May 19, 2005

Hello Friends,

This is written specifically for my long term readers who have been with me for a couple of years or so.  To anyone else, this probably wonít make a whole lot of sense.  This is so incredibly off topic that itís not even funny.

Even as I type this, my life is changing.  My ears are also ringing and my head is pounding and a little drifty from medication, but it doesnít change the message or the need for the changes I am about to make.  Neither does the half empty bottle of Captain Morganís that is in residence beside me (and used to be a full bottle a couple of hours ago).  I havenít had any since I got sick off of it, I think it was at my last birthday in July.  Iíve solely been a White Russian man since then.  Now, it feels good to be reacquainting myself with the Captain.  I think he turned on me because he was more sick of me than I was off of him.

My life is (again) about to change dramatically (Iím NOT leaving EOS), this time by my own hand instead of the hand of fate as it did a year and a half ago.  I am steering my own boat and I am guiding it back home.

This is likely to get long and boring and perhaps a little sobby, so feel free to cut out at any time.  Just because Iím writing all this out doesnít mean that I expect anyone to read it all the way through.

I donít presume to know how many of you follow the off topic stuff that I (used to) write.  For all I know, Iím the only one who reads it and if thatís the case, thatís OK too.  

Let me start at the beginning.  Yes, Iím rambling, deal with it. 

Today, Katrina spoke to me (via e-mail) about a letter she received from an EOS reader.  In the context of the letter, the reader mentioned how much I had changed and how she missed the way I used to write, or something to that effect.  I hadnít thought too much about it, really.  I knew my attitude toward the soaps had shifted (but ack, whose hasn't?) and that my attitude toward writing in general had changed due to all of the bitching people insisted on doing about nearly every word I was writing there for a while. 

I was not raised in a negative environment by a long shot.  My childhood and young adulthood is nothing but memories of love and acceptance and happiness.  I was one of the luckiest kids ever.  I was homeschooled for the most part and was therefore not subjected to a lot of the teasing and bullying that a lot of kids endure.  When I went to college, people pretty much conducted themselves in a mature fashion and when I became a hairdresser, all of my clients were really good folks.

I didnít really have much experience with really and truly hateful people until I started writing for Eye on Soaps.  I know that sounds really lame and girly, but with God as my witness, I didnít know that people conducted themselves the way they do on message boards or would think to write to a perfect stranger and say the hateful things I read several times a day in my inbox.  Itís not about a resistance criticism because I was raised in a house with a ton of sisters and boy, do I know criticism.  Itís about basic kindness, tact and decency, which is largely missing in the internet soap world.  I do still feel that our regular EOS readers are the cream of the crop, but wow, some of the drifters are just hard core evil.  They are also very, very proud of it, which is what makes it even sadder. 

I thought I would be a gossip queen, that I would write what I knew, what I could glean from the net and whatever my sources could pass on to me.   I figured weíd all be chatting and laughing and sharing together.  How dumb and naÔve I was.  Oh, I definitely got  all those things.  My Hos took good care of me in that department and we had a grand olí time.  I developed non-Ho friends as well and we talked soaps a good bit through e-mails.  But honestly, most of the e-mails I got were very negative and hateful.  I didnít know how to deal with the barrage of anger and accusations and crap, so I pretty much just shut down and stopped answering almost anyone who wrote.  Days would go by when I didnít even look at my e-mail any more because I didnít want to hear it, didnít want to open it and read what these 12-15 people were bitching about this hour.  It was never ending.  Iím not saying that to bitch and complain myself about people bitching and complaining.  Iím just saying that to explain why e-mail started to become something I avoided.  I donít think anyone wants to be raked out several times a day, any day, when really they are only doing what they thought was going to be a lot of fun.

All of this started happening right as my life was changing in a pretty profound way.     

Today, after I talked with Katrina, I looked over some of my old columns from back when things were really good.    I remember when writing my columns was fun.  I used to love doing this so much.  I'd come in from the hot tub, having a glass of Captain Morgan's in my hand, having had a good soak in the hot tub, smelling the fragrances of my herb garden and Mom's flowers hanging heavy in the air.  I'd crack my knuckles and sit and write and drink and the words would flow like fine wine.  I'd answer my e-mails, talk with my hos on the message board, have chats with them and it was glorious.  I was never, ever lonely, even though I seldom left the house.  I was so very happy back then.  It was blissful.  I would cut hair on my regular clients, talk and laugh with them, watch the soaps with them and my mom...  I remember it like a really, really good dream, but I remember it as real and it was the real me. 

