Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Sermon [Adversity]

¡Hola! Everybody...
I had a stomach ache last might... LOL

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-=[ When Shit Happens ]=-

In the late 70s / early 80s, I worked in the Wall St. area at a well-known corporation. I was young and dangerous (LOL). I worked with a group of young men just like me, young, full of life -- and mischievous. I wasn’t allowed near the secretarial pool (no problem, I got them in the elevator); I worked hard and played harder. Our department was called “Romper Room” because we were always getting into some type of trouble or causing drama.

One of the things we did was play pranks. The prank playing would eventually cause two of us our jobs (playing a prank on CEO is not a good idea) and it got so bad, I used to walk around looking behind me all the time. We were very creative. For example, I advanced to a quasi-supervisory position (not because of my work ethic, but by dint of seniority). I would order one of the guys to pick up some garbage around his desk, act as if I were having a baby behind it, have him sweep it into an envelope, and then secretly mail it to his house (it took him years to figure it out).

The mother of one of the crew kept receiving subscriptions for Screw magazine (don' t, look at me!). Mothers and girlfriends were favorite targets. You can’t get any lower than targeting a mother. I mean, mothers were off limits, you could get killed for targeting a mother, but that never stopped us. As our antics “evolved” we found newer and more creative ways to go lower.

Hot foots, phone calls in the middle of the night, booby traps that would make Rube Goldberg mad with envy -- it was all there in our department of about 10-15 men in their early 20s. Let me tell you, those days were a lot of fun. It was then that my partying began to take on epic proportions and believe me, when I got high, I was

Out. Of. Control.

Well, one day, I was visiting one of my co-workers in New Jersey. Another friend of ours lived across the street and I got in into my head to order a truckload of sand and have it sent to his address. His father had a lawn that he loved more than his own son, I think, and that upped the wow factor up a few notches. My accomplice/ friend upped the ante even more when he suggested we change the order from sand to fertilizer. Pure genius!

We made the call, put in the order for a truckload of fertilizer, and gave our co-worker’s address across the street. We sat by the window and waited...

A while passed and we saw the truck pull up to our co-worker’s residence and then something happened we didn’t plan for: the driver dumped the fertilizer right there on the lawn!

This took the prank to a whole other level. We were beside ourselves with laughter. The sight of our co-worker’s mother running out and then his father and the ensuing argument was priceless to us at that time. Then our co-worker came out, looked around and it hit him that he was being pranked. LMAO!

I know, I know, it’s fucked up, immature, blah blah blah... as we would say back then, “Unclench the anal sphincter bitches... ” Yeah, it was wrong, but we were young, dumb, and full of cum, shoot me.

Shit happens all the time. The Buddhists have a pretty cool teaching story/ metaphor for this truism.

Imagine you’re having a beautiful day at home with your spouse. All of sudden, out of the blue, you realize someone has dumped a truckload of shit on your front lawn. There are four realities to this situation:

  1. You did not order it. It’s not your fault.
  2. You’re stuck with it. No one saw who dumped it, so you can’t call anyone to tow it away.
  3. It’s filthy and offensive, the aroma fills your whole house. It’s almost impossible to endure.
  4. No, I didn’t order it.

In this metaphor, the truckload of shit on your front lawn symbolizes the traumatic experiences that are dumped on us in this life. As with the truckload of shit, there are four things to know about the tragedies in our lives:

  1. We did not order it. It’s not our fault (the “Why me?” factor)
  2. We’re stuck with it. No one, not even those who love us most, can take it away (though they try).
  3. It is awful, it destroys our happiness, and its pain fills our life. In fact, at times it feels as if it almost impossible to endure
  4. No, I didn’t cause it.

Taking into consideration the above realities, there are several ways we can respond when shit happens. The first way (and this seems the most popular) is to carry the shit around with us. Some of us put the shit we’re handed in our pockets, in our baggage, and some inside their bras. We even pout some down in our pants. What happens is that some of us quickly realize carrying shit around leads to the loss of many friends. Even your best friends don’t like the smell of shit.

“Carrying around shit” is a metaphor for falling for the seduction of depression, anger, or negativity. This isn’t unusual. In fact, it’s a natural and understandable response to adversity. But our loved ones disappear because it equally natural and understandable that our friends don’t like being around us when we’re so depressed. The smell of shit often gets worse, not better.

But there is another response we can choose. We find that we’ve been handed a truckload of shit, we can acknowledge the tribulation, sigh, and then get to working. We can bring out the tools and shovel the shit into our wheelbarrow, wheel it and dig it into our garden. This hard, exhausting, and often very difficult work, but deep down we know there’s no better option.

Some days, we can barely fill our barrow. But the fact that we’re doing something about the problem, rather than complaining, helps lift us out of our depression. Every day, we dig into that shit, and the pile begins to get smaller. Sometimes it takes years, but the time comes that the shit on your front lawn is all gone. In addition, something else has happened. The flowers in our garden are bursting out in a riot of color all over the place. The sweet perfume wafts down so that your neighbors and even people passing through smile in delight.

Your fruits and vegetables are nearly bursting with ripe fullness. In addition, the fruit is so sweet, you can’t possibly buy anything like it at the local supermarket. We share those gifts freely, even with strangers, without planning to, or expecting anything in return.

“Digging into the shit: is a metaphor for welcoming the tragedies and fertilizer for life. It is work that we have to do alone -- no one can help us here. But toiling in the garden of our solitude, day by day, lessens our pain. When we have lived through tragic pain, learned its lesson for us, and toiled in our garden, then we can put our arms around another experiencing deep loss and say softly say to them, “I know.” And they will realize that you understand. It is here that compassion begins. We can show them the gardening tools and offer them encouragement. But if we haven’t grown our own garden, this can’t be done.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hambriente/ Hunger

¡Hola! Everybody...
Thought this was appropriate...

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-=[ Contemporary American Hunger ]=-

by John Olivares Espinoza

We were the newest broke Mexicans to settle in Indio,
Mom having quit her job at school
To rest her neck, tense from hovering
Like a desk lamp over the Special-Ed kids.
Albert and I, barely hip-high
To our mother, unaware of our budget,
salivated as we thought of the dry buns,
The grade B patties of Argentine beef at McDonalds --
For what our TV eyes believed was the best lunch in town.

At McD's, we paid for two cheeseburgers.
Mom pulled out her blue purse, laid
a buck thirty-eight --
Two dull quarters,
Six dimes, five nickels,
And three parking-lot pennies.
The cashier's forefinger counted
The change as Mom held up the line,
While regulars tapped
Their feet behind her. She stood red-faced,
For these burgers slid towards her
On a bright plastic tray.

