Lucky 13

lucky 13Lucky 13? I have to be honest. The thought of turning thirteen years sober was not pleasant. Apparently, I have some internalized superstition about the number “13” meaning bad luck.

Had you asked me 13 years ago what I would be doing today, it is quite likely that I would have said, “Please God, let me be sober”. I was desperate, exhausted, and willing to finally ask for help. I was pretty much agnostic at that time, but my desire to escape survival mode and start living inspired me to seek a power other than myself.

I remember my last line of crystal meth like it was yesterday. I had been pondering the idea of quitting for a few months and didn’t know till a week before the “finish line” that I was ready to quit. My addiction towards all drugs was a juggling act.  I smoked weed and bumped K to relax, sleep, eat, laugh, and escape my chaotic thoughts. I did Special K (Ketamine, not the cereal) to fall into a different universe that would sometimes give me hints to what my life’s potential would be. I remember flying over a concert-filled venue looking down at my fans that were cheering for me. Apparently they saw my potential. I think I was singing to them or maybe taking a break from my DJ set to fly by and give a round of hi-fives to the roaring crowd. Regardless of what my skill actually was, a few bumps of K before lying back on my waterbed was the perfect formula for inviting my fans into my trip (K-Hole).

I want to say that I didn’t drink too much. According to Lacie, the cocktail waitress at the bar where I used to DJ three nights a week, I was consuming quite a bit of alcohol. I remember running into her years after I got sober and made a comment that “alcohol wasn’t really a problem. I told her “I would have a couple Corona and a few shots of Patron – and would always finish my last drink before 11pm so I could responsibly drive home.” She looked stunned at my response and replied, “Those were triple shots of Patron”. Either way, my drinking wasn’t so bad compared to the bar regulars that could easily have had their names engraved next to their barstools. I could really take or leave the booze, weed, K, and other drugs. But Crystal or any other form of speed that would keep me up for days had seduced my inner-consciousness into a co-dependent marriage. Thirteen years ago today, that horrific relationship resolutely ended in divorce.

So what does that all mean today? It means that since Monday, March 28, 2005, I have been lucky enough to begin changing my life. How is thirteen years just the beginning? It’s just a gut. I have a strong feeling that the best is yet to come and I am starting to see my potential naturally.     

Something that a lot of people don’t understand about the addict mind (and I will refer to my own rather than speak for a group) is that I am addicted to anything that will temporarily relieve me of my harmful thought process that inevitably wants me dead if it goes untreated.

There is nothing anyone can say or do that will fool my natural, “stinking thinking.” For me, desperation was my best friend. It led my seemingly lifeless, skinny, infected corpse to individuals and groups that had figured out different methods of combating my mental “dis-ease (uneasy).” I prefer that word to disease because it’s easier for me to accept my terminal mental state as an inconvenience, handicap, or nuisance rather than a sickness.   From them, I learned that my situation was called alcoholism and the sooner that I surrender to this word (that I hated because alcohol wasn’t “my thing”); the quicker I was going to recover.

Since March 28, 2005, I have slowly learned how to better take care of myself. I have sought help from groups, taken direction from an individual that I call my sponsor, and found a therapist that I can be honest with (imagine that- not lying to a therapist). I have learned that it is absolutely essential for me to incorporate people that I trust in my thought process so I don’t hurt myself or someone else. Isolation is not my friend.

Am I happy? Yes, today in this very moment at 1:30 AM on March 29, 2018 I am completely content. Three days ago, I was engaging in a pretty uncomfortable argument with the guy I have been seeing since July. The silver lining is that I feel we learned something about each other. Rather than angry or sad, I felt compassionate, then loved. He lives in Manhattan, about 3000 miles away. But for some reason, my heart wants me to speak with him at the end of every day. How many couples can honestly say they speak for about thirty minutes a day to each other? How many couples can honestly say that they can’t wait to see each other?

I have learned how to live in gratitude. Living in gratitude does not mean I am always happy. It means that I have the ability to acknowledge each day as a gift. On November 18, 2016, my dad passed away a month after an unsuccessful attempt to remove a tumor from his lung. This was the worst month of my life. I felt emotions that I had only partially imagined. But somehow, I was able to reach into my sobriety toolbox and find a few things to be grateful for. My immediate and extended family and friends came together and took care of me. I felt needed when I was able to return a hug and take care of them. The experience turned me into a crier. I can’t even watch an episode of The Voice without crying. I love that my dad has given me the gift of being emotionally fearless.

Months later, I came down with an infection in my lungs, and found myself in the hospital for eleven days. Each day I was there seemed to get longer and it was difficult to feel gratitude at that time. But in retrospect, I spent few days without a visit from a friend. Some visits were from people who barely knew me. The experience taught me to see each day as a gift and every sick friend as an opportunity.

