I haven’t posted in a while because every time I consider posting all I can think about is, well:
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.
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.
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.
Internet, at this point, is a utility and should be treated as one. The possibility of an internet where you have to pay more to access Google than to access Bing is very real. ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner would love to make internet access tiered the way cable television packages currently are. Please read the article below and add your voice to DearFCC.org.
May 15, 2014 | By April Glaser and corynne mcsherry
Dear FCC: We Will Fight to Protect Net Neutrality
Today the FCC is meeting to discuss new rules that could determine the future of network neutrality. There’s been a lot of news circulating about what the FCC’s plan will contain. We’ll have some analysis to share shortly.
In the meantime, though, Internet users need to tell the FCC that we want real net neutrality, and we don’t want net discrimination. Visit DearFCC.org to submit comments to the FCC’s official Open Internet docket. Fill out the form to submit your comments, and tell the FCC you oppose rules that will stifle Internet innovation and creativity.
Personalize it. Tell a story. Let’s make sure the FCC hears us loud and clear: It’s our Internet, and we’re going to fight to protect it.
In the past few months the public pressure has been tremendous. The FCC has been cornered by overwhelming, and negative, public response to reports the new rules will implicitly endorse “internet fast lanes,” allowing Internet providers to discriminate how we access websites by offering an option for web companies to pay to connect to users at faster speeds.
These kinds of “pay to play” access fees, if implemented, would be a disaster for the future of the open Internet. When new innovative websites can’t afford high fees for faster service, they’ll be less likely to reach users and less likely to succeed. The result: a less diverse Internet.
We want the Internet to live up to its promise, fostering in innovation, creativity, and freedom. We don’t want regulations that will turn ISPs into gatekeepers, making special deals with a few companies and inhibiting new competition, innovation and expression.
The good news is we are speaking up. You can join us: please take action now!
Also good news: Congress is starting to ask questions—on May 20th Chairman Wheeler is scheduled to testify in front of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. At the end of the day, the FCC works for Congress.
That’s why we also need to put the pressure on our representatives not to let the FCC create new rules that threaten the future of our Internet.
We’ll share our analysis of the proposed rules very soon. Go ahead and take action with EFF’s new DearFCC.org and be prepared to visit back again. We’re going to protect our Internet. The FCC has no idea what it’s up against.
via Dear FCC: We Will Fight to Protect Net Neutrality | Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The need for filibuster reform has never been so clearly demonstrated.
“The amendment failed 54 to 46…”
“That measure also failed, 52 to 48.”
“…to crack down on trafficking failed 58 to 42.”
It’s absolutely disgusting. This is not democracy, regardless of your feelings on this issue.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
It’s been a while since I’ve updated, really just due to the rollercoaster ride that the last couple of months have been.
I “graduated” from the PHP program at Eating Recovery Center on October 16th and returned to work on October 25th. I was back to work for about a week before my grandmother died and I flew home for her funeral. Her death wasn’t entirely unexpected, we had a little bit of warning. She was also suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past nine years, and we were losing her slowly, then more rapidly the last 3 years or so. I am sad she is gone, and I am sad for my grandfather, a second time widower.
A week after getting back to work from my bereavement leave I got strep throat and was out for another week. Today marks my first full week of work in what seems like 6 months.
I’m currently outpatient at ERC, meeting with a therapist weekly, a psychiatrist monthly, and a dietitian when I can fit it in/afford it.
It hasn’t been very easy getting back into the “real world”, I have to admit. I miss the stability and the structure. I miss my friends. It’s also quite an experience being surrounded all day, every day with people who love you unconditionally and are fully dedicated to your recovery. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to focus on my thoughts, my feelings and my needs, as I did. It’s not something I think most of us make time for in our day to day lives. That sounds kind of absurd and selfish to say, but, it’s not. It’s absolutely the way it should be.
Forward, with lots and lots of gray. I’m done with black and white.
Well, here I am two days before my final day at ERC. I am finishing up my second week of Transitional Intensive Outpatient. Tuesday is officially my last day at this level of care. From here, I will move on to outpatient, meeting with a therapist weekly, and a psychiatrist and nutritionist monthly.
I really can’t believe I’ve been here for almost two months! This experience was obviously life-changing and something that, in the end, I am extremely grateful for. If I am completely honest, I am scared shitless. It’s one thing to stick to a meal plan, abstain from behaviors and reach out for support when you’re surrounded by knowledgeable, understanding people all day, every day. The real world is another story.
IOP has given me some time to “fend for myself”, and it’s been up and down. I know my weaknesses, I know what to look for, and I fully intend to continue kicking this fucking eating disorder’s ass.
I’ve said goodbye to a couple of close friends this week. Libby graduated on Thursday, and I am so incredibly proud of her. She was here for almost four months and worked her ass off. She’s incredibly beautiful, and I hope she gets closer every day to realizing that. She’s definitely missed.
The biggie this week was saying goodbye to Carmen. We were a duo, according to anyone here. It was never just Beau or just Carmen, it was always “Beau and Carmen”. This place is not the same without her, and a little piece of my heart has gone home to Albuquerque. I will hopefully see her again before the year is up, the current plan is to drive down to New Mexico with Leah for Thanksgiving at Carmen’s place. Family of choice, as is often said around here, and when it comes to that, I’m a lucky guy.
