single caucasian gay male widower too young to know any better but too old for your bullshit.

The byline says it all.  I’m a single caucasian gay male who is looking for friendship with another gay male first, then seeing where that takes me.  If you’re expecting a quickie at the bathhouse or in the back of your car, I suspect you’ll be disappointed in me.

I’m clean and sober 14 years, so please don’t try to buy me a drink at the bar, please also don’t expect me to get you drunk/high/crunk/hammered/fucked up so you can loosen up.  I’m not interested in someone so inhibited that they need to be out of their minds to be with me.  So, please, no meth heads, coke fiends or tweekers, PNP guys or whatever.  If you are not interested in being with me sober, I suspect things will not work out over the long haul.

I consider myself sapiosexual fellas, I enjoy stimulating conversations, probing questions, slick dialogue and juicy, hot, hard facts.  Get me interested in you and I’ll be interested in you!

I see all these poor souls on the dating sites and social networks who were apparently born without heads or faces.  If you are such a person, I applaud your conviction and desire to find love, however I prefer my partners to have heads on their shoulders and be open about who they are.  Thank you for your interest, I suspect it was my facial picture that brought you here – by the way, how DID you see my photo if you don’t have eyes?

Please try to be clean and well-kept, however don’t drown yourself in scents.  I like a guy to be clean, fresh smelling but not like a 14 year old who has just discovered Axe body spray, at the same time, I’m okay with a hint of natural male, however if you can be smelled from 5 feet away or tasted downwind, shower, put on clean clothes and maybe we’ll talk.  I’m okay with a little natural “musk” however “eau du toilet” does not mean smelling like an actual commode.

Once again, I’ll reiterate that I am gay, queer, homosexual, and prefer men.  If you describe any part of your lower digestive tract as your “bussy,” “pussy” or “c*nt,” or express a desire to be “daddy’s little gurl” I suspect we won’t be a good match.  I’m fine with your desire to wear lacy things, but am not interested in hanging around you while you’re wearing them.  I have a number of intelligent, powerful, beautiful women as friends whom I enjoy hanging out with – I don’t need a poor facsimile.

Also – if you feel that dressing as a woman somehow “lowers” or humiliates you, I *DEFINITELY* have a problem with you.  Most of the women I know have seen things or had shit done to them that would make a grown man weep like a newborn.  Calling anyone a “pussy” is not an insult – have you ever seen a video of a woman giving birth?  That’s a show of fortitude that is superhuman in my opinion.  Take your internalized misogyny elsewhere.  By the way – most drag queens I know dress in drag as a source of empowerment and homage to the strong women in their lives, NOT as a form of submission or self-humiliation.

If you have a wife or husband or significant other and “have to keep things on the down low,” I know full well we won’t be a good match.  I’m not *against* polyamory, however I am totally against cheaters and liars – if you’re in a couple/partner situation, I expect everyone to be on the same page with regards to a relationship.  Plus if you’re going around behind the back of someone you’ve made vows to in front of your friends, family and deity…I get a pretty damn good idea of how much “your word and honour” are worth.

You should be employed or at least have a regular source of income, I won’t discriminate if you are retired, on disability, or temporarily on unemployment insurance.  However, as I own a dog, I already have a dependent for whom I provide food and shelter; I’m not interested in another one thank you very much.  Similarly, if you’re outside of Canada, and express a desire to move in with me – you’ll have to show me that you have gainful employment and that appropriate steps have been taken to achieve permanent residency.  You’d have to be someone pretty damned special for me to want to sponsor and support through that process.

Hey Toronto guys – guess what?  I work in your city 5 days a week and can visit you most afternoons (except Thursdays).  However, the remarkable thing about highways and transit is that they often travel in BOTH directions and the world does NOT end west of Bathurst.  The 55 minutes it takes to go from Hamilton to Toronto is the same 55 minutes it takes to go from Toronto to Hamilton.  You may wish to try it, Toronto Life magazine seems to have a hard on for Hamilton, so you should see what all the Yuppie/Hipster hype is all about AND I’ll even take you for at least a coffee, if not a meal and perhaps a hike to those “Toronto area” waterfalls that Blog TO likes to write about!

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dear santa

Dear Santa,

Once again at this time of year, I am writing to thank you for all you have done for me throughout the past few years.

When Larry decided to portray you, I was introduced to a world of incredible people who set aside their lives to portray you, eventually leading to their being shaped by you and what you represent.  I thank you for Larry’s friends and mentors who continue to don the suit of red.  Many have become good friends, mentors and spiritual advisors to me.  

