Sunday, October 30, 2005

Cruise Highlights

I've been sucked into work in the worst way, but did want to share some of the highlights of the cruise. I'm working up a full fledge trip report. Hopefully that will be done next weekend. In the meantime, here' are some good tidbits:

- Overheard: "She (and they were referring to a guy) was so ugly the tide wouldn't take her out."

- All of the hot men.

- Shann Carr, the resident comedienne tells this story of the first Atlantis cruise. It's 6AM after the White Party and the crowd is still jumping. Another cruise ship slowly approaches on the port side and then falls back. Then it comes up the starboard side, and then falls back. Later the Captain said that the other cruise ship had called them on the radio and said, "Are you all right? There is smoke (fog), explosions (flashing lights & lasers) and people screaming on your deck (people dancing), are you going down?" The Captain wasn't sure how to respond. Obviously some people were going down. ; )

- We had Charo and Deborah Cox on the cruise! And I sang (badly) with Deborah Cox. What a great show. She totally rules!

- Snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas. It was just clear and so amazing.

- Buying drugs in Mexico. And no, not what you think. If you need to pick up Viagra, or Cialis, or whatever, Mexico is the place to go. I wandered into one of the pharmacies where some of the steriod queens were trying to buy some stuff so of course I did a little bit of eves-dropping. They were looking for demerol, oxycontin, and some other stuff I didn't recognize.

- Which brings me to why they need the drugs. In a case of poor planning, I schedule my massage at 9AM on the day after the white party. I went to sleep somewhere around 4AM, but was in the ready room of the spa at little before 9AM where I saw some cracked out muscle queen cruising the steam room. They need drugs like demerol so they can sleep after a hard night of partying with tina. Just say no boys. Just say no.

- The "Mommie Dearest Obstacle Course" that involved yelling out "Tina, bring me the axe" and cutting roses. And slamming a pepsi and yelling, "Don't fuck with me boys, this isn't my first time at the rodeo." And of course reconstructing a hangar while yelling, "No more wire hangers!!". Just too funny.

- Dancing under the stars.

More in the trip report.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's a Process

More email exchanges with my Dad. I told him Mom knew, but didn't like to talk about it. That my sister and brother-in-law knew and were fine with it. His response?

"Fine? NO WAY!!!"

He also made a comment about expecting condolences when other people find out. And he's concerned about the family name ending. To be honest, my last name is 13 letters long and is awful. Is it really so bad that the family name ends? And if this was such a concern of his, then why didn't he mention this before? Why didn't he ask me when I was going to get married and have children?

We just don't talk about important stuff in my family and it's making this process even more difficult. And as much as I want to joke and be sarcastic with him about some of this (one of my more endearing defense mechanisms), I know this isn't the time or the place for jokes. Though I did mention to my Mom and sister via email that maybe that illegitimate child from a Thai prostitute wasn't sounding so bad right now.

I'm going to call them again tomorrow night and act like everything is normal. I keep hoping that if we all act normal, then it will seem normal to him. But I'm not so sure. The emails this week have been rough and emotionally draining.

As I was blog-hopping during lunch I saw a great quote at Joe.My.God: "If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people." - Virginia Woolf

This a process that will take time. I keep telling myself that. And I pray that it will all turn out well in the end.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

It's not just a DoD policy.

I came home from the cruise and finally looked at email. Three from my Dad. He told me that he loved me and thought I was a good person. But he said that he felt like he had been kicked in the balls, that he didn't understand why I was putting him through this pain/anguish, that he didn't understand why I was telling him this now. He doesn't think that things will be the same between us. He didn't want to talk about it. He didn't see any reason to talk about it. Why wasn't "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" an option.

I called them tonight to chat. About work, the cruise, etc. Since we never talk about personal stuff, it was easy to avoid the issue. Which is what I thought he wanted. But barely two minutes into the conversation, he told me to have a good night and said goodbye.

Deep breathe.

All things change in time. My relationship with my Dad changed significantly after his accident. And it changed for the better. I hope in time that Dad will understand, and respect, my need to be honest with him. And I hope our relationship will be stronger and better because of it.

He's concerned about what my sister or Mom will think, say, do. So I need to write him again to reassure them that they know. My sister is good with it. My Mom? She still needs time I think.

Time. Love. And Patience. I think it will all work out. I pray that it does, I really do.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Running Away

I printed the letter last night and I mailed it this morning. Since then I've had a strange sinking feeling and I'm seriously having second thoughts.

