Prisoner in My Own Body

I’ve discovered recently how deep my self worth (or lack thereof) runs and how it connects to everything I touch. I have known for years that I suffer from poor self esteem and self worth but I didn’t realize how much of an impact it had on my life.

With depression and PTSD, for me, there comes this crippling isolation. The more depressed or triggered I am the more I crawl into my cave. This isn’t a new concept for me as I have been doing this for year. The closest people in my life become strangers, and strangers become monsters. It is a scary place to me. I lose all sense of reality and often I don’t even recognize myself.

I woke up early this morning (which is rare for me) and instantly felt the need to cleanse myself, as in take a shower. It will have been almost a week since my last shower. I wish I could say that was the longest I have been without bathing but it comes with the territory. The more worthless I feel the less likely I am going to care about staying clean. For most taking a showering is a no brainer but when I am in the low place it becomes like Mount Everest.

Every time I shower, especially if it has been a good while since my last one, I feel so clean and fresh. Pure. That doesn’t last very long, usually less than an hour.

Every time I was sexually abused I tried to wash off the dirty with soap but no matter how long or hard I scrubbed it wouldn’t wash away. My outside would be clean but the soap couldn’t touch or reach the dirty deep inside. So it makes sense when I feel the most worthless I allow my body to stay dirty because this is how I feel inside.

When I am depressed everything goes to hell from my personal hygiene to my eating habits, and everything else in between. You should have seen some of the apartments I have lived in, you would have thought it was a disaster zone. I would leave dishes in the sinks for months to the point where I would have to throw everything away. I haven’t gotten better about that but I still allow my living area to go out of whack. Whenever I would have anyone come over, I would go into a panic trying to clean everything. I couldn’t let anyone know the chaos my life was in. I had to give the appearance that everything was okay.

Today I realized that my body is a prison cell. I started to think my mind was the prison but in reality it is my whole body that is the prison. Certainly my mind has it’s own great big, dark cell but everything is contained inside the walls of my prison body.

I desperately want to break free from this cell but I have struggled for years doing so. I have been off my diet since my birthday (july 3) and I have struggled since to get back on track. I use to really struggle with compulsive overeating. There would be times that I would try to medicate my bad feelings with food. I would eat myself into oblivion until all I noticed was sickness from being full. Sweets and soda were my fair weather friends. This week I have noticed myself pigging out to the point where I just don’t care.

The more worthless I feel the more the need to make the horribleness go away, anyway I can. I become very compulsive and I have noticed an increase in my compulsion recently. Food and sex were two ways I used to compensate for my self worth, both always lead me down a dark road.

Sex has also been a struggle for me. I saw myself as an object for many years and gave the people what they wanted. It wasn’t always that way. I grew up believing I could find someone who loved and accepted me. I had dreams of having a family and spending my life with that one person. When that didn’t happen, I took what I thought was the next best thing… not realizing the damage it would cause. When I am triggered my mind tries to go down that road again.

I have been celibate since April 2012, which is the longest I have ever gone without sex. It is one of the few things that I am proud of. I have taken back my body in regards to sex. For me it’s a reminder that not all of me thinks I am worthless. Now that’s not to say that I haven’t had temptation or have had moments where I have tried to look for sex but thankfully I quickly snap out of it. I have caught myself thinking what the heck am I doing??? I don’t want to give my body up for one night of pleasure. I realize not only will I lose all that time of purity but afterwards I will feel like crap.

I went through a period of heavy sexual compulsion. I didn’t care about the risk, I just wanted to feel good but every time I would feel dirty… just like after the abuse. Every time I would run to the shower and try to wash the dirt away and every time I would fail miserably. Usually it would end in my feeling suicidal. With acting out sexually, I’m not proud to admit, I engaged in some very risky behavior. I was playing russian roulette with my health, body and life. I am thankful that to this day I am hiv negative, so many others haven’t been so fortunate.

I’ve thought long and hard about why I didn’t care about the risks of having unprotected sex. Obviously it’s connected to how I feel about myself. When I couldn’t find a man to love me, I gave up and resorted to taking any kind of attention I could find. I didn’t feel I was worthy of love, care and attention so I gave men what they wanted. I learned very early on that a mans needs came before my own. The abuse taught me that my needs aren’t important. Obviously my mind knows that isn’t true but it’s something I still struggle with daily.

