aging

gq

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1. HOW TO KNOW YOUR SIZE Don't go in blind. There are plenty of guides online to measuring yourself. There are also guides online to peeling potatoes with a drill. We've yet to follow either. Have someone else measure you—ideally someone who works with suits IRL. Easiest way is to stop by your local tailor and ask them to give you basic measurements. It's typically free of charge, but remember to leave a tip. 2. BUY FROM EXPERTS Selling suits online is what some brands do best. Suitsupply, J Crew, Club Monaco, even Bonobos all maintain sites with their own comprehensive guides to walk you through the process. Once you know your measurements, they make it easy to customize your selection. 3. INVESTIGATE THE DETAILS Just like you would in the store, be sure to pay close attention to all the little details that make your suit your suit. Peak lapel? Buttons working on the cuff? Full or half canvas? Linen? Wool? Cotton? There are infinite options, make sure you get exactly what you want. 4. DON'T GET TOO WEIRD Chartreuse windowpane and baby blue glen plaid are probably not the move for online. Stick to the basics, like solids and pinstripes so you know what to expect when the package comes in the mail. Plaids and patterns are best explored in person. 5. EXPECT A RUN TO THE TAILOR Retailers have perfected fit so well that you should only need finishing touches like a light hem, a nip the sides, and shortened sleeves. Let the suit break in before doing any major alterations. Give it a month and the suit will form to your body. 6. LOOK FOR SALES AND BUY CHEAP Consider buying a suit online the same as buying a suit at a flea market: an excellent thing to stumble on at a great price. Once you've got your size down, go nuts. There are infinite deals out there. Comparison shop. Sign up for newsletters at shops you like and wait for sales. Purchase in the off season. The internet is waiting to save you money. Take advantage of it.
How to buy a suit online that really fits….       1. HOW TO KNOW YOUR SIZE
Don’t go in blind. There are plenty of guides online to measuring yourself. There are also guides online to peeling potatoes with a drill. We’ve yet to follow either. Have someone else measure you—ideally someone who works with suits IRL. Easiest way is to stop by your local tailor and ask them to give you basic measurements. It’s typically free of charge, but remember to leave a tip.
2. BUY FROM EXPERTS
Selling suits online is what some brands do best. Suitsupply, J Crew, Club Monaco, even Bonobos all maintain sites with their own comprehensive guides to walk you through the process. Once you know your measurements, they make it easy to customize your selection.
3. INVESTIGATE THE DETAILS
Just like you would in the store, be sure to pay close attention to all the little details that make your suit your suit. Peak lapel? Buttons working on the cuff? Full or half canvas? Linen? Wool? Cotton? There are infinite options, make sure you get exactly what you want.
4. DON’T GET TOO WEIRD
Chartreuse windowpane and baby blue glen plaid are probably not the move for online. Stick to the basics, like solids and pinstripes so you know what to expect when the package comes in the mail. Plaids and patterns are best explored in person.
5. EXPECT A RUN TO THE TAILOR
Retailers have perfected fit so well that you should only need finishing touches like a light hem, a nip the sides, and shortened sleeves. Let the suit break in before doing any major alterations. Give it a month and the suit will form to your body.
6. LOOK FOR SALES AND BUY CHEAP
Consider buying a suit online the same as buying a suit at a flea market: an excellent thing to stumble on at a great price. Once you’ve got your size down, go nuts. There are infinite deals out there. Comparison shop. Sign up for newsletters at shops you like and wait for sales. Purchase in the off season. The internet is waiting to save you money. Take advantage of it.

i began reading gentleman’s quarterly magazine (and leafing through longingly) in the early 1980’s. i learned what tattersall  and windowpane checks were through gq. i heard about the mary quant make-up box for men through gq. i studied and developed an art to layering through gq. it had always seemed a trendmaker to me. hell- they used the first letters of their name gq long before it was the thing.

but as my life developed and my waistline expanded, the outer image became less a priority and i really hadn’t seen or thought about the magazine in at least ten years.

so imagine my surprise when i picked one up at the airport during my last trip to connecticut. i was astounded at the beauty of its diversity. multiples of fashion photographs of black me, brown men and asian men in one issue. not just the tokenism that i have become so used to. an actual myriad of races making up and representing in true urban american style.

the fashion is no longer to my taste- or most of it. the back cover looks like an homage to tim burton’s dark shadows- which is not a look that appeals to me outside a costume party. probably because i lived through the 70’s.  i did appreciate the nod to midnight blue which seems to be one “color” for the year. i love the toe cap dress shoes- especially in any brown. and i liked the shoulder bag which rests across the chesst- although it’s doubtful that i will actually purchase or use one. and i smirked with glee at the “11 things I want to buy this week” article. the oxford with the 2 asymetric stripes on the collar seems especially chic.

anyway, i hadn’t seen a gq in awhie. i am certain this post is showing my age, but i don’t think it’s good to hide it anyhow i’m too seasoned to spend $400 for a chambray shirt,, no matter how “today” it is. those mortgage payments just keep coming. but gq will always hold a niche in my heart.

gq7 gq6 gq3 gq2 gq1 gq5 gq4

 

 

this long term survivor honors world aids day

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“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment, he needs help.” ~Thich Nat Hahn
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment, he needs help.” ~Thich Nat Hahn

AIDS SURVIVOR SYNDROME (ASS)

What is AIDS Survivor Syndrome (ASS)?

