Thursday, May 26, 2011
20 months. A nice sounding number.
I started my new job this week. A new transition for me once again. So much new, all the time it seems. For some reason, I didn't prepare myself for the questions, and the feelings that come up with them.
Sitting here in this empty office.
A bit of a blank slate.
White walls, nails where pictures used to hang.
Small holes in the walls where prior residents hung their photos and memories.
Staples where those quick postings were attached, now all torn down.
All that is left behind are indications of others, that used to be. Feels like being surrounded by ghosts.
What am I doing here?
"Hey, what brought you to San Diego?"
It's the question everyone asks, yet clearly no time for any type of meaningful response.
Oh, just needed a change.
Tomorrow I actually move into the office that will be my new home away from home for a significant amount of time each day. I'm realizing how important this environment will be. I really need to be comforted by a space that feels like home, that reflects me, and that I can build on.
Yet, while I wait, and find myself unable to tune out the ghostly walls, the feeling of detachment, and the sense of no history, so I mourn. I want to close the office door. I want to sit and cry. I've never had a private office, and don't know that this is the best time for me to have one. I have too much alone time as it is. I wonder if I'll draw out my sessions with clients longer than my peers, out of sheer loneliness or to fill the empty space.
Hey, don't feel sorry for me. I'm being paid well.
Hey, don't worry about me, I'm surrounded by what seems like very nice people.
Roots will be established, and friendships will be created. My life outside work has improved significantly. I no longer go home and stare at the walls. Well, maybe I still do at times, yet I clearly have options at this point.
I'm pinching myself... yes, he is still gone.
The office is now almost empty. Everyone has left the building. I'm in no hurry. I want to finally say it out loud...
I'm here because my husband died.
I'm here because I wanted to die.
I'm here to continue my healing.
I'm here to start over.
Tomorrow begins the reveal. Tomorrow I set up my new office. Tomorrow they will see the healing nature of how I arrange my space. Tomorrow they will see my family photo. Tomorrow begins the next phase of questions.
"Hey, who is that guy in the photo?"
Friday, May 20, 2011
You know, there is so much that I don't seem to share these days. I wonder if it is because I am so busy actively doing what I need to be doing, rather than writing about what I'd like to be doing.
I am actually feeling quite integrated into life once again. I have developed a group of friends, many of which know each other, yet mostly I spend time with them individually. I am out several times a week, either having lunch, dinner, walking, or just plain chatting, with friends.
It feels so good to know that there are people around for me to socialize with, and who are eager to do so. I don't feel so isolated anymore. I can stay at home, and still enjoy it for the most part, but I can also be out there having a good time.
So far I am spending my time with my mostly straight friends, having a good time socializing. And for the most part, I seem to have developed a very sensitive, and fun, new group of friends. I started a new job, and I want to continue to help others
I am also actively putting myself out there for potential dating. I'm on a few dating sites, and have corresponded with a few guys. I'm not sure if I will meet a new "man of my dreams" or my "next new husband" as Mike would say, but I am out there connecting to guys, and remaining
open to these connections moving in a romantic direction if it develops.
I am also doing all this with a renewed spirit, and with the attitude that life is too short, so why limit myself. I am giving myself permission to just enjoy life. And, as I was telling a new friend tonight, I don't have too many hang ups in regard to just having a fun time, meaning a casual fling here and there. I will not deny myself any type of pleasure at this time, well, almost any type. I just don't need to be giving myself any type of heavy handed self judgement. Again, life, too short.
so enjoy it.
Tonight's events? A two hour early evening walk through Balboa Park with a friend, then a nice Lebanese dinner.
It's all good. Of course, so much makes me think about Michael, which still brings about a sudden onslaught of tears, but I am back to being comfortable with all of this.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I had the most wonderful day today. I took a drive up to San Marcos, which is about 30 miles north of the city of San Diego. I wanted to go meet with a home spa dealer whom I had spoken to previously on the phone. Not sure if I'll buy anything, but it was a great conversation about how to take care of yourself in your own home. My next destination was a great nursery that I had seen when I was up there on business a couple of months ago. I didn't have time then to stop, so I had made a note to get there as soon as time allowed. Well, time allowed today.
I took a lunch break after spending an hour walking throughout the nursery. I had spotted an Indian restaurant earlier, and knew that I would have to stop for lunch. Just so you know, Indian food is this year's crack.
