The Soundtrack of My Life – 40 – Typical / Beautiful Mess

I’m sad that this band didn’t have any other hits after this one. The whole album is incredible and I fail to find a song that doesn’t rock or hit an emotional nerve.

The first time I heard “Typical” was by a “dedication” from my husband to me. This song climbed to popularity (on our local radio station) on the heels of yet another one of Charlie’s and my break-ups. However, this time was different. We may have “broken-up” but we continued to live together, sleep in the same bed, etc… Basically we created the life we have now. Except we were “broken-up.” My husband chose this route because he didn’t want to do an “open relationship.” He and I were of the same mind, at the time, and thought that those types of relationships were beneath us. They were stereotypically gay and we weren’t the norm. (Yet ever the typical fags…)

During this time the idea was for me to work on myself. I had cheated on him repeatedly over the three year relationship. I was meant to take this time to reflect and figure out if I wanted us to stay together or not. It was also at this time when I entered into the SAA program as part of “working on myself.”

Despite societal belief that it isn’t a real addiction, I firmly believe that it is. It’s received such a negative perception because it appears to have been used as justification for the infidelity of high profile celebrities. While the validity of that assumption can go either way, I tend to think there is truth in it.

For most addicts they have to go to a source to get their high. They have to drink, smoke, shoot, snort, and eat their demons. While sex addiction is an obsession over the chemical rush that forever resides in our brains. That overpowering sense of euphoria that fills our bodies from head to toe after ejaculation. Sometimes it’s purely the heightened state of mind that one may get caught or the danger of the action itself. In those cases it may be more of an “adrenaline junky” than sex addiction. Either way… these are substances we don’t have to go anywhere to abuse. We have it at the ready on a moments notice.

To this day I use sex as a way of coping. Whenever I feel disgusting about my body image or self-worth I head to some cruising spot or use the apps to find someone to want me, because at that moment I sure as shit don’t. Their approval gives me the go ahead to feel good about myself. And the reinforcement of the euphoric rush just rewards the behavior. Afterwards I feel nothing but shame and guilt in my actions and thus begins the addictive cycle.

For years I ran SAA meetings, after having the responsibility to find us a new location thrust upon me. I was invested. I had a few sponsors try and get me through the steps and even took on the responsibility sponsoring two people. However, I wasn’t what they needed. I have a more “it’s your responsibility not mine” approach to it. I will get one the info, be an anchor to keep one centered, or be a shoulder to cry on, but I will not be your parent. That is not my job. I also require people to be relatively self-aware and that isn’t something you cannot force someone into. You can’t even lead them to the it. They have to discover that on their own.

Even though I love my husband more than anything, I will be by his side until the very end, but this song is one that I use for emotional cutting. Even now… It’s one I can put on, as a joke to recount how someone one time called me a whore, but in reality it’s my way of harming myself. Because I am nothing more than a typical whore.

I think it doubly hurts because he has only ever “given” me one other song, and I derive so much worth and love from a song “dedication.” It’s truly bizarre.

It should be noted that at the same time as this song he gave me another one that… It encapsulates everything we had gone through at that time, and even still go through. It was so uplifting and beautiful for me and was the perfect balance that this song brought. “Typical” cut me down but “A Beautiful Mess” built me back up. To this day, if I’m alone, I will ugly cry to it.

At first listen it sounds like an insulting song, but it 1,000% is not. So, I will leave you with Jason Mraz.

The Soundtrack of My Life – 33 – Heaven

My entrance into any kind of gay community was very limited, unfortunately. I look back and I have a lot of regret that I wasn’t able to spend a little more time in that kiddy pool while I could. On the other hand, I was also self-destructing at the time and very likely would have ended up travelling a very dark path. Like with most “missed opportunities,” I’ll never know what could have been.

Right when I started dating Travis a little establishment opened up in downtown Bakersfield that was a beacon of hope for young gay youth. The club was titled “Bam-bams” and it was an experimental 16 and up disco. There was no liquor served, just looks, attitude, and dance moves. There was a cover charge, which is why most weekend nights it was more entertaining outside of the club than in. If you happened to hand over the $5 cash, you would find an empty black-box room filled with multiple video screens and dance music. Mirrors adorned the walls, to entertain the one lone dancing queen, wearing a crop top and shorty-shorts. The first time I went in I was so disappointed. It turned out that I was one of a few f*gs in this little town. I’d make the rounds and then tote myself back out front to chit-chat with the poor kids and the young queen working the door.

“Heaven” was one of the songs I discovered at the club. I still remember the music video, and one time even asked the lone bartender/owner to play it in the mix. He gave me a thumbs up and a wink.

