Tuesday 10 january 2 10 /01 /Jan 06:24




This is my first blog of 2012 and I'm happy to say that things are in full swing as the new year takes off.


I could have never expected that 2012 would have ushered in someone quite special in my life.  It's one of those things where something wonderful happens when you least expect it; and while I dislike those kinds of cliches, I have to invest a grain of appreciation for them at the same time.  There is this beautiful (in every way) woman named Nikki Rimmel who has made my life even better than it already was before I met her.  We've already had some fabulous dates and we're both very clear that we want to take life's journey hanging out together and see where the road full of adventures takes us.  I am most impressed that, aside from her very sweet heart, she has a Master's degree and is well on her way to a successful career track.  "Like" is funny--like that... when you "like someone" you want to support them in everyway you possibly can to make sure they complete their goals.  She is in the process of clearing her secondary teaching credential in English; and I'm praying that she will land a job in a high school teaching English by year's end.  We shall see.  I do know that I want an enduring, loving relationship with Nikki very much and I want it to blossom into something so beautiful that my heart waters with tears of joy like the meadows of France.  Because with her--those feelings are very real for me and I do NOT want to let her down in any way.


My professional goals are also starting to move forward.  I am going to officially apply for graduate admission to both the Master's in Social Work and the Master's in College Counseling programs at San Francisco State University in the fall and have a full list of tasks that need to be completed by September in order to proceed to filing a graduate admissions application.  I need to register for, take, and successfully pass the analytical writing portion of the Graduate Record Exam.  I will probably end up studying for and taking the entire general GRE which includes the math portion.  I need to complete or at least be placed in an agency for field placement purposes and see it through to completion.  I am registered in Theories of Personality for spring semester at College of Marin.  It is the third and final undergraduate course I need to complete or pass which serves as the gateway course to SFSU.  This means that there needs to be an articulation agreement between the courses I will have completed at College of Marin and what the Graduate Counseling Department expects.  If I plan to accept admittance into the graduate social work program, it is crucial that I find and stick with a field placement that will not discriminate against me and kick me out of their agency because of my disability.  So in a large sense, I'm not out of the woods yet.  Then there is the question of whether I will be able to finance all of graduate school with scholarships and graduate teaching assistantships without the need to go further into student loan debt.  One step at a time but--upward and onward.  I will be working with Joetta Scott, a counselor at College of Marin, as well as Chris Schulz, the coordinator of the Disabled Students Program and Services department to make sure I am on track as well as making as many of the right choices I can to make my entry into SF State as smooth as possible.  


I am still staying at my mother's here in Petaluma and am greatly conflicted about moving out and into yet another tension-producing room-in-a-house shared rental with (what Nikki refers to as) another slumlord.  Sometimes when an adult child lives with their parent(s), it can produce tension and conflict after awhile.  So far, things seem to be going smoothly between my mother and I; but my end goal is still a place of my own until I get to the point where moving in and living with a potential significant other becomes realistically possible.  


Classes at College of Marin begin the week of January 23rd and I am slated for at least 9 units of psychology classes including (1) Introduction to Research Methods and Data Analysis in Psychology, (2) Theories of Personality, and (3) Seminar and Fieldwork Experience.  I may add a 1-unit second-semester voice class for fun, time permitting (not factoring in internship time).  


Lastly, I'm excited to be making the trek with Nikki up to Sacramento this coming Friday to see my good friend Cole and his fiance Krysti.  Every minute of those six or seven hours will be very precious for several reasons.  I love my friend Cole.  A lot!  He is the best guy friend I have ever had.  I haven't seen them in over a year.  It will most likely be the last time in my life that I get to hang out with both Cole and Krysti before I see them at their early-summer wedding up in Shasta.  I want to very much be a part of Cole's wedding and still get to support him, even if he doesn't select me to be one of his groomsmen in his wedding which I truly am not expecting.  That's fine.  Because the most important thing for me is to get to celebrate the life and the union of one heck of an artistic and great guy to hang out with.  I do worry about one thing with Friday's visit and that is that I want Krysti to like Nkki very much and for everything to go smoothly.  I don't know why I fear such a thing, but I guess I want to impress Krysti (even more than Cole) with how impressive and happy and excited I am about being with Nikki.  I don't want there to be any tension.  In fact, I am hoping that the four of us will be going out to dinner somewhere not too expensive yet very lovely and that I will be able to get pictures taken of the four of us, of Cole and I, Nikki and I, and Cole and Krysti together.  In all the years I've known Cole, we've never had a picture taken, and when I told Nikki this, she asked, "well why not?!".  "It just never happened", I replied.  Yep, these six or seven hours I get to spend may be the best social memories I have ever had.  I hope Cole and Krysti are as excited to have us up as I know Nikki and I are to be coming up.





