Posts Tagged With: poor

GASP!!!

face of the young handsome guy on the water

There have been many times in my life I have described my disposition as simply “treading water”. Now, I am more frequently finding myself struggling to keep just my nose and mouth above the waterline, I feel I am sinking. What makes the situation even more challenging… I see no boat or shoreline on my horizon. 90% of my desperation comes from the simple fact… I am broke. A lack of money blocks the opportunity to even achieve a few minutes of life on a pool noodle.

I always seem to be close to an idea that my help my situation, but then I find am short treading-waterfinancially to make it happen. This blog at one point was an idea that I felt could bring in a dollar or two. I have had a few people (3) hit the donate button, this blog has never been successful enough to even cover the annual costs! To ask someone that “knows” how I could monetize this blog – costs more money I don’t have. I planned to start doing a video-blog or a podcast until I found I would need some basic equipment that I also don’t have money for. So, I continue to blog as my therapy because I can’t afford the co-pays to see a real therapist!

I have become desperate enough lately that I have resorted to living in my car for short drownperiods because I feel so trapped in my childhood bedroom at my Mom’s house. Yes, I am 51 year old and living at my Mom’s basically because I can’t afford any other option. I also use my car because I don’t want to make my drama/problems other people’s problems. So why don’t I just get a job? I also have Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and now severe depression. I have “come out” as gay. I have “come out” as disabled. I have even “come out” as POOR. All things in my life I seem to not be able to control. I also feel as I tread water, barely keeping my head above water, life keeps throwing rocks at me.

I have also witnessed friendships vanish once I quit making the effort to go visit them, to call them, and eventually to even care to chase their friendship. I have a few friends that are as good as gold, but the “Cash for Gold” places don’t seem to be willing to take friends as trade! I do value friends that do “go the distance” to be Fingersure I am included and a part of their lives. One friend even offers an “open-date” plane ticket to come visit, but I still haven’t accepted because I would need some money once I get there. Other friends just get me out for a dinner or movie. I sometimes feel the friendship with the “plane ticket friend” is often strained because I am not sure he truly realizes the severity of my situation. But bless him for trying, he is a TRUE friend (but I don’t think he even knows I blog lol). On the other hand, a friend (long-time friend) accused me of lying about my family’s experiences with house fires because I had not “told her about it before”! Then she accused me of “using” her as just a place to stay (of course after I would have to drive 7 hours to get to where she lived and she had only made the drive to my place once – on her way somewhere else). One friend I flew to see several times to visit in Tampa and D.C. but didn’t even let me know he was visiting family an hour from me became too busy to talk or call back or to care about me. It’s understandable that not everyone will like me, including friends and family… even 2 year olds … it none-the-less hurts to be told… change so we will like you! So for some friends (and some family) it just needs to be – good riddance. 

I was once Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Certified. One thing that lifeguards learn is sinkingthat sometimes a drowning victim may try to also to pull them under. Someone people drowning are unpredictable and at times dangerous. I feel my (remaining) friends are like lifeguards and I am scared what I save memay do as they offer help. As I bob in the water, I know they have their eyes on me even when I can’t see them. So, I keep my distance and sometimes just have to say… later, you don’t want to (can’t) deal with me right now. I am afraid of what I may do in my desperation that will only make things worse. I feel I am giving up on looking for a boat or shoreline because all my energy is spent keeping my nose above water. One day my Prince Charming (young, rich lifeguard) will rescue me and/or I will win the Powerball, and/or I will be cure of Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and Depression – I hope! 

 

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Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

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Are You Crucifying Christianity?

I grew up going to church anytime the doors were open. After high school I even considered becoming a minister as my profession. Being reared in a middle-class home and maintaining a middle-class lifestyle in my single income home after university made it easier for me to hold to the values and principles I had grown up with. After admitting to myself I was gay, being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, losing my health, job, lifestyle and health insurance… I became one of “those people” – I am POOR! This is my new “coming out”, admitting I am poor. I tried and struggled for a while to hold  on to my lifestyle but was not Vegas Stylesuccessful. I had to watch as a new owner drove off in my BMW convertible and I was a witness as it faded on the road’s horizon. Soon after this event, I left Las Vegas (where I lived at the time) and I began feeling scared by the idea as an “adult” I was dependent on others for help with even basic needs.

