Friday: Special Essay … Growing Up
The week is over. The Friday meeting was sparse. But I did see the people I really needed to see, and have conversations. While there is massive snow on the ground in Up State New York, and here in Quebec, my friends who have skiing and snowboarding passions, they are all out on the slopes this weekend, enjoying, what might be the last snow of the season.
I subscribe to several “thoughtful” pages on Face Book and I’ve been seeing thoughts being shared on my timeline that I happen to think, can apply to me.
One thought is: “BE who you needed when you were a kid” (insert age appropriate word here) …
When I was in school, that would be Junior and High school, I attempted to be sporty.
A fact of life, that came as a tidal wave, came on the first day of Junior High School. I stepped into the locker room, and I knew, right then and there, that there was something different about me. I knew what it was, I just did not say anything to anyone about it.
Knowing what Gay was, by that term, and knowing how homophobic my parents were and still are, never allowed me to identify myself as gay until I moved away from home.
I engaged in gym for a while, while sports was something I was engaged in and was good at because my friends were sporty, and I wanted friends and to participate. I wrestled in junior high, I played soccer as well. I was a pretty good soccer player, until I attempted to go heads up for a center position, which meant you had to go head to head with the boy who held that position. Sadly, I got pretty beat up. That was the end of that run.
In high school I was on the swim team for a couple of years and I even Lettered in my senior year.
My parents were not big on my competing or participating. They would not allow me to have the tools of the trade I needed. Even if I was spending my own money to buy shoes, cleats and gear. They were funny that way …
When I got to Montreal and began to settle down and build a home, growing into a man was front and center. And all along these years now, I have allowed myself things that I really did not have when I was a kid, like nice shoes, sneakers, boots, clothing, etc …
I am different from hubby, in that he does not see the need to have “things.” He will wear one pair of shoes until they fall off his feet before he buys another pair. And I am like, we have the money in the bank, why don’t you buy some shoes and some sneakers …
He usually just shakes his head. I am prepared for any seasonal weather that Mother Nature may throw at us.
Like a good Boy Scout, I am always prepared.
Growing up in the Rooms, I have a certain idea of who I am today, and what I want from my life, and what I believe is important for my emotional, mental and personal well-being.
I keep up with trends. I try to have some style. Lately my friends have commented on my wardrobe an awful lot. This was not a point of discussion in the past. In the rooms, there is a certain amount of decorum, style and dress. Getting clean and sober, in time, means getting clean and sober in all areas of life.
Once you begin to “Clean Up” you clean up inside and out.
I watch my friends, my Gay friends. They seem to be resigned to a certain “way” they style themselves, as they all age. I don’t have any gay friends in my age bracket. The gay friends I have are all ten to twenty years my senior.
Over the past decade or so, as my body changes, my appearance changed with it. And as my doctors took me off certain drugs, that caused me to balloon, the drugs I am on now, are allowing me to lose some significant weight.
They say that the first ten pounds are a bitch. A few weeks ago, while at the doctors, I saw that fact when I stepped onto the scale for the first time in a long time, and was pleasantly surprised to see just how much weight I had lost in the past year.
Feeling Sexy, and Feeling Good inside and out are very important to me. You might find that odd. But I just don’t want to sink into some deep funk going into fifty.
I am not some old man, who has to accept that he is ageing.
Fifty is the new thirty they say. I missed out on my thirties and did not begin to grow up emotionally until I hit the ripe age of forty.
If you want to feel good, I believe one has to look good doing it too. As long as I can pull off sporty and sexy, all in moderation, then why the hell not ?
For many years, well, the last twenty-two years or so, I was subject to side effects and drug interactions when it came to my body. And for a long time, I sat in my head, thinking, well, this is how I am going to look and feel, so I better get used to it.
Because that is what most people with AIDS/HIV say to themselves. Today, there are only a few, a very little few other men who are survivors, in my immediate community, or are living with what they call the new HIV, they don’t say the word AIDS ever anymore.
But I remember who I was, then. Nobody can take that away from me.
I’m not sure when the shift began, but I felt that I needed to pick myself up and make a change. I went back on my going grey look, and dyed my hair. I’m just not ready to be defeated by grey hair like some of my friends. I moved from my special haircut to growing my hair out, until I get sick of it. Not there yet.
When I realized that I had lost significant weight, I went on a clothes haul, and bought a few new pieces of clothing.
My friends noticed.
I saw some clothing I really liked on the web. And I thought, I could rock that look too and look good doing it too. So I spent a little money, and damn, I look good.
My friends noticed.
People pay close attention to what we look like in meetings. I remember a while back, when I started experimenting with hair styles. I made a huge mistake sitting in the chair one day, and I paid for that haircut mistake until all my hair grew out again.
I don’t want to go bald, not yet at least.
I want to feel good in my skin. I want to feel sexy, even if hubby really does not pay attention to that, he really doesn’t. He thinks about style, because I know he shops at specific shops in the city and has a certain look, he just does not notice me.
I notice Me.
I may be getting Older. And Fifty is just around the corner. But I am not going to grow old, looking old. There are men out there in my age bracket who are more sporty and stylish than I could ever be, but I will damned well try at least.
As long as I can look good – I feel good.
Living life on the edge is cool. Living on Borrowed time used to mean, acceptance of a fate of dying or waiting to die.
I don’t live, waiting to die.
Mame Dennis Said it well …
Live, Live, Live, Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving …
I am going to look good when fifty comes, and I will die trying …
I love my friends, gay and straight, some of them are just old Fuddy Duddies …
I am NOT a fuddy duddy …