That bridge burned down to the ground

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Burning-Bridges

My sister, who despite her negative review of my book with her OWN NAME, will remain nameless (that is unless you go see her Amazon review, then she is no longer nameless), has lit the final flame on the bridge that burned it down to the ground.  I am not going to try to put the fire out because there isn’t anything TO put up, the bridge is nothing but ash on the ground below, all I can do is sweep the ashes and move on.  But before I do that, I’d like to share a little story of how it happened.

As you know, I wrote a book called “Diary of a Gay Nerd: Life After Child Abuse, It Gets Better!”  It is my memoir about my life growing up with a violent step-father and a sister who I got along with for most of my childhood until she decided that it would be fun to ruin the rest of my childhood.  But that’s not what the whole book is about, I also talk about my experiences being bullied at school because I was gay, becoming homeless because I was gay, becoming an alcoholic, becoming addicted to drugs and the experiences of my past relationships, and finally at the end being diagnosed with AIDS, diabetes, degenerative disc disease, Stephen Johnson’s Syndrome, sleep apnea and Parkinson’s Disease etc.

My book was not meant to be an attack on anyone, but rather a way for me to work through my issues, to get all of those feelings out there and to tell my side of the story.  As I was writing the book, I was writing with those feelings that I had in the memory, so it may seem like I still had negative feelings, but that’s the only way I was able to write about the memory, to show the feeling that I felt at the time.  Of course I no longer hold any resentment towards anyone and I no longer have those negative feelings because I have worked through my issues.  Yes I do still have flashbacks and nightmares that haunt me and hurt me to the core, but I don’t think those old memories and the feelings that come with them are ever going to go away.  Of course, my family doesn’t see it that way, they see it as a way for me to attack them and make money off of it.  That’s simply not true.

After I read my sisters “Review” or rather her “personal attack” I called my aunt who lives in Simi Valley.  The reason I called her is because she is always asking me if I have spoken with her or had any contact with her, well, I did in a way.  So I called her.  But, she wasn’t as sympathetic as I had thought she would be, instead she went on the attack.  Here is how that went.

She told me that my timeline of events while living with her were way off and that I said something about her that was a bold face lie.  Well, I asked her what the lie was and she said she couldn’t remember, but after she read it she said to her husband that she never said that.  She said it was something about her not defending me, but isn’t exactly sure what that was.  Well, you know, if what she said is true then I will certainly check it out and edit that part out or make a note that her version of events were different or that she doesn’t feel that I was being truthful, but in my defense, I honestly don’t know what she is talking about and I didn’t add any lies in the book about her.  In fact, I was trying to be as kind to her as possible in the book, but there were certain things that I wrote that were hurtful and they were the truth.

In my opinion, I think she might be referring to me hearing a conversation between her and my mother when they were talking about my friendship with my first boyfriend being a phase.  Of course I didn’t know that my whole family knew I was gay until I was 17 years old when my mother confronted me about it, but she told me that they all knew that I was gay.  The reason that came up in our conversation is because my sister said in her “review” that I was bragging to my parents about my “male-male relationship” which I think she is referring to having sex with him, which by the way never happened.  Not only were we not having sex until I was 17 and homeless, but even if I were having sex, I wouldn’t as a 15 year old tell my parents.  I mean give me a break.

My aunt said that my perception of time was off because 1 we were only there for 6 months, but I seem to recall living with her when the original mini series V came to NBC which was in September 1984.  I also remember being there for Halloween 1984 and I remember still living there when summer began in 1985.  That’s when I met my first boyfriend, it was the beginning of summer and I went over to my girlfriends house and we were going to the beach with our other friend and her brother was driving us.  That is the day that I met him.  We probably spent 2 months together and then we left.  She said that he was going to the Riverside school for the deaf while we were living with her and that I started school in September in Simi Valley, but that is not true because we left during the summer of 1985.  But how is September to September 6 months anyway?  My perception of time is not off here, but that is my opinion and it is also my memory.  I never went to high school in Simi Valley, I started high school at Saugus High School on the first day of school.