What is AIDS Survivor Syndrome (ASS)? reposted from letskickass.org

Is what happens after the AIDS tsunami recedes. When the survivors of the crisis have had time to evaluate the loss, grief and fear of the tragedy that unfolded. It describes where we are now 30+ years into the AIDS epidemic. Life is going on but some of us are still are still traumatized.

ASS is a perfectly natural response to surviving a life-threatening trauma. In the case of the AIDS epidemic it was a crisis that lasted 20 years. It exists on a spectrum from very mild to severe.

AIDS Survivor Syndrome manifests in aimlessness, depression, broken relationships, substance abuse, high-risk behavior and, in its most extreme results in suicide.

The signs include: depression; personality changes; flashes of anger; survivor guilt; anxiety; emotional numbness; insomnia; social withdrawal and isolation; hopelessness; substance abuse; sexual risk-taking; and lack of future orientation. It includes elements of post-traumatic stress (PTS).

Any combination of those and other signs related to surviving when so many loved ones and community members died. It often takes years to manifest after life around the survivors has returned to normal for the people around them.

 

READ WHAT Al Jazeera America says about AIDS Survivor Syndrome:http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/21/living-with-aidssurvivorssyndrome.html

But even its proponents admit that it may take some time to convince doctors that ASS is real and open up its sufferers for special treatment. For most of the people in the medical and health care policy communities, “the furthest thing in their mind is ASS,” Anderson said. “We want to say to doctors and health care professionals, if you have someone living with HIV for this many years, you need to understand that these symptoms together add up to a kind of PTSD.”

“Survivor syndrome” was coined by Dr. William G. Niederland to describe what the survivors of the death camps were going through 16 years after the holocaust ended. We are at that point in the history of HIV.

When huge swaths of your family of choice and community die and you survive, and with 50,000 or more people in the US living with HIV, there are wildly varying responses to living after decades of preparing to die.

The evidence of ASS is anecdotal but overwhelming. Health care professionals and therapists often focus on individual symptoms and not the totality of them nor the cause. So it under diagnosed and tragically under treated. It wreaks havoc on survivors and their loved ones and no one is looking for it.

All the optimistic talk about an “AIDS-Free Generation” and “Getting To Zero” sounds exclusionary to long-term HIV/AIDS survivors. If AIDS disappeared tomorrow the psychosocial aspects would remain in tens of thousands of people who lived through the 1980s and 1990s. Many survivors think the end of AIDS will happen after we’re dead. And this is a group whom are already ignored feel ostracized feel even more discounted, like our losses and grief and terror meant nothing. Like the world would rather move on.

One of Let’s Kick ASS’ goals is to research long-term survivors and measure resilience and the effects of ASS. — By Tez Anderson

Here is a video about ASS:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/97766152″>Aids Long Term Survivors</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user2331972″>Kelly Dessoye</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

we must all shuffle off this mortal coil

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stereoview_11 stereoview_19 stereoview_13 stereoview_8

When you are older, you realise that everything else is just nothing compared to painting and drawing. David Hockney
When you are older, you realise that everything else is just nothing compared to painting and drawing.
David Hockney

“When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.”

i found these images on pinktentacle.com and fell in love with their simplicity and vintage sensibility. They shook my body quietly and profoundly, reminding me that the senses are made of a fickle sort. one minute is lighted, the next is quite lacklustre- yet all are strung together in this life and must be read like a paper scroll. the movement of the images on the paper represent the images of our senses as we pass through the experiences of life.

 

sunsets, nostalgia, and the promise of a new day

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“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”  ― Ray Bradbury
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
― Ray Bradbury

as a result of my recent resignation from the workplace, an ask of direction as well as intention seems a good next step. one could wonder if perhaps i might have benefitted from taking the time to do this seriously prior to stepping through the next appearing doorway. but that particular hindsight may have no influence here.

this blog falls under the purview of this next step. started blogging during my 3rd year of recovery about 2006. it was fun then taking on a new hobby. it felt clunky and i didn’t have a road map. there were online communities and instructions, but that is not how i have ever learned a skill (this trait still holds true). i remember when i got my first comment on my blog from a fellow blogger from idaho who was struggling with some similar issues as well as  struggling with his life choices. it is an instant recall to muster the excitement and validation i felt when some unknown soul from outside my own personal universe connected with my journey. i was hooked and soon i had fashioned a support network of seekers from around the globe which was less demanding and intimate than my friends in real life. it extended my outreach and influence, while at the same time i stunted my emotional growth experience.