Bun by bun, Mom bulldozed
With a plastic knife the spread of ketchup,
Mustard and chopped onion
Before slicing the burgers to give each of her sons a half.
Satisfied, we ventured through a rainbow
Of tubes and balls with the other kids,
Their stomachs full of Big Macs or Happy Meals.
But we were happy too -- better than staying
At home on a Saturday
Eating potato tacos after our yard chores.
Did Mom sit there and watch us play?
I only remember her fingers neatly wrapping
The remaining half in greasy red and yellow paper,
Then tucking the lump away in her purse, sustenance for later.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The TGIF Sex Blog [Religion and Sex]

¡Hola! Everybody...
I lost or misplaced my phone last night, so if I didn’t call you, it’s not because I didn’t think of you...

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-=[ Religion and Sex ]=-

Eroticism is assenting to life even in death.

-- Georges Bataille

What are the consequences when a religion does not recognize our basic human need for pleasure and uses its powerful influence as a way to implement social rules that repress our “God”-given right for nurturing, sensual, and erotic pleasure? What happens when we reduce sex to the mechanical joining of male and female genitals? What is the result of ignoring the vital sustenance women and men derive from the sexual rainbow of playful, loving, intimate, responsible, passionate, and transcendent sex?

When I first began to formally study human behavior, I was alarmed by the amount of studies of child abuse indicating that parents who abuse their children were often deprived of physical affection during their own childhood, and as adults fail to experience satisfying sexual relationships. Further studies show that deprivation of bodily pleasure during infancy and adolescence and the repression of pleasure promote adult violence.

Religions emphasizing a high, Father-like God that punishes deviation in sexual behavior commonly endorse anti-sexual and anti-pleasure values. As a part of their values, these religions promote negative attitudes about the physical nurturing of infants and children. They also punish adolescents and adults who indulge in prohibited erotic pleasures.

In a study on emotional bonding, researchers are quoted as saying that, “Deprivation of bodily pleasure throughout life -- but particularly during the formative periods of infancy, childhood, and adolescence -- is very closely related to the amount of warfare and general violence [in a society]. On the other hand, cultures that promote nurturing in child-rearing, that are comfortable with the body and with sexuality and pleasure, produce adults who have little sexual dysfunction, who promote gender and social equality, and a society that does not glorify slavery or war.”

In the twelfth century, the great Benedictine abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, re-interpreted the myth of Adam’s sin as a failure of Eros. In other words, she was saying that Adam was banished from Eden not because he discovered nudity or sex, but because he did not enjoy deeply enough the delights of the Earth.

Recently, a Dominican theologian, Matthew Fox, was silenced by Vatican celibates for his endorsement of Hildegard of Bingen’s interpretation of the Eden myth and for his positive attitude towards an erotic (Eros)-friendly creation spirituality. Fox argues that our failure to celebrate the pleasures of the Divine Presence in our lives causes an unhealthy compulsion to conquer and achieve pleasure elsewhere. He sees a direct link between patriarchal (father-like) religions that deny the importance of the nurture we draw from erotic pleasure and the anti-pleasure, anti-sex value systems of fundamentalism and fascism.

Religious fundamentalism of any kind rests on the literal interpretations of sacred texts written (mostly) by males who determine what rules guide human behavior and spell out punishments for those who break those rules. In this way, moralizing and condemnation become more important than celebration and play.

The repression of Eros and pleasure make for strange bedfellows. One only has to look on the early support of Hitler by Christians who agreed with his attacks on contraception, pornography, and sexual permissiveness. More recently, Christians in the US have supported neo-fascists attacks on abortion clinics, gays, and the liberal worldview. In fact, the Christian right, led by the likes of televangelists such as Pat Roberson, are part of the mainstream political wing of the Republican Party. I don't need to go into details of the consequences of religious fundamentalism in the Middle East, do I?

Anthropologist Margaret Mead warned us 25 years ago that we were entering a transitional stage she called the “pre-figurative.” What she said then was that the myths and symbols that gave meaning and direction to our culture have lost much of their meaning and significance, and that we are only beginning to create a new set of symbols (a “cosmology”), a culture that respects sex, pleasure and sensuality; that we have yet to begin to create icons and myths that will provide models for a new consciousness of the Earth and ourselves.

The prospect of change and evolution frightens, even terrifies, many people around the world. We can expect, and have begun to witness, fundamentalist, even fascist, religious sects to join forces across boundaries to oppose these impending changes. Such civil wars are already evident in the ongoing debates about sexual ethics, homosexuality, and alternatives to monogamy among Catholics after the Second Vatican Council, and at the recent General Assemblies of the Presbyterian, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Southern Baptist, and United Methodist Churches.

The human race is now caught in a struggle of adapting to a new consciousness, a new sense of morality. Many people still prefer to regulate sexual practice with rigid, repressive laws. The pioneering psychologist, Jean Piaget, called this “heteronomous morality”; Lawrence Kohlberg called it “conventional morality.” Stuck in this lower-level form of moral reasoning, people are concerned about whether genital activity is heterosexual, homosexual, or masturbatory.

Far fewer people appreciate and are comfortable with a morality based on personal responsibility -- an internalized (something you select for yourself) set of principles that focus on the quality of relationships. In this autonomous or “post conventional” moral thinking, one is concerned with the extent to which a relationship expresses the values of a spiritual “humanism” by being self-liberating, life-serving, joyful, and offering the potential for true freedom.

To create a social attitude that respects the body and its relationship to the ecology and to all of life, will not be easy. However, I truly believe that if we fail to make that transition only further instances of the holocaust, destruction of the environment, will continue unabated. The cost of repression of our inherent sexuality is not secondary, but vital to the quality of our existence.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Redemption Song

¡Hola! Everybody...
I usually post this around this time of's a Thanksgiving tradition of sorts.

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-=[ Awakenings ]=-

My life is my message

The cliché that life is stranger than fiction is true enough. I guess that’s why they are clichés -- they are true, if nothing else. And believe me, my life has been pretty strange.

Thanksgiving Day has its own personal meaning, as I’m sure it does for everyone. Actually, Thanksgiving Day has layers of meaning. First, there is the “we’re thankful for the help you gave us, but we killed all your people and took your land” meaning, and we should never forget that...

On another level, people of Puerto Rican descent have traditionally taken US holidays and used them as opportunities to express their own cultural identity. For example, Puerto Ricans will eschew the traditional holiday fare of turkey and potatoes and substitute lechon and pasteles, Puerto Rican culinary staples. If we do cook turkey, we cook “pavo-chon,” a turkey prepared in a manner that makes it taste like lechon (pork suckling). Therefore, Puerto Ricans subvert Thanksgiving and give it our own meaning. And humans that’s what we do best, we create meaning.

