happy laborless day

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I’m all for juggling, multitasking and running around but every once and awhile, I need to do nothing. Like grab a book and maybe read it or maybe just nap kinda nothing. That was goal numero uno this weekend. After closing our incredible playoffs show on Thursday, I needed to relax for a couple of days. Besides, that evening of theatrical goodness, wherein I spoke quite a bit, had left me physically feeling wiped out and sounding like Demi Moore. Granted, I had a couple of deadlines and some preparations I needed to attend to this weekend along with some secret ninja service work stuff. But taking it easy was on the top of the list.

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And so far, I’ve achieved it! Taking care of myself these days most of the times means knowing when to power down and chill out. Thankfully, one of the gifts of being positive is that my body lets me know pretty quickly when I need to lay the hell down. Overall, my health is better than the beginning of the summer which is an incredible gift.  It took me feeling really crap to realize that my self-care is a nonstop job and one I do better when I take the time to relax.

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So friends, I hope that you too have found some time this weekend to do a little nothing. Oh! But what you should do (look at me getting all bossy) is go do a Google Image search for Lazy Animals. It’s like a total cute explosion. Happy Labor Day!

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12 Days of Blogmas: Tough Cookies

Jeeze. Talk about bad timing. On our 8th day of Blogmas, I should be happily tooting my own horn about the release of my new my Christmas essay A Tough Cookie Christmas on Smashwords while posting today’s offering Oh Cookie Where Art Thou?

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Instead, like the rest of the planet, I’m feeling kind of bad about the state of humanity. So in order to keep my shameless self-promotion on the more sensitive and compassionate side, I’ll simply say this. I’m proud of a Tough Cookie Christmas because it reminds me that goodness is still possible, change can happen and when in doubt have a cookie. Love is the only thing that gets us through times like these and hopefully my story carries that message too. I’m also proud of it because it’s my first self-published ebook, something I would NEVER have had the guts to do if I wasn’t sober and if I didn’t have the love from you people at this little ol’ blog.( By the way, UrTheInspiration readers get a shout out in the back of the book. It’s the least I could do since you save my life on a daily basis.) If you buy it at Smashwords, you can read it on your Nook, Kindle, iPad or on your computer’s desktop!

But that’s enough out of me.Read the story and the old blog post if you need a little fluffy diversion and I hope I can make you laugh for a minute. Tragedy forces me to be grateful and I’m grateful for all of you, wherever you are.

The Last Time I Saw LA Gay Pride

Throughout the month of June, all over the country, in cities big and small, gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered men and women are flocking to their local pride parades and festivals. If you’ve never been to one of these events, I can tell you that if you do attend you are likely to see a musical act from yesteryear performing on one of the stages (Belinda Carlise! The Village People!), you are likely to see fried food on a stick (because corn dogs and churros cross all lines of discrimination) and you will certainly see a lot of people who are really, really intoxicated.

Now I’m not saying that everyone who attends a gay pride festival is going to get fucked up but let’s be honest here. The only thing gays like better than half-naked people in booty shorts at 11am wandering the streets is half-naked people in booty shorts at 11am wandering the streets drinking. Gays are so fond of daytime drinking in the streets, gaggles of them often appear at random festivals solely for that very reason. I’ve personally attended everything from Cuban festivals to an abysmal non-New Orleans version of Mardi Gras all in the name of drinking in the streets. As citizen of Los Angeles for 15 years, I could bore you with dozens of drunken tales from the West Hollywood gay pride festival. In fact, as I read blogs and saw pictures of this weekend’s celebration, my mind took a trip down memory lane. I recall line dancing in a country music tent with a drag queen. I remember drinking vodka and watching what remains of the Mary Jane Girls perform near a baseball diamond. And how could I forget seeing Cyndi Lauper wave from a hot pink convertible as a dance remix of ‘True Colors’ thumped in the background? Yet it’s my last time at gay pride in Los Angeles that solidifies the gay pride experience for me.

