Friday, June 15, 2012

Do You Feel Worthless?

Not my cat.  My friend's cat.  Bill won't let me have a cat.  But every chance I get I'll cuddle up to a cat.  I like cats.


Haven't we all at times felt worthless?  Not good enough?  Of course you know the answer is that we all have worth.  Don't ever let anybody bring you down.  WE ALL HAVE WORTH.

As we travel through life there are those who will attempt to belittle you because of their own insecurities.  Don't let them do it. 

We all want to be liked.  Sometimes we think if we act as we think others want us to act, then they will like us.  Doesn't work.  If you stop being yourself and try to be somebody else who they think you should be, they will lose respect for you and you will lose respect for yourself.  It just doesn't work.

Occasionally, on the weekends I watch the MSNBC show "Lockup."  This show is about men and women in prison. While most of these people who are in prison are lowlifes and look it, I am surprised by the number of people who are attractive and articulate.  It makes me wonder "Where did they go wrong?"  


Did they have an abusive childhood?  Bill had a very abusive childhood.  His father died when Bill was only one year old.  His 21 year old father and a group of buddies were drunk and crashed into a bridge abutment, thus ending their lives and changing the whole course of Bill's life.  While Bill has his issues (which we won't go into here), one thing Bill is not is an evil person.  In fact he is generous to a fault.  He doesn't lie, cheat or steal or worse.

My formative childhood years were more neglectful childhood than physically abusive. My father didn't want children and he let me know it.  My father always put me down.  When I left home to join the Army (I knew enough at that time to at least get away from that environment), I thought I was ugly, stupid and a loser.  Much to my surprise I discovered (after some initial confusion) that I was none of those.  Even though I was belittled and neglected I never had the urge to rob, cheat or steal.  In fact I'm generous to a fault, which has caused me many a problem over the years because of unscrupulous people who attempt to take advantage of me.

One thing Bill and I have in common, we both want to be liked.  I guess you could say most people have that need.  But where it causes Bill and I problems is, as I mentioned before, there are those who see that trait as a weakness and attempt to take advantage for their own selfish needs.  I was very fortunate that I meet Bill when I was just starting out in life.  Of course he was fortunate that he met me too.  Ours wasn't a lustful, sex crazed attraction but more like two men who were looking for a port in the storm of a sea of folk seeking to use and abuse.  We were lucky.  Sometimes I don't realize how lucky we were until I see some truly horrible, abusive relationships.

In the forty-eight years that Bill and I have been together, their have been those few times I have sampled the "other side of the fence."  What an eyeopener those experiences were.  Every time, without fail the object of my desire (and Bill's because he strayed once or twice too, it wasn't just me), betrayed me.  Every time folks.

I feel for these bloggers that I read who bemoan the fact that they are alone.  They're looking for love and it just isn't there.  When I read their sad tales of woe I think "That could be me."  Thank God that isn't me."
Then I wonder, is it luck or something to do with me?  I've come to the conclusion that it is me.

You see one thing I learned from a childhood of neglect and putdowns was to never accept the putdowns.  Never accept someone trying to belittle me whether it was because I am gay and they're straight and they feel that I am a lesser human being.  Or if it is a fellow gay person who for whatever reason (and I'm still trying to figure this out), feels a need to belittle and put me down.  I can't help but think that those gay people must have a low self-esteem and are losers themselves and that's why they feel the need to strike out and be mean to a fellow gay who they obviously are jealous of.  Yes, I said it, jealous.

I heard through the grapevine recently that "Ron doesn't want to have friends."  WRONG!  I have friends, a lot of friends.  Granted most of them are straight.  But there is one thing I will never accept again in my lifetime or what remains of it, and that is to be treated as less than by straights or gays.  I've put up with too much, especially since I moved to Delaware and the supposedly "gay friendly" resort area of Rehoboth/Lewes/Milton.  I find it anything but.  I find it very cliquish and exclusionary.  Is it me?  Probably because I will no longer accept being discounted  I will no longer look the other way or ignore when someone, gay or straight, belittles me with an offhanded, vicious comment.  I'm done with it folks and I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

One of the few times in my life I was appreciated for something I did.  Here I am with Phil Cordrey, the President of Hampton Inns at the Epcot Center in Disneyworld April 2000.  I was accepting an award for Best Guest Service Representative.  Hotel work has always made me feel valued.  