Thanksgiving Day is also now primarily identified as a secular all inclusive day of expressing ones appreciation for life and having gratitude for the things we need to live a happy and healthy life. As a Latino the cultural values of extended family ties and Thanksgiving evoke childhood memories of large (and totally insane!) family get-togethers.

However, for me Thanksgiving holds its most significant meaning on a very personal level. You see, it was around this time nineteen years ago that I experienced the first of a series of “spiritual awakenings” that would change my life. The exact date is November 26, 1990 and this

year it happens to fall on Thanksgiving Day. Shortly before then, on a cold, drizzly November day, I was so overcome with despair that I attempted suicide. It’s actually a little funny: I tried climbing over the rail on the Brooklyn Bridge’s pedestrian walk, but I was so skinny from malnutrition and years of substance abuse that a strong wind knocked me on my butt. I saw this as the ultimate insult, not even being able to kill myself, which gives you an idea of my state of mind at the time.

I walked away from that incident my to chase another bag of heroin. Trapped inside my warped thinking, I had this fear that I would botch up my own suicide and merely succeed in paralyzing myself, damning myself to chase drugs from the disadvantage of a wheelchair. I decided I would make someone else put myself out of my misery.

And though I speak lightly today of that time, I was very miserable. I don’t believe in a God in the traditional Christian/ Judeo sense, but back then I would pray each night that some Higher Power would find it in their mercy to kill me in my sleep. Yet, every day I awoke to my misery. I would always wake up broke, but still manage to spend $300 by the end of the day, feeding a merciless heroin habit.

How does one spend $300 a day, you ask? I took to ripping off drug-dealers, never a safe proposition. One day a drug dealer, a victim of one of my swindles, threatened me with a gun. I grabbed the gun by the barrel, put it to my forehead, and begged him to shoot. All I asked was that he made sure to kill me because, “You would be doing me a favor.”

This was in broad daylight in the middle of a crowded New York City street. I remember a crowd forming and people screaming; but what I remember most was thinking that this was my way out. “Do it,” I yelled. He pulled the trigger and…

Nothing happened.

I don’t know if the gun jammed or if it wasn’t loaded, but for whatever reason, the gun failed to discharge. My would-be assistant “suicider” freaked out, yanked the gun from my hands, and walked away, calling me crazy. I called at him, let him know he could get another chance. That’s how much I wanted to die...

I thought I could do nothing right.

That wasn’t the worst of it, my life continued to bottom out until November 26th, 1990 when I experienced an incident so traumatic it would change me and my world in an inexplicable way. Actually, most people would consider the events that transpired on that drizzly, dreary November day as a defeat.

Very simply, after being released from prison for only fourteen days, I was re-arrested. It was also that last day of my active addiction -- the last day I took a drug.

I didn’t know it then but it was the beginning of a new life: a life that today is far from perfect, that has suffering, illness, death, and many challenges, but also a sense of joy at its core. This is part of the reason I do the work that I do. I know even the worst of us have the potential to liberate ourselves from our own self-made prisons. And let me be clear: we’re all “doing time” in some way, we all wear shackles. We all have patterns of behavior or baggage.

No, I am not a religious person. My personal view is that religion is for people who are afraid of hell and spirituality is for those who have already been there. I simply try to be the best person I can be on a daily basis and oftentimes I fall short of the mark. However, my intent are usually good and my direction orderly -- I try to live a life centered on spiritual or personal growth.

On that day, nineteen years ago, I had no way of knowing of the joy I would experience today. It’s a joy independent of any person, place, or thing. I can be sad, happy, angry, disappointed, disgusted -- I can be experiencing any number of attachments -- but at the center, at the very core of me, there is an invincible joy greater than any drug-induced high I have ever experienced. And believe me, coming from me, that’s saying a lot.

On that day, sitting there in the midst of failure and utter humiliation, I came undone. And that was a good thing, because in being obliterated I became open and willing. In emptying myself, I came to see that what I perceived as emptiness was in reality my innate potential as a human being.

I am genuinely grateful. This past year, as with all years, has been a challenging. I have experienced sadness, frustration, happiness, rejection -- the full catastrophe! I could easily

surmise, if I were so disposed, that my life, that life itself, sucks. But that’s a coward’s lie. Life is a gift -- probably the most precious of gifts. And at the very least there is nothing worse than that day nineteen years ago. Today I woke up and I am me... and for that I am most grateful.

May you all have as much to be thankful for…



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What Really Matters, pt. I [The Inner Holidays]

¡Hola! Everybody...
If you’re sad or stressed do some service. It's better than any medication known to humankind...

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-=[ The Inner Holidays ]=-

The holiest of all holidays are those… Kept by ourselves in silence and apart… The secret anniversaries of the heart.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The holidays are an opportunity for us to set aside our work and routines -- to give ourselves permission to put away, for the moment, our problems, and burdens. They are a time for joining with others in the celebration of life. However, this is not such an easy thing to do. Maybe together we can learn from each other how to do it.

Perhaps our holidays are clouded by sad and painful memories of the past. We miss loved ones who have passed on, or with whom we have cut ties or have lost contact. For me, the holidays are a mixed bag because they are the firmest reminders of my past excesses. I have come to understand that, if anything, the holidays are more about excesses rather than a celebration of life. There is the excess of consumption, of giving in to attachments whether in the form of food or material things.

This emphasis -- this obsession on getting and giving can become quite stressful: our lives are invaded by a mob mentality that can be, well... literally murderous. And, of course, mindlessness is encouraged everywhere, threatening to destroy all that we hold precious. To add to his, the whole message of Christianity is somehow lost in the shuffle of commercialism. It’s not about peace and goodwill; it’s really about -- well, at this point in time who really knows? This can present an even greater sadness for those of us who may be experiencing financial difficulties, adding to the holiday stress. Fact is that the glitter of the holidays is oftentimes an ornamental disguise for quiet despair.

It’s almost obscene.

What to do? Well, I have long ago learned that the holidays don’t have to be perfect. Sure, there is all this commercial crap diluting what is in essence a beautiful message, but I can create my own meaning. Perhaps together we can make that effort to turn within and share, not so much what can be measured materially, but the piece of ourselves that connects us all. A small gesture, a smile, an attempt to reach out, even a small acknowledgment can be ten times more powerful than the latest gadget. It’s all within our grasp. At work, for example, a colleague and I are leaving anonymous notes and simple gifts of candies in the mailboxes. Nothing extravagant, merely gentle reminders that people are valued for who they are. Imagine if you found a note on your windshield one cold morning that said some thing like:

You're receiving this note simply because you're beautiful as you are, and while I don't know you, I believe that as human beings we all have the potential to commit acts of kindness, works of beauty, and that we all have the potential to change lives for the better. This note is a reminder of the beauty and power you possess.