A friend and I went over to the parade in 2007. With cocktails to go, we headed over to West Hollywood. Perched from a cozy alcohol adjacent corner inside Rage, a parade route- friendly watering hole, we watched as the rainbow of topless men and aforementioned booty shorts pranced by interspersed with floats sponsored by  Gieco and local erotic bakeries alike. This being a Los Angeles event, “celebrities” pimping their latest reality shows or albums were on display too. We cheered as famous hot mess and former America’s Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson floated by with a bevy of shirtless models. Dickinson claims to be the world’s first supermodel but I would contend she may also be the world’s first celebrity with Tourette’s syndrome. I however always admired her frank nature and the fact that here was a famous person who was shockingly more wasted than I was. She made me feel like, “Gee, maybe I’m not a total disaster.” Dickinson, like any good addict, had moments of sobriety followed by moments of hot messiness. During this particular celebration, it would be safe to say she was experiencing the latter. As the parade wrapped up, we plotted our next move. Do we pay $20 bucks to get into the festival or do we go drink somewhere else? Well, clearly our Jacksons would be put to better use at a bar so we headed over to the Abbey. While you’re unlikely to find nuns at this Abbey (unless it’s Halloween), you were guaranteed to find strong cocktails, more naked men and on that day even Janice Dickinson. Along with a thousand or so of our closest friends, the partying really started to happen. More beers, more shots, and a pill that someone told me was “kind of like Ecstasy.” I wanted my picture taken with Janice but her tanned trio of bodyguards politely shooed my wasted ass away. The rest of the afternoon was a slurry blur and by 4pm I was home and napping off my daytime drunk.

I share this story because in my mind the preceding events had nothing to do with being proud of being gay. I wasn’t drinking and dancing and harassing celebrities because I loved being gay and loved who I am. Quite the contrary, in fact.  Yet that’s how I always celebrated gay pride: by getting absolutely shithoused drunk.

While in LA and newly sober, I stayed away from gay pride. Not because I was worried that I would relapse. But because I felt like it I had no business being there. Like a vegan at Outback Steakhouse. Everybody else was going to be drunk so why bother? A few years later, I’ve lightened up. My recovery is such that I can attend this kind of stuff  without feeling like I’m the only one not wasted. But also I know when not to go too. Like even though its been over 3 years, there are times that I can’t go to places where lots of drinking will be going on. And this is okay. Gay pride means being proud of who you are and today I can honestly say that I am just that. I’m proud to be gay, sober and positive. And I can celebrate all of this without drinking, booty shorts or Janice Dickinson.

Christmas Present

Depending on my mood, hearing things in meetings like “my alcoholism is such a gift” can really piss me off. I mean don’t get me wrong I see and believe myself in the sliver lining of having this disease. But a gift? I’m sorry I don’t remembering registering for alcoholism. Can I exchange it for a waffle iron?

And yet on this day that is merry and bright, I’ll admit being a drunken disaster whose life exploded has been the best thing to ever happen to me. One of the best things about being sober during this time of year is actually being present for the events I show up to.  Granted, I was never one of those drunks who would miss holiday festivities. On the contrary, I worked overtime to make it look like it seemed as if everything was perfect during the holidays. I’d have the delicious dip you wanted me to bring along with wrapped gifts for everyone in my hands. But I wasn’t actually there. I was either living in the hangover from the morning or living in the future as I tried to figure out when was the appropriate time to have some wine or beer or anything to help me feel more comfortable.

Now when I go to holiday parties, I’m really there. With no escape from awkward conversations or silences. Today, I’m okay showing up without gifts or working overtime to make sure everybody knows how happy I am. I do however still pride myself in bringing excellent potluck items. The world is filled with shitty Jell-o salads and I for one will not contribute to such culinary vandalism. More remarkably, I’m happy to be there to really be present and capable of having conversations. So, yes person at the twelve meeting wearing the reindeer sweater who introduces themselves as a ‘grateful alcoholic’, this disease and recovery are really a gift. And ones I cherish. Even if they can’t make crispy golden brown waffles.

Maybe it’s not the holidays that suck. Maybe it’s me.

I seriously over planned what I was doing for my first holiday season sober. I made arrangements to leave Los Angeles and spend ten days in Arizona at my parent’s house. There I would hide out and wouldn’t be tempted to get drunk or do drugs. Yet little did I know, I didn’t need to go to all that effort. The fact was, the program was really working and I wasn’t in danger of relapsing. My sponsor at the time told me, “Boo, you don’t need to worry about the holidays. You need to worry about Tuesday.” He was trying to get me to see that I could relapse any day of the week if I wasn’t actively treating my disease and it wasn’t just Christmas or New Year’s that was going to trigger it. Also, I was starting to see that it wasn’t people or days of the week or stuff that made me get drunk. The cause for most of my problems was me. Figuring this out sucked actually. If I’m the problem, then that means I can’t blame anybody else? Lame. But seriously, it’s liberating now that I’ve accepted that the only person “out to get me” is me.  And despite hiding out during my first Christmas sober, I really had a great time. I baked cookies with my mom and watched movies with my dad and generally made the decision to enjoy myself without alcohol or drama.

So today I know that holidays or train rides or Tuesdays are just as wonderful or miserable as I decide they will be.