I’m going to need support beyond here, and I hope that those of you who have followed my posts will be there. Hold me accountable, ask me for updates, find out how I’m doing.
I’ll be posting more details about my plans post-treatment soon, but for now, I’m off to write a stack of “thank you” cards!
This week I find myself saying goodbye to two more friends. Ashley Bryan and Nicole Ferency both lost their battles with eating disorders and depression this week. Ashley died on October 1st, and Nicole last night (October 4th) in Denver after leaving the ERC for the day.
I am stunned. Even typing this, I feel like I don’t know what to say, but I feel like I need to get it out.
Ashley was 26 years old and I got to know her over my first couple of weeks at the ERC. She was a warrior, she was committed to recovery, and she was everyone’s biggest cheerleader. My heart breaks for her husband and family. At the ERC we all have primary therapists, and the patients who share the same primary therapist form what we call a Process Group. We meet three times a week for an hour and 15 minutes, talk about how we’re feeling, and provide support to each other. My particular Process Group is extremely close, and Ashley was a part of our group until she graduated from treatment. The loss has been almost too much too process. Still can’t believe she is gone.
Nicole was 35 years old and had been battling her eating disorder and severe depression for a very long time. She and I bonded when she found out that I was gay and wanted to open a dialogue and get to know me better in hopes that our friendship would help her connect with her gay father. I am so sad that we won’t be able to have anymore of those conversations. She was so genuine and open when she approached me with that request. Her desire to feel like her family was whole again was of so much importance to her. She spoke of her family often, and I am devastated thinking about all of them. I am planning to find a way to attend her funeral on Monday. What a beautiful person, what a loss.
The mood around the ERC right now feels pretty similar to a funeral home. It’s just too much to take in. The staff are all stunned, but doing an amazing job being available to us. The CEO of the center has been in this field for 33 years and has not lost a patient at this level of treatment. It just isn’t a normal thing. This week is just overwhelming.
I originally intended to blog a little update about my insurance issues, so, I will briefly. I am no longer in the PHP program and am now in Transitional Intensive Outpatient (4 hours a day vs 12) because my insurance company has chosen to disregard the medical advice of my treatment team in favor of their profits. My doctors fought extremely hard for me, but they were unable to get more time for me. My insurance, Magellan Health Services, contracted by my primary provider Aetna, would rather see me relapse, continue with an eating disorder, or even die, before cutting into their profits any further.
I won’t go on a political rant, but this is why healthcare should not be for profit. I’m a negative on a balance sheet to them, and my life is meaningless. Before she died, Nicole’s insurance had just denied her an increased level of care as well. Fuck you health insurance. You’re scum, and we’re idiots to allow and vote for such a system to exist.
I’m a whirlwind of emotions right now. I miss my friends, I wish I had been there to remind them how loved they were before they made the decision, and I just wish I could remove all the pain from all of the people grieving these losses. We will get through this. I will get through this, and I will live a rich and meaningful life. I just wish that Nicole, Ashley, Jesse, and Dustin were all living it with me.
Goodnight sweet friends.
My worth is not determined by my body. Not even a little bit. Really.
Holy shit that seems like it should be so obvious. My worth is NOT determined by my body. At all!
Health is one of my top values, but so is passion, so is love, so is growth. My body often gets me to my values, but it is not one of them.
My confidence comes from knowing that I’m doing what I need to do. Maybe that person is actually staring at me and thinking something negative about my body. If they are, it’s irrelevant. I am not my body. I am doing what I need to do.
I do not have to wait until I am a healthy weight to have value or feel acceptable.
The Good: Insurance has approved me through Thursday and will do another review then. It’s nerve-wracking going 4 days at a time like this, but it’s better than the alternative.
The Bad: I struggled with behaviors this weekend, but worked through what happened with my therapist and my awesome process group, so going forward, I have even more tools on my side.
The Ugly: Yesterday was awful! I decided with my therapist on Friday that I would write a letter to Jesse over the weekend, but didn’t get to it until yesterday. It was extremely difficult and heartbreaking. I chose to read it out loud with my therapist, cried a lot, and missed Jesse as much as ever. All of that being said, it was good. I’ve needed time and space to grieve him and this was a good way to start without letting myself become completely consumed.
There’s lots going on outside of my own little world here at the ERC. My buddy Cam is taking the GMAT later today and I am sure will do great, if the amount of studying he has put into it is any indication. Both Ariel and Terry chose to leave treatment against medical advice, and that has been difficult to see, but we keep going forward.
Lacy is back home and just texted us to let us know that she found a program that her insurance will cover, so that is extremely encouraging. She’s the one whose parents were paying out of pocket and had to leave on Friday. So proud of her!
Jade has moved from PHP to TIOP (Transitional Intensive Outpatient Program) due to fucking insurance, so we only see her for four hours a day, same as with Leah, also due to fucking insurance. Once my insurance decides to end my PHP, I too will be moved into TIOP. So…much…fun.
Well, I guess that’s enough of the ERC today, off to lunch.