And now you’re back from outer space

Sometimes you haven’t blogged in awhile. And sometimes you wanna use part of a Gloria Gaynor song as your title when you finally do blog again. And sometimes you just want to post a disco ball version of the Death Star because late at night it seems to make sense. This, my friends, is one of those times.

First off, I feel like I’ve been in outer space. My mom came to town, my play opened and social obligations exploded. All blessings and quality problems. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was, I am exhausted. My chronic manageable condition, HIV, really takes a whooping on long stretches where my life is go, go go. I feel like a car that’s run out of gas on the freeway and waiting for Triple A.  And yet being really busy keeps me happy and out of trouble. For the most part. My other manageable condition, alcoholism, needs treatment too. I haven’t been to a meeting in almost a week and it’s time. I started to act like a bratty bitchy teenager with my mom earlier and had to check myself. It wasn’t her. It was me. Bitch just needs to get to a meeting. So that’s what I’m doing before I hang out with the family in the afternoon. The extreme highs and pressure of opening a play and putting myself out there have kinda kicked my butt. But I’m so happy! And it went so well and I’m so proud of the work.

Overall, I’m thrilled with finishing something and not letting fear cripple another creative project. But more on all of that later next week. I also want to blog about songs that save my ass, talk about poor Demi Moore and my own Nitrous experiences, and other sparkly, scary, life affirming stuff. In the meantime, do me a favor. Turn up some dance music and shake your booty all by yourself. Or sing loudly and horribly your favorite song, preferably a guilty pleasure like the one referenced in the title. Or just be nice to yourself for a whole day. You deserve it. Dammit.

Which Came First- The Drunk Chicken or the Gay Egg?

I’ve heard it hinted at in meetings and have seen people struggle with being both gay and an addict or alcoholic. And we’ve even talked about here before a little.  But I have often wondered if the two have anything to do with one another. Am I an addict in response to my gayness or was I an alcoholic long before I realized I was gay or vice versa?

I am positive that the exact order of these traits is not really important but still I can’ t  help wondering if one made me more predisposed to the other. Now, I am certain that I have a century of alcoholism in my family tree. Does having an alcoholism in my family make me an alcoholic automatically? No but it certainly made it easier to become one. By the way, I’m a freelance writer, playwright and publicist so take my sociological and psychological babblings for a grain of salt. But studies from non-goofballs have linked genetics and alcoholism so let’s just assume I was at the very least at risk for becoming alcoholic before I was born.Now being gay boils down to genetics too, I believe anyway. I feel like I didn’t choose either one and maybe that’s the answer to my question right there.

Right before I had one year of sobriety, I was with my parents in Arizona. My mom asked me if there was anything they could have done as parents that would have made my life easier. It was a legitimate, albite loaded, question considering the year I had- getting sober and finding out I was HIV positive. I had to think about it and had to think about her feelings. Were there times I felt unloved when I was a kid? Sure. Were there situations I wish never happened in my childhood? You bet. But would I change any of that? And my answer to her was “No.” I honestly feel like being an alcoholic and contracting HIV and surviving abusive relationships and facing my demons were just what I had to do. No it hasn’t been a non-stop hilarious party and big chunks of my life could even accurately be described as shitty. But I have to believe it has all been for something. Maybe I’m here to help other gay drunk HIV positive people have a laugh. Maybe I’m here to keep learning and facing demons. I don’t know.

I do know that we all have to work with the “gifts” we have, regardless of what order we got them in. And if I’m really lucky I’ll have a lot of chances to become the best possible gay, HIV positive, recovering alcoholic that I can be.

 

You’re the inspiration

When I was drinking and using drugs, I used to tell myself “everything is going to be okay.” I said this especially when things were really fucked up. Like I honestly thought just by saying everything was going to be okay that it would be instantly better. I know now that yes, everything will be okay but it helps if I’m actually doing something to insure the road to okayness. Things are less likely to be shitty when I’m not contributing to the overall shit-fest.

At seven months sober, I had run away to live by the ocean and go to AA meetings and go back to school. I left my hipster part of town, my relationship of 12 years, and my daily drinking friends to get my act together. I didn’t know what getting my act together would exactly entail. Like did that mean I was going to rehearse dance numbers and sew sequins on a top hot or did it mean admitting I had a serious problem with drugs and alcohol and asking for help? I’m afraid it was the latter, less glamorous and more daunting set of tasks I had to take on. I gained some clarity and started to face parts of my life that previously scared the shit out of me. Through this lifting of the fog, I decided it was time to go to a doctor and get a HIV test. I was a 36 year gay man who snorted and screwed his way through Los Angeles in the 90’s and had only been tested once. It was time. It’s never a good sign when the clinic that took 3 hours to take your blood and tells you they’ll call you in two weeks blows up your cellphone three days later at 8 o’clock in the morning. They needed me to come in for my results. As soon as possible.  Fuck. The grey haired gentle RN, whom I’m sure I owe some sort of apology or thanks to, told me I was HIV positive. It was as if she said those words and then I was submerged underwater. The next 5 minutes were a blur as my face grew hot and red while tears dripped down my cheeks like a leaky faucet. I barreled down the stairs of the clinic desperately trying not to collapse or vomit. Great, I thought to myself. What wonderful timing. Divorced, trying to get sober and now HIV positive. Given my current streak of fabulous luck, I assumed it was only a matter of time until I found out that I was adopted or that I needed to have a limb removed. Once on the bus, I called my sister. I told her the news. And told her I really wanted a drink. She told me I couldn’t and told me to go home and lay down. While blubbering tears, I said “I never wanted to be somebody who had to overcome things. I never wanted to be an inspiration.” She wisely replied, “Well sweetie, it’s not up to us.”

Two and a half years after that diagnosis and days before my third sobriety birthday, I’m still not sure that I’m ready to be an inspiration or if I even qualify. But I do know this, I have gotten through what I’ve gotten through largely because when I thought my world was crumbling,  people who had lived through similar things told me “you are going to be okay” and I believed them. I wasn’t like when I lied to myself  that everything was just fine. Oddly enough it was admitting that everything was supremely fucked up and having the courage to laugh about it,  that made everything okay.  So that in short, is why this blog exists. Sharing a laugh or talking about uncomfortable things makes me feel better.  And maybe I can do that for you too.  Hopefully others who are addicted or positive or heartbroken will read this and believe me from the bottom of my heart that everything, will in fact, be okay.