Lured By Muscle – Gay Bodybuilders Are Not What They Appear To Be

As a young gay male, there was nothing more desirable to me than to be in a relationship with a man that was really muscular. Looks didn’t matter so much, the major requirements being incredibly smooth muscle paired nicely with ripped six pack abs, the stuff of Muscle & Fitness magazine covers. Of course since you want to attract that kind of man, looking somewhat similar would definitely be to my advantage. And so my original intention in the pursuit of bodybuilding (before realizing the health benefits) was to look like what I was seeing in magazines lining store shelves… the best free porn ever invented for those counting the days before they would reach their 18th birthday. Eventually, through tons of hard work, dedication and previously failed attempts at online dating, you meet your first bodybuilder and think it’s going to be heaven on earth… and it totally sucks. Your expectations hit rock bottom and rather than associate the experience with bodybuilding, you think it must be the person, and you continue trying. Well I’m 51 now and consider myself to be in a very happy and fulfilling relationship with my best friend, and now looking back I can identify a pretty interesting pattern…. bodybuilders kinda suck.

Mike Robert - The Geek With Muscles
So much work to get to this place of being huge, but turns out it’s nice to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Before I go any further, let me just say I’m still into bodybuilding and being inside a gym continues to be a part of my life as it has been for almost 30 years now. The experience has changed somewhat though, and I have to honestly say that I do it mostly for me and as I’ve already alluded to, it hasn’t always been that way. Many people from both sexes, orientations and identities, are guilty of trying to look a certain way for the purposes of attracting a mate. This kind of behavior is not unique to humans, and can be seen all over the animal kingdom. Looking good, healthy and strong, is anthropologically a huge button pusher for those seeking to pass on their genetic material, and bodybuilders often look like they’re on their A game when it comes to this. Unfortunately what’s on the surface is literally only skin deep and more often than not, bodybuilders, especially the gay ones, are often hiding a plethora of insecurities and unhealthy habits directly proportional to the amount of mass they carry around. To say they’re high maintenance is a total understatement.

I will never forget meeting my dream fantasy man on a gay cruise once… he had to be at least 6’4″, 250+ lbs of solid hairless ripped muscle, complete with a shaved head and a mean look on his face. I met him on the dance floor and it’s a little known fact that huge muscle guys often like little muscle guys… so at 5’5″ and 185 pounds I was good to go and all I needed was a handle to become his carry-on baggage for the evening. He was French and didn’t speak a word of English, however as gay men, we understand fluent dog and words aren’t necessary. I soon discovered reproductively he totally matched his stature, and could shame your favorite ungulate. Something weird happened that night though, because what I thought was going to be an incredible time was in fact, largely mechanical and lacked any kind of passion. How could this happen? How could Mr. Right… I mean Monsieur le Droit, be so wrong? I was determined to find answers and so I set out on a five year mission to seek out even more bodybuilders and boldly go where every bottom had gone before… but with a clear mind for observational purposes.

“…the minute I heard “Can you put the peanut oil dressing on the side?” I knew there wouldn’t be a second date.”

My findings? Well I’ve discovered that many body builders rely entirely on their looks and physique, and forget the subtle nuisances that make any sexual experience or relationship wonderful and engaging. They often frame their perspective in such a way that you are incredibly fortunate to experience muscles so huge and as such, what more could you possibly ask for? Gay bodybuilders are so often focused on physical aspects of themselves, they forget about the other person and what their…. dare I say, feelings are. Eventually this becomes super annoying, especially when you meet one that looks like they fell out of a magazine and are so concerned about their dietary requirements, that watching them order a meal at a restaurant is like a nightmarish crash course in nutrition with an emphasis on carbohydrates. Been there, done that and the minute I heard “can you put the peanut oil dressing on the side…” I knew there wouldn’t be a second date. Sometimes I wonder if his jaw is still so perfectly square? Did he move to West Hollywood where that kind of thing is perfectly legal and encouraged? Sorry, I digress.

The other thing about gay bodybuilders is their health. Looks can be incredibly deceiving and social media platforms like Instagram only illustrate this point… people are getting more and more massive, yet actually living shorter lives in the process. I am proud to say I’ve never injected any kind of steroid into my body, and unfortunately that’s pretty common in a sub-culture that has also seen its share of substance abuse. In fact, a study at Baylor college indicated that among bodybuilders that started out young, the average age of death was 47 years old for the 597 men studied. If you managed to make it past 50, the numbers started to normalize. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that massive quantities of muscle require massive amounts of blood to keep it alive… and a good heart to pump it. Most bodybuilders avoid cardio exercise like the plague since it also burns lean muscle, and when combined with an alphabet of synthetic metabolic substances… look out. The awareness of this kind of health issue becomes amplified when you’re involved in social media circles focused on bodybuilding. The posts regarding the sudden and unexpected death of a fellow body builder often from a heart attack, are surprisingly frequent when so many look so healthy.

Of course if you try hard enough, you WILL eventually find that bodybuilder that is well balanced, not conceded, and looking to live a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. However, I strongly believe those kinds of persons are much fewer in numbers in the population of gay men than one might imagine. And while all these men are busy searching for an archetype that doesn’t really exist, they pass up potentially wonderful relationships and experiences with people that aren’t as muscular or maybe lack a six pack. These people look at themselves objectively, and are genuinely interested and concerned about how they treat and interact with others. In other words there’s an untapped market… go seek it out and find yourself a good man. He may not have the body of your fantasies, but his heart will be real enough. Just remember, there’s guys you f—, and there’s guys you marry.

Why Don’t Say Gay Terrifies Me

It’s hard to believe by looking at this photo of me in the 10th grade, how tormented I was on the inside.

