i'm in the suburbs of sao paulo right now, visiting family. they are not related to me by blood; they are the family of my ex-boyfriend, with whom i remain close. i always feel a little funny calling them my family in front of him and our friends, but they are very dear to me and that is what they are.
i haven't been sleeping well lately. that is nothing new, but normally it doesn't last so many nights in a row. for several nights i only slept around six hours a night, and then i ended up being in sao paulo on a friday night and decided to sample some of the city's legendary nightlife. i had sampled before, and to me it is nothing out of the ordinary. my friends there are very domestic these days and i had spent much of my time there at their house alone while they were at work, so that was more incentive to go out for a while. i had to meet my family the next day at a certain time, so i didn't get much more than four or five hours of sleep that night either. i was pretty well losing it soon after we finally got to the house after my train ride and our errands along the way, and decided to lay down on the couch in the living room where my two nephews, one aged 11 years and the other five, were playing a computer game. i didn't want to lay down on the bed because i thought that i might not manage to get up again for the rest of the night, and it wasn't even yet 7:00pm.
i woke up about an hour later with one of those "morning" hard-ons. not only that, but my 11 year old nephew was laying against me, caressing me, sliding his hand down my pants, exploring my body and touching my penis. i wasn't sure how to react. i opted to pretend i was still asleep but moved my body to make it more difficult for him to keep touching me in that way.
i didn't want to over-react and send him a message that what he was doing was wrong. on the one hand it is not something he should not be doing to an adult male, simply because of the age difference; on the other hand it is normal childhood curiosity, to some extent for any child i think but even more so for a child who knows that he is sexually attracted to males and wants to explore that, which i and others have perceived for some time is the case with him. there are some who believe that it is impossible for an 11 year old boy to know that. to them i say: read more non-fiction and professional literature about the subject, and talk more to adult men who are homosexual and bisexual about how and when they first realized they were sexually attracted to men (and/or get your head out of the sand).
if i had been alone with him i probably would have quietly stopped him and engaged him in conversation about it, about how his curiosity is normal and natural but how he should not engage older males that way as he could get hurt, both physically and psychologically. however, the house was full of people, including his mother, and i believe any attempt to converse with him in that situation would have turned into a big scene and a big mess. he didn't deserve that, and i wanted to protect him from that. as it was, i think it was fine the way it turned out - although i sincerely hope that he finds more age appropriate partners with whom to explore his budding sexuality, and that if he doesn't, the older males he engages have the same sensitivity, compassion and morals that i have.
more weird dreams: one night i dreamed i got shot in the head. last night i dreamed that i was trying to fill up the gas tank on the family car - i was a young adult again, living at home with my father and step-mother and brothers and sisters - and the gas was spilling all over the place and i couldn't get it to stop and was afraid i was going to accidentally cause an explosion.
i have a dark spot in my mouth which might be a malignancy (i've already had one melanoma scare), and my recent colonoscopy shows something strange. my doctor made a point of reassuring me that whatever that is, it isn't cancer; but i haven't been able to get in to discuss the results with him yet, which he assumed that i could see on the hospital's computer system.
i often wonder how i'm going to die. is HIV or hepatitis b or one of the myriad illnesses that come along with those diseases going to eventually take me down? living in a dangerous neighborhood, where there has been a murder right in front of my building in the middle of the day and lots of other assorted shootings, will i die by gunfire? flying around to visit and help take care of family and friends as much as i do, will i die in an airplane accident? am i going to die of the long term side effects of my chemotherapy to combat HIV or hepatitis?
sometimes i wonder if it's normal or healthy to think about death so much. i suppose so, considering that i have two chronic, life-threatening illnesses, and live where i do. at this point, heaven only knows the answer to my pondering.
i've been having some wild dreams lately: that i was being baptized, and i'm not even christian (any more); that i was addicted to powder cocaine; that i saw my step-mother, who recently died; and last night that i was dating a bisexual, punkish, grungy guy - and that's not hardly my typical type. i've really been feeling ready for love and ready for a new relationship lately, so i think the latter was the universe's way of telling me that i'd better keep an open mind to all possibilities if i really want it. will do!