It’s amazing the lies your brain believes. Like you deserve AIDS. I didn’t go out looking to become positive but I certainly didn’t turn it away… nor did I want it. Every time I would get tested for HIV I would go into this panic. You would think that being tested negative would scare me straight but that only lasted so long before I started acting out again. I think in part having risky sex was my psyche trying to commit suicide, it certainly was extremely self destructive. I have often wondered why I wanted HIV. Maybe I thought it was the only way for someone to love me and show me attention? Was I so desperate to lose the weight to think having HIV was the only way to do so? Did I really want to die? I certainly wasn’t a bug chaser (someone who actively wants to become hiv positive) but indirectly I had to be trying.

The only correlation to all of this was when I came out of the closet in 1995. One of the many hurtful things my father told me that I was going to get AIDS and that all my friends wouldn’t be there when I was dying alone in the hospital. He also told me that I had always wanted to lose weight and that getting AIDS that would finally come true. Am I still holding on to the hope that my father will love me in the way I need, to the point where dying from AIDS he’d come to my rescue??? It’s been eighteen years since I heard my father spew his hatred towards me and it still feels like he just said them to me. I’m just thankful I have turned down another road but I fear when I get these urges that I will turn back around down that road…

Even recently I have started to walk down that road. I even created a couple of sex accounts, which I quickly deleted… I know that that road is a slippery slide to some dangerous behavior. Thankfully I have realized that is not the life for me, nor the one I want. That is the struggle with being single and feeling lonely. I miss human contact, intimacy. I watched a movie recently about this gay couple and I watched in awe as they made love to each other, as this is something I have always dreamed of but have never obtained. I’m realizing that something isn’t better than nothing. Nothing is better than something that will hurt me, it’s just learning to cope with the indifference.

While I have been able to fend off the sexual compulsion, I haven’t been so lucky when it comes to food. Food is my biggest battle and my biggest addiction. Food has been my biggest friend and defense. I have built this physical blubber of a wall to protect myself and it’s killing me. It makes sense to me that I have been struggling lately with eating healthy. This is really the first time since January that I have struggled this long. I believe in part is that I am getting to the core of all these bad feelings and untruths about myself. All this time I have seen it as digging a tunnel to my core, when I have been digging my escape route to expose it all. They say it gets worse before it gets better. This is the first time in my life that I have been actively working on my body. I am facing the truth in my own time, doing what I need to do to heal… going to therapy, taking my medicine, etc. I might not be moving as quickly as some feel and want me to but I am moving at my own pace… and I will get there. The road to taking care of myself is bound to be bumpy. I have to realize that occasionally I will fall off track, sometimes I will even take the wrong road but the key is to always get back on track… regardless how long it has been.

I’ve been living in darkness so long, that it’s only natural the dark force will try to pull me under. I have been living so unhealthy for so many years, so I must realize the road to healing isn’t going to be perfect. I will fall. I will get scratched. The difference I am no longer in that hurtful place, it is all an illusion. A way to keep me from what I deserve, which is love and happiness.

So I am going to keep moving forward and as a little fishy once told me… I am going to just keep swimming.

If Sex Sells, what are we really selling?

This is a topic I really struggle with in the gay community. I try to not be prudish but I wonder if I am the only gay man that feels this way? Am I the only single guy online who isn’t just looking for a one night stand or a fuck buddy? Excuse my french… I surely hope I am not the only one.

The invention of the iPhone and android phones only cemented into place the virtual meat market. Thankfully on these devices no naked pictures are allowed, which I certainly am pleased about… Though minus the cock and ass shot it really isn’t any different.

a4ablueSure I know these social sites like a4a have to make their money, especially since they are free… but really does every ad have to be a porno or male enhancement product. What is worse this ad pictured is fairly tame compared to some of the other full frontal x-rated action ads! Not to mention that each page is plastered with pictures of user’s private parts or headless torsos…

Now I know some will argue that these sites are just for hooking up. You will even read the occasional ad that says I know I will unlikely find a boyfriend on this site. Are we all just giving in and accepting defeat here? Why aren’t there gay male social networking sites that aren’t so fixated on sex? Heck why not open it up to anyone who wants a gay best friend? I mean we are fabulous!