Along with the change in location, came a change in the way I saw the world. My attitude changed. I got over: being a conservative, being a devout Christian and a Republican as I felt the challenges of my new life choking me. I can’t fully embrace the Democrats because they are not doing any better either. The more I learned from studying the Bible, the more I felt distanced from the God of the Bible. The Bible as a moral guide for my life just felt wrong. As I see Republicans fight to protect the wealthy and try to take money from social programs for the poor, the more they reveal to me that they are hypocrites that only talk about church and Jesus for their campaigns (again the Democrats are not much better, they just do not court the religious vote as much as the Republicans do). The more I learned about Jesus, the more I began to realize that most who profess to be Christian should be called Biblican not Christian. A Biblican is one who uses the Bible to justify their disdain and prejudices for others while dismissing the main points of Christ’s message – love and help one another. So now I introduce a new name I added to my vocabulary – Republibiblicans. Republibiblicans use the Biblicans to to sir up votes as they frighten people of the very things they should support and embrace – if they were true Christians.

Now, how do these things come together for me? With my background and education in marketing, I saw to it that I continued to “market” myself as something I wasn’t. I soon realized I was a Clean Handshypocrite and there are few things I hate more than hypocrites. I was presenting myself one way to the world while living quite differently. My facebook marketed myself as “healthy”, “happy” and living an adventurous life. I needed to be more honest with my family, friends, and even the few people who read my blog – MY LIFE IS A CHALLENGE! As a gay man, I urge other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to come “out”; I now want to be an advocate for people living challenging lives to “come out” and become a voice for CHANGE! As the LGBT community has learned, when people KNOW who we are, they are more comfortable embracing us as “people” they can love and accept in their lives! Being poor is no more contagious than being gay is!

Since I am no longer a person of “faith”, why am I concerned with how conservatives, Christians and Republicans are marketing themselves? Because some of “these people”… I love and care about and they are better than what these groups are standing up for and standing against! I want to encourage someone I know that is a “conservative Christian” to see that he/she is not helping his/her claim to be Christian with a post like the “PLEASE DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS” photo! The photo also makes me wonder… who measures the Department of Agriculture’s “pleasure” to do anything and what evidence do they have the DoA is “pleased”?! Jesus (the Christ part of being a Christian) taught: RepublibiblicanFEED the poor, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (a “comment” Christ made about taxes), do not be like the Pharisees that wear their religion as a badge of honor! Where is the Christian outrage for what Congress is trying to do to the poor?  Isn’t the food stamp program exactly the kind of “program” Jesus would support? Would Jesus also encourage people to do even MORE to HELP these people? I am not sure who to credit with saying, “get off your cross, we need the wood”, but I do hope I am able to BUILD and do more for society than just mock poor people, because I am one of them.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say, I may be poor – living only my social security disability and I do have Medicare, but I am not homeless and do not receive food stamps or welfare. That is not why I am defending the ones that need food stamps, I am defending them because it is the right thing to do! My “lifestyle” is maintained with a below US poverty level income – nothing glamorous or leisurely about my live. ALL of my worldly possessions can fit in 2 checked bags and 1 carry-on. I have been hungry, I have needed to skip meals because of a lack of food and/or money, but I have never really known HUNGER. I would rather go down fighting with people who can empathize with my situation than to help enable the ignorance so many have of what life may be REALLY like for many poor people and highlight the apathy someone must posses to ignore their NEEDS – basic needs like food, health, and shelter. And yes… my “personal” marketing campaign still includes more highlights of the “good”, simple pleasures in life than my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and finances. No longer is my “personal” marketing campaign a denial of the pain, suffering and challenges I face in life… these challenges are more difficult to express sometimes.

When I posted on facebook my feelings about this situation, I was told,”Judge not lest you be judged.” But that is exactly why I feel I need Joel Osteen Houseto SAY something, I would be judged for my silence! I cannot escape judgement of others but thank goodness and thanks to people like this, I do not fear “judgement” from their God! And OBVIOUSLY their leaders are not worried about being judged either with MULTI-million dollar homes! As I stated earlier, I have read and studied the Bible and hope never to be called a Biblican or a Joel Osteenian! But if I were called a Christian because my life reflects Jesus’ very solid ideals and sound social teachings, I would not mind at all. Just as I would not mind being called a Gandhian, Martin Luther Kingian or any variation of the name of someone who stood up for social justice! I am simply making sure my hands are clean, Mr. Marley! Maybe after a post like this… I SHOULD consider the ministry again? Maybe you can support my “MINISTRY” by using the paypal links on my page? OH MY God… I am as bad as “THEM”!! lol

Blogging is not free!  Please help cover the costs!

Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

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A Prince Without a Kingdom!

As a child, I loved “Mr Roger’s Neighborhood”.  My favorite part was when he visited the “land of make-believe”.  At this very young age of watching and enjoying “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”, I was being sexually molested by a young man in our neighborhood and to cope – I created my own “Land of Make Believe”.  We lived on Johnston Chapel Road in a community named Johnston Chapel that was accessed by exiting at Johnston’s Station exit from the interstate.  So being a “Johnston” was key to my fantasy world and in my mind “The Johnston’s” were royalty.  My land of make-believe was based partially on reality, but much was IMAGINARY.  Initially it may have been a way to cope with the trauma in my life, but soon it became home, comfortable and real to me.  In my world…. I was royalty – I was a Prince!

Pioneer televangelist Oral Roberts’ openly gay, gay rights activist, grandson Randy Roberts Potts was interviewed in the February issue of Details magazine (link at bottom of article).  I saw so many parallels with one major exception… he was royalty on the Oral Roberts University campus or “compound” as it was called by some and it wasn’t just in his mind!  He has been able to parlay his experience into not only an inspiring story, but also a “cause”.  He is traveling the U.S. with “The Gay Agenda”, simple performance art based on the realities of typical day-to-day lives of many gay men.

Randy Roberts Potts inspires me….. but what can I do with this inspiration?  I have survived childhood sexual molestation, I live daily with Multiple Sclerosis, I write with intent to advocate for the poor / disenfranchised / marginalized in our society; but that is as far as it seems to go.  I have tried to summon support to get heard by elected officials (only to be ignored).  So what am I NOT doing to convert ALL this inspiration into action?  How do I get feet under my words?  I am inspired to do……????  What next, what do I do?  Write more about it in this blog that has not earned me 1 dime?

So this brings me to the heart of my frustration – lack of money!  Money may not be able to buy happiness… but it sure can help accomplish a lot of other good things.  I see Cadillac Escalades at churches and think…. couldn’t they have settled for a Chevy Tahoe and done more good for fellow man with the difference in money?  I do not know how to inspire without funds to do something!!  lol  I do not even have a car, but even if I have access to a car – I don’t have gas money!! lol  No wonder the rich just keep getting richer…. the poor have no money to advocate for themselves!  I get inspired, I get frustrated not being able to but that inspiration into action, I get depressed and look for inspiration and then the cycle starts all over again!

I know the problem is me!  I have been “inspired” to learn Spanish for almost 5 years now and still have a very limited knowledge of Spanish!  lol  In a post late December, I highlighted a young man, Johnny Robinson, that reached out to help another young gay man struggling.  He was inspired, took action and reached out.  His inspiring youtube video has been viewed more than 400,000 times by people all over the world.  But sadly, he reported on his facebook page recently that a young man in his own school committed suicide due to issues with being gay and bullied.  How can we (the willing to help) do more to help others?  I was proud watching Johnny’s video when he says, “I used to feel helpless.” “But then…” (he grins) “I stood up for myself”  I see confidence and sincerity.  He even goes on to offer his e-mail.  

What more can we do?  How can we help these young men and women find that even if they cannot stand up for themselves – there are some of us willing to stand WITH them?  Randy Roberts Potts is like me… a Prince without a kingdom and here is Johnny Robinson (homecoming) KING of his kingdom.  Yet there are some that will not ask us to help in spite of our offers.  The displaced gay royalty wants ALL of you to know …. you are STRONG and when you feel helpless…. there is help.  If not us – The Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ or 866-488-7386).  So, how do I find MY kingdom, get past my excuses and start my own “Gay Agenda”? I start by asking for your help, asking you to let me help us all find our inner strength!

http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201202/preacher-oral-roberts-grandson-randy-roberts-potts-the-gay-agenda

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Funny How Falling Feels Like Flying…For a Little While!


