The Soundtrack of My Life – 26 – Honey, Honey

It’s time to get back on my bullshit.

The whole point of this project was to work through my trauma and rekindle the memories in my head, before they were lost in the fires of emotional scarring. Much like the infernos of California, the flames relit and blazed through thousands of acres in my head. All that is left are scorched thoughts and smoke.

Sorry to sound so bleak. It’s just part of my self analysis. Through all of this I have watched with interest to see how I respond and what effect it will have on me. What I have seen thus far is that it is undeniably morphing the way I do anything. While I am someone who will lean into change, this one is decimating my former self. And while I like to envision myself as a phoenix, rising from the ashes, I would prefer not to lose every aspect of myself.

This is, of course, not the first time. I have gone through many transitions in my short little life. Most of which were unexpected, like most things.

Sometimes, though, they were due to my own selfish actions.

Long before I realized I was not built for monogamy, I was a cheater. I found myself in precarious situations often and ended up acting on impulses that didn’t represent how I felt. Yet I did it anyway. As a result I hurt my husband countless times. But he would always stay with me.

There was one point in our lives where we had just grown apart emotionally. Why, I don’t know. I think he was working out of town or he was just sick of my bullshit. (I sure was.) So, we decided to “break up” for a little while so I could work on myself. Is that what happened? Not at all. We continued to share bills, a bed, and a life together. At the time I didn’t know that what we had created was an “open relationship” without calling it that. We were so hung up on “labels” and what they reflected onto us that we would rather be “broken up” than be stereotypical gay men.

As we have seen from past posts, I don’t do life “alone.” I immediately found myself with someone new. (And as did he, for the record.) This song is connected to one of the strangest and most beautiful times of my life.

It’s mind-bending that this happened 14 years ago. It feels as if it was yesterday. I still remember my husband and I going to see “Capote” with Philip Seymour Hoffman and the box office clerk who gave us our tickets was so gorgeous. It’s strange how taken I was, and when I found him on Myspace (yes, myspace) it didn’t even occur to me that these two men were the same person.

It was Aaron.

Aaron was my shadow self. We held so many shared experiences: raised deeply religious, only children, and born to women in their 40’s, and both recently out of long term relationships. However while I had parted from the church some time ago, he was doubling down and fully intended on becoming an Episcopal priest even being a homosexual.

At the time he worked for United Artists and one of our first dates was to see the movie Mamma Mia. Afterwards, I fell in love with the song “honey, honey.”. Every time I heard it, it made me think of him. So, I dubbed him “honey, honey.”

I have this weird quirk where I designate a nickname to someone. If you are lucky enough to receive one that means I really like you. (My husband is “punkin” and Josh is “sunshine.”)

For the longest time I hung onto this relationship, even though I was the one that let it go. Regardless of this fact I would continue to check in on and virtually stalk him. What I have realized now is that what I did was cruel. I should have left him alone. I think it made the act of getting over me more difficult, because just when he may have moved on I would pop in with a text or a vague Xanga entry.

Aaron is the only person I have ever felt like I knew in a previous life. Being in his presence felt so familiar. Inexplicably comfortable. It was like we had done this all once before.

I find this entry difficult to write, because for a very brief moment I debated leaving Charlie and going with Aaron. And in that, I feel so much guilt and shame. What if I had and I wasn’t here to care for him? Who would have done it? What would have happened?

I also feel terrible because he told me he was falling in love with me and I could not say it back. In that moment I didn’t feel the same. Even now, when I ruminate over this exchange and how I felt over the entire relationship I felt something of love, but not a romantic one. But at the same time, I did. Maybe I just never allowed myself to really feel it and risk losing Charlie.

Despite that deeply rooted guilt, I do look back on the relationship with deep fondness and joy. Aaron became the ultimate muse. I wrote our brief relationship into my first finished novel length work of fiction. In it I got to tell the cute wonderful moments that burned like hot coals, only to have me ruin them by ending it. Even in the narrative I got to make myself the villain.

One day I hope to polish this bitch up and share it with the world. Share Aaron/Oren with the world.

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.

The Soundtrack of My Life – 20 – Absolutely Zero

Man… it really never occurred to me that those brief revisits of past relationships would cause me so much anxiety. After writing them out, I started to notice my old “bad habits” coming back to haunt me. Specifically overeating. When I sat down and examined my emotions I immediately figured out what was causing this stress. These past events were traumatic, and I still have not dealt with them. I never gave myself the resolution I needed. Instead I just buried them in mental boxes, piled over with other unresolved issues, and put them at the back of my mind. Here I thought these were cute little stories, but boy was I fucking wrong.

The thing that hit me the hardest was how quickly all of these events occurred. In the span of 9 months I came out, dated three men who all dumped me, and then at the end of all that I dove headfirst into another. At no point did I take some time to do some self reflection or healing. Instead I carried my baggage and bullshit into the next. Being dumped in such quick succession had to mess with my self-esteem. No one takes that many emotional punches, so fast, and comes out unscathed.

No wonder I was so fucked up in the beginning of my husband’s and my relationship.

Even now I sit and wonder, what had I done? What did I do wrong in these couplings? Being a mild narcissist I tend to make everything about me, good or bad. Clearly, I was the common factor in all of these situations, and it stands to reason it must be my fault. Which, with some distance, is only half wrong.

Yes, I was at fault here. I was needy, clingy, and desperate. And nothing stinks more than desperation. Even for myself, it is a huge turn off. I can only imagine what it was like for these three emotionally fucked up fools. One wasn’t even out of the closet, the other was buried deep in his and married at the same time, then the other was an alcoholic who was dating a 17 year old. They also contributed to the failure of these relationships. The stench of which was also on their hands. Who deserves more blame is up for deeper introspection. One in which I don’t really want to do.

