Beaupedia

Man Under Construction

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Still Matthew

After all of these years I just found out that Matthew Shepard was a tiny 5’2″ in height. A bit in the news from Orlando’s Pulse massacre got me reading about him again and it broke my heart anew.

I remember being absolutely devastated by his story as a scared 15 year old with no hope of being able to tell anyone in my life who I really was or what I was dealing with. Matthew was me and I there wasn’t much hope.

Home was certainly unwelcoming for who I really was, I would find no solace there, and with Matthew’s murder it seemed the world was also against me. There were so many times I saw no possible positive future for myself.

I genuinely believed I was the only gay person in my town of 32,000 people. I thought there were maybe 7 or 8 gay people in my entire state of 4 and a half million. I was very, very alone.

I persevered because regardless of my own inevitable unhappiness, I wanted to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives. I bounced around a bit on what I wanted to be: a high school counselor, a teacher, a youth pastor, and ultimately a social worker, but it was always my hope to be able to help adolescents. That remains something I still hope for today, and have been able to put into action in many ways, though not yet as a career.

I have vivid memories from a couple years after Matthew’s murder of sneaking off to my parent’s bedroom when MTV aired their “Anatomy of a Hate Crime” movie about his murder. I pretended to be watching the news when my mom checked in to see what I was doing, making fast use of the “last” button on the remote control to cover myself. I sat on the edge of my parents’ bed trying to keep my tears to a minimum in case one of them walked in.

I felt like my chest was imploding from grief while feeling as though the rest of me were going to explode from the effort it took to prevent all out sobs. I wept for Matthew, but I also cried because there was a community at home and around the world that loved him and accepted him and didn’t think he deserved death as my church and my family had taught me he and all gays did. It was a glimmer of hope that I desperately needed. I wish I could beam a message back to that kid and tell him how much better things would get. To let him know that the community that loves him unconditionally is so much larger and stronger and warmer than he could possibly imagine, and to just hang on.

I read a series of tweets from an older lesbian earlier who was distraught over the Pulse massacre and recounted Stonewall and how the different generations after her have had their own symbols, including Matthew Shepard. Someone in the comments indicated they were in their early 20s and remarked that they had to look up who Matthew Shepard was because they had never heard of him. I guess it never occurred to me that there are young adults alive now who have never heard Matthew’s name. I don’t know why, but that hit me as incredibly tragic. It’s important to remember the names, the faces, the stories – they are all a part of our DNA as a community and a society and a reminder to work toward the kind of world we want for our children.

And though I never knew him, I will always mourn Matthew. I imagine the man he’d be today, that tiny, fragile frame having filled out some with age as he approached his 40th birthday this year. I wouldn’t know him, and that would be just fine because he’d be out there in the world happy and fulfilled living an ordinary life, not fated to being anyone’s tragic symbol.

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A Second Wind

Today marked my 7th year in a row participating in the Second Wind Fund Walk/Run. I walked by myself the first two or three years but have had friends join me as team “Beau’s Beauties” ever since. This year I was joined by my awesome friends Jamie, Dennis, and Anais. Sadly, the list of people we walk in memory of has grown over the years, but the money we raise goes directly toward paying for counseling for struggling youth.

Beau's Beauties: Dennis, Anais, Jamie

Beau’s Beauties: Dennis, Anais, Jamie

My heart is heavy thinking about Dustin, Jesse, and the others we’ve lost over the last few years. It’s a mostly upbeat, festive event but there always comes that period when my friends leave and I’m left alone with my thoughts, my memories, and a giant pit in my stomach. I miss them desperately.

It was all brought back pretty abruptly last month with the death of Robin Williams, but the truth is it’s never very far from my mind. I think of Dustin and Jesse at least weekly; sometimes it makes me smile and sometimes it’s completely out of left field and knocks the wind out of me. It’s pretty awful having to re-realize that someone is gone, I do wonder why our brains do that. I’ve had dreams of both of them, and in the dream was so relieved that I was mistaken and they weren’t really dead, only to wake up and find that it was all fiction.

