Category Archives: My Life

Porn and my 88-year-old Grandmother

I’ve been going through a tough time since the break-up.  But, I’m getting better.  Frankly, I just haven’t felt like writing or being creative.  I’ve been drinking too much and watching too much TV, not to mention watching too much porn.  I’ve been very lazy.  Over the last several weeks, however, I feel like I finally have turned the corner and am on a new and much improved street.

But let’s get back to what I’m sure caught your attention in the first paragraph.  Porn.  Now, I realize that I have a rather diverse, yet small, group of readers.  And I’m sure that all of you have strong feelings about this topic.  Some of you may be “disgusted” by it.  Some of you may be “confused” by it.  Some of you may have numerous online subscriptions to various porn websites.  Whatever.  There is room in this world for all of you.  And I’m not here to discuss the benefits or detriments of porn.  So please don’t turn my blog’s comment section into a porn discussion board.  Different strokes for different folks.  eh hm.

Anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, here’s my perspective.  After all, it is my blog.  I like porn, I like nudity, I like sex.  I always have.  And I treat it like I try to treat anything else in my life:  Moderation in all things.

Here’s a little history of me and porn.  It all started in 1985 when I was in 5th grade.  A friend of mine named Bret invited me to his house to show off his stash.  Evidently he had been slowly stealing Hustler magazines from his dad’s collection.  As I entered his bedroom that special day, I had no idea what awaited me.  But, I was lucky, Bret was already a porn “pro” and was able to explain to me what all the parts were and what they did.  Honestly, 24 years later, I still haven’t thanked Bret for what would be my initial lesson in sex education.  My parents were not what I would call communicative. We did not discuss problems or even really have any kind of discussions at all. Especially when it came to sex.  So I was clearly on my own.  Until Bret stepped up to the plate.  Thanks, Bret, I owe you one.

Without getting too graphic, let’s just say I learned on that very special afternoon a lot about human anatomy.  Honestly, I don’t remember much about the woman in the picture.  But I can still describe to you in full detail the man (including his feathered, bleach blond hair and 80s porn ‘stache).  It was enough to fully pique my interest.  And from that moment on, I was incredibly curious about men’s anatomy.  My imagination went wild.  Which is why I loved my new best friend…the JC Penney Catalog.  You see, the JC Penny catalog had like a 5 or 6 page spread of men in their underwear.  It was like the holy grail of soft porn.  And when my Grandma would receive her quarterly catalog, I was in underwear heaven.  It was like being allowed to visit a guy’s locker room–without the teasing and shame and threats of swirlies.

I think this model (on left) is actually Ashton Kutcher's dad...

Well, my history with porn strangely came full circle this past summer when I was home visiting my grandma.  While sitting next to my grandmother showing her pictures that I had taken at the Iowa State Fair, I inadvertently entered into a very special and very private section of pictures in iPhoto.  Shit.  Yes, that’s right.  I accidentally showed my 88-year-old grandmother gay porn. Full on, hard penis, legs spread, gay porn.  And this was G-ma’s response to seeing some random dude in all his glory: “Ohhhhhhh.”  Immediately my fingers fumbled across the keyboard, in an effort to close iPhoto, only to forward through several more naked photos. Finally, flustered and unable to stop the peep show, I just slammed the laptop shut. I took a deep breath, feeling my face burning red, and slowly slid away from G-ma.  After several minutes of painful and complete silence I simply said, “I’m kind of tired, Grandma, I think I’ll go to bed.” And that was that.

My family has mastered the art of not talking about things, at least directly.  So I called my sister the next day and told her.  It’s just how we communicate.  I’m fairly confident Grandma and I will never talk about it.  Just like we never talked about why the men’s underwear section of her JC Penney’s Catalog was always missing or left tattered.

I’m ready…and medicated.

I’m medicated.  Yeah, that’s right, I said it.  I’m not even embarrassed.  But, it’s true.  I’m a pill popper.

For some reason there is a stigma attached to taking anti-depressants.  I don’t understand it.  People don’t usually judge you if you tell them you are taking medicine for a headache or to help you sleep or for a rash.  (Well, they might judge you for that last one…) But, they do for depression.  I think it has to do with society’s view of depression, in general.  Depression is real, folks.  And it’s not the same thing as laziness or apathy or boredom or low energy.  Depression may cause some of those symptoms, but it’s offensive to tell a depressed person that they are just being lazy.  You know, “You just need to get out and do something!”  It shows a complete lack of understanding.

While “doing” things can help with depression, (i.e. exercise, getting sun) sometimes it requires more than that.  Pills.  Are anti-depressants abused?  Sure.  Just like people abuse any other medication.  Do doctors prescribe too many ADs?  Probably.  But, frankly, I’m just concerned about myself, not the problem of over-prescribing in the medical world.  The wonderful thing is that it has freed me up to do the other things that help with depression.  Things like getting outside and doing things. I’ve dealt with varying levels of depression for so long that I had forgotten what it feels like to want to get out do, well, anything.

