Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween - BOO!

Happy Halloween to everyone!

We usually go to Salem (The Witch City) where they have an awesome Halloween celebration, but this year we decided to stay home and pass out candy to all the little ghosts and goblins who come around in the neighborhood.

What are you guys doing this year to celebrate?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Can this be happening?

Ever have those moments in life when things happen and you think to yourself, "Am I dreaming?" or "Is this really happening?"

I haven't said anything lately about my work, but it's really going well. Or maybe I should say Exceptionally Well. You guys know the Chef at the restaurant has taken me under his wings, so to speak. He's the one I was telling you about who told the owners they should do everything possible to keep me there.

And if you remember, he invited me and Matty to one of his dinner parties at his home this past summer and asked me to be his Co-Chef that night! And you may remember I was gushing with all kinds of excitement, especially when he toasted me in front of all his friends with something that involved my name and included the words, "...an up and coming chef to watch." (I think I was so spaced out and didn't get the whole thing!)

When Chef is in his kitchen (which he calls The Galley), he's not a man of many words. He runs a tight ship and is all business and takes a great deal of pride in his work -- or his "creations," I like to call them.

The owners of the restaurant have told me he's fairly well known in culinary circles in the area. And they told me he's never, ever taken one of the Servers under his wing like he has with me. So this is a really big deal, if I do say so myself.

Well, here's the news I'm dying to announce. The owners said he has some connections to various culinary schools and training programs in the Boston and Rhode Island area. And even though Chef hasn't said a word to me about this yet, they said he's looking into seeing if there is some scholarship money I might qualify for to help my tuition!

I've been doing all kinds of research on what's available around here and, well, let me just say I've been discouraged because, man, the tuition is astronomical! I mean, we're talking Big Bucks!

But the owners said Chef is making some contacts just to see what's out there with scholarships. So let me just say this: For someone of Chef's caliber, This Means a Lot to Me! This is Huge.

The owners asked me not to tell Chef they talked to me because he's the kind of person who doesn't like to give the impression that he's "pulling strings." So just that expression ("pulling strings") sounds a little more than "looking for scholarship money." Actually my head is spinning a little just thinking about all this and I'm trying not to get any expectations up until I know for sure what he's doing for me.

I'll definitely keep everyone up to date and will post something as soon as I find out what he's got up his sleeve. Like I said in my first sentence up there, this feels like I'm dreaming all this up. But it's definitely giving me some excitement that I might be able to pull off some advance formal culinary training. And career-wise, that is giving me more hope than I've had for a long time. And it's a very good feeling!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thanks!

I just want to say a brief THANK YOU to everyone who commented yesterday! I swear it helped me re-think that whole thing I was calling a "bump" in my relationship with my dad.

It helped me see that it wasn't as major as I thought it was. As a matter of fact, it really wasn't major at all. At the time I think it just felt major because things with me and my dad have been going so smoothly that I just misinterpreted what happened.

I mean, as many of you pointed out, things are not always going to be smooth. Our relationship has been so "off track" since forever, I guess I mistakenly thought everything would be smooth sailing now.

Maybe I've also been wondering if he (and I) might revert back to our old pattern. Sort of like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I opened up once in the past when he tried to reconcile and he very soon let me down -- big time. But so far this time seems different for some reason. Maybe I've grown a lot. And maybe he's reflected and grown a lot, too.

I'd be lying if I said I'm not at all worried or anxious about where things are going now. But I seriously feel I can't afford to focus on that. Yeah, I'm still a little bit guarded. I think that's understandable. But I have to keep moving forward on this.

You guys are like that little note in the center of the sign up there. While I wondered if this whole thing was impossible and hopeless... and doubted that I could do it... and worried that I would just give up...

...all of you have been encouraging me forward. And now I genuinely feel like "I can do it."
Thank you so much!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A bump in the road

Hi everyone. Like Matty said yesterday, we're trying to get up to speed (no pun intended in reference to the sign above! LOL), but I wanted to give you an update on something important to me.

This has to do with my relationship with my dad. I'm very happy that things seems to be going well between us. It seems like things are starting to flow a little easier when we interact, and that makes me happy.

But we had a "bump in the road" about a week ago when I was visiting him and he asked about how school was going. I'm trying not to be as much on guard with him as I've been in the past because I really just want to be myself. I made a commitment to myself a while back that I wanted to stop being anxious when we were together because I'm serious about wanting things between us to just "flow." But I'm also realistic enough to understand that this sort of thing takes time while we find our "groove" with each other.

