• 013: Trauma

    I had a pretty good life growing up. Two parent household. Private school. Toys to play with. Friends in the neighborhood to play with. Food on the table. Love in the house. Nothing to see here, really.

    Now that I’m older (not sure about the wiser part), I realize that most all of us have some sort of trauma from when we were a child. The type and severity of that trauma can vary from person to person. But in learning about who we are and where we come from, as well as who we’re going to be, a great deal revolves around that trauma.

    My parents are wonderful people. I pass no judgement on them at all as I write this. They did the best they could with the tools that they had to raise me and my sibling to be good people. I think overall they did a great job. That said, there were some things that they experienced growing up that did not prepare them for certain parts of being parents. Not their fault at all. But still true.

    Whenever I was stressed out or sad about something, I went to my room. I didn’t talk about it, I just processed it, dealt with it, and moved on to the next day. Get bullied? My parents were simply not equipped to handle supporting me emotionally throughout my childhood. I would guess that their parents weren’t either. Who knows how many generations that existed through. But as a result, I often kept things in and didn’t ever ask for help. Two things I carried with me into adulthood, still to this day. They’ve impacted relationships I’ve had in the past, including the one I’m in now, and often times caused me to isolate when I needed to do anything but that. I am slowly but surely training my brain to relearn how to process these events in my life, and do the opposite of what my habits have been for most of my life. It’s not easy, but it is possible. With support and lots of help and communication with people I trust, it can be done.

    There was one other specific type of trauma that I experienced as I was growing up. When I was about 14 years old, my Dad tried to commit suicide. He did ingested a bunch of pills and found himself waiting to die on our kitchen floor. Something moved him to pick up the phone and call 911, and thankfully the EMT’s were able to come to the house, pump his stomach and save his life. I wasn’t there when any of this happened, but I did notice things were different that day when I got home. His sportcoat was slung over the kitchen chair. Normally he didn’t get home from work until after 5pm on the bus or when Mom took me to pick him up. It’s all a blur, but that jacket on the chair I can still picture like it was yesterday. The next thing I remember was going to the hospital to see him with Mom. He was in ICU, restrained because they didn’t want him to try to hurt himself again. I didn’t know that, though. When I followed my Mom in, I remember him looking up to see me and trying to get out of the restraints. I don’t think he wanted me to see him like that. I was stunned. My hero, my role model, this man that I thought was superman, lying on this table in a hospital gown, unable to move. Tube down his throat. Unable to speak. I saw fear in his eyes. In my 14 years, I couldn’t imagine what made my Dad feel so much pain that he wanted to take his own life. My heart immediately felt this heavy empathy for him. I felt what he felt in some way. It was there that I probably first recognized my empathic nature, as well as my need to rescue people. I decided from that day on that my Dad would know that I loved him, did not want to lose him and that he better never try to leave me like that again. Not because I wanted him to feel bad, or worse than he already did. But because I wanted him to know that I loved him so much and that there are so many good things about him, if he could just see them too.

    As I write this, over 35 years later, Dad’s struggle with Parkinsons Disease is starting to progress more quickly. He struggles to walk and stand, has to have someone help him shower, has difficulty swallowing and talking, among other things. It’s hard to see because I know he is just mentally and physically exhausted. He wants his body to work so badly, and why wouldn’t he? But it just doesn’t quite do it any more. All I feel is empathy for him. I’ve started to take him to appointments, help Mom manage his prescriptions, and try to advocate for him with his team of doctors to make sure he’s getting what he needs. He is embarrassed I’m sure by having me have to take him in a wheelchair into these appointments, or help him pull his pants up after he goes to the bathroom, or that Mom has to cut up his food for him so he can swallow it. But we do these things for him out of love. He’s done so much for us throughout his life. All we want to do is return the favor. My Mom and Dad’s relationship has changed so much. I see a real love there. He calls her “my angel”. I’ve never heard him call her anything so endearing before recently. But he does it every time I see them now. And she genuinely cares for him. It’s so nice to see.

    The point of all of this is to say that some of the things I lacked growing up lead me to make some of the poor decisions I have made as an adult. Albeit inadvertently and through no fault of anyone’s. The fault for my poor decision making is my own, and I accept that, but also am working on recovering and figuring out what the triggers are and correcting them so I can be the man I want to be. Through recovery, therapy, and group, I am on my way. I just felt like sharing some more about what I’ve been through and where I come from. To what end I’m not sure. But I hope you got something out of it and can relate to some of it as well. If one thing I write helps any one person, it’s worth it. And so are you.

    Thanks for reading! Be well!

