Thursday, September 29, 2011


I am going to come off either really stuck up or just really bad in this blog. 

I've been told I'm intimidating. Me. I don't see it, but hey, if someone says it, it must be. Right?

Now, I can see myself as being intimidating to my students. I am known as a strict, demanding teacher. I mean, I even had one vomit on the first day of school when he found out I was his teacher. (That was in third grade. Now, if it would only happen in sixth.) 

When I think of intimidating, I think of large ferocious animals; hence the photo. It was a little intimidating walking into a known black bear habitat. (And to answer that rhetorical question about bears and the woods; yes, they do. I nearly stepped in the evidence.)

But, I've been told I'm intimidating to gay men. Me? Seriously??

When I think of an intimidating gay man, I think of some big burly, dark haired, very masculine man, dripping in muscles, leather, chains, attitude and aviator glasses. And fur. (That means 'body hair' for those of you who need an interpreter.) 

Or, I think of a very effeminate gay man with an in-your-face-take-shit-from-no-one attitude. 

So, why me? What makes me intimidating? I'm not big, burly or any of the other. Well, dark haired, yes, but more salt and pepper. (More pepper than salt at this point.) And I don't have an attitude of either kind.

Back in the days when I went to the clubs and bars looking for a boyfriend, a few times men told me that I intimidated them. They'd come up to me, ask me to dance or start a conversation, and after a while, invariably they would tell me I wasn't what they expected. 

I would ask what they meant. 

"Based on your looks, I thought you'd be stuck up. You seem too nice, too real, too genuine."


In other words, I was too good looking NOT to be conceited; NOT to have an attitude. They couldn't handle it, and they'd leave.

They didn't know what to do with me. (And I don't mean in the bedroom because I'd rarely leave the club with someone.)

They wanted someone with an attitude?  Really?

I was just being myself.

So, I asked my best friends if I was intimidating. And who is a gay man's best friend? His straight female posse. And yes, they said I could be intimidating, but for a different reason: I'm very sexy. 
That's intimidating?

Not entirely, they said. I'm sexy because I don't know I'm sexy.

Now that I'm single, I'm anticipating this coming back up. A gay friend recently alluded to this. He said I didn't live up to the picture on my online profile. 


I didn't seem to be as aggressive as my picture suggested.


I came off more gentle in person.

That's a bad thing? No, just not what he expected. 

Oh. (Flashback to earlier days.)

All this reminds me of something someone once said to me, "Expectations are planned disappointments." (I just thought I'd throw this in.)

When I'm ready to consider dating again, which may be a while, I will continue to just be myself. And if I intimidate someone by being myself, it's his loss. That only tells me he isn't ready for the real me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Met a Man

Oh, no! A color picture! I'm out of my element. But this post will take a different turn so, why not a different angle with the photo?

I met a man and I fell in love with him.

Doesn't Cher have a song with that title?

No, it's I Saw a Man and He Danced With His Wife.

Anyway, we met online, and on our profiles we both were insistent, "Friendships, no hookups." I was looking to expand my gay social circle.

Over the course of the last few months, we texted, IM'd each other online, Facebooked, and saw each other four times. I thought God/Fate/the Universe was intervening to keep us from going too fast. I didn't want to make the same mistake I made with the ex by going too fast. I was determined to take the next relationship slow.

The new man was kind, generous (he did the AIDS ride), supportive (he let me vent about my ex and talk out my emotions regarding the divorce), he listened, and he had a gentle spirit. Plus, he was very handsome with a kind of Robert Downey, Jr./Patrick Dempsey look. We spoke on the phone twice before actually meeting and through it all he became a friend.

Meeting people online and then in person carries an instant "blind date" quality and the subsequent nervousness. Well, for me, anyway. But, God/Fate/the Universe intervened and we met in an extremely non-threatening way. He had finished the AIDS ride and his prearranged ride home had to work. I found out via Facebook, and offered to take him and his gear down to his home for which he wanted to thank me by taking me to dinner. On the ride down to his house, the conversation flowed freely, comfortably, naturally. We talked of our exes, and he told me of his annual party and I'd be getting an invitation. I could go on with the details of the conversation, but that's not important. It was during the dinner where I realized I could really end up liking him. The evening had suddenly turned into a date, and the nervousness began to set in. But, a different kind of nervousness. I had already realized I had been myself, not someone who just acquiesces to please his date. I was assertive. I was proud of myself. Normally, I'm not. Assertive, that is. Proud of myself, yes.