I emailed my sister and my mom to give them a heads up. I told my mom to give me a call so we could talk about it. I figured she would have a better sense of when she could talk without my Dad around. But she never called. I tried to call her this morning, but didn't catch her. I suspect she's mad that I'm doing this. I don't really know, but I'm just not feeling good about this.

I leave tomorrow morning for my cruise. It's weird going off like this. Away from phones, emails, etc, and not knowing what is going to be going on while I'm gone. It's kind of scarey. When I get back, my world will have changed. For the better or for the worse it will have changed. Which way is still to be determined.

I mailed the letter today. So I think it will arrive on Monday. That's the day. But I won't know until I get back to San Diego on Sunday. When I can call my sister and get the damage assessment. I'm hoping and praying that my Dad will surprise me.

I've cried more this week than I have in the past year. I didn't realize this would be so hard, or that it was so important to me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Music to Come Out to

Listening to some very positive, affirming music these last couple of days. It kind of sits in the background and slowly forms in my subconscious. My two favorites:

"Here's Where I Stand" from the movie CAMP.

Here in the Dark
I stand before you
This is my chance to show you my heart
This is the start, this is the start.

I have so much to say and I'm hoping
That your Arms are open
Don't turn away, don't you need me?
But you have to hear me.

Here's where I stand,
Here's who I am
Love me, but don't tell me who I have to be
Here's who I am,
I'm what you see.

And "I Know Who I Am" by Heather Small:

Tell me why should it be that we can't say what we mean?
Well, I've had enough
I've had enough

I saw the truth in your lies, I see a veil of disguise
Can't do this any longer
I've finally opened my eyes, it's left me nowhere to hide
Yeah I've been getting stronger

Must follow my star, and you need to find out who you are
See I understand, I know who I am.

And I've sent an email to my Mom and sister giving them a heads up.

In the mean time, it's work, work, and work. And getting ready for my cruise!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

National Coming Out Day

Well today is National Coming Out Day. And it's nice that they have a day for it. But it's not like you can send an email to everyone you know, one big mass email, and say "Hey there, I'm gay. Have a nice day." Yeah, that's not going to work too well. Coming out is a process. And everyone's coming out is different. We all have stories.

When did I first come out? It really is such an odd question. When did I first come out to someone else, or when did I first come out to myself? I think the latter is the more relevant question. When did I know, for certain, without a doubt, that I was gay. Not till I was probably in my late 20s. I'm a late bloomer. I knew I was different back in junior high and high school. And being different when you are a teenager is bad. So I pretty much took all of those thoughts and locked them away in the back of my mind. I went to the Naval Adademy, into the Navy, and kept myself so busy that I didn't have to deal with them. Denial isn't just a river, people. I knew I was in denial. I knew I was attracted to men, but I wasn't gay. I would buy gay porn, but I wasn't gay. I had segmented and compartmentalized my life and all of those things would be dealt with in time. When I finally decided to leave the Navy, I finally "came out" to myself. My last night on active duty I was on terminal leave dancing my ass off in a gay bar in Sydney. It was an interesting end to one life, and the beginning of another.

Being honest with yourself can be hard, but coming out to your relatives is harder. It's really difficult to describe the fear, heartache, and hope that goes through your mind as you prepare to come out to your family. I came out first to my sister. I waited until she had given birth to my niece. I wanted to make sure my parents had 2 grandchildren before I dropped the bomb. My mother was going to be coming into town soon, so I wanted to tell my sister first so that when Mom freaked out, she would know why. My sister is very cool. My brother-in-law, S, however, can be a stick in the mud. So I was very scared to come out to them. My sister used to live near by and I would go over atleast once a week to be Uncle Trey. I really enjoyed my time with my nephew and was looking forward to spending time with my neice. And I was just deathly afraid that my brother-in-law would freak and refuse to let me come visit my niece and nephew anymore. That would have crushed me. So I went and talked with my sister and told her. And her response, "Yeah, S thought you might be." S was totally cool with it and my sister was totally cool with it. All of that worrying and heartache was for nothing.

Mom was a different story. When my parents came to visit back then, they would stay with me, but we would spend most of the time at my sister's. I waited several days trying to find the right time to subltey bring up the subject, but there were no good opendins. So one day before we headed over to my sister's house, I sat her down on the couch and told her that I had something very important to tell her. Her reaction? "No, no you're not." It's like denial was a family trait. Of all of the various responses that I was prepared for, pure denial was not one of them. I replied, "Yes, yes I am." And her response, "Have you seen anyone about this?" Like it's a rash that I can get a cream for? I told her no. That I didn't need to see anyone. We had a very short, awkward conversation and then she said that she wasn't prepared to talk about it anymore. So we didn't. And for the most part, we don't talk about it. She has met my ex-boyfriend, but that's about as much as she wants to know about my personal life. It took me 30 some years to accept and understand being gay, so I can't expect my Mom to understand and accept it overnight. I hope one day she will.

