Claiming Independence 

I’m not really a superstitious person, but I do believe that the way you ring in your new year is the way that you spend the rest of it. For example, on NYE 2015 (the night before 2016, just to be clear) I was in the ER with an inflamed colon (excruciating pain while shitting liquid blood!). Then I was in the ER three more times with kidney stones over the course of 2016 (also excruciating pain while pissing liquid blood!). On every occasion, I was alone. Granted, The Ex and I were technically over at that point. But seriously? He couldn’t come with me to the hospital? After 12 years together? Instead he wanted to antagonize me and go back to sleep.

As I writhed on the floor in pain from the stabbing rock in my back The Ex told me to “get it together.” In that moment I was convinced that they’d dedicate an episode of Snapped to me! (Is that show still on?)

So when NYE rolled around this time, I decided I needed to experience an exciting night: On. My. Own. I love taking myself out on dates, but I is it weird to go out on such  major holiday by myself?! In the end I decided to give zero fucks! I had a great night going solo! Solo YOLO if you will. It was my unofficial announcement to the world that I am single and free! I wore glitter beard and matching sparkly shoes along with a mesh jacket and a mesh tank top I’d recently purchased for too much money in NYC.

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I didn’t have any plans up until the day of. I knew I didn’t want to go to the straight bar with my friends, especially not for $75! So I researched the best deal on the Boystown strip and found that Progress Bar gave you the most bang for your buck! Including a bottle of champagne if you returned the next day. And of course I fucking came and got that bottle. I made sure I wasn’t too hung over to get what I paid for, bitches!

So that night, just as I always do, I met some cool people at the bar and danced the night away! I was just naughty enough, like the Vegas commercials, and made out with this boy I’d previously chatted to online. Poor thing’s face was covered in glitter and I couldn’t wipe it off. Anyone who was even partly sober could’ve easily devised that we had locked lips. Then later on I met up with my Mexican friends at the Latino gay bar up the street. And then I was home by 2am at the latest, slept in, and then caught brunch with my friend who then went with me to get that free bottle of champagne.

Let the single life officially begin!

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Happy Birthday?

Today is The Ex’s birthday.  (I told you that February was a very significant month.)  And living with him is hard as hell.  That’s part of the reason we broke up.  But living with him and not being with him is even harder.  Toxic at times.  It’s also hard because I still love him.  I have made it clear that we are no longer together, yet he continues to get angry when I tell him I’m going out or when I borrow a friend’s jeans because I stayed the night.  I literally mean a friend.  And I continue to accidentally hug him in he middle of the night because we only have one bed.  And then I have to remind myself that we’re no longer together.  Heartbreak all over again.

But just because you love someone, does not mean it’s healthy to be with that person.  We’ve forgotten how to appreciate each other and sometimes we’re both downright spiteful.  We need some time apart.  Not that I’m saying we will get back together, but it’s hard to imagine my life without him after 12 years.  But it’s hard to forgive the drugs.  Earlier this morning a needle fell out of my jeans pocket.  Well, I sure the hell knew it wasn’t mine.  He looked at me and said it was one he used to slam someone else.  Oh, so it wasn’t you that used it?  That’s supposed to make it better?  No the hell it doesn’t.  It may actually make matters worse.

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Happy Birthday?

We’re supposed to try and go out tonight, but guess who’d be footing the bill? Well, it sure the hell isn’t The Ex who recently quit his job that took him a year to find! Bitch, I ain’t rich! I’m still in debt from the last situation you got us into! Where’s all the money you had from the job you just quit? In someone else’s arm? Why do I let myself get guilted into stupid shit all the time?

Let’s turn this into a reverse-advice column–would you celebrate The Ex’s birthday?

Age of Heartbreak

Given the nature of this blog, how can I not write a post on Valentine’s Day? Even though this was never a huge holiday for me and The Ex, it was still something we would at least casually acknowledge by exchanging small tokens. However, this will be the first Valentine’s I’ll spend as a bachelor in over a decade!

Will I celebrate? My independence, yes. But this day? This day, no. This day is for romance. And I’m not feeling romantic. I’m feeling heartbroken. As much as I appreciate a nice date, it just doesn’t seem appropriate during this new chapter in my life–a transitional stage I’ve deemed the Age of Heartbreak.

I never knew that heartbreak was more than sadness. But it is. It’s much more than that. It’s anger and resentment and sorrow and confusion. And worst of all it’s loneliness. A feeling with which I’m unfortunately all too familiar. I also never knew that someone other than your lover could cause you heartbreak. But anyone dear to you can break your heart.

Now this is one of those moments where it’s hard to share my story and be respectful of my loved ones while doing so. But I’ve made a promise to be honest and I’ve made attempts to keep everyone anonymous. Therefore I tell you this:  The Ex and a Family Member both continue to break my heart as I watch them struggle with their respective addictions.

For over two years now The Ex has left needles and cock rings and douches around the house while trying to lie to me and tell me that he’s “holding them for a friend.” Like he’s a teenager hiding his bestie’s pornos under his mattress. No bitch, you had a sex party on the bed that we share!  That’s why you had to wash the sheets. He’s also given my underwear away to his tricks. He’s given away my expensive lotions and toiletries. I’ve confronted him about sleeping with guys he’d bring over, and then he’d deny it. Bitch, I saw the video! And yet I still feel guilty when staying the night at someone else’s house. I gotta get out of this situation.

I can’t run away from my Family Member because we’re flesh and blood. And if I run away from The Ex, I feel like I’m abandoning him in his time of need. But I gotta look out for myself. The countdown to the end of April is on!

February will have a few extra posts due to the significance that this month had in my recently ended relationship. Otherwise you can expect a new blog post every Sunday with a mini post known as the afterTHOT each Wednesday. 