Clearly, there have been some setbacks the last couple of years. Sobriety has taught me that setbacks are only detrimental if you don’t see them as an opportunity to learn and grow. At my celebratory dinner tonight, my friend Paulo and I were discussing my angst of turning 13. He informed me that the number 13 is a holy number in the Jewish faith and that it is the age when a boy has his Bar Mitzvah. Paulo was surprised when I informed him that I had a Bar Mitzvah. Every once in a while, it takes a friend to help me see the silver lining. A Bar Mitzvah is defined as a “son of responsibility”. I like the sound of that and I’m ready to fly towards my potential.

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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.

Pussy, Suicide, and Spring Break

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Due to the seemingly offensive nature of this blog that had some negative after-effects, I feel the need to prepare you for what you are about to read.  Please note that this writing is based on a flashback of a boyish, immature mentality that objectified women and their anatomy.    The boy was well-trained by a straight world that encouraged the objectification of women.  Ironically, my only true friends were women. 

For my second blog writing that I promised to release over a week ago, I had to combine a couple ideas.  I wanted to write about Spring Break because I had just returned from Palm Springs with a couple gay guys (ages 22 and 23) that were on Spring Break from college.  I also wanted to share a bit of my closeted adolescence that adds more significance to reliving Spring Break as a gay adult. 

It is hard for anyone that is not gay to understand what gays and lesbians tolerate growing up in a straight-centric world. 

Welcome to my adolescence…

When I was a kid, I looked forward to spring the same way a suffocating man seeks oxygen.  Like many teens, adolescence was not my friend.  Not only was I socially awkward, but I was a gay kid trapped in a straight guy’s life.  However, I did have myself fooled into loving pussy because it was the right thing to do.  Conversations with friends would frequently revolve around the bases.  It fascinated me to find out what girls had been fingered and what guys were doing it to them.  I’m not sure if I was getting off on it, or was just trying to make sure I didn’t fall too far behind.  It was probably both.

Being a late bloomer, I was extremely evasive of anyone getting down in my business.  Let’s just say I was underdeveloped and spent a lot of time praying to God for growth, girth, and grass on the field.  Oftentimes I would refer to my family’s copy of ‘Where Did I Come From’ for clues on when my next development would take place.  My obsession for pubes led me to my father’s cabinet in his restroom where he kept his Rogaine.  I remember the cool feeling as I squeezed the syringe of miracle grow to my Vienna sausage area.

Fortunately, it was not long after that when I developed and harvested a fine layer of hair in all the right places.  But with growth comes responsibility.  I was fearful and excited about my new equipment.  Although I had the sexual energy of a stud, I knew that there was a glitch in the system… the homo feelings glitch.  The plan was to proceed towards the female species with blinders that would deflect any doubt of my heterosexuality. 

Some would say my accomplishments were victorious (or Oscar worthy).  When I was seventeen, I experienced mutual oral sex for the first time with a very special girl (let’s call her Beverly).  I went to her parents’ pad where we decided to go for a Jacuzzi.  We made out and Bev’s tongue entered my lips like nobody’s business and pried open my jaw .  It seemed like it had a mind of its own… practically raping my mouth.  Because I have a short tongue that is tied down by skin to the lower part of my mouth, I was unable to return the “favor”.  A few minutes into the tongue battle, the hot tub became steamier.  Bev reached down to my swim trunks, untied my draw-string, ripped apart the Velcro fly, and her hand began to creep seductively towards my manhood.  I was excited she was approaching my unit because I desperately yearned to earn hand job status.  But in order to earn this high ranking, I was going to have to rise to the occasion.

The initial excitement boner began to mellow in Bev’s eager palm and I knew I was in trouble.  The job was taking longer than expected and it was becoming quite obvious that my kosher dill had become less interested.   Beverly gazed into my eyes with a knowing grin and proceeded to make her way down.  I could practically hear the ‘Jaws’ theme as she went in for the kill.  I closed my eyes and began to fantasize about Ricky Schroeder, Dolph Lundgren, Madonna, my guy friends, their dads, her brother- and the list goes on.   The moist, warm mouth couldn’t fool me… this wasn’t working.  There was only so much Bev could do with my Floner (floppy boner) before she looked up at me suggesting she had done something wrong.

I redirected our session to some reverse pleasure because I wanted to resume control and redeem myself.  I walked my fingers to her wicker basket and entered.  Hearing her respond with deep breaths and feeling her warmth and wetness, I was beginning to feel like a man.  She sat upon the edge of the pool’s hot tub where I proceeded to move my face forward into the enchanted forest.  Based on many porn movies that I had been watching (borrowed from my dad’s secret stash), I had a good idea of what to do.  I guided my vibrating, handicapped tongue into her honey pot and was determined to bring her to total ecstasy.  But then something unexpected happened.   I noticed a strange metallic flavor… the kind of flavor that wasn’t dangerously rotten, but did sort of taste like aluminum foil.  I hesitated at first, but then I could practically hear my peers cheering me on… “Eat the pussy, pussy is good”.  I waffled in thought with my face inches away from the subtle spoilage… and said to myself, “Eat this pussy, this pussy is good”.  So that’s what I did.  I didn’t completely understand the appeal.  But hey, if this is what makes girls happy, consider me a gentleman. I was privileged to go back for seconds and thirds later that week.

