Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I didn't plan on writing again so soon, and I'm not writing to report any major change, just felt the need to write.
My son and I had a difficult morning. I was so frustrated with him, you know, typical moody morning teen stuff. Anyway, by the time I dropped him off at camp he knew I was a wit's end with his behavior. Perhaps he also recognized that I am at this low point emotionally. When I arrived to pick him up at the end of the day he was quick to apologize for the morning problems, and said he had a gift for me. He quickly removed a rubber sports bracelet from his arm. It was one of those bracelets that have metal that's supposed to keep you balanced, only his interpretation was that it was a bracelet that will make me feel happy.
Well, it did make me smile.
This leads me to move onto something more trivial. Hair grief!
Last weekend my son and I went for our monthly haircuts. The last time I was there my stylist suggested putting a color rinse in my hair to blend in my grey. Now, I love my grey, but had to admit that the color at the sides of my head are so stark, so I agreed. Well, last time it turned out nicely. The grey was still there, but just not so prominent. My stylist announced that it took 10 years off me.
Well, this time it was quite different. This time he got it into his stylist head to put in a darker color. When he placed me in front of the mirror I kind of freaked. It was black. Jet black. Well, that's how it looked. He saw the shock on my face, and quickly headed me back to the sink. He put something in my hair to lighten the color a bit. That something turned out to be bleach. Well, it lightened it up alright, but it turned my hair brown. And, by the end of the weekend, it looked sort of chocolate brown. I looked ridiculous. I turned to my daughter, who I knew would be honest with me. Arianne, what do you think? "Dad, it looks like you are trying too hard to look young." Shit! She suggested I go out and buy another color rinse, and dye it a darker brown, which I did.
What the hell did I do? Every time I look in the mirror I am surprised by the person looking back at me. Do I look younger, perhaps. But, it doesn't look like me. Now the nice people at work tell me it looks fine, and that they mostly noticed how short I cut my hair. Yet I can't stop looking in the mirror wondering who the hell is looking back at me.
Now I am fixated on the fact that I will be presenting at Camp Widow, and everyone will be staring at my damn hair! "Hey, where's Dan?"
What happens if I suddenly meet Mr. Right? Will he expect that I will always have brown hair? Will I be trapped into dying in every month?
Truth be told, I used to dye it. In fact, when I met Michael I had been dying my hair. After we had been together awhile he said that I should go ahead and let the grey come back in. He and I agreed that we preferred the grey. Well, Michael later shared something with me. After I had gone back to grey, Michael's prior roommate asked Michael what had happened to Dan. He said that Dan seems to be aging very fast.
Moral of the story? I don't really know. Perhaps it's that I should be less superficial. Perhaps it's that grieving people do strange things. Perhaps it's that old guys stay single. I honestly don't know. But let me tell you, I can't wait to see grey once again.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
You know, I have avoided writing lately. It's not that I've been busy, as there have been many quiet evenings. It's also not like I'm just sitting around doing nothing, as I hosted a fun gathering with friends last weekend, and have been quite busy transplanting two magnolia, and one palm, tree from the front yard to the back. I guess you could say my life has been quite normal.
Then why am I so depressed?
I can't shake it. My mood has been terribly low. Actually, extremely low today. I feel like either I'm very sad, or I'm not feeling anything at all. It wouldn't be so bad if I only had myself to worry about, but that is so not the case. I have a 13 year old that needs me, and needs me to be something beyond depressed.
I felt so bad tonight. I picked up my son from camp, and took him shopping for new shoes. Afterward we stopped for dinner, and that's when I realized that I had nothing to say, and I wasn't really focused on what he might be trying to share with me.
Is it time to get back on antidepressants? Last week the pharmacy mistakenly filled an old prescription for an antidepressant I was on in the past. It's sitting there on the table, ready to return when I get a chance. Now I'm wondering if it was just meant to be. Are there really mistakes in life? I don't know what to think.
I do know that I have really avoided my emotions for awhile. It's not that I have been in denial. I know what I'm feeling at any given moment. It's just that I have avoided tears. Yes, there has been no tears for quite some time. I needed a break from them. I was past the point of daily, even weekly tears. I was...shit
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I've been feeling quite stressed out these past few weeks. Stressed over money.
First a disclaimer, I'm not broke, and I have a regular check that arrives every two weeks.
I've forgotten how expensive summers can be when you are a single working parent. My son is now thirteen years old. Old enough to spend some time on his own, not old enough to always make the best decisions when on his own. I didn't want to be at work all summer, wondering, worrying, about what he was getting into while I was away. I also didn't wanting him sitting at home alone, bored, with the depression that still surrounds our home and lives.
