Monday, September 29, 2008
…And Then There Was One
Seven weeks after my relationship with BD spiraled out of control with three separate entities struggling to be heard and understood, we’ve emerged as ONE. Yeah, I can go into all the details of what transpired – and Lord knows, you’ve been privy to lots of it – but what it really boils down to is that BD, the Minnie and I are now operating as ONE unit. Contrary to popular belief, we have instituted the belief that if he and I are committed, devoted and respecting of each other, we are the most giving and present parents to the Minnie at all times. Yes, we read the comments that demanded that I step aside and allow BD to raise his kid; we even understood where the fear of parents who put new partners first and leave their children to suffer a damaging second place, stems from. All relationships operate under their own rules and incorporate what works for them. For us, the answer was clear – the Minnie fairs better with the love, devotion, support and PRIORITY from both of us working in tandem. It is a system we’ve seen work in both - my parent’s long standing 45-year marriage and BD’s grandparent’s life-long partnership. As BD and the Minnie joined me for my nephew’s birthday party this weekend, we were a family - one unit. As the kids played together, BD or I would periodically check on them and when the Minnie was roughed-up by one of my nephews during play, I was able to pull him aside and reassure him that no matter what, ‘Cocoa is always here for you, so you can come to me if someone bothers you.” To be honest, one issue that will always be at the forefront of my worries – is never having the Minnie suffer a slight because some fool – or their offspring – has an issue with non-traditional families. As BD got on his knees and again presented me with that gorgeous diamond ring he intended to give me on my birthday, it meant so much more; it now shines more brightly and weighs heavier on my hand because it represents the love, honor, commitment and spirit of our ONE family.
Drinking your coffee black because you’re afraid to ask for milk and sugar seems absurd. Yet, whether at the coffee shop or in your relationship, failing to ask for what you want, will literally – or figuratively – have you drinking bitter black coffee in silence.
Although there are compromises that need to be made in your life, there are times when you must stand up for yourself and what you believe in; most importantly, playing second-fiddle with your Stradivarius doesn’t make you a benevolent soul; it makes you a moron.
Can a couple compromising in silence to make a relationship work fair better than one tackling volatile issues head-on?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Fools Rush In
Deciding whether to remain friends with BD or to return to our committed relationship is one that weighs heavily on my mind. In the last six weeks, I’ve seen a change in BD that has renewed my belief in sharing my forever with this man, yet there is one last piece of the puzzle that would, I believe, put my greatest fears to rest. What is it, you ask? Well, unfortunately, since BD is now one of my blog readers, this isn’t an issue that I want to unfairly influence. It’s important to me that his decisions be made autonomously and more important, that his decision shows intuitiveness for what is important to US. Suffice to say that I’m prepared to hinge my final decision on how this issue is handled. The great thing that has come out of our weeks apart is a genuine appreciation for what we mean to each other and what’s really important. BD is such a beautiful, charming, intelligent and loving man that the very thought of having to make a decision not to spend the rest of my life with him seems unfathomable. So why place such a heavy burden on one decision you ask? It’s a decision that I see as a direct indicator of the respect he has for our relationship. I’ m not nit-picking, but let’s keep it real, only fools rush in. I dread the thought of going back on a decision, so if I’m going to reconsider my decision to be apart, it has to be because there is credible evidence of success for our relationship. Love is beautiful, love is kind, love sees all, expects all, forgives all – but I know love will not keep me happy if I have doubts about my man’s commitment to me and our relationship.