I feel like I have my life back.  (Cue the shot of me walking on the beach, pants rolled up, laughing at something really funny…oh yeah, and don’t forget the acoustic guitar music)  And, I’m enjoying it.  At the end of July I decided to take a trip to NYC by myself.  I cannot tell you how excited I am.  I’ve been to NYC a bunch of times and I love NYC.  Who doesn’t?  Anyway, I’ve never gone by myself.  It’s an independence thing.  I’m gonna just hang out at cafés,  go to museums, go to the park, and have a good time.  Fun!

But back to depression.  Several times I’ve mentioned to various friends that I’m medicated and “feeling great!”  I’m surprised by the awkwardness that follows.  It’s as if I just told them that I’ve been shopping for a good dildo.  You know, something nice?  (which I am, but that’s another story…)  The inappropriateness of it all.  Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that, for many, depression is a deeply personal issue.  But, I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed by it.  That only perpetuates the stigma.

On the other side of things, I do have several friends that, evidently, are pill connoisseurs.  They want to know what I’m taking, how it works, all the details.  You know, for documentation purposes.  They’ve tried them all and want to know the latest and greatest.  Good for them.  Me, I’m just happy to have one that works.  To each their own.

Update

Hello, friends.  You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted to my blog in over a month.  I decided after the break-up that I didn’t want to write about it.  Not now anyway…later.  And, honestly I haven’t had much else to talk about.  Break-ups are all-consuming, and I’ve just been waiting to write until I’m not consumed by things.

I’m almost there.  Despite June being an intensely difficult month, I am starting to feel much better.  However, I will admit that I’m cheating.  I started taking an anti-depressant.  Sometimes people need help.  And this is definitely one of those times.  It’s changed my life by allowing the clouds to part and let some sunshine in. So I’m feeling great.

San Francisco Pride was in June and I had an amazing time.  I had a pre-Pink Party party at my place, which was so much fun.  The weather was beautiful and I just allowed myself to be happy and gay and crazy.  A good time was definitely had by all!

I’ll officially be back to regularly posting on my blog this week.  I’m in a new period of my life, so I’ll probably give the blog a new look.

Thanks for hangin’ in there with me.  Kisses.

I’m still here, but my hair isn’t.

Hello, all.  I’m just dropping in to leave you a little note.  You know, just to be polite.  I haven’t forgot about you.  This past month or so has been quite difficult.  I haven’t had much left in me for blogging.  Which is fine.  It probably just means I’ll have a lot to write about once I’m ready.  All I’ll say for now is that I’m single again and pushing forward. So please hang in their with me, I’ll be back before you know it.

Oh where, Oh where did all my hair go?

Oh where, Oh where did all my hair go?

The God Who Wasn’t There

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  Multiple reasons, none of which I’ll go into on my blog.  Anyway, I’m just being honest.  Shit rains down on all people regardless of…well, frankly, regardless of anything.  Sometimes, some days are just shitty.  And, as I always say, when times are shitty you have 3 options:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Cry.
  3. Kick someone.

It’s one of my mottos for life.  Most of the time it works for me.

Anyway, focus, Tyler.  Bad couple weeks…ahh yes.  Well, you see, over the last Decade or so since I left the Church, I have had a hard time finding community.  It’s something that I really miss about being part of a church.  In fact, I personally believe that that is the number one reason people actually go to church.  Community.  People crave the social aspect of church.  Sure, there are other religious or spiritual reasons people go to church.  But, in my opinion, people want to hang out with like-minded people.  I enjoy diversity, but I also love to hang out with people who think like I do.  Give me a group of former-Christian, agnostic, left-winged, homosexicals and I am set.  Seriously.

I should clarify my position as an agnostic.  I say “agnostic” because I’m not completely ready to say that I am an atheist.  I’m still being just a tad non-committal. And, since it’s my life, I’ll call myself whatever I want to call myself.  When you say that you are an atheist, it’s a bold statement.  Especially if you grew up going to church and then went to Bible College and became an ordained music pastor.  It’s almost like saying “fuck you” to all the Christians that were part of your earlier life.  That’s not how I intend for it to come across.  Many people take my agnosticism as a personal attack on their own beliefs.  There’s not much I can do about that.  It’s similar to the way many feel that their own family is threatened by same-sex marriage.  Or family in the general sense of the word.  If I can call my husband, children, and I a family, well then, that means just anyone can call their family a family.  pshaw. I would hate to be responsible for tearing someone else’s family apart.

