Living in the 10%

I’m 90% sure that my marriage is over. It’s just that he and I refuse to see it and don’t want to go through the long arduous task of tearing our lives apart.

It became abundantly clear to me as I lay thinking about our entire conversation that took place over the course of the day and the tiny pieces of what he’s done that give reveal to a very large picture I can’t bear to see.

For the longest time Charlie has always kept his personal life to his self. We have gone through some major fights and on my part some major infidelities. I have fucked up this relationship, and it would appear beyond repair. But he always kept these things close to his chest for fear of how his family would view me if we were to reconcile and try again. Well, this weekend he told his mother everything, including the details of the new guy he’s been seeing. So tomorrow, I am supposed to go to his niece’s birthday party but I truly don’t know if I can knowing now that his mother and sister (and most likely everyone) will be looking at me like some kind deviant idiot, wondering to themselves “why is he here?”

While that alone tells me more than I will ever need to know about where he is in the situation, the other final point of obvious reality is that in our talks he has mentioned many great things that would benefit him if we were to divorce that he wouldn’t be able to do while together. He could file for bankruptcy and bring himself some financial peace. As a single income person, they would adjust his student loans accordingly and he could pay them off. A month ago he even mentioned about moving and getting out of town if we were to split. In the end… He would find the happiness I know he needs and deserves. So, why can’t I just do what I see is right in front of me?

Now, don’t think I am some kind of saint. The last thing I want is to appear like I am trying to be the victim in the situation because I am not. Far from it.

I too have a quasi-boyfriend thing. At least I have been talking to someone other than my husband. In fact I’ve probably done that multiple times over the 15 years we’ve been together. When my husband and I initially got together I wasn’t even looking or wanting a relationship, but he told me he loved me and that was the first person to ever say it. Being young and dumb I said it back without thinking of the consequences of my actions. From then on I caused him nothing but heartache. I have been a horrible person to him, never once deserving the love he gave me. I have been selfish and unkind. And I wonder if I ever returned to him the love he showed me.

As it stands now, we have decided to stay together but see these other people on the side. Even as I type this I am laughing for how absurd it all sounds and how dumb we’re being. I don’t know if were doing this because we are holding out hope that the spark is in fact not dead and we’ll realize that at some point, ditch the side pieces and focus on each other. Or, its just a temporary band-aid until we both come to our senses and realize it is indeed over. (For Christ sake he said tonight about giving his side dude more attention because he’s been giving so much and then referred to us as glorified roommates. Jesus…)

It’s so obvious. I know it is. I’m just not ready or willing to accept the reality. And neither is he, or he is just making me the one to bring the ax down onto this marriage.

For further disclosure: we have literally been in this situation once before. This isn’t our first rodeo. In 2008 we “broke up” but continued to live together and see guys on the side. So maybe we’re hoping to recreate the result which was us getting back together.


Lost at Sea, a Letter of Confusion and Mental Health

I am almost certain I am going through a mid-life crisis. At least, I hope it’s not “mid life” because I would like to think I’d live past 64. One side of the family has early death rates and the other lived into their 90’s. So, who fucking knows?

When I was 25 I thought I was having a quarter-life crisis but I quickly discovered it in fact was due to the Prozac I was taking. In my own trials, I discovered that when it doesn’t work it has the opposite effect. Instead of making me not-depressed it made me erratic and I made broad sweeping decisions about my employment that made me look like a fool. In the end I survived my irrational choices without damage.

Having that memory in the back of my mind, I worry that this is just another one of those moments, however I am currently not on meds and that may play a part in it. All I am certain of, is right now I am in a very weird place.

It all began at Christmas time. I had lost all desire to shop, sure I put up the decorations but my usual Christmas cheer was AWOL. The only reason I ended up purchasing gifts at all is because I would have looked like an asshole come Christmas day and everyone I care about had gotten me something but I had not returned the favor. Social decorum kept me in check, but deep down I wanted no part of the holiday.

