pushing through

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Thinking about writing, they say, is often more painful than just actually writing. I guess I have found this to be true. But I’m kind of like that with everything. From calling someone back to scrubbing the toilet, thinking about doing things often kills my projects before I’ve even picked up the phone/toilet brush/pen. If I have an excuse to get me out of writing, I’ll take. Want me to feed your lizard? Done! Want me to go with you to a True Blood convention? Sure! Need your living room painted? I’m your guy! Anything to avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing. This personality trait made me the excellent addict you all know and love today. So surprisingly, this 30 Days of Blog has been incredibly helpful.

Don’t get me wrong. I write everyday. Usually its for clients and something of the stimulating copywriting variety. Yet its still writing and better yet– it pays me. This in itself is progress considering I went years while I was drinking where I couldn’t even get a word on a page. But blogging everyday for this here little bundle of hot-messiness has really been a great challenge. It’s really forced me to push on and keep writing when honestly all I’ve wanted to do is nap. “Did I write about this already?”, “Is this too whiny and self-involved (the answer to that is always yes by the way) and mainly “What the hell do I write about today?!?” are a few of the questions I have had to answer myself this month.But what I’ve discovered is it doesn’t matter. No, really. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing about as long as I keep writing and pushing through. Like recovery, 90% of my success is about showing up.If I don’t write everyday, I’ll never know what new project will appear to me. And if I don’t keep going I’ve already assumed none of it is worthwhile which I know in my heart not to be the truth.

So what if every post isn’t going to win a Pulitzer prize or if half of the damn things read like they were written underwater? The point is I did it and got it done. For a guy who tries to move as a little as possible and groans about working, this a victory indeed. Just so you know, I was kidding about painting your living room, by the way.

So friends, what helps you push through and keep going? What helps you stay inspired? Give me some pointers in the comments section, if you feel so inclined.

burning questions

My creativity  cup hasn’t exactly runneth over today. Mainly, because I feel like I myself have been runnethed over. A wacky medical treatment  yesterday to combat pneumonia(which I don’t have, thankfully) involved me sitting in a metal box and sucking on a plastic tube. Yes, this was at the hospital and no, I haven’t started smoking crack. Anyway, this treatment made me even more tired and sluggish which I didn’t think was human possibly. Any more ‘help’ like this and I’ll turn into Wilfred Brimley. Nevertheless, I promised to write everyday at this here blog for June so here goes. Here’s my list of burning questions for June 18th and I promise I’ll write something more substantial. ?????????????????????????????????

*If I taped $20 dollars to my cats’ neck, told her where the grocery store is, do you think she’d bring me back a pie? I mean, its the least she could do.

*Why do celebrities like Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes shave their heads when they go crazy? I mean I shave my head and I’m totally.. ooh. I think I just answered that one on my own.

*What ever happened to passing notes? Sure kids just text but what about “Mark the box Yes or No if you like me” notes? Those are staple of building low self-esteem in middle schoolers and I hope it hasn’t died off.

*What is a LeBron and why do people keep tweeting about it?

*Am I the only one who likes saying the word ‘Fallujah’?

*Can diet soda really be more addictive than meth? I read an article that said it was. Clearly written by people who either never really used  meth or who are buying a different brand of diet soda than I am.

*Did we ever figure out who’s zooming who?

*Why do people post their diets on Facebook? It’s fucking weird. Yeah I blog about being a drunken drug addict but that’s different. It’s not like I’m assuming people want to know what I had for breakfast. (Granola, by the way.)

*Finally, Grown Ups 2? Why, God, why?

Please feel free to leave your answers on these important matters, along with burning questions of your own in the comments section below. We here at UrTheInspiration aim to tackle life’s toughest issues. 