Today is a perfect day.  The sun is out, the sky is clear, the temperature is a moderate 74 degrees.  There is a light breeze rustling our river birch trees in the oval planter in our back yard.  The birds of our backyard habitat are busy raising their families.  Traffic is streaming down Route 1 towards Rehoboth and shore destinations beyond for yet another glorious summer weekend "at the shore."  Bill and I are going to Pennsylvania this weekend to checkout the new owners of our former property.  We're curious to see what they did with it.  We're not telling them we're coming.

While we're enjoying yet another wonderful weekend here in our Delaware oasis, I will think occasionally of those men and women in prison who do not have the freedom that Bill and I have and wonder why?  What caused them to take that path to pain and destruction whereas Bill and I took our rejections and made ourselves stronger.

I think I've figured out a lot in my lifetime but this is one thing that still has me puzzled.  You grow up being made to feel worthless and even during your lifetime people attack you to make you feel worthless but some people become stronger while others succumb to self destructive evil ways.  This is something that I just don't understand.  Food for thought folks, food for thought.



14 comments:

  1. Everyone wants to be loved Ron. It's our one basic need beyond food, air and shelter.
    It's sad that so few actually find their soulmate in life.
    And that hate is everywhere, no matter where or who you are.

    One of my kids a few years ago played me a song they heard(it was popular back then with the young folks). It was called "High School Never Ends".
    I listened to it and it's so true! Most people never get beyond behaving like they are still in high school.
    There is a whole world out there of emotionally stunted people.

    Thought I hardly ever agree with you when you get talking politics, I have to say that you have a clear vision of human nature and what's really important in life.

    Have a nice trip back to the old homestead in PA!

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    1. Slugmama,

      You hardly ever agree with me when I get to talking politics? Oh my. :) Looks like I have a lot of convincing to do. Believe it or not I used to be a conservative Republican. The first time I voted was for Barry Goldwater. However, after the Republicans mugged me, I saw the light and became a "progressive", which is a non-offensive way of saying a "liberal" which I understand is a dirty word now. Thank you for your kind and generous comments about my clear vision of human nature. Oh believe me, I understand human nature. Most of the time anyway. :)

      Ron

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  2. Oh Ron....you make me laugh.
    I detest all politicians equally. I belong to the ME party.lol
    I believe the govt. should be small and stay out of our personal business. I guess you'd call me socially liberal but fiscally conservative.
    If I had to be pigeon-holed I'd most align with the Libertarians.
    Liberty, responsibility and tolerance are great goals in theory.
    Too bad they are so difficult to implement.

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    1. Slugmama,

      I hear the call "government should stay out of our personal business" but today's version of the Republican Party (tea baggers) are very concerned with what we do with our personal lives such as same sex marriage and a woman's right to choose. I am a firm believer in self-reliance but there is also a place for government or else we would be at the whims of big business and back to having children six years old working in factories and having our streams and forests polluted so the top 1% can have even more billions of dollars. I felt so relieved when the Clinton administration finally closed the budget deficit and we finally had a surplus but then the Republicans got into power and promptly blew the budget out of the water by having two unnecessary wars (to keep the War Machine going) and unnecessary tax cuts for the richest who didn't need it and only drove our economy into the gutter for which we are still trying to recover. If the Republicans get back into power they will totally gut the government or as Grover Norquidst says "drown it in a drain." Today's tea baggers are totally evil and seek nothing less than to destroy government. Government is what civilized societies do to protect the weak and vulnerable. Without government to protect ALL of its citizen, we would be at the mercy of the strong and ruthless. It amazes me that people I know, who are otherwise reasonable people fail to see this destructive course that the tea baggers are driving this country to through today's version of the Republican party.

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  3. Ron,

    One of the mysteries of the human mind to me is how some people who were abused, belittled or bullied as a child turn around and do that to their own child or spouse when they become an adult. I was certainly a different kind of father to my children than my father was to me.

    There have been times in my life when that relationship I had with my father has come back to hinder me. I never wanted to put that kind of burden on my children. Children should respect their parents because they understand their parents care, not because they fear them.

    Lar

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    1. Lar,

      That too has also been one of the mysteries that I've often thought about. If I had kids I certainly would not have treated them indifferently as my father treated me and I certainly would not belittle them. You certainly were a different kind of father than your father was. It was terrible the way he treated you Another mystery to me is why you didn't stand up to him the way Lois did. Maybe you needed to do that just once and it would end and he would have had more respect for you. I understand being risk adverse but sometimes one just hides from the problem and doesn't address it and resolve it once and for all.