Every Friday or Saturday night I would tote myself and my friends to Bam-Bams (aka BSqaured). I was beginning to build a community and make new friends that quickly replaced my hetero ones. None of the connections I had made during that time are currently in my sphere. They’re not even Facebook friends. It’s almost as if they never really existed. They were just phantoms. They helped me come into myself as a gay man and through my break-up of with Travis. I also frequented this little establishment because it was just around the corner from the actual bar my tatted ex liked to haunt. If I went I had the off-chance to catching a glimpse of him.

Oh, youthful infatuation.

As I was want to do at that time, that guy was quickly replaced by my next relationship, which happened to be to my future husband. One of our first ever pictures was taken outside of Bam-Bams.

My friend Eddie had taken the photo. He did it as “side shade.” He HATED Charlie with a passion, but that was because he had wanted to date me. (Good Lord I sound conceited.) He was one of the ones who encouraged my “bad habits” at the time. Regardless of his intentions, this moment is forever with me.

The last time I went was when I had been caught making out with a dude who was not Charlie, by a couple friends of ours. They pulled into the parking spot me and this guy happened to be macking in front of. Once they got out, and I saw who it was, I tried to pull it off like nothing had happened. But we both know they had seen what I had been doing.

That night I got unbelievably wasted. Charlie picked me up on his way home from the bar down the street, and walked me back to his apartment. On the way there he found my pack of cigarettes, Camel Turkish Gold, in my pocket.

“What are these?” He said and proceeded to leave them on the lid of a trash can.

“Hey!” I had said, but he acted as though nothing had happened and ushered me further down the street. And being so drunk I quickly forgot about them.

He hated it when I smoked. And this discovery went against my previous statement that “I was quitting.”

That night I sat on the floor of his bathroom, at the edge of his toilet, puking my guts out. At one point I demanded he give me bread, as one of my friends had said it helps sober you up. He laughed and brought me a slice of sour dough.

“Not this,” I had said and threw it in the trash.

In the morning I came clean about what had happened that night. I was caught. And when I am found out I don’t lie my way out of it. I rather face the consequences than make it worse. Plus, I didn’t want him to hear it from someone else. The truth would be better delivered from me, than a casual acquaintance.

He was angry and barely spoke to me. For whatever reason he kept me around the rest of the day. We went and did his laundry at a laundromat across town, where he continued to ignore me. I didn’t know what I was doing there and all I wanted to do was leave. Little did I know he had been working out if I was worth the trouble of keeping around.

As the present can attest, he decided to not break it off. (Stupid man.)

It did however initiate my pattern of doing horrible shit and getting caught. And our subsequent knee-jerk reactions of implementing restrictions to my life to avoid any more of these cruel/stupid choices.

In reality he should have ended it with me. I was mess at the time and didn’t, even remotely, have my shit together. It didn’t occur to me until doing this project, just how fucked up I was. In the span of a year I was dumped 3 times, by 3 different guys. That’s bonkers. I was newly out and discovering who I was as a gay man, and that wasn’t the most simple of tasks as I was coming from a very, very religious background/upbrining.

If he hadn’t stuck with me, I am genuinely curious how I would have ended up. More than likely I would have contracted HIV, because my sex education focused more on the “don’t do it” than the “USE A GODDAMN CONDOM!”

I don’t think I would have abused recreational drugs. That was the one thing about Christian school that had stuck. I would however, have been a raging alcoholic. And most likely would have jumped from one job to the next without ever having any ambition to go back to school or start an “adult” career.

But this is all speculation. None of this could have happened. I could have moved away and started an entirely different life. Who fucking knows. All I can say with certainty is that I wouldn’t be where I am now.

The Soundtrack of my Life – 34 – Chicago

After a 3 day stay in Chicago we are back on the road heading to Akron. This little road trip of mine was concocted to celebrate the one we took for the hubs’s second opinion at the Mayo Clinic. It was also a defiant choice because he told me previously that he wanted our Alaskan cruise to be his last trip. I can’t have that. Not yet. He has since recanted his statement. Instead he has corrected it to be “no more road trips. Only cruises.”

That’s fine, punkin. Whatever you want.

Other than the title of the song, this doesn’t make me think of Chicago in the slightest. I thought it was a good choice seeing as how we had just been there. Expect the forthcoming songs to be similar in nature. What’s fun with my future choices is that they do in fact remind me of moments in my life.

The first time I ever heard this song, and immediately became obsessed with it, was from the opening credits of the Netflix show “The Politician.” It may have aired in 2019 but I didn’t get around to watching it until the first Covid lockdown. It had been a special request watch from the bf since it had his crush, Ben Platt. My interest in a Ryan Murphy program was minimal at best. So, I had kept pushing it off until we were faced with copious amounts of time and nothing to fill it with.

