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Posts Tagged ‘Personal Growth’

Family Dynamics and How They Change

28 Dec

Why are “family dynamics” so contrary and difficult?

Family, they’re people we grow up with. We start out our lives knowing aunts and uncles as the adults who know everything and then they become the adults who don’t understand us. LOL

Of course, when we are young we’re all about the cousins, the aunts and the uncles and doing things with family when they come into town. We’ve no idea what it means to be an adult. It’s impossible to imagine what a shitty responsibility it is to pay the bills that make those occasional trips possible or dealing with the disagreements that inevitably occur when people of different backgrounds and life experiences come together.

Then we get older and we’re like, “What the hell? I just want to go back to being a kid and not having to deal with all of this shit!” {laughing}

(Tell me, honestly, this isn’t something you haven’t told yourself on at least one occasion. I dare you to deny it! LOL)

As a child, I had one brother I grew up with (he was a pain in my backside, or so I thought back then) with whom I get along GREAT with now that we’re adults.

I had/have another brother and a sister by the bio-father (neither of which I was raised with but of course, knew and loved in my own limited way) and had as well, a step-sister from my bio-father’s third marriage. Billy Marshall wasn’t very successful when it came to relationships; Billy was the paternal spectrum of the “gene” pool that made my life possible. I could speculate as to why his relationships weren’t successful but the closest I could come is to say he was self-centered and thought mostly only of what would make “himself happy” (regardless of any responsibilities he might have created along the way). That’s the way it seems to me anyway. It’s difficult expressing this, knowing his sisters (my Aunts) might be reading this post and they likely saw other sides of him we kids never saw. (After all, there MUST have been a reason my own mother was once attracted to him; I hope, I hope.)

But when one has three kids from three different marriages and has done little to be much more than a “physical presence” in their lives, having seemingly expressed little to no interest in understanding those children. Well, at some point or another, the children (now adults) have a tendency to quit thinking of the person as much more than a member of the gene pool. It’s difficult to have respect for someone who showed so little interest or respect for you growing up, even if he’s since passed away.

But this [blog] entry isn’t intended to be about Billy; it’s about the dynamics between myself and the rest of that side of the family.

You see, when I was growing up I got teased unmercifully about the “little red-headed girl” (Hell, I can’t even recall her name now … LOL … Margaret, I think) next door. My uncles figured it was funny, teasing the little nephew about girls and such, having no knowledge that even as far back as in my early years of Elementary School I pretty much knew I was “different from the majority of the rest of the kids.” Sure, I saw myself growing up and having a family; just not with a girl.

Those feelings weren’t because of anything I’d gone through — or hadn’t experienced — as a young child; they just “were.” Seeing myself as a man one day, with my arms wrapped around another man was as natural to me as what I’m sure any straight boy can imagine, visualizing a woman in his own arms later on in life. (Okay, at that age, girls are “icky” but you get my point.)

Even so, I felt it was best not to let anybody know how I felt on this particular subject at such a young age. Better to just live my life, as a kid in a family that played cards, rode motorcycles in the summer up in the mountains and enjoy my youth with family I loved/love rather than distance myself from them with my very different ideals of what the future held “for me.” There would be time enough to figure all of that out years down the road.

The years went by and we kids grew up. Puberty came and went and I couldn’t wait to get out of the smothering, conservative little town I’d grown up in and move to the big city. I’d “finally” be able to just be myself and explore the side of my life I’d dared not speak of to others. You think it’s difficult dating and coming into your own as a straight boy or girl? Just IMAGINE what it’s like when you don’t feel safe asking the football jock you’ve had a crush on since mid-high [school] out on a date. After all, “he might not be gay and despite the fact that you are considered a friend, he might ‘spill that secret!’ Then you’ll be the butt-end of every damned joke in town for being the local queer boy.” (Yeah, it wasn’t fun…)

So I moved to the city — and I immersed myself in a culture of dating, hooking up, equal rights activism, etc. To put it succinctly, I grew up.

Just understand that “growing up” doesn’t necessarily mean “maturing, developing the skills and resources necessary to make good decisions and effectively being able to see things from another person’s point of view.” What it means is you now get to pay your own damn bills, live your life (make mistakes) as you get your ass handed to you, repeatedly, learning from all of the bad decisions you make along the way. …and trust me, I’ve made (and likely, more will follow) my fair share of hellacious mistakes over the years!