Growing up as a gay kid in school was probably one of the scariest experiences of my life. Going far back as elementary school, I knew something was very different about me compared to other kids, and I did everything I could to avoid confronting the realty that awaited me. I wasn’t great at sports, I didn’t like girls, I wasn’t even into the same music or cartoons as other children my age were. I couldn’t relate to the rowdy boys that pretended to be soldiers at war, or the ones that talked about He Man – Masters of the Universe… I just wanted to learn about science and watch the Smurfs. I wanted to hang around girls and enjoy the bond they seemed to share with one another, to experience being shameless about being creative and good at sewing. I just wanted to be myself… and I was terrified to do so. I was so frightened to let anyone see the real side of who I was, else run the risk of being bullied and ridiculed. It was bad enough that when it came time to form teams for group sports, I was ALWAYS the last one picked, always the one person in the class to endure the longest session of public humiliation. One by one, as each person was chosen and the available pool of students became smaller and smaller, the unspoken became increasingly obvious… I was not wanted, I was not good enough. With each new sport played, the process was repeated… month after month, year after year. Through a cruel election of my peers, through the visual display of fingers not pointing in my direction… I was not wanted, I was not good enough.

Junior High eventually came around and a new horror was brought into existence, we had to change clothes in front of other boys in the locker room. Suddenly I was immersed in the reality that if my eyes should accidentally look in the wrong direction, I would be called out and even worse, pulled from the closet that had protected me for so long. I found a false sense of safety by changing with other “nerds” that weren’t good at sports and engaging them in conversation. At least we had the appearance of being normal, of just two guys getting ready for physical education class, but even that proved to futile in preventing episodes of outright personal assault. I can remember my friend Raj being picked up while still in his underwear and thrown into a trash can, clearly singled out because of his ethnicity and the color of his skin. On another occasion, still fresh in my memory, we were surrounded by a group of at least 20 while we sat with our backs against the wall next to the outdoor eating area. There was no where to run while a tall male student stood over us, thrusting his hips back and forth while repeatedly telling Raj, “go ahead, suck my dick… go ahead, I know you want to.” His vulgar actions provided a show for the other students, and instead of anyone running to our aide, we were laughed at and mocked… the crowd only dispersing after a teacher noticed the large group huddled around the wall. Indeed, physical education class provided an open arena for bullies to do their thing, largely unsupervised.

Going into the 10th grade and fastly approaching the darkest years of my life where I no longer had the desire to live, I absolutely refused to experience this kind of repetitive harassment again. In the beginning of the school year I approached my physical education coach, someone the other students nicknamed Mighty Mouse because of his short and muscular stature, and told him I wouldn’t be attending class because I was working on getting a note from my doctor to exempt me from taking the course. I explained that I would be in the library until this could be finalized, and he could find me there if need be. My coach accepted this reasoning at first, and would issue me daily passes to go to the library. My mother went to our family doctor to get the necessary documentation, however the amazing school board of Dade County, Florida, had decided to treat those not wanting to attend physical education class like an adult trying to obtain disability payments. Suddenly there was a process to be followed with all kinds of assessments of my abilities, and what I could and couldn’t do… something that a kid / family without health insurance could not afford. I kept asking for hall passes until one day Mighty Mouse asked me “So what are you going to do when you get married? Is your wife going to give you a hand job or something?” Yes, apparently at Miami Sunset Senior Highschool, it was acceptable to say those kinds of thing to students in the 10th grade and thankfully, I still had some fight left in me. I informed my home room teacher of the situation and she became livid, telling me she would get to the bottom of it. The next time I would see Mighty Mouse he verbally questioned my masculinity by asking “Are you a sissy Robért?” So yeah, being bullied by teachers is also a thing kids experience in school.

There was no where to run while a tall male student stood over us, thrusting his hips back and forth while repeatedly telling Raj, “go ahead, suck my dick… go ahead, I know you want to.

When I reached 11th grade I was tired of fighting. I was tired of fighting the truth of what I was, I was tired of fighting with others telling me how wrong I was. I was tired of going to my friend’s grandmother for some kind of consolation, only to be told “You have a demon inside of you Michael.” I was tired of my Uncle Gene seeing how depressed I was and one day telling me that he’d always love me, no matter what… “as long as you’re not a god damned homosexual.” I was tired of my cousins being so incredibly kind to me, letting my guard down as result, and then randomly blurting out some bullshit like “I just pray for you so much Michael, because I don’t want you to go to hell.” Because nothing says I love you like telling someone they’re going to hell with a smile on their face. I was tired of seeing my entire church youthgroup, a church that I CHOSE to be baptised in at the age of 14 in front of an entire congregation, turn their back on me when a bitter girl I wouldn’t kiss decided to tell everyone I was gay. I was tired of my own brother handing me a loaded gun and telling me to go kill myself in front of him, while his closeted Baptist Minister twin lectured me on morals…raiding my porn collection for his own use when I wasn’t home. I was tired of my sister calling me a faggot because she knew how much I hated it, and my only retalitory response was to call her a fat cow. Upon which she would cry and go running to my mom… and yeah, you guessed it, I’d be the one to get into trouble. I was so tired… I was tired of hate and just wanted nothing more than to die. I couldn’t experience another day of the constant fear and blatant two faced love by relatives in the name of religion.

Writing this was harder than I expected… I realize now there is so much anger left inside me. There is much pain associated with those memories and looking back, I have no clue in the Universe how I made it through. I used to think kids had it easier these days in school… after all, there are shows where being a gay teen is wonderful and accepted. However now there is a new evil out there, an evil that seeks to take back the years of work and progress that we as a community, have made in the fight for equality. There are those in the highest levels of Government that want children to know they’re not normal, and are validating the hate that some of their fellow students feel. A door has been opened that can not easily be shut, a door that once held back the darkness and told people it wasn’t okay to hate others and commit acts of violence against them. Somewhere out there, in the State of Florida, there’s a little skinny Michael experiencing the exact fears, emotions and inner conflicts that I did, and on top of that, now has to deal with someone like Govenor Ron DeSantis making it against the law to address those issues through education. Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law is sending a deadly message to gay youth, and it needs to be repealed.