  • 012: Addict

    This is going to be a boring post – no pictures or graphics. The text says it all.

    Hi my name’s Shep and I’m an addict. Something I’ve wanted to post about but am hesitant to is that I am a sex addict. I don’t know what you think of when you hear that term. But for me it involves compulsive behaviors that I participate in knowing full well that I shouldn’t. That they control my life in an extremely unhealthy manner. That, on my own, I am completely powerless over. This type of addiction isn’t one of the ones people like to talk about. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and a big taboo. But it’s quite real, and someone you know is probably struggling with it. I think it’s time we start talking about it more. Sexual addiction ruins lives. It rips relationships apart. It causes pain for the addict and anyone close to them. And it’s very real.

    For me it started with chatrooms, talking to random strangers. I sought connection. It was innocent really, until I realized how desperate others were for connection, too. I chatted with a girl who was nine hours away, wrote letters back and forth, exchanged pictures and eventually made the trek to meet her. But, because of the distance, it never quite panned out.

    I continued to frequent chatrooms, then discovered cybersex. I liked it but it didn’t do much for me. So I “progressed” to phone sex. Not like a 1-900 number I paid for. I sought out women to give me their numbers so we could do it for free. I got addicted pretty quickly and would sometimes spend literally an entire night chatting with the goal being to hear a woman get off. All the while I was in a committed relationship and was doing it right under this person’s nose while they were asleep in our bed. I literally didn’t care who I hurt or how. As long as I got mine.

    Eventually I grew bored of just phone sex and met someone. That physical affair lasted about a year off and on. The sex was amazing. We would meet in a hotel at the midway point between us. Still in a committed relationship. Lying, manipulating and cheating. And the guilt and shame I carried with me every day.

    The physical affair ended and an emotional one started. There was also porn, constant masturbation, and my significant other left to feel like she was doing something wrong, lonely and hurt. There were even times that I had phone sex or chatted in chatrooms while at work. I could have lost my career. My family. Everything. I risked it all. And it didn’t occur to me. I wasn’t in my right mind. Addiction is a sickness. I was in over my head and for years and years.

    I finally hit bottom. My relationship was in jeopardy. It was stop or be kicked to the curb. So I found a counselor who specializes in sexual addiction. I found local Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. It’s such a safe place and so many people could benefit from it. But it’s so taboo. I will be forever grateful for SAA. It’s given me the tools to turn my life around, along with counselling. My relationship may never fully recover, but I’m still in one. And I’m trying to do right by her and give her the time she needs to heal. Either way, I will not return to that way of living. For me. I am going to work to stay sober and be in healthy relationships from here on out. And man it feels good.

  • 011: Alone

    My life growing up had all of the appearances of a good life. I grew up in a two parent home with one sibling. My father worked a nine-to-five job on week days. My mother took care of me as well as doing some house cleaning for various people she and Dad knew. We went to a private school a mere fifteen to twenty minute walk away from our home. The neighborhood we lived in had plenty of kids for me to play with. Life was, from the outside looking in, pretty swell.

    Photo by Sem Steenbergen on Pexels.com

    Recently, I started seeing a counselor for various issues that I need some help with. A key part of counselling seems to be looking back at things that we experience as children. In looking at my own childhood, I have learned that I have suffered from some traumatic experiences which have contributed to some of my behaviors as an adult. I won’t get into all of those in this post, but one of them I will.

    My parents both came from families where they experienced their own sets of trauma. Now, I love my parents and am grateful to both of them for how they raised me and that I am their son. That said, neither of them were capable of providing much in the way of emotional support. So what I learned was to handle things on my own, not talk about them, and not ask for help. Whenever I was upset about something, anxious or sad, I can remember spending time alone in my room or in the basement playing video games, reading or just playing. Otherwise I would go outside and play. I didn’t know any different, and just thought this was how it was supposed to be.

