Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. The Ferryland – New Foundland Iceberg Easter 2017. A Word Press Production.

Sunday – Did I Do the Right Thing ?

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Because we need happy dog photos right about now …

I’ve been angry, and impatient, and judgmental, and unsettled all night. And I believe that this is bleed over from my separation from a group of people I cared for and supported, and at the end of the day, they turned their backs on me.My phone has not rung in more than a week now. And I deleted all those numbers from my phone on Friday.

Like turning off that proverbial light switch, I like to always talk about.

So many people in my community across the board are afflicted with the “Can’t be bothered syndrome.” They want the easier softer path, and they want sobriety via osmosis by sitting in a chair night after night, hoping that they will magically get sober, and not have to embark on the personal work The Book and The Work asks of us.

So I watched another Voices of Hope episode instead of sitting here being angry all night.

And I wonder to myself, have I been living one huge lie? Am I not true to myself ? Did  I not follow God’s will correctly ? Because my brain is on over drive and here is why …

Memere, Grammy, and my Aunt Paula, they all loved me. Memere and Grammy are gone, and coming to Canada was my way of reconnecting with Memere’s spirit, in a place I wanted to be, both for myself and my spirit. I believed that this city was where I was supposed to end up, as the signs had opened up for me as they did, to lead me here eventually.

That seed of faith was set in my heart at a very young age. Hearing love and devotion when I was away from home, was lovely. But when I went back home, or even when I was out of home, my father wanted me dead. Saying I was a mistake and should never have been born. What kind of parent says things like that to their kids for the WHOLE of their lives?

All I wanted was to be loved. And I was for a while, on the outside. By other people, people who were NOT my parents.

For every good thing my parents gave me, they took it out in equal opposite measure with verbal, physical and emotional abuse. My father abused me mercilessly, and my mother watched him do it and never defended me or asked him to stop. In toxic parents speak, she was the silent woman. My father was the abuser.

Where did I learn about homosexuality ? From books, magazines, radio shows and later in my teens, I met actual gay men, who gave me more positive attention than my father could ever have given me.

So jealous with rage at these conversations I was having with these gay men, my father would come home and beat me until he thought he could beat the gay out of me, all the while, hiding his own secret of repressed homosexuality.

The dog that barks the loudest has the MOST to HIDE.

I had an idea. A thought, An example of what titillated me. Reading was the one way I connected with something I found of personal interest, well before I knew what it all meant. But tits and naked women did nothing for me at all. And I got that in equal measure, gay and straight. But early on I had made my choice.

In tenth grade, I began to attend youth group. I was going to church on my lunch hours at school. I was going to prayer meetings, retreats, serving in the mass, I had a spiritual life that was second to none. In the end those priests saw hope in me that they figured a life in the church would suit me. Memere was so proud the day I walked into Seminary. My parents could not have cared any less for my success. They were just glad to finally get rid of me.

No You Can’t …

Along this path to God, I walked and searched and hoped and prayed.

I never came out of the closet at home for fear my father WOULD Kill Me.

So at age nineteen, I entered my first year of seminary. For that calendar year, my spiritual director’s favorite question to all of us was … “Did you touch yourself?” And the answer was always the same. “No Father.”

That was a big huge lie.

I watched my fellow classmates do things with certain people that I found abhorrent at the time, because, at that time, my eyes were focused on God and pious sanctimony. But I witnessed crimes. And they were crimes. Only to be cornered on a dark night with the threat of sin and violence if I ever spoke out about what I had witnessed by those who were directly involved with said sinning against God.

I believed that if I could serve the church, that that would expunge any vestige of homosexuality out of me. I would serve God and that would be ok with me. Because serving God was better than serving myself.

In the end, at the end of that year, the rector, a man I despised, asked me to leave, that he felt that I did not have the blessing of God to continue. (Read: I did not have his blessing, because I was a thorn in his side, because of some of the things he perpetrated as rector).

I was mad at God. And Rightly so. I felt God had turned His back on me.

I had to go back home. My parents were none too pleased. I got a job, that included alcohol, and trips all over the world, just because I was employed at the right agency. That fed into my alcoholism and stunted my growth into manhood.

Coming to twenty One I was seeing my shrink and talking about what I was going to do. Ok, Fine, I would have to leave home, and strike out on my own, with specific direction to visit a local bar first and have a couple of drinks, and SEE WHAT HAPPENS …

See what happens ?