Previous Commitments

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Twisted Love

I was finally in a place where I was beginning to love myself when The Ex and I met. And so I had made these promises to myself early on:

  1. Never become a teacher because school sucks!
  2. Never settle down with your first relationship because you need to know all your options.
  3. Don’t settle down before your career is underway.

Well, I fuckin’ broke all those rules. And I may have harbored some resentment that I projected onto The Ex, which is unfair I know, but I’m only human and this was my first relationship so I was learning on the go. But breaking those rules actually helped me accomplish some goals. Teaching theatre made me realize that my mission as an artist is not only to entertain but also to heal AND educate with my work. And I wasn’t missing out on fun with other guys because The Ex and I would bring other boys into the bedroom on occasion. And my career actually started to develop because of the support from The Ex. I am so grateful for everything he’s done for me. Neither of us would be where we are today without the other, though sometimes he may not recognize all that I did for him. Asshole. Seriously, he’s delusional.  *side eye*

My resentment toward myself for not “following my dreams” kept The Ex at arms length.  I almost always had one foot out the door.  That’s not commitment.  Yet I was committed to this man for over a decade. Don’t get it twisted, though. He was no saint. He made too many mistakes that I couldn’t forgive. My heart was fighting with my brain.  And I suppose that is true love.

Star Crashed Lovers

It must’ve been a Monday because I only ever went to Hydrate on Dollar Drink Night. I’d been in Chicago for about a month, and I was already living the Party Monster lifestyleThis was my Rock Star Era. I was living in the city temporarily for an exchange program, and I was going out every night with no one to report to. I was barely 21 and I used my young, white boy, southern twink charm to get everything for free.

No matter the club, the routine was always the same: Shots at home; Get to bar; Buy first dollar drink; Do reconnaissance lap around bar; See same beautiful boyz; See new beautiful boyz; Locate prey; Settle in at bar next to prey; Time drink perfectly to be finished at same time as prey’s drink; Strike up conversation by asking what prey’s delicious-looking drink is; Accept drink that prey inevitably buys me (I learned a a lot about mixology this way); Go home with boy (not necessarily the same as prey).

So on this one particular Monday night at Hydrate 12 years ago, I followed the same routine. But there was a new player in the mix. It was this black guy. Or this Indian. Or…it was hard to tell in the light. But this guy was conducting sexual health outreach surveys for a nonprofit. (Sexual anything, mind you, certainly does not happen in public in the south.) I noticed this guy was pretty standard when asking others the questions. But when he came over to me, he got quite chatty. Definitely flirting. I was getting good at figuring that out. He started asking some really personal questions about my sexual activity. The answers to which had been much different only a month prior. He took my number in case I was eligible to do a paid survey in the future.

A few drinks and a few boys later, I’m standing in line behind him waiting to use the restroom.   Drunkenly I stated, or slurred rather, “you know, it’s not fair that you have my number and I don’t have yours.”

So he gave me his business card and told me to call him.  Excuse me? No.  I don’t call boys. They call me. But I did. The very next day.  I met him at Roscoe’s two days later. And he was black. For sure. Or Indian. Maybe. And we started hanging out every day after that. Twelve years later, this guy became The Ex and we are living together in a Pigeon Hole. And he’s black. For sure he’s black.

We were doomed from the start, though. The very first time The Ex came over to my cute little studio apartment in Boystown, we got into a major screaming fight. I kicked him out and slammed the heavy metal door in his face. It was two in the morning and this resulted in a noise complaint from the landlord. A week later we were celebrating his birthday. That’s when he introduced me to his loser friend we’ll refer to as Mr. T. I hated Mr. T.  But I always ended up partying with Mr. T because Mr. T was always there.

I never believed in true love. Not in the romantic sense at least. But to stick with someone through all the shit we endured together meant that it had to have been true love. So on this very day 12 years later, I raise my glass to a toast. Though we weren’t meant to be in this moment in time,  I will always love you, my star crashed lover.

 

The Past 2 Drinking Days

So I drank on Easter, but barely got through one drink the whole day because I was coming down with a cold.  My acid has been bothering me quite a bit lately even without drinking, so I’ve been trying to eat better as well.  I should probably start taking some pills, though, too just to be on the safe side because too much acid reflux can lead to cancer.  Scary, right!

I also drank last night to celebrate the excitement and freedom of the Night of Noise event that the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance hosted at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago to break the silence of the Day of Silence.  The DOS is a way to combat LGBTQ+ bullying in schools and the NON is a way to break the silence at the end of the day.  After the great event that my boyfriend organized with performances by my friends Mister E. Machine and up-and-coming artist James Panther, I went out with some other friends for drinks.  I was “in the mood,” whatever that means.   My boyfriend obviously had to stay behind and do some work since it was his event so it was just me and my two gay married friends.  Capitalizing on the fact that they were both getting flirted with by some guy at the bar, I got the gentleman to buy us all shots.  I’ve not been much of a shots person since I was 21, and now that I don’t drink that much at all, it probably wasn’t the best idea because the drinks they serve at this particular bar are already strong.  So my night ended with me puking out a cab window while we’re driving 45mph down Lake Shore Drive and getting yelled at by my boyfriend who had to provide me with a bedside trashcan and water once I got home.  I apologize to him and to the next person who opened the car door on the cab.  The emotional and physiological hangover is another reason why I am taking my 31-Day Challenge this year.

  

The Dance was Sweet

This weekend I attended my first gay dance.  We never had a Gay Straight Alliance when I was growing up in Kentucky, so to be able to host a Candyland Dance for the LGBTQ youth in the Chicagoland area at the McGaw YMCA was an amazing opportunity for me.  The students had a great time, and so did the adults.  I love planning events.  And I love it even more when they’re successful.