The title is a line from a song in the movie “Crazy Heart”.

I love that line, “Funny how falling feels like flying….for a little while!”  How true is this?  Nothing like a country song to tap into how I often feel. Sometimes we know we are on our way down, but we pretend it is a roller-coaster and throw our arms up like we are flying.  I am in a roller-coaster cart with lose seat-belts.  I am reminded how my life was as a struggling college student with little money!


 

Me with Mom & Dad December 2009 – 212 pounds, 97 kgs

My decision to move to Colombia was largely based on the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar.  Roughly 2000 (COP) Colombian pesos = $1 (USD) U.S.Dollar.  I live next to the Catholic University of Colombia and places catering to students allows me to buy lunches at a lot of places for 2000 – 5000 COP – that is $1 to $2.50 for some really good meals.  I have a 1,400 square feet, 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for less than I paid to rent 1 bedroom and share a bathroom in Las Vegas.  I do not need to own a car, eliminating that expense.  So, with careful planning, I can live on my social security check alone comfortably.


 

January 26, 2010 – 207 pounds, 94 kgs

The key to that last statement was “careful planning”.  Since being in Bogotá, I have lost almost 4o pounds.  That is all well and good, but none of my clothes fit me anymore and I need new clothes.  I do not understand with the weight loss why my feet would be growing because my shoes are feeling too small, but at least my socks still fit properly!  So there were no plans to buy a new wardrobe.  I have used a corkscrew remover to poke hole in belts to hold my pants up.  Anyone knowing me knows clothes are important to me.


 

February 20, 2010 – 203 pounds, 92 kgs

Moving first from size 38 waist pants to 34, the belt just was not cutting it anymore.  I bought a pair of inexpensive jeans size 34.  I never thought I would be that size again.  Then a couple of months pass and the 34 waist is too large.  Here is where I started flying…. I bought a pair of Diesel jeans to mark the occasion of needing a size 32 waist.  Rent from the 2 unused bedrooms financed this idea.  I never expected to be in a size 34… so investing in size 32 waist seemed a safe move.  Along the way I did by some Exito store brand shirts (Exito is Colombia’s version of WalMart).  For most… the fact I was buying discount store brand shirts was evidence I was falling, not flying.  But I was so happy I kept my arms up enjoying the ride.


 

March 20, 2010 – 194 pounds, 88 kgs

One roommate moved out, now the other roommates were moving out at the end the next month and was faced with living on the “careful planned budget” and still needing clothes that fit.  The rent from the rooms was not much money because I do not pay a lot to start with but the extra helped.  I kept flying with my arms up, eating out most meals.  The meals are inexpensive I thought and can’t add up to much.  Then I noticed I have 1o days until payday and only 10,000 COP ($5.00) in the “carefully planned budget”.  It is amazing how far I stretched that 10,000 COP.  I was able to buy a pack of ham, a loaf of bread and splurged on a pack of cheese also.  I would have sandwiches if nothing else, I would not starve those 10 days.  5,000 of the 10,000 COP was in coins. The other day I had 1,200 in coins left and the ham was running out so I decided to buy eggs.  I found eggs here for 300 COP each and I was proud to get my 4 eggs.  It is a humbling experience counting eggs and counting the change to pay for them.


 

April 5, 2010 – In the Diesel Jeans! lol 185 pounds, 85 kgs

The exchange rate was not the only reason for wanting to move to Colombia, I wanted to learn to live and fit in living in a new culture.  The common misconception is that all Gringos have money.  I am proof that is not true.  Most Colombians live on carefully planned budgets and I will now be right along with them, counting my eggs, sometimes paying with coins; but I will learn to feel like I am flying….even if it is just for a little while!


 

May 10, 2010 – 178 pounds, 81 kgs

I am not worried about starving, but worried about being hungry.  There is a difference and someone wearing relatively new Diesel jeans cannot say they are starving.  I fired my last egg a couple of hours ago and my pay for the month will be available in the morning.  I survived. The feeling of flying has passed and now I see I am falling, but if I can eat 10 days on 10,000 (COP) I know the next month will be more carefully planned and I will just poke holes in my belts again.  I have another problem that is also a mixed blessing, the Diesel jeans are too big now!!

No photo at this time… But May 24,2010 – 175 pounds, 79 kgs

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