Having you in my life figuratively and in many cases, literally, has helped me survive the past five years as there is a constant reminder of the magick, spirit and love that you represent.  The men in the red suit who have remained in my life are blessings to me – I am reminded to love and give freely of myself through their actions.  My faith in humanity is refreshed when you show your presence in them.

Your biggest and best gift to me was Larry being given a focus and drive – even through the worst cancer threw at him.  Your next greatest gift to me has been that the men who portray you that stood behind and beside me and supported me when my world crumbled, many of them propped me up to ensure that I didn’t fall apart.  At least two of these folks have been a large part of my life before you entered it and they remain a large part of my life.  They continue to support me in their actions, words, prayers and deeds and they remind me that faith can be a powerful thing when given the right intent and reason.  I believe.

You have given me a good friend who both portrays you but also has taken me under his wing and works with me musically.  David has been my most ardent supporter, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.  He still does.  I was able to reconnect with him this year after some time away when I was not in a good head and heart space and I’m reminded that the spirit of St. Nicholas and St. Francis of Assisi can still exist in an over noisy and complicated world.

Make me an instrument of your peace indeed.  David is such an instrument and he brings peace within him wherever he goes.  Thank you.

You have given me a number of spiritual supports and guides who are showing me that faith is a personal thing and can be balanced with my scientific mind’s desire for rationality and evidence.  Just as I believe in your existence in the hearts of the people who portray you, I believe in a higher power that exists in the hearts and minds of people who are searching for more.

Michael, Glenn, Hal, Bruce, Lee, Leon and Stephen have shown me this higher power through their actions, words and hearts.  Again, they all have shown faith in me, when my own faith and belief in myself has been sorely lacking.  I thank you for their presence as it’s nice to have someone in my corner when I don’t feel like it’s warranted.

You have given me the drive to keep going when everything within me fought forward motion.  I continue to make and release music that represents who I am and provides a glimpse into whom I am striving to become.

You have continued to keep my family in my life and I am blessed with a supportive and caring Mother and an amazing brother, sister-in-law and nieces.

So.  For once, it’s time that someone thank you for all you have given me.  Gifts that aren’t material, however gifts that have supported me, provided me strength and kept me alive.

Thank you once again, Santa, for all you have given.

I love you dearly,

myke.

P.S. I’d still like to ask you for one thing.  Can you see to it that the good things that happen to me this year aren’t immediately followed by not so good things?  I understand the need for balance, however 2018 was like one sucker punch after another and I’m getting pretty winded and sore.

a tale of two businesses

Or Fear and Loathing on James St. N.

Two businesses on James St. N.:

  1. A business who has existed since 1999, starting as a record company who highlighted and supported local musicians, moving to a regular newsletter that both advertised and connected the local arts scene, finally becoming a storefront which sold art supplies, the creations of local artists and as a place of connection for the Hamilton arts scene.
  2. A business that’s existed since 2009, a night club that has hosted bands both young and local and legendary international acts within its walls.

Business One announced earlier this year that it had been given the opportunity to move to another location within the city.  A location with a decades long history of supporting the local arts scene.  A location that is known for its tireless support of local authors and publishers while providing impeccable service in a beautiful environment.  A location that is minutes away from the proprietor’s home and allows them to continue to provide the stellar service for the Hamilton area arts community.

Business One is still attempting to operate the original location as a “pop up,” offering a reduced inventory of the best sellers while also allowing the artists who are staffing this location to display and sell their wares.  This will continue while the location as Business One invested in the James St. location, buying an empty building, slowly renovating it into retail spaces with studio and office space above.

Business Two announced in the media that they would like to sell their building for $2.15 million, and are “testing the waters” to see whether they can reap a profit from their $350,000 investment after being approached by a local real estate agent.

In an anti-gentrification round table Business One was castigated as selling out and placed on the same platform as real estate investors, developers, predatory absentee landlords and a city government who uses the local arts scene as a branding tool without actually supporting the local arts scene.  Business Two (who coincidentally hosted the kickoff party for the anti-gentrification round table) was hailed by one of the speakers at the round table, “I hugged the wall and had a bit of a moment … it’s the end of an era and the end of a great space in the city.”

It’s very clear to me that Hamilton tends to have a conveniently short memory and willfully forgets all that people do for the community as a whole.  Decades of work are forgotten in a world of butthurt and feelings that people are “owed” because they frequented an establishment and gave them business over the years.