By jesse
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Saturday 31 december 6 31 /12 /Dec 09:20


I seem to do my very best thinking and writing late at night... go figure!  Ah and yes, it is officially New Year's Eve - the last day of 2011.  This blog is going to be loaded with a dash of emotional nutrition, a handful of quirky thoughts, and a hint of some 2012 flavoring.  I love it!


Usually on NYE, I do very little.  If you think about it, every music venue has an expensive cover, every restaurant requires a restaurant in advance, and you're usually driving on the highways at 12:30 a.m. New Year's Day with myriads of people who have had their fill of champagne, alcohol, and gosh knows what else. It's intriguing to look at and think about--but not fun to be in for most of us who prefer quiet social gatherings in our own homes--allowing for greater clarity and reflection on the year in closing.  Not to mention that NYE is filled with the expectation that people will sell their first born in order to enjoy a prie-fixed, three-course meal out.  That's actually nice, but nonsense at the same time!  NYE is the last day of a long year, filled with emotion and should really be a chance to reflect on the good, the bad, the challenges, and the triumphs.  


Personally, I don't usually do much for NYE.  I'm lucky if I can watch the ball drop on television from four different time zones while toasting the new year and my television with a flask of bubbly.  Last year, my mother held a dinner party and a married couple who were friends of mine joined us.  It was nice.  It was quiet.  It was something different.  Then there is this year, today, and tonight.


 This will be the first NYE I have ever spent hanging out with someone I would consider more than a friend.   It kind of reminds me of getting dressed up to go to the Senior Ball in high school, with the only difference being that my date is someone who isn't a paired acquaintance, but someone I actually "like" who may "like" me in return.  And a new story, a new relationship, and a new beginning aligns itself with the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.  I am excited--like I may find myself ontop of the world at midnight; but I am also nervous that things won't be right as they should be.  As I should have them be.  The flip side, is that my company is someone who is bright, attractive as heck, and has her act and her deck of cards in order.  (I actually found out not long ago, speaking of cards, that she plays Bridge and belongs to a Bridge players association.  How awesome is that!)  NYE is not just a "second date" in my opinion, but something resembling a story from Cinderella.  Or so that's what plays out in my head as I'm a romantic dreamer, both hopeless and hopeful.  We have tentative plans, but the thing is, no matter what we end up doing, we will fully enjoy seeing each other to the max.  That--and not how little or how much money spent--is what's most important.  I will have pictures to follow, but have made a mental point of not posting any in the coming days without getting my new friend's view and approval first.  Because in my mind--her feelings come first and that's the most important thing to me--her feelings and her heart.  That will be my first objective on NYE with both of us having a blast painting the town red second.


So what are we celebrating?  We (you reading this and I) are celebrating a year full of ups and downs amidist an unstable economic climate, politics as usual in Washington D.C., anniversaries, engagements, graduations--a potpourri of this, that, and the other thing.  For myself, 2011 has been a year of figuring out who I am, who I want to be, who I can be, and who I don't want to be.  It has been a year of accepting that I have limitations and learning to respect those limitations while embracing my strengths and attempting to capitalize on those.  Many attempts to forge a career path that might or might not include graduate school in my future have had challenges.  Beneath what I try, I am an artist, full of depth of sensitivity and emotion.  I love the art, music, and mulktimedia fields.  But because so much of what I do relies heavily on my vision, I must take extra steps in 2012 to become more of an active (not passive) player in my own life.  This means connecting with Lighthouse for the Blind to see what advocacy and support services I might be eligible for even though I can still see and still have some sight.  I have to utilize my 24-Hour Fitness gym membership that remains active more and do an hour-and-a-half split into three half-hour sessions of rigorous exercise a week.  And I have to pour far more of myself into art if I ever hope to build a portfolio in the future to use both professionally as well as for a graduate multimedia program--something I think I want but am not yet 100% sure about.