So when he asked about how school was going, I told him I was doing really well except for my statistics class where I was struggling. He looked at me kind of funny and said, "Why are you having trouble with that?" His tone was a little edgy and what threw me was how different that interaction was from how it's been up to this point.

In the past I would have taken this as severe criticism because I've always had to be on guard for his next jab, but not this time! So YAY for me! What I said was, "I'm having trouble because I've always had trouble with math." And I just look at him waiting for his reaction. I admit I was throwing out something of a challenge to him, but I was determined to just be myself and not back down.

And I could tell by the tone of his reaction that I made my point. He kind of sheepishly said, "Yeah. I've never been that good at math either." And I nodded and things got back on track and we continued with what we were doing.

I feel like we're probably in some kind of process, like I said above, where we're trying to find our groove. And it's not going to be a completely smooth process. It sort of feels like we're being more relaxed around each other instead of "being on best behavior." And believe me, I like that a lot better than being tense and just waiting for the shoe to drop.

But I'm really happy I stood my ground instead of getting all offended by his comment, which is what I would have done in the past. I asked Matty later if this sort of thing ever happens with his parents. He reminded me that he has a different history with his parents and that helped me realize that my dad and I are "catching up" in our relationship and are now making our history.

In a strange -- or maybe not so strange -- way, these "bumps in the road" are actually a good thing. I think. I'm not sure if I expressed that the best way, but maybe you get my meaning. Does that make sense? These bumps are how both of us are "getting real" with each other. There haven't been any major bumps, and maybe there won't be any, but if there are then we have to work through them.

At least I'm hoping we can. I'm trying to stay optimistic because otherwise I can't do this.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We're baaaaak!

Thank the Powers of the Universe that mid-term exams are now officially OVER!!

Man, it was a grueling week! For some reason this series of exams was more demanding than usual. I've never done an Independent Study before and even though it involved no "exam" per se, I had to spend an unusual amount of time trying to get on top of this project.

The challenging part was trying to get everything organized so it would fit in an acceptable business/academic model. It's not my natural way of working and I had to battle feeling extreme frustration a lot of the time, to feeling overwhelmed emotionally because I couldn't stay focused and organized. When I got so overwhelmed, I then tried to find ways to get myself distracted and calmed down, which created its own set of problems because it was then hard to get myself back on track.

I want to do a good job because my school work is important to me, and I'll have to defend this project when it's done. But man, it's turning out to be more involved and complicated than I ever imagined.

The good news is that my passion for writing this book has not gone away. That is something I worried might be adversely affected because of the academic demands involved. One thing that has helped me so much in this regard is what Ann Marie told me recently:

"I can completely understand not wanting to lose your passion. You won't though. The project is too close to your heart."

So now that these exams are finally a thing of the past, we can relax some and try to get back into the swing of things. 

And Deedles? We're getting things here on the blog all cleaned up and spiffy. Like you said in your comment on our last post a week ago ("Madley Mansion is getting a little cobwebby. Just sayin' "), give us a day or so and we'll have things running like a well lubed oiled machine. (How's that for mixing metaphors?! See how exam week has affected my brain? LOL)

Anyway, we're glad to be back among the living. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sundays with Sam: My first Halloween

BOO! Good morning, or afternoon, or evening (depending on when you are reading this!). This is Sam-I-Am-Spooky! Halloween spooky, that is! LOL
Hope I didn't scare you all too much with that BOO! LOLEmoji
What is every one doing for Halloween this year? I am feeling super excited and a little nervous this year because believe it or not, this will be the very first Halloween I have ever celebrated in my life. My parents never got into the spirit of holidays so it was never a big deal. About the closest I ever came to having a celebration was at school when the teachers would decorate the room and the hallway. I always use to enjoy seeing the scary decorations because my imagination would some times run away from me and it would give me a chance to kind of escape into this mysterious world where there were ghosts and goblins.

They also had some Halloween parties at school but I never went because you were suppose to wear a costume and at least one parent had to be with you. So that was out. But then on the other hand I was always extremely shy any way and I was never good when I was around other kids unless it was in a class setting because I knew what to do then and how to act. Plus when I was in class I never had to speak a whole lot, which was good because I would stutter if I had to talk too much and that just made me feel bad.

I am not sure why I am including what I just did other than to give all of you a little background so you will be able to see what a HUGE deal this is for me. Now you can understand why I said I am Super Excited but also a little nervous.