Now, I don't even know who I have become.  I don't know me.  No, that's not true.  I know myself very, very well.  I don't know this person who I am now.  I want me back again.  And I am going to get me back.

For those of you who do not know what happened, and I talked about it here, but if you missed any of those columns, you wouldnít know, back in October of 2003, my mother announced that she was moving out of our house, the family home she had an I had shared together for the past 20 years or so, in favor of traveling the country and living with each of her children for 4-6 months or so at a time.   It is her impression that she is going to die at the end of this year and she wanted to see each of the other kids (having already lived with me for some time and knowing me fairly well)  in their own element, living their own lives before she passes on.  I did not know that she was going to do this until she told everyone at the same time.  A couple of the older sisters knew in advance, which pretty much pissed me off because they also knew (which I didnít) that my mother had arranged for my sister, Kye and her husband Vince and their two very active little preschool girls to move into my house.  They were having some financial difficulties and Mom felt if they could live here rent-free, they would have a chance to get caught up.  Everyone just figured I wasnít going to have a problem with it. Good olí Sage, you know.

The thing is, about a year and a half or so before she did this, my mother went through a patch of extremely bad health (she is quite elderly) and needed constant care.  I was the one who provided it and due to some temporary dementia caused by low oxygen saturation levels (she had some congestive heart failure and such), it was extremely demanding and challenging.  But I loved her and figured she put up with a lot raising us kids alone, so giving back wasnít something I was resistant to doing.  It was hard, but it was worth it. 

Once her medication and oxygen supplementation was finally worked out, she was able to be stabilized and not long after that was when she was ready to travel and made her announcement.

Now Iíll be honest and say that I am not much on kids for the most part.  Iím a cool uncle, but I have to have my private, no kids time in order to BE a cool uncle.  Living with two very, very, very Ö whatís a good word?   I guess precocious, ďbusy,Ē active little girls after spending months on end caring for and nurturing my mother was NOT what I had in mind.  When I protested, I was pretty much labeled the asshole of the family who didnít care what happened to my sister and her family.  It got really ugly and resulted in me leaving to travel with Colin, who I had just met (he was my motherís home health care nurse).  We had a good time traveling, but I was eager to get settled.  For reasons that would take forever to go into, I suffer from agoraphobia and not having a place to call my own where I could hole up was torture.  We ended up landing in Northern California and have been there ever since,

When I went back to my family home after about 6 months on the road to collect my belongings, I could not believe the condition of my house.  The walls were drawn on with crayon.   The hardwood floors were gouged and nearly destroyed.  Theyíd tried to paint over the beautiful wallpaper to cover the crayon marks which not only had resulted in the crayon bleeding through, but they didnít mask or cover the area, so there was paint on the hardwood floors as well.  The gardens had been laid to waste and were completely grown over and decimated, totally reclaimed by Nature.  My hot tub (which I LOVED) had been sold.  Since I was on the road, they couldnít contact me to see if I minded, so they figured it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission.  They used the money to bail themselves out of hock on some IRS payment.  The porcelain in each and every sink in the house was broken.  My old room, in which I had stored my belongings and padlocked with the promise that it wouldnít be touched had been converted to a play room.  There are 4 bedrooms in the house and they situated themselves in the master bedroom (Momís upstairs bedroom), the girls' beds in one bedroom, their toys all in my room and turned the downstairs bedroom into a TV room for Vince (with, of course, the big TV from my room now is HIS TV room).  All of my belongings were stored in an old shed/barn outside, just pretty much thrown in there.  Most of the electrical items were ruined from exposure.  My computer was set up in the TV room with most of my files deleted and the programs all jacked up.  Anyway, it was all a mess.  I salvaged what I could and took it back to my new home.

My family still was being very cold to me, all but my sister Ginger and her wife, Natalie, who are still really good to me.  I threw myself into creating a new life with Colin. 

So that brings us to the now of it.  Reading my old columns, which I havenít done for a few years, made me realize how much I have changed as a person.  I used to be so joyful, so connected to Nature, to God and Goddess, to myself.  I was happy and it showed in my writing.

I am not happy now and that needs to change.  It will only change if I create change.  As hard as it has been for me to come to this realization, the truth of the matter is that Colin and I are just not well suited to live together.  Heís a wonderful man and I adore him, but he and I both know that itís not working.  We've just been waiting to see who would say it first.  I could see both sadness and relief in his face tonight when I brought it up.

Since I've been up North, I have established a decent, well paying side job that will sustain me well regardless of where I live.  I can take care of myself and have contributed to our household mutually for quite some time from a financial level, plus taking on all of the household upkeep (cooking, cleaning, etc).  I will be able to easily relocate and reclaim my life.  I don't have many things here in this home that are mine personally.  In fact, since Vince and Kye went through my locked room, I don't have many things anywhere that are mine personally.