The director of youth ministry at Westminster Presbyterian Church recently challenged me in an e-mail reply in response to my anxieties and worries.  The message she sent me has a message of change in the way I see and do things.  Her message was triumphing adversity and sticking with something no matter how difficult things get.  And while I felt that she was disspassionate in her brusque reply, her message indeed came from a caring place:  Change stars from within; do something and do it well.  When the going gets rough, tough it out.  The difficulty in change lies in figuring out where one can break through and where one can accept their limitations.  I also do not feel she understands where I've been.  But the idea of triumphing adversity as a theme for 2012, is huge for me.  


What will your triumph in the face of adversity be in 2012?  


As you sit around your house tonight eating treats and sipping champagne or head out the door, here are some things to keep in mind as one year ends and a new one begins: Keep learning to open your heart bigger to others and to the world.  Keep working on your goals even when they become challenging.  Self improvement doesn't begin with others--it begins with you--at your own pace.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Always take the high road.  Embrace change, because change is the one constant that will never stabilize.  Vow to move forward in 2012 with manageable, small resolutions that are implicit of a "one for me, one for you" approach so a win-win situation is created.


Lastly, as you toast in 2012 and watch fireworks, remember to hug someone and wish them a happy new year.  That's what I plan to do with my new, magically wonderful friend.  Enjoy yourself tonight.  Do not drive if you've been drinking.  Remember 2011 as a year of greatness and further self discovery and keep an open heart and mind.  




By jesse
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Monday 26 december 1 26 /12 /Dec 01:40


For whomever may read this, I simply want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!


It is Christmas Day.  My mother has just beat me at three game rounds of checkers.  It is just the two of us--a quiet Christmas Day with a roasted brisket and fingerling potatoes in the oven, and some string beans.  I am blessed to have a family member I can spend Christmas Day with, because it may not be this way forever or in years to come.  


I think the thing I am missing the most on this day, is hearing from my extended family by phone and a few of my friends on Facebook or by phone.  Friendship means a lot to me and in not hearing from the three to five friends that matter the most to me, I question whether the friendship is still there.  I question in my heart if I have truly left the friends that I consider close to me down and just don't contribute in a meaningful way that makes them want to hear from me.  I wonder if all the stresses I have faced have watered down my value in their lives, or if I am just busy.  I ask this question because I see them interacting on a much closer level with either their significant other (ignoring their other friends) or drawing their other friends closer to me.  One friend last week said that they do not trust me, and that comment has stung me ever since it was said, and yet I have to go on pretending like I can handle whatever is verbally thrown at me.  It makes me wonder whether I am truly dysfunctional as a friend when I don't want to be.  Two of my other friends... one I haven't seen since last April and the other I haven't seen in over a year and a half who is so involved with their work, their school, and their upcoming marriage.  I feel invisible to them, like I don't matter or exist.  The hardest thing, is when I'm on Facebook and I post positive, happy comments on people's photos and wall, I sometimes don't hear back from them.  It's rude, cold, and transparent that these people aren't really friends and I somehow have to be fine with it, even when I truly am not.  


I am trying to stay positive, but I feel like... I don't have best friends or close friends.  This Christmas--these things matter more to me than anything else, and yet I feel I have to become a vastly improved version of myself before these friends will like me.  In the new year, how can I make a valuable contribution and impression in my friends' lives such that they will always have fond and positive memories of me?  


I miss my extended family too,  The ones that are in Texas.  But just with my friends, I feel powerless to change the circumstances of getting to be with my extended family that would necessitate changing the relationship dynamics within the family.  


So I ask myself this Christmas--how can I give myself the gift of more, close friends?  How can I clear the worry and the anxiety of not having my warm wishes and my presense reciprocated?  My mother gave me a small gift for Christmas--a meditation CD from an author who has been a guest at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in West Marin.  Perhaps listening to some of that music will put some new life in me.  Mary and Joseph were given a new lease on life when baby Jesus was born which is the reason we celebrate the holiday season.  Perhaps I need a new outlook on happiness and its meaning.  I hope to reconnect with some of the friends I miss that I haven't seen in God knows how long, before the new year.  We shall see...