I had one sexual experience with a man when I was nineteen. Nobody knew that for years after it happened. We all got drunk one night on cheap vodka, and I took his keys away so he would not drive home drunk, so he spent the night. And shit happened.

Boy oh Boy, the women were so jealous of me when they found out I had slept with him. I had accomplished a feat that none of them had been able to do.

It wasn’t until I moved to Orlando and told a friend, who was a confidant that I was new at this game and he stepped up and broke me in officially.

What did I know about Gay ? I liked what I had read in the past. It turned me on. And mix pretty young gay men, with copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, and the Tragic Queendom and you had it made in spades.

What was being Gay ? Same Sex Attraction (SSA), Sex, Drugs, Alcohol…

I lived that lifestyle for just six years. When I turned twenty six, everything changed.

Having the beautiful boyfriend was all the rage in my twenties. And it seemed, that it was not the single gay that was attractive to most young gay men. It was the “coupled” gays that were the most attractive. Breaking up a couple who were dating was the holy grail in the community I was part of.

I was not the prettiest gay boy, but I was attractive for a while, until I became a worthless drunk.

I had never succeeded in having relationships worth any substance.Alcohol fueled the desire for sexual attraction and sex itself.

And it was my own undoing that brought me to where I ended up eventually.

Alcoholism stunts you at the point you began drinking. I was a teenager, mentally, for years. I was irresponsible. I lied, I cheated, I swore on my father’s good name, that he would pay for it all. In the end he did.

And I paid for that for the rest of my life.

Imagine, growing up with the alcoholic parents who NEVER said, Hey I Love You. Or Hey I am proud of You. Or Hey, Can I help you out or support you?

They never said those things to me.

Because I was the mistake that should never have been born.

Fast forward to age twenty five. Post James’s suicide and my having to identify his remains at the coroners office the fifth day after they found what was left of him four days earlier.

It was catastrophic emotional trauma which led to pitiful incomprehensible drinking to drown my sorrow.

Todd and Bill had stepped in and got me into therapy. But the worst was yet to come.

A few months later, I contracted hepatitis and was really sick. For months, I was working at the bar, like all the other employees, there was nothing special about me YET.

A friend gave me a card with Symptoms on it, as in, If You Have These Symptoms, You Might have AIDS. It took me until July of 1994, to hit nine of the twelve symptoms on that card, at which time, on July 4th, I had called home to tell my parents I was sick and that I was going to the hospital the next morning to get tested.

“Philadelphia with Tom Hanks” was out on Video. I had a copy at home with my friends, we were going to watch it later that night. Meanwhile, back at home my parents WERE watching the movie as the phone rang. Which did not end well.

Fast forward to the 9th of July that Friday. I had had AIDS. I was going to die. Life was over.

My family, My friends, my boyfriend, all left me high and dry. Sick, alone, isolated.

The Gay Lifestyle we like to speak about changed irrevocably.

I was no longer sexually viable. Hell, I wasn’t a viable human being according to the many who told me to just die and the Christians were telling me that it was God’s wrath for my sins. That I had brought this on myself. And that I would burn in hell for eternity.

I called Todd home from vacation. 1 man. 1 God. Three words. I Love You.

I Prayed – God appeared in my life, in human form. He came, and He saved me. I knew God loved me, because the only person who mattered to me, also loved me, and that was Todd.

I lived.

But I wasn’t in the clear just yet, as my story meanders from sobriety into full fledged alcohol and drug addiction/consumption, until I had hit that second bottom in December of 2001.

Once again, I turned to God, and I prayed three prayers in a certain order. I needed three things to get me back to the rooms. Funny that God heard those prayers, and like clockwork, each prayer came to pass, in the order requested.

God was there for me when I really needed Him. At every stage of this life I was living, when I needed a miracle or God to appear, He was there, right by my side.

Saving me every time. One Day I would repay His Goodness to me.

The alcoholic who would bring me back appeared in my shop and asked for a job.

Serendipity.

I moved to Montreal in 2002. Following Memere to where I believed in my spirit, I should be and turned my life around. And I grew up along the way.

I never assimilated into Montreal’s gay community. I went looking for something specific and did not find it, so I gave that part of my life up, opting for sobriety and a sober life.