I guess some people are less scary targets than predatory investors with lawyers.  Bravo Hamilton, once again you target the little guy who has tirelessly worked to support the community, was a trailblazer in revitalizing an area of the city that even city council had written off and gave of himself and his family to uplift the arts scene to what it has become.

Dear Hamilton arts scene:

All I can do is quote Bernard Baruch:

“Do what you want to do, say what you want to say – because those who matter don’t mind and those who do mind don’t matter.”

Mixed Media and Dave Kuruc will carry on, despite what you say about him in local forums.  He’s suffered slings and arrows from all sides and continues to thrive on.  Perhaps it’s time that you turn your mirror and microscope on yourselves and ask what you’ve done to uplift the city and how you’ve contributed to gentrification.

memories and the body

The mind and heart can be very funny things at times. It seems as though they decide to release their hold on specific memories when they are ready.

The past few days have had me reminiscing about my life between July 30, 2013 and August 10, 2013. As friends have processed the loss of loved ones as well as their own impending mortality, I’ve been revisiting my thoughts and emotions as Larry lay dying in the hospital.

What strikes me as funny is that as the body releases its hold on these memories, how real the sensations are and how vivid the memories are.

It seems that the body and mind finally decide that it’s time to loose the control and hold these memories have over one’s heart and psyche. In the process they create a sensory environment or you can recall even the minutest of details such as the texture of the curtains or the sound of the woman’s voice in the bed beside Larry as she asked “what is wrong with that man it sounds like he’s dying?”

My reply was a succinct and spat out “he is” and soon after that she was moved to another room.

This morning I had a very ugly cry in the shower as these sensations, memories, and emotions overtook me.They came with no explanation, context or overt trigger aside from the fact a friend discussed his funeral plans and another friend posted on the anniversary of her spouse’s passing.

At the same time, it was clear to me that my body was releasing these memories and clearing itself of the hold they’ve had over me For the past five years. It’s clear that they exist however than my chest no longer tightens up in the lump does not raise in my throat anymore. This morning’s reaction in the shower was visceral and painful like excising a tumor or vomiting up a toxin that is poisoning me.

These memories came with tactile, sensory information that my body relived. I could hear the noises, smell the odors and touch the physical objects in those rooms I could taste the bile in my mouth as I angrily spat the words to the woman.

This is something that has always intrigued me, particularly as memories are triggered by scents, tastes or sounds. When I was losing weight, it became clear to me that the body is the storage device as my past indiscretions and recreational chemical use were brought to the forefront as my body processed the stored fat that I accumulated over the years.

In Douglas Coupland’s “Microserfs,” The main character explores the connection of body to memory as he reconnects himself with his physical form. Throughout his childhood and young adult days he felt that his body was solely a vehicle to store and transport his brain and intellect in, however as explored his physicality he began to realize that his body was a component of his identity and self and as he reconnected with his body, physicality and sensuality, he discovered memories that he had buried deep within himself and became more connected with who he was as an adult.

Since reading this in 1995, The concept has fascinated me and only recently have I realized how accurate this is. I look forward in exploring what further memories I reconnect with.

I can only say that after having been through extensive therapy treating me for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As it used to be impossible for me to even consider revisiting certain memories as my body would shut down and my mind would turn itself off when the pain if certain circumstances overwhelmed me.

I never realized until exercising the pain, the rage and the trauma of my sexual abuse, how connected one’s own physicality is to your memories and emotional state.

It wasn’t until I purged the negativity and excepted the rage and anger and hurt within me that I was able to free up my body and let my mind and heart work together unfettered.

Oddly enough, what led me to this path was a hug from someone who was at the time, a relative stranger. This is why I sometimes comment about being touch starved or needing a hug. The human body and the human emotional state thrive with physical contact. When I’m feeling particularly vulnerable I’ll actually book a massage or a back rub just to reconnect myself my body and feel another human’s touch beyond a handshake or friendly embrace.

In the case of human contact, for me, you don’t know how much you need it until you don’t have it in your life.

So if I tell you I could really use a hug…most of my friends know that I’m not a “hugger!” It’s an invitation and I hope you take me up on that offer.

memento mori. memento vivere.