    Photo by Ayyub Jauro on Pexels.com

    Around the age of 11 or 12, my father tried to take his own life. I remember it like it was yesterday because when I got home from school there were signs that Dad had been home. The thing is, he usually didn’t get home until 5:30 at night via the bus from his job downtown. So I knew right away something was off. I don’t recall exactly how I was told what had happened, or by whom. But what I remember was that he took a bunch of pills, then freaked out and called 911 because he didn’t want to die. They pumped his stomach, took him to the hospital and he was fine. My Mom took me to the hospital that night, and her recollection is that she didn’t know I was going to follow her into the room where they were keeping Dad. *shrug* I’m not sure where else I would have gone. What I saw next shook me to the core. Dad was in a bed, with a tube down his throat and his arms and legs tied down. He could not talk and could barely move. I had obviously never seen him that way before, and it upset me a great deal. But not in the way you might expect. Somehow, I felt empathy toward him in that moment. And I still think to this day that God was nudging me telling me to let him know that I needed him and loved him and was so glad he did not succeed at leaving us behind. I felt like somehow it was my job to save him. I don’t know where that came from, but it’s something I’ve carried with me into my adult life. Not always for the better. I know Mom was upset and not thinking clearly that she took me into the room to see Dad, but I’m glad it went the way it did. I knew then that my Dad wasn’t invincible, and he was human. I still looked up to him, and still do look up to him to this day. He was hurting. He handled it the best he knew how. Fortunately for me, he’s still going strong today.

    This trauma and lack of emotional support has made it difficult for me at times to be in relationships with other people. I am not very good at asking for help, and I am not very good at self compassion. I am and always have been very tough on myself. It’s something I’m still working on, but it’s not easy. I’ve never been suicidal, but have experienced some really bad anxiety and depression in my life. Days where I couldn’t even get out of bed. But with counselling and medication, I’m managing it fairly well.

    I do not blame my parents for any of this. None of it is their fault. They weren’t equipped, so I’m not equipped. It’s a cycle. But this gives you some insight into who I am and the type of things I’ve dealt with in my life. If anyone has similar experiences, or this resonates with you, I’d love to connect with you to talk about it more. If not, that’s fine, too. I just hope it helps someone to know they’re not alone.

    Thanks for reading. Have a fantastic day!

  • 010: On Politics

    This is a very busy time of year in the world of politics in the state that I live in. There is an election tomorrow that has the potential to change a lot of things. There are a lot of posts on social media, mailers in the mailbox, commercials on television, and it’s really difficult to get away from it. I am going to go to the local polling place in the morning and place my vote, just as many others will. I hope it’s a record turnout. If you’re not going to, and you’re able, get out and vote.

    Everyone knows the larger election that is looming. I can already feel the tension in the environment around me as it gets closer. This Presidential election will be another turning point in our great country. It has the potential to be very divisive if we let it. I admittedly got caught up in some of the social media jibes back and forth with some of my friends during the last election period and the aftermath, and during COVID. I should not have let it become divisive. In some cases, I did. I kick myself for that constantly.

    Since then, I have tried to listen to and learn from other people and their beliefs. Whether they are very much like mine, or completely the opposite, having a conversation and listening to what their experiences are that lead them to believe what they do is far more productive than trying to “win” an argument about it. I think both sides have one thing right – that the media and people from both sides of the aisle would have us believe that we are radically different. Polar opposites. But I don’t think we are. The division is caused by a small group of people that feed the information to both sides. They count on our naivete in believing some or all of it and grabbing onto it, and then shovelling it onto others. No one really knows what the truth of it all is. But we need to be active listeners in trying to discern it. Listening is our greatest weapon against division. Let others speak. Don’t post something divisive and then retreat to your corner. Look people in the eye and actually engage with them in a heart to heart conversation. It might not change anyone’s mind, but it might enlighten and educate you both about something you didn’t already know. And it will at the very least give you a glimpse into the heart of the person that you’re having the conversation with. Give it a chance. It’s worth it.

    Oh, and GO VOTE!!!!

  • 009: Can You Feel It?

    Disclaimer: I’m not sure what compelled me to post this. My intent was not to offend anyone. It was just something on my mind and I felt like sharing it with you, my reader. It’s meant to be sexy, not tasteless. Sexual, but not perverted. Scroll by if you wish. Still finding my feet as a blogger.