My high school counselors saved my life… period. A female counselor whom I’ve tried to remember her name for years, and a social worker named Mike Miller did the work with me to get me functioning again. Together they showed me how to respect and love myself, to be proud of who I am. Had this happened today, chances are I wouldn’t have even made it to the counselors office that day my aunt forced me to go. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the hate coming at me from all sides, including the government itself. I would have taken my life, exactly as I intended to do when I realized I was gay.

It’s not really surprising to see the recent actions of our government, De Santis didn’t want to protect our children during COVID, so why would gay youth be any different? Watching so many high school students marching in yesterday’s pride parade made a huge impact on me… however the darkness of the reality that awaits so many still rings true. I wonder who the next parent will be to suddenly discover that their child, the bright light that carried them through the darkest of times, the person they brought into this world, the person they watched grow into a remarkable human being, the one they loved more than life itself… was gay,

… through their suicide note.

To anyone reading this going through something similar, trust me, it gets better. Don’t let fuckers like DeSantis win. There’s so much life to live, and as hard as it may seem, I got through it and so can you. We need you alive to help continue to the fight… until we don’t have to.

My Life Since The Hot Seat

photo credit – thejoywithin.org

In one month, almost to the day, it will be four years since I traveled to Orlando Florida with my amazing friend Kim, to partake in something we had only learned about the year prior. It had been an interesting journey for the two of us, rapidly growing and learning about “Law Of Attraction”, or how some have come to know it, “The Secret.” We had high hopes and even higher expectations. I was certain I was going to get picked to be in the infamous “Hot Seat” and get my opportunity to speak with Abraham, my only concern being the actual question… because I had none really. Finally the time came when I would notice a strange energy about the room, and an awareness in Abraham’s words… did they have some special meaning encoded within them? So with my question in mind, I raised my hand and was chosen to speak with “infinite intelligence.” This was an amazing experience, one that I will never forget, but did it change my life in anyway?

I have been blessed to have heard some amazing spiritual leaders speak in person, Eckhart Tolle, The Dalai Lama, a number of pastors that seemed totally tapped into some loving force… but seldom do you get to chat with one in person, while a thousand or so people watched. I had fully expected my interaction with Abraham to be life changing, but in what way? Would I suddenly manifest great wealth and a beautiful home? Would I win the lottery? Would I suddenly become enlightened in a way only few have known? Well to answer simply, yes…. and also no. I think my biggest surprise with deep diving into LOA (Law Of Attraction), was that while I was truly manifesting amazing things into my life, they happened in ways that were completely unexpected, and sometimes downright magical. At times it almost felt as though things were manifesting too quickly, and I wanted it to slow down. While at other moments I felt completely stuck, like I must be missing something, like I was almost there.

I got my huge lightbulb moment about LOA about a year after seeing Abraham in person. I had actually stopped listening to them at one point completely, ignoring my great desire to hear the many YouTube videos of their sessions that are available free of charge. It wasn’t that I was turned off or angered by them, on the contrary it was because I truly believed I was learning from them. And perhaps if I was vibrating as “student” and not in the sense of applying this knowledge, maybe that meant I wasn’t vibrating as “ready.” So I said to myself “This isn’t rocket science.” and I went on my merry way of applying what I had learned, instead of just listening to more and more examples of what to do. I actually felt this really moved me into the right direction, until the moment when I kind of felt like I needed more instruction, because obviously I wasn’t doing something just right enough. So I started listening again and that’s when it happened.

I was taking a break from the office on a beautiful sunny day, and found myself walking on a tree lined pathway not far away. The sky was so blue, the air was clean and the heat wasn’t oppressive as is often the case in Miami. I was listening to a track on YouTube and Abraham was talking about using day dreaming as a tool for getting yourself where you needed to be vibrationally. Since I was born a day dreamer, this was an easy task, but there’s something that most people do, including myself, that ruins what they called “A perfectly good day dream.” In addition to not feeling sad during your day dream because you don’t have what you want (because that just emphasizes and vibrates lack), many people also try to figure out how they’re going to accomplish what it is they’re actually dreaming about. And there lies the problem… or as Abraham put it “Why ruin a perfectly good day dream by trying to figure out how you’re going to get there… that just adds clutter and resistance.” And the light bulb suddenly went off. While Law Of Attraction is so much more than just day dreaming about what you desire, perhaps this was the one tool that would help me move to where I needed to be vibrationally. I felt so close as it was… maybe this would bring me past the finish line.

At first, I didn’t notice anything huge manifesting in my life, although there were some small things here and there that seemed to be working for me… after all, I already considered myself to be a very blessed individual. However, it did seem like my perspective had in fact changed somewhat… I just felt really good most of the time, and although I was far from being where I wanted, I was feeling pretty enthusiastic. I seemed to always have this sense that “Everything is always working out for me.” When my partner and I vacationed before the Spring, things really started to change… in the most peculiar of ways. The cruise we had planned was upgraded to a beautiful suite, something we had never experienced, and then because of a leaky pipe the first day, we were offered a %10 percent voucher for a future cruise, which turned into %15 percent when we received it. The entire trip was incredibly memorable, and as the months went by, more and more events began to occur with incredible solutions that followed. My car was on its last leg about to die, but the dealer gave me almost $7,000 for it when I thought it would barely fetch $2,000… engine light on, no A/C, etc. Indeed it seemed like everything was truly going my way… and it didn’t stop there. Unexpected sources of abundance seemed to just flow to me, despite fearing bankruptcy only months earlier.

“Why ruin a perfectly good day dream by trying to figure out how you’re going to get there… that just adds clutter and resistance.”