At Seventeen

I remember at 17 thinking that maybe I finally figured myself out. For the first time ever, it felt like I might even survive my childhood years. After an arrest on alcohol related misdemeanor at 15– big surprise, right? and seriously thinking about killing myself at 16, this was a welcome change. Drugs and liquor were kept at bay(temporarily), I had shed the friends who didn’t care about me and I started hang out at gay clubs and kiss boys. Yes, there were wine coolers. Yes, that’s the year I met my old pal cocaine, but this is me were talking about. No tale of my childhood would be complete without the proper party favors. Besides, they hadn’t turned on me yet and I still had everything under control. Well as much as a 17-year-old can have everything under control. I had also finally found ways not to piss my parents off and was generally pretty happy. Don’t get me wrong, life was nowhere near perfect. There was still a lot of homophobia at my redneck high school.  The nicest thing I can say about the place is that at least “faggot” was properly spelled when it was scratched into the outside of my locker. I was never going to fit in. I was never going to be the most popular person in school.  But for some reason, all of it didn’t matter. I remember walking down the hallway, days before the year ended with sun on my face, thinking to myself, “Nobody here matters. My life will be so much bigger.” I had hope for the first time in a long time. It was something I wanted to hang onto. So the next few years, I chased hope and happiness onto the floors of discos and raves, throughout Europe and across the country far away from vandalized lockers and people who didn’t matter.

I don’t know why on this summer day at age 40 I’m thinking about that 17 year-old. Perhaps because it’s the 17th day of blogging. Maybe because this time of year reminds me of a lot of teenage high jinks. But I think if he could see me now, he’d be happy.  See despite everything that’s happened over the last 23 years, hope has survived. In fact, I’d like to thank him for showing me how to have it in the first place.

Resty McResterson

Rest-AreaI’m not great at following directions or heeding the advice of others. In fact, my inner child is constantly screaming, “Don’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss of me!” Suffice it to say, this has made my four and half years sober a challenge. It’s not my nature to take direction; its my nature to tell you to go screw yourself and to mind your own damn business. Over the years, I have gotten better at this though. I figured out pretty quickly if I wanted to stay sober, I needed to listen to people who knew more than I did. I’ve learned to say “Thank you” or “That’s an interesting idea” or “I’ll have to try that sometime” when well-meaning/controlling people have a litany of ideas on how I could fix myself. I’ve even learned to ask for advice and for help when I’m really stuck. So when my doctor told me to get rest this weekend, I took it seriously.

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Stress and running myself ragged is something, like not taking direction, that also comes naturally to me. Unfortunately, given my HIV, its also the kind of behavior that can win me a first class ticket to the ER. Even though there were a ton of events and activities happening this weekend, I cleared the docket and chilled the hell out. I snuggled with my cat, I watched Hulu, I wrote a ton, I read and I napped in a manner that would make the aforementioned feline very proud. I cancelled a couple of things. I put off some work stuff until Monday. In short, I rested.  And guess what? I feel better! Taking 48-hours to relax has really helped. Last week was a whirlwind of stress, doctor appointments and running around like an idiot. Amid the uncertainty and general fear, it was imperative that I find a way to power down and take care of myself. I managed to do it and I’m so happy I did.

Gay Pride Mixtape: Vol. 2

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In honor of gay pride weekend, I’m celebrating with by making some YouTube mixtapes featuring some of my favorite big gay songs. Today’s edition pays homage to the divas!

No gay mixtape would be complete without a little Barbra Streisand. Not only is she a gay icon but her own son is gay too! Go, Babs.

And speaking of gay icons. One word: CHER. ‘Nuff Said.

Donna Summer may have had a complicated relationship with the LGBT community but by the end of her life, it had healed and all we were left with was her incredible legacy of some of the best dance music ever.

Ladies and gentlemen, Grace Jones. You’re welcome!

When it comes to my happy place music, nobody fits the bill like Kylie Minogue.

Cyndi Lauper was my first gay diva as She’s So Unusual was the first record I ever bought with  my own money. Here’s a vintage track from that record along with a booty shaker from her tragically underrated Take Ya to the Brink. I even saw Cyndi perform at West Hollywood Gay Pride back 2003.

To wrap it up, here’s Madonna at the peak of her powers having a holiday. Hope you do the same!

 

 

 

 

Eff It Forty

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Seven months into being 40-years-old, something extraordinary has happened: I don’t give a crap. Not in a screw the world, I hate everybody kind of way. But I’m really done with sweating the small stuff, worrying about what people think of me and wasting my time on relationships that are dead ends. The great Laura Hayes, one of the original Queens of Comedy, describes this attitude as ‘Fuck it Forty’. This feels accurate. The things I used to stress out about, the people I used to coddle, the petty garbage that would pollute my mind and waste my time- fuck it. This is an incredible freedom and like a major milestone. They should really tell more people about this when they turn forty. Like they should print cards that say, “Happy 40th birthday! Please enjoy not giving a flying fuck!”

