The New Me

I’ve been very busy lately and also tired. Basically tired because I’ve been clubbing or just out out until 2am. But let’s back in time…like 3 weeks ago.

It’s a humid and wet Summer…in other words, it sucks! If you don’t have air conditioner you will react like my cat…losing hair everywhere. I’m losing hair but at least my hair is growing and now I’m facing the problem to go to a hairstylist. And here I’m. At Second Cup near a big avenue in Ottawa..I bought a cheesecake and a coffee…and now that I’m comfortable with free AC, I will write better.

Since I hung up more and more with my gay friend Jeff, but old bad coffee habits are back, thing I don’t regret that much as I should. There are no girls night out in July, reason why I feel the moral duty to hang out in the Ottawa gay microscopic universe. Jeffrey organized a gay Man of Steel night with half of male gay community. In the same raw I sat with Seamus, also know as Shameless, Eric, Kevin and many other I have no idea. The only thing I will say about the movie is…I didn’t like, I didn’t fine the actor hot as Christopher Reeve and….it was mix of an alien invasion and some other crap…it’s been years since I don’t go to the movie to watch something so….pop…I just watch Cannes or festival films nomination…call me snob but I got little hamster on my brain rolling a wheel of knowledge. I found this event good because now I’m becoming more flexible with myself and with others who don’t have the same movie preferences as me.  Jeff just came from a pool party where Shameless, a tiny skinny gay sold many desserts…the left over were consumed during the movie…he said “Oh come on, this is Ottawa, you can bring your food at the cinema!”.    When the movie finished it was almost midnight, we made a standing circle asking about the movie…everybody said it was ok (geezzz I felt the moral pression and I said the same…but the movie sucks), then, all the guys were saying what they’ll go for vacations, some inside Canada, others around Europe renting some aparts there, living la vida loca…Jeff and me we went for a coffee and long walk at Elgin St, were now became our Head Quarters (you’ll know soon why). We went to Center Pub, also known as CP. I was with Jeff and we went to dance, music wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t good either. The population there is masculine and majority old, you’ll see some twiks but few. There I met Glen, a nice guy gay, Jeff’s friend since a while. After this little party time, we went for a walk. While walking around there Jeff met another gay voleyball man guy, they talked for a while, then he told me all the places he used to work on Elgin St., the flower shop (that looked more like a plant shop, no flowers on exhibition, a little restaurant, a video store (yes, Netflix didn’t kill all video stores in town), resisting miraculously to the power streaming of internet, resisting to die…and with an incredible international movie selection…I felt like fish on the most flamboyant sushi dish. Jeff was telling me all his experiences with his lover at the time and talking about his personal life.

The next day, that means, just hours later my outing with Jeff, I had dinner with my “foster mother”. In fact, she is my ex therapist which I keep in touch and I trying to develop not a friendship but a mother-daughter relationship, since mother role never was the best, well, the model of a mother for me is somebody despotic, manipulative, passive-aggressive. But just before my therapy finished I asked if she could “adopt me” thing she was pleased. Since then, every time I needed to be lifted I called her and she was very supportive or other times she was just listening to me on the phone. Because she is like healthy mother to me I invited a dinner for mother’s day, the problem was she was too busy, I was at school some nights, when she was available, also, her birthday was coming and she took vacations ….anyways, our dinner took like 2 months to be set up. I suggested the College International Restaurant where I studied. I picked her up and I drove her there. My ex therapist got some issues with cars, so I asked her to feel free if she had any problem the way I drive. She said it was ok, as long as she doesn’t take the wheel. The dinner started at 5.30pm and finished at 7pm. I was very open about my feelings…and what was going on with me. I said basically “I changed my life and because of you, you helped me to get out of the hole.You’re like a mother to me, even if you don’t noticed it, with you I’m doing the things  should have done or said to my real mother”. She was very happy, she is a person who really gets happy with simple things, you should see her face when I give her flowers. I added “It isn’t me who gives you the flowers but a kid of 5 years old looking for mommy”, of course I love her but it’s an innocent and pure kid’s love. I’m 39…and yes..somehow, mommy’s research is over with her. Well, not over, I’m learning, thing that I told her “as long as I don’t built that healthy mother-daughter relationship I won’t be able to build or to have a good relationship with any woman”. This is true, my real mom’s and ex’s behavior are pathologically the same…I need to change that pattern…in fact, I’ve already started. After all those personal revelations she started talking more about her personal life. While dinning I offered a glass of wine…but she asked to the waitress for a full bottle…I got a bit nervous, since I don’t drink that much I had to pay attention to my driving but also…I was scared for the invoice!. Her mom and mine’s got issues, the issue of not being behind the wheel was revealed here. Her father drove reckless (now the guy has Alzheimer and lives in a retirement home with assistance), her mother used to tell her to wear nice underwear in case they had an accident and needed to go to a hospital!!! She used to spend her Summer at her grandparents’ farm. She learn how to drive the tractor…but the very first day she drove the machine, something jammed, another farmer try to fix it and put his arm inside….suddenly the machine started and….he lost his arm. She was like 10 and this was a very traumatic event and apparently, there were many others that she didn’t mention it. She talked to her vacations in Bahamas…and she was telling me she started to drink when she was 8. So, 1 bottle was pretty much being under control. At this point I was wondering if she had a problem with alcohol or if alcohol got a problem with her. Me, with one glass I was already happy but not feeling that freedom to talk about my underwear preferences. Around 7 the invoice arrived….93$, I asked her to leave tip…but wooow, the food was good…but never again I will invite her wine.

