors. All I have to go off of is what is known, and all that exists is the common “couple.”

Then there is another couple that broke apart a year ago. Their break-up has been 100% amicable and up until a week ago were still living together, in separate rooms. What preceded their ultimate end was that they opened up the relationship. Did that relationship end because of opening things up? Or was it already played out before that and having trysts on the side was the final straw?

I like to think of myself as this scientific observer, looking at situations and trying to find the commonalities and what point brought it to where it finally fell. But, I am working with a very limited number of examples to gauge. And at the end of it all, I don’t think I want to know. Not now.

Sometimes, I think that it is SO obvious that I am an idiot for not seeing the fact that I am sitting in a pool of purple Jell-O, as I wonder where am I going to get a gelatinous dessert.

All of our pictures are the same, just the shades are different.

More than anything I want to write a blog post about race. But I feel as a pampered white boy I could never ever do it justice. It only comes through experience and sharing your own story and, even as an openly gay man, I haven’t experienced discrimination.

One time I had a good friend of mine make an off-hand comment that I had the minority corner down in regards to my column at the college newspaper and it honestly took me by surprise. I never once considered myself a minority or that I was giving anyone any kind of voice, except my own. And while I may be gay, my minority status can be hidden from view. If I code-switch and butch it up (which I do do around straight guys, it’s weird to behold) I can pass as a white male. But what is it like when you can never escape your diversity? Not saying anyone should.

The topic is more prevalent in my mind because this weekend I went and saw “Crazy Rich Asians.” I loved it, so much so I went and bought the book so I could continue with the story, just in case Hollywood deemed the other two novels not “financially worth it” to make. Seeing people of color run a movie made me happy. It made all the rhetoric and racist bullshit that seems so prevalent now, disappear. It painted for me a picture of a world where everyone has a seat at the table. We’re richer because of it. It reminded me of the joy I felt when Obama was still in office and Hamilton was exploding across mainstream culture. I felt hopeful. But, once douche-mcgee came into office and brought out the WORST in people it just seems so abysmal.

At times I get why white people would have voted for Trump. The thing about power is one is always afraid to lose it. They will do whatever it takes to keep it. And I think white people have maintained a majority for far too long. Time is up. And it is that which terrifies them.

People joke or poo-poo white guilt but it is real and they should absolutely feel it. A good majority of white people have been absolute monsters to anyone who didn’t look or sound like them. (I use “white people” as a blanket term about white Christian men/women in the most mundane sense.) So that guilt they feel bubbling inside is their humanity telling them to take a good hard look at yourself and your fellow man. And there are two ways to react and I feel that the road most chosen is to say: there is no such thing as guilt and vehemently deny that because of their race they haven’t been handed anything in life. “My life has been just as hard!” No it hasn’t, Becky. So stop acting like it has.

I think the reason white people are scared of losing the majority is because they fear that they will be treated how they treated others. And they should be.

I fear writing this because of how it will come across. I am no expert, I have no authority. I’m also worried it will actually sound racist when I’m trying to be optimistic and say I want equality at every level. Diving into other cultures is scary and exciting all at once. I think the appropriate word here should be: exhilarating.

The thing that made me the most happy from my little jaunt to the cinema (besides being seated between my handsome husband and my beautiful boyfriend) was the string of trailers prior to the film. Every one of them was starring a person of color. And for very brief moment I was hopeful that all of this bullshit will pass and we will continue to progress as a society together.

Exhibit: Addiction

I am broken. All humans are, but I sometimes feel more fractured than most.

These past couple days I have found myself beaten and downtrodden. With all the things that are happening in the world (the cruelty, the callousness, the secrecy), to the death of my “bear cub,” to the stress of my impending licensing exam, I have found it hard to see the “bright side.” As a result, my addiction has reared its ugly head and shown me, without a doubt, that I am a sex addict.

For many, it’s not a real addiction. Supposed “sex therapists” have denounced it because there isn’t a substance in which one abuses. However, fun fact, the rush one feels during orgasm is just as powerful as a shot of heroine. So, there’s that. Regardless of the few naysayers, there is a program out there (I am apart of) and rehab centers that deal with the addiction.

I’ve been in the program since the summer of 2009. I should have been in a lot earlier because my addiction started with pornography when I was around 12. Back in the old dial-up days, I use to peruse galleries of images and would not stop until I had viewed every image. (In a gallery of 400+ pictures, that is quite the task.)

At the time, I was also a “devout” Christian and the images I viewed (and have only ever searched) were gay. So the addiction cycle of shame and guilt came all too easy to me.

Over the years it has progressed to insane levels and taken me into directions and places I never thought I could or would go. But that’s the nature of the beast.

The notion most people have is that “it’s all about sex.” And, speaking for myself, I know that to not be the case. There is something else attached to the whole situation to where I have tricked myself into thinking that it makes me feel better. It likes to make me think that it is some temporary band-aid in times of distress or sadness. When I was younger I used it to soothe my conflicting feelings about my sexuality. In the waning months of 17, I wielded it to cope with the break-up I didn’t see coming and subsequently never dealt with.