Five years ago, I was chin deep in arranging a memorial service for my husband.  I was eyeball deep in settling his estate.  I was beginning to crest the lift hill that would eventually drop me into the neck-breaking roller coaster of depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Larry had been dead for almost three weeks and I was beginning to catch glimpses of what my new normal would soon become.  People I know, trusted and loved had begun to circle around me to provide protection and support, my once shattered faith had begun reassemble itself in a new form.

Five years later, I still struggle with my anxiety.  I still am surprised at what my new normal brings to me.  I still, albeit rarely, feel the incredible loss, loneliness, sorrow and rage that only widow(er)s can understand.

What I don’t feel is the crushing apathy and sadness of depression, I no longer feel the overwhelming need to fight, freeze or run reactions of PTSD, nor does my brain shut down and go into “automaton mode” as I am better equipped to endure and mitigate my flashbacks.

In the past month I gave copies of table for one. to a number of people who have been instrumental in reconnecting me with things that I loved, which once were integral to who I am.   They all commented on how dark, painful and scary it is to listen to.  I finally revisited listening to it last week and I agree.  And I am happy with that conclusion.

table for one. is meant to be dark, it’s meant to be painful, it’s meant to be sad, it’s meant to be scary!

It’s as honest a document of my life from 2007 to 2016.  The songs distill what living inside my mind and heart was like during that time period.

It’s a diary.

It’s a confessional.

It’s a farewell to the scared little gay boy who was raped by the man who led his confirmation class.

It’s a solid “fuck you” to the minister who protected that man, not to mention all the Christians who hide behind their cherry-picked scriptures to justify their personal prejudices.

It’s a thank you to Larry and my Dad for helping put me back together.

It’s a road map pointing me to the great unknown that my future has presented to me.

It’s a eulogy to the confused, depressed and angry man that Myke Hutchings once was.

By the way – CD copies of table for one. are running low, I’m unsure if I’ll reprint it ever, so if you want one, please let me know soon!

memento mori.  I’m moving on.

This past year has been both frustrating and affirming to me.

Frustrating in that just about everything that I had set in motion to begin building towards my future pretty much fell flat and fizzled out.

Old Myke would have lost his shit over this, however I know there is little I can do, but roll with the punches, dust myself off and assess the situation, taking the next logical step before me.

What has been affirming is that the next logical steps have taken me in new and delightful ways.  Particularly when it comes to revisiting things that once defined me that I had let go when the excrement hit the ventilation with Larry’s health, Dad’s health and then my mental health.

Santa re-entered my life in a kind and gentle way.  Several of Santa’s helpers have connected with me through Larry’s legacy, through mutual friends and through my openness with who I am.  They have reconnected me with Santa’s service through love and the need to give back (thank you Santa Michael M and Santa Glenn J) and Santa’s magic (thank you Santa Stephen and Santa Leon).  These men re-connected me with the joy and love that the spirit of Santa represents and I hope to continue my work as an elf somehow with the support of these men.

Clowning re-entered my life, once again in a kind and gentle way.  A video of two hospital clowns singing a simple lullaby to an infant in the hospital gently rekindled the flame of using simple humor and childlike wonder to help heal or at least sweeten the bitter medicine of life.  I was then asked by Lee Andrews to be a staff member at American Clown Academy where I met the hospital clowns in question (thanks Tim and Ron) and reconnected with friends and mentors, some of whom I haven’t seen since before cancer forcibly entered my life.  (Santa Leon, Bubba, Kitty and Tom in particular)  Rocky is still in permanent retirement, however I suspect folks will be seeing more of Phineus in the coming years…he has a lot to say and laughter to share.

Music has been a constant, however it’s been focused on excising the negativity and anger out of my life that became table for one. and, to a lesser extent, Foundation.  This past year, after a conversation with Drake Jensen about touring in Canada, a new song – City Motel – was written.  It’s lighter and a little more triumphant than my recent output and seems to be reflective of who I am now, once defeated and lost but coming home.  I’ve gotten good feedback on this song and a few others that I’m workshopping and hope to hit the studio soon.

Time spent with David Bartlett and the Pick-Fil-A Wednesday night jammers at Northgate Mall in Durham, NC reconnected me with the guitar as my voice.  Talking to Santa Stephen, reconnected me with the guitar as a tool with which to communicate.

I suspect it will be a good long time before I record a full album or EP, however I foresee songs being recorded and released as they are written.  With fun little covers in between.

I’m still visited by my old demon, anxiety.  I’m still visited by the unwanted house guest loneliness.  However I’m not so desperate to find someone to fill my life.  I understand now that if it is meant to be, the person will make themselves known to me and things will happen in due course.