The week later, I told Jeff, there was a guy gathering in a gay bar downtown. We met there, all people were public servants, Jeff knew most of them, some of the volley group or  friends of his friends. Also, Eric was going and his birthday was just a day ago. Jeff bought him a big chocolate and a card…Eric, who is more effeminate than me was almost on tears…so sensitive guy. Jeff went to say hi to other people and me and Eric were there with our drinks when Eric asked me….”so, are you gay?”….well, I was perplexed and I said “yes, I’m, doesn’t look like?”…he said “well, you never know”. I wasn’t upset but I don’t think I look feminine either, so, until know I don’t know if I should take it as compliment or insult. After being like less than 2 hours, we left and Jeff told me it was Shameless birthday party that night. So, after a little home break, we met again at Elgin st to going to the party. Seamus or Shameless was just turning 50. His background is Scottish but he is such an old lady!!!!. All the stereotypes of a gay guy lady were available at his apartment in downtown. He made a center table with little mirrors, another square furniture also with mirrors, he bought lighting balloons all on the floor, he put candles everywhere, inside glasses, or square glasses, floating on water, in every corner of his apartment, red candles at the kitchen, he put silver fold paper as fake curtains and the music was all 70’s…well, he was 50. He cooked the most orgasmic chocolate brownies you could taste. I’m not a chocolate person, I really don’t like chocolate but I tried because I needed something sweet….it was just unreal that thing. Jeff was cooking and I helped to make potato salad. There I met Michael, originally from Jamaica, another crazy flamboyant pseudo drag queen. Michael was making the punch drink with strawberries and no alcohol. Jeff was looking for more vegetables on the fridge when he found something….Michael pulled it out and screamed like a real woman in shock….”what’s that!!! Oh my God…a sex toy”. Yes, it was a gay toy in the fridge, a kind of anal rubber tube. We were laughing and laughing, Seamus wasn’t that happy…and we were talking pictures and Jeff put some on his Facebook, in fact, he put a banana on it….Seamus had to clean it again and said…”be thankful that it was clean!!!”. That made our night….Jeff had to go and I stayed there. I met Basha, a gay from Iran, who works sometimes in USA and Canada and a Polish background lawyer, I don’t remember his name. We were talking until midnight when we sang happy birthday. The cake had a pie inside, full of chocolate…it was good but the brownie was much better. In total we were like  people and Seamus prepared food for 15. Not many people come but we had fun.

Last Friday we decided to go to a Lesbian night at Look Out bar. I knew people there were very young…but I wasn’t expecting a kindergarden either….it really was. People under 25 wearing caps and “yo” look. Geez, there were like 2 old ladies sitting in the bar and a group of hetero ladies celebrating somebody’s birthday. The music was so…yuck but I just was there for dancing, I didn’t care….Jeff wanted to see his kind of boyfriend (now he is in open relationship with him) and left for a couple of minutes…I was in the balcony and witnessing how Ottawa was so empty in a Friday night. After that, we went to Mercury Lounge…great music, people here were a bit older but still young, group of friends…but really quiet. And finally we went again to CP, nothing there, empty too…so we called Glen and Eric and we met in a patio at 1 am and at 2am we went to Elgin st for having something to eat..There, Jeff said openly to try to find a match for me. Glen said asked me what was my type…butch or femme. I said femme, and he said..I got a friend, she is gorgeous…he showed me her picture…and it was ok but she wasn’t a beauty either. I said I just wanted to meet people and to discover if I had chemistry with somebody. Eric asked “do you want kids?, because I got a femme friend with 2 kids”. Well, I think gay man don’t know much ab out what I’m looking for….they’re already marrying me!!!!. It was a bit difficult to explain at 3am int the morning in a crowed place full of partisans they I wanted to be in a lesbian group, in order to not to be isolated….it was funny.