As time wore on, I slowly fell in love with him through the texts and Facebook messages. It surprised me, as I wasn't looking for a relationship because I had learned earlier on in my life, the more you look for a relationship the less you find one. I was determined to let one find me this time. Plus, I certainly didn't expect to find one so soon after my divorce. And with someone so nice, and from an online source. He even appeared in one of my guided meditations. He was the special friend who handed me "The Box."

I began to feel we were destined to be more than friends. I had had a friend before my first partner and I fell in love with him and I knew the relationship would be wonderful. So did he. After all, we were both struggling with being gay and our Christianity.Plus, we were both Aquarians, and who better to understand our craziness than another one. But, he still had coming out issues, so he couldn't return my love to the extent I deserved (his words). So, we parted ways, never to see each other again.

I was attracted more to the new man's soul, than to his handsomeness. I felt our relationship would be just as wonderful as the other one. We both had a Christian background to compound our coming out and shape our character of today. I am an Aquarian with Libra rising, and he is a Libra, and since Aquarius and Libra are naturally compatible (according to astrologers) I felt we had a very strong connection. It was just something innate with me.

Plus, he was my intellectual, chronological, educational and emotional contemporary. And very good looking, did I say that?

But, it doesn't end well, unlike the song. I wanted to move the relationship forward, and we were having difficulty finding alone time. Aside from the night we met, we had only seen each other in social settings. I gathered God/Fate/the Universe was intervening again to keep us going slow, to just let it unfold. But, how could it unfold if we weren't getting to spend time alone to get to know one another? Maybe that was part of it. By not having alone time, it would unfold very slowly. But, I was getting confused. I felt he liked me too, from things he said. I also felt he needed to know my feelings. After all, honesty is the best policy. Maybe he was holding back out of respect for me, as I was the most newly divorced, and was I ready to move forward into a new relationship? So, I told him. And he loved me, too. As a friend.

That hurt. Deeply. Just as it did barely a year ago when my ex-husband told me he no longer loved me as a husband but as a friend.

Do I regret telling him? No. For I now know what I felt for him would not be returned equally. And it's best to find out early than go on wanting what I may never have with him. He was truly sorry if he sent me mixed signals. And I have no reason to believe he did it deliberately, to play me. That does not fit his personality. He is a genuine, nice man, perhaps one of the few remaining ones out there.

I consider myself fortunate to have met him, to have learned from him and to have had his friendship for the short time we knew each other. He was very sincere in wanting me to stay in his life as a friend. But, he genuinely understood if I could not.  As he possesses the qualities I want in my next husband; supportive, generous of self, nurturing, creative, a good listener, I can't stay. I can't risk falling in love with him again, only to end up with the same result. Besides, could I keep myself from feeling those same emotions again? I don't know. So, for now it's best we part ways, perhaps never to see each other again, which truly saddens me. But, closed doors sometimes reopen.

As I have blogged before about lessons learned in relationships, I ask myself what have I learned here? First, I am capable of falling in love. And falling deeply, though perhaps too quickly. I learned I have a very strong tendency to be analytical of what people say to and do for me, to question what they said and why they said it. It's the Aquarius/Libra thing in me, two very intellectual signs who very often spend more time in their heads than in their hearts. We Aquarians have the tendency to be overly analytical of situations, and particularly of our own emotions; we are therefore guarded, but when we fall, we fall hard. And Libras have the tendency to vacillate, to weigh each option carefully before deciding, "What should I do? What should I do?" So, I have the double whammy; first, of analyzing my own emotions and what was said to me, and then weighing my options trying to decide; follow my head? follow my heart? head? heart? That's going to be hard to do, to just let go and follow my heart. I have also learned I like to know almost from the beginning where the relationship might be heading. I'm impatient that way. I don't enjoy wasting my time. But, my counselor suggested I learn to relax and enjoy "the dance" that people do when they first meet. After all, you don't go to the symphony just to hear the last note.