Which brings me to the point in time where our family dynamics changed … and not necessarily for the better.

I got involved with an asshole ex- (whom I couldn’t trust to keep his dick in his own pants when we weren’t together). I had good reason not to trust him; I’d discover just “how justified” those reasons were AFTER we broke up (actually, I’d find out many years later).

At this particular point in time, I didn’t feel I had any option but to take him with me to visit family in Carlsbad. This was during the summer of 1989, twenty-five and a half years ago. Sitting at the kitchen table in my grandmother and grandfather’s home, it was obvious to all (but granddad, bless his heart!) “what the score was” and the dynamics shifted. It wasn’t my best and brightest move but at least the veil had [finally] lifted and perhaps my uncles would finally get off my damned ass about the “little red-headed girl next door.” You’ve no idea how frustrating it can be, even if they don’t know what they’re doing, to constantly be reminded “you are different” because family members are pushing you along a trail on some ridiculous journey you know isn’t intended for you. Again, I knew I was gay long before I ever hit puberty.

But on that day, the day when we were all sitting at the table in my grandparent’s home; THAT was the day that the dynamics between myself and the extended family I loved so much would forever change. Oh, sure… nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes — but I was “the fag.”

And twenty-five and a half years later, long after my grandmother, my grandfather, my Great Aunt and the biological “gene” that made my presence on this earth possible have all passed — I’m told they still don’t understand that this isn’t a “choice one makes.” If I’d had a “choice” in the matter, does one really think I’d have signed up for a life of second-guessing and ridicule (if not openly, at least behind the scenes)? Does one really think we “want” to be made to feel unwelcome (this was more so back then — not so much now) around family? ..and do you truly think a person wants to be made to feel “less than” because, in the committed relationship he or she might share with that special someone, taking the next logical step and get “hitched” (married) will always be problematic because it’s either illegal (in the state one lives in) or it’s seen as some kind of an attack on the sacred institution of love and commitment. (Seriously, I wish I had a dollar for every person who feels that his or her own “straight relationship” is any more important than a loving relationship between two persons of the same gender.) The last time I thought on the matter, I came to the simple conclusion that “love is love.”

Anyway, does any of this sound like a rational reason to make a ‘choice’ to identify with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community? Does doing so make any sense to anyone at all, who wouldn’t be into sadomasochism. For the record, I’m not into S&M (I’m actually quite vanilla). LOL. I’ve no doubt my family loves me but to this day I question whether they’ve taken time to investigate and really open their minds to the possibility that they “might actually be wrong, in that being gay really isn’t so much about making a ‘choice’.”

(To their credit, it doesn’t help that there are so many [people] in the world who identify as bisexual, able to swap love interests from one gender to the other. Compounding the matter (and thus giving “some” family members false hope for a different outcome), many so-called bisexuals give in to the implied (or directed) pressure of conformance, feeling “encouraged” to at least make the effort, if only initially, to be “normal” (I’m being sarcastic and the translation here is “straight” for those who might have missed the point) by dating and/or having a family with somebody of the opposite gender. I know of at least one young man who likely feels as though the love and approval of his mother are fully contingent on his “fitting in and wearing the shoes of a straight male.” The judgment on his mother’s part has motivated him to make decisions that were fraught with risks, as well as consequences (and one blessing) he will have to live with all of his life. (Fortunately, I’ve confidence in him and think he is strong enough to have a happy life, regardless of the strings his mother keeps attaching to the love she feels for her boys.)

The most heart-felt and precious gift a family member can give someone is his or her love and an honest attempt to understand that which seems so foreign.

So again, I won’t say there isn’t cause to speculate “being gay” is a choice; especially when it seems so many appear to be able to be in relationships with both, the opposite and the same gender. But I suspect for the VAST MAJORITY who identify as gay or lesbian, it’s never been a matter of “choice.” It is simply a part of who and what we are, no different than the color of our eyes or the tint of our skin.

Neither is it so much about sex.

Certainly, I have (and will continue, I’m sure) made plenty of comments about the bodies of handsome, young sexy men — but in all honesty, it’s more about the “feeling of total attachment (in a healthy way) and attraction” that I feel for somebody swathed in the body of the male physique … more so than it is about “what parts fit where.”