Yeah, I realize that many of us have become so cynical that such a note wouldn't make much of a difference, but don't tell me it would touch in a way your hard-won cynicism wouldn't let you admit. Somewhere inside of you, you would appreciate the the note, corny as it might seem. Try it some day: leave such a message for a stranger, friend, or colleague, watch their reactions...

The real message is that a man -- really an ordinary man, a mere carpenter -- who never owned his own home, who never wrote a book, or invented anything -- a poor man born of a single homeless mother, in fact, was able to change the world with a message of love. Now, that’s some gangsta shit right there.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eve's Story

¡Hola! Everybody...

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(above: Yemaya)

-=[ Eve’s Story ]=-

“The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around… Throughout history, ‘tender loving care’ has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.”

-- Larry Dossey

Life never ceases to amaze me: the cliché that life is stranger than fiction is true. I guess that’s why they’re clichés! When I first started school and beginning the process that eventually led to a career as a “healer,” I went through an experience that would forever change the way I look at healing.

Early in my recovery, I received a phone call in the middle of the night. An old and dear friend, who had stuck with me even during my darkest days, called to tell me that a former lover was on her deathbed at a nearby hospital. I’ll never forget her words. She said, “Eddie, I know you and Eve did a lot of fucked up shit to each other, but they don’t expect her to last the weekend. If you have anything you want to tell her, now is the time. They’re giving her last rites as we speak.”

I thanked my friend and as I put down the phone, I didn’t know what to do. Here was someone who had caused me great pain, who had been the object of numerous homicidal fantasies, who now was dying. As I thought of her, it was hard for me to feel the old resentment and anger without a pang of conscience. After all, I thought, I was equally cruel to her. I decided then that I would visit her that very moment.

As I began to get dressed (it was about 2 am), I had reservations. Her family wasn’t too fond of me. In fact, the joke was that they wouldn’t even mention my name, and when they did, they whispered my last name as if actually calling my given name aloud would evoke me! So, in essence, in that family anyway, I became “Rosario” in the shushed confines of their home.

I decided that I would go anyway and that if there were any objections, that I would just leave and in that way I would know in my heart that I attempted to make amends.

That Serenity Prayer actually does come in handy, folks. LOL!

As I rode the bus to the hospital, my mind kept coming up with various scenarios: the mother would curse me, I would make matters worse, or my presence would only magnify the pain.

I finally arrived at the hospital and, after locating the room, I entered the dark room quietly. The room was full of family members all huddled around the bed where a wasted and frail young woman lay seemingly unconscious. No one noticed me, as I listened to the priest murmur some prayers. I waited for someone to recognize me and, as the priest finished his ministrations, the mother turned and looked at me and with tears in her eyes cried, “Eddie! Oh Eddie, mi hijo, lo que a llegamo!” And she took me in her arms and sobbed. I could hear murmurings, as my presence was made known.

The mother explained to me quietly the situation: her daughter had fallen into a coma after a long bout with HIV and it was expected that she would die soon. I tried to apologize and explain that if my being there was inappropriate, I would leave, but the mother stopped me and led me to Eve’s bed. It was hard to look her, lying there now ravaged by disease. Her mother spoke to her as if she could hear her and said, “Mira nena, look who’s here to see you -- Eddie!”

Honestly, I didn’t know what the fuck to do, but something told me to take her hand. Then I bent over and whispered to her, and I told her how sorry I was for the things I did to her and how we hurt each other; that I was now living a good life free of my destructive patterns and active addiction. Her hands felt cold so I rubbed my hands together to generate heat and warmed her hands. I kept this up -- talking to the unconscious Eve and warming her hands, and then her face, her arms, etc.

When I felt I had said what I had to say, I began to walk away and then I heard her whisper, “Eddie?” Everyone in the room stopped talking and when I turned around, there was Eve looking at me, whispering my name. At that point, everyone in the room started doing the sign of the cross and Eve’s mother was praying and saying that it was miracle, and people were just running around calling the doctors and there I was in the middle of that whole scene wondering what the fuck was going on.

Eve would live for about four more months. I don’t know if I had anything to do with that, but Eve said that it wasn’t until she felt the heat from my hands that she began to regain consciousness. Before, she said, she felt she had settled into a form of resignation of meeting her fate. It’s hard to describe what Eve said, but I now think she was on her way to meet her maker. She had lost all hope for life, she told me, and had deteriorated rapidly. She said feeling the heat from my hands awakened her to the fact that there were certain things left undone that needed doing.

During those last few months of her life, I became one of the primary care-givers to Eve in that AIDS ward. The nurses called me Eve’s “boyfriend” and would arrange her hair in pigtails and her face would beam when I entered the room. Me? I resolved to do what I could -- to give what I could to a person in need. Not only because Eve needed it, but because it was what I wanted to do -- what I had to do. I felt there was a larger story being writ and that I had to play my role in it.

And she would often request, especially during times of extreme stress, that I use my hands in the same way I did that first night. I never got it at the time. And when I would ask her, she would only say that my hands ran hot (which they do) and that the heat would lessen the overwhelming feeling of numbness that would attack her body.

The doctors could not explain. Indeed, what I witnessed during those days in that ward was that the doctors were often at a loss for answers or “prescriptions.” What I learned at that time was that a healer, whether a doctor, therapist or whatever, must act as a channel, or conduit of a healing entity or force. I don’t care whether you call it, God, Goddess, Christ, The Great Spirit, Chi, or whatever. Furthermore, in order to become such a channel, there are four essential qualities a healer must possess: trust, faith, love, and humility.

Though different healers may channel this healing energy through different techniques, none of them can heal – no matter what their technique – unless they use it with love and humility. Out of all of these qualities, love is probably the most troublesome because all healers have days when they are not open to love. There are no recipes or formulas for staying open that way. To love also doesn’t just mean loving others, it means loving one’s self too.

I learned in those days that healing does not necessarily mean to become physically well or to be able to get up and walk around again. For me, healing means achieving some kind of balance between the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions. For example, Eve would never walk again, and her T cells were, like, nil. Doctors were at a loss to explain why she was alive and resolved themselves to minister to her while she was still alive. However, Eve became spiritually awake and though she was young (33), sometimes she gave the impression of a very wise, very old soul with far more knowledge than her years. I believe that suffering kicks up the spiritual dimension by quite a few notches.

Don’t misunderstand, Eve, like many AIDS patients -- even more so than patients suffering from other life-threatening illnesses -- was lacking in qualities of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-trust. At one time, she told me, she felt these qualities were blocked by a lot of guilt, shame, and ambivalence. There were issues Eve never had a chance to address, that she took with her to her grave – such as her addiction and her deep-seated feelings of guilt. But we did what we could, – she and I. In some ways, we were like ships passing in the night. I was reinventing my life, starting anew, doing the things I never get a chance to do. Sometimes I would forget this. For Eve, this was as good as it was going to get. She was on borrowed time and that sometimes worked to minimize her motivation. I have friends who say that they were living with a disease, not merely dying. I don’t know if Eve ever got there. But we learned to trust one another, one day at a time -- together -- and laughed many times at how easy it was to revert to old patterns. However, Eve also had a seven-year-old son she had to say goodbye to.