Abraham Hicks

So here we are, four years after the Hot Seat and five since I started being aware of Law Of Attraction, and my life has totally and completely changed. I’m in a place now in my life where I’m not only incredibly happy, but the sky is truly the limit. I started to love my job again and won three awards, I feel like I’m in the relationship I was always meant to be in, and I’m incredibly excited of what and how the Universe will surprise me with next, because I’m not afraid of the unknown. While at the gym late last year, I received an incredibly strong “impulse” to start my own social media platform about spirituality (think Facebook only with nice people), and that project manifested itself almost “automagically” as we say in the IT world. Digitalsoulspace.org is a reality, and I believe we’re already starting to make a difference in people’s lives, if only because we are here and waiting for them when they need us. This is a very exciting time to be me and I’m loving it, so yeah…. The Hot Seat… it’s a good thing. I’m excited about the future, I no longer fear it, and that in itself is worth the price of admission. 🙂

Click HERE to listen to Mike’s experience with Abraham Hicks

Mike Robert is the science loving owner and creator of the The Geek With Muscles Blog and Podcast, Digital Soulspace, an independent online spiritual community, aquarist, a life long volunteer, social / community activist, body building enthusiast, naturalist, animal lover, conservationist, videographer, former actor and beekeeper, and an IT Professional of over 35 years. When he’s not doing any of the previously mentioned activities, he’s at Michael’s shopping for new ideas and hobbies for which he has absolutely zero time for.

All Bets Are Off For 2022

Last year at this time we were all glad to see 2020 go away. We were moving forward with new hope, new leadership, and new perspectives of how life would be post pandemic. We never imagined that we’d be experiencing a brand new variant of COVID that was breaking infection records, or that our country came so close to experiencing what we thought could only occur in third world nations. There were fantasies and hopes of amazing summer vacations, as many of us, including myself, struggled to recover from a virus that so many denied even existed. Now 2021 is about leave us with a collective bitter taste in our mouths, and many of us are wondering if 2022 will be any better. Perhaps it’s time to stop wishing for things to get better, and focus on what IS working right now in this exact time and moment in our lives.

So let’s try and think about something that is working right… well science for one. It brought us amazing breakthroughs, including not one, but several vaccines to combat a virus that has killed millions worldwide. The same science that saves countless lives through medical advances in cardiac care, cancer research, and organ transplants to name a few. It’s been an amazing year for science, but as physics teaches us, every action has an opposite and equal reaction. So while science advanced, people became dummer. They arbitrarily accepted science that would save lives from every other disease on Earth, except COVID. Because somehow, COVID science is actually bad for you, and it’s better to join the millions that have died from this disease, than to get a shot to prevent it.

Space exploration. Okay, more science, but we sent Captain Kirk to space ya’ all!!! We heard the words of an artist, poet and songwriter describe the Earth from a distance!!! This was mind blowing and a huge step in the right direction for the entire human race. Okay so people got dummer on this one too… at least humans are consistent. While sharing memes about billionaires blasting into space on penis shaped rockets instead of spending money on other issues here on Earth, people forgot one thing… technology advanced thanks to these “dicks”, and they didn’t have to pay for it. NASA is tax payer funded ya’ all, and everything we have learned about space which has resulted in greater technology here on Earth, came from your pockets. So put your memes away for a second, and realize the technology these people are developing, which is at little or no cost to you, will enrich the lives of everyone on this planet eventually. How about we use some of that misplaced criticism and energy on the Kardashians or The Bachelorette instead?

“So while science advanced, people became dummer.”

Speaking of space, perhaps the last thing I can think of that’s working and good in 2021, is that “Lost In Space” came back on NetFlix, albeit for its final season. This show is the best sci-fi program since the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, because it touches us at the core of what we used to cherish the most, our families. You remember those? Families? You know the humans you loved so much before you realized they were part of a cult that worshipped a man that is the living incarnate of evil and sin? Yeah those people. Lost In Space brought us back to good old fashioned unconditional love, great parenting, and families that stayed together while fighting evil robots trying to destroy all intelligent life. Fuck yeah! We so miss those times, and perhaps we need the future… like the very distant kind, to set us back on the course to our own humanity.

This New Year’s eve, we’ll all say good bye to 2021, but I’m not going to hope for a better 2022… that didn’t work at all last year. This time around I’m going to devote my attention to what IS working, what didn’t let me down, and what brings me joy. My faith and spirituality, my partner Eric, and our dogs, and yes… men and women flying in giant penis shaped rockets.

Gay And Single During The Holidays

The holidays can sometimes contain nasty triggers for feelings of loneliness and despair… reminders of feelings experienced when dealing with sexual identity.

Growing up as a kid the holidays were known to be a time for family to come together and celebrate the season, and of course each other. It was “supposed” to be a special time of the year, filled with hope and happiness, where ideally, being “together” was valued highest among all other things. Of course life happens, parents get divorced or separated, relatives and good friends leave this Earth, and the dream is sometimes crushed… often with a lot of pain associated with it. Then one year, sometimes after a lengthy pause, the season becomes special again and we celebrate with great joy. Somewhere during my upbringing, the knowledge of my sexuality threw a new variable into the equation and instead of feeling like I was a part of something, I began to feel alone… even though I was surrounded by people. Not having someone to connect with… someone to share with, while the awareness of couples and family was everywhere, was a bitter pill to swallow. Since most LGBTQ+ people experience some degree of intense isolation and fear during their lifetimes while becoming aware of their sexuality, the holidays can be a nasty reminder of darker times, especially when there’s no one special to call your own.

Thanksgiving is just days away, and although I’m in a happy longterm relationship of almost eight years with my partner Eric, the memories of being gay and single during the holidays are still fresh in my mind. I thought it would be helpful to write about this from my current perspective, not only to let others know they aren’t alone, but to validate that life is constantly evolving. Your relationship situation will most likely change eventually, but even if it doesn’t, we can focus on ways to make the holidays special for person number one… yourself. I’m almost certain that my painful desire to feel unconditionally loved and to “belong” while I was discovering who I was, makes this part of the year extra difficult at times.

“Since most LGBTQ+ people experience some degree of intense isolation and fear during their lifetimes while becoming aware of their sexuality, the holidays can be a nasty reminder of darker times, especially when there’s no one special to call your own.”