Since a couple of months, I’m daring more and more…Jeff told me he saw me as mouse…shy, moving slowly but daring, trying new things…this is my new me…I want to explore, I want to be happy, I want to live my gayness…I want to be me.

The Writers Group

There are some ironies in life so cruel that you prefer just keep your mouth shut. But I won’t, not because I shouldn’t but because I’m not politically correct like the rest of Ottawa.

I was going to the Grieving Group at Church. It was leaded by my American friend and Ellen, both lesbians. The American girl has a transsexual boyfriend FTM. Ellen had a special girlfriend….had? Yes; had, past time. What I remember the most of the meetings was me asking Ellen what to do, what to say, always in the Canadian standards, to somebody who lost a dear one. She was explaining me basically to say “my deepest condolences or if you’re closer to that person offering help”. I spoke to her several times. It was always pleasant to talk and exchanges ideas about this society that I never finish to understand, of course, in my Peruvian totally politically incorrect way of thinking. When I marched at the gay pride in Ottawa I saw her beside the curb with her girlfriend. Ellen is short, shorter than me, short white hair and a problem with her back but very active. She is chaplain in a hospital. I remember I sat beside her girlfriend in one of the LGBT welcoming parties. She seemed out of this world, avoiding eye contact with almost everybody, silent, non talkative. I thought she was autistic but that picture of her was smashed when I saw her in the parade. There, she was waiving her hands, shouting, moving North to South, East to West the gay flag hugging Ellen.  In one of the grieving meetings she told openly her girlfriend was under medication, apparently she had panic attacks or anxiety or both. Also, she said last year during the week of mental health awareness that many people looked or treated not very well the patients who said to the nurse in the front desk they were under medication, but her, because she was the chaplain at that particular hospital, her girlfriend had “fast and special attention”. Just last November, before Christmas, she said in the famous email for the bloody potluck I didn’t want to go, that Marlene, her girlfriend, had a mini stroke. Just in February I asked Ellen if  Marlene was ok. She said “her doctor told her not to do so much physical activity but she’s skiing, walking all the time, living her life”. I was glad to hear that. The day I decided to quit the group I sent emails to Ellen and the American girl saying I was not going, no reason in particular, that was a Friday. On Saturday at noon I received an email from the American girl that Ellen’s girlfriend, Marlene, died in her sleep. I was surprised and in shock. Also, was this the greatest bitchy irony of destiny? I mean, she was the leader of the grieving group and there she was. Like everybody else, with a dead on her shoulders. I saw her Facebook, just 3 weeks later, it was Ellen’s birthday. And just in April, it would have been Marlene’s 56 birthday. I hope their wedding anniversary won’t be in May…I found until now too heavy with all those dates and memories to remember and trying to forget them all at the same time.

We are still waiting for the funeral service. As she told me once, I sent her an email giving her my condolences and offering my help if needed, which it was really weird. Isn’t ironic? And as a chaplain, she knows literature to read about it that she suggested us for grieving. And I always complained that what people need when they grieve is not a paper with authors and titles, but good friends and people to talk to. She has 3 children…will she grieve like the others? will she grieve reading books or over reading books? Will she talk to anybody? Once I told her, talking about death or grieving was taboo in this society. Even crying. She agreed…but I don’t know if their own children will want to listen about loneliness, abandon, fear when they want just this thing goes fast without disturbing their lives.