Dad. He doesn't know. He's a hard core conservative. Graduated West Point. 32 years in the Army. Retired as Brigedier General. It's weird with Mom knowing and not Dad. And after all of the time I spend with Dad, it feels like I'm constantly lying, or censoring myself, when I talk with him. The truth is that despite his excellent health at the age of 75, he's not going to live forever. And I think he needs to know the truth. I think I need to be honest with him. So I'm going to come out to him. I'm heading out on vacation on Saturday and I plan to mail a letter to him on Friday. Yes a letter. Coming out over the phone is not good. And the next time I'll see Dad is at Christmas. I think there's going to be enough drama with all of us in LA visiting my sister for Christmas without me adding to the mix. So a letter. I'm hoping the formality of a letter will put a bit of distance between us and make this a bit easier for him. We'll see.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Rules of the Game

Deep down I like rules. I do. They provide a comfortable framework for people to operate, interact, and deal with each other. Some of them are a pain, but for the most part, they make sense and it helps you get an idea on what a potential response should be to a certain situation. When you play fair, you are playing by the rules. No hits below the belt, nothing like that. And when a society needs to codify a set of rules, they become laws. It helps make a civilized society run smoothly. Laws are a good thing.

So bending the rules and breaking the laws upsets me. And lately, that's all we've been seeing from some of our elected officials. I saw this clip on Crooks and Liars where the Republican leadership extended the 5 minutes alloted to vote on the Energy Bill to over 50 minutes so they could coerce some representatives to change their minds. The democracts, fighting using parlimentary rules, kept asking how long the vote would be open and the Repbulican brazenly ignored them. Pesky little rules. Why should they stop us from giving more money and more tax breaks to the big oil companies who are RAKING in the profits already?

And laws? Why should laws stop us from funneling money from special interest groups to politicians, or their wives and families, in exchange for a vote?

It's all so blatant now. I will admit that this has happened in the past. By democrats and republicans alike. But the just raw hubris and disdain for rules and laws currently being exhibited by the republicans just makes me ill. If you want an example of how power corrupts and how absolute power corrupts absolutely, just check out the link above or just look at the newpapers. The sad thing is that more people aren't aware of the rampant abuse of the public's trust. Or they know and just don't care, which is even sadder.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Friday Night

I haven't been out with my friend H in awhile so Friday night we hit the town. In the pouring rain. Which probably should have dampened our moods, or the crowds, but it didn't.

Our first stop was Titan for the Bear Happy Hour. It was packed, but I kept getting dripped on and wondered WTF until the DJ made the comment that yes the roof leaks. Nice. But still it was fun. More bears than muscle, but still fun. After one cheap beer, H and I headed over to Halo.

Halo was jamming, but not packed. As usual, I missed the memo that the bold colorful stripe shirts are in. We must have seen 20 or 30 guys wearing them. However, atleast they were different. We saw three different guys wearing the same t-shirt which says "P is for Porn". Quelle horror! To be seen wearing the same shirt at a gay bar? I'm surprised they just didn't run away in tears. And none of them were porn star material as I noted to H. Which then lead to this awful conversation. In San Francisco, when I was actually at a porn party, my friend and I were thinking of using the "Are you a porn star? Well you should be!" line. But we never did. We weren't that bold/drunk. Here, I wanted to take a different tact. Go up to one of the guys in the "P is for Porn" t-shirts and ask: "Are you a porn star?". And then when they say no, I'd reply: "Yeah, I didn't think so." And then just walk away. And yes I know that's pretty harsh, but I was feeling no pain after the mojitos.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Jet Set Society

Sunday: Flew to Colorado for work.
Monday: Dinner with Dad.
Tuesday: At airport enroute back to DC, meet Mom who's coming back from LA after visiting my sister's family.
Wednesday: Dinner with my sister who is in town for meetings with OSD.

So I've seen all of my family this week. Just an very odd, but pleasant, set of circumstances.

Working on a new project that is ramping up so my discretionary time is limited. And what little personal time I do have has been spent rebuilding my home PC which died a couple of weeks ago. So more blogging soon. Just need to get some other stuff done.