One For The Team

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-robertson/just-because-he-breathes-learning-to-truly-love-our-gay-son_b_3478971.html?icid=maing-grid10|htmlws-main-nb|dl2|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D338528

To really understand the following, please read the link above.

2013-06-21 Ryan

I am grateful for Arianna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arianna_Huffington). It seems like not a day passes that I find something significant in #TheHuffingtonPost. It is pretty much all-real down to the core. The response I received privately and publicly to this post is very soothing. It’s soothing because straights, gays, lesbians, and #Republicans were emotionally affected for at least a moment. We all had similar responses – shock/sadness/empathy/anger. For me, if you haven’t heard me rant, I get quite emotional when I hear of homophobia and don’t sugar-coat my feelings. Let me explain… From my experience… I flat out cheated death. I wanted to die. I hated to live. Every dawn was a nightmare. A little dramatic? Absolutely not- I hated waking up. I hated the walk to the bathroom to piss. I hated looking in the mirror knowing that the guy standing before me was the same guy that was going to be sitting by himself at lunch. I hated picking out my clothes. I hated that I had allergies, asthma and Attention Deficit Disorder creating even more distance between me and normal. I hated that I got pleasure out of seeing people trip and fall (when it wasn’t me which happened quite often because I was a klutz). I hated that I didn’t understand what the teachers were talking about. I hated that I had to pretend to like girls when all I really wanted was their friendship. I hated when the girls I tried to be friends with would call me a fag. I hated when they stopped being friends with me because I smothered them with too much love. I hated carpool. I hated getting home and not having anything good to report to my parents. I hated that I had to close my bedroom door and cry my eyes dry into my pillow. I hated that I had to compose myself before sitting down at the dinner table. I hated pretending like school was fine. I hated feeling like I had to come up with something to say that gave my parents hope. I hated that my sister had friends. I hated that I couldn’t play with them. I wanted the boys that my sister used to mess around with. I hated being graded. I hated that I wasn’t a jock. In a nutshell, It wasn’t easy growing up closeted in a heterosexual only world. When I hear about a mother pushing religion onto her child that had the strength to be honest with her when he was twelve-years-old… I can’t help but think, “you stupid fucking bitch he’s going to kill himself”. And then he does… To me, drug addiction is death row… a delayed suicide. I’m not saying that the kid wouldn’t have found drugs if the mom hadn’t forced her ridiculous old school beliefs on him. But the chances of his survival would have been heightened. I have to give my parents credit… as much as I hated myself, and as much as I knew they would hate my homosexuality- I never doubted that they loved me. So my anger turns to sadness… the mother didn’t have the strength to pry open her eyes and her heart- at least not before the son’s tragic end. I feel intoxicated. Do I hate the mom? Yes- she’s a cunt! Do I love the mom? Yes- she’s a child just like the rest of us. Do I think she has redeemed herself for not giving her son proper nurturing? Yes, she has passed on the message to future dickhead parents to stop being assholes and realize that they should appreciate the child they brought into this beautiful world. If she were to read this… I would thank her for coming forward and sharing her part. As for the son, Ryan… I have a message for you. Ryan, I am so sorry to hear of your passing. You were so brave, braver than myself at such a young age. And you didn’t have the help you needed. I am you and you are me. The difference is … I am still here fighting for the both of us. You took one for the team. It is sad but true. Until we have human equality, there will be many more deaths. Every civil war ends in devastation before there is a “win”. Your mother would still be the beast she was had you not ended your life. Your action, your sacrifice, will save lives. Thank you. I’m not saying thank you for killing yourself… I am saying thank you for opening thousands… maybe millions of eyes. Thank you for your life story that will save others’ lives. Thank you for turning your mom into an activist. Thank you for letting me share.

Lost and Found

“What would you like to be when you grow up?” 

I love that question now… now that I am growing up.

But when I was a kid, that shit messed me up.  Life was a giggly dream of singing, dancing, napping, recess, snack-time and playing gaily together with other kids.  Back then, everyone was allowed to play gay because masc and fem had not yet been defined.   And then there was that unavoidable day that the teacher decided it was time for us to talk about what we wanted to be when we grew up?  My fluffy dream halted as if someone awakened me drenched in a pool of ice water.  Had I known the phrase “Bitch are you serious?” Or “WTF?”, I am certain that my uncensored ways would have sent me to the mini-principal’s office.

But since I was a good kid, I played along and sat in a circle with the other munchkins and participated in the minor league college counseling session/employment agency interview.  I was amazed and a little confused when each kid had some hint of an idea of what they wanted to do for work before they died (I was a little morbidly realistic).  The professions were shouted out with joy as each kid raised his hand to share his plans for life.  These punks were proclaiming to be tomorrow’s Doctors, Lawyers, Astronauts, Football Players, Pilots, Models, Musicians, Race-Car Drivers…  Each one hit me as if I was the target of a machine gun.  Then it was my turn… and I said “Doctor???”  I felt a sudden calm and free feeling like I had dodged a bullet.  Until of course, the follow up question.  What kind of Doctor?  There was a wave of silence then the theme of Jeopardy as all eyes stared and ears awaited my answer.  “A kid Doctor???”  Then Teach replied back to me, “You mean a Pediatrician”.