Rick, my super-cute BOYFRIEND, got invited to a bunch of different Halloween parties that his friends are having, but he said he didn't want to go to them this year. He said he was just not in the mood for any kind of big celebrations and wanted to do something on a small scale and asked me how I felt about his idea. He said I could come over to his house and help pass out candy to the little kids and we could keep it on a small scale that way. The other idea was this:

He said his mom and some of her friends volunteer at one of the hospitals and every year for Halloween they all get dressed up in costumes and go around to the patients and wish every one a Happy Halloween. And there are always some little kids there also and that would be so cool to pass out candy if they can have it, which I am not sure of, but still, it would be so cool to do this!!

And I don't think I would have to worry about my speech too much. My stutter gets really bad when I feel a lot of pressure so I think I could handle this. So I picked doing the hospital visit.

I asked Rick if he was disappointed about not going to the parties his friends are having and guess what he said? "Disappointed? No. It's the same ol' thing every year. I LOVE the idea of going to hospital. It'll be different and will mean a lot to the patients there. I was actually hoping you'd pick the hospital any way."

OMG! After he said that I went into a total state of Happiness! If you know me, you know I cry easily, especially when I feel over-whelmed with happiness. THOSE are the absolute best kind of tears. So naturally when he said, "I was actually hoping you'd pick the hospital" -- I said, "Really?" And then I had a HUGE SMILE and started tearing! And then we hugged the tightest hug you can imagine! It was so cool.

And I am seriously looking forward to doing this. So I was trying to think of a costume I could wear and that was a little hard because I have never celebrated Halloween before, but I have seen tons of costumes on TV and other places. So I thought I might like to go as the cartoon character SAM-I-AM. You know, with the big red hat and all! I thought the kids would get a kick out of that. But for some reason I decided to go as a pirate.

The two reasons I changed my mind are: One, I think going dressed up as the character Sam-I-Am would make me too self conscious or something. Maybe next year I could do that one.

Two, the reason I decided on a pirate costume is because I have always loved pirates. I remember seeing some Disney movies about pirates and really liked those movies. Plus, I would watch those movies with my Grandma and she like them, too. Plus, I always remember how happy she would be when I got kind of lost in the movies, and especially how she would make those pirate sounds like, "AHOY!" and "ARRRRR!" and funny sounding words like, "You scurvy scallywags!" Oh man, I have so many good memories of those times. I still miss my Grandma a lot, and I decided to go with being a pirate kind of like in memory of her.

Anyway, that is what I'm doing for Halloween this year. My very first Halloween celebration EVER! And I am going as a Pirate in memory of my Grandma. I know if she was alive she would say I was the best-looking Pirate in the history of the world. And she would make over me and act like she was scared of me and beg for mercy that I would let her live! HA HA! I can just see her. Man, she always made me laugh. But mainly she made me feel like I was the coolest kid in the world. I am getting a little teary right now remembering her because I think she was the coolest Grandma is the world, and I miss her very much.

And now to get this back on a happy note, I just want to say how excited I am to celebrate my First Halloween. I get to spend time with RICK, my BOYFRIEND, and also get to dress up as a Pirate in memory of my Grandma, and I get to help make some people in the hospital happy so they can celebrate Halloween.

Now I ask you. How much more could I ask for? I hope all of you have a very, very happy Halloween this year!

Love and hugs, Sam-I-Am-A-Pirate!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Keeping a low profile

Well it's that dreaded time of year again when we have to take midterm exams. Brad was a busy bee last week as he was reviewing his material, and now that exam week is here, it's time for me to buckle down. I always do best when I wait to the last minute. It's hard for me to retain technical material if I study too far away from exam time. 

I tried to get a little studying done last week and over the weekend, but a bunch of people attending GRL (GayRomLit, aka Gay Romance Literature Retreat) kept bugging me the whole time. Well, I might have encouraged the bugging -- some. Well, a lot! Not complaining since I'm always looking for reasons to enjoy good joke and play around. It sorta felt like I was there in person, except I couldn't get any real time hugs! 

I really appreciate all the selfies people sent me and especially the pics of some of my favorite authors. Adding those to my collection.

Oh, and last year a group of people got together for a group photo and dubbed themselves "Matty's Harem." So they decided to make this an annual event and all got together on Saturday night for an update. Can't wait to see the 2014 version of "Matty's Harem."