I sought the help of my psychiatrist and he came to the conclusion that I might be bipolar type II. The diagnosis angered me, as if I was somehow “broken” but I thought I would humor him at least. (He is the professional after all.) My doctor prescribed me a medication that made me very, very uncomfortable physically and emotionally. The most significant side effect was during that time period it made me really question my relationship and where it was going. I volleyed between staying together and splitting up. Although no side had more power over the other. They were equally matched in every way. It was almost as if it was making me bipolar. For the second time in my life, I felt truly insane.

Still on this medication, and grappling with these emotions, I asked my husband for a temporary separation. Well, I didn’t ask for it. He offered it up in the moment and I took it. For a week (probably less) we lived apart. Eventually, he came back home and we haven’t really discussed anything since then. Which the fault lies on both of us, but probably more-so on myself.

Yet, I am still in this peculiar area of where I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. Most importantly, what I want. I have this type of personality that I fear and hesitate to make the “wrong” choice. I sit there and suffer, contemplating everything down to a fine point, until I expect everything to make sense. What unfortunately ends up happening is I gain no clarity. I see the merits on both sides and still sit in the middle; undecided.

When I returned to my doctor for my trial period follow-up, he told me he had fallen into a “conundrum.” He had no diagnosis for me that seemed to stick. We had tried the depression and the bipolar type II and found no success. His final suggestion to solve our medical quandary was for me to have psychiatric evaluation. The prescription pad leaflet for it still sits in my center console of my car. No appointment date set. I fear what the conclusion will be.

My biggest concern is that I will come back with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder or something equally as drastic. I worry daily that it would show me that I don’t know what love is and don’t have the capacity to return the emotion. Like I’m some kind of sociopath. Such results I would see as a death sentence, that I am fundamentally, at my core, fucked up beyond repair. However, I would NEVER view such results for someone else in that manner. I would be supportive and try to be there for them. (I think.) I just don’t have that kind of kindness for myself.

Currently, I loathe to say it, I am lost. I am in uncharted waters of which I have no map and see no land on the horizon. Yet I am still captain of this ship and it will inevitably keep moving regardless of my choices.


Acceptance and Other Tales

Self-acceptance is something I was mildly blessed with early on. I say it that way because there is still much of myself I dislike or haven’t come around to realizing is just who I am. Yet even with that, I still have come a long way to have confidence. I think that is why I have to remind myself that not everyone has gone through the same or probably ever will.

When I was younger I fought the idea of being gay tooth and nail. I was raised in a deeply religious home, went to Christian school and being gay was never an option open to me. The idea of even telling anyone I had those thoughts was a flat out no. I grappled with my sexuality. I prayed, in tears, that God would take away those feelings. I didn’t want to be a sinner or disowned from my family. I wanted to have the “right” life with a wife and kids. Yet, there was no denying that I was not attracted to girls. The idea of being with them ended when it came to sex. I love women and could have a deeply emotional relationship but that was where it would end. I wouldn’t be in for the deepest part of commitment and whomever I would have been with would deserve better.

I very nearly lived a “straight” life. I had girlfriends, I did the song and dance that came with it and if it hadn’t been for one fateful night I probably would have driven down that hetero-road and dealt with the consequences that came with it.

The first person I ever told I was “bi” was my friend Becky on her birthday, which is only a week away. I had been so entranced with this boy named Sergio at her birthday that I felt compelled to tell her in the hopes maybe he too… As it turned out he was and he ended up being my first boyfriend and first heartbreak. I fell hard and fast for this kid. When he ended it with me, I was devastated. It took months before I was able to move on because I wasn’t ready. I am someone that is so desperate for love that I dive in without even thinking. I envision this life of bliss and when everything turns out to be the opposite I am hard-pressed to understand that the dream I had was only that. It’s probably a sickness.