I just need to box these back up and return them to the past. It’s nice to pull things out every once in awhile to merely glance. Look for too long and one starts to notice the imperfections. I lingered.

The thing I regret (and I know it does no one any good to dwell on past failures) is that I took all of this bullshit into my relationship with the man who would become my husband. Looking back I genuinely messed things up and, as a result, built myself a little hell from my actions. And, seeing how I did this to myself is the worst feeling in the world. One I never want to repeat.

Ultimately… It doesn’t matter. What happened, did. I cannot change them. Instead, after years of self-analysis and journaling, I have learned from my mistakes. And despite attempting to push Charlie away, he is still in my life. So dwelling on the “bad” takes away the beauty that is now. Yeah, it would have been nicer if I had dealt with my baggage before dating someone new, but that’s not really my M.O. I seem to think that one will repair the other. It did not. It will not.

When my husband and I first got together he gave me three CD’s. (Much like what Travis had done.) Two were debut albums, Jason Mraz and Maroon 5, and the other was Coldplay’s “Rush of Blood to the Head.” I loved all three. Equally. And as I do, there were songs on each that have become obsessions at one time or another. The one that spoke the most to me, out of the three, (at this time) was the song I have chosen for this post. It perfectly encapsulates how I felt after all of these damaged relationships. While the fault was handed to me I wish someone else could have taken it. “Pay no more than absolutely zero.”

Get in, Sit Down, and Shut Up

Here is day 4 and I am still doing it. Surprising to say the least. But I do feel myself pulling away. Although, why I don’t know. Is it because of the pressure I am putting on myself to perform? Or that there is a quasi audience reading what I write, judging me. Or is it because I’m just a lazy fuck? The world may never know.

In all honesty I should have done this earlier in the day. I’ve been bored watching television and stuffing my face with the holiday cookies my husband made last night. He’s been really busy the past few days, which left me alone to my own devices.

I had attempted to continue reading about druidism but it was throwing so much information at me that I thought I was going to die. Eesh. But once the husband goes back to work and thus leaving me all alone, I’ll pick it back up. Plus I need to read a book a month, per my year long goals.

Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
January 4 365
“Days Something life-altering happened. As a result, you’ve decided to give something up for an entire year. Write a scene detailing the cataclysmic event, or the struggle to keep the vow you made.”

I stood staring at my car parked in the driveway. It was covered in a thick layer of dust, that some punk from the neighborhood had decided to scrawl obscene words in, along with the images of dicks and even a pair of boobs. Any other time I would have been furious. I had loved my car. It was the lover and friend I had always wanted. Loyal. No one drove her but me. Now, I couldn’t care less what happened to her.

Ever since the accident I can’t bring myself to sit behind the wheel once again. My girlfriend says that I’ll get over it, in time, but I’m not so sure. It’s been a year since the incident and I still don’t even feel comfortable in a car, let alone drive one myself.

Angela walks up behind me and drapes and arm around my neck.

“What’re you doing, honey,” she says.

I lower my head. For some reason I can’t bring myself to tell her that I had gotten the urge to try and drive down the street. Maybe it’s because it would give her hope that I didn’t feel ready to give.

I look into her sapphire eyes.

“Just wanted to get some air.”

She hugs me tighter. With a peck on the cheek, she feels satisfied and turns to go back into the house.

I slowly walk around the front to gaze at her other side.

The body shop did an amazing job. No one would ever know that a Ford Bronco had t-boned me in the intersection.

A faint memory flashes through my mind of he headlights getting brighter and the deafening crunch of our cars colliding.

I stumble back out of breath. I double over and try to catch the air that has left me.

I still don’t know how I survived. By all accounts I should have been crushed. When I replay it I just hear sounds. No other details come to mind. It was like my brain had put me into suspencion to protect myself from the crash.

The next thing after the lights, that I remember, is waking up in the hospital days later. The doctors were afraid I’d never wake up.

The doctors released me into my own care, but what they failed to realize is that I would be consumed with fear whenever in a vehicle. I close my eyes and tense my body every time I go through an intersection. Every car that waits until the last minute to stop will surely collide into me. I just know it.

My heart begins to race. I was stupid to even try. I turn and head back into the house.

Halfway up the walk I hear Angela’s scream. I rush up the rest of the way, throw oopen the door and find my girlfriend sitting on the kitchen floor, blood all over the white linoleum.

“What happened?” I say.

“I’m such an idiot. I dropped the knife and it went right through my foot.”

She’s clutching her bare foot, the bloody knife only a few feet away. I rush to the drawer with the tea towels and grab everyone of the neatly folded cloths. I drop to my knees and begin wrapping them around her foot.

“You need to take me to the emergency room.” She says.

I look up at her. My eyes are wide and my mouth is open. Very slowly, I shake my head no.

“I’ll call an ambulance.”

I stand up, but she grabs me around my arm and stops me.

“Are you insane? We don’t have that kind of money. This isn’t that bad.” She says. “You can do it.”

I look at her. I want to tell her know. But her eyes plead with me and I can only agree.

I scoop her up into my arms and take her outside. I don’t even bother to lock the door behind me.

I gently lay her in the passenger seat and rush around the nose of the car to the driver’s side. I stop only inches from the repaired handle.

“Hurry, Jon,” she says, “I’m getting blood everywhere.”

I scream from the deepest part of my chest and pull open the door and toss myself inside. She starts up instantly, like she was waiting for me. Carefully, so carefully, I back out the driveway and head for the emergency room.

“You’re amazing.” She says.

My hearts pounding in my ears. I can barely focus on the road and all I can think about is she did this on purpose.