Have we just gone off the deep end with this idea of being liberated. Just because we can do it, should we? What happened to romance? What happened to the simple things like talking and getting to know one another. Sure sex is great but for me it isn’t everything.

I look online and I see a lot of loneliness… a lot of accepting less… settling… I think that is the real problem with all the hate bashing that goes on… It makes it that much harder to find love. Plus you still have those who don’t have the courage to come out, who hide behind the anonymity of online.

Now I am not against sex. I just think the extreme on either end can be unhealthy. Maybe not for some but I know I am not alone. One thing I have learned with taking things slow with someone it enhances all of the other qualities and feelings. I guess for me it is all the gratuitous sex that really rubs me the wrong way. Like it is thrown in my face on some sites.

If you have a less than perfect body these sites can also do a number on your self esteem. There are times I look at all the muscle and I think well I don’t look like that. The voices in my head tell me that no one will want someone like you. It is very easy to feel like you are on this judging block ready to be cut in half. How loud do we really need to MOOOOOOO???

So what do you do if you don’t want to get all wrapped up in the meat market of online social networking? Are bars a better alternative? Personally I have always struggled going up to strangers in public. Often I feel like a deer caught in the head lights…  So if not bars, then what? Sure there is the whole friends of friends but what if you are new to the area?

I know we are men but do we really have to always focus on sex? The word that keeps surfacing is connection. I am not saying we do what the right wing wants us to do but can’t we show other parts of ourselves that are of value.

I guess I see sex very much like food. As much as I would love to eat at a buffet every day, I couldn’t handle it. Moderation is the key, so is balance.

Trust me I have been there, where I thought that was all I was good for… sex… I no longer believe that. I just wonder how many guys are also in that boat? Who don’t believe they can find love, so they settle for second best.

I hope to not come across as judging others, that is not my purpose. I certainly know how that feels. I just think some respect has been lost a long the way.

Look at the popularity in bareback porn, especially companies like Treasure Island Media, and how they are glorified for unhealthy behavior. Sure I know it is partly a fantasy but for many it is a reality. The fact of the matter people still die from AIDS. Yet we have a have a segment of our gay community that sexualizes behavior that can cause HIV and AIDS.

I wonder how different things will be ten to twenty years from now. Will we have an epidemic like they did in the 80’s?

I think people would be surprised how much unprotected sex occurs in the gay community. Personally there was a time that I was very promiscuous. My self worth was so low that I wasn’t able to see the consequences for my actions. All I cared for was the quick fix. I was playing Russian Roulette with my life. Thankfully as I have started to take better care for myself I was able to make different choices. I started to value my life and am learning to look at the consequences, not just with sex. I am blessed to still be HIV Negative because so many others are not so fortunate.

Honestly I still struggle with it all. Getting online can be very triggering for me, especially with the sexual trauma. All of this makes me very sad. Sure it is all fun and games right now but what happens when you get sick? What good will all the sex have done for you if you can’t get the medicine you need to survive? I see a bunch of guys that need love.

Many see HIV and AIDS as a manageable illness. They don’t see those who struggle with it everyday from the medicines that mess up their body to the stigma that goes with it. They don’t see the people who die from it. Just take a pill and it will all be okay, well it isn’t as easy as that.

Again what are we selling? Sure they are our bodies but attached to those bodies are souls… I know this post probably comes across like I am against sex, which I am not. I just think there is a time and a place for it. As things are changing in the world when it comes to being gay, we no longer have to run and hide. We can be ourselves. Just cause many in the world tells us we are not of value that doesn’t mean it is the truth.

I am not buying into this idea that all there is to the gay community is sex, nor am I willing to accept it! As a gay man sex is only a small part of who I am… Even being gay isn’t the biggest part of who I am, just the most fabulous part! 🙂

Anyone else have any thoughts on this subject? Please tell me I am not alone??? 🙂