Eve’s “healing” didn’t occur at an individual level, because we are all connected through a vast network of relationships to an infinite number of people and creatures on the planet. The process of healing even one person has consequences for all of us. It did for me: acting as a channel for this energy, I now know, looking back, that Eve’s situation had a healing purpose for me.

As Eve began going about resolving the issues in her life, especially with her son, she seemed to become more at peace with her illness. There were days that her smile would remind me of the Eve I had known – beautiful, alert, intelligent and spunky -- someone who took pleasure in challenging me and my interminable teasing. But those days became more and more rare. Eventually taking care of Eve became a job that took priority over everything else in my life, threatening to burn me out. A part of all this had a noble purpose, of course, but much of that was also my codependency issue. There were times I would forget that I was but a channel through which some of this was happening and I would forget that Eve would not get better.

She took me hostage, Eve did. She was afraid of dying alone in that cold, sterile hospital room. One day, after a particularly rough night (we had obtained special permission from the hospital administration), I was irritable and tired. My life had been consumed by Eve’s disease and I was feeling spent, confused, and sometimes angry -- all dangerous triggers for my addiction. By then, Eve had lost her ability to speak for days and if I wasn’t there doing it, she would not be cleaned in a nice way, so there I was cracking jokes about cleaning Eve’s ass and laughing about it. Sometimes I swore I saw a grin on Eve’s face during those times.

Anyway, I was tired and I wanted to go home, shower, and re-energize myself. I tried calling her sister, who was her other primary care-giver, but she could not be reached, so I turned to Eve and told her I was leaving and would be back as soon as I could. I hated doing this because she would become agitated if I left the room, let alone tell her I was leaving. Eve’s greatest overriding fear-- her horror -- was to die alone.

As I left, I turned to look and there was this look of stark fear on Eve’s face. I felt so bad about my own anger. I blew her a kiss, my anger gone now, and promised I would be right back. She was upset… but I reminded myself she always got upset when I left the room. I took the elevator to the lobby and just when I was about to leave, something almost physical stopped me dead in my tracks. It was as if I had run into an invisible wall. And it hit me...

I knew what was happening.

Eve passed away as I was entering her room. When she saw me, the most beautiful smile of gratitude and contentment came over her face. She couldn’t mouth the words, but the look in her eyes -- I’m sure if she could she would’ve said, “Thank you, Eddie.” I stood by her, heard the death rattle, and she was gone…

Eve’s Story doesn’t end here, there are other ways that her life impacted mine, but that’s for another time, another day.

The only difference between Eve and the rest of us, I came to understand, was Eve’s degree of illness. It seems to me that the whole planet is going through what Eve experienced with her terminal illness. My conclusion is that there must be a way to for all of us to go through a cleansing process to eliminate the hatred, greed, pain, grief, and rage that has been repressed for so long.

The thing is there is a way to do this if you only give yourself the time and space required to do it. There is a way to tap into the healing energy.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Hate and Fear [Homophobia]

¡Hola! Everybody...
I haven’t any time to write these days... This is from a while back. I thought I’d repost this in light of the horrible murder and decapitation of a gay man in Puerto Rico.

* * *

-=[ Homophobia]=

If you feared no one you would hate no one.

Nothing has been more effective in uncovering the dark side of homophobia than the work of researchers. One researcher, who interviewed over 400 men incarcerated for gay-bashing noted that the gay bashers generally saw nothing wrong in what they did, and more often than not, stated that their religious leaders and traditions condoned their behavior. One particular adolescent stated that the pastor of his church had said, “Homosexuals represent the devil, Satan.”

Another study showed that homophobes were more prone to be aroused by gay porn than others. Somewhere, deep inside, those who bash gays are actually lashing out at something inside of themselves. As with other marginalized groups, gays become the object of hatred and scapegoating. On a societal level, we purposely encourage hate for those who are deemed different. Killing a gay person, in an unspeakable manner is often considered less heinous than killing an individual who is heterosexual. The same can be said for other marginalized groups, such as black and brown people, or women, for example. A rape victim "asked for it" by dressing provocatively, or a massacred black man was deemed as reaching for a weapon.

Societies in which gender roles are strictly defined and where a high patriarchal god is worshiped are violent societies. We see that example in the US, one of the most “religious” of advanced democracies. We scream in outrage if a breast is exposed on prime time TV, but say nothing to the fact that our children are exposed to thousands of violent images and messages daily. We teach our young boys to hate gays. How many times have you heard one young boy call another a fag or a queer in jest or anger? Boys are taught that emotions are weak, that demonstrating kindness or love is weak or effeminate. Not manly. I once witnessed a man slash another man, horribly disfiguring his face for life, because one called the other a “faggot” in jest.

I used to run a leadership development workshop and when asked to define leadership values, almost no one ever mentioned nurturing as a valuable leadership asset. Nurturing, relating, bonding, empathizing -- these are all womanly qualities, not qualities that strong leaders possess (of, course, this isn’t true at all). I’ve heard grown men tell their daughters that they would prefer a whore as a daughter than a lesbian.

Much of this physical and psychological violence and hatred is rooted in religious fundamentalism and the social construction of rigid gender roles. The man who allegedly confessed to the hate crime in Puerto Rico said he became enraged when he realized the individual he thought was a woman, was a man dressed in women’s clothing. He had picked him up at an area known for its prostitution and he freaked when he realized the object of his lust was a homosexual. As I heard this, I realized that this man was attacking something he couldn't face inside himself. The tragedy being that the gay man dressed in women’s clothing died simply because everything his killer feared was projected onto him. How else do you explain the decapitation if not as some warped, deep-seated, repressed sense of self-loathing?

Hatred is an extreme form of anger but also a form of deep connection. The teachings of the path I follow take anger very seriously, because anger causes so much suffering. I see hate as being rooted primarily in fear. Fear being a powerful core emotion.

When anger is acted out and results in violence, the damage is obvious. Some years ago, I came across the words of Cambodian monk, Maha Ghosananda, who observed “When this defilement of anger really gets strong, it has no sense of good or evil, right or wrong, of husbands, wives, children. It can even drink human blood.” This was a tragic comment upon a bloody civil war that had torn Cambodia apart and literally killed almost everyone he knew.