I didn’t want to lose momentum, so soon after, I had the golden opportunity to try the cunnilingus on another girl.  I was a bit perplexed by her odorless, almost tasteless vagina and made it a point to tell her that I was so happy her female parts didn’t taste like metal.  Who need flowers when you can give a girl a compliment like that?

 

Adolescence piece seamlessly changing to the subject of Spring Break

 

When you think of Spring Break, what comes to mind?  Road trips, beach trips, and ski trips with the family?  Getting together with friends and doing silly, crazy things?  Maybe you remember playing truth or Dare, double-dare, double-dog-dare, triple dare, and playing “I never”.   For me, it’s all of the above.  Of course adding a driver’s license and some wheels to the equation changed everything. 

For Spring Break of my senior year in high school, some friends and I drove to South Padre Island.  The small Island on the Southern Texas border was well known for its party reputation and encompassed a strip of bars and hotels along the coast.    Scott, Jason, and I were best bros self- titled (by Scott) as “Babe Magnets” because we all had convertibles.   We felt way sexy when we packed ourselves and luggage into my fancy, red, Chrysler LeBaron convertible.  I didn’t know at the time that the red convertible Lebaron comes in third place of gayest cars in history following the convertible Miata and Mini-Coop.  Babe Magnets (three Jews) came fully equipped with cash, weed, fake ID’s from Arkansas and Alabama, hair gel, and condoms.   I can assure you that the cash, weed, IDs, and hair gel were used frivolously.  The condoms were a symbol of us being responsible.  Imagine Girls Gone Wild meeting up with the cast of Half Baked (Jewish version-oy!).  Frankly, we didn’t have much game.  But we did talk about pussy all the time like it was some party that all girls had invited us to… but forgot to leave us the address.  Oftentimes, I would find a girl to make out with… but I would bow out of the situation for various reasons.    Sometimes I was conveniently too drunk.  If I was sober (er), I would start thinking about the girl being somebody’s baby… and how my actions may scar her for life (even though I was limp).

Being gay was a complete buzz-kill for Spring Break.   Looking back, I was a fool trying to trick myself into having a good time.  I was always living a straight (dorky) party-boy life that was anti-climactic.  I remember being so jealous when my friends would successfully ejaculate with a hook up.  It was if they had cheated on me.  If I wasn’t able to successfully climax with a babe that was magnetized, then no one should.  In retrospect, I was a bit selfish, jealous/envious, and territorial (very much like the lesbian).

This game of role-play, me playing straight on high school spring break, transferred flawlessly to college spring break.  Even though I was out west at The University of Arizona, It was the same situation with a different cast.  The new “babe magnets” were now in form of my fraternity, Sigma Nu.  The main difference was my fraternity bros didn’t speak pussy with a southern, Yiddish accent.  Sure enough, pussy talk led me and my brothers to Padre Island where I felt a haze of disappointing déjà vu.  The only difference was I had a female friend of mine meet me there who was also “bisexual”.  Meredith and I came out to each other as being bi shortly before this “vacation”.  It was our secret and we had an agreement that it was okay to use each other if we needed to defend our precious heterosexuality.  I was able to impress my bros by making out with Meredith in our hotel’s hot tub and switching bathing suit bottoms with her.  Funny story… young adults acting silly, being stupid- this was all very apparent. 

So let’s flip this humorous Blog/Essay/Chapter and get REAL.

Nothing was real… hookups, drunken fraternity party smiles, beer bongs, spring breaks, religion, relationships…

My life was a fucking joke!  Nobody knew me- not even my best fucking friend and closest fucking blood-relative.  The slightest real feeling I had would be self-assassinated to defend the honor of my family, my friends, my fraternity, my synagogue.  Everything I did was fabricated to hide my homosexuality.  I was so scared and lonely that my only fantasy was death.   I couldn’t pray myself out of this nightmare because my Jewish congregation did not recognize homosexuality.  I sought love and acceptance in horrible places that I can’t share openly about just yet… because I still have such deep shame.  Many, many chapters of shame…

To Myself,

Breathe Jonathan, breathe. 

Life is different now.  Your parents know and love you.  You and Lara (sister) share survival stories that have created a bond that no one else could understand.  Your friends are all real friends.  You change lives by sharing your pain and accomplishments.  You have purpose.  Cry, it’s okay.  You have the freedom to laugh gayly, be proud, be sad, be angry, be wonderful, be cocky, be insecure, be slutty, be a role model, and be real…. Be human.  How many people do you know that can be all of those things? 

In closing of this blog/wave/letter/chapter/feeling….

When you see gay people gathering for gay prides all over the world, feel free to think of my childhood Spring Break.  Feel free to attend the festivals and witness tortured souls that have been freed.

When you see another gay teen suicide on the news… think about all of the gay suicides that didn’t make the news. 

 

When you see a gay couple on TV and feel discomfort, imagine the discomfort that these two individuals survived in order to find one another. 

When you see a ballot that says legalize gay marriage, please check “yes”.

 

 

 

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