You’ve heard it on this blog a million times – The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Do you agree that love is blind, but not making the most informed decision about who you build a life with would reduce love to blind, deaf, dumb and ignorant?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Every so often throughout the year I’m forced to go to the doctor for my allergies. I’m allergic to everything – fruit, paper, bullshit – you name it. I don’t subscribe to clinics of any kind, so my allergist, regular doctor – even my dermatologist – are at the same hospital. Today, while visiting my allergist, I commented that I have had difficulty sleeping for months and that I could stand to be prescribed a sleep-aide or some antidepressant of some kind. For the record, I’m a former pharmacy technician and can probably prescribe my own medication, but I like to make my doctor feel empowered. That said, my doctor suggests I visit a friend of hers – a psychiatrist on staff – to discuss what may be the underlying reason for my insomnia and maybe provide greater insight on getting myself back on track. With the greatest of ease, the allergist dials the head doctor a few floors away and asks if she would squeeze me in for 30 minutes. Let me preface this little piece by saying that I have never visited a psychologist – much less a psychiatrist. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but I just don’t think the alleged pros can provide me with any greater insight that I provide myself (I know, delusional) and really don’t like talking about the BIG issues with anyone who isn’t really invested in the nuances of my life. So I stroll in to see Dr. Primetime who quickly ushers me back to his comfy office. Once there I sit on his sofa and he sits in a chair adjacent to me and smiles before announcing, “I’m going to ask you a few questions to get acquainted, please answer as honestly as possible.” I shrug and say, “Sure,” thinking that at this point I’ll settle for a hammer and a fifth of Scotch to get my rest. Midway into the questions, I find myself becoming more and more animated, my hands joining my colorful stories – the picture of a Puerto Rican mime explaining the theory of relativity. Doctor P had stopped writing anything on his trusted pad 15 minutes earlier and yet he seemed completely engrossed in my story. At one point I answered a quick telephone call before returning to my elaborate storyline and Dr. P never even shifted in his seat. More than 45 minutes later, I realize that he hadn’t asked me a thing in quite some time and yet I was still yammering away about my sitcom of a life. Realizing this man wasn’t following the time limits I’ve so often seen on televised psych sessions, I stopped and asked, “Hey doc, how long is this little introductory session suppose to go?” He laughed heartily and said, “Have you ever considered writing a book?” My face must have said it all because he quickly caught himself before saying, “You have quite the interesting life,” his pen now writing furiously, “I’d love to see you regularly if you’d like.” My head felt light, but I stood up and announced, “I actually would prefer you gave me a sleep aide and maybe I’ll just forward you a copy of my book when I write one doc.” He smiled nervously and apologized profusely for his choice of words before settling on a simple, “Please consider coming in again.” I thanked Dr. P and reluctantly went to the drug store to get my knock-out pills. Seems like even the professionals think my life is some sort of entertainment.
Do you believe repressed feelings surrounding life experiences have an effect on your daily interaction with others?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The gays have been nurtured to be passive participants in their own lives and live diluted in the notion that somehow by being colorful, witty, funny and congenial we smooth-over the truth of accepting second-best, almost-good-enough rights and realities our entire lives. While reading comments from my well-meaning blogger family about how I should accept that BD should make the Minnie his utmost priority – forsaking me in the process – I went from questioning my value system to feeling disappointed at being asked to be a defeatist. I asked myself, if I were female and BD and I were the biological parents of the Minnie, would folks advise that I demand to be given my time and respect and together nurture the Minnie in a sound household? Wouldn’t most people point to a spouses’ neglect as the very reason for the failure of their relationship? Let’s keep it real. Gays are taught to take second-best in the hopes of keeping the peace and finding acceptance in society, but history teaches us that cowards have never reached true equality and fulfillment. Women may have been pleased as punch to be allowed to take their position in the workplace, but today, most women will tell you that being compensated at 80 cents for every dollar of their male counterparts is unacceptable. Equal compensation eventually took center stage over being accepted into the same positions as their male colleagues. Blacks and Latinos may have been content to work the mailroom of the corporate sector, but they also realized that they are as qualified, savvy and worthy as the White man and have now taken their place in corporate boardrooms around the nation. The issue of marriage was a HOT button issue for quite some time and the heterosexual majority somehow came up with the brilliant idea that civil unions were separate, but equal, and should be good enough for gays to feel validated. Thankfully, there are some who will not sit down and be relegated to a “similar” right. They demand to be given equal rights that do not deviate in form or function. Well friends, gay relationships are no different than straight relationships. We are entitled to proudly bring our partners to every function our straight counterparts enjoy as a couple. We have the right to be MARRIED – not “civil unionized”. We have the right to be treated as equal spouses within our households – requiring all the attention, love, respect and priority as married couples enjoy. We are worthy enough to live our lives as openly as every other red-blooded American without regard to who we choose to love and what we do in our bedrooms. I refuse to sell myself short simply because I can’t impregnate my male partner. I will not find myself second or third on the list of my spouses’ priorities because asking to be first somehow appears to make me selfish or incomplete. Until gays recognize that we can do - and should do - everything straight individuals do, we accept that we are somehow not good enough. Stand up for yourself, take your rightful place in society and let folks adjust to your truth. You see, every time you accept a separate (albeit equal) set of rules than mainstream society, you engender a culture of cowardice; a culture we pass on to generations of gays to come.