I can still remember the first New Years I spent alone after ending a relationship of almost ten years. The year before I was standing on a dance floor alone at Midnight, while my partner tried unsuccessfully to acquire champagne from a bartender. The lines for drinks were super long, and I came to the realization that while his intentions were admirable, he didn’t understand how much his presence by my side meant to me, and that the champagne could have waited until after the stroke of 12. I knew our time together was wrapping up, and the following year I found myself on the couch with my dogs, bringing in 2013 alone.

You might be visualizing this scene as tragic and dark in your head, with light of the television being the only source of illumination in the room, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Every light in the place was on, I had a bottle of champagne with a cheese plate to snack on, and I was treating myself like the king… or queen, I knew I was. I made the conscious choice to celebrate the occasion as an opportunity for new hope, opportunities and abundance, and not to wallow in self defeat. I was loving myself %100 and it felt amazing, and most importantly, empowering.

Now I would be lying if I said I never experienced a dark and lonely holiday, alone in my living room with an empty wine bottle next to me… with the only light in the room coming from the television, because I have. So I get it, I know what despair feels like… all too well. But we can also choose not to let it overpower us and bring us to our knees… because I have made that choice myself and I speak from experience. Even when things seem utterly hopeless, we can choose actions that don’t reflect what we are feeling inside, as a way to keep us afloat. This applies to any holiday you may be dreading… make the choice to do something contrary to your emotions, no matter how hard it may seem.

While I’m hoping the person reading this never has to go at the holidays alone, if you are, know that others have walked this path before… more than once. As dark as things may be, as painful as they may feel, times will eventually get better and you’ll experience joy again. Nothing in life is permanent, the Universe sees to it that everything is constantly in motion. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, just because you can’t see the light at the end of the dark tunnel, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. If at all possible, summon up the strength to throw yourself a gala of one, or at the very least, draw courage from happiness you will most certainly enjoy in the not so distant future.

Knock Knock

Anybody there? Just really wanted to write this morning, so excuse any grammatical errors, I’m not looking to spend hours on this post like I normally do. I was just sitting here in my home office / guest room after walking the dogs, and wanted to say hello to the world. Yeah I could have gone to Facebook and posted something, but there’s a different kind of feeling here… this part of cyberspace belongs to me, it’s my blog.

I first had the idea for this blog many years ago… I purchased the domain name and it sat forever, just being an idea. I even configured the site once and it was ready to go, only to procrastinate once again, when I lost the piece of scrap paper that contained usernames and password of all things related to the site. I guess it was the Universe’s way of telling me it wasn’t time yet. I once read that when a writer wants to write, it will consume them until they do. I have to say that writing when I absolutely want to is pure joy, and I love just sitting at the computer and watching my thoughts evolve with each sentence. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed watching Send And The City so much, because the lead character was a writer and the thought of sitting in my own Brownstone in NYC or even better, a Victorian style home in San Francisco overlooking the Castro, seemed like it would be such an amazing life. I still do at times, although I here San Francisco is nothing like it was when I was introduced to it almost 20 years ago.

Well that’s it for now, I just wanted to post something and not make it formal, just me… and my Sunday morning thoughts. 🙂

Advocating For Your Health and How Star Trek Ruined Medicine For Me

Last week I was placed in an unexpected situation that put me in a horrible mood for days. I’m still feeling the emotional hangover associated with all the different feelings I was experiencing… confusion, sadness, anger and even bewilderment. What caused such an emotional roller coaster? It wasn’t what you might have expected from such a broad range of human experience… it was a visit to my primary care physician. I guess it wouldn’t have sucked as much if I thought she wasn’t a good doctor, or if she was a bitch… on the contrary, she has amazing energy, is beautiful, and brilliant. She isn’t anything like the doctor I stopped seeing almost a decade ago, whom I never saw again after she loudly screamed “I don’t give a fuck what you think…” (someone even noted the screaming session in YELP). No this doctor is super kind, professional, and made me feel well looked after when I had COVID last year, when I met her during a tele-health appointment. So what made me feel the way I did? Like I didn’t feel seen? Like a statistic? Like a text book exam? Like huge assumptions were being made based on the way I look?

I’ve fought a battle with depression almost all my life. I can remember being depressed as a young child, and certainly very depressed when confronting my own sexuality in my late teens. As an adult, I had learned many coping mechanisms to deal with depression, and one of them was medication during a period of my life when I certainly needed it. I thought I was about to experience another one of those situations in 2013, when depression had gained a foothold in my life and I was being prescribed different meds… and being yelled at, by a doctor that was clearly wrestling with her own demons at the time. That was when a friend of mine suggested I get my testosterone levels checked, and sure enough, they were really low for someone my age. I found a urologist and was put on a Hormone Replacement Therapy regimen, or HRT, and it changed my life in a matter of days. Suddenly it felt like a fog was lifted, and I was seeing colors I’ve never seen before…. life was amazing. I was incredibly surprised since being pretty muscular, I thought my testosterone was just fine. I didn’t realize you could be jacked, and have messed up hormones at the same time.

Almost ten years has gone by since that day, and I continue utilizing HRT as a part of my daily life. I get blood work done every six months to make sure I’m addressing any of the inherent risk factors associated with HRT, and so far so good. Which is why it came as a complete shock to me that my primary care doctor suggested I stop HRT, abandon all the associated benefits with it (people with low testosterone can experience a variety of health issues), and go on anti-depressants. Seriously? I mean what the fuck? I was shocked because she even suggested in running my testosterone blood work again last the time I saw her, when I said I was often experiencing fatigue… also a sign of low testosterone. After my blood work results came back with a number of 125 (with not taking my medication for two days), which is well below the testosterone scale starting point of 300 for men according to the American Urological Association, I thought she would consider consider possibly changing the transport method of the medication. Nope. Instead she explained that I was getting older, and I needed to consider the possible side effects of such a medicine. Oh wow… yeah she said it… “you’re getting older.” Even more oh wow because she just prescribed me Crestor, which has death among an entire list of potentially serious side-effects… like a shit load of them. Holy shit I felt like I was being put out to pasture… I’m 50 now and there’s no reason I need testosterone… here’s some big pharma drug with its own issues… I might as well be put on happy pills with additional side effects, because it doesn’t matter that what you’re doing now is actually working for you. Yeah, it’s actually fucking working for me. I wasn’t even sure why she ordered the labs in the first place if she wasn’t going to do anything about it.

