Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Decision That Almost Was. . . ..some comments from RICHARD. . .


Some thoughts about today’s Supreme Court opinions which I jotted down for a friend.


OK, I’ve calmed down a bit after I smacked Tony Scalia a few times and told him to stop being such a wise ass.

Obviously I am thrilled by the decision of the court to find DOMA unconstitutional, although I was a bit disappointed that the decision was only 5-4.  More of that in a minute.

The decision in Windsor (the DOMA case) effectively gave same sex couples in the 12 states (soon to be 13 with the addition of CA) and DC full access to the 1100 or so federal provisions which rely on the definition of marriage.  SSA, DOD and civil service survivors’ benefits; joint filing of taxes (?); and a myriad of others.  With the decision in Hollingsworth (the Prop 8 case) some 30 % of the country now lives in states where same sex marriage is legal. 

Hollingsworth is a mixed bag.  While the ultimate outcome of the case was to overturn Prop 8 and make same sex marriage legal again in CA, a close reading of the dissent in that case shows us the decision which might have been.
Both cases were decided on 5-4 votes; but it’s a comparison of who was on which side in each case that is fascinating and possibly shows us the future.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

MR RIGHT. . . . .ehyah

Posted: 27 Jun 2013 05:25 AM PDT
Gay Relationships: Meeting Mr. Right - Part Twocontinued from yesterday ]

Connecting with others is good for us and is one way we nurture ourselves."
  In my last column, I suggested you take stock of where you are in your social life. Good questions to explore include:

How available are you? 

Do you really want a boyfriend? 

Or are you perfectly happy as an independent guy and just moaning about wanting a date because everyone else seems to be doing so?

Are you emotionally accessible? 

Are you ready for the sort of openness intimacy requires of us?

What about your schedule – are you always working, or are you involved in a hundred different causes and projects?

How diversified is your social portfolio? 

Do you hang out with the same people virtually all the time?

Human beings are creatures of habit.  Often these habits are not fully conscious.  Notice your patterns.  Do you meet men mostly in the same places?  Does your dating experience typically follow a predictable path?  Some men start like a house on fire, later losing interest.  Others find they put a "death grip" on their boyfriend lest he run away – and usually guaranteeing that he does.  What are your patterns?

What kind of men do you find yourself attracted to?  Maybe you are only interested in men who are 10 years younger than you, or you only find buffed gym rats appealing – even though you haven't been to the gym in 6 months yourself.  If you're finding it hard to meet men who match your standards and you wouldn't consider dating someone your own age or with a body like yours, it is time to take a look in the mirror and find out what is going on.

Are you constantly on the rebound, bouncing from one short-term relationship to another?  If so, you might want to look at whether you are comfortable simply being alone sometimes.  If you are looking for men to fill a space inside of you that only you can fill, you are likely to be unsuccessful in relationships.

Where do you spend most of your free time?  What are your social patterns and habits?  Working long hours may be fine for your career, but it can play havoc on your social life.  Doing volunteer work or socializing primarily with non-gay folks is fine, but you may want to think about spending time with other gay men as well if your goal is a romantic relationship
How often do you get out of the house or apartment?  Consider a change of social patterns to bring your self into greater contact with potential partners.  Instead of always having coffee alone at home, think about hanging out at the local coffee bar.  Going grocery shopping once a week may be time-efficient, but making trips every couple of days to gay-friendly supermarkets may lead to more interesting melon-squeezing!

What would your friends say about you if someone asked them to describe you?  Are you approachable or intimidating, friendly or aloof?  Would they tell you that your eagerness comes across as being so needy that you may be scaring off men who might be interested in you?

Human beings are social creatures.  Connecting with others is good for us and is one way we nurture ourselves.  Have fun!

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S.

thanks to

FALL OUT. . . .

Fun Days. . . .

Just for the FUN of it. . . . . .

