Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Good Enough

When logic and proportion Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said: "FEED YOUR HEAD!!"
--Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit" (1967)

I talk a pretty good game when it comes to what I write in this blog.

Occasionally, my entries are more a call to arms for myself, my own pep talk. I've learned, though, that sometimes, making positive changes in one's life isn't as simple as saying "Yes, I will do this and yes, I will change that."


On Tuesday, I had a doctor's appointment to get a lesion on my leg tested to see if it was another ringworm. The outbreak I had before had finally healed and, up until a week ago last Thursday, I was sitting pretty, confident that it had blown over and the Ringworm Situation was over.

Then I took a walk, a long walk around my neighborhood, just to get a little cardio in, blow off some steam. Well, I got what looked to be a mosquito bite on my leg, right above the knee. It itched like crazy and yeah, I'm not gonna lie, I am all about scratching mosquito bites, the little fuckers! Eventually, the head of the bite got kind of dry and scabby and, like the idiot that I am, I pulled what looked to be the head of the bite off. Low and behold, it began to look more and more like a ringworm lesion. At the same time, though, I was pretty convinced that it was a bite. It started off looking nothing like the lesions from before, so I tried to remain calm--no easy task for me, as I'm sure many of you reading this can attest to.

Eventually, even my parents--bless their hearts!--were pretty convinced that it looked like a ringworm lesion. But we couldn't be sure, so I decided to finally take it to my doctor, Becky (love her to death!).

She looked at it and said it looked like a ringworm but because it started off as being more like a mosquito bite, the only way she'd know for sure is if she did a skin biopsy, an idea she quickly nixed ("Trust me...Ya don't want that."). Instead, she prescribed a lotrisone cream that contained a steroid to knock whatever it was out quickly. The End.


Believe it or not, all of the above is pretty much beside the point of what I want to talk about. During that appointment, I told her how I'd been pretty much freaking out for the last two months, how I've been constantly paranoid about the ringworm. She knows I suffer from OCD and has believed for a long time that I should be put on medication. And the truth is, she's right. Oh sure, in the past, I've been on different meds like Effexor, Lexapro, and Prozac, but they all had one side-effect that I couldn't live with.

I couldn't have an orgasm.

Now, don't go thinking I'm like this pervy sex addict who needs to have an orgasm 24/7, but come on, let's be honest, not being able to have an orgasm in the throes of passion or, while we're speaking frankly, by oneself is one of the most depressing and horrible things a person can ever experience (next to hair loss, but that's a blog entry all by itself, thank you very much). I mean, yeah, in the grand scheme of things, not being able to experience The Big "O" doesn't exactly rank up their with tragedies such as the 9/11 or the Titanic sinking, but it sucks major ass (no pun intended. Obviously. Ew!)

Anyway, my doc just looked at me and said, "Hal, you don't have to feel this way. This is your life. You don't have to live your life this way."

She's right. Dammit, she's right. So, I told her of all the meds I'd been on, the Effexor was, well, the most effective. The only drawback, besides what I've already mentioned, is that it increases my appetite and slows my metabolism; something I'll have to keep my eye on and be mindful of. I can't be eating every piece of chocolate that's shot in my direction (wait! What am I talking about?! I do that already!)

So, she gave me seven weeks worth of pills and told me to call her as soon as I start to run out. Since I have a history of just quitting the meds cold turkey without telling her, she made me promise her that I would call.


How do I feel about all of this? Well, it's a mixed bag.

I mean, I'm optimistic, intrigued and excited about it because it might help me be happy (with the right amount of counseling) and less paranoid about every little cough or mark on my skin. At the same time though, I'm a little sad, ya know? For the last couple of years, I've tried to fight my OCD on my own and, for a little while, it seemed to work. But what I have to remember is that it's not something I can turn on and off. It is a chemical imbalance, a mental disorder. I didn't do this to myself, no one caused it. It's no one's fault.

I know all of this. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling just a little defeated, weak. And yeah, I'll say it: I going to miss having orgasms. I guess I'll just have to get over those feelings. What can I say? Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made.

And I know that I could just go on with my life and do as I've done for the last two years and try to push down the fears and the paranoia the best I can (which, at the end of the day, I'm not all that successful at doing really). I could just toss the pills into the trash (hey, they were free! Samples rule!) and live my life the way I've been living it. You know, leave well-enough alone.

But there's something I'm finally starting to realize. To be sure, it's a realization that anyone who wants to improve their quality of life probably has, sooner or later, whether it be a homosexual coming out of the closet, a spouse unhappy with their marriage or, like me, someone who has a disorder that is preventing them from functioning normally in their daily life.

Sometimes, "well-enough" just isn't good enough.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Secrets & Lies

For the most part, I've never been good at keeping secrets.

There. I said it.

If you ask me to keep it between us, yeah, I'll probably keep it to myself. But usually, one has to say something to the effect of "this stays between us..." or "Don't tell anyone this or I will gouge your eye out with my finger" for me to keep it truly private. My dad's the same way. Unless I preface something with "Do NOT tell this to mom," it's usually fair game for parental discussion and I will, in fact, hear about it later from my mother. When I have called my dad out on this (on more than one occasion), I have been met with a sheepish look and "Oh, was I not supposed to tell her that?"

Eh. Maybe it's a hereditary thing. Who knows?

Perhaps it's because I'm so open about myself, whether it be my experiences and emotions. Truth be known, I really don't censor myself and that does get me into a lot of trouble sometimes. I suffer from a chronic case of TMI-tis. And it might also be fair to say that I really have no shame.