“I’m just tired of feeling like I need to stuck up for myself every time I see a doctor… it shouldn’t feel like a war, it should like they’re on your side. You should be a part of the team that’s evaluating you, not feel like someone being looked at through aquarium glass and being told what’s best for you.”

I was just blown away and in the worst mood for days. I felt old, I felt endocrinology insulted, I felt like as a man, someone was trying to take away my penis… seriously it fucked me up. Then my partner Eric brought something up to me that made a lot of sense, he wondered if she thought I was abusing the drug because I am a pretty muscular guy… and that made complete sense. Okay so news flash PCP, I’m the size of a fucking hobbit… I’m like Mike of the Miami Shire… in other words, I’m short as hell. It’s soooooooo easy to build muscle when you’re short, and I’ve been accused of taking roids for decades now. My first urologist ever even plead with me to come clean about steroid use because he said the insurance company wont pay for the test if my blood work comes back high. When I told him I didn’t take steroids, he told me again and again, so you see, that’s how I’ve always looked. Of course I’m gay too, so that doesn’t help… because many gay men take roids in order to look just like their super hero crushes when they were young. The entire thing just pissed me off and I realized part of the reason I was so pissed, is that I’m tired of having to advocate for my health so fucking often. Where are the doctors that actually have your back?

I have the worst luck with medical providers… there’s fellow hobbit angry lady (at least I didn’t have to look up at her), homophobic Christian Coalition former military doctor that said I have an STD, puts me on Herpes meds and then tells me “…sorry they’re just common fever blisters in your mouth…” after test results return, a pill pushing psychiatrist that was angered I wasn’t filling my Xanax scripts, a dental assistant that grabbed my arm and squeezed it painfully while scolding me and saying “Don’t scream, you raise your hand, there are other patients here!” (she actually ended up fracturing the tooth and it had to be pulled, she thought it was a crown and didn’t check the xrays), homophobic doctor at Baptist Hospital ER that didn’t want to treat an accidental HIV exposure (a lab tech even whispered instructions to me and emphasized the need for treatment), and then my last doctor…. who was so fucking amazing she got promoted and now I can’t see her anymore (she looked fabulous with her hair blown out… like Dr. Torres in Grey’s Anatomy). I’m just tired of feeling like I need to stick up for myself every time I see a doctor… it shouldn’t feel like a war, it should feel like they’re on your side. You should be a part of the team that’s evaluating you, not feel like someone being looked at through aquarium glass and being told what’s best for you.

Mike Robert - The Geek With Muscles

So now I have a dilemma… should I keep my current doctor and explain my feelings and somehow invest in a medical relationship built on trust? Or do I look for someone else, like a male doctor that knows how to treat a prostate infection (angry hobbit did not). Do male patients need male doctors? In such a time of gender fluidity, is that even a real concern anymore? The problem being is that as a gay man, I’m not comfortable with many male doctors, having the experience I did with church going navy doc in my early 20’s. I just want someone like…. Dr. Beverly Crusher!!!! OMG Where the fuck is the present day equivalent of Beverly Crusher?!?! Seriously do I have to wait 400 more years? It’s getting harder and harder to find virgin males as it is. I just don’t have a clue of what to do next… I’m very open to advice in the comments please.

One to transport Jordi, I need a full medical diagnostic please.

The Awareness of 50

I was walking my dog the other morning, and by chance, ran into my friend Alex while he was also walking his dog. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Alex, and his little Yorkie was doing what little dogs do… barking at my two dogs with a combined weight of 140lbs. Alex’s Yorkie is the second dog he’s had in the 16 plus years since I first met him, right after our neighboring condominiums had just completed construction. We seldom get to spend the time we’d like with each other, and as countless times before, made a commitment to visit with one another soon. Although this promise seemed somewhat different this time… it had much more energy and sincerity behind it. Before we parted our ways and pulled our very curious dogs away from each other, I told Alex that if COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we need to stay in touch. Heading back home I realized that while there was much truth in my statement, the larger awareness came with my 50th birthday seven months ago, and wondering where the time had gone. Suddenly career opportunities have turned into retirement seminars and workshops, and the friends that used to date like they were renting cars, are now grandparents. The awareness of my age is everywhere, and I’m trying to make some sense of it.

Geek With Muscles
Everyone needs at least one crazy look pic… or three.

I think one of the first things that’s really starting to kick in at 50, is how cool my life has been. While I had my own version of a mid-life crisis, it didn’t seem to last all that long. Yeah, it was very real and significant to me, and I felt like I was seriously running out of time, but it also seemed to end as fast as it started. Just yesterday I was thinking of starting my acting career up again, and how I would feel totally comfortable being 80, and accepting an academy award… it was like suddenly it was time for Life 2.0. This concept of “re-booting” my reality isn’t new to me, I’ve felt it before and not that long ago, however this time it feels completely different. There’s much more momentum in these daydreams than ever before, and how cool is it that I can even make a statement like that? How totally cool is it that I’ve been on movie sets, I know what it’s like to audition for film and television, I know what it’s like to have an agent…. fuck that’s totally cool!! And while acting has been a really wonderful and educational experience for me, it’s just one of many that I feel incredibly blessed to have lived. Why stop now? I’m gonna age regardless of what happens, so I might as well be doing something fun while the time goes by.

“…the only thing I’m absolutely certain about, is that I don’t have all the answers.”

Mike Robert – A totally cool dude.