Brad and I will be posting this week, but maybe not every day. I have responsibilities with my Harem, which I take quite seriously, and then we have those pesky exams which just get in the way of everything! 
We'll be peeking out occasionally and hope to see you here!Emoji


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Saved up wishes

Hi every one. It's Sunday again and time for Sam-I-Am!

Today I wanted to give you a little update on a couple of things. When I saw that sign up there it really, really got me to thinking about a lot of stuff. It's funny how a little simple one-sentence sign can make me think about so many different things. And the really cool thing about that sentence is it makes me even think about negative stuff in a positive light. Yeah, I know that sentence is probably a little confusing so let me explain because it kind of blows my mind that I can see negative things in a positive light.

But first the positive:

Since meeting Rick (you know, MY BOYFRIEND in case you have forgotten LOL!! LOL!!), I have been able to let some of my "saved up wishes start coming out" such as finally, FINALLY after all these years of my life (HA HA!!), have a BOYFRIEND! And this might not be a major deal for some people, but I will let you in on a secret: I guess over the years - going all the way back to being a little child - I felt my life was in a deep hole filled with a lot of  sadness. I was pretty sure my whole life for ever and ever would by dark and I would be so lonely except for maybe a few friends I trusted. So one saved up wish that has happened is letting Rick into my life because that made a LOT of the dark go away!

Now the negative:

You guys already know a little about all the trouble I have had with my parents. I was in foster care once and, well, I have had a lot of darkness going on. There were some serious times I didn't even know whether I wanted to go on with my life because it got really bad. I remember a lot of times feeling terrified about all the fighting going on at home. But now...

Even with Rick I am learning that we can have disagreements and even an occasional argument and, get this, it's not the end of the world and I don't have to worry about being hurt physically or emotionally because he has a totally different attitude about problems. I admit that almost 100% of the time I start freaking out inside when there is a problem, but I am getting way better at it now because I know nothing bad will happen.

Like last week some thing happened and this is a good example to use. I was joking around with Rick and I think I was so comfortable with him that I let slip some thing that hurt his feelings. And the thing is I wasn't trying to hurt his feelings or be mean or any thing, but I guess I was feeling a little too relaxed and did not "filter" some thing. So what happened then was Rick asked me what I meant and right at that exact point I knew I had hurt his feelings because I could see it on his face.

So naturally I started freaking out inside like I always do because for some reason I can't control that reaction. I think I am getting way better at it but it still happens. So I started apologizing for what I said and then I couldn't even explain why I said it because I was freaking out inside and all I wanted to do was cry and wait for him to tell me I was a bad person and start criticizing me. And the weird thing is, Rick has NEVER EVER told me I was a bad person. And he has NEVER EVER started criticizing me. So I guess this is from all the years I have been told I was bad and worthless and never would amount to any thing and would be criticized with out any let up.

So instead of making me feel bad because I did not filter out some thing, Rick was patient and calm and explained what bothered him and why it bothered him. And when he explained it, the whole thing made perfect sense why he would feel that way. So I was able to use this thing I learned in my counseling group and I calmly told him, "I apologize for saying that and can see why you would feel that way. I think if you had said that to me, I would probably feel the same way." And then we were able to talk it all the way through, which believe me, was hard! I tried to keep my mind calm because I wanted to prove to my self that I can handle things like this in a mature manner. And I also want Rick and I to have a strong relationship so we can discuss any thing - and I mean ANY thing - that comes up because he is very important to me.

After we got every thing all worked out I apologized again and promised to try harder in the future. And you know what he said? Some thing like, "Hey. No relationship is perfect and that is not even what we should try for. Something like this is probably going to happen again where I say some thing that hurts your feelings, or you say some thing that hurts my feelings, and all we have to remember is that we should always tell each other when this happens so we can work it out."

He has told me this before but every single time he says some thing like this, I feel stunned inside. It is so totally different from what I have been use to in the past. But it makes me feel like Rick truly does love me (not that I ever doubted it), and wants us to have an honest relationship, which is exactly what I want too.

So I will keep trying to remember that when there is a problem I should try not to freak out like I usually do. I guess every time we have to have a serious talk about some thing, it is a good thing, which sounds strange I know, but some good things can come out of working it through.

I guess that is why the sign up there means some thing special to me. I am finally able to let some of my "saved up wishes" start coming out. In this case, I have always wished some one would take me seriously and give me a chance to be a good person because that is what I think I really am inside. I have been told so many times that I am ---- well, I don't even want to use the words here because I hate even thinking about them and I am trying to cleanse all of them out of my head.