Gay, Black, Female, etc.; Remember one occasion when you knew you were accepting disparate treatment just to get along.
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In the vein of Spanish sayings of yesteryear applying to my life today, “Mas sabe el diablo por viejo, que por Diablo,” holds a special place in my heart. It simply means that the devil knows more because he’s old, than because he’s the devil. Typically, this saying is meant to say that our age and maturity should have us make better decisions – even in light of our education and position in life. Recently, BD and I caught up on the many changes going on in his life. He has come out to his family – including the Minnie and has even had a conversation with his ex-wife regarding who he is and how they can work to insure the Minnie has a positive outlook regarding his parents. BD has made some monumental advances in his personal life; positive changes that will benefit him as he lives in his truth and draws strength from living honestly. As we conversed about how far he’s come in such a short period of time, I couldn’t help but wonder why some folks wait until it appears too late or after they suffer some insurmountable loss before they actually forge forward with changes to improve their lives. After offering over a year of encouragement and advice, BD had seemingly handled it all – and handled it well – in just over a month following our break-up. BD and I are in the same age group, so being intuitive to those around him is not a new skill set. I almost feel that he is polished, together, intuitive and astute in all matters unless they relate – or related – to us. Which begs the question, did BD not take me seriously when I shared how important it was for us to act as a team – us against the world – to succeed in our relationship? Did he believe that I would simply sit around and be slighted by his family, his friends – damn, even his ex-wife – because he couldn’t live in his truth? Most important, if we reconciled, would it mean that each time that we encountered a serious issue in our relationship it would take a debilitating break-up to have him take positive steps forward to strengthening who we are and how we’re perceived by others? While many folks believe that the Minnie should be the most important person in BD’s life, I feel differently. You see, I believe that the partnership has to be the priority and that bond will show itself in our love and care of the Minnie and our interaction with the outside world. If we are united and strong, we can collectively overcome anything. Otherwise, BD should consider that the Minnie be his priority and wait until the Minnie is an adult to resume his social life. At present, I don’t know what the future holds. A part of me wants nothing more than to embrace BD and rejoice in his accomplishments. He has shown that he finally gets it. The other part of me says that a reconciliation will only send the message that my word means nothing and that to effectively communicate our partnership must be in a volatile state. I also don’t know that I have trust in BD’s ability to be sensitive and act intuitively with regard to my feelings – characteristics that are non-negotiable if he is to be my partner. As a mature man, I have to be true to myself. My feelings matter. I also must live in MY truth. This far along in my life I can say, “Mas sabe el diablo por viejo, que por diablo.”
Is it more important to you to win at all costs or to lose sometimes, while maintaining your dignity?
Keep passin’ the open windows….
Monday, September 15, 2008
Those who criticized Democratic Presidential nominee Barak Obama’s inexperience should be choking on their venison steaks when they take a look at Sarah Palin’s record and her lackluster background. First, she’s governor of Alaska for two years - a state that has a smaller population than my hometown of the Bronx (683,478 to 1,332,650 respectively). Palin is a lifetime National Rifle Association (NRA) member and a staunch supporter of banning gay marriage and the right of health benefits for domestic partners. If you’re still scratching your crotch thinking you could care less about those issues, then maybe you should also know that Palin opposes abortion – even when the pregnant female is the victim of rape. She also subscribes to abstinence-only education in schools, yet is presently grappling with her pregnant teen daughter. I guess you can say that there's some disagreement on her stand on the issues at home. When most mothers of a baby with down syndrome would consider spending more time with their little one, should she win, Palin would be forced to leave his care to nannies and the like, while she tends to the nation’s issues. Hey, this is 2008 and I don’t believe that any woman should have to choose between her career and her family, but it seems that there are plenty of issues in the Palin household already. If you’re wondering what may have prepared Palin for the office of the President of the U.S. look no further than to her other state’s politicians – NOT ONE Alaskan politico has been named to any major Presidential ticket in history – EVER! She’s not only breaking new ground as first-woman on a Republican Presidential ticket, but also the first Alaskan. She does have a lighter side though, she admits to experimenting with marijuana during a period of time when Alaska decriminalized the possession of the drug. She later said that she didn’t really like it – uh, yeah, I didn’t either girl. I’m not quite sure, but I’m trying to sort out how her second place runner up title at the Miss Alaska Pageant and her win as Miss Congeniality in the same competition helped build that all-important political resume. She can even call sporting events with the boys club, thanks to her experience as a sports reporter in Anchorage. All to say, Palin’s resume lacks some political weight. So ask yourself, where are those pesky little Obama critics now?