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Posted: 26 Jun 2013 05:25 AM PDT
Mr."Perhaps the best definition of madness I've heard is "doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results." 
At dinner few months ago, friend of mine confessed that it drove him crazy when well-meaning friends and co-workers told him they had no idea why he is still available when he is such obvious husband material.

  It's true; my friend is a sexy guy 
He's also involved with volunteer projects with kids, and he lives near his aging parents so he can spend more time with them.

While Jack (not his real name) is a sociable guy with many friends and contacts, it could be a long time before he finds Mr. Right.  While he has friends, his social circle tends to e restricted primarily to a group of men and women he's especially comfortable with.  When you take a look at it, the circle isn't all that big.

So - perhaps the best definition of madness is "doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Yet this is exactly what many of us do.  We keep living our lives the same old way and things stay pretty much the same as they always have.  We are waiting for lightning to strike us.

If you would like to make some changes in your romantic life, you might start by making a list of the men you've dated or been in relationship with over your lifetime.  Where did you meet them?  Are these men similar in any way?  How happy were you with your connection to them?

Jack and I sat down with a list of the guys he's dated or been in relationship with over the years.  It wasn't long before patterns started to emerge.  The guys Jack had dated were often attractive guys physically who were unavailable emotionally.  The guys were often on the rebound from a recent relationship break-up.  They needed someone to care for them while they licked their wounds.

Some men just prefer the single life, and good for them.  Others, though, find they are so frustrated with dating they rebel at the thought of going out and looking for someone; they become homebodies.  Nothing wrong with recharging your batteries.  Realize, though, that home isn't likely to be where you find someone to share your life.

Where are you investing your time?  If you're a gay man and you want to meet other gay men, are you spending time where you are likely to find them?  Someone once asked bank robber Willie Sutton why he robbed banks.  He famously replied, "Because that's where the money is."  Are you spending your time where there is likely to be a payoff for you?

If you find that almost all of your friends know one another, consider that a clue.  Staying with the investment analogy, it may be time to diversify your social portfolio.  Keep your old friends, but try doing something different as well.

Lots of men find bars and clubs are great places to meet other men.  Be aware, though, that if you tend to be shy, if you are a non-drinker or if you are considerably different from the demographic norm at the place you are frequenting, meeting someone there may not be easy.

I'll talk more next time (PART TWO) about what you can do to make connecting with someone more likely.

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hola, Friends and Neighbors !
Here's brief summary of what happened. . .  .I did graduate earlier in the month but by that time the "stuff I told you about had made more progress" and so I didn't walk for much of graduation. . .my Man pushed my chair about. . .careful not to catch the copious academic hood in the wheels.  That'd been a sight to be seen.

A couple days after I was really sick and ready for a run-thru them Pearly Gates. No running. . . crawlin' was more like it.  Then on the 13th - one week ago today -  yeah yeah Happy Anniversary! --  at 8:30 I made my entrance under the lights with a cast of thousands. . .the surgery began. . . it ended nine hours later at 5:30.  I checked into my room in the hospital towards 10PM.  They tell me the hours in recovery were quite the show with me thinking I was competing with Justin Biebs. . . .ho ho ho.  Not on yer life.

I was discharged from the hospital the following morning and went home to my very owb bed-away-from-home at Gram's. . .Where Mom and Dad, the Man and I were camping out.  Gawd, I was tired and sore wicked all over.

Contrary to all expectations with this disease there is no malignancy. THANKS be to GOD.  I lost a sizeable tumor in my right cheek (face, face. . .) and a large infection.
While neatly done, the scars aka cut-lines are rather prominent. . . .left without hiding covers and bandaids to leave the areas exposed to God's Healing AIR. . . . and healing they are.  With your free hand trace an incision from top of your right ear, closely down the front side of the ear, then along the underside of the right jaw.  That = main working center.  Lower part of my throat a three inch incision closed up with SuperGlue. . .I kid you NOT!  Yepper. . .glue.   You all heard about the surgeon who closed up an aneurysm in a babies brain with SUperGlue and a hand made instrument. . . . Baby is doing fine. . . .so am I.