I look at the distant years past, and our household was filled with many people. We had two parents, three kids, and a host of friends that visited on a regular basis. Now granted, we were dealing with Michael's tumor, and impending death, but we had a full and active life. For this reason alone, I wanted my son to have a summer where he was active, involved in many fun outdoor activities, and not focused on the fact that there are only our two faces around the house.
Today it hit me why I as feeling stressed about money, and why I have been feeling somewhat depressed as I pick him up from camp each day. I have not had to rely on such camps for several years. When Michael was around, Remy only went to camp when we felt he would enjoy it. Back then there was always one of us around if it got too expensive, or if Remy just wanted to be home with one of us. Last year, the first summer without Michael, I was not working. I had just quit my job, moved to San Diego, and the boys and I would hit the beach every afternoon. This year is quite different.
So, my realization? This is my life now. This is the aftermath of the tragedy of losing my husband. This is the emotional, and financial, cost that it takes to keep moving forward. The cost means that I have gone through a significant amount of money to provide myself, and my son, some sense of normalcy, some peace of mind, and hopefully, some a little joy.
The cost is emotionally taxing. The cost is financially destabilizing.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Remember that Martha Wash song?
They seem to be everywhere these days. It seem like not so long ago I was sitting here, night after night, in my home, staring at the walls, feeling incredibly lonely, and now I have had three dates, with three men, in one week's time.
Am I a slut?
Well, if I slept with each of them I suppose that would earn me my slut-ville key to the city. It's just that a few guys approached me online about the same time, and I began exchanging nice, and interesting, emails with them. Not all live near me, so it didn't seem likely that I would find myself caught with too many dating opportunities at once, but that is in fact what happened.
This week I arranged for my son to attend a surf camp, where he would have a week of fun in the sun, camping with other kids his age. And, since I would suddenly have lots of unencumbered evening time, I put a message out to these nice guys, that I could be available for a dinner date. Two responded, and I made my plans. Then, the unexpected happened. I ran into a guy that I had traded passing glances, and one brief introduction to in May, and suddenly I had a third potential date. All that happened in the course of a couple of days, and I found myself having a bit of a panic attack at my desk Monday morning.
Here I am with several possible suitors, and I don't even know if I'm ready to be dating. I don't even know who I am completely. I don't even have worked out how to present my past, and my dead husband, to potential romantic partners. See my dilemma? And, as it turns out, they are all really nice guys. What does one do? Even back in the day, when I used to do some brief, and casual dating, I never really had the problem of having to juggle several dates at once.
What's interesting, and I didn't have time to get back to Chelsea about this, but she informed me about a dream she had the night before last. One that included Michael, and me, and the possibility of someone new being welcomed into my life. That same night, I had one of these guys over to the house, and as we sat in my living room talking, I realized that Michael was likely smiling. I was positive that he would be so proud to see me really starting to live again. I am also positive that he would revel in the idea that I might begin being sexually active once again. It's what he wanted for me. Well, to be loved, not necessarily to get laid.
What do I want? I want to feel alive every now and then. I know that my grief won't go away, and that I still have much to go through, but maybe, just maybe, I don't have to do it all while sitting alone in my house. Maybe I can take on more than one theme in life right now.
Grief and Happiness.
Grief and Pleasure.
Grief and Companionship.
At the same time, I am also keenly aware of the fear that should I allow myself to feel anything other than grief, that I could lose it in a second, and fall harder than I ever imagined. Yet, even as I write those words I am reminding myself that nothing could be as painful as those early days, so in that case, it's worth the risk of possibly finding some happiness, pleasure and companionship.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Well, last week I wrote about visualizing change. In fact, "Visualizing Change" was the title of concurrent posts both here and on my personal blog. I thought it appropriate to discuss the issue in both forums, as I wanted to feel like I carefully explored what I was wanting and what I was feeling.
The subtitle to my personal blog is "one gay man's journey through love, life and grief," so I feel like it is appropriate to be sharing each step of this change. I have shared my grief, so now it's time to share other developments in my life, including my quest for possible new love. I tend to be a man of action. If I say I'm going to do it, then I must be ready to follow through. Well, for those who visited my blog recently, you might have seen that I in fact took that first step.
It was the first date in 5 years. I don't think the time described is what is actually most significant, as even if it had been less time, or more time, it would still have been a monumental step for any of us. It's about feeling ready to open the door to possibility. It's about presenting yourself to another person, from where you are at this point, and with all the expected baggage.