An angry mind is a suffering mind. An angry mind is agitated and unyielding, constricted and narrow in its thinking. Judgment and perspective vanish. All sense disappears. One feels restless and driven. Nothing is satisfying, everything is tense. What happens during anger is that as the sense of self increases, as does the sense of the other. A major reason anger is so very painful is that it instantly creates a sharp distinction between self and other. An imaginary line is drawn that cannot be passed. For example, if I make the statement, “A faggot is the devil,” I am drawing a line as well as dehumanizing the object of my fear/ wrath.

There is also an intoxicating effect to anger. There is a strong feeling of self-righteousness. Thoughts rooted in justification take over: “He was dressed as a woman. He was not a real man. He was a freak!” This, combined with feelings of defiance and rectitude (“I am right!”), creates the killing ground for mindless hate and fear. Underlying the delusional intoxication of anger is the pain of a mind so narrowly constricted that it closes itself off from human all connection.

Anger is like a poison in the mind. It generates an unhealthy cycle of cause and effect. Every thought, word, or act has an angry after-effect. Like throwing a pebble into a pond, an act or thought sets into motion a series of ripple effects irradiating out in every direction. We are stuck with what we have done, and with the effects that we have caused.

I believe that the majority of harmful patterns of behavior are rooted in unconscious anger/ hatred/ fear. On a more subtle level, angry people gossip about others, spread false accusations about others as a way of justifying their angry/ fearful state of mind. Existing in an environment of fear, hate, and anger, they lash out at others and create the necessary condition that maintain their bloated egos. I guess the answer is not to respond in anger, but to generate love instead. However, one can also choose to love from afar. We can choose to minimize our contact with harmful and negative influences.

Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t a choice: you can become an object of hate and violence simply for being you... for being black, a woman, or gay. The judicial response to this crime in Puerto Rico was beyond pathetic. I hear the Feds will intervene and I hope they do.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Perfection of Cruelty

¡Hola! Everybody...
The following is based on true events...

* * *

-=[ The Wrenching ]=-

Cruelty and fear shake hands together.
-- Honoré de Blazac

Upriver from NYC’s borough of Manhattan lies Rikers Island -- the largest penal colony in the world. A fortress of the lost, vault of the doomed, the island of the dead. A warehouse of human bodies, like so much meat. Rikers Island is also one of the largest mental health facilities in the world -- though its essential purpose has very little to do with norms of behavior. The only way to enter is through a short narrow bridge. Some would call it the Bridge of Lost Souls.

The woman’s facility, officially the Rose M. Singer Center, is known as Rosie’s or Lesbian Island by those who live or work there. Many of the women, just arrested, are coming off drugs or crying about their children. Those going through withdrawals vomit from time to time, others sit rocking back and forth, sweating, weeping, chewing their bottom lips or fingernails.

Move your gaze across the grass being mowed by a handful of women in green uniforms and toward a compound of brick buildings, all of them in poor repair -- paint peeling, bricks needing repointing, sidewalks cracked. Walk past the women pushing laundry carts into Rosiie's proper where women in green state prison uniforms, either delusional or depressed, sit watching daytime television, rocking ceaselessly as a side effect of their medications, and continue forward, past women staring at you from behind bars, towards a section that awaits the most contradictory of populations.

There is a spotless nursery for women who have come to Rosie’s pregnant, or, less frequently (but not unheard of), those who have been impregnated in one of the “consensual” sexual liaisons that occur between male guards and the women. The purpose of which, for the women, include the procurement of food, drugs, cosmetics, feminine hygiene products, and, lest there be any confusion about affection, a welcome contrast to the flesh of another woman (though against the rules, that form of contact being easy to find; Rosie’s, all there know, is full of women kissing, hugging, tonguing, and finger-fucking each other). Finally, you come to where women have been bedded with their newborns (some having given birth while being shackled), where they have learned to nurse and feed and wipe and whisper their babies to sleep.

The hallway is dark and gloomy but the floor is spotless, gleaming from the daily buffing it receives. It is here where I sit waiting one unbearably hot and humid New York City summer day. Paying attention, I observe a ritual that takes place each time a woman comes to live in the prison nursery with her newborn, a ritual so utterly contrary to human nature, yet unremarkable in this place for its regularity, its bureaucratic numbness.

They are taking away another baby from its mother. I don’t want to see this, I think to myself, my gut tensing. But I continue watching, just close enough to see a baby boy being held by his mother one last time. The mother, Shannelle, can’t be more than nineteen, and her face literally glows with maternal love, a facial expression too advanced for such a young face I think to myself. The maternity ward administrator, a kindly looking elderly woman, watches too, as does the child welfare worker who is there to take the child. How long, I wonder, will they allow her to hold her baby.

Now Shannelle collapses in grief around her baby, who, unknowing, pats at a yellow barrette in her hair. Shannelle had come to Rosie’s pregnant, after she and her sister had gone out one night to buy candy and two men had come up and asked them where So-and-so lived. The girls, streetwise and nobody’s fools, expected an incentive for their trouble, and after a brief negotiation, walked the men over to the house in question, a distance of a mere block, and when they knocked on the door, the police were inside, having just arrested the inhabitants for cooking and selling crack. The two girls got different public defenders, one a realist, the other a fool. Shannelle was assigned the fool, a recent law graduate from Harvard. Her sister agreed to a plea, avoided a trial, and got a year. Shannelle’s lawyer convinced her that she was innocent and that he would mount an impassioned defense on her behalf, if she allowed him to take her case to trial.

It was the first time a white, college-educated male had shown an interest in her, and so though she felt some trepidation, she agreed to his proposition. The jury took forty minutes to find her guilty and the judge reluctantly sentenced her according to the harsh edicts of the Rockefeller mandatory minimum drug laws, which meant Shannelle received three years to life.

The nursing administrator signaled the child welfare worker that it was time for the removal. Shannelle crushes her son against herself, then looks up, eyes full. “I will just die,” she cries. “I can’t, I can’t” But her baby is gently lifted from her and placed in the arms of the waiting child welfare worker.

Don’t look anymore, I tell myself. And I am reminded I am in the House of the Dead, the years killing the women here as surely and painfully as unchecked cancer...

-- Eddie

Friday, November 20, 2009

The TGIF Sex Blog [The Opening]

¡Hola! Everybody...
The following is a response to a question posed to me by a friend...

* * *

(above: "Gee-Gee")

-=[ The Persistence of Love and its Opening ]=-

So quiet now
soften yourself and listen,
connected and motionless.

To the symphonic pulsing of our blood,
the crash of an eyelid,
the joyous tickle of a bead of sweat.

Your deepest feminine desire is for your heart to flow open with love. No matter how much success you experience in your professional or academic life, the core of your heart will not feel fulfilled unless love is flowing in your life.

Deep love.

Trusting love.

A love that allows you to surrender and relax into its full grace.