My surgeon called yesterday to tell me the final conclusive report from pathology was officially for real NO CANCER. .  .anywhere. . . free. . .clean. . .awesome.  I am feeling better every day. . . Oh that facial nerve. . .well it responded slightly to stimulation but not enough to do anything. . . so the right face paralysis is still part of my  Sticcckkktt.
That's be next. . . . .maybe. . .   . 

Yesterday I basked in the GLOW of a new lease on life and official confirmation of the non-malignant status of the tumor and stuff.  I sleep a lot. . .not into food much. . .but definitely into Gratitude!  Oh, and pain free. . . after the surgery the only soreness was from the large breathing tube shoved down my throat during the whole performance. . used to hurt when swallowing.  As for the inert facial nerves. . ..well, one step at a time! 

Be seein' All Y'ALL around The Dunes. . .

       Justin  O'Shea

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Posted: 17 Jun 2013 05:25 AM PDT
C2c000457If you’re shy, you know the discomfort such bashfulness can bring. When you must step out of the shadows and speak up, you may experience a racing heart, dry mouth, and butterflies in the stomach.  What others seem to take for granted can become a miserable experience for you.

All sorts of social situations can trigger a bout of self-conscious shyness.  Some people find themselves not speaking up for themselves at work.  Others find it makes them anxious to introduce themselves to others at a bar or the gym.  Or they avoid social situations all together, becoming isolated at home.  And more people fear public speaking engagements than fear snakes or spiders.

All of us find ourselves a little shy at times, especially if we’re introverted by nature. But when the problem starts to really interfere with the enjoyment of day-to-day life, therapists talk about the problem as social anxiety. Well-meaning friends may tell us to get over it, buck up and “just do it” when faced with a situation that causes us embarrassment. Sometimes that works, but often it’s too simple an answer. If we’re not prepared, we may put ourselves in a situation where we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, only to find that all our self-doubts rise up like dragons and overwhelm us.

For shy people, the problem is often a high level of self-consciousness – particularly around negative thoughts. We act like everyone is looking at us. Or the chatter in our heads becomes a flood of negativity. “No one would be interested in what I have to say.” “If I introduce myself to him, I’ll probably forget his name right away.” “What’s the point of starting up a conversation with him when I’ll just look stupid?” These critical voices are like a Greek chorus of discouragement in our heads. The anxiety they provoke may be so great that we’ll even lie to friends to avoid accepting social invitations where we feel we’ll fail ourselves.

Another trap is over-scrutinizing our own words, thoughts and behaviors. If we fear embarrassment we may end up waiting until the perfect moment when we’ll know just what to do or say…then we watch opportunity after opportunity simply slip away as we sit in the background, analyzing. The right moment never comes. We’re paralyzed.

Some single people find themselves especially shy in social situations that are the opening gambits in the intimacy game. They long for a relationship but fear they are clueless about how to find a guy and start the process.

In the 21st century we’re finding that there’s a pill for just about everything, and shyness is no exception. It’s true that some social anxiety can be helped by the selective use of medication, especially if the anxiety has become debilitating. But many of those medications cause other troubles, including the host of problems that are dismissed as “possible sexual side effects” in the ads for them on television. For most people the answer to shyness isn’t an antidepressant. The answer is gaining greater self-knowledge and mastering new skills to become more comfortable in social situations.

For some single people, the rush to date might best be put on hold for a little while so they can master some of the social skills that make friendships and other intimate relationships more rewarding.
Next time (part 2) we’ll look at how to master some of the skills needed to master meaningful relationships.

Remember, you’re more than your problem with shyness. When you learn to let your real self out you will find you can enjoy life in new ways.

( part two - tomorrow )
John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S.