Where it becomes crystal clear, is that I have a husband and a boyfriend and my mind immediately goes to wanting to hook-up (or what we call in the program as “acting out.”) If it was about sex the need would be met, but it is still there as an “answer” to what ails me.

Some may be surprised to know that there is more to sex than just the act. There is the chase of finding someone physically attractive, the provocative and alluring conversation heightening the excitement and anticipation, the ritual of saying certain phrases or doing things in a particular order, and then there’s the ultimate goal of meeting with this person who one has deified… All of it is consuming. Yet, what follows (for me especially) is the shame and guilt, making one feel worse than they did before and thus perpetuating the cycle.

The piece I find bizarre, is the act of not doing something destructive makes me feel sick.

I attempted to break my sobriety. I reached out to someone, made a plan, and then, when I fought hard against the want and desire to do that, I found myself feeling physically ill. I sounded like a mad man, repeating the same line over and over again, “just don’t download the app.” Yet, what did I do? I did exactly that, disappointing myself. My immediate act though, was to flake on the person I had spoken to and thus ending any chance of doing something that would have hurt my husband and boyfriend, and, primarily, myself.

So, I live to fight another day!

Everyone that needed to know of what was transpiring knows.  Now comes the task of trying to find something healthy and productive to pull me out of this goddamn funk.

One of them is writing.

A Bookmark of Life and Loss

When I first met the man that I would refer to as my “bear cub” I hated him. I thought he was a narcissistic douche bag that I did not find the least bit funny. He thought he was hilarious. He came into my high school theater class making off-color jokes and being generally obnoxious just as I was getting out of it, and I would not see him again until we participated in a show down in LA called “You Make Me Physically Ill.”

For whatever reason when we reconnected I fell in love with Jacob, in a very non-sexual way. I felt this intense need to protect him and would defend him with my life if it came to that. I jokingly told him that my husband and I were going to adopt him, even though he’s only a couple years younger than me. (We have a habit of taking in strays.) Because I felt like a mama grizzly whenever anything pertained to him I would henceforth refer to him as my “bear cub.”

Yesterday I found out that he took his own life. The moment I got the text my eye caught sight of just his name and I already knew. If there was anyone who would commit suicide it would be Jacob. He dealt with the darkest of demons that I could not fathom what it must have been like to reside in his head. I think that’s why I found this need to protect and care for him. He, in many ways, reminded me of my father.

Now I walk the path every person who has lost someone to suicide travels: I am thinking of how I let him down and how I could have done more to keep this from happening. I feel shame in that I never spoke much with him after he moved to a different state, even though I did think about him often. Most recently he’s been in my thoughts because the upcoming Pokemon game is a remake of yellow and that was his favorite of the games; because you could get all three starters. I meant to reach out but I didn’t. I don’t know what stopped me. And I don’t even know that if I had, if that would have made any kind of difference. The thing about mental illness is that it is unpredictable and the best of intentions can sometimes be fruitless. Yet, we still have to try.

I can’t lend any new perspective or advice to the situation. In the end, it is what it is and nothing can be undone.

I will miss him.

A brief snapshot

Social media is something that simultaneously astounds and appalls me. At times it brings out the lowest common denominator in some, and yet for others it coaxes out a true humanity and the love we all have inside of us.

There is a gentleman I follow on Instagram whom I have never met nor have ever conversed. It has become apparent with his recent posts that he is going through a breakup. At first it was all subtext (a lot of selfies and cheeky butt shots) or the sporadic vague post about “going through stuff.” He finally disclosed his and his husbands break-up in his Instagram story and my heart broke for him. I have watched with interest as this stranger shared his life through photos: spending time with his boyfriend as they travelled the country, to their marriage at the site of a plane crash (no joke), and as they spent time together with their son. I have “hearted” almost every snapshot into his life. And now as he goes onto a new path I eagerly watch hoping and praying for his happiness, all the while never really knowing him.

I have been blessed to have been on the reverse of that, as people who happen to read this little blog or follow me on twitter have asked me how I’m doing. They barely know me, yet something compels them to care and reach out. Their little messages bring a lot of light into my world. And because of their loving curiosity I find myself wanting to share more.

As of late life is good. Wonderful in fact. Things with the husband have greatly improved since our little Palm Springs excursion, during which we laid out all our bull shit on the table for he other to inspect. I will admit, after all the sordid disclosures it took me some time to get through the following mess of emotions, but I have since arrived at a happier place. One in which I don’t ever want to leave. There is power and peace in rigorous honesty. And the communication since has flourished.

Then there is my awesome boyfriend. He is the kindest, most understanding person and I don’t know how I lucked out twice to get such amazing men in my life.

I shared all of this with my therapist during this last Tuesday’s session. She participated in my joy, but like any good counselor she didn’t just accept the good she also asked probing questions. For whatever reason, the one that stuck with me the most was: how do I not compare the two. My immediate response was that I don’t. The two of them are so different that there is no way to hold one up to the other in comparison and to do so would be a disservice to each of them.