By jesse
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Saturday 24 december 6 24 /12 /Dec 09:16


It is officially Christmas Eve.  We are hours away from the birth of baby Jesus and the celebration of new life that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph triumphantly celebrated.  With that comes change, signaling the end of autumn and the approaching end of the year and the beginning of winter solstice, the arrival of a a new chapter, a new season--anewness in each one of us as we renew ourselves in heart, mind, body, and spirit.  


Christmas is always a special and emotionally-loaded time of year for me.  A lot of change is sweeping through my life--some of it good and a lot of it being uncertain.  I've always strongly felt that Christmas wasn't only about gift giving.  Because while some people can give fancy, expensive gifts that come in large and small-wriapped packages, not everyone can.  And then you have to dig for the deeper meaning of Christmas in your life.  From a Biblical stamce, it is about the birth of baby Jesus in the tiny town of Bethlehem.  Christmas is about God's love and the sacrifices made in the Christian Christmas story.  But again, that's the Biblical side.  Another side of Christmas--the side I have always felt strongly about--so strongly that I can be moved to tears quite easily, is the side of families and friends coming together to create love... the joyous holiday lights, the warm chai, hot apple cider, eggnog, and hot chocolate... to the rich and almost decadant foods and gingerbread cooklies freshly baked.  Christmas is about everyone coming together to share and delight in this major holiday.  Some families large and small gather and for some, this is delightful, while it provokes a great sense of anxiety and fear of not being "good enough" in others.  But we must remember that love truly conquers all.  Every time.  


As 2011 comes to a close, I am blessed to be spending Christmas with my mother.  She has worked tirelessly to see to it that everyone in her clan is happy.  She never complains when the going gets rough.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to look for a new rental to begin January 2012 with, having faith that I will find a new, happier, better rental.  I am excited and happy that 2012 holds the long-awaited wedding of my best friend Cole Ryan to Krysti Hilton and can't wait to celebrate such a huge, magical milestone with them in Shasta next summer.  I am blessed to have my friend Tina in my life.  She has had my back every time and I only hope my friendship with her grows closer in the next year because she may turn out to be the most awesome female friend I have ever had.


I have also met a 34 year-old woman online through an online dating site.  Her name is Nikki.  We have corresponded online via long e-mails in the last two weeks and have texted and spoken on the phone at length.  Originally from Modesto, she has lived in Santa Rosa for the past ten years.  Her entire family lives in Guernville.  She originally contact me online, not the other way around.  I was hesitant at first to reply and let a few weeks go by.  Astrologically, she is a Sagittarius.  She works as an alternative teacher for at-risk adolescents in juvenile hall.  She has mentioned time and again that she already likes me and that I am the type of guy her father would like.  (My heart nearly melted when she said that, but I tried not to show it so as to be subtle and incognito about my feelings.).  (Her parents are married and she has a sister the same age as her and a brother who has a girlfriend, and they both run a restaurant in Guernville.)  In being myself with Nikki, she apparently thinks I'm sweet but we'll see if she feels the same way omce we've met.  We plan to meet at a coffee shop sometime next week.  She has no plans for New Year's Eve, and I told her hthat if all goes well when we meet, I would like to spend New Year's Eve with her.  Nikki said she would keep that in mind.  So my fingers are crossed.  I also discovered she is a real sports fan.  She watches the San Jose Sharks game and had to teach me about how hockey games are played, telling me never to sit up high unless you want a nose bleed.    


On a different note, I am sad that I will not be able to attend Christmas Eve services at Westminster Presbyterian Church.  They are my church family and I will miss Pastors Barb abd Bethany and being with them.  I tried getting a ride for my mother and I, but no luck.  There is always Christmas Day but my mother has to want to be in the mood to attend a 10 a.m. service so we shall see.  


So as we head into Christmas, a lot will be happening tonight in the homes of many.  Some will attend a Christmas Eve Service by Candlelight.  Others will gather with family for delicious Christmas Eve dinners and opening presents.  Other families will gather with members of their clain who have just come home from serving in the war in Iraq.  There will be many who are homeless in shelters with no family or friends, lucky to eat a meal and have a warm bunk bed on Christmas Eve night.  