I spoke with Colin extensively tonight and although we are both very sad at how things have turned out, he is extremely supportive and agrees with my decision completely.  We will remain very close friends.

In a nutshell, there are very distinct life practices and directions that are in conflict on an ongoing basis in our relationship.  He desperately wants a baby and to have that experience (A lesbian friend of his is willing to be a surrogate mother for him via artificial insemination and to co-parent the child with him with him having primary custody, on his insistence.)  I know without a doubt that parenthood is something for which I am completely unprepared and yes, I'll say it, unwilling to take on.  I do not at all doubt that children are a wonderful blessing, but I used up all my nurturing taking care of my mother and I am not prepared to extend myself even more.  The rest of my life is specifically for me.  That's a biggie.  He doesn't pressure me on an ongoing basis, but it's always there and forever an issue between us, even when it is unspoken.  Time is passing.  He needs to get to this before he gets too old to really enjoy it.  I need to get away from the threat of that while I am still able to say no.  It's too big of a thing for me to do just because he wants to so badly.  That's not fair to me, to him or to a child we might have.  It would have to be something we did because both of us want it and I'm just not in there.     

He is very active in the party scene.  I'm not.  I'm a home body and would rather be reading or meditating or watching TV than going out partying.  I still have problems with the agoraphobia and it is an exercise of extreme will for me to go out with him, which he very, very much wants and is extremely insistent about. It's just not working.  He wants and deserves a partner who truly shares all parts of his life and enjoys what he does and I am just not that.  He's a really great guy and I love him to pieces.  When we were traveling, it was different than it is now, even though I was about to come out of my skin on a regular basis from not having a home.  Once we settled in, the conflicts in personality and lifestyle became very clear.  I have been living here for just over a year now (in fact, as I went to post this, I found another off topic column from when I first got back and settled here and it was dated May 17th), and that is plenty of time for things to have settled into what they are going to be. 

So here's what I'm going to do. 

I was given exactly 2 weeks notice before Kye and Vince and their darling little angels were moving into my house.  Two weeks from today is June 2nd.  Earlier today, I gave them 2 weeks to get the fuck out of my house.  That may sound cruel, but what they now know that no one knew before is that when my mother was incapacitated the year before moving out, she signed the deed of our house over to me so that I would have a place to live if she died without it having to go through probate or anything.  The house is mine.  Period.  Kye and Vince will get exactly the same consideration I got, plus a few stunning bonuses.  I phoned Max today, who is Kurt's (of The Head fame) wife and, among other things (she is a Type A Over Accomplished Person) a mortgage broker.  The house has been paid off for a few years.  She verified for me that yes, the house is still in my name (I thought Mom might have changed it and not told me since none of my family is predictable any more and certainly has proven that my needs and interests arenít of particular value) and has assured me that she can obtain an equity loan for me at an obscenely low interest rate (my credit is SPOTLESS) within a matter of a week or so.  I will give them $5,000 to set up housing somewhere, anywhere, that is not my house. They are grownups and have lived rent-free for long enough.  I will pay for a cleaning crew to come in and wallpaper, get the crayon wiped off and clean up the yard.  With the lousy weather California has been having, I can get in the house just in time to replant my garden, revitalize Mom's flower  garden and get the house in order.  The whole harvest season has been delayed out by about a month, which has worked enormously in my favor.  I am reclaiming my house, reclaiming my life and reclaiming myself.   If they have not completely destroyed Mother's antiques, I will keep them in the house and supplement with new things as well.  I am finally going to have "things" again.

Colin will still visit regularly.  He enjoys going to West Hollywood a good bit and will be able to stop in when he's heading that way.  As I said, I do love him, but we both know that we are not compatible enough to continue sharing our lives on a daily basis.  Nothing has been overtly ugly or hostile.  It just is.  I don't' know that I will ever again want to have someone in my life and in my house.  It's lovely in theory, but I am just too much of a loner and prefer my own privacy without someone else having that much influence in my life.

I will have more than enough money to live on, banking a good bit from the equity loan (or home improvement loan or whatever Max decides is in my best interest) and making my own money.  Most of my old clients still live in my area, so I'm sure they'd welcome me back and I can continue my private practice if I choose to do so.  The good thing is that it would be a choice, not a necessity.  I hesitated to do this before, due to residual feelings of obligation to my family and not wanting to be seen as "the bad guy."   Now, today, talking to Katrina and reading through my old columns, I got enough of a cosmic push to make me not give a fuck any more about what the family thinks.  They have not been that considerate of me and now, it is my turn to stand up for myself.