You can feel the measure of your openness now. Is your womb filled with yielding pleasure? Are your inner thighs pulsating with life? Are your lips ripe, sticky-sweet with love’s kiss? Is your heart open, vulnerable, blossomed open with the power of a dark night’s storm? If you are sexually aroused, can you express love’s pleasure through your legs, your arms, your spilled moans of overflowing joy?

No matter how much in control or self-directed you have grown, your heart blooms when filled with love. When you are denied love you feel hurt and then the flower of your deepest heart closes in on itself. Suppose you heart is wide open, ready to flow with love, but your lover is unloving. Wounded by love’s denial, your vulnerable heart withers. Closing down in the act of protecting itself, your heart becomes hard.

It is said that pain is the breaking of the limits of your understanding, but the contraction of the heart is something much deeper -- and ultimately much more painful. Your frustrated yearning for love lies confined within the walls of pain’s closure. Anger builds. You make demands. You express rage, or worse, turn it inward. Behind the most feminine anger is the deep yearning for love.

There is a part of you, the in-control, self-directed part, that yearns only for freedom. Your masculine heart yearns not for love’s fullness but to be free, liberated from the shackles of life. Perhaps you think to yourself that one day your hard work will diminish your burdens. You will have the economic freedom to do what you want. You will figure it all out, grasp some unified theory of everything, and your problems will be solved. You will finish all your projects and you will be fullfilled. You will know enough, have enough, or succeed enough so that you will no longer be afraid of failure or loss.

In this moment -- here, right now -- are you waiting for that ideal time before you are willing to relax and open, exactly as you are? Are you aiming for the “one day” when you will finally be free to do what you really want to do? Do you ever become angry at your lover or your children because you feel trapped by their needs?

Your needs, or your anger, can be a warning to open more deeply. Why not open more deeply than your need for freedom or love right now? I think I have a clue: it’s because you are entangled in the drama of your life story. The drama of needs that seem compellingly necessary or at the very least significant. Or perhaps what you’re feeling is unlove.

You will test love.

Sabotage love.

Deny love.

You pine to feel a love that can withstand your tests, survive your sabotages, asserting itself through your denials. You want to feel your lover loving you even when you resist -- especially when you resist. “You don’t love me,” you say, in the hopes your lover will rise to the bait and say, “Yes, I do love you.” Love isn’t enough; it is the persistence of love that you value most.

A good love story requires that love be somehow threatened. In a good love story, love is found, lost, but ultimately love prevails. Your heart yearns for the triumph of love over loss.

But you can choose to go deeper than the drama of your life’s narrative right now. You can use the energy of your hurt or anger to cut through the entropy and plunge into the deepest heart of the matter. Rather than projecting anger, blame, and hope outward toward people and life (as if your relationships and plans can ever fulfill you), plunge into the deepest desire of your heart and gather your cues from the depth of your heart.

Feel into your heart, into love’s depth, feel everything that happens. Feel open now, this very moment. Relax into openness so you can feel this entire moment.

Still yourself.

Quiet yourself and listen...

The love you long for, the freedom for which you aim, is alive within you as long as you are open... now.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Applied Madness

¡Hola! Everybody...
I have not slept in weeks. As usual, today is my longest day of the week. I will be busy all day and part of the evening...

* * *

-=[ Applied Madness, pt. I ]=-

In the seminal novel, Catch-22, The “catch” alluded to in the title specifies that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real was the process of a rational mind. One aviator was indeed unhinged and should have been grounded. All he had to do was ask; but as soon as he did, he would no longer be considered insane and would have to fly more missions. In a classic example of warped bureaucracy, one must be crazy to keep flying; but to ask to be grounded meant one was rational, and had to keep flying.


Social policy often resembles such reactionary thinking -- or as a former mentor termed it, “applied madness.” For example, the Census Bureau’s practice of counting people in prison as if they were residents of the communities where they are incarcerated, though they remain legal residents of the places they lived prior to incarceration, is a catch-22. As Census data is used to allocate political power at all levels of government, crediting thousands of disproportionately urban and minority men to other communities, the unintended consequences has stunning implications for modern American democracy.

In New York State, for example, one out of every three people who moved to upstate New York in the 1990s actually “moved” into a newly constructed prisons. The State bars people in prison from voting, but their presence in the Census boosts the population of the upstate districts whose legislators favor prison expansion. Without this coerced population, upstate New York State Senate districts would not meet minimum population requirements and would have to be redrawn.

Consequently, we have created incentives that effectively cripple downstate communities of color on two fronts: economically and politically. Today, we face the specter of a representative democracy where elected representatives represent cities, farms, prisons or other businesses, but not people. In order for one person’s vote to be equal to another’s, the U.S. Supreme Court requires legislative districts to be of equal size by population.

The district lines being proposed now will be law for the next decade. A fair and accurate count is essential for all of the people of New York to receive a legislature that represents their interests fairly and democratically. We need to create a more sane, more equitable census policy that encourages freedom and democracy, not disaccumulation and political disenfranchisement.

When people think of racism, they usually imagine the extreme images of white hoods and burning crosses. In the absence of such imagery, many who would rather not take a fearless look at the disease, claim that racism doesn’t exist. In actuality, racism exerts its power in unhidden less easily recognizable forms. Consider the following:

New York City loses 43,740 residents to the districts of upstate legislators

All prisons in New York built since 1982 have been built in overwhelmingly white upstate communities.

With the prisoners as “population,” seven upstate state senate districts are short more than 5% of their required size, in violation of Supreme Court rulings

All seven of these districts belong to rural Republicans

Some upstate towns are mostly prisoners: The majority of Dannemora, NY’s population is housed in its supermax prison.

Almost half (3,000) of the town of Coxsackie’s population (7,000) is in prison.

The leading defenders of the former Rockefeller Drug Laws requiring long mandatory prison sentences were upstate Senators Volker and

Nozzolio, heads of the Committees on Codes and Crime, respectively. The prisons in their two districts account for more than 17% of the state’s prisoners.

As a nation, we incarcerate for people than any other in the world. Our societal response to education, addiction, mental health, and poverty has been one: the shackling of vast (mostly black and brown) segments of our population. Consider that numerous empirical studies show drug usage is the same throughout all demographics, but that the vast majority those convicted of non-violent drug offenses are people of color, and one begins to see a pattern that can only be termed as apartheid.

It’s time to stop the madness...

-- Eddie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Sermon [Self-Importance]

¡Hola! Everybody...
Congrats to my Filipino friends/ boxing fans. Manny Pacquiao took apart Puerto Rico’s pride and joy, Miguel Cotto. I honestly thought Cotto was too strong for the Pac Man -- boy was I wrong! LOL BTW, did I ever mention how much I admire the beauty of my Filipina sisters? *grin*

* * *

-=[ Renting Space ]=-

Blessed is he who can laugh at himself for he shall never cease to be amused.