People enter and exit our lives for a reason. I will remember the lessons I learned with him and because of him. It was because of this relationship I learned so much more of myself. As you can see, he touched me deeply. I only hope that I touched him half as much.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I have a new addiction. Mahjong Towers. The object is to clear the board of all the tiles. Sounds easy, doesn't it? It isn't. A tile may be removed if it can move laterally to either the left or the right and if nothing rests on it. And the matching tile must also be able to be removed. In the diagram above, there are only two pairs of tiles that can be removed; the two lavender tiles with the two dots on the top layer in the lower part of the tower towards the center of the picture, and the two yellow ones with the pink flower in the upper left, (they're not in the top layer). 

I have learned a lot about life from Mahjong Towers. First, life is not a game. Duh. But, some people think so. They take risks like drinking and driving, driving and texting, etc. Life is an adventure like parasailing, or an Andean trek.

With Mahjong Towers, if I make a mistake there is an undo button. It may cost me points, but hey it's only a game, right? And if I get stuck, there are two shuffle buttons that will shuffle remaining tiles. And if I get to a point where there are no more matches, I get to start over, or undo up to a point where I think I may have made a mistake. Plus, if there are matches and I can't see them there is a button for that, too.

Life has no buttons, it merely goes on.

When my first partner died, I so wanted a pause button. I wanted Life to wait for me. But, I looked and looked and couldn't find it. But I also learned to go on.

My now ex-husband came along soon after. I won't go into details as I was recently chided for referring to him in too many posts, but it's my blog and I'll write about him if I want to. Get your own blog. After all, it is about my growth since the divorce, so wouldn't it make sense he'd appear here? And when he left, I wanted a pause button, or maybe an undo button, so we could talk about it and maybe part amicably. But, again, there were no pause or undo buttons.

But, would I use an undo button? Sometimes I wonder. Maybe if I hurt someone's feelings, I might want to undo it. Then again, maybe the lesson is for them. Would I go back and undo anything else? A relationship? A trick?  Probably not, I have learned a lot from my relationships, and when I tricked as a young gay man, I remember what that felt like, the emptiness, the hollowness. I don't want to go back there. Well, maybe I'd be a bit more choosey. Choose a different career? No, for I love what I do, when I can do it my way.

Sometimes, in the game, there are three matching tiles and I have to choose between two of the three. And often one choice leads me further than another. Sometimes it makes no difference which choice I make, I either continue on to finish or end up stuck. For that, there's the restart button. And sometimes if I wait, make a different move, the fourth matching tile shows up and I don't have to choose between two of the three. In Life, we get choices, but unlike the game, the choice may make a difference to the outcome. Sometimes, I've learned when confronted with a choice, it can be better to wait and the decision is made for us, or the choice becomes clearer. Have I regretted any choices I've made? Well, other than having fun with someone I really didn't feel a connection with, no. But that was my lesson, be a little more selective.The real lesson here is when should I wait and when should I act?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Words can hurt. I have blogged about the pain inflicted on me (and countless others) by bullies.

I am now referring to those words uttered in an effort to actually help, but paradoxically, become damaging.

This past summer I took my car in for an oil change. While there, the mechanic looked at the odometer and whistled, "Almost 75,000! There's a fuel pump in your future." During the summer, I stayed close to home, not necessarily because of this dire warning, but because I wanted the time to clean out the guest room to possibly rent out. And clean out clutter in general.

But, with summer over and my return to work those words came back to haunt me. I have a 60 mile commute to work and back. A good friend of mine recently went through a series of problems with his car.  So, car problems were on my mind. And, I had a fuel pump go out just around 75,000 miles in a different vehicle and I just imagined myself stranded along the freeway. I began to panic, as my finances are limited and I can't afford the repair. Not to mention the strain on the school if I call in and they can't get a substitute that late in the morning.