It’s good to pay close attention to both sides – the Democrats and the Republicans – to see where the candidates stand on the issues that matter. Also, it’s important to go with the candidate that has the preparation to act under fire. Pick one issue that matters to you and identify how the opposing team has actually benefited or championed your cause.
Keep passin' the open windows...
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Tapando El Sol Con La Mano
Often in life I have to smile to myself how many of the sayings I heard throughout my childhood come back to mean so much in my adult life. Most recently, I’ve thought about the saying, “Tapando el sol con la mano.” Basically, it means to “Cover the sun with your hand.” In short, it’s meant to say that sometimes we act as though just because we’ve placed our hand between our line of vision and the sun, somehow, the sun has disappeared. Well, I have to be honest and say that I feel as though I’m doing this. Seeing BD go through pain following our break-up has me forgoing my own pain and better judgment. My main concern has turned from being the disappointed and dejected ex to the comforting friend; desperate to have my best friend feel better. Ultimately, I question whether he feels much better and consequently, whether I’m kicking myself in the ribs taking on such a feat. Break-ups are difficult and can seem devastating to the parties in the midst of them, but trying to actively take on the role of ex and counseling friend is somewhat of an oxymoron. I mean, how do you really counsel your best friend regarding yourself? How do you give words of encouragement that will help your friend, if the same words need to diminish you as the ex? As we attended my sister’s housewarming party yesterday and I found myself weaving BD and the Minnie into the fiber that is my family and close friends, I wondered if I was creating havoc and damaging my best friend further. BD’s outburst last week, where he feared our friendship would change once either of us meets someone new, is a real one. I suspect BD and the Minnie would not have been a part of yesterday’s festivities if I had a new partner or prospective partner. What does this say about our friendship? Am I not an enabler by allowing us to continue this commitment-less partnership to continue and slapping the label of “best friends” on it? Who is this charade benefiting? Don’t get me wrong, I know that BD and I love each other, but it is this very love that begs a separation to scab over and heal to allow us to be true friends. Right now we’re simply lying to each other if we don’t admit that our friendship is short term comfort to a long term pain. I’ll be the first to cop to the reality that not having BD there is scary, but I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Although I believe BD recognizes what led to my decision to end our relationship, I believe he hasn’t quite found a way to either remedy those issues OR (and I respect this) doesn’t feel he needs to make changes to these facets of his life. In the end, if we will be friends – real friends – it will take disconnecting from each other; making ourselves whole again; and coming together as individuals offering a friendship that isn’t tainted with ulterior motives. Anything short of this is simply, “Tapando el sol con la mano.”