So that is all for this week. I hope all of your saved up wishes start coming out. And if they have already been coming out, I hope they continue. You are worth it.
EmojiLove and hugs from Sam-I-Am!Emoji

Friday, October 17, 2014

She likes me better

What is it about boys and their moms? I've always had a close relationship with mine, even though I gave her a run for her money when I was a little kid due to my hyperactivity. But I never got the feeling she resented me for requiring a lot of attention.

Man, I was always into everything. My brothers have joked with me that if some kind of record was kept of how many times my mom said my name (followed by things like, "I'm counting to three. You're in Time Out if I get to 'three.' " or, "Slow down! Stop running, please!"), then my name was used probably ten times more frequently than theirs.

And each variation of my name was coded with different meanings:

Matty = My everyday name. Code: Everything is fine.

Matt = Depending on the tone is which it was spoken. In an everyday voice, it meant everything is fine. However, if it had been preceded by "Matty!" at least three times, then the code was, "I need you to stop right now and pay close attention to what I'm saying."

Matthew = The use of my full formal name (followed by a few exclamation marks) usually meant, "I am not happy with what's happening right now", followed with a requirement that everything come to a screeching halt, after which Mom used her Stern Voice to either have a Serious Talk and/or to Announce Consequences.

Like I said, I've always had a close relationship with my Mom. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that many times when I was a little kid, I seriously wondered if she liked my two brothers better than me. I seemed to be getting into trouble at a significantly higher rate than them.

And my brothers (all of us being the kids we all were at the times) always seemed to enjoy watching me get in trouble. If my mom ever caught them snickering, then they would get some kind of mild reprimand, which always pleased me.

It was funny this past weekend when my Mom and Dad stopped by to visit Brad and I for a short visit. It's always a treat when they do this because I get to show off some of the home improvement projects I've been working on along with my latest woodcarvings. And Brad loves making a pot of the most delicious-smelling flavored coffee and serving them his latest baked goods, like some homemade apple pie a la mode.

The funny part of the visit happened right at the beginning. I always greet both my parents with a kiss, and then it's Brad's turn. They always give him a kiss and a hug but this time my Mom decides to have a little fun. Innocent fun. If you ever want to know where I get my sense of humor, blame (or credit) my Mom.

When Brad came into the room, my Mom says, "Brad, honey. How are you sweetie?" Nice, huh? Well, all I had gotten was, "Hey honey. How are you?" Brad got the full name treatment along with "honey" and "sweetie." I actually loved watching this because they really do adore Brad and he loves them so much.

So I have my suspicions that Mom and Brad had arranged this little scene prior to their visit because after Mom greeted Brad (remember, using his name and honey and sweetie, while I just got, "Hey honey. How are you?"), she walked by me on the way to the living room and said, "I just love Brad to death."

And! To make it worse, Brad heads to the kitchen to start the coffee and as he passes me he says, "She really does like me best."

Oh man. I really had to chuckle. When Brad returned from the kitchen as we were waiting for the coffee to make, my Mom motioned for Brad to come sit next to her on the sofa! And then she started lavishing all kinds of attention on him. "How's your job?" "Do you still like the Chef?" "How's school?" "Are we going to get to hear you play your guitar?"

So I'm sitting there taking all this in wondering if this is one of my mom's playful setups. And if it was, they were carrying it off with perfect aplomb. It started going a little bit over the top as I was either being completely ignored or my mom would say, "Matty, could you hand me that coaster, please?" and then it was back to Brad.

Well, I was on to them at this point and just played along, getting in on all the fun. And it really was fun. And the cool thing about it was listening to my mom and dad both tell some stories about what I was like as a little kid, a few Brad hadn't heard before, and a few I had completely forgotten all about.

It made me feel good to hear both my parents recall memories they had about me when I was little, and especially to see how they hold on to that history -- the good times and the challenging times. I was about to write "the good and the bad," but "bad" doesn't really capture it correctly. I remember I often felt "bad" because I was always getting into trouble, but it really helped to hear how they can see those times as "challenging" (which is totally true) rather than "bad."

Now I just need to get Brad a t-shirt like the one up above. I might even have one custom made for when they come visit us next time -- or for when we go to see them. Only I might get them to add "Your" before the word "Mom."