I began considering alternate plans to minimize driving; I could get up earlier and drive to the subway station and take the trains in to work and back, adding two hours to my day. And if the car did die, and I couldn't drive to the station, I could get up even earlier and take two buses to the station, adding yet another hour each way.

And while this is definitely not the optimal way to get to work and back, it is a way. And I would have no choice but to do it.  I think of it as a survival strategy. I just wasn't relishing the idea of those nights where I have to be at school until 7:00 PM.

I had a discussion about this with a friend. She felt I was being negative with my thinking whereas I felt I was being realistic. I thought I was facing the problem head on, and yes, it was a difficult plan to face, so I wasn't happy about it. I'm used to getting in my car and being home within an hour. I am not used to walking a mile from the school to the train station, going into downtown and transferring to another train, and then take two buses from the station to a street corner near my house. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

I chose this picture of the Russian Guardhouse in Sitka, Alaska to represent this blog because the thought and subsequent anxiety of taking trains/buses until I had saved enough money to repair my car started to become a prison and even though this building is not an actual prison, it does have a very stifling and suffocating feel to it. And as the Universe has someone in store for me, I'm sure the Universe will take care of my car as well.

Monday, September 5, 2011


"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." What utter bullshit. Kind of like those other lies adults tell children:

"Don't eat the watermelon seeds, or a watermelon plant will grow out your ears," or "Brown cows give chocolate milk," and "Spaghetti grows on trees."

I don't know why I took this shot. Well, actually I do. It was interesting. It was this completely different rock formation in the middle of loose rocks and gravel, almost like a scar in the middle of  this rocky beach.

I have scars. We all do. Ok, maybe there's one person somewhere on the planet who doesn't. I have a scar on my knee from some stupid kid who decided it would be a cool trick to put a plastic marshmallow bag on a stick and then into the fire. I was eight at the time, on an overnight camping trip with the Cub Scouts and we were roasting marshmallows. Stupid Kid was sitting next to me and when he pulled the bag out of the fire part of the bag fell on my exposed knee. The scar is about the size of a dime, and has faded slightly over time.

I have another one on my wrist from when I changed a transmission. (How butch!)

I also have emotional scars. Scars from the names I was called in school. Scars from the way I was treated in school. Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is so true. And yet it isn't. I have an excellent memory so I do remember what they said, what they did, and how I felt. And what's more, I remember faces. In hindsight, which of course is always perfect, I thought it was funny the girl with the bad haircut, cats' eye glasses and buck teeth was calling me ugly. And yet it still hurt. Sometimes, I flash back to that moment, especially when someone is telling me the opposite now. And I find it hard to accept the compliment.

Physical scars are difficult to erase, but there are creams and lotions to allegedly help reduce them. There's no magic elixir or potion to heal emotional scars. The only thing I have found that helps is, affirmations. And even so, it still takes time until they undo the damage done by the bullies, and it's very easy to backslide into the negative because the scars will always be there having become part of me.

I am reminded of a scene from a television show my ex watched religiously; "Xena: Warrior Princess." In this particular scene, Xena is talking with her naive young sidekick, Gabrielle, next to a slow moving stream. Xena is trying to overcome her bloodthirsty warrior past, and turn towards the good. Gabrielle comments on how calm and peaceful Xena appears nowadays. Xena picks up a rock and throws it into the stream causing it to ripple, disturbing the smooth glasslike surface. She explains that once the ripples settle the stream will once again have its same outward appearance, but the rock underneath has now changed the stream forever. It has become part of the stream as Xena's past is indeed a part of her, which she must acknowledge.

I do acknowledge my physical scars, as some of them came with great achievement. (I never knew I could actually change a transmission! And a manual one at that! I don't know if I'd attempt it again, however.) I must also acknowledge my emotional scars, and work to overcome them. Perhaps, the best way to overcome them, is to embrace them as my imperfections and insecurities. Not an easy nor comfortable thing to do.

But it still hurts. And what if they rear their ugly heads when I date?

I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it.