To be honest I can relate more to atheists than I can to just about anyone else.  There just isn’t much organization amongst atheists.  I’m hopeful that that is beginning to change.  Slowly people are beginning to accept that it is actually OK to admit that you don’t believe all the crazy things that you were taught as a child.  There are even small gatherings of non-believers popping up around this God-fearing land of ours.  I think it’s great.

This past week I watched a short documentary called The God Who Wasn’t There, which was very interesting.  It was directed and narrated by a guy who, like me, grew up in the Church and, after years of questioning, decided that he was an atheist.  After several weeks of feeling pretty miserable it was just incredibly nice to relax and watch something that was able to put words to what I felt.  I really am not alone in what I believe.  And, when you are having a bad time in life, it’s nice to know who aren’t alone.

This is how I feel today…

I saw this snail inching its way across the sidewalk outside my doctor’s office. My allergies have kicked into full gear this week. With all of the antihistamines I am taking and the slimy goo seeping out of my nose (I know, too much information), I felt like I had a lot in common with this little guy.

Odd Jobs

I’ve had my fair share of odd jobs. In fact, in some ways I don’t know that I’ve ever really had a normal job. Of course, for some reason when I think of normal jobs I think of being an accountant. I guess any job that involves cubicles and numbers is normal. I realize my thinking is a little warped. But accountants just seem so incessantly normal.

My first job, other than being the official “channel changer” for my family, was working in a strawberry field. That’s right, I was a field worker. The pay was awful and it involved crawling across a strawberry field searching for ripe strawberries. Needless to say, I didn’t last long. Manual labor and I never have mixed well.

It wasn’t long after that when I became an illegal worker at a fast food restaurant. I was 15 when the manager, who I’m sure has been on “To Catch a Predator” twice, hired me. He lied to the company about my age and allowed me to work in the back for about 8 months. Neither my parents nor I knew that you had to be at least 16 to legally work at a restaurant in the state of Iowa. So about a week before my 16th birthday the assistant manager called me and told me not to come back to work until I turned 16, which is when I was told what had gone down. On an interesting side note, my predator was sent to jail on an unrelated (to me anyway) offense involving alcohol, minors, and sex. In retrospect I’m a little offended that I was not offered either alcohol or sex. (oh please…don’t act so shocked…)

Since customer service is my gig, it’s understandable that I quickly rose to the top. Once I was of legal working age they took me off of the bun-toaster and shoved to the front line, where I was able to present my awkward smile to every mentally-ill veteran who happened to walk through the front door. There were several that would occasionally get confused and wander through the service door and it was their loss. The restaurant was located close to a VA hospital that I seem to remember had a special outpatient mental health ward. Nice. That didn’t stop my Hardee’s “Served with Pride” award-winning attitude. Oh yes, did I mention that the name of the “restaurant” was Hardee’s? Umm. Yeah. I don’t mean to brag, but I was employee of the month twice during my stint as a front-line worker. I know what you are thinking. And it’s true. I have “front-line worker” written all over me. Thank you.

I had some really interesting friends from Hardee’s. There was Gail, her daughter Tracy, and son-in-law Bill. Gail made cakes on the side and once brought a cake to work in the shape of a penis at full attention with all the graphic detail you can imagine. I don’t remember much about Tracy, except that she was married to Bill. Interestingly, Bill was the truly odd one of the family. He was responsible for cleaning the parking lot and performing other random duties, like chasing the confused patrons out of the service entrance. He liked to invite people to come see his house. I don’t think he had anything funny in mind. He just simply enjoyed showing people his and Tracy’s fully undecorated home. I only took the tour once.

In hindsight, I’m not really sure why I was invited over to so many of my co-workers’ places. No one ever tried to give me drugs or alcohol. No one ever tried to touch me. Nothing. It must have just been my sparkling personality and award-winning smile that people could not resist. Even several of the managers had me over to their places. I know that you are probably thinking how lucky I was–those situations were dangerous. And, you could be right. But, these people actually were my friends, even if they were adults. In some ways, they were educating me on the real world. Perhaps they were just trying to show me what life would be like if I stayed at Hardee’s, instead of going to college. I chose college.

I do love a good list, so here’s a serious list of 5 things I actually learned from working at Hardee’s:

1) Smile at everybody. Even those who seem a little crazy.

2) Show up on time. If you are late, someone else has to wait.

3) Smoking is a nasty habit. Being exposed to secondhand smoke and seeing the effects of a lifetime-long smoking habit on a mentally-ill person is a great deterrent.

4) If you masturbate you will grow hair on the palms of your hands. I fell for this joke countless times.

5) Go to college. If you stay and work at a fast food restaurant in rural Iowa, you will end up living in a van down by the river. (In further hindsight, I would say that if you don’t choose to go to college then you should at least travel and expand your worldview.)

Hardees 2 Pictures, Images and Photos