Sunday, February 22, 2009

Offers From All Around

My Life: I was getting letters everyday from the ad in the singles magazine. I had offers from California to Michigan to Florida. I responded to every single one of them. I was determined to find Mr. Right. Some of them I had to respond with a thanks but no thanks.

Most of them became pen pals. (I was cleaning out a box yesterday and came across some of the letters I had saved. Talk about timing). One guy really stood out. His name was Ken Proctor and he lived in Ocala Florida. He sent me a picture of him riding a horse on his farm. Quite handsome and really made me curious. He told me he was 42, divorced with a 7 year old son. We wrote back and forth for a month or so and I was starting to fall for him.

At the art gallery, Mitch had given me more responsibilites because he had opened another gallery in Duck, N.C. where he went most days. I was in charge of the main gallery: ordering prints, I framed pictures for sale, chose framing outlines for customers and ran the gallery during the day. Here were milllions of dollars worth of art in my hands. That's how much this guy trusted me.

We had dinner almost every night and then played games with the kids before I went to my night job or bowling league. Deep inside I wanted companionship.

I had written to Ken and told him I was HIV+. Ken sent me a letter and asked me to come visit. So, I asked Mitch if I could take my first vacation. Not only did Mitch say yes, but he paid for the plane ticket. He sent me off with good wishes.

At the airport I was sent to the wrong gate and missed the flight. I complained to the airline and they put me on a different flight and upgraded me to first class. Mistake number one! My first time flying first drinks. I didn't know how to say no to free alcohol. By the time we landed I was a bit tipsy.

Ken picked me up at the airport and I told him I had a few to drink and he was fine with that. he was a little heavier than what he looked in the picture. He looked a little older than 42 too. I told myself to give him a chance. We drove out to his home and we talked and drank vodka. His mother lived close by as well as his sister and her family. His son lived with him on weekends and his ex wife was a lesbian and an alcoholic. He had 3 trailor homes and rented them out. He had cows, horses, chickens and a turkey on his mothers farm. We drank vodka. He didn't have a job that he was paid regularly for. The farm, the rentals and family took up all his time. We drank vodka. He finally told me that he was 50 years old and that he lied because he thought I wouldn't like an older man. First time meeting and already a lie. I should have known. We had sex....

That's all for now. I have to get ready for my movie audition. I got a call last night from P&J films in Maryland. They love my look and are interested in giving me the lead in a horror film that's being promoted by Rob Zombie, Robert Englund and Quinten Tarantino. It's a paid gig and professional. Should be interesting.

Love & Peace,


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Life with Rose

My Life: Living with Rose was an experience in itself. One of her poodles died shortly after I moved in and I was there to comfort her. We drank to ease the pain. I didn't drink with her every night because I didn't have the money and I had a full time job at the art gallery. Morales Art Gallery was a few miles away and I had to walk to and fro each day. Rose didn't have a car either. Mitch, my boss, would drive me home on occasion.

I started to learn the art business and I was pretty good at it. I had to be careful around the glass cutting device so as not get infect anyone with my blood should I cut myself. (It did happen once and I cleaned it up quickly and without incident). I really liked Mitch and his family. They would invite me to dinner, ask me to stay after work and play games, go to the stores with them. They began to feel like a family to me. I still love them to this day!

Back at the Rose shack another guy had moved into my room. Rose added a bed and needed the money. What a mess she was. She even had a pissing contest outside her house one night to see who could piss the farthest and to my amazement, she won. She would fight with me and the other guy about anything and everything. The world was against Rose. I so wanted out of her house. I was beginning to drink too much again.

Mitch let me know about a one bedroom apartment that had opened up across the street from the Art Gallery. He knew the landlady and got me the place. He even helped me with the deposit. It was a big place and I was very happy. I needed more money to maintain the apartment so I took at job at the Bowling Ally about a mile away. Short walk compared to Rose's home. I would work with Mitch during the day and tend bar or cook at night.

I joined a bowling league (185 average) and also did some Deejay work on occasion. If you've ever been to the Outer Banks you would know how small the area really is. Not much to do for the locals that lived there. No gay bars either. For that matter, no Gay hangouts at all! It was tough to make friends with my interest and I was so in the closet. My life was a big lie.

I tried to join the local Alcoholics Anonymous group. I didn't have any social skills when I was sober and I felt shunned by the group. I did meet one woman who was a lesbian who introduced me to anyone gay she knew. All the gay guys lived in other states and came to NC for vacations. They were pretty much all pretentious too. I would get depressed easily.