I actually thought all of this out, not realizing Iíd even fully decided, while writing to an online friend about my thoughts.  In fact, some of the explanations above are direct cuts and pastes of my letter to her because I couldnít bear to write some of it a second time in one day.  It was weird how fast it unfolded once I knew my own mind.  Like the oracle says, ďOnce the deciding is done, the doing becomes effortless.Ē

As I was finalizing my letter to my friend and also at the same time, finalizing my decision, having already called Max AND heard back from her while writing it, a letter came through to me from a Sage reader:

Hi Sage,
I've never written to you but I felt the nudge today for some reason.  I saw on the EOS website that you are under the weather and wouldn't be writing your usual column.  I've read your pieces for quite some time.  I don't know exactly how long but a pretty long time.  I used to read when you wrote about gardening and caring for your mom and I remember the resort you went to (with your mom I think?) and how she always was paranoid about the internet and thought something just awful would happen to you.  I remember your writings with your companion Capt. Morgan.  You had me laughing out loud on so many occasions.  Especially the talks about the foam head.  When I was first reading, I wasn't up to speed on Kurt (sp?) and the foam head and I remember you included links for those of us not "in the know".  Anyway it wasn't long before I as all caught up on "the head".  What a hoot!   Anyway, today I was going through your archives because once you got back from your "walkabout" with Colin, I felt like I had lost touch with an old friend.  Weird huh.  So I came back to my job in April and since being back I have my old familiar pattern of reading up on EOS and checking out the writer's columns and especially yours.  First I missed you because you were on your walkabout and I don't remember when you came back but when you did it took you a bit to get your groove back on with your soaps and banter and stuff and then I don't know....some time went by and then I was the one who was out of commission.  So now I'm back.  I was reading some of your old stuff today (late 2004) and I laughed when I read about Halloween.  Not the crap part about Halloween, but the part about the HEAD.  Yes I laughed out loud!  Now the crap part was really crap.  You took care of your mom for so long virtually all by yourself.  Anyway, I know that the dynamics of families are different from each other but it's just classless to be unappreciated by your own blood.  Everyone has their own issues with family and right now my in-laws really tick me off.  But I just wanted to reach out to you and tell you that you are appreciated and you've given and given so much of yourself.  You are a good, kind and decent man.  I just wanted you to know that.  I also read where people gave you ten tons of sh** for writing the Spoilers.  They're just a bunch of DH out there.  Can't tell fact from fiction.  Losers.  Anyway, don't ever give them another moments thought.  Too much energy and they don't deserve it.

Okay well this is too long of an email for a friend to be writing, let alone a stranger!  I'll keep reading and you keep writing.  Katrina's got the best group of writers for sure!

Be a positive force and the others, they can either climb on board or not...but it's not your problem to worry about.

I snipped out a bit of her letter that had some identifying information in it as I want to keep her anonymous because I havenít asked her permission to print the letter (Hope it was OK!).  Getting this letter at just that moment proved to me that I was doing the right thing.  I really want to thank the person who was kind enough to send me this letter at just the moment when I needed it.

Life is about to get very interesting.    This is tremendously scary, but I have to do it or I'll never be me again.  I honestly feel as though The Universe is supporting my decision and that I am definitely moving in the right direction. 

I will be packing and working on moving over the next two weeks.  Kye and Vince have agreed to the arrangement verbally (although I am binding them to it in writing as well), much faster than I expected.  I think they were swayed by the dollar signs.  They swear they will even be out by the 31st if I can get them the money in time.  It's the best investment I've ever made.  Max doesn't expect even a minor hitch, so I am extremely optimistic.

My 47th birthday is July 5th.  I plan to spend it in my hot tub with Captain Morgan, the scent of flowers and herbs in the air in the revitalized yard of my reclaimed house.

In the mean time, thanks for being patient with me and for being my friends.  Sage is very soon going to LITERALLY be BACK IN THE HIZZOUSE and back to himself again.  I hope not to miss any columns, but if I do, it will be for a good cause (and I'm STILL not doing those fucking spoilers).

Time for me to sleep of the meds and the liquor.  Much divine love to you.

Goddamn it, WHERE ARE MY HOS??  LENORE!  VES!!  Get that Ranch Ready!  Big Daddy's coming back home.  MARDI!  Order a few cases of Captain Morgan.  Tony Geary and I are going to be at the bar.

All the best,

PS:  I think I will even start answering e-mails again.  :)  Joke'em if they can't take a fuck.