I ask of all or any of you reading this to dig deep into your heart to find the true meaning of Christmas.  I know that for me, the true, unspoken meaning of Christmas occurred six years ago today while sitting in an Episcopalian service.  I was dating a young woman with spina bifida, a serious physical disability.  She had family based out of Windsor and had taken three days to spend Christmas with my family and I when my mother lived in Tucson, Arizona.  The church was crowded, the handbell choir was two feet away from me.  I had my mother and our family friend Linda sitting on one side of me while I had April (the woman I was dating) on the other side of me.  As we held candles and starting singing Silent Night, as the lights dimmed, a wave of intense emotions came over me.  I felt such an indescribable feeling of awe and happiness come over me that I had never before felt on Christmas Eve.  It was the synergy of awesome love in the room--more love than I had ever experienced in one sitting, one setting.  For me, I discovered the true joy and magic of Christmas.  It wasn't about the presents.  It was about the lights, the Christmas music, the people I loved that I spent such a magical evening with.  Christmas Eve was about an indescribable magic.  It has been what I have carried in my heart for the last six years ever since Christmas Eve 2005.  


Whatever this time of year may bring to you...    find and celebrate the love of others and humanity in your heart.


Merry Christmas Eve to all!



By jesse
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Sunday 18 december 7 18 /12 /Dec 08:07


Right now, I just want to hide under a rock and never come out.  Life is hard.  I feel so unappreciated by anyone I could call a friend.  I am experiencing tremendous low self esteem and am wishing I could just stick my mouth around the nozzle of a frozen margarita machine and drink until I fall to a coma.  I feel worthless, undervalued.  I feel like I might as well learn how to become a male prostitute and sell myself and go underground,  My disabilities get in the way no matter how hard I try to ignore them.  I can't stand seeing all the fucking happy couples on Facebook who act as if they have no problems and life is oh-so perfect.  


I have no money to do my laundry because my landlord purposely quit buying detergent she said she'd supply when I moved in and I don't have the money to go out and buy my own.  


I feel like every time I reach out to people my age in friendship, they ignore me.  They feel that my reaching out is a personal boundary violation.  


I feel like I'm God's monster on a stick, being ignored while I wait for diabetes--a disease I am battling, to win its war against me.  I feel that I am of little value to society, to anyone who could call me a friend.  In fact, I really don't know who is my friend and who isn't anymore.  It all blurs together, though I wish alcohol in a tall glass of ice would do the trick instead.  I have seen dozens of therapists over the years, and none of them have helped.  


I have no money to buy anyone presents.  I have no New Year's plans with friends because the honest truth is that no one would want to spend NYE with me--the oaf.  I keep posting for bonafide girlfriends, female friends, and sex on Craigslist but my ads get flagged.  Constantly.  I might as well blow up with the fireworks alone on NYE.  That sounds pretty cool.  Because I have nothing special about me.  I was a loner ever since elementary school.  Nothing will change and I'm out of ideas, feeling a sense of helplessness.  God's worst idea was to ever create me.  He doesn't love me.  He just wants me to go through immense loneliness.  The more I want to get close to anyone, the more pain he wants to bring to me.  


But ya know, I don't need sex or good connections with women that feel good.  I might as well lay on the streets of San Francisco and become a bum because it's all I'm worth.  I'm disabled.  I'm a fuddy duddy for the next campaign on "kill the disabled".  My disabilities prevent me from finding stable housing, a career, a social life, a romance, a job interview--everything.  If I was under Hitler's regime, I would end up dying in an oven in a camp.  Because I resemble that of a fly.


I feel helpless to reach out to others who never reach out tp me.  If I want friendship, I have to have something so wonderful to offer.  If I want sex, I'll always have to pay fpr it and end up being unhappy.  If I want a life, I'll have to stand on the streets with a sign that says, "I'm disabled so please feed me".  Because I have little value left in life.  My morbid dark writing expresses a deeply ingrained unhappiness stemming from years of not seeing success and happiness in my own life and knowing no way out.

By jesse
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