Anyway, I've had quite a few problems, this year. As of late, my biggest problem has been my mouth. That is, it just doesn't know when to shut the fuck up. A secret that I told to, well, a lot of people came back to haunt me while driving home from some bars this last Saturday night. Basically, a friend--we'll call her "Sally" (who had no idea that it was supposed to be a secret)--blurted something out that made it pretty obvious that I had spilled the beans to her. See, it was a secret shared between me and another friend--we'll call them X. I had previously told X that I mentioned the secret to only "a few people," when it fact, I had told pretty much, well, let's just say it was a little more than "a few." So, when Sally made the comment in the car, it opened up a whole can of worms in the sense that X wanted to know just who and how many people I'd told.

I told X, well, "a lot of people, actually." But what I didn't tell X was that I told the
One Person I Really Wasn't Supposed to Tell. In fact, I can pretty much tell you that, in the History of Not Keeping Secrets, it was one of the worst disclosures of information ever.


The One Person I Really Wasn't Supposed to Tell should never have known and it was really a true Hal Moment (what else, right?) how it came to pass that they did find out. At the same time, though, X would never know that I told the person (partly because said person uses a lot more discretion than myself). So, why tell?

And that is where my guilty conscience kicked in. Dammit.

I really had a true case of the devil and the angel on my shoulder. I could hear the angel saying, "you have a window of opportunity to do the right thing and tell them the horrible thing you did!" On the other side of my noggin, I could hear the devil shouting, "ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?! WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?! ARE YOU RETARDED?!?! WHAT IS THE POINT, OTHER THAN TO UPSET A FRIEND?!"

Man, that devil had a pretty good fucking point. Other than to clear my conscience and make myself feel better, what would be the point of hurting this friend who, up until this point, had been none the wiser? The devil was smart. The devil was right.

Too bad the angel, like the house, always wins.

I told my friend that I told the One Person I Really Wasn't Supposed to Tell. It wasn't pretty. Yeah, we're still friends and I think we're good at this point, but it's going to be a long time before they can fully trust me again. Still, I'm not sure that telling them was the right move. As soon as I confessed, a string of thoughts crossed my mind: 20 seconds ago, we were sitting here, enjoying each others' company, not a care in the world, everything was just fine. And now? In the course of 20 second, everything has changed. Was it worth it?

Ignorance, as they say, can truly be blissful.

Which leads me to the following question: When is honesty not, in fact, the best policy, but the absolute worst?

I think if I've learned anything this week, it's that if friendships are to survive and trust is to exist, some secrets need to be had. And, in my case, kept.

Education truly is expensive sometimes.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mr. Brightside

It just occurred to me today that I'm happy.

Hey, I guess there's a first for everything, right?

It's kind of funny. People keep nudging me to write a blog.

"You haven't written one for a while, man! What's goin' on? When are you going to post something new.

And the truth is, for a while, I was under the impression that I just had a really bad case of writer's block, ya know? It's like I've really been reeeeeeaching for things to write about. For the last few months, it's been really, really tough-going in Neurotica Land. And for the life of me, I couldn't think of a reason why. I mean, I was really on a roll for a while there.

And then it occurred to me.

Aside from the Justin/Underground thing, I don't have anything to bitch about. I mean, not really. And without anything in my life to write long diatribes--bitchfests, if you will--about, I just don't have that much stuff to write about.

Sad, but true.

The funny thing is, my financial situation isn't all that great, right now; I'm single (which is pretty much old hat for me, at this point, anyway) and still working at a job (close friends aside--and there are many relationships there that I truly do treasure) that pretty much makes me throw up in my mouth every time I think about it, much less enter the building. And, oh yeah, I tripped over a stick (It was DARK, alright?!?!), wiped out, and skinned the shit out of my knee. Again!!

And still, I'm happy. Not ecstatic (heaven forbid, right?), but I'm content. I'm finally trying to look on the Bright Side, which is no easy task for me. But I've been really thinking about it and the truth of the matter is, I'm not doing too shabby in the grand scheme of things.

I've got a wonderful family; a handful of some of the best friends that a hairy, portly schmuck like myself could ask for; a loving and very much beloved daughter (okay, so she's not, like, a real person...but hey, ya gotta start somewhere, right? A cat's as good a start as any.); a G-d that loves me and is watching over me, listening to my prayers (I believe, anyway) and, finally, a newfound sense of motivation, hope.

I feel good about myself, right now. For once, I feel like life is worth grabbing by the balls.

Well, maybe there is something in there worth writing about. I guess we'll have to see.

And in your case, read.

In the meatime, there is something I want to say.

I know I can be pretty self-involved and fairly narcissistic, but I really do try to be there for the ones that I love--and sometimes, even the one's that aren't even on the top of my list (if ya know what I mean). With that being said, as of late, there are a few people out there-said family and/or friends of mine, not to mention people that aren't really in my life anymore, but I catch up with or keep an ear/eye out for --that are hitting some hard times or feeling low and I really want to say that I will pray for all of you.

Each and every one of you.

I know, to many of you that's lame or stupid, but it has really helped me out a great deal this year: prayer, belief in a Higher Power. Hey, if it works, why question it and, instead, just go with it?

On the other hand, if the thought of me praying for you gives you acid reflux, then I will simply say this: You are in my thoughts.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking: What an ego on this guy. Like I could give two happy horse shits if this guy prays or thinks happy thoughts for me.

And, ya know what? Perhaps you're right. I'm just a guy. What do I know? Who cares if I'm out there, wishin' and hopin' (and prayin')? But then again, tell me this: Is it so bad to have one more person thinking the Good Thought?

I mean, it can't hurt, right?

Hey, if a guy like me--of all people--can look on the bright side, then there must be something to it.

Now, I'll be honest, if you were to ask me if this miraculous transformation is a permanent thing, I could really only offer you one very simple response...

G-d willing and here's hoping...