I miss them, but we walk in their memory and do our best to provide support to those who need it most. If you’d like to contribute to the Second Wind Fund, fundraising is still open for my team.

1-800-273-TALK (8255)            1-888-628-9454

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Quotes for Posterity Digest

“I’m going to shit myself.” – Me
“Me too.” – Leah
“I wish I could shit myself…I really need to poop.” – Carmen

Yeah, some people are still waiting for their bodies to figure things out.

 

“Hookers are people too!” – Carmen

 

“Why do I have to be your bitch? Why cant I be a ho?” – Leah

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F**k Insurance

So, originally I started this post because someone else here was having insurance issues, but now, I’m the one in the crosshairs of my insurance company. I found out on Friday afternoon that ERC is beginning to get some push back from my insurance company after only four weeks of treatment. There will be a review of my case on Monday and that quite possibly could be my last day in PHP.

Thanks a lot Aetna and Magellan Health Services for reminding us all that yes, you are a profit motivated industry and our health is secondary.

Friday was a difficult day even without the insurance development, as I had to say goodbye to my friend Lacy. She and I became quite close over our time together here and I view her as a little sister. Her insurance wouldn’t even cover the treatment at all, so her parents had been paying out of pocket, and did so for as long as they could. Immense respect to them for that.

Before Lacy left on Friday I had a great time hanging out with her and Leah on Thursday night getting Lacy’s first tattoo. It was every bit as odd and eccentric as someone’s first tattoo experience should be and her tattoo turned out beautifully.

Love you Lacy! You’ve got the tools, now live the life you were meant to live!

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Help me raise the money needed for my treatment.

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Moving Forward

Still struggling with grief over Jesse, but able to focus more on my recovery today. I did however have my first real battle with behaviors tonight, and unfortunately it was a battle I lost. I’ll be honest with my treatment team, and I know it’s not the end of the world, but it does suck.

Today was a challenging day, and was setup to be that way. We were all asked and encouraged to wear something outside of our comfort zone throughout the day if we could, but at least in our Body Appreciation group. For me, that was a gray t-shirt.

I love shirt.woot.com shirts and have tons of them, but I generally only buy black, brown or dark blue shirts. I have a couple green shirts that I wear occasionally, but I never, ever wear the gray one. Until today. It was uncomfortable, “Black is thinning” and all that stuff running through my head, but I did it. I had a backup shirt in my locker just in case, but I never needed it. Success for the day!

In the shitty news column, Nora got news that her insurance has stopped covering her treatment. Immediately. No warning, no heads up, no time for the team at ERC to appeal, nothing. Her final day is today. And that’s just fucking bullshit.

I could rant about the state of healthcare in the U.S. for hours, so I’ll just summarize my thoughts. When the system is setup so that our health versus profits, our health will always lose. If you see a problem with this, stop fucking voting Republican. It’s really pretty simple. It’s a complicated issue, yes, but holy shit, don’t vote for the people who put profits above your or your loved ones’ health. Period. Political rant over.

In the awesome news column, Emma will be coming back from inpatient tomorrow! Woo! So proud of the hard work she has done and will be so thrilled to see her return.

In other awesome news, I’ve been joined in Level 3 by two lovely ladies, Leah and Jade. It’s fantastic having them around to share meals with and they inspire me daily with their commitment to recovery and their continued perseverance.

I’m having trouble thinking about my Process Group (those of us with the same primary therapist) without Nora, especially for it to come about like this. Such. Bull. Shit. All is not lost however and I have to send huge gratitude to the remainder of my Process Group for their authenticity, their veracity, and their unbounded support for me and each other. Carmen, Lacy, Libby, Emily, and of course Laura, thank you. I can’t imagine a better group to be on this journey with.

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Help me raise the money needed for my treatment.

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