The first few days after I told Becky I was so furious with myself. “Why did I do that,” I kept thinking. It wasn’t true. I wasn’t gay! But I was still in denial. It wasn’t until I met with that boy, for our first “date,” that something in me turned and I never wanted to go back to pretending. Being with him came easy. Sergio, or “the s” as I called him to hide his gender and identity, was my first kiss. Real kiss. He was my first boyfriend. And my first infatuation.

I thank him for making me who I am. I learned so much from the short experience. For one, don’t get involved with someone young because they (unlike my freak self) haven’t made peace with their sexual preference. After Sergio I only went for older guys because I couldn’t deal with the heartbreak I had felt when he went running. I know now that I came on too strong and he just wasn’t ready. As a result, I learned to shield myself from people. Well, at first. The moment I get a compliment or am shown just the slightest amount of attention all walls come tumbling down. I am just that desperate for love and attention.

I’m almost certain I’ve shared this story on here (or other blogs) countless times. I probably even wrote it in one of my columns for the Renegade Rip. I almost never told Becky my truth. I went to her bowling party and played my role as a straight dude well, and at the end of the night went to leave. However when I got to my car the battery was dead. I called my parents to help me out and while we waited for AAA I went back inside and whispered to her the words I never thought I would say. It’s strange to look at tiny moments as mundane as a dead car battery altering the entire course of one’s life, but it did for me.

My hope is that others can find the same peace I found when I finally just accepted me for me. My natural follow-up is that it is a hard journey, but in all honesty it wasn’t for me. I have lead the most charmed life. The only real moment that was rough was my mother’s acceptance. She was very much not on-board at the start, but since then she is someone else entirely. Sure there is bigotry, but I rather be at peace with myself than fighting a battle I would never win. Denying your truth is a tortured life, full of secrets and lies that only grow as time goes on.

P.S. May I suggest what spurred this blog post, it’s a song by Brandon Stansell “Hometown.”


The Night I Met My Husband

On this November the first, I celebrate my husband’s and my 4 year wedding anniversary and 14 years as a couple. It’s weird to think about how much time we’ve been together, yet here we are. And what’s most peculiar is how we were introduced purely by accident.

I have told the story numerous times on my blog, but I will do so yet again because it is one of those tales that intrigues me for the utter random happenstance of the whole thing.

Picture it, it was the height of AOL days, 2004. I would spend my late-teen evenings chatting with my friends online through IM or through a typical chatroom known as BakersfieldM4M. My friends and I would log on and broadcast one large conversation in the room, while simultaneously having our own individual private chats. This is where my now husband, then unknown, logged into the room and happen to see my username: MelancholysChaos. (Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes too.) He then confused me with someone else and decided to message and inform me that indeed he and Diego were still together. Being the sarcastic almost-eighteen-year-old I was, I acted as though I knew what he was referring to and carried on a conversation until I got bored and flat out asked him who he was. He told me his name, Charlie, and I added him to my buddylist after I learned that my very recent ex, Travis, had been a big fan of his. However, Charlie had not been attracted to my ex in the slightest, which brought me joy. (And when I say recent here, I mean a week to a couple days.)

For whatever reason, I would message this stranger whenever he came online, which wasn’t that often. Almost a week after letting me know he and Diego were still a thing, he let me know they weren’t. To which he proceeded to ask me out on a late night date to Denny’s.

It should be noted that I was still living at home and attending high school, in my senior year. So, for me to do a late night date I had to sneak out of my bedroom window and “borrow” the station wagon. To give the illusion that I was still in my bedroom, and not out galavanting around town, I put a coat hanger on my door-knob to where it slid in between the crack of my dresser and the wall. It was the most white-trash lock I could concoct but it served its purpose. To add to the illusion of my presence, I put on one of my favorite Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty. I quietly backed out of the driveway, started my car on the street, and made my way across town to Denny’s.

Again, for whatever reason, that night I chose to wear a pair of kahki’s and a red polo shirt with blue stripes. I tell you this because it was VERY out of character for me at this stage in my life. I was very much “goth” at the time. I wore nothing but black t-shirts, black dickie’s, black converse, and black eye-liner. I even dyed my hair black to match how I felt on the inside. (I was going through a phase.) Like I said, for some reason I did not wear any of that. As I later learned, if I had our relationship would very much have ended that evening. My husband liked him some preppy boys. Anything that remotely deviated from that path was shunned.