What pitfalls have you experienced in your quest to transition your ex into your friend?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Sunday, September 07, 2008
To Thine Own Self…
Even when break-ups happen under bad circumstances the parties normally have trouble disconnecting and making a clean amputation. BD and I didn’t break-up over, what many would consider, ‘dirty’ reasons. Ours is a simple case of finding we’re operating at different places in our development; my having issues with his ability to be intuitive to our needs and standing up for them; and the reality that a couple with children from previous relationships has to consistently communicate to insure a strong family unit that respects all parties. These aren’t issues I take lightly and throughout our courtship I attempted to steer BD – whether through advice or example – to make the choices that would give our relationship a fighting chance. Ultimately, you can lead a blind horse to pasture, but you can’t make that equine eat, right? Many surmised that because I could make such a definitive decision, that it meant I didn’t love BD or felt no pain ending our relationship. They couldn’t be further from the truth. It has been a debilitating time for me. I haven’t seen the gym in a month, have smoked more than a Minneapolis chimney in winter and can’t get passed the exhaustion I feel three hours after my day begins. So I took a step back and asked myself if I was doing the right thing. The answer is as clear as it was the day I made it, “yes.” You see, if you really love someone – and I do love BD – you do what’s right for the relationship. Remaining in a relationship that frustrates you and goes against your core beliefs is a mistake. BD is a great man – my very best friend really – but that all important facet of our relationship would have been eventually compromised had I negated how the relationship began to make me feel devalued. BD is in the midst of a lot of growth right now – learning who he is and hopefully, learning how to take control of his life. They say ‘never say never’ to any possibility. I am more of a realist and I have difficulty seeing any possibility of reconciliation. I do, however, see that I have lessons I can take from this relationship too; To never relinquish my power and most important to follow my old mantra of, ‘To thine own self be true.’ Last night after returning from hangin’ with my boyz, I sent BD a text and remarkably he was still up. Tipsy and speaking a sober mind we chatted for a quick minute before I offered that he call me. We spoke for a few minutes and he mentioned that he hasn’t slept well in over a month. I offered to have him come over and maybe enjoy a few hours of restful sleep that would comfort both of us. Needless to say he came over and having him cuddle-up next to me was right as rain. We awoke to a tenderness that soothed my soul – and yes, the body was weak as hell too. Later, as I fixed us some tasty scrambled egg sandwiches I mentioned to BD that this was not the norm and that it wouldn’t help our budding friendship to engage in any physical intimacy. We both agreed that we really needed this and that the beauty of being grown men is that there are no rules. We need to set healthy boundaries. I’m aware that to grow past our intimacy and share an honest friendship, we have to refrain from saying one thing and living another. Actions do speak louder than words. All said, it was great to hold him in my arms and feel his so familiar warmth in my chest. Love takes time to heal when you hurt so much…well, that’s what Mariah said.
I don’t believe in using alcohol as an excuse to do or say anything that is in your heart to do anyway. Tell of an instance when you feel alcohol impacted the choices you’ve made.
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Friday, September 05, 2008
…A Round of Applause
Labor Day Weekend in Florida was superb. The weather cooperated for the most part and BD, the Minnie and I spent five wonderful days together; the best of friends; the slight tension and awkwardness that comes from suddenly not sharing intimacy lingering between us. BD was the perfect gentleman – sometimes even challenging my own perception of what he should have been doing. I was a bit surprised when he didn’t immediately use this time to make his point; to establish his case. By our final night in Florida I realized that BD was saying more by not speaking about the relationship, then if he spent every day and night dwelling on it. You see, there are times in our lives where we are meant to be still and silent and there are moments in your life when you have to stand and fight with everything you’ve got. Now, I don’t want to sound like I wanted BD to fight, argue and claw his way back into my heart - anyone who knows me knows that fighting me only serves to have me systematically destroy you – but I got a sense that he allows his fears to paralyze his call to action. As I settled-in to the work week I couldn’t help but think that the BD and Me love story may very well be winding down. After lunch a couple of days ago – Yes, my crazy behind still can have lunch with BD, vacation with him and know that I love him dearly – BD asked me if I believed there was a chance of us getting together again. The question hurt me because I know what the answer MUST be. “I would never create hope or have you wait for me, so I’ll say no. I don’t believe in using ‘never’ – especially in love – but I hate for folks to string people along, “ I said. “I’ll have to say no.” As the words left my mouth I knew I couldn’t take them back. I felt honest and knew that I could never be wrong when I live in my truth.
If you’re like me and like to reserve your judgment of situations until you can weigh both sides, you're in luck. BD has his very own blog. For BD’s point of view click here
When can being honest with your partner bring about more heartache than healing?
Keep passin’ the open windows…
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
It’s an odd time in my life. The details are many and the retelling too uncomfortable to take-on. You see, I’m at a place right now where I feel ‘the nothing’ has taken over. It isn’t a matter of the loss of my relationship – details on my trip to Florida to come in the near future – or even my disappointment and the sense of despair that engulfs every aspect of who I am. To be clear, I’m not a victim or a complainer; I’m simply recognizing that I have to be honest and recognize that ‘the nothing’ has somehow drained my spirit. As is always the case, I will regain my footing and get it together, but sometimes folks believe that there are those of us that don’t suffer depression, anxiety or a sense of disappointment with our environment, or worse, with our reality.
Having challenges is a fact of life and overcoming them serves to make us stronger. How would you describe ‘the nothing’?
Keep passin’ the open windows…