I might enjoy the sex… (be honest, who of us doesn’t enjoy a great orgasm?) but for me it’s more about my feeling “at home” with my arms wrapped around a man — or his arms wrapped around me, for that matter. It’s about being fully attracted to somebody, in every aspect; on a sexual/physical level and as well, on an emotional/intellectual plane.

The only “choice” I ever made was to accept myself for who and what I am. So for those who fail to understand, yes, there was a choice; it just wasn’t the one you might be thinking it was.

Namaste,
Michael

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Time For Change

14 Dec

It’s been a difficult year for many; at least from the perspective of dealing with political and moral issues across the land (including a lack of confidence in our law enforcement agencies).

With regard to the latter, a calling for many on the force was once seen as commendable and honorable. What else could it be when one’s future responsibility, encouraged by his or her own life’s experiences or simply cultivated by a history of familial service, all but guaranteed a quest to protect and serve others within his or her community?

Sadly, the focus of our law enforcement agencies has slowly devolved. Rather than serving their communities (much the same as politicians were once elected to “serve their constituents”) those on the department are now encouraged to do little to nothing more than enforce the law. They’re often discouraged from deviating from procedure, lest they be disciplined by superiors or embroiled in lawsuits brought on by society’s adoption of a more litigious nature. Compounding the problem of an already frustrated force, Federal factions have negatively influenced our local departments by further encouraging an “us vs. them” mentality by providing local law enforcement with military grade weapons every time the country steps away from an initiative overseas. When you combine all of these factors, how could our police officers NOT become more brutal and desensitized over time?

In order to change that we need to break down the walls that separate the average citizen from those tasked with protecting and serving him or her. I’m not in the state-of-mind right now to say with certainty that we can accomplish that. I’m hopeful we can, but unconvinced right now.

Economic Recovery? For whom?

Along other lines, we’ve witnessed a recovery in the economy (not wholly but the economy is doing better). However, personally speaking (and there are likely many who will agree) I feel my own situation has improved only slightly. It seems while companies are realizing more profits and influence in Washington, D.C., the same isn’t true of the average man or woman on the street.

The cost of fuel to run our vehicles has dropped [considerably] over the past several months but it cost more to put food on the table, a roof over our head and health insurance, if you can afford to pay for it, is an ever-growing JOKE!

The “Affordable Care Act” has done little, in my opinion, to better the lives of those living in this country. In fact, it’s had a negative impact on my own situation and (I believe) on the lives of many of our aged and our veterans.

Lest you think I’m faulting Barack Obama, I’m not. I’m blaming every damned politician in Washington, D.C. (both parties, Democrat and Republican alike) who has failed to work together to positively influence the lives of those they were elected to represent.

Then there is the stress of watching helplessly on as both parties battle for dominance (negatively impacting the average citizen in the process).

My own Health

Health remains a concern for me; perhaps more so this year than in years past. I need to get a handle on my weight (which became an issue after treatment began for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, as well as having to commence taking meds for my HIV that same year). I’ve gone from an estimated 180 pounds in 2006 to 280 pounds as of this month — and I feel that it’s high time I did something about it. I don’t believe I can continue living like this. I’m fat, I feel much older than “I should” at fifty-one and I’m depressed because of the weight (intensified by other factors in my personal life, not the least of which is my having given up on any hope for a relationship in the future).

Let’s face it I’m just not feeling very attractive or optimistic these days.

But if one need find something to give thanks for, I’ve this to offer…

We are (a) alive, (b) most have food on the table and a roof over their heads and (c) for those of us who are LGBTQ, marriage equality is fast evolving from a “hope” to something real and concrete in more and more states around the country. (Good news for those who are fortunate enough to be in relationships.)

It should be said that for all of the good that may come into our lives there is always room for personal growth and improvement.

Given my depression of late, that has been my focus this past week or two. It’s a sure sign I’ll be doing a lot of soul searching and will [hopefully] have the strength to implement a lot of changes in my own life over the next twelve months.