I went and bought some more medical marijuana today. I have been smoking a couple of joints almost every day. My stomach has been bothering me, and once I get into a routine of smoking I have a hard time getting out. The truth is, it helps for a while and then, like everything else I do for my chronic gastrointestinal distress, the strength of the beneficial effect gradually coasts downward. Then I try something else.
But lately I have been smoking a lot of marijuana, and my stomach was fucked up again today – nothing new, of course, but rather one of the basic reasons for my disability – and I once again I opted not to resist the urge to sooth it with some smoke. At some point, though, I wonder if all the smoking isn’t causing some distress. If I remember correctly, some smoke does get into the stomach when one smokes, and research has shown that smokers have a higher rate of stomach ulcer. Marijuana has some of the same bad stuff as any other smoked plant material. I know that smoking is not good for the brachial tubes and the lungs; that is unquestionable.
I have been trying to stop, but haven’t managed to do so. It is also eating up a lot of my precious money. I think I have already gone through the $300 that my mother gave me to help me with travel expenses when I went down to help her after her surgery. It seems like that money could have gone for much better things. At the same time, I’m not beating myself too much for smoking. It is simply what I’m doing right now – and it is also good for my insomnia and my tendency to ruminate.
I have been doing a lot of nothing, and rather enjoying that. That’s probably not a completely fair statement, as for example I ran some errands, took a long walk and hung out with friends on Saturday evening, and then hosted a couchsurfer (www.couchsurfing.org) and walked around and bar-hopped with him on Sunday. On Monday after he left I did nothing but stay in the house and play Solitaire, Hearts and Mah Jong on the computer. Again, I am being overly-harsh on myself, as I also worked a little and watched my usual “Jeopardy”, and then a few episodes of “Antiques Roadshow”. The fact remains, however, that I did stay in the house the entire day that day. I say this a lot and I think people get sick of it and think I’m exaggerating, but the weather very much affects my mood and state of mind, and I detest cold weather. I simple couldn’t motivate myself to go out in that cold.
Today of course I was at physical therapy, even though nauseated before and most of the time I was there. I did stay and do a little extra on my own. I am at home now, an hour from my favorite show (although Alex Trebec could go, and I hate that they have so many Judeo-Christian religious and sports categories), hoping that my stomach settles down. I’m still hoping to get some work in before “Jeopardy” starts, and after “Glee”. (Yeah, I am a hard-core Gleek.) I got called to do a program review for the federal government in January, and there is a small honorarium with that which I’ll get some weeks after.
Hopefully that will be a ticket to Brazil – and in time for Carnaval!
I was almost assaulted on the bus the other day, because the man next to me put his foot up against my foot and then I moved mine and he then accused me of kicking him or stepping on his foot or some other bullshit. He told me that I had better not get off the bus at his stop, or else.
Up until now I have only been assaulted once on the bus in my neighborhood (punched in the face because the man next to me said my backpack was too close to him), and almost mugged on another occasion. I managed to avoid the latter only because I had my “city sense” about me.
Now, after three years in this apartment living next to the projects on the edge of the ghetto, things have taken a turn for the worse. Just in the last four months, in chronological order:
1. A shoot-out between a parolee and the police, two blocks away.
2. A murder in broad daylight (3pm on a Friday afternoon) directly in front of my building.
3. A gang shoot-out a half a block away in which a bullet entered an apartment and almost killed an 11-year old girl.
4. A gang shoot-out three blocks away in which three or four youths were injured.
5. A gang infiltration of my building, where they were attempting to take up positions on roof so that they could keep a better eye on their territory.
6. My houseguest being mugged as he entered the building.
7. Drug dealers calling across the street to me, to see if I wanted to buy anything, after over two years of walking right through the bunch of them and not having them say one word to me.
8. Finally, almost getting assaulted on the bus by a low-class loser who spent almost the entire bus ride talking loudly about a blow-job he got, and the ugly comments he made to the girl throughout the experience.
I have no money for a security deposit on a new place, nor money to pay moving expenses. Besides that, rents have gone up twenty percent over those two years just in my building alone, despite this location and the economic woes the country is suffering right now; and my rental subsidy is the same as it was when I first rented, so who knows what worse neighborhood I might end up if I tried to move now anyway.
Welcome to my world.