My sister also mentioned a few other false facts that were just so out there that I can’t remember what they were and I refuse to go back to the review to look because it will just piss me off more.  But she mentioned that when I was 13-14 my mother told me about my real father and I was so enraged that I pushed her and my stepfather down which caused him to have a heart attack.  So false!  She told me about my real father on my 15th birthday.  We went for a walk and she told me all about him and I was so happy to have that little gap in my heart filled.  I wasn’t angry with her for it, I was grateful that she told me.  And as far as pushing her, she had a bad back and I was even defending her back problems when people were calling her a drug addict, why would I push her?  Get real!

And my stepfather had “Heart attacks” so often that you could predict them.  One time it was so bad that he was crying, but when we got to the emergency room, they said he had gas.  That was when I was 19 years old though and we lived in Quartz Hill.  My sister will dispute that, but she wasn’t living there.  I had to move in with my parents because I was living with her and came home from work and she wasn’t expecting me and she was walking around the house naked and I saw her whole naked body.  I won’t describe what I saw, because that would be too invasive, but if you think I am lying, ask me and I will tell you.  She got mad and told me I had to leave.

Anyway, I can understand that she is hurt that I wrote a book and called her a few names like sociopath, but she didn’t read the book, otherwise she would have read the nice things that I said about her.  Like this.

Here is a quote from the book in chapter 9.

“It was lunch break one day and I was walking by myself when out of nowhere I felt someone jump on my back. Some kid, who I didn’t even know, who must have weighed 200lbs had jumped on me. I fell like a ton of bricks had just landed on my head. He was straddling me while punching me in the head and since I was lying on my stomach, all I could do was hold my hands over my head because I didn’t know what else to do. My sister must have noticed the fight and she came to see what was happening. She got him to stop hitting me by beating the crap out of him. She threatened him to leave me alone or she would kick his ass again, but he didn’t care.

“I started trusting her again despite the trouble that she had caused me in Bakersfield. Even though she was still a bitch to me at home and she still purposely got me into trouble, I still remembered that one good thing she did for me at school.”

In chapter 15…

“Sarah and I were finally getting along since she apologized to me about the way she had been treating me and I forgave her. I was still upset with her, but I was able to set my feelings aside because I finally got my sister back.

“I wanted to hang out with her at the smoking section because I didn’t know anyone. I really didn’t want to know anyone either, I mean what was the point? We were just going to move again anyway and I would lose all of my new friends so why bother?

“Sarah was my bodyguard and nobody would bother me as long as I was with her. Trust me, nobody messed with her, and if you messed with me, you messed with her. “She made friends fast and her new friends were tired of me hanging around them because she was in the twelfth grade and I was in the tenth grade. She wanted me to leave, but I didn’t want to so her friends told me that if I wanted to hang out with them, I would have to start smoking.”

See?  I just wanted to hang out with my sister at school.  All I ever wanted was her love and her friendship.  And I even tried making amends with my stepfather by saying this in Chapter 36:

“George came to the apartment with a U-Haul and took all of my things to my sister’s house and put them in her garage. As much as I hated George for the way he treated me as a child, he always seemed like he cared enough about me to help me move. I was certainly more appreciative of him for all of the help that he had given to me over the years as an adult.”

Look, my book was written purely to help me work through MY issues, it was never intended to hurt anyone or to call anyone any names, it was therapy for me to write it.  Sure I didn’t have to publish it, but after hearing from so many people that I validated them and sort of helped them with their own issues, it was worth every word I wrote.  The book isn’t going to go away, and even if I did take it off of sale today, that bridge is gone and there is no repairing it.  It’s out there, once it’s out there, it’s done.  Finished.  There is no going back, so I might as well keep the book for sale because there is nothing I can do to repair this relationship that has been broken for decades.

My aunt and my mother didn’t speak for years and my aunt regrets that she never got to speak with her sister again before she died, and she told me on the phone last night to write her a letter to patch things up with her before “God forbids” someone dies and you can never speak to them again to tell them you are sorry.  The only thing I am sorry about is that it was taken the way it was, but I am not sorry for writing it.  Even if some people had a different perception of time or if my perception of time was off, or if someone doesn’t remember a conversation that was had, I have no regrets and I will not apologize for writing my truth.

Anyway, I know this is a long post, but I just wanted to get it out there.  In a way, this post is also a part of my healing process.  It may not be part of anyone else’s healing process though, but probably will make things worse, but I mean how much worse can it get eh?  My sister unfriended me and took me out of her life when she found out about my book, she already hates me so tell me how much worse can this post get?