I love hearing my mom laugh. She's got one of the best, most heartfelt laughs ever. Like I said, I think I got my humor from her. And I think she'd love seeing Brad wear that t-shirt. I know I'm looking forward to seeing her reaction.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A friendship mirror

Thanks to Ann Marie for
sending me this quote recently.
We were talking to Sam (aka Sam-I-Am, our friend who guest posts on Sundays) about how important friends are. He was saying how much he's gotten out of the comments everyone leaves him each week and how a lot of the comments help him see things about himself he's never even thought of before.

He was actually surprised to heard Brad and I both say that's how it is for us also. Brad then showed him some comments some of you left him on things he's written that helped him understand himself a little better.

And man, oh man, did I have plenty of examples to show him from my posts!

Some of you tell us how much our posts mean to you, which means so much to us because we try to put a lot of thought into what we write. Well, except for those occasional silly posts we write for pure entertainment purposes! LOL! But Brad even pointed out that some of those silly posts mean something, too, because sometimes people say something like, "I really, really needed a laugh today. Thank you!" So I guess that counts, too, huh?

But that quote Ann Marie sent me about how friends hold a mirror up to each other really got me to thinking -- not only about how the blog has helped us understand  ourselves better because of the "mirroring interaction" with you guys -- but about how this mirroring works in real life.

For example, I was chatting with Ann Marie about my children's book and about how I was a little worried that doing this as my Independent Study for academic credit might cause me to lose some of my excitement and passion for what (and why) I'm doing this. This Independent Study means I have to develop a model that meets academic muster and I don't want that academic emphasis to dampen the passion from my heart.

Her very brief response to my concern was a prime example of "mirroring" and helped me understand myself better. It was as if she held up a mirror to me so I could see inside myself better:

"I can completely understand not wanting to lose your passion. You won't though. The project is too close to your heart."

And then I was talking to our Mary G recently (well, on a number of occasions), and she frequently asks if she can give me some feedback (which is a form of "mirroring" if you think about it). Then she will say something that takes what I was just telling her and combines it with something I shared with her in the past, and this new "mirroring feedback" enlightens something that had been a major blind spot to me. The mirroring reflects something about myself in a clearer light and I end up seeing something I hadn't seen in myself before.

It's like a mirror is being held up to me so I can see myself (often my deepest self) in a clearer light. Sometimes I don't like what I see. Sometimes what I'm being shown through the mirror reflection is something I might not particularly like. It might conflict with what I thought was going on -- or with what I wanted to see. The reflection I'm seeing in that mirror might challenge me to open my eyes wide and see -- really see -- what's going on inside me. 

And then I might have to change some erroneous belief I was holding onto, or change some perception about some person I was feeling negative things about. And change is always hard for me. Seeing an accurate reflection of myself might mean having to let go of incorrect beliefs or perceptions. Sounds easy, but believe me, it's hard. For me it is anyway.

Brad and I hold up mirrors to each other also. I suppose everyone in a relationship does. True friends are doing this all the time, too. But then that's for another post. I'm in such a pensive mood now I need to give my brain a rest. LOL.

Does any of this make sense to you guys? About how we often hold up a mirror to friends and other people? 
Wow. I need to take a nap now!Emoji

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Different faces of my masculinity

For me, expressing my masculinity is...

... wearing slightly baggy jeans with some wear-tears, a T-shirt, a baseball cap, slightly ratty sneakers with no socks, and having a messy hair style, knowing I look like your average "boy next door" because that's how I'm feeling inside that particular day.

... wearing whatever makeup I feel like on any particular day and knowing I look pretty because that's how I'm feeling inside that day.

... putting my hands over my mouth and giggling when I'm feeling so giddy inside in that particular moment.

... wearing tight skinny jeans, a tapered shirt, and canvas shoes on a particular day and feeling confident and strong inside when I walk to class.

... not shaving my face for three days and liking the very slight scruffy look I get which allows me to feel a different kind of masculinity than the smooth look.

... waking up each day and letting myself be aware of what kind of gender mood I'm in and thinking about how I can express that mood in my attitude that day.

... feeling proud of myself for winning (with honor) those small battles I have with the different parts of myself.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spooky reading

I LOVE Halloween so much! We usually go to Salem (aka Witch City) and join in the festivities there. I mean, they know how to celebrate this holiday right!

Anyway, I've written before about how I love reading dark stories. I'm even somewhat of an minor expert on film noir. But this year I'd love to immerse myself in some good scary, suspenseful, ghost stories, or anything that might be great Halloween reading.