During my last play, the effects of “Fuck it Forty” really reared its liberating head. Flaky friends kept calling, emailing and sending text messages promising they’d be coming to my show. Them not showing up or canceling or making a big deal about getting there    soon became as dramatic as anything we put on stage. And then when they don’t come there’s all these crazy ass apologies and lame excuses. And people always think you’re going to be mad at them, but here’s the thing, thanks to being forty, I don’t care.

Yes, I love them. Yes, I’d like them to see my shows. But really I don’t care. First of all, there will always be another show. Second of all, we sold out most of our run and had lots of people come, so a few flaky friends who couldn’t get their crap together didn’t sink our production. I love the people I know and want to see them but if they don’t show up, it’s no longer a big deal.I no longer hold stuff against them or try to make them pay for not doing exactly what I want them to do.  For a person who spent most of his life worried that you were mad at him or that you hated him or that you were going to leave him, this is indeed an incredible transformation. Maybe its not ‘fuck it’ at all. Maybe its more that after four decades on this planet, the things that are important (my recovery, my relationship, my family, my spiritual life) have risen to the top and the other stuff just isn’t as pressing. Whatever it is, its a welcome shift and worth the number that comes along with it.

Gay Pride Mixtape: Vol. 1

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Happy Gay Pride Denver! As I’ve mentioned, I’m not big on crowds of drunk people, gay or otherwise, and seeing as I’ve been instructed by medical folk to take it easy for the next few days, I won’t be celebrating my gayness with the entire city. But that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of who I am or of the progress LGBT people have made. Quite the contrary! I love being gay and I’m in awe how far we’ve come. Music is kind of how I celebrate everything. Once upon a glitter soaked night club, I used to dj and work in a record store. I know. Very 90’s. Anyway, I thought I’d make myself a little YouTube mixtape in honor of the occasion featuring some serious gay superstars!

We’ll start you off slow with disco and lesbian icon Alicia Bridges. Please enjoy the gold lamé boots.

Do you wanna funk? Let drag pioneer and all around badass Sylvester show you how!

Best. Baseline. Ever. And oh yeah, Freddie Mercury was a pop god.

If gets any gayer than George Michael in leather, than I have yet to find it. The dance routine at 2:44 is mind-blowing, by the way.

No gay pride mix would be complete without Boy George. Holy crap. I wanted to be him so bad.

Erasure covering ABBA? Gay, gay, gay.

That should get me started and feeling festive. Tomorrow, I’ll post volume 2 which is nothing but big gay divas!

guilty of gordon ramsey-ing

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m kind of a reality television junkie. Mainly competition shows and my favorites are ones revolving around food. Top Chef, Iron Chef, Master Chef. Basically anything with chef in the title and an elimination at the end of each episode. Yeah it’s not Deadwood or Game of Thrones but it’s also not Keeping up with the Kardashians or some crap about pregnant teenage girls either. We all have our television crack and mine just happens to feature people cooking trying to win money. In addition to being totally enthralled with Master Chef this summer, we found another show starring Gordon Ramsay on Netflix called Ramsay’s Best Restaurant.

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Ramsay, if you don’t know is this floppy haired, super tall chef who likes to yell at people and who has roughly 17 million reality shows both in England and the US. Depending on who you ask, Ramsay is either a total jackass and buffoon or the best thing to happen to reality television. I happen to think he’s a little of both. Anyway, this show features Ramsey travelling around England to find the best restaurant and holding mini-competitions where two restaurants of the same genre (French, Indian, Chinese, etc.) compete against one another. One of the segments in every episode features Ramsay observing a dinner service and criticizing the head chef and owners. It’s pure entertainment and totally ridiculous. During this segment in French episode, Ramsay looks in the camera and talks about how the kitchen is falling apart and how they’re disorgranized and how basically this restaurant is going to a bouillabaisse soaked hell if they don’t do what he says. However, upon closer look, Ramsay’s full of shit. The employees are happy, the food looks incredible and the head chef is relaxed. Ramsay invented some non-problems to make things interesting and more dramatic. It struck me as I chuckled at the whole silly, overblown affair, I do the same damn thing.

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Drama was my first drug of choice and cooking it up was something I could definitely win a reality show at. Naturally walking in with a perception that things are bad and everything is going wrong, like Ramsay did, is kind of how I lived my life for along, long time. But as I watched the French chef smirk at Ramsay’s histrionics, I realized my perception that things are horrible or dramatic or going to hell in a handbasket is usually way off. Ramsay, at least has an excuse. He’s on a television show and he’s trying to keep his job. I have no excuse in making life more dramatic than it actually is.