Friends and Family

I cherish the friendships I’ve made over the years but as with so many things, you must sometimes let go and move on with your life. That became obvious for me at a point earlier this year with regard to a couple of friends I’ve known for almost twenty years. Our relationship had become strained over the past decade. I’m certain there are things I could have done differently to improve the friendship but the tension wasn’t all one-sided. Both are good people in all other regards but I rarely came away from a visit without feeling as though I’d been judged. One always went out of his way to mention an event they were scheduled for “that was only open to couples; not singles” (like I needed to be reminded yet again that I’m single). Both felt I wasn’t involved enough in the gay community and both made it a point of reminding me I’d not been attending church as often as (in their opinion) I should. I’ve been a member of the same church since 1986 but the atmosphere there has changed over the years, seeming much less like that which first motivated me to join decades ago. Besides, my faith is very personal for me. I don’t have to be “in a building, on a Sunday” to worship. In fact, I’m more comfortable relating to God in a one-on-one situation, like out at the lake or simply in a meadow in the country.

Anyway, you get the picture. Simply put, I felt that my friendship with them was taken for granted and that I would never measure up to the standards they had set since they met one another.

I [eventually] came to the conclusion our friendship had run its course and made the difficult decision to part ways. It has been HARD the past several months because they did play a large part in my life once — but there were tensions neither seemed willing to acknowledge and work on, so…

I put that chapter and their friendship behind me.

The same may [sadly] be said of some of my family members soon. There are those [family] who’ve yet to grow the hell up; they are [still] very homophobic or so I’m told. (This is especially frustrating as they relate fine to me in person but the grousing and complaining is alleged to be going on behind my back.)

A little bit of history.

My family discovered I’m gay when I was about twenty-six; that was twenty-five years ago. It seems some cannot wrap their heads around the fact that one doesn’t “choose” to be a homosexual or a bisexual. Whatever your sexuality is, it is. YOU can work through the process of accepting who you are but you’ve little control over what others will ever think of you. They either put in the effort to learn more about sexuality; what is true and what isn’t — or they stay the same, never moving forward in such a way that they can accept you for who and what you are.

After having given them twenty-five years to accept me I’m about ready to just leave the whole lot behind and move on. If they “want to be a part of my life” THEY can make the effort to do so.

I’m not perfect but my sexuality is one thing I can’t change about myself — and I’m tired of having it brought up as a tool to “shame me” when I least expect it, or as a means for some family to undermine me with others.

To paraphrase one family member, “Fuck it; I’m done.

So…

2015 promises to be a year of change. I fully intend on changing my eating patterns and exercising at every opportunity I can. I’m going to lose this weight if it’s the last thing I do in this life; I refuse to go to the grave weighing two-hundred and eighty pounds.

For the time being, I’ve given up on believing our elected leaders will ever pull their heads out of their asses and do “the right thing” for their constituents. They’re simply too busy doing for themselves and the plutocrats who support them. I’m losing confidence that the police across the nation give a damn about the citizens they should be “protecting and serving (they’re too busy acting the parts of bullies and flexing their fucking biceps).

I’ve no control over the latter two but by God I have [some] control over my body and it’s time to implement the change I desire or die trying.

I’ll likely be spending MUCH LESS time on social networking sites (as I expect the time I’ve “been” spending on them would be better spent doing cardio, working out in the weight room and even reading).

Doing so should reduce the “drama” in my life. One thing I’ve learned over the years — repeatedly — is that you just can’t please everybody. You say something that makes one person happy and agreeable, you’ve three or four more assholes who are pissed off at you (who are often only interested in feeding their need to foment drama).

I’m tired of drama, which means it may be time to cut some people “out” of my life. I’m just me, people. I’m not perfect and I CERTAINLY have a lot I want to work on in my life “but if you can’t get over the fact that I’m queer, or that on some issues I’m quite conservative (while on others, I’m very liberal) then we will be parting ways.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks!
Michael

This will likely be my last blog entry for 2014 (not that I have blogged nearly as much this year).

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Conflicts, just whose problems are they?

12 Nov

Depiction of two persons resolving personal conflictI’m the kind of person who [generally] likes to avoid conflict. I don’t always come across as such; I sometimes appear to be just the opposite — the “combative” personality who must win at all costs (and my own mother will attest I tend to burn my bridges all too often, as my tongue is somewhat SHARP ~ meaning, “I have a talent, if you want to call it that, for making very cutting comments”).

The truth of the matter is I’m combative only when I’ve been driven to the wall time and again (such as when my boundaries or the “line in the sand” has been crossed many times over). When that happens, I’m likely to overreact and behave in irrational, unreasonable and reactionary ways.


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When Love Dies

12 Aug

I think I canI was reading a comment on another’s blog early this morning and my heart wept. The man’s partner recently revealed he was no longer in love with him; they had been together for thirteen years.