I’ve noticed recently that turning 50 has made me appreciate art in ways that I haven’t ever before. All kinds of art, from poetry to painting, to sculpture to videography… I’m so much more aware of the effort and process involved in creating, even though I’ve personally tried them all. It just seems like there’s this heightened sense of the pureness in one’s art, and I’m totally digging it. It’s like discovering that fries dipped in a Wendy’s Frosty are pretty damn amazing, and all your friends are like “you just figured this out?” This past June I volunteered to videotape a poetry reading, and I was pretty amazed during the editing process, how much I enjoyed the material itself… the poems, the soul of the work, and the perspective of the author. Today, just hours ago, I had another poetry experience while listening to NPR in the car. I was totally into it and felt the once familiar sensation of visiting San Francisco, and being immersed in a city that seemed to appreciate all aspects of creating. Listening to the show was inspirational, and the reason I decided to finish this blog post I started earlier in the week. Because you know, like the poet I was listening to, I’m also a writer and couldn’t resist to feel like one once again. How cool is that? I’m a writer!

The biggest change in my awareness has to be what I already alluded to in the beginning of this post…. the importance of friends and family, and acknowledging the contributions they have made to my life. I have always been a people person, but it’s so completely different now. I find myself thinking about how blessed I am to have had a singular conversation with a person at one point in time, and how much that interaction meant to me. It doesn’t matter if they were a close friend, a mere acquaintance or someone I barely knew, I just find it so important to tell them that I appreciate the awareness of them in my life. Of course for people that I have regular communication with, I have had to hold back for fear of smothering them… at times I just want to shout out loud “Thank you for being in my life!!!” And that would be completely awkward to say the least. Still, the desire to acknowledge others continues to grow within me, and I am finding creative ways to let people know they are amazing, or that I love them, in one way or another. However, this newfound appreciation for elevated communication also seems to include speaking my truth, so I’m not opposed to telling others “fuck off, you’re an asshole” when it’s absolutely deserved.

Spirituality plays a huge part of my 50 awareness, as I’ve become increasingly comfortable about letting other’s know that I am an intuitive. Yeah, I’m basically a psychic and I’m not ashamed to discuss or talk about it any longer… and I’m pretty darn good at it too. Through my adult life I’ve been blessed to have attended talks hosted by spiritual leaders, and mostly by chance. Very little planning if any went into these chance occurrences, many of them were as simple as answering an invite, as if to see a movie. I’ve been blessed to have seen the Dalai Llama, Eckart Tolle and even shared the stage with Abraham Hicks. In fact my entire life seems like it’s been one spiritual journey after another… I explored being a Mormon as a pre-teen, and then chose to Baptized as a Southern Baptist when I was 14. I started reading Angel Cards over 20 years ago, and now consider myself a mixture of almost every religion, but identify mostly as Neo Pagan. So going to Church for me is a visit to the Florida Everglades, and I’m incredibly aware and sensitive to lunar and solar cycles. I have never felt more connected to the Universe than I do today, and at times my world is a never ending conversation with energies through signs and interactions with fellow intuitive peoples. Each and every day is a new experience and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride. People often come to me with lots of questions, but the only thing I’m absolutely certain about, is that I don’t have all the answers.

I guess turning 50 was a pretty fabulous thing, I’m suddenly thinking about what to do with the next phase of my life, and that’s pretty exciting. I can’t believe that I’ve managed to amass so many different and unique experiences up until now, and I’m confident that I will enjoy what’s to come with even greater enthusiasm. I’m living more in “the now” than ever before, so I’m finding delight in little things like the way the sun hits the branches of Oak Trees as I’m walking the dogs in the morning. The smile of a stranger walking by brings joy to my day, and I’m looking for increasingly more things to appreciate on a daily basis. I’m also still working on the aspects of myself I’m not too proud of, so the good news is, arrogance hasn’t found its way into my heart… I hope it never does. My life long struggle against depression is still very real, and I hope these words give me strength when I need them, knowing someday I most certainly will. In the mean time I’m just trying to live my best life, help others when possible, and looking forward to the days and the weeks ahead. As my former boss and now dear friend once said to me, “Happiness is a choice…” and that has never resonated more with me than it does today. I know it sounds cliché, and I may have referenced it before, but it’s the honest truth and yet another aspect of growth that I’m enjoying immensely.

Old School Gay Men: An Endangered Species

It’s been almost twenty years since my first visit to San Francisco, a city that has always felt like a second home to me. I was in my early 30’s and eager to start exploring and traveling, something I had seldom done. I had just moved out on my own, got a promotion and started a new relationship… everything was fresh and the air was filled with possibility. Not only was San Francisco an amazing city because of the wonderful energy and history of the place, I discovered very quickly a welcoming community which today, is slowly and literally dying out… old school gay men.

So what are old school gay men? It’s basically a tight knit community who’s members witnessed and experienced the trials of the gay community, back when being gay was considered some kind of mental disorder by many. It’s the men that marched in parades and risked being beaten by police waiting at the end of the route, clubs already in hand. They are the men that attended attended funerals almost on a daily basis, during the height of the AIDS epidemic. They have seen so much progress and are deservedly very proud of it… because they made it happen.

I took this photo 18 years ago on a gay cruise in Mexico. These amazing men shared their story of love for one another, being in an interracial relationship and how hard gay life was when they first met over 35 years prior. I often think of them and the work they did for our community.

Old school gay men are quick to engage in conversation, a skill they learned when just finding other men that were gay was in of itself a challenge. Decades ago they didn’t have the luxury of being picky, and as such, learned what people were like on the inside… sitting down, listening, and learning your story was something they did on a regular basis. There weren’t any mobile phones with apps to swipe left, or ways to alter your image with digitized abdominals, Humanity was the most attractive attribute a person could have… just being you. They understood that sticking together, and being kind to one another, is very important if you’re going to effect positive change on a global scale.

I’ll never forget walking into a barber shop in San Francisco, and being warmly welcomed by everyone there, absent of the awkwardness I typically experienced when entering an unfamiliar place. I was instantly a family member just because I was gay and it was San Francisco. Waiting was a relaxing and safe experience, feeling like I was surrounded and respected by others just like me. My actual haircut also took significantly longer than it ever did in Miami, because my barber was totally engaged in conversation, telling me all about his current life circumstances. Turns out that’s what you do when you live in a true community, that’s what you do when you care… you share and you listen.