My friend from Daytona Beach, Richard, had moved to San Fransisco and worked at one of those magazines that had ads to meet people and he submitted my picture and an ad without letting me know until it had already gone to press. I didn't mind and though maybe I would meet someone in NC. I got letters from all over the United States from all kinds of men asking me if they could meet me. Most of them would make mirrors crack if they looked in them. Some were very sweet and others just down right scary.

One year there was a hurricane and Mitch and his family too me to safety and even got me a motel room to stay in while it passed. They were incredible people. What did I do to return the favor? I turned Mitch on to cocaine and pretty much turned my back on the whole family about 6 months later. More about that later...

I really did try to completely stop drinking and drugs. Mitch and his family were my support team. They kept me busy with work and fun. They gave me a key to their home. They even gave me a small car for Christmas. The only thing they couldn't give me was the closeness of another man, sex. I began to have panic attacks, I would invite the strange men from the letters to come visit. I started to drink heavily again...

Today: I am very ashamed of parts of my life and I would love to change what I did. Since that is impossible, I can only do what is right now. There are some really good people in my life right now and I am lucky to have them. Heck, 2 of them are coming for games and then dinner today. YEAH!

I need to clean some and get this chapter out of my head. It's one of those periods of time that still haunt me. I sometimes do struggle with my own sanity. I have learned to hide my feelings and hold them in. Theater is one of my outlets to flush them. Deep down inside I am a sad individual. This is just who I am and I am working on letting those I love know how grateful I am for them in my life. Thank you John and Elizabeth for believing in me and not running away after finding the person behind the mask. I love you guys!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Thought it Would Work

My Life: My sister has had enough of me in her home. She tells me she needs to be alone with her husband and I agree. Now I have to find a new place to live. In less than 6 months I was diagnosed, relocated, gone through withdrawals, put on medications, got a low paying job and started drinking and drugs again. Not as heavily as before but it was the beginning of what was to come. I told myself that I wouldn't get that bad again. Looking for another place to live was going to be hard since the job at the frameshop didn't pay well. I didn't want to quit and go to another city but I had to do something.

I looked into help with a local HIV/AIDS organization in Virginia. They didn't have very much to offer at the time. It was still quite taboo and hush hush because people just weren't educated or informed. They did hook me up with another guy in North Carolina who lived on a boat. This guy had full blown AIDS and was looking for someone to help with his expenses etc. I called him on the phone and he told me I could move in - sight unseen. He lived on the Outer Banks and told me I could find a job easily there. I said OK and left for NC.

I thought living on a houseboat was going to so cool. I pretty much only had a couple of big hefty size trash bags full of personal stuff and maybe a suitcase. I was ready for the next step in my life.

When I arrived I had to find the boat since the guy had no transportation. (Notice how I keep calling him "the guy"? - That's because I can't remember his name) When I did find the boat, he wasn't even home. I waited on board until he arrived. He was a mess! A little older than me and not very good looking at all. He worked in construction when he could find work.

We went on board and he showed me the living quarters. ARGH! Small and cramped. The sleeping was underneath and you couldn't lift your head without banging it on the ceiling. To top it all off, it was filthy. This was so going to suck!

The guy told me that he like to drink and that when he got drunk he had a habit of losing his money. That evening he told me he wanted me to hold all his cash while he drank and that no matter what he said I wasn't to give him any of it. We both started to drink. And drink. And drink.

Out of nowhere, it began. The guy asked me for his money so he could go out. We were both plastered and I told him no. He kept bugging me for it and I kept saying he couldn't have it back until the next day. He started yelling and screaming and tried to attack me. I was stronger and held him off. He finally gave up and passed out. The next day he accused me of trying to steal his money and told me I had to leave. He would give me a couple of days but I had to get out.

I had nowhere to go again. I started looking for a job and a place to live. The outer banks has a lot of art galleries so I went to all of them and applied. I landed a job with 2 days at Morales Art Gallery as a framer. Now all I needed was a home. I told the owner, Mitch, that I was looking and he said he would try to help me find something too. He was a compassionate man with a wife and 2 kids. He would give me thir paper and I would search. Within a couple more days I found a room that a little old lady rented out. It was something like 40.00 a week and I had access to the bathroom and samll kitchen. I moved in.

Her name was Rose and she was in her 70's. She had a couple of poodles that were about 100 years old. And she drank. Heavily. And she was a foul mouthed, angry drunk.
She like to drink with her tenants too. Having the addictive personality that I have, I drank with her...

Now: I'm worn out thinking about this phase in my life and what is coming up. I have so much work to do here to try and get this house in order for company too. A lot has been done but a lot more needs to be done. I'm about to dumsterize if I don't get on the ball. I'm still having a pain in my ribs where I fell on the ice. It won't seem to go away and I am getting a little worried about it. Scott is doiing well and the dogs are happy. Can we add a few hours to each day?

Love & Peace,