This is Spring?

spring_not

Spring has officially sprung here in Kentucky, but I have seen very little evidence of it so far. We had a couple of warm days last week, but it is cold again with highs in the 40-degree range. There is even a chance of sleet and snow today and tomorrow!

I did get to work outside for a bit yesterday morning. Believe it or not, four years after our massive ice storm I am still using a chainsaw to remove damaged limbs from trees. Although the main portion of our lawn has been in pretty good shape since we moved here three years ago, the trees and undergrowth lining our wooded area is another story. Due to the threat of snakes and poison ivy, there is a very short window of opportunity each year for me to get in there and remove downed limbs, dead trees, etc. This time of year seems to work best for that; too cold for snakes, but not too cold for me.

Even so, I am about to die for warmer weather. As I was perusing some of my springtime photos from last year, I noticed they were dated March 15th. The photos showed blooming trees, bushes, flowers, and green grass. It is now almost April, but there is barely anything blooming outdoors. The jonquils are making a valiant effort, but the frosty mornings haven’t done them any favors. I do see the promising sight of buds on many of our trees though, so I know the beautiful blossoms are just around the corner.

We recently had our front porch jack-hammered out, our back deck removed, and a new front porch and large back patio poured along with three new sets of steps. We are currently in the early stages of getting a roof added over our back patio so we can enjoy it regardless of the weather. Maybe by the time the roof is finished, it will actually be warm enough to BBQ.

One more thing… that groundhog in Pennsylvania is a liar.

Innocence lost

I was molested around the age of five by a close family member. Not an immediate family member, but close. I’ll refer to him as Chester. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I wasn’t his only victim.

brian-kid

When my parents found out what was going on, Chester placed the blame on me and the other child he had preyed upon. According to him, we started it all, even though that would have been impossible given our age and ignorance about all things sexual. Even so, in my earliest memory of sexual contact with him, I was the one who initiated it.

I used to beat myself up and wonder if I really did start it, but the most logical explanation is that my first memory wasn’t actually the first encounter. How would I have even known how to initiate sexual activity at the tender age of five?

Despite the fact that there were two victims with the same story and a confession from the perpetrator, no one contacted the authorities, no charges were filed, and Chester never paid for his crimes.

Although any unsupervised contact with Chester was stopped after his misconduct came to light, I was still occasionally in his presence. Even today, because of our familial connection, I still have to be around him at times. Our small talk is always forced and awkward, and I keep a close eye on him when he is around children.

I recently attended the funeral of a distant relative. After walking past the casket and waiting in the adjoining room for the rest of the family to enter, I felt something tickling my ear. I whipped around to see Chester grinning while holding a twisted up chewing gum wrapper. Although the gesture was harmless enough, I felt like it was highly inappropriate given past circumstances.

I used to blame Chester for making me gay. I figured those early encounters must have formed my sexual preferences. I honestly still don’t know if homosexuality is completely biological, but I don’t see the point in trying to find a definitive reason or explanation for my sexuality. I simply am what I am. Whether I was born this way or became this way because of what happened to me as a child, I had absolutely no choice in the matter.

Chester had a choice though. He chose to steal the innocence of my childhood, and the consequences of his actions still reverberate through my life today.

Commitment

Yesterday, in the presence of a lawyer and three witnesses, Honey and I signed our lives over to one another. Literally.

Not only did we sign Last Will & Testaments leaving all of our property to one another in the event of our death, we also signed documents granting each other financial and medical power of attorney. Lastly, we completed Living Wills which detail our wishes about end-of-life medical decisions – ultimately leaving final decisions about treatment to one another. So, at least from a legal standpoint, we placed our lives and our property in each others hands.

All of the paperwork and signatures even made it seem like we finally achieved some legal recognition of our relationship. I figure this is about as close to married as a couple can get without actually receiving a marriage certificate and having a ceremony.

The amazing part is that after almost eight years together, it feels like our relationship just achieved a new level of commitment. I hope this is just the first step of many on our journey toward full legal recognition of our union.