So as I go out into the world on this Friday, I’ll try to accept things the way they are and not make things harder on myself. Mainly, I’ll try to adopt the relaxed attitude of the Frnech Chef instead of yelling and acting a fool like Ramsay. Vive la France! 

crabby

Maybe its the heat. Or the fires. Or the stress from all these doctors appointments. But today, despite my best efforts, I was crabby. Maybe even a little bitchy. And sort of crazy.

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A telltale sign that old Sean isn’t his shiny happy self is when I start yelling at inanimate objects and muttering to myself like the guy outside the soup kitchen who looks like Famous Amos and mumbles about conspiracy theories. So earlier today when I cussed out an ice cube tray and yelled at my phone charger, I knew I wasn’t in the best shape. I actually started wandering around my apartment,  bitching at no one or nothing in particular. This was not cute.  I was a Nick Nolte beard and handmade sign away from being totally batshit. Luckily, no human beings were harmed in my momentary lapse in mental health.

Mainly, my patience is shot and I feel totally and utterly overwhelmed. I wanted to wallow and sleep all day. But thanks largely to the criminal lack of chocolate in my apartment and a simmering feeling that I needed to get outside of my crabby-ass self, I went to a meeting. For 60 minutes, my crap melted away and seeing people I love and who love me back–crabbiness and all- healed my stank attitude, even if it was only temporary. This works for me over and over again. Hearing others hope and strength and courage suddenly makes whatever crabbiness and self-pity I’m going through seem ridiculous. But today something else happened too. People in my meeting who know what I’m going through came up and hugged me and asked if I needed anything.I felt like regardless of how awful my mood was I was going to get thru it.

These feelings of “kumbaya” faded after a phone call from my clinic which began, “I don’t mean to freak you out but…” Really? Who does that? Just FYI healthcare people of planet Earth: just by saying I don’t mean to freak you out, you’ve already done so. It wasn’t too big of a deal however and I’m going back in for a treatment that should help until I get my new meds. It just all seems like a lot right now. Oh crap. Suddenly, I’ve blogged myself from crabby to whiny.

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Before this turns into a therapy session, I’ll wrap it up. This is what I do know: I’m going to be fine. And not being happy all the time and pretending like everything is okay is actually pretty healthy for a chronic people pleaser like myself. Nobody promised me that if I got sober I’d never have another problem ever again. What they did promise me is that I’d have a life beyond my wildest dreams, that I’d never have to drink again and that amazing people would be part of my fellowship.  Crabby attitude and stressed out self aside, I know this to be true and the meeting I went to earlier confirmed it. In the meantime, I’ll work on my attitude.

 

prayers for the terminally self-involved (who are trying to be less so)

Prayer is an interesting topic. It’s a little like cooking a chicken. There’s a billion ways to do it and everybody has their favorite. I guess now would be the time to note that this is a spirituality post and not one about religion. Or cooking chicken for that matter. Although I could ramble about the latter for at least 10,00o words. (Book idea: Eat, Pray, Fry Chicken) Prayer or talking to God or communicating with the universe or whatever you wanna call it is an essential part fo me being less crazy. In the beginning of my sobriety, my prayers were of the “Please help me not drink” or “God, help me make it through today” variety. Today, it varies. I try to take 30 minutes to just hang out and be grateful and pray for people who need help. And most days I pray short little prayers all day long like:

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“God please help me always remember between looking younger and looking scary.”

and

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“God give me the wisdom to delete bitchy or crazy emails/text messages BEFORE I send them.”

also…

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“God help me be less judgmental. Even to myself.”

or one of my favorites is

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“God, help me help other people. Even I ones that make me crazy. Especially them.”

And lastly, this one works all day and rocks for its simplicity.

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After two decades of being a self-involved drunken drug addict, I need all the help I can get. Right now, I’ve got a lot of uncertainty going on with my health stuff and it is scary. But thanks to having a spiritual life, I’m totally okay. Yes, I’m scared. Yes, I feel crappy. But am I going to be alright? Totally. Time has proven that I can get through everything thanks to my version of God and some awesome people in my life.

Listen, I don’t know how this prayer things works and frankly I don’t need to know. I just know that it does. So, readers, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll throw some your way if your throw some my way and we’ll get through whatever together?