Covid truly changed my life. As I’m sure it did for everyone. But it feels like for me it changed everything significantly moreso. For the better.

Up until lockdown, the interaction between my husband (Charlie) and my bf (Josh) ranged from non-existent to limited. For the first 2 years of Josh’s and my relationship it had been very, very separate. Per the bf’s request and just the newness of polyamory for all of us. When everything closed and we couldn’t go anywhere, we were forced together.

We all started watching tv together in silence. It was awkward at first. Josh didn’t know how to act around Charlie and vice versa. It took some time to reroute old habits to where they began to have their own rapport.

My two relationships are very different in how they function. My husband is not very affectionate, we are more mentally intimate (conversations/debates/discussion.) Physical intimacy is just not who Charlie is. A peck on the lips every once in awhile satisfies his needs.

The boyfriend on the other hand… he’s attached to the hip. He has to be touching me. And I don’t say that as a complaint, it’s just how it is. I appreciate both forms because they suit me. I am someone who is happy when my partner is. So trying to find a balance with the two was a challenge.

This song brings back those first few months of mixing the two lives. If you compared how they are now to then, night and day. We’ve done many trips together. We’ve shared a bed (in a non-sexual way for you nosey betches) and we’ve all gotten comfortable around each other hanging in our hot tub in the buff. Again, nothing sexual.

I have to recognize how much the bf gave in the beginning. This was not initially the situation he wanted. There were other boundaries in place that kept everything separate. I imagine to keep himself from being hurt by seeing me with the husband. He was making himself fit for me. Either he has grown accustomed to it and appreciates the relationship for what it is or he’s tricking himself. I hope it’s the latter. I constantly worry that I have somehow manipulated him into this relationship. I do not want that at all. My number one goal is ALWAYS consent. And when I have brought up these same concerns to him he has always affirmed that I have not. He is here of his own choice.

Unfortunately the bf is not with us on this trip. A month off is entirely too long for him. He will however be meeting us midway through, for the weekend, and at the end. And I’ll be happy to have my whole family together again.

The Soundtrack of My Life – 29 – Always Gold

I do not care what anyone says, Pandora has the best selection of music. The algorithm works to the advantage of the listener, creating a playlist that is at least in the same vein of what you’re interested in. Without it I wouldn’t have found as many artists. Radical Face being one of them. Where is this even played? How would I have heard it, without a friend recommending them? I am not one to actively seek out new artists. I’ve been burned too many times in the past that I refuse to do it.

The only real memory this song has for me is helping to drown out the shrill, irritating voice of the one super opinionated JW woman at my previous place of employ. Listening to music was the only way I could cope with that horrible job. Other than it being a saving grace it has no other meaning. The only reason I use it here now is because of the message sort of applies to my topic.

The song is about a brother’s love and how no matter what paths were chosen they would always be there for the other. It’s a beautiful sentiment and the voice/music is super haunting. In a good way, though.

These past few weeks I have been on an Alaskan cruise with my polycule. And everywhere we went, we were asked by countless women, “Are you brothers?” I lacked any energy to explain the intricacies of our relationship, so instead I would simply answer, “no.” The brother-husband would lay it out there without context or explanation because he likes the shock value. (I do too, but we were trapped on a boat with these people.)

I know they meant nothing in their inquiry, but it opens up a whole other path of questioning. One that for me is centered around the way in which we care for my husband. It is here where I feel these queries are born. Since, it would only be because of our “bond of blood or brotherhood” would we nurture our wheelchair-bound companion. Why must we be brother’s to dote and care for a loved one? It’s truly odd.

It was ALWAYS women who asked. I think because they’ve only seen the disengaged, disinterested demeanor most men carry for anyone. Somewhere in their lives, men are forced into a life of apathetic detachment. Which is horrible and also confusing. Were they not raised by their mothers? Do they continue this irrational tradition of making boys “men?” That’s one point I cannot get over.

Men need permission to be affectionate, compassionate, and caretakers. Whenever they do show any sign of vulnerability they are immediately marked as “gay.” By both hetero and homosexual strangers. And because our society, in general, is anti-gay, men will do whatever to distance themselves from being seen as anything else. It’s super dumb. And that also applies for those in the gay community. The myth of “masculinity” is prized above all else.

Anyway… Fuck masculinity. Fuck the binary. I am me. I will allow myself to be, feel, think however the fuck I want. What someone else perceives you to be should not dictate your happiness or your ability to care for someone. If you love them, do it. Regardless of blood.

The next time someone asks us if we’re brothers I’m just going to say: “Yeah, brothers who fuck.”