It’s 2021 now and the gay community is changing faster than ever, fueled by a more accepting and open-minded public. Gay marriage is legal, Glee was a thing, and we are even in everyday tv commercials… yet while the country is starting to open its arms, we are turning our backs on each other. There’s a new generation of “it’s okay to be gay” young adults, and they really never knew a world where their friends were disappearing on a weekly or even daily basis. While I’m thankful that our community is now living with HIV instead of dying from it, it’s hurtful to see how the legacy of community is fading away. Division among ourselves is now quickly becoming the norm, since we no longer have a common threat or even an enemy to keep us aligned.

When I look back at all the experiences I had almost two decades ago, I feel grateful that I was able to at least sample the leftovers of what used to be a cohesive family with incredibly strong bonds. Thankfully, you can still find bits and pieces of it here and there… gay chorus events are a wonderful venue for that vestigial sense of community, and there are some battles yet to be won. Still, the numbers are dwindling and what I experienced not so long ago will one day just be a memory. As sexual preference becomes less of an issue for Americans, so will our desire to spend time with those of our kind, and share the memories of how we got there.

Dealing With Post COVID Depression

It’s been six months since my experience with COVID began, but it has definitely not ended. Yes I’m back in the gym, I’m gaining more lean muscle, and my hair has grown back, yet every day seems to be another struggle to get my life back to normal. I share in the desperation of most on the planet, wanting so very bad to go back to the days of large group gatherings, movie theatres and crowded restaurants, but I also share the experience of having COVID myself… and watching so many still trying to invalidate the very cause of my experience. It’s extremely difficult seeing such a large portion of the population vocally attempt to dismiss your suffering or that of others. The simple experience of seeing an unmasked person in a small ice-cream stores says to me “I don’t care what you went through or how close you came to dying, I’m not going to do anything I don’t want to do.” Every day there are countless examples of people that couldn’t care less about my survival, or that they want to help see this end. Every day there are real word interactions with human beings that are self-centered and just plain ugly on the inside.

I read earlier this week that a British study found that survivors of COVID were more at risk for developing all kinds of brain related health issues such as strokes, dementia, anxiety and depression. This actually made me feel good, since scientifically, someone is attempting to explain and validate what I’m going through. Someone is trying to say “We hear and feel you, it’s important enough for us to take a closer look… you matter.” That’s a significant statement since over 70 million individuals made their stance clear during the last election and subsequent events… “We don’t care about what you went through, our personal freedoms are more important than the lives of hundreds of thousands that have died.” And of course it doesn’t help when members of that camp say things like “I’ve had COVID, it isn’t as bad as they say it is…” instead of professing how lucky they were to survive with minimal impacts to their health. Hearing those kinds of words from people you care about is even worse… it’s crushing.

Like I mentioned earlier I’m back at the gym and I’m exercising, trying to focus on something healthy and positive. I quit going to LA Fitness since they were a constant reminder and a prime example of a business that couldn’t care less if you died. The management there being incredibly passive with patrons that decided not to wear a mask, possibly infecting others in a very warm, moist and poorly ventilated facility. Now I at least feel somewhat looked after when an employee at YouFit tells people they need to wear a mask, and are sometimes met with shouting and bursts of anger. Still, these daily displays and self proclamations of “go fuck yourself” hurt deeply. Sometimes I find it difficult to function… after all, if people have stopped caring about human lives, why even bother?

When I was a kid, radio stations across our entire country simultaneously played the song We Are The World in an attempt to raise awareness about a food crisis in Africa. Millions of people sang together, millions of voices collectively saying “We care and we want to help.” Being exposed to that kind of outpouring of support during my formative years made a huge impact, and seems completely contradictory to what we’ve seen here with over a half million people dead in our country alone. People are actively trying to hurt others, in a effort to display their right to do so. And this kind of “Just wait and see how bad I can fuck you over…” has spilled into open displays of racism, xenophobia and homophobia. Where did all the kindness go that I experienced as a kid growing up? Was I just not seeing what was really out there? It also seems like even the movies of the time were about discovering who you were as a person, or self empowerment… not about constant death and destruction.

“Everyone that has refused to wear a mask, voted for a man that did nothing but deny this disease… and propagated his rhetoric, shares a exponential karmic debt for what they stole from me. I curse them in all directions of time and space, and wish nothing but the total despair and grief they have helped spread. They don’t deserve anything less.”

I lost my mom not even a year ago and she was my biggest fan… an actor’s way of saying my best friend. The TV I purchased for her on mother’s day of 2019 now sits in our home, I still remember the movie we watched together in admiration of the incredible picture. We sat and ate greasy burgers, a love we both shared and enjoyed. It would be the last mother’s day we spent together, COVID robbed me of the experience of doing it again in 2020. Eric suggested we make large signs and do a drive by, but she wasn’t strong enough to come to the window and see them. Everyone that has refused to wear a mask, voted for a man that did nothing but deny this disease… and propagated his rhetoric, shares a exponential karmic debt for what they stole from me. I curse them in all directions of time and space, and wish nothing but the total despair and grief they have helped spread. They don’t deserve anything less.

So yeah, this is me after COVID. I’m tired of seeing all the hate, I’m tired of seeing all the stupidity… I’m just tired. I’m tired that the world doesn’t care enough, that humans have trekked backwards in evolution. I’m tired of feeling tired most of the time, trying desperately to feel the sense of energy I had before all of this. My only hope is that a global awareness will help change things in the end, and that my body and brain will repair itself to not view things in such a dismal and dark point of view. It seems like even my spiritual practice has taken a hit, and I’m not as positive or filled with faith as I used to be. I have glimpses of enormous clarity, which can sometimes last weeks… but in the end, it all fizzles away and reveals a planet that doesn’t care much about anything… except the right to do harm to others.