Gay Lifestyle ? Did not exist for me. I was just a human being who happened to be Gay.

Assimilation into straight sober rooms was a challenge in the beginning, because of homophobia and judgmentalism on the part of people  who claimed to be Godly and Sober.

WRONG …

I wasn’t looking for sex. I never went looking for sex because I knew I was damaged goods. Nobody wanted a man with AIDS, that was one serious deal breaker in the Gay Community. Even if i was sober.

Trolling for Sex, was not a sober activity.

On the day, I passed hubby in the doorway of St. Leon’s Church, it was a split second decision. I looked, I heard the voice, and as I have said before, the rest is history.

I dated hubby for a couple of months, into Christmas of 2002. He went home to Ottawa to see his family, he gave me a set of keys to his place. The place we call home today, and said I could stay in his apartment while he was gone to Ottawa.

Gay Lifestyle ? We had only a few months before he got sick. I got used to how he looked, what he said, who he was. How he made me feel. He accepted me from the first night.

Because it was God ordained that we were to meet.

I never had to go looking for any gay lifestyle. I did not need any other gays in my life.

Todd always said that one day I would be able to save someone and love them.
Hubby was that one human being. I stood and was counted. I did what I was called to do.

Love, Support and Respect.

I never had to worry about same sex attraction to any other human being other than hubby. I had committed.

I was done. Forever…

We were both clean and sober, and we used to go dancing together until it got too cumbersome, having to suit up winter gear and go out and at the end of the night, find a taxi home.

Too Much Trouble.

I did not have gay friends. But I knew there were some gay people in a couple of meetings, here and there, which we availed ourselves of for a while, until they fell out of favor, because I could no longer stomach gay men who were sick, night after night saying how they just wanted to die, and be so miserable. I needed to know how they got so many more years, still alive, because that is what I was after all along.

All they wanted was to die. It did not Compute …

One night I had heard enough, from one particular man who was sick. And I offered to kill him, right then and there in the meeting. I offered to either shoot him in the head or push him off the second floor to the ground.

We never went back to that meeting.

No More Gay Sober Lifestyle.

Over the last fifteen years, I stayed clean and sober.

I went back to school, and decided that I was going to re follow God. I knew I had failed at getting to God through the vehicle of the church. So I chose to follow God through academia.

Gay, Religion, Theology and Academia, in the end was my own undoing.

Promises were made to me by Catholic Priests and the Monsignor, who were some of my professors in my Religion and Theology studies.

He reneged on his promises to make me useful to the church as a Gay Man.

Read – Gay and Catholic did not mix, even if Montreal had gay priests in its employ. I just would not be acceptable within those ranks.

All Along, the pictures and stories of sex, that were in my head, never came to pass for me. The very night that I met Todd, at the old bar location, He looked into my soul. And like God himself, He knew my innermost desires. And they were dark.

When I got sick, working at the bar, Todd passed an edict to every single man who worked in the bar, and to every single man who walked through our doors.

I was off limits.

After diagnosis, I did not have sex ever again, with anyone and that lasted for years.

The sex I wanted to have, I never accomplished at having. So menial sex was just sex. Hubby and I had a couple of months together, before he fell sick.

So the Gay Lifestyle I had read about and fantasized about NEVER happened.

Todd made that perfectly clear to me and to everyone else.

So much for the gay lifestyle.

My job, at the bar, was to be of service to anyone who walked through the door. I cleaned up trash. I bar tended. I worked in the DJ Booth. On special occasions, I was personal liaison to the special guests for each night as they showed up.

That was my job.

It wasn’t sex, it wasn’t anything but work. I could look all I wanted. I could dress any way I wanted. But that was as far as I got. EVER …

It took me fifteen years of sobriety and the meeting of the elders to get me to this point, to wonder who I really am, what secrets do I have, and need to be bore out, and what is God trying to say to me, and where am I headed ?

it took this long to realize just how BLESSED I really am today. Everything that happened, happened for a reason, to get me to this exact point in my life.

To see the truth and figure out what to do next.

God said to me …. “I am enough for you.”

Who am I ? What am I ? Why Now ?

I know God is not finished with me yet.

Tomorrow I am meeting Cedric at the LDS church in NDG.

I shopped for new shoes and new dress clothes earlier today, so I would be presentable to the community.

So that is my confession for tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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