For me, it meant showing up. Not just in person, but emotionally. I had to be available to let someone in, if only for a short time, and if only for a guarded look. What I found was that I was indeed ready. Now, the first step I took was to not over think it. I made the choice to put myself out there, and someone voiced interest. That was enough to let me know that the timing was right. And, a first date is just that, a first. There was no need to worry too much about expectations, and there are usually very little of them the first time out, at least for me that is. I approached this as an opportunity to sit across the table from another adult, enjoy a nice dinner that I didn't have to cook, and to share in some mutually satisfying conversation.
My fist date didn't mean I was committing to anything other than having this introduction. It didn't mean that I was going to marry this person. It didn't mean that I needed to fit in with his family and friends. And, it didn't mean that I had to be sexualy compatable with this person. All of these thoughts and concerns are what will get played out if I continue to see this, or any other, new person. So, putting those worries aside, I realized that the first date was not very scary at all.
I won't get into the personal details of the person I met with, or too much about the conversation, as I don't want to ever make him, or others, feel that anything that happens around me will end up on some blog. What I can say was that our dinner conversation was primarily a very intense conversation about God. Yes, God. Now that I reflect back on it, I'm sure that is the last topic that many Americans would expect two gay men to be discussing out on a first date. By the end of our dinner, he asked what I thought. I said that I enjoyed our conversation, and that the subject was one that I both enjoy, and feel comfortable, talking about. Yet, I also said that after this somewhat intellectual conversation, that I didn't really have a good sense of who he was, and that perhaps he didn't have a good idea of who I was.
We chose to go somewhere else, and just sit and talk. And that's exactly what we did, for an additional two hours. I now feel like he can make a good assessment about my potential for a platonic or romantic relationship. I can now do the same. Yet, I am also quite aware that I have no need to make any quick decisions, as I'm in no hurry to define, or limit, the types of relationships I am developing for myself.
Will I see him again. Yes, if that is what we both want.
Will I see others as well. Yes, as that is what I want.
The change I was visualizing has room for many people. The change that I am visualizing has room for many types of relationships.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
In quite some time.
I need to admit something. I often hesitate to state how many years we were together, or how long we were married, as the number of years doesn't even convey an ounce of the love, and loss, that I have gone through. I know that for many I have met along this journey, they have had a life time together. For us, it was only just beginning when it ended.
It's put me into an odd fit of a category really. Most of the widowed that I have met who are my age, tend to have been those that were married 20 plus years. Those that had their relationships ended quite early, tend to be much younger than me. This is a dynamic that continues to make me feel displaced, and frankly, a bit confused as to how to proceed from here.
Well, I'll say it, it has been over 5 years since I have been out on a date. To some it's not so long. To others, it may seem like a life time. For me, it's a timeless occurrence, as I feel like I have loved Michael forever. And, at the same time, I feel like I have been without him forever.
For several months now I have toyed with the idea of dating again. I posted a few profiles on select dating sites, and cast them into the web. Yet, at the time, I knew I wasn't ready. I now know that what I was doing was taking small steps forward.
Well, this Friday I will be taking the next step forward. I will be going on my first date since...
It's someone I have exchanged a few friendly emails with. I haven't invested too much time into this, as I want to meet, and get to know guys, face to face. I don't want to set myself up having these extended online relationships that only disappoint when we realize that in person, there is just not the right chemistry. So, without too much personal investment, thus far, I will be headed out, feeling anxious, but optimistic.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
This is the same title for tomorrow's post on Widow's Voice. I'm feeling like it's time to get back into the dance. I need more dance, more movement in my life. I need to allow someone new to enter the dance, and to even let him lead if he so offers.
I need to stop clinging to tightly to my past, and to perhaps hold on with one hand, while reaching out with the other. I know it's going to take time, and practice, for this to completely feel comfortable, but it's what I want. I want to be out there, moving through my daily life with someone at my side. I want to feel seduced, and to seduce him as well.
I want to feel passion in my life, and I want to remember what it was life to have an active sex life once again. I want laughter, and I want serious late night talk. I want romantic dinners, and weekend BBQ's with someone special. I want to sit and read quietly while he is at my side, and I want to take some late evening strolls throughout the neighborhood, the city, or the beach.
I want to get swept up in his arms, and feel that excitement that only new romance can provide. I want to smile with my eyes, lead with my hands, and speak with my body.
I am visualizing this change.