I pulled into a spot facing the empty street and as I got out of my shaggin-wagon I saw this white mustang drive by and turn into the same shopping center. Somehow I knew that was this dude. He hadn’t even told me what kind of car he drove but I was certain of it. (Those are the kind of thoughts one has when they encounter fate.) And I turned out to be correct.

For the next hour we sat in a booth having lame conversation as we attempted to get to know each other. He had a silver Motorola flip-phone that he kept spinning nervously in between his other facial tics. He kept rubbing the middle knuckle of his index finger along the side of mouth, like someone does when they have a goatee. Later I found out that he had briefly had one and developed the habit. My husband also has a tendency to twitch his nose in the most adorable way when he’s nervous and that night it didn’t stop.

As the evening wore on, neither of us having eaten anything at Denny’s, (I imagine he got a diet soda, his drug of choice) we decided to go back to his place.

I don’t remember if I messaged a friend to say I was going over to a stranger’s house in the wee hours of the morning. I want to think that I did, but more than likely not because I was (and still am) an idiot that thinks nothing of potential dangers.

He lived in this old brick face building downtown that had once been an elder care facility back in the day. It was also located across the street from a former morgue-funeral home (which is where we would later hold our wedding reception.) He lived on the second floor, at the front of the building with a beautiful view of downtown. Bakersfield isn’t much, but the view he had was wonderful.

He fancied himself a collector of DVDs at the time and was showing me the small tower he had amassed. The film he chose that night for us to watch had been decided at Denny’s when I told him that I had never seen “Philadelphia.” Now, he claims he had never seen it too, but I distinctly remember him saying that it was one of Hanks’s best roles. He popped the disc into the tray and we watched the 2 hour long movie about a man dying of AIDS. How romantic.

A remnant of my former relationship with Travis, some thin rubber wrist bands, chose that evening to break and I ended up throwing them away. I think they split when he discovered that I was ticklish and I was wrestling to get away. What a surreal picture to make a romantic connection with someone as we watched a man waste away from a deadly disease at the height of its terror.

When the movie ended he walked me to my car, like a gentleman, and I kissed him. I was annoyed that, that was all we ended up doing, but he wanted to wait until I turned 18, which was only a few weeks away.

I drove away that night thinking I would probably never hear from him again. Oh, how wrong I was. The dude blew up my phone. He was an over-the-road trucker at the time and had looooong hours of nothing to do, so he would call me and keep me on the phone late into the evening.

Looking back, I was so young and stupid. I had no idea what I wanted or who I was. Yet, we seemed to work. It is true that our lives have gone up and down over the past fourteen years. Nothing is ever perfect. For a brief year we ended our relationship yet continued to live together and sleep in the same bed. We were crazy and confused. But, there is truly no one else I would want to go through this with than Charlie. He is perfect in the strangest ways and we compliment each other like a broken window pane. Apart we are two jagged pieces of glass, but together we make the other whole. It’s sappy, but it’s true.


Unexpected Thought Provoking Projections

Every person has that one musical artist that they identify with and call their own. Each song they sing sounds like the words from their own heart and they hold that person up as some mystical creature to be cherished. For me it’s Robbie Williams. I know, weird. I came upon him in my most formative days of my youth when I was obsessed with anything and everything British. I so badly wanted to live across the pond and when the music video of an ex-boyband, turned bad boy, showed up in a random cluster of music videos, singing about the “Millennium” I was entranced. I bought his album”The Ego has Landed” and found myself entranced by each track and even a little frightened at times to where his music was taking me. The song “Karma Killer” made me feel so uncomfortable, because it was such a departure from what I had been listening to.  It was dark and curious.