I haven’t stopped making plans.  I just set goals and give myself a framework in which they can happen and a rough time period in which I’d like them to occur.  I’m flexible if life throws me a roadblock or wrench into the works and things aren’t so structured that a slight change or variation would do harm.  Life is random.

memento vivere.

five years on.

Five years ago, Larry and I got the news that would mark the beginning of the end for him and the beginning of a massive change for me.

Five years ago, I was an angry and confused person who had a lot of learning and growing to do.

Five years ago, I realized that I would forever change and it was up to me to choose if it was going to be for the better or for the worse.

I hope that history agrees that it was for the better.

Today, after the realization of the anniversary of my last dinner with Larry (at the Cannon Coffee Co – he had the American Sandwich, I had the power bowl), I allowed myself time to grieve openly, in public, on the GO Train.  I gave myself leave to grieve publicly on Facebook and remember the better times and share my love for two incredible people who gave us one last time to have as close to normal an evening out, despite the fact he was wheelchair bound, was six-foot-four and weighed 115 lbs, prone to falling asleep midstream and, despite the July heat, constantly cold.

Today after meeting up with someone who, honestly, made my life at that time a lot more difficult than necessary because of someone else who had a personal vendetta against me, I realized that I forgave that person as they were “just doing their job.”

Today I’m processing a lot of complex emotions and reflecting on the changes in my life over the past five years.  It’s a lot to do and I still have so much more to go.

another journey around the sun

This past year has been a somewhat interesting one.  I am both satisfied, yet have a sense of disappointment, often for the very same reasons…

I completed the touring cycle for table for one. and in the process recorded Foundation.  Foundation was released with some fanfare, but very little response.  I’m happy to have the “next step” clearly taken, however am honestly disappointed in the poor response to the music.  In my honest opinion, the songwriting is stronger and more concise than the predecessor, but yes, it’s far less personal.

Oh well.  Sophomore jinx, etc. etc. I guess.  I’m rethinking the whole paradigm of gathering songs and releasing them as an item.  So the next step will be a single release with one song that I’ve written and, perhaps, another b-side to be determined at a later date.

I’ve progressed with my studies in spiritual matters and expect to take my next step towards that in the fall.  I am content with where my studies are leading me and am enjoying the personal and spiritual growth that these studies are providing me.  Things are far less “urgent” feeling and I’m finding more peace in my daily living.

Throughout all of this, I’ve continued to downsize my musical needs and hone the arsenal of instruments in my collection.  I believe I have found my musical main squeeze guitar-wise and have begun paring back the collection to the bare essentials.  My main acoustic brings me joy when I play it and it does everything I ask of it and often surprises me with what it allows me to do.

My relationship with my Mom continues to progress as we both process our widowhood and grief.  Traveling to Arizona with her over the Christmas holidays brought me closure with certain episodes in my life and continued to refine what is important to me.  I found  a new peace in the desert and any angst from past visits has disappeared.

My family continues to bring me joy in new ways.  It’s refreshing to watch the remarkable young women that my nieces have grown up to be.  I am lucky to have them in my life.

I continue to explore what it means to be single at this point in my life.  While I still feel the loneliness of widowhood to be rather difficult at times, I am not as frantic to find the next life partner as once was.  What I do know is that potential friends and companions never cease to find new ways to disappoint me and that my tolerance for such shenanigans continues to disappoint.

I have much love in my heart, however I realize now that I should be more selective in who I choose to share it with.

The house continues to feel more and more like my home as I refine what I have in it and pare back what is in it.  I continue to reduce the clutter and decide what furniture will stick.  I will be downsizing in the future, but downsizing on my own terms.

Chloe continues to be a joyous, loving companion.  Every morning that I awaken to her happy face and wagging tail – is a good morning.   I am blessed.

Work is a means to an end.  I have incredible team mates and a supportive and patient manager.  They are what makes my vocation endurable, that and the fact that it funds my avocations.

I continue to heal from my PTSD, depression and my struggles with anxiety are ongoing. I am getting better at knowing when my triggers are being pushed and able to intervene before the excrement hits the ventilation – so to speak.

So this year has been a year of consolidating the changes, evaluating and then making appropriate steps towards my next goals.  It has been a year of slow, steady progress and continuing to build my foundation.

Hopefully next year will be more productive for growth.

Peace to all.

m.