Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seems like just a couple of days ago....

Plus 2 years... that I started blogging! Dang, it WAS! December 28 was my 2 year blogaversary.

I could back it up a couple of months since I've been out of sync, but let's just call it doing field research for blogging, stand up, something to bitch about, or at the very least something to compare to should times get tough again.

I've said that 2009 has sucked the big one and that 2010 has got to be better. I must admit, though, that 2009 had some positive aspects to it and I am thankful for them. I would like to go through a soul searching listing here, but I'm still not feeling THAT creative and this isn't for the contemplative author in me, I just want to give some general thanks.

Facebook - I know. Some folks just aren't very Facebookish, but I have met great new people. Best of all, I've reconnected with many people from Seneca, SC where I grew up. Often times reconnecting was like meeting new people because now we're all adults, we know what's important in life as well as what's NOT important... like all the petty high school stuff we were all living through last time I saw many of them in person. I've laughed and cried and visited many a trip down Memory Lane with these folks and I've been very sad that I haven't been able to travel back yet to see everyone in person. (Brace yourself Bobcats... January is coming!)

Family - My natural family, the two sisters and the brother. They're something I'm eternally grateful for and I don't know if I could ever tell them enough or make them realize the depth of my gratitude that they are a part of my life. You all may be 7 states and 17 hours away, but you're here with me 24/7.

Family - My 80's adopted family. You've seen "LeainSC" comment on my blog. She's been my "pseudosister" since the early 80's. We started the brother/sister thing since everywhere we went people thought we were dating. She became my sister for clarity, she stayed my sister... well, probably because I knew too much about her to let me go too far away.... In that package deal came her real younger sister and her mother. Later, Lea met her husband to be and after I finally convinced him (with cash) to marry her, he did. That quartet-o-crazy has made such an impact on my life throughout the years I wouldn't be able to laugh without them.

Family - The extended/chosen family that most gay folks make when they move away from home. Chicago is my second home and the people here have been a constant stream of smiles and support not only in the ick of 2009, but for the past coming on 10 years that I've been here.

So a big ole thank you to my fellow bloggers, my friends who with a 2 line email or text can make me laugh hard enough wet my pants, and to anyone who just thinks of me with a smile and a positive hope.

My new venture begins in 2010. Here's to the next decade!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

As I live and breath!!

Hi everyone, remember me? I'm that tall goofy, sometimes catty (yes, sometimes) and hopefully often humorous blogger you haven't seen or heard from in quite a while.

I'm back.... ish...

Where have I been you ask? In a word - depressed.

I learned about depression in health care. I worked with depressed people and even walked that fine line between supporting a chronically depressed person who, unknown to them, their depression perpetuated itself, and finding a stern, but supportive way to tell the constantly depressed "yes, life's a bitch, pick yourself up, find a way over and let's move on.

One thing I always wondered when I observed depression in others was how did they get to this point? No one could answer me completely and I couldn't understand why until now. You don't see depression coming. You don't feel it settle in for the long haul making itself comfortable. You just feel one day that it's not there, then suddenly you find days, weeks, maybe even months have passed and you've watched every show TiVo has saved for you two or three times; you're watching a show on why lasagna noodles are wavy on the side vs. uniformly flat (an hour long devoted to this) and the show stays on because while the physical exertion of changing the channel is nothing, the mental stamina needed to actually compare this C-IV level anesthetic of a show to others is just a prospect you don't want to face. So... noodles it is.. how interesting, and yes it is like that sea anemone that undulates through the sea, and on and on and on and on....

So, next question, why was I depressed? It was overall a mixture of actual events, fear for the future, loss of the past and the worry of being a failure. It started in mid-October when after a 3 day weekend to recover from my annual meeting I come in to work to find that I would no longer have work to come to. I won't go into the details because by this point, I don't give a crap. However, when staff was being let go, it was FAC's decision that I should be one of the lucky ones.

What's FAC you ask? Ask away, I'm not saying here in print. However, if you know me and my penchant for foul language blended with names, you may figure it out. If you can't, I'll tell you directly. Here's a hint... the C is the C-WORD that most everyone hates.
Anyway, since FAC had done my job before I came there in addition to her job, apparently her omnipotence could deliver the association through the cataclysmic financial year that was, after all, obviously my fault. So Obama administration, blame Bush on all the money woes the country has, but leave this little section of blame off of Dubya's shoulders... it had to be me.

So, after having fired 2 people since I began, in nice professional adult conversations, FAC apparently decided that while I may be a big pussy pacifist and shy away from arguments let alone physical confrontations, FAC saw fit to have not one, but TWO armed guards be present in her office when I was shown the door. I was so flustered I didn't really ask anything during the informative session, but I did ask about the two gentlemen. "Well, I was told that in this day and age I should be careful." Damn, All this time I could have been planting C4 and plotting against the Hethen Americans... but I didn't grab the chance when I had it. When the gents walked me outside with my stuff waiting for the cab, we ended our conversation smiling and sharing a laugh. Yeah FAC, I think they were probably there more for MY protection than yours. For me to do something like that would actually require me to give a rat's fucking ass about you to get the ire up to actually do harm.