I love her despite the lies that she told on Amazon, she is my sister and I will always love her.  I never stopped loving her despite her hatred for me even though she said she loved me.  I know she has a seething hatred for me, but that’s fine, I get it, I really do.  But I’m done with it all.  I’m just done.  If anyone else has an issue with me, well that’s not my issue, that’s their issue.  I’m just done.

If you are curious about the book, it is for sale and all of the information of where to buy it for your Nook, Kindle and paperback is all on the website www.diaryofagaynerd.com.  The ebook is $3.99 and the paperback is $10.  Judge for yourself.

My First Charity Donation

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I have been waiting for the Amazon check to arrive to be able to write out checks to the organizations that I will be donating 30% (10% each) of books sales to, and it finally came. I’m sure most people would wait a whole year, but I’ve been chomping at the bit to give the money because it would make me feel good to help out where I can.

October the 4th 2012 is the monthly PFLAG Bakersfield meeting, and Audrey Chavez who runs Ricky’s Retreat, the Bakersfield AIDS Project is going to be one of the guest speakers, the other is Robert Petersen who is PFLAG Bakersfield’s Vice President, so I will take that opportunity to give them each my first donation.  I will have to mail the check to the Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield.

Book sales haven’t been as great as it was in the beginning when I first published it, so I’m not sure when I will be able to make another donation.  I really feel bad about that, but I have basically no advertising money; it’s all word of mouth.  I’m sure if I will ever be able to make another donation from book sales, it will probably be next year in October as well.  I hope they will be bigger checks than these are.

Donations Are Coming Soon

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I published my book “Diary of a Gay Nerd” in February this year and had intended on donating 10% to 3 different charities.  10% would go to PFLAG Bakersfield, 10% would go to The Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield and then another 10% would go to Bakersfield AIDS Project, Ricky’s Retreat.

My profits haven’t been as high as I had hoped, but whatever I have made is still money and I can start making my first donation hopefully either in late September or early October, but it might be late October, who knows for sure.  I am just waiting on Amazon.

You know it’s funny, I feel kind of excited about giving the money away lol.  I don’t know why, most people would be hesitant especially when they are always broke, but I want them to have some money too, you know?  I can’t describe the feeling, maybe someone out there understands what I mean.

Anyway, it will be soon and I can’t wait!

Getting Ready For A Speech

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I was asked to speak at a PFLAG meeting here in Bakersfield in March because I will be donating a percentage of all profits from my book to them and to the Bakersfield Gay & Lesbian center.  When I told the guy who asked me to speak that I had a fear of public speaking, he mentioned that there would be a class February 15th and 16th at the Bakersfield AIDS Project.  I was actually looking forward to that, unfortunately I’m sick right now and I don’t want to pass my germs to anyone who might be in that class.

I don’t know what date I will be speaking so I have at least a few weeks to prepare my speech.  Writing a speech is a cake walk considering I blog all the time and because I wrote a 408 page book.  The writing isn’t my concern, it’s standing in front of a very large group of people all looking at ME!

My problem is, when I am talking to a few people at a party, I know that I have people looking at me, it’s when the conversation stops in the party and everyone is listening and watching me, that’s when my brain stops functioning.  All of a sudden my conversation is public and everyone is paying attention and I get nervous and start sweating and shaking.

I remember standing up in front of the class when I was in school and all eyes were on me as I was reading from the piece of paper that I wrote my report on and feeling uncomfortable.  Suddenly I’m having a difficult time pronouncing words that I wrote down as if I had never seen the words before and I’m just learning how to read.  It’s embarrassing as hell.

So, what I have to do is finish my speech, like yesterday, so I can start memorizing the words so I can just stand there and act as if I am speaking to one person in a conversation.  I can do that.  I was a telemarketer when I was in my early 20’s.  I had read the spiel so many times that I had the whole thing memorized and I sounded as if I were having a regular conversation.  All I have to do is read the speech 1000 times in the next few weeks so the words are burned into my brain.  Of course I will bring cards with my speech printed on them just in case I get nervous and forget what I was saying.  Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

I won’t be able to attend the class so let’s hope that I can overcome my fear of public speaking when I do it, just like I overcame my fear of heights the first time I traveled in an airplane in 2005.  I can do it!  I just have to convince myself of that.

Update: LOL I didn’t notice the subject was “Getting Reader For A Speech” because it was obviously supposed to be “Ready” so I fixed it minus the link.