Friday Night Rituals

I like my Friday night rituals. Twenty Years Ago this is what it was… Leave work early, quickly down dinner, lay down and have a two hour nap, get up, put on the dance music, shower, shave, put on tight jeans and a t-shirt and head out for a night of drinking and dancing until 3 in the morning, stumble home to bed and pass out by 4.

This is how it went tonight… Try to leave work early, but fail because there's a deadline that I need to meet. Come home, get undressed and put the housecoat on. Make myself something simple for dinner which I'll enjoy while watching a movie (tonight was a Doctor Who). I'll invariably pass out in the arm chair for 20 minutes, while doing the "I'm not sleeping head-bob." At this point I'll get up and take a chemical mind-slowerdowner often it's a nice pot of tea (If I'm feeling really daring, I'll have a glass of wine).

At 10 o'clock I start running a bath (with some epson salts and bath oil), lighting candles and turning off the lights. At this point I'll turn up the music often it's Enigma. And at 10:30 I'll burn some incense, lower myself into the tub and for the next 30-45 minutes I'll watch the steam rise from the tub and contemplate the meaning of life.

At 11:30 I'll put moisturizer on my whole body, rub my feet, and further contemplate the meaning of life. Then I'll proceed to further mellow myself until I'm literally in a puddle of relaxation. The week has all been washed away.

Sometimes I miss the me from 20 years ago. Mostly I like the new me better. At the very least now I have much smoother skin.

Principled Principal

So I've been thinking about a post by Dead Robot (That Was Good) for a number of days now. Good writing does that to you. Go on and read it now and then come back. I'll wait.

Finished. Good. Then let me begin.

That story got me thinking about many things. About being terribly depressed in high school. About a family I was growing distant from (how could they not understand I was depressed?). And ultimately it got me thinking about the person that saved me.

That person was the first person that I told I was gay. He was a friend. He was a confidant. He was moral. He was fair. He was principled. He was the man I tried to model myself upon. And he is one of the three critical people that made the man you see before you today. He was also the principal of the high school I went to. And the day that I told him I was gay, was the day that he saved me.

The unbearable pain of being the only gay man in my small town, in the county, and possibly in the whole region was more than my barely teenage heart could take. I'd been severely depressed for almost a whole year. I was literally at a breaking point. And yes, I now completely understand that there were other gays and lesbians sitting in my classrooms with me, but at the time I did not.

One day the principal called me to his office. When most people get called to the principal's office it meant trouble but I revelled in being called into the principal's office. For me it meant that he needed me to do something (probably on the computer) and that I would get out of some boring class. Was it a new computer to figure out and teach him how to use? Was it a new piece of software? Didn't matter. It would be good.

So I went into his office and I don't know where it came from, but I blurted out "I'm gay."

He looked at me and said "That's O.K." He paused, he smiled assuredly, and then continued "Can you look at this computer program for me?"

The conversation continued as if I'd said nothing at all. At the time I was shocked at his non-response. It was only later that I finally put it all together. It didn't matter to him that I was gay. It was as trivial to him as saying "it's raining outside." Me being gay didn't change his view our relationship one tiny little bit.

And once I realized that it made many things better.

Moving Forward

I've been stuck for quite a while. No that's not quite correct. I haven't been stuck, I've been planning my next steps for a while.

I have a tendency to over analyze things. As a result I don't make moves that often. When I settle on something, it stays that way because the decision was a good, well thought out one. I've had my bicycle for 7 years. Had my TV for over 10 years. Had my microwave for over 20 years. I get very comfortable with the choices that I have made. With a TV that is not a problem. There are no hard feelings when the TV needs replacing.

As a result when it's time for something to change I tend to hold on to it for far too long. I've spent far more time in relationships that should have ended, than in relationships when they are good.

Now, throw in with that an avoidance of confrontation at all cost that I inherited that from my "bite-your-tongue-until-it-bleeds" mother. Confrontation is bad. Holding it in is better for everyone. And you have a recipe for disaster.

Today I failed my mother and took a step forward for me. I confronted. I released the stress for change my mind has craved for a while.

I've had the same job, working with (mostly) the same people for the last 20 years. Working in (generally) the same working conditions. Those conditions have not functioned for me for a very long time. They have really not worked for me for the last year. I have tried gentle prodding. I've tried sarcasm, humour and wit. All to no avail. Today I got broke down and went for confrontation.

I don't know what will come of it, but the first step has been made, and I'm moving forward. And that makes today a good day.

Days Off

Tomorrow is supposed to be my day off and what will I do?

I've never been good with day's off—especially in winter. I like days off. Relaxation is good. However, in order for me to truly relax I need to clear my plate. Relaxation happens for me with a clear plate and a clear mind.

My plate at the office never seems to be completely clear. Always deadlines. Always paperwork. Always something. Business in the publishing industry is a little slow. So if I take the day off, I'll be sitting at home thinking I should be doing something more productive than watching TV.

I watch enough TV. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy TV, but I watch enough. What else can I do? Go Shopping? I don't need anything. Go for a walk? To darn cold. Visit friends? It's the holidays and everyone is visited out. So when it come right down to it what I'd be doing on my day off is watching TV.

So, what will I do tomorrow? I'll sleep in, go for a good breakfast, go into the office and get a good days work done. I'll get 7 hours of work done in about 4 hours. No interruptions. No e-mails. No phone calls. No questions to answer. 

If it was summer. The decision would be different.