A short while back I read Josh Lanyon's The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks, and really loved it. 

But do you guys have any recommendations? It can be in any genre, as long as it's a good scary story that would be great reading for the Halloween season. 

Thanks!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Columbus Day

Wishing everyone here is the U.S. a Happy Columbus Day. 

This is the day we celebrate the day Christopher Columbus discovered North America and, equally significant, didn't sail his ship off the edge of what they thought at the time to be a flat world!

We don't have school or work today, so we might go apple picking or take a day trip down to New Bedford and visit the Whaling Museum there, which we've wanted to do for a while.

What are you guys doing today?


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sundays with Sam: Straightening my crown

Good morning, my lovely Online Family! Wow. That felt so cool to say. I know I tell you guys all the time how much each and every one of you mean to me, but it's the honest truth. Those are not just simple words you're suppose to say because you're being polite. I seriously mean what I say and I guess I want to make sure every one of you know that. So I will say it one more time:
Good Morning My Lovely Online Family!Emoji
I guess you can't miss that big sign at the top of my post. Brad and Matty sent it to me this week and when I read it the first time I went from dry eyes to extremely wet eyes in like the space of one second. I was not exactly sure what the last line meant ("And walked away like a boss."), but I finally figured it out. You know how I have talked about how I want to be in charge of my own life instead of letting other people like my parents and those who don't like gay people? Well, that last line means I am "straightening my Crown" (I like that image!!) and I am walking away from all the negative influences in my life because - are you ready for this? - I Am the Boss of My Own Life!

That's pretty cool, huh? The Boss of My Own Life. Well, I was talking to Brad after the guys sent me the sign and I told him how much I liked it, and then I told him, "I'm trying to be the Boss of my life, but I'm not quite there." And then he was pointing out some ways I have become the Boss of my Life and helping remind me of how far I have come, but I guess I am a little bit stubborn because then I said, "But I'm still not all the way there." And guess what he said to that? "Yet."  And he explained that probably no body is 100% in charge of absolutely every thing in their life, because we all have to deal with stuff people have told us about our selves. But we have to keep pushing past all that stuff and keep moving forward, and THAT is what makes us the Boss of Our Life! Get it? I love that so much!!

So today I wanted to give you a couple of updates on how I am "pushing past all the stuff and moving forward in my Life." Remember last week when I told you guys about the "Remember the Positive" project at the counseling program I go to? Every day I have been writing down one positive thing about my self or one positive thing that happened to me during the day so I can concentrate more on the positives.

Well now it is almost two weeks I have been doing it, and guess what? Some days I have been able to come up with more than one thing! Like some days I have 2 or 3 things to list! How cool is that? It has really been helping me a lot, and now it is not as hard as it was in the beginning, so do you know what that means? Give up? It means "I am pushing past all the stuff and moving forward in my Life." It is so cool to me how much this helps so now I am going to keep doing that because I am on a roll now and it really helps me out a lot!

So, there is one other thing I have not told you guys about, but it sort of fits in today's post and I feel more comfortable talking about it now. Going back up there to that sign where it talks about "all those hurts, scars, and bruises" I have been through, and how they were suppose to kill me, or at least make my life miserable, I am finally taking some action on some thing that has bothered me for a long time.

My counselor talked to me a while back about some thing that has always made me very self conscious. And I have finally decided to do some thing about it now after all these years. I have this problem with stuttering. And some times it is really hard for me to control it. My counselor talked to one of the doctors that is connected to the counseling program and they both think it might be a good idea for me to get it checked out by a special doctor to see if I can do some thing about it. They said there is some thing called psychogenic stuttering (I got them to write that down since it is a mouth-full of words) and if that is what it is, then it is caused by trauma you have been through.

I don't stutter all the time, and I can write out my thoughts without any problem at all, but some times I do have trouble talking smoothly. So they are going to make an appointment for me with some specialist who can maybe help me with this. It is not clear yet what kind of stuttering this is or what caused it, but I'm ready now to see if maybe some thing can be done about it. Other kids in school use to make fun of me all the time, and I don't know if that falls in the category of bullying or if this is just what kids just do, but it really made me feel like I was so screwed up and stupid and dumb and all kinds of bad things.

So I am listing this in my "Remember the Positive" list. I am glad I agreed to go to this appointment they are making for me so I can see if I can conquer this. I know my stuttering does not mean I am any of those negative things, like stupid or dumb, but it makes me feel that way inside sometimes. It keeps me from expressing myself like I really want to and so I keep quiet, even when I feel like I have some thing to say.