This man is feeling an onslaught of fear and doesn’t seem to know if he even wants to live any longer. I understand that feeling; I LIVED with that kind of fear, even while I was still with my [now] ex-partner for the better half of our six and a half years together.

Even as I left him in 2001, I wasn’t certain I wanted to continue. The pain was so great and my sense of self-worth, non-existent.


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My thoughts on stereotypes, self-confidence and perceptions

26 Jul

Stereotypes posterI believe that EVERYBODY has something about which they’re prejudiced.

It might be their attitude toward immigrants or persons of a different nationality, or perhaps against those whose sexual orientation is different. Their prejudice may be expressed in their opinions of religion and/or any and all of the varied faiths that run its gamut. Alternatively, the bigotry that invades their everyday thoughts is possibly directed at members of the [financial] upper class; those who represent the “haves” while they themselves are among the “have not’s.”

Whatever intolerance a person might feel, it may be rooted in their perception of how they believe they’ve been aggrieved by the focus of their prejudice; either personally, or as a member of a group of persons he or she identifies with.


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Michael Ray Huerta’s Birthday Wish..

08 Jul

What follows is a video that I stumbled across on Gay.com earlier today; a video which I wanted to share with you because it helps to explain WHY I do some of the things I do myself.

I did not struggle as much with accepting my sexuality as others have done over the years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the pain some do go through as they themselves grow into young GLBTQ adults. It’s [often] not an easy task to accommodate; feeling as though you are SOOOoo different from the majority of those around you (or worse yet, as though you are undeserving of the same respect and love that others may seem to take for granted on any given day).


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Authenticity and Diversity

27 Jun

Photograph of five persons holding handsI sometimes wonder if we haven’t become a nation of self-involved children, having lost sight of the value of both, authenticity AND diversity.

I value authenticity above most things. (I won’t say that I value it above “life” as I can’t really say, until I’m faced with such a decision just how I would react to a situation in which I had to choose life OR authenticity at the risk of being killed. Could be that I would choose life… I really don’t know for certain (but I have a sneaky suspicion I would choose authenticity — I’m a stubborn goat and my opinions and my heart generally guide my actions).

I also value diversity; diversity among those within our nation and diversity within its many communities, the LGBT community included. That is not to say I haven’t developed a few prejudices of my own over the years; I have and I freely admit to those failings. I’ll talk more about diversity in a moment.


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Red Light, Yellow Light, GREEN Light!

22 Mar

“If you cannot accept yourself, how can you expect others to accept you?”

Most of us have spent our entire lives pretending to be what our friends, what our families, what our leaders want us to be. When do we start being who we want to be?

If you think about it, you’re told from the time you are a toddler what is “right” and what is “wrong” — what is to be expected of you. Most every boy and girl’s parents think of their child as an extension of themselves. We are to make good grades in school, attend college and get a degree, land a great job at which we’ll become successful, meet and fall madly in love with someone, get married and have children of our own one day.
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Narcissism, who among us isn’t so afflicted?

09 Mar

A friend describes himself as “self-righteous, narcissist and a hypocrite” (perhaps more so in jest).

Much of what follows was part of my comment to my friend on his own blog but I want to explore this a little… We are all narcissists to some extent. Anyone claiming not to be is only deluding him- or herself. I believe that each one of us desires to feel validated; to feel as though we are a part of something larger. We want to know that our feelings, our opinions and our actions matter. When our points are seemingly lost on deaf ears (as mine often are—LOL!), we may choose to feel insulted.
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Excuse Me, Where Is My Change?

16 Jun

While watching a television show earlier today I was reminded you cannot help a person who isn’t open to advice and doesn’t want to be helped.

As a species mankind can be inspirational, motivational, creative, entertaining, confusing, disappointing, impartial and sadly, even stubborn. The purpose of this particular television series is to help homeowners overcome hurdles, which may be preventing them from successfully selling their homes. In today’s episode newlyweds weathering the pressure of paying mortgages on two separate houses have asked for help on pricing the one the husband owned prior to their wedding. It isn’t the first time it has been on the market, priced at $582,000.00 previously.

Thus enters “Real Estate Intervention” as the couple asks for help. I watched and it seemed to me that only one of the two appeared to be serious about wanting the staff’s assistance.
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