    No words. You meet in an empty room. Time stops. He walks over to you. His hand brushes your hair out of your eyes. He wants to see you. Really see you. He comes closer, looking so deeply into your eyes that you feel like he sees your soul. Hearts are racing. His chest brushes against yours. In an instant, he leans into you and whispers “do you feel it?”. Just that one whisper makes your body ache for him. He slides your shirt over your head, removes your bra and panties, and suddenly you are naked before him. As he is as well. He is behind you now. Breathing on your neck. Hand slowly roaming up your hip, belly, grazing your breast, circling your now firm nipple. He guides you to the bed, lying you down on your stomach. He lies next to you. He begins to explore your body with his mouth. His tongue runs along your ass and you can’t help but let out a moan. He moves down your thigh, then back up to your back and your neck. He finds your ear, and lingers there a bit. As he’s doing this, his hand slowly roams your body, moving down your breasts, stomach, and inner thigh. He is so close to kissing you, you can almost taste it. Just as your lips meet his finger grazes your clit. The kiss is soft, slow, and his fingers are teasing your sweet wetness. You’re dripping from anticipation. He tastes his finger and looks you in the eye. Then he kisses your neck, your breasts, licking and sucking just how you like it. You arch your back just as he makes his way down to your hips, and then……his tongue finds its target. You moan and push his head into you. His tongue is magic as it works you into a frenzy. He is licking you while sliding a finger in and out. All you can think about is how you want him deep inside of you. But he turns you over again. His hands reach around and caress your breasts as his tongue explores your ass. He the finger fucks you as his tongue slides into you from behind, burying his face in you. You had no idea you liked having your ass licked, but fuck do you ever. He’s now got two fingers inside you while tonguing your ass. You are unable to contain yourself and lean around and pull his thick hardness into your mouth. He is big, and you are taking it all in. You can feel him swelling in your throat and his muscles are contracting so you back off. You climb on and begin to ride him with more intensity than you’ve ever ridden anyone. His hands grab your hips and ass and you move as one. He sits up and kisses your breasts as you ride even harder. You are both so ready to explode. You feel it building up and are no longer able to contain it. As soon as you cum, you feel his cum inside of you as he moans out loud and fucks you so good. “This is just round one”, he says to you as he moves behind you for more.

  • 008: Influence, Not Control

    Becoming a Dad was something I’d always been afraid of. This child, this human, would be reliant on me and my wife for everything. Literally everything. It was terrifying to me. I didn’t think I was worthy. That I could do it.

    My son is almost a teenager. He is smart, funny, creative, thoughtful, empathetic, and has a very strong spirit and will. Being his Dad is the perhaps the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. The love that I have for him, the lengths I would go for him, without him even asking – they know no bounds.

    Sometimes it’s difficult. He is very independent-minded and stubborn. I’m not sure where that comes from. Ha. I am learning to try to let him learn on his own, through going through life experiences and taking what he goes through and using it in the future. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like he’s learned anything and he’s doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Other times it’s like he’s on his way to being a man. The trick for me is to try to be an influence on him, but not have control over him. It’s difficult. Sometimes I just want to say “because I said so” or “I’m your father and that’s the only reason I have for you.” And believe me, I have. But I am slowly learning that being flexible, adapting and trying to let him spread his wings is more beneficial than just telling him how it’s going to be. Where is the line? How do you walk it? I wish I could tell you.

    But what I can tell you, is that I would not trade any of it. I try to tell him that Dad’s far from perfect and makes mistakes. I try to own those mistakes. I try to let him see me, really see me. But I also am trying to provide him with a positive influence. Sometimes I fail. But I am doing my best. I hope he knows that.

    I can’t believe he’s going to be a teenager. Driving soon. College soon (or whatever he chooses to do). Moving away soon and living on his own. Don’t blink.

  • 007: Days Gone By

    I’m sorry if my posts are cryptic and even a tad morbid lately. That’s not my usual M.O. But I guess lately it’s where I’ve been living. Today I found out that a good friend’s Father had a fall and has some very bad injuries. He may not live through it. Memories came flooding through my mind of our childhood and the part this man played in my life. We moved in across the street from them when I was still in preschool and my parents still live there. “Ralph” was a very no-nonsense guy, told it like it was. He never wanted anyone to make a fuss over him, but he would always make sure you had whatever you needed. He wanted everyone to enjoy themselves. I vaguely remember him offering me a beer from his garage refrigerator once when I was maybe in 8th grade. I declined, of course, as I just knew I wasn’t supposed to. As I got older, “Ralph” was involved in many good memories. There was a canoe trip one year where we drank from sun-up to sundown, eating steak for breakfast and steak for dinner. We played chicken in the canoes and he lost his wedding ring somewhere on the river. There were the times at a local bar where we’d all dance and drink the night away, and he would always buy for everyone and make sure everyone had a drink in their hand. Good memories. But now, he’s in the hospital. On a ventilator. My friend and his family sitting by his bedside, waiting. I can’t imagine the pain they are all in.

    My own father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago. I thought it was lucky that he wasn’t diagnosed until he was in his 70’s. For the most part it didn’t slow him down too much. Until this past year, he was able to shower, get dressed, and the normal day to day activities on his own. This year has been different though. He now can barely stand, walk to the bathroom, and cannot shower. The progression of this disease is rapid at times. Dad is tired. Tired of doctors and pills and having to pee too much and not being able to sleep enough. I can tell he feels trapped inside his own body at times. It breaks my heart. But I want him to know I love him just the same as I ever did. I kind of feel like I did when I was younger and he attempted suicide – that I need him to know more than ever how much I need him and love him and want him around. How important he is to me.