-- proverb

I have an admission to make. An admission that I fear will decrease your high estimation of me. (LOL!) I suffer from a terrible inclination toward renting the space inside your head. You usually rent it free (!!). Have you ever rented out your head space? Perhaps you have in the past, or maybe you still do. In that case, you should be wary of predators such as me for I have been known to rent the space inside many a head. I also take over your inner remote control as I lounge in the cramp quarters inside your head (hey, it is free).

People allow me to do this all the time... I know, I know: I am bad -- incorrigible even.

I must submit in my defense, however, that I am much better today than I was in the past. When I was younger I used to allow people to rent the space inside my head all the time. Having been on both sides of the issue, however, I am here to tell you that I would rather rent the space in your head, than allow you to rent space in mine. Are you confused?

Allow me to 'splain Reeky...

Let us say someone calls you a twat. That starts you thinking, “Who the hell does he think he is to call me an twat?!!” “How dare he call me an twat?!!” “He has no right to call me an twat -- I’ll show him who the twat is!” And if you are smart you realize that you have just allowed him call you a twat another five times.

That’s known as allowing someone to rent the space inside your head.

Every time you remember what they said, everytime you recall or mentally relive the insult, you allow them to insult you yet again. And therein lies the problem.

If someone insults you and you don’t hang on to it -- you let it go -- then it ceases to bother you. Its power (power donated by you) is diminished. Therein lies the solution.

I can correctly measure the level of my personal growth by how long I choose to hang on to an insult. Why allow other people (most of whom are unimportant) to rent space in your head? Why give them control of your inner happiness? Part of the answer is tied to the degree of self-importance you possess. All that ego takes a lot of energy that could be put to better use. But don’t listen to me, I love renting space in your head (free! LOL!)



Saturday, November 14, 2009

"You Wrap Your Secrets in Cellophane... "

¡Hola! Everybody...
I have to do some work today, so it’s a movie and then back home to write. Have a great weekend, yawl!

* * *

Nows [no. 22]

Your cover is candor.

You wrap your secrets in cellophane,
and I follow these false tracks
of honesty with an invented innocence.

I've been collecting faulty clues
but I know the rules now.

I must discard your intimacies
and save instead your painful pauses,
those echoing silences that tell me
who you really are
by describing in desperate detail
who you are not.

Edward-Yemíl Rosario/ All rights reserved ©

Friday, November 13, 2009

The TGIF Sex Blog [The Wicked Sex Therapist]

¡Hola! Everybody...
By now, it’s all over the internet: Lou Dobbs quit! Yeah and? You know that lout will end up with Fox or some other racist media propaganda arm...

It’s Friday and you know what that means! Yup! It’s the weekly [un]Common Sense Sex Blog! Again, I repost a blog that answered questions submitted by you. What? It’s free! LOL

* * *

-=[ The Urban Sex Therapist ]=-

Never sleep with anyone crazier than you, my son...

I am a woman in my twenties. I met this guy, call him “Phil,” in the town where I live. I didn’t know that much about him, but after hanging out a couple of times we ended up in bed. That happened twice before I discovered what a douche bag he was. Let’s say our dealings ended when I punched him in the face in a bar. Not classy, but satisfying, and it’s something I’ve never apologized for or explained to anyone. The problem now comes from the fact that I had sex with this guy. Apparently the men in my town gossip more than women, and it’s common knowledge that I slept with Phil. I have had other guys reference this fact and have been turned down for dates because of it. Obviously, people have a low opinion of Phil, and I seem to be caught up in it. Since I am not planning on moving out of town, how do I deal with the situation? Is it fair that I get rejected because of one skanky dickhead? -- Confused Maiden

Ooookaaaaay, let me recap: You punched a muthfucka in the face in a bar full of people, CM, something you’ve never bothered to justify to anyone -- including me -- and you’re wracking your brains out why all the other guys in town aren’t lining up to fuck you? Dang! Maybe it’s because they suspect you're a psycho?!! Maybe when your name comes up in conversation, the men in town nod and say, “That bitch is crazy.” Have you considered it’s possible that whatever the guys in town think of Phil, they regard you as skanky based on your actions?

* * *

My girlfriend smokes. We’ve been together for three years. For a while, her smoking didn’t bother me. Now it’s a huge turnoff. I’ve tried everything to get her to stop. She says she’ll try but never makes much effort. I don’t like to kiss or be near her when she smokes. It’s ruined our sex life: She comes to bed smelling like cigarettes. If she doesn’t stop I want to move out. I’ll sacrifice the relationship before I succumb to cancer from secondhand smoke. Is it fair to give her an ultimatum? -- Doesn’t Smoke

This is a topic that I identify with very much. For me, smoking is a “deal-breaker” as they say in the dating wars. I will not have a relationship with anyone who smokes, and more often than not, I probably won’t even fuck a smoker. The last smoker I fucked was attractive, intelligent and almost as freaky and willing sexually as myself. Unfortunately, she smoked. I swear -- and I don’t know if my mind was playing tricks on me -- but I swear her pussy smelled like an ashtray (I’m kidding)! Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last too long (actually I went to bed with her once and the second time we had sex, she gave me a “BJ” as a “present”).

I will say that I mentioned this turn off to her and she was very nice about it, not smoking around me, and even showering before coming to bed, but the offending smell was still there. If a smoker’s stench doesn't bother you, then fuck smokers. But if it does, DS, you’re going to have to dump the girlfriend.

* * *

I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years. I'm in love with him, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him if possible. Problem No. 1: He’s married and has been throughout our entire relationship. He tells me he loves me and wants to be only with me, but he won’t leave her. Her wife and I know each other quite well, but she knows nothing about us. Problem No. 2: He was my first and has been my only with everything sexual. Problem No. 3: He did leave her and we moved in together about a year ago and everything was going really well until he came down with an STD that I did not give him. When he moved in, I was told all sexual encounters with his wife had stopped. I found out he had been having sex with her. How am I supposed to deal with this? Now she has moved in with us, and we don't even sleep in the same room anymore (for the sake of the kids). What do I do? -- Stressed in Nest

I actually hate giving advice, but Dang! You need it badly: 1) If he loves you and only wants to be with you, then he’d leave her. Period! (2) Very few people have one sexual partner for their whole lives. For most of us, having different sexual partners exposes us to different people and different situations, teaching us a lot along the way. IOW, you need to sleep with more folks before settling down. (3) Finally, SIN, to be blunt, your boyfriend is a lying, cheating prick who is emotionally abusive and possibly exposing you to some nasty cooties (STDs).

* * *

Well folks, that’s it for now! Please! Remember if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Fuck! It’s okay, really, just be careful and fuck with an open heart (or at least open legs. LOL!)

Erotically Yours,



[un]Common Sense