Rick (my BOYFRIEND) has been helping me with this. Lots of people jump in and try to finish my sentences because I some times have a hard time getting it all out because I stutter. And that just makes it worse when they do that because it puts more pressure on me, especially if they get it wrong and then I have to put pressure of my self to correct them so I can say what I want to express. And it also makes it worse because I feel like I am under a spot light and that makes me super self-conscious. And then I imagine they are thinking I am screwed up because I can't even talk normal.

But when it happens with Rick, he always just waits on me to get the words out on my own. And he does not even look uncomfortable when I stutter, like so many people do. I can tell it makes other people uncomfortable, but Rick is so patient and waits for me to get it out, and the more he does that, the less I stutter.

Well, I think I will end my post for today. I am getting so much out of my Positive List and if you have never done one, you might be surprised at how much it helps. It's funny how doing some thing so simple as writing down one positive item each day can make such a major difference. At least it has for me.

Anyway, like that sign up there says. . . .
I am now going to straighten my crown---->Emojiand walk away like the boss of my life!!
I hope all of you have a Great Sunday and a Great Week.

Until next Sunday, Love and Hugs from Sam-I-Am-the-Boss! HA HA!

Friday, October 10, 2014

To My Bradley


Quiet love...
 
I don't fully understand "insta-love." It's difficult for me to understand something as important and powerful and meaningful as "Love" just happening in an instant. Not there one minute -- there the next.
 
But when I first laid eyes on you, I know something out of the ordinary happened. It felt important, powerful, and meaningful, but I had no words to match what was happening inside me. Maybe "insta-attraction"?
 
We dated for a while, got to know each other, and over a period of time those feelings grew into something more than just "feelings." Whatever it was grew into something with depth and substance. And it's now become something "essential" to me. I can't even come close to picturing my life without you.
 
I keep thinking about "quiet love" when I think about us. Or really when I think about you.
 
Quiet love

Your quiet courage and determination to always try to be your true self inspired me to have the courage to do the same. I remember you never wanting to be "showy" about wearing your eyeliner and nail polish and makeup. You wanted to see what your comfort zone was as you experimented with being more open in public. And as silly as it might sound, I remember last summer wanting to push my comfort zone, too, by getting my hair cut in a Mohawk -- something I'd always wanted to do, but forever stopped myself because it made me a little too self-conscious and moved me out of my own comfort zone.
 
Your quiet courage and determination to stretch your comfort zone with your makeup inspired me to tell my barber, "Here's a picture of what I want." And I remember walking out the barber shop that day feeling very proud of myself. When I got home, you have no idea how happy it made me when I walked in and you said, "You. Look. So. Good. I love it!"
 
Quiet love
 
You're one of the very few people in my life who took the time to research all about ADHD after I told you about it. I loved how quiet you were about researching it. I had no idea you were "quietly" reading up on it so you could understand me better, until that night when you asked if we could talk.
 
"So, can I ask some questions about the ADHD?" I loved that you had been reading up on it. And one question led to another and we ended up talking for a long stretch that night.
 
I was initially anxious about having this talk, because my ADHD had always been something I had some shame about. It always triggered feelings of inferiority when I compared myself to other people. But you were fascinated with it and kept saying things like, "Oh. So it's better not to have intense and involved talks late at night when your meds are wearing off?"
 
All of this was motivated by your quiet love of me. Nothing showy. Just trying to quietly understand me better, thus allowing our love to grow and deepen. I never felt judged by you. All I felt was your quiet love as you wanted to know more of me -- the "real" me. Not the "broken" me I thought I was.
 
Your quiet love allowed me to see myself through your eyes. And when I saw myself through your eyes, all I saw was my beauty -- my inner beauty. Not broken, but whole.
 
Quiet love
 
So let me just say this. Your quiet love speaks loudly and lovingly in my head and my heart. When I tell myself, "Who am I kidding? I can't write this children's book?", I hear your quiet voice saying, "Only you can tell this story. I believe in you."
 
When I tell myself, "I'm just a blue collar carpenter. Look at my parents. Look at my brothers. What happened to me?", I hear your quiet voice saying, "Look at the beauty you create. You make beautiful furniture. And look at your woodcarvings. You're an artist."
 
Quiet love
 
Your quiet love runs deep. And it runs deep inside me now.
Love you with my all my heart.