I have followed the man’s musical catalog since then. I even went online and purchased his UK only releases and a great many posters to decorate the wall of my American home with this British singer. He was a god to me. I’ve loved (almost) every one of his albums. (Rudebox was just not my cup of tea.) I have found that since he parted ways with Guy Chambers I haven’t been a slob for his music as I had once been. Now he has to really try to get me rocking out in my car.

His most recent album “The Heavy Entertainment Show” is pretty good. There a few songs that make me go, “meh” but overall I’m belting out each lyric in my car as I speed down the freeway. While I was working today, I chose that one to blare on my car speakers and there are two tracks that he wrote for his children that brought up a topic in my head I couldn’t shake.

The songs are great. The one to his daughter is “Love my Life” and is this beautiful melody that wins me every time. The one for his son is “Motherfucker.” Don’t let the title mislead you. The song is a rock-ish romp about how everyone in his family has a past where they have battled their demons. It’s really good, and it’s super fun to sing “motherfucker.”

The tracks made me realize how parents tend to project these ideas, personalities, personas, and lives onto their children. Before they have truly developed their own identity, Robbie wants his daughter to have a charmed life where she loves every facet of it. That idea in itself is strange because no one, no matter how pampered their life has been, will escape the harsh reality of “human experience.” But I understand the want for your child to find joy. We all want that. But it’s silly to think that’s even achievable.

The other song  is projecting this idea of masculinity or rebelliousness on his son. He very well may be just as rambunctious as his father but then again he may not. It’s interesting to me how he would even consider that as something his son would have to fight, but not his daughter. He even calls his wife crazy in the song as a reason his son will be a “bad motherfucker.” Shouldn’t she have the opportunity to battle the shadows of the past?

I know he meant nothing harmful in these songs. It’s beautiful that he would even write something for them. I just think it brings to light a problem we have as a society.

In addition, this notion was exacerbated for me when a friend of mine posted a set of photos that were “gender reveal” cakes. And on them were the most stereotypical ideals of what it is to be a boy or girl. One was “Lures or Lace” and another was “guns or glitter.” I like none of those things. Do I have no gender identity?

I think we as a collective look at our children to fix the mistakes that we made or expect them to not have any at all. I think it also perpetuates this idea that girls are delicate creatures that bruise at the slightest touch and boys are tough as nails and up for a fight. And it begs the question, do we grow into these stereotypes that our parents project onto us, or are we our authentic selves?

When I look at my own life, I don’t know if my parents had any kind of expectations of me. Other than me being a good person and marrying a woman and having hundreds of babies, there was nothing else they wanted of me. (Boy did I let them down.) They never forced me into sports, they always encouraged my artistic side. They let me develop as I went along.

I know that if my husband and I do adopt (which we better fucking do, goddamnit) I want to make sure they know they can be and do whatever they want. I will hold no other expectation out of them than to respect those that are around them, and to treat others with courtesy, no matter how terrible they find themselves being treated  in return.

I will say, if they don’t love Robbie like I do, I may have to disown them. However, I let my husband’s dislike of him slide. So, what’s one more under the wire?


AOL Days IM Nights

Technology is dated the moment it comes out. By the time it’s been mass produced, packaged and shipped it’s been outdated by newer and better technology. It’s just kind of how the digital age works. Things appear from nowhere and disappear just as fast. For those that enjoyed the item while it was there, it will hold a special place in their heart that can never be outdone, no matter how well the thing that replaced it performs. For me the item from the digital age that deeply affected my life was AIM.

Now, I never actually used just the AOL Instant Messenger. I had the full aol shebang all because of the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” Like a lot of preteens I was chasing that silver screen fantasy of finding someone special. Funny now that I think of it, that it did in fact do just that. Just not right away.

Being a fat, pale, shut-in with no friends the internet opened up a whole new world for me. I got to meet people from all over the world and talk with them. The conversations were vacuous and silly but it was a way to connect when I felt so alone.

AIM gave me that opportunity.