After having more time to mull over her inquiry, my answer is still the same but I am more confident in my response. I truly can’t compare them because neither has what the other offers. It is trite to say but they’re like little unique snowflakes. And what I realized is that to break it down into such black and white ideas is not how this works. Polyamory (if that is what this is) is more complex. There are levels and layers to affection, emotions and multiple relationships that can’t be easily described in terms of “oh he’s so much better here.”

I don’t have my fears like I did. The thought that I would somehow be replaced by my husband’s boyfriend have left me. And my fear of us “just fooling ourselves and drawing out the inevitable divorce” has waned. It still lingers at the back of my mind, but it is a faint nagging that I scarcely ponder. Much like the zen attitude of just enjoying the moments with either one, I don’t let these negative thoughts cloud my present.

So, if you’ve wondered or worried over this stranger, as of right now there is no need. But your concerns have touched me more than you’ll know.

Withdrawal Rants, Step Up and See the Spectacle of Insanity

It has officially been 72 hours without a cigarette or any nicotine product to speak of and I believe I have reached a crescendo of withdrawals.

It all began with, for whatever reason (sometimes I’m an enigma even unto myself), searching for my husband’s boyfriend on Instagram. And I happen to find it and see my husband is following him. Of course. I can’t say anything because I follow my boyfriend. That’s to be expected. Finding his account though opened up this pandora’s box of rage, which more than likely is fueled by my desire to have a cigarette. But let’s travel down this track together and see if that’s really the case.

When the whole situation came out that he was seeing this guy, the husband told me the thing he liked about Derek is that he didn’t do social media. It wasn’t his thing. That to me was a jab at me because not only do I blog, I tweet, I Instagram, and I have a facebook. The husband hates this because, in the past, he thought these were ways in which I could meet other gentlemen. I can see where he got that conclusion but it was not true. Telling me this dude didn’t do that was one thing, like, good for him. But then when I discovered he uses Instagram all I could think is, “this bitch does social media.” He can’t tell me he doesn’t when, in fact, he does. So telling me that brings into question what was he trying to get at by telling me that?

I would also like it noted for the court that the only times I have EVER been propositioned for sex on social media has been through Instagram and that has been in the past couple weeks, because this one dude who annoyed the fuck out of me on grindr found my account and has proceeded to message, and then this other dude I knew from way back when hit me up again to see if I was still interested. No and no, my good sirs. Move along.

Then my train of thoughts took me into Speculationville, where I began to wonder, well my husband does social media, was he using it to meet dudes? And before typing that sentence it was unknown, however, my mind reminded mid-type that I have since learned of an incident where he did stuff with this dude he obsessively talked to on Facebook, so yes. He has used it to meet dudes. So, it was just a guilty conscious that transferred into assuming I was doing the same. (Jesus our relationship is fucked up.)

Look, I don’t fault him for the stuff that happened in the past. Trust me, I have done much worse. So, I have moved passed it (a little). (I’m still coping.) What I don’t take kindly to is being compared to some dude when the thing he was using to compare him to me (saying he was better) he does! Like, fuck me for reaching out and trying to make friends or have a voice. I didn’t know that he was supposed to be my “everything” when I know he wouldn’t do the same.

(God, I want a cigarette.)

And all of this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Oh, the bitch has an Instagram? “Gasp.” You don’t say. I guess I just don’t like being compared to someone or told that what I’m doing is wrong when someone is doing the same thing. And that leads me to a larger resentment that I don’t even know if I have voiced, I’m super pissed that I was made to feel like shit about my past discretions when my husband was doing the same thing. When I straight-up asked him if he had done anything his answer was always an indignant “no.” My heart would sink because he “proved” once and for all that I was the biggest piece of shit. But as it turns out, I’m not! He is! For lying right to my face. And he can hide it under the guise of “Oh, well, I didn’t want to give you more reason to do it.” That’s bull shit. He just didn’t want to fess up to the fact that he did do those things. He didn’t want to see himself as being the same. (Which I can get.) Then there is the fact that I don’t think he’s apologized. Maybe he has and I just have forgotten because all of the information given to me has flooded my mind. I went ahead and just forgave him, but…

Ugh… I got to let this go. I did forgive him. By doing that I don’t need an apology. I took that out of the equation.

What does all this mean? Nothing. Absolutely nada. It’s just fun to chronicle and casually rewatch this train wreck.

Oh, I had another thought.

So, he wants me to meet this dude. I don’t know if I am ready for that. Maybe I am. Who fucking knows. Everything is totally new. But I am open to do it. He says because he wants to get rid of the “secrecy” (whatever that fucking means.) Yet, last night he told me he just pretends that things with me and Josh don’t exist. Like it’s not happening. Yet… He has said he would meet him. Fuck. I don’t know. I haven’t the slightest clue where I was going with this.

I just have this need to overthink things until I have mutilated them beyond recognition.

Or, I just want a fucking cigarette and am taking umbrage with the fact that I cannot.