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So there I was, stuck in a lie.  Why would you ask a kid, “What kind of Doctor do you want to be?”  I didn’t know all the options at that time.  I wasn’t yet tainted by the reality that we are all going to end up frequenting some sort of Doctor’s office or hospital until we become a worm buffet.  So I left class feeling like I had to start becoming a Doctor… then the day-dream kicked in.  I was surrounded by my family, teachers, friends… (all the people that wanted only the best for me) singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”.  I certainly didn’t yearn to be a pediatrician nor did I have a clue what I wanted.  Rich and happy might have been a safe answer.  But still, for me, this conversation was premature and overwhelming.  Now I’m thinking it would have been priceless to see the Teach’s face if I had spewed out, “I would like to be a recovering drug addict, wannabe actor, homosexual, gay rights activist, self-incriminating writer/blogger, mobile DJ, single 40-year-old man that sells advertisements door-to-door”.

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Time to Free-Ball and Blog

Time to Free-Ball and Blog

After eight years of sobriety, I decided that it was time to embrace my experience and share it like never before…

cdl909-number-8-candle_2Eight Years Clean & Sober. It’s funny that every year I whisper my years accumulated as a sober man on Facebook… like it’s a precious secret hidden behind a trench coat. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 Years c & s- I don’t even capitalize the c and the s because maybe it will seem too bold or too obvious that it is important.

Do I fear judgement? Yes. Do I fear that I may not get a job because of my past? Sometimes. Do I fear a potential romantic partner may find out that I used to carry a baggy of crystal meth folded and rolled into the cap of a bic pen? Kind of.

Truthfully, stepping away from my fears, I am humbled to realize that no one is really doing a background check on me. They either like me or they don’t. I’ll get the job regardless of my history of self-medicating. I’m going to fall in love with someone that beams love in their eyes and heart, not someone emitting judgement.

So why now? Why am I suddenly feeling the urge to free-ball my feelings on the very last hour of my eighth anniversary? Because. I love that answer. Because because because because… shut up.

I love that about 24 hours ago I posted my whisper that I have been clean and sober for eight years and I am still getting praised– about 260 likes and a bunch of congratulatory comments.

I was in an Improv class tonight and another actor asked me what I have been up to. I told him about being sober and he said he was wondering what c & s meant on my Facebook page. He appropriately told me that he was proud of me.

So I feel the responsibility to elaborate a little bit. Being that high school friends (and some bullies that are now nice), Jewish friends, family members, ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, fraternity brothers, college friends, camp friends, pre-school carpool friends, drinking and drugging friends, 12-step friends, hookup friends, friends I don’t really know, siblings of friends, friends and families of friends that have passed, teachers, agents, casting directors, acting coaches have all come forward to give me their blessing.

To those of you who do not know the outline of my story…
I was diagnosed ADHD my senior year of high school. This fact was so important to my adolescent mental stability. If a kid can’t focus on a subject for more than a minute without getting sidetracked… How can he understand a lecture? How can he be part of a team? How can he feel a part of a group when it is natural for him to say what is on his/my mind… no matter if it was completely off-subject.

Now add to the equation that there were seemingly no gay and lesbian role models – local or famous. And the famous one’s were ridiculed. The upper class women of Dallas sure wouldn’t mind having a gay man pump their ego and their big hair. But the gay relationship he may have been hiding behind closed doors was a subject that was tiptoed around and taboo… but perfect for gossip and ridicule.

So my decision at the age of fifteen was to keep the secret and strive to be a role model, nice Jewish boy. And if I couldn’t fake it till I make it- then I was going to take pills till I never woke up. I would have rather been dead than gay.

I met a man months before I turned 16 who invited me to his home, showed me pornography, and offered me a line of crank. Crank was a speed in yellowish cheesy powder form. I was in gay Disneyland. The second I inhaled a small line of speed that burned like a MF… I transformed from feeling a part to feeling complete. My ADHD had gone into remission, my self hate of my sexual orientation diminished, and I felt like talking – a lot! The 35-year-old man that gave me the speed taught me how to use it like a gentleman… never tell anyone that I did it, never tell anyone that he was getting me to do sexual things, and never tell anyone I had gay feelings. I didn’t need my arm twisted to accept his rules.

So that is how it started. After High School and into college, I continued to sniff my way back to my drug supplier. I never wanted to buy it, so I really looked forward to coming home to Disneyland. It was very cyclical- I would come home to see my family… and I would feel either good or bad. Both feelings were good enough for me to go “party”. Funny how a party was heading over to someone’s house so I could get a drug fix that would relieve my queasiness triggered by the drive over to his gated community. It seemed like hours before he had my line prepared on the glass table. and I would return home a couple days later… no sleep or food for three days. Some party!