    Too often I am stoic, show no outward enthusiasm, and don’t let the people I love know how I feel about them. I’m going to try to be better at that. Because it’s important. Because they need to know. Even if it’s weird. I’ll be weird. I would think people would be used to that from me by now. If not, they will get used to it.

    To you, my devoted and faithful reader, I appreciate you. You matter. I care about you. And I’m glad you’re here. If you ever want to reach out, drop me an email or a comment. There doesn’t have to be a reason. Just say hi. Tell me what you’re struggling with. Tell me what gives you joy. Favorite songs. Favorite movies. All of it. I want to hear it all. Because we’re better together. And we need to remind each other of that.

    Go forth and love those around you! Make it weird! Make people wonder what’s gotten into you. Then tell me your stories of how it went! I’m serious. Go!

  • 006: How Did We Get Here?

    Division. Anger. Hate. Violence. Selfishness. Power-hungry. Politics. Fear. Naive. Gullible. Disingenuous. Insensitive. Dishonest. Self-Righteous. Indignant. The Never Ending Desire to Be Right. At. Any. Cost.

    Where are we as a society? What has the world come to? Why all the division? Why all the hate?

    I believe it all depends what lense we are viewing the world through. Do you view what’s presented to you unfiltered? Or do you gain perspective and draw your own conclusions? Is this country in as bad shape as some would have us believe? Or are we being fed the wrong information?

    I want to believe good wins over evil. That love never fails. You got to let love rule. Where is the love? What’s goin’ on? People killin’ people dyin’.

    Love wins. It’s true. Seek it. Dig for it. Look for it. I believe it is still the dominant quality of our world and our society. Truth is where you find it.

    I’m rambling. Tired. But finding hope through writing. There is community here. There is togetherness. There is love. It’s all around us. In you. In me.

    Believe. Hope. Dream. Love.

  • 005: Happy Halloween

    Just a quick post to wish you all a Happy Halloween. If you’re so inclined to celebrate it, enjoy it and be safe! If not, Happy last day of October 2022! Embrace all that is to come in November and charge into it like a lion!

    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  • 004: Adult ADHD

    I’ve never been officially diagnosed, but am quite certain that I have adult ADHD. I had never considered it until a friend of mine was diagnosed and got medication and it changed her life. I am debating getting assessed myself to see if it fits.

    Oh look! Squirrel!

    Did you know that the human head weighs eight pounds?

    Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, ADHD. I find that many of my character defects fall into the realm of a few different categories. Those are addiction, ADHD, procrastination and a need for a bit of anger management (the last one being mostly when trying to navigate the potential mine field that is raising a soon-to-be teenager). I like to refer to myself as a beautiful mess. I am trying to learn about my various “enhancements”, embrace them as much as I can, and learn from them so that I can be a better human. It’s not easy. Much of it is the result of trauma experienced during childhood. Why I waited so long to dive into it and start to try to “figure me out” is a mystery to me. But no time like the present, right?

    Did you know that when you own a Roku, the screensaver looks like a fish tank and you can watch the fish swim around for hours? There’s even one that has a striking resemblance to Nemo. Yes, I am just full of useless information.

    So in my “journey of self-discovery”, one of the chapters is going to be digging into ADHD, figuring out if I have it, getting treatment if necessary, and hopefully improving myself as a result. People in my life might notice that I have a hard time focusing, often have a mountain of tasks to do but never end up starting any of them, or that my brain literally never stops.

    Have you ever really listened to the sounds that a squirrel makes? There is one in my back yard right this very instant and I could swear it is barking at me in its own way, almost as if it’s telling me to stay off its turf. We live by a corn field and there are a lot of husks in our yard. No doubt delivered to us by the gang of squirrels that inhabit our tree line. They are quite entertaining characters. Perhaps I should do an entire blog on squirrels. What say you my one reader? Alas, I have gone into another tangent.

    I try to make light of my abrupt shifts in focus, but they really do plague me more than I like to admit. Sometimes I can hyperfocus on something. Other times I can’t focus at all. Sometimes I can seem lazy, but in my mind I know that the sheer weight of a simple task like getting out of bed can seem like a mountain to me. I sometimes have to force myself to do that very thing, and start the day by making my bed to get one accomplishment under my belt. That seems to make it easier to do other tasks throughout the day.

    I am not sure if this post even has a point. I tend to ramble sometimes, and today is one of those days. But this is my blog, and I can ramble if I want to!

    I wasn’t kidding when I made my tagline “Welcome to my brain; enter if you dare.”