With the top of my car down, I drove through the beautiful city of Carlsbad, which led me to the San Diego Botanic Garden. This was my ultimate destination, and it was so worth it. I had been the fortunate recipient of a gift membership to the Gardens (thanks again Megan) and wanted to begin what I expect to be many visits. The Garden is broken down into various categories, such as the types of plants, regions, and so on. Rather than take in all in at once, I decided to carve out small portions of the Garden, and really spend some quality time appreciating what it had to offer.
Today's visit was in the Bamboo Display Garden. Now, I have this long history with bamboo, and to be honest, it is a love/hate relationship. I love the simple elegance, beauty and strength, that bamboo possesses. I hate that it grows like weeds, faster than a speeding bullet, and that I had to deal with it in my childhood home, and now in my new San Diego home.
That's it, nothing more.
I got a bit carried away this afternoon, thinking I was some kind of photo journalist. I have many photos of my day in my flickr account. Please take a look when you have some down time.
I also made several very short videos. I'll just share a few with you here, so as to not completely bore you.
A Quiet Day
Not Jay Leno
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Not sure what happened, but this was scheduled to post yesterday. I just now realized the problem.
Widowed Bloggers -- win a ticket to Camp Widow!
Write a post sharing WHY you want to attend Camp Widow 2011. LINK your post below to make sure we see it (you can also send us a note when you post it, to supa.dupa.fresh AT gmail.com).
Camp Widow is a exceptional weekend for widowed people of all ages. We will choose one (possibly two) bloggers to receive a PARTIAL scholarship that covers Camp registration and some incidental expenses. NO ACTUAL CAMPING IS INVOLVED. Learn more about this event, which is in its third year, at campwidow.org.
How do I enter?
Please write and publish a blog post telling the world WHY you wish to attend. You can include topics such as how you expect to benefit, or share about some of the widowed people you've already met. You do not need to demonstrate financial need though if you wish to write a separate note discussing your financial circumstances, you may do so. Those notes should go to supa.dupa.fresh AT gmail.com.
Who is eligible to compete?
Widows and widowers of all ages who started blogging before 4/1/11 and who are interested in attending Camp Widow 2011. Please note: you should be prepared to pay for and arrange your travel to and from, and your lodging in San Diego. (We can help you find a roommate to reduce costs). If our generous donors can pay more, they will, but please don't apply unless you are prepared to make the trip (including arranging child care, taking time off work, etc.).
You must publish your blog post AND notify us by midnight EST, Tuesday, May 31.
We will notify the winner within 2 weeks.
Camp Widow will be held August 12-14. Details are at campwidow.org.
Winner MUST his or her your own travel and hotel reservations. Scholarship covers Camp Widow registration fee plus some incidentals.
Questions? Want to help fund this scholarship?
We want to hear from you.
Supa.dupa.fresh AT gmail.com.
Posted by Dan at 12:01 AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I'm not really sure why I'm writing here today, as I haven't felt much like writing lately. I'm going through a period of time that I like to call my Walking the Walk time. For most of my first year here, I was pretty much focused on Talking the Talk. That is not to say I wasn't actively "doing" something, but I was mostly focused on recording my thoughts, than out pursuing a change in my life.
It's funny, because I often find myself being quite careful in my word choices here. I don't want to come off as sounding critical of my own prior behavior and choices,and I don't want to come off as being judgemental of how others are spending their time. I just feel the need to be a bit self critical, as in an analytical, of my current state of being.
Writing this blog, and posting any clean, or dirty, laundry, is my way of taking little snapshots of where I am at, or where I think I am at. I suppose these snapshots are open for your critical analysis, but probably best kept to yourself. I'm much more fragile than these word choices appear.
Recently I made a correlation between 12 step meetings, and support group gatherings for the widowed. I was half joking, but there is always some element of truth in my humor. In the past, I made regular use of Al Anon Meetings to help me deal with issues being faced with my daughter's choices. I found these meetings both satisfying, and quite rewarding. They taught me that there is so much value in the experience of others. If you haven't attended a 12 step meeting, there is always the disclaimer given at the beginning of the meeting, reminding those that gather that there is no cross talk, and that we are not there to give, and receive, advice. I know that for some, the question then becomes, then what is the point of such a meeting.
The meeting, as is this blog, is so that by hearing of an other person's daily challenges with this area of their life, we can see similarities, reflections, from our own life. It then becomes a catalyst for further self examination, and also encourages our own thoughts and feelings to rise to the surface. I always tell my children to be patient with their feelings, and let them fully rise to the surface before acting on them. By doing this, I am able to respond to, or reflect, on a deeper level, rather than off the cuff.