      Ron

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  4. an absolutely beautiful and honest post, ron. the only thing i have to say concerning the "mystery" is that there is no template for how individuals respond to trauma, and yes, what most gay kids go through growing up is trauma. but as victor frankl describes so well in "man's search for meaning", we all have a choice, and that can NEVER be taken away by our abusers (choice is our one true freedom). i think that you, and others who have altered the legacy of abuse in their families, have simple recognized in some way that there is a choice of how to live life.

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    1. Tony,

      I'll have to read Victor Frankl. I never heard of him but the subject sounds very interesting, "man's search for meaning."

      I do agree we all have a choice and that can NEVER be taken away by our abusers whether it be in childhood or adulthood. Choice is our one true freedom.

      This is another reason I like to blog, to receive and share this information

      Ron

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    2. frankl wrote of his experiences as a prisoner in the nazi camps, and how there were basically two types of prisoners: the walking dead and the walking hopeful. in the book he explains the difference between the two and why he ended up surviving and being one of the hopeful ones.

      and one more thing about choice--children are rarely aware that they have them--that is why the damage is so searing. as adults we can ask "well, that happened then, but what now?" and that is where we have the chance of escaping the effects of what happened.

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    3. Tony,

      I've always had hope, no matter how bad my situation. I know of no other way to be be.

      Ron

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  5. You say that every time you or Bill "strayed" the person in question betrayed you (or Bill). Yes, but couldn't that have been in part because the situation might have been, or at least seemed, messy and uncertain? The other person might have expected from you more than you were expecting to give, might have thought you meant to abandon your existing relationship for him. That is the sort of situation that generates all sorts of muddles and confusion, perhaps leading to an appearance of betrayal that perhaps wasn't really that but merely a decision to cut losses when the rules of the present game became clearer.

    I'll add that I like the sanity of your blog and the stability of the life it depicts. I live in Scotland with my partner of 38 years.

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    1. Paul,

      Good to hear from you! I appreciate that you identify yourself. Perhaps I could have worded better the "strayed" part of my narrative. Bill and I have always had an open relationship. We agreed upon that from the beginning because we recognized that it was unrealistic to expect total monogamy between two young, attractive men. As you can see, no false modesty here. However, as we have gotten older the "open" part of our relationship is a moot point. But there were those times in the past when our little flings with others got a little too serious but always, they fizzled out because the other participant in the affair always fell out of love. There, I think I said it best. Bill and I are total hopeless romantics and it is a good thing we found one another because we will be together forever. We were meant to be. I do believe our open relationship with others strengthened our own relationship. I know for sure that the other participants would never be as strong.

      Ron

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  6. Interesting. I have never, ever been able to stomach the idea of an open relationship. Intellectually, I can get as far as acknowledging such a thing can be harmless. After all, my partner and I have particular friends we go out for meals with - "I'm seeing Dave Tuesday" - "I'm lunching with Duncan Friday" - so what would be so awful if, before coming home, he or I went for an hour to a hotel bedroom with the person we've just been eating with? But no, the very thought just hollows me out.

    In a kind of undeclared way we tried it back in the 1970s, when we had some very rocky times. There were periods when the relationship was officially over - but we were still sleeping together; periods when it was officially back on again - but we were still hunting elsewhere. Cumulatively the distress was so great that I never wanted to go back to anything like that again.

    That's not to say there's never been infidelity since. I tell myself that it's usually been a sort of panic response or self-protective response to strains appearing in the relationship for other reasons (e.g. my partner working in a job in which every step up the promotion ladder required him to commit to going anywhere else in the UK). There might be an element of self-deception there, but even so I couldn't live in the thought: OK, this is an open relationship. When I read in your blog of your life with Bill, that can seem such a small deal - but still the big No is there.

    Cheers,

    Paul

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    1. Paul,

      After I met Bill, he wanted me to move in with him. I was 22 years old and I told him that I was a young guy just "out" and could not remain faithful to him. Bill said he understood that and that wasn't a requirement in our relationship. He only asked that I be discreet which I was. I was so glad I met someone who had a realistic view of relationships and didn't buy into the unrealistic Puritan view that ALL couples should remain monogamous. Are some couple monogamous? Sure. But this is what worked for Bill and I and neither one of us push our views on others. Bill and I never have and will never play by the rules of others whether it be on religion or social traditions.

      Bill and I haven't slept together for about 40 years now. In fact we don't even sleep on the same floor. Bill and I love one another not for our bodies or sex but for the person. The sex always wears off no matter who you're with are how hot they are.

      Have Bill and I had our "rocky moments?" Sure, but it never involved sex. Sex isn't and never was paramount in our relationship. In fact sex isn't that important in my life, never was.

      Ron

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