I still have one friend from that time, Heather. She was my “shopgirl” before I realized I really just wanted a “shopboy.” Well, I knew I wanted boys I just hadn’t accepted it because of my religious background. AIM let me “have a girlfriend” without having to actually touch or kiss another girl. It was all about words and creating an illusion. Honestly I did love her. She was sweet and I enjoyed talking to her. She lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

When my husband and I went back to New York last years, I had wanted to meet with her (since she has moved) but it wasn’t possible. One day I hope to see her face to face and give her a friendly hug.

My real “shopboy” (btw this is a reference from “You’ve Got Mail” you must get to understand) came in the form of a dude named chuck77393. That was my husband’s old AIM name. And the first thing he ever said to me was “yeah, Diego and I are still together.” I of course being the troublesome 17 year old I continued on the conversation like I knew who he was and what he was talking about. I added his sign name to my “buddy list” and proceeded to message him until he and Diego called it quits. That was 14 years ago.  Crazy.

Though AIM also offered some not so good or nice things. It helped facilitate the meeting for my first sexual encounter.

I was 14 years old when I messaged Trucker93313. I’m not positive, but almost certain this man was in his mid to late forties. He and I arranged through IM that I would meet him at the end of my street and he would take me back to his place, which turned out to be the sleeper of his semitruck parked in a Rite-Aid parking lot. Gross.

I justified it at the time because I wanted to know whether or not I was really gay. I had been looking at pornographic websites and feeling so much shame. (Never once did I check out women by the way.) I needed an answer and this strange man agreed to meet with me to provide one. I lied and said I was 16, like that is somehow better than 14 when the dude is sitting near a half a century, but whatever. The logic of a pubescent brain.

I walked away from that event feeling disgusted and certain I was DEFINITELY not gay. As it turned out I am most certainly a homosexual it was just this dude was that disgusting. He’d have to be to meet with an underage boy.

When I think about it, this man could have murdered me. I knew nothing about him at all and if he had my parents would have had no idea what happened to me when they woke in the morning to find that I was gone.

With the announcement of AOL ending AIM after 20 years, it has made me reflect on all the hours I spent at the computer, conversing with strangers. It really and truly changed my life on which it had a profound affect. It helped me realize and understand my sexual identity and it got me the man I would spend the rest of my life with.  I will forever be in its debt.


The Garden

Relationships are hard. No matter how one cuts it they are work. This idea that Hollywood has peddled to us that it’s always supposed to be easy has really done a disservice. It is a garden to be tended and seen too. There will be the lean times where it’s more work for not much reward but then there will be bounties unlike any have seen, if the effort was put forth 

My own relationship is fine. (I think.) It was just on my mind this week because a good friend of mine has found herself caught up in a whirlwind romance. She has found her other half and it looks to be something more than a casual trist. And I couldn’t be happier for her. She deserves it. Her previous relationship was hard tended but it didn’t bring forth any real fruit. 

From her recounting of the past months events I have gotten a vision that if they are still together by thanksgiving, which she will be visiting his family, he will propose. I could be wrong (more than likely I am, I tend to run that way) but something just tells me that. 

When I was younger I could pinpoint with an eerie accuracy when and how a relationship would end. It would come to me instantly in a flash. Granted most of the time it was of my own relationships and one could argue that the events that would occur could have just been a self-fulfilling prophecy, however I never saw myself as the ender of the relationship. 

What does this information have to do with working toward a relationship, who knows. I just miss having the talent. It went away once I met my husband. 

He and I, this early October, will have been together for 14 years. It has been hard fought. Our harvests have been bountiful and filling, but there have been lean times as well. I think the number one thing for a gardener is to remember that fruits will flourish no matter how hard the struggle. 

For the sake of clarity, it has been a summer for our relationship. Not anything he or I have done, it’s just that our obligations have taken us into new realms separate of the other. Me with work, school, and the show. And him with work. It’s weird transitioning from him texting all day long to not hearing from him until he’s on his way home. But it’s work. It is just time to till the soil and pull any weeds that may grow.