My writing is there for that same purpose. It gives way to my own deeper stirrings, that may rise later in my post, or later in my day. This is the same internal interaction that occurs when I visit other blogs. I do, at times, leave encouraging words, but mostly I tend to reflect on what their words have touched on in me.
So, what was the purpose to all of this rambling anyway?
I have a lot of time on my hands currently, being in between jobs. What's interesting is that the weather has not been that great, so my plan to do some exterior house painting, or further landscaping, have had to be put to the side. In their place have been a lot of connections, or attempted connections, with other people. I am doing a lot of writing, but primarily through chat room conversations with others online. I don't usually enjoy this mode of connection, but it has been both interesting, and encouraging, for me.
I am putting more attention into developing a better social life for me here in San Diego. I am talking to other gay men about the new direction in my life, and what I am seeking in way of new relationships. I am also seeing myself beyond the life imposed label of widower. While this label has come up here and there, it is just one of many that fit into the list of descriptors that help others get to know me. I like that. I like that I am being reminded that there are many sides to me, and that my being widowed is not always going to be the most dominant descriptor that I rely on.
It's all good.
Posted by Dan at 8:11 AM
Monday, May 2, 2011
I’m down to my last few days at the job, which means there is little for me to do. I don’t do well with idle time, so my day is going quite slow, as I have run out of things to keep me busy. I still don’t have a start date for the new job, which is a bit concerning, but they did say they would not call until all the required clearances were returned to them, which always takes some time. For the most part I have accepted that I may be told at the last minute that I start on Friday, or I may have the next couple of weeks free.
Most people of learn of this think that I am so fortunate to possibly have some free time on my hands, but to be honest, I still have too much free time on my hands. I am doing more, and making an effort, but truth be told, I still tend to stay home a lot. It’s a difficult balance, because I do have my 12 year old son at home, and he still, or probably more than ever, needs careful supervision. I am taking a friend out to dinner tonight to celebrate her birthday, so it’s not like I am a shut in. It’s all just one step at a time.
I decided to take a step at making my dating/social life begin. I posted an updated photo of myself on a dating site, and sent an email introducing myself to someone who is also gay, and a parent. There is no reason why I should be taking the passive position in this new dating venture. In the past, and okay, still in the present, I often hesitate to make the first move. It’s not that I am all that shy, well, I suppose I am, but it’s more because I come with some baggage, meaning three kids. For many single gay men, the idea of kids is a deal breaker. Not that I blame them, as my kids do take up a significant amount of my time and attention. But, if I am to be blessed with another relationship in my future, then I have to accept that there are more than one gay man out there does not mind, or likes, that I have kids.
There is also the widowed thing. Oh, that. I know that for many, the idea that I am back on the market after only 18 months, might seem a bit soon. I know that I would have questions if I met someone who was open to dating after only 18 months. It’s not that there is a judgment against it, it’s just that you want to be sure that the person you start to date can really see it through. I would hate to get deep in the dating someone, only to realize that I am not ready, and to hurt that person. I know that there are also a host of reasons why a new relationship might not work, or might have some bumps in the road, so I am telling myself that this is only one factor, and to not put too much weight on it.
I am really working on self affirmation. No, I’m not taping messages all over the house, or filling my Facebook account with quotes, but just giving myself an ongoing talking to. I’m reminding myself that I am capable of loving. I am capable of being love. I have a lot to offer, and I have plenty of room to receive. I am still young, well according to my peer group at least. I don’t dare ask my son’s opinion. I still have my looks, thanks to my recent visit to a skin rejuvenation center (can you say “wrinkles no more”), and my libido has shown a recent increase, thanks to the healthy array of Internet “art” films. (I am a man, no apologies.)
So, what’s the point of this post? I seem to have forgotten momentarily. Okay, so my mind is beginning to fail me now and then. You know, some people get a bit concerned about their mind slowing down. Some have suggested Ginkgo Biloba, but to be honest, some things are better left un-remembered. If I forget the depth of my pain and grief at times, oh well, so be it. If I forget that my waist line measurement is now larger than my inseam, so bit it. If the reflection in the mirror now displays more salt than pepper, well, cover the damn mirror. Do I really need to be focusing on such details? I don’t think so.
Funny, it reminds me of the country song by Toby Keith. “I may not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.