I came out gay when I was 21 which was such an exhausting time. Imagine trying to explain a taboo subject over and over again to people who feel you have been dishonest with them. Or the flip side… they feel bad because you didn’t feel close enough to them to share what was going on. And most importantly, I was coming out to the world about a subject that I hated. I hated myself for being different.

The coming out process may have began a healing process for my loved one’s. But it was too much for me. I wanted to be in control of who knew I was a homo, when they found out, and who they were allowed to tell. I quickly realized that I was no longer in control of my secret so I found a dealer at The University of Arizona so I could escape to my my Disneyland in another state. Don’t get me wrong, I became a great student – honoraries and Who’s Who?. I received a 3.5 GPA, ran for senate of the undergrads on an openly gay platform and won. The next year I was elected chairman of the senate. It was empowering and excruciating. Let’s just say I wasn’t a Republican and I wasn’t a Republican. As all good addicts do, in times of stress, I find my current drug of choice (cocaine at that time- ewwww.), and did lines in the student government office. After a roller coaster of ups and downs I made it through college and headed west to Los Angeles where I would follow my dream to be an actor.

I moved to Calif. in August of 1996. I pursued acting and was landing a few lines on TV shows here and there. Then I was cast in quite a few indy films- always playing the part of a hooker, porn star, a kid that lost his virginity to two bar girls in a saloon, a guy doing a cheating wife, and then I played a serial rapist. Let’s just say my IMDB is quite impressive… you could probably catch an std just reading it.

I ended up meeting party people in LA and went to circuit parties, DJ’d 5 nights a week, and was really feeling Hollywood and my dreams coming true. And somehow, somewhere, the party became out of control. I had to make rules… no drinking after 11 so I could drive home, only on the weekends, just a glass of wine with dinner. My weekends turned into week-long binges. I always made it a priority to call family and friends just before I would start my “party”. And I fooled everyone. At least I thought I did.

The one binge per month turned into every other week I would stay awake an entire week without eating or sleeping. Sadly, in LA, everyone was telling me I looked like a model with my gaunt facial expressions and protruding abs (ribs).

In February of 2005, Valentine’s Day crept up on me and I did the math- I had not slept a day in February. It had been 14 days of taking apart computers, web-camming with strangers (hiding my face because I had morals), cleaning my room, and doing my taxes.

Other good memories… five days of no sleep and falling asleep at the wheel crossing Sunset Boulevard and awakening from the pound of my car’s left side onto a median… losing both hub caps and flattening both left tires. No one saw… I was good.

Then I allowed an attractive homeless man to shower in my apartment before he stole my rental car that had all of my DJ equipment in it from a gig the night before. The car was found over a week later with my equipment still in the trunk. Enterprise still will not accept my amends… which I find to be bittersweet. I have the strength to come clean about what I did… and the acceptance that not all damage is reparable.

Last but certainly not least, something I feel awful about to this day and hope to someday make it right. A friend of mine owned a mobile phone store next to a bar that I was spinning (DJing) at. A girl that worked there, let’s just call her Tonya, asked me to come by the store after my DJ set for a little partying. Once I arrived, she was carrying store inventory out the back door and was placing it in her truck. She told me (I was quite sped up) that the owners needed the items moved from the store to her truck. And if there is anything I need, please feel free to take it. I didn’t end up taking anything home with me… except a feeling of “what the fuck just happened?” And at that very moment, it dawned on me that I just committed a crime involuntarily to someone who had always been very nice to me.

8 years have passed since I have had alcohol or mind altering drugs. Giving up alcohol was extremely hard to do because meth was my preference. But I know that if I open the gateway of numbed inhibitions with a shot of tequila, my hand will gradually and quickly reach out till it finds my drug of choice… and I am back where I left off.

I hope this shocks you. I hope you can’t believe the double-life I acted my way through. I hope that maybe there is someone out there that is questioning their own addictive tendencies. I hope you feel you can call or message me and share your fear. I hope you judge lovingly that sex, love, gambling, eating, purging, and downloading is also part of my story.

Started Meth at 16
Got Sober at 32
Shared bluntly at 8 years Sober
After 8 years… think I am ready for a Blog or a Book.

Thank you everyone for clicking like today, thanks for your comments, thanks for loving me and allowing me to love you. Thank you my republican friends for taking a moment today to think … “I should stand up for Jonathan so he can find a partner and marry him.” I deserve the right to feel just as miserable as straight people (quoting Roseanne supporting gay rights). And then I want to marry a divorce attorney specializing in gay divorce. Cha-ching.

Special thanks to Lara, mom, dad, Matt, Mike , Matt 2, Jessica, and Rachel for motivating me to get sober and stay.

Thank you Zac, Gil, Emanuel, Andy, and Daniel for being my family. As well as others (you know who you are) that I see on a regular basis as we trudge the road of happy destiny one day at a time.

Much love and gratitude,

Jonathan B