AND HERE'S THE KICKER!!! FAC, God's supreme gift to association management and the self proclaimed paragon of people skills and communication, hid behind the 65+ year old part time accountant/human resources staff member (whom I love to death). This meek little lady who handled the entirety of the conversation with me (the suspected Al Qaida terrorist meeting planner) while FAC sat there. I'm sure FAC was thankful to have that human shield to do her dirty work. This human shield, who also has lung cancer and at the end of 2008 had a biopsy and was out of work off and on for several weeks. My thought, "Poor Mary (not real name) she's had lung cancer, she's dependent on her cane, she's so independent, but now she's having a throat biopsy which will affect how and what she can eat for some time. I hope she'll be OK." What did FAC say? "Well what are we going to do about the audit? Why did she choose to have this done now?"

Many lessons I've learned the hard way in life have been harder because I have to learn them more than once. One thing I HAVE learned in my 43 years is that Karma is kind, Karma is your friend, but Karma can be one MAJOR bitch. And even though I don't get the pure joy of actually seeing it happen, Karma is going to come and teach you a painful lesson FAC. I won't get to see it. I may not even get to hear about it, but the universe is just and I know it's coming. I just truly hope that your lesson doesn't negatively affect those wonderful coworkers I left behind.

Author's note: I truly didn't mean for that rant to come tumbling out the way it did. This is my first writing since mid October and damn if the words and emotions just didn't come flowing out like lava.

So I find myself unemployed
at the end of the year
And looks like I'll have to either skimp or postpone getting my family and friends holiday presents

Geez... could this get anymore oppressive?

By now, everyone reading this knows I'm gay. If you didn't.... now you do. This wasn't always the case. I used to call it my Mason Dixon secret. Everyone above the Mason Dixon Line knew... no one below knew... well, no one confirmed that they did. (When I first talked with MaleSib about whether he knew, he said "I'm an artist, I'm a musician, I work in a design firm.... DUH...." )

Having grown up in rural South Carolina where having a gun rack was only a couple of small steps from gay bashing, it was a closely guarded secret I was petrified to let go. Even today I feel a tad uncomfortable talking about this side of my life with loved ones from home. Not that they care, not that I'm discussing.... well.... those things.... but the reflex of secrecy is never far away when it comes to folks from back home.

There was one person who existed in both worlds for me. I met him when I lived in Charleston, SC and he was gay. He was the first gay person I truly, fully knew and he was the first person I was able to look at and say "yes, gay people are just as normal as anyone else" and that's what he wanted me to understand throughout the first years of our friendship. It was a bit skewed because he was one of those people who was drop dead gorgeous, built like a brick shit house, but was completely unaware and/or unaffected by it. He knew me at my heaviest but of the two of us, it was only me seeing me at my heaviest.

There have been very few people in my life that I've been so moved by their personality, ease and demeanor that I sought to emulate them and wish that I could have the ease of self that they had. Andy Bauer was one of these people. He was my halfway house between being straight and being gay. He was one who could make me laugh so hard no number of sit ups would equal the exercise my stomach muscles had just experienced.

Two weeks after I lost my job to FAC, I lost Andy to a car wreck while he was in Germany.
To quote Forrest Gump "That's all I have to say about that"

So here I find myself entering November. I don't have anything to do that doesn't cost. I don't have anywhere to go. I refuse to take loans and I thought I'd be content to catch up on television and couch surfing.

Early November slid into mid November. Mid November slid into late November and my plan to TRULY clean my apartment and take part in NaNoWriMo (where I write 50,000 first draft words on my first novel had stayed right there with me on the couch, not moving; not succeeding, and shutting myself away from my friends, family and even my blog and (gasp) Facebook.

I'm not quite out of the woods yet for feeling blah. But, LeafromSC and her husband resumed their yearly trek to Chicago for Thanksgiving and having faces I love with me made a great energy to start rejoining life. I still haven't written a word on my novel (NaNoWriMo 2010?) but I'm about 60% through my to do list on cleaning, decluttering and preparing to redecorate my apartment with my landlord.

Depression is a discreet, but total asskicker. Don't underestimate it and look for the signs in your loved ones. They may not want to hear it from you, but often just having someone break through that shell of gloom gives a spring of positive if even for a moment. I found myself collecting those as I went through November and I'm starting to see hope. Hope in the form of a probable career change. I'm still looking for a full time job in my industry, but I do start Pharmacy school part time in January. I want to get to that 130+K yearly salary, buy a nice car, travel a little (rebuild my now non-existent 401K) and go by FAC's office, walk up to her and channel Kathy Griffin and tell her to SUCK IT!!!

Love to you all, thank you for the well wishes and concern. It really is knowing you're all out there that makes me smile. And as I always told my Mom; don't worry about me and suicide. I'm too much a chickenshit to do it. :)