I went to another group at Church, the writing group. It was really nice. The leader is a woman from Jamaica. At this time, there were 6 people including me. Chuck, in his 80’s, who writes interesting poems, Jocelyne, the leader, who brings books or prompts, to read and after we write freely about the text, a woman with a German background, a guy who works with inmates and an old woman from Church. What Jocelyn read was so hard, heavy, sad, and I don’t know how many adjectives can describe the text about a woman dying of cancer and her friend who was taking care of her for a couple of days when those days became endless. Just when she was reading those depressing lines I felt a wall of emotions and Ellen’s recent experience lived in a different way. The exercise was to write no matter what about the prompt. The book’s title is The Spare Room by Helen Garner And this is what I wrote:

“Is this a real spare room? Just a room and then suddenly can become an universe of pain an agony. Probably more blindness than sadness will fill the empty space in this room.

In the mornings can be expansive and stretches with every sunbeam that crashes the windows and at nights shrinks in slow motion..in the rhythm of pain, of denial . The time is measured by drops of sweating, no tear drops. Are they useful or just useless?

I just saw her eyes….with that look that wants to catch, to grab, to memorize the space in that spare room universe. There were nights, there were mornings, there pain, there were last minute hope and undeniable hopeless.

Even between friends you can develop a false mother-daughter relationship. And not necessarily being the most supportive but toxic. Like taking care of the careless, like taking care of an agony”.

Ottawa Gay Pride 2010

My second gay pride of my life, the second in this beautiful, politically correct and government town.

Ottawa is known as a boring town. If you compare it to Montreal, of course it is, committing suicide would be an extreme sport, but I like the town the way it is. This year the parade was shorter, faster and smaller. Just let’s take  a good example: the Public Pride Service, that means, government employees….last year there were 8, this, just 4 people, 2 were busy holding the poster. It was ridiculous, I wanted to march with them but a college at work said she would go, of course, she’s straight and I don’t know, since things aren’t working very well with my crazy and pathological peers, I got scared. After all, it was a wise decision.

When I was looking for a perfect spot for taking pictures I stared at the zoo lesbian fauna. Two very different halves were distinguished: the young radical dykes and the very old almost retired lesbians. 80% of them were in couple, and me? I was totally discourage when I checked the meat market. Is it possible to find a potential girlfriend? Should I quit? Should I become straight? No, I’m desperate but not so much. Ok, you can say I was depressed, of course I was but at least the parade made me cheer up…a bit.

I went alone this year, it was very hot outside, I was carrying my camera and I did 90 shots, I told you it was a short parade. I was sitting in a corner with a bunch of old dykes and butches. Nobody talked to me, of course, knowing I’m an antisocial plus shy, I didn’t try to make contact with them. I was melting under the sun that was giving us 30 degrees of hell on our skins…it was almost time for the start and suddenly, a group of young lesbians arrived. So, you can  say, well, it’s the gay parade what’s so extraordinary about it? It would have been a normal dyke group just for the presence of somebody who until that moment was the reason of an old coincidence. Do you remember I wrote about an American dyke who left the US Army and asked for refugee status here in Canada? Yes, that girl came and they were just beside me. I was feeling like a jerk, totally uncomfortable. I wanted to write her when I saw the article about it on the gay journal. And there she was. She’s short, kind of skinny, wearing glasses more fashion than I wear. I realized she had a scar on her left arm. On it, she has a tattoo…the scar is around 7 cm. long, not so deep, the tattoo is just a gay line, the rainbow colours on int and a kind of draining drops, like blood but in colours. It was very significant for me. After knowing her story, I think she chose the best tattoo, simple, small and nice. I was glad she was having fun with her friends. It seems she is very involved in the Ottawa gay  community.

I saw many groups, churches, communitarian groups, sports groups, even vegans, again old people and young radical political university groups. Also the roller derby girls were there, I loved it. The police, members of the Canadian Army in uniform even people from the Royal Canadian Mountain Police were there, yes, those guys disguised in red with a funny hat, they looked more like plushes than  representation of authority, but it was cool, very impressive.

There was a party after the parade but I didn’t go, I just crossed the street and took my bus just dying to grab a beer. It was too hot outside, last year both senses of the avenue were reserved for the parade, this year was easy to come back home. It was very small group. Probably everybody was already on vacations.

I hate Summer. Another parade passed by, 25 years since the first one took Ottawa by surprise.

I was a bit sad for 2 things: the small gay groups in the parade and my fear for not  join the Pride Public Service group.  I suck, I know, but things at the tribunal are getting to my nerves and isn’t not the moment to do something able to turn back into me as  discrimination, they have already troubles to talk to me and it’s hard. I wish things change soon. What are happening to my cards and my fantastic future?