but as my recovery journey emanated beyond the blog-o-sphere  and co-mingled with my career path my inspiration and artistic freedom shrank. although blogging remains a vital spiritual practice for me, the profile of this practice has diminished these 8 years. the output is restricted to internal struggles, the organically embedded love of music woven through me, and reposted images and graphics. many times, i find myself sitting in front of the keyboard engaging in a sort of improvisational blogging, drawing inspiration from a found jpg or png, or a swirling few tidbits of a newly discovered or recently remembered melody or lyric. it is mostly rote and completely routine providing more reassurance to me than release. i am more connected with the process than i am with the content. it has become more objectively introspective than externally exploration and  provides the sustenance of a snack now than the meal it served up at the start of it all. i now possess a sense of ownership rather than the inspiration i once knew.

i long for a rekindling of my spiritual connectedness to this process. i continue to resonate with a life built upon shame based trauma. it is a reflection of my own story, but i don’t seem to have gained insight by a continued stream of internal review.

just as it became appropriate to transition from journalling about addiction, treatment, hiv, meth, and rogue sexual ideology to the more reflective topic of long-term recovery, it  now seems time to channel a new muse.

i am unsure if i am too weathered to begin all over. i long to use personally generated graphics and images at least as a philosophy and a cornerstone of my product. it seems imperative to extend my view outward and process my experience from an evolved vantage point.

 

when it doubt ….. try backtracking

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“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”

a brush stroke

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“We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who's right and who's wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don't like about our associates or our society.  It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others....Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.”  ― Pema Chödrön
“We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society.
It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others….Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.”
― Pema Chödrön

 

once in a while i become aware that the flow of life is really happening without my input. the sun rises, the sun travels across the sky, and the sun recedes from the sky and not once have i been consulted or my opinion sought out.

the thought of this used to frighten me immensely, but now it’s a reality that gives me comfort. it connects me to the knowledge that i am only a part of the painting that is life not the painting itself.

 

it’s such a big relief to not be in charge.

ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t

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“To set up what you like against what you dislike – that is the disease of the mind.” – Seng T’san
“To set up what you like against what you dislike – that is the disease of the mind.” – Seng T’san

i have begun percolate the idea of a social media campaign to encourage hep c testing and create an intervention within an intervention.  never tried to take any specific agenda  such as this on. have only blogged and posted on many sites. have no idea whether i will be successful, or if it will get off the ground.

i am not sure where this will lead. but i also hope to take what i learn and apply it to developing a social media network for recovery within colorado.

i am in touch with these goals. i can’t really say why. i am very blessed to be inspired and hope that something good will come.

You spurn my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt
And I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you
And that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love? (Love…)
In love with someone
You shouldn’t’ve fallen in love with

I can’t see much of a future
Unless we find out what’s to blame
What a shame
And we won’t be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

my heart will go metallica

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the pain is real the dance is real
the pain is real
the dance is real

The pain is real. That is the point. Turn towards that
pain again and again. It is your open and sensitive heart
hurting. Don’t shut it down – let the hurt open you up –
it’s no use trying to shut it down. It doesn’t get better
that way. It is like trying to kill something that just
won’t die. Better accept that the pain is real.

What else are you going to do with it if not try to
smooth it away? Let it be what it is – open out – let
it hurt and notice again and again that it is this pain
that unites you will all other beings.

Everywhere you look others are suffering just as
you are. It is universal. Everyone longs for that love,
that being known, that being accepted for what they
are – for companionship, for communication deep
and meaningful, for trust, for warmth, for the joy
of discovering what is true and genuine in oneself
and others.

So let your heart open and feel the pain of yourself
and of others. That pain cannot destroy you and it
cannot make things worse – at least when you open
to the pain you feel alive and where there is life
there is hope.

The pain is what makes you a human being and it’s
driving you to look for the truth, the truth that
goes beyond the grasping and trying to make things
what they are not, the truth of awakening to what
is truly real and precious in yourself and others –
all others.

Notice how you ignore and count for nothing all
those people around you that you think of as not
really your friends. How lonely are they? How
much are they doing to themselves what you are
doing to yourself?

Let the pain in your heart open you to everyone –
every living thing and let the pulse of life pulse
through you and tell you that there is another way
to be. It is the only solution. You cannot kill the life
of your heart and you cannot get rid of the pain –
you can only realise what it is, awaken to what it is.
It is Bodhichitta – the Awakened Heart. I really
cannot see any way round this – whatever words
one chooses to use – I cannot see any way round this.

I wish I could help you to have courage and confidence in this.

— By Lama Shenpen Hookham

10 years in recovery

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The Four Reliances First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings,  not on the words;  Second, rely on the teachings,  not on the personality of the teacher;  Third, rely on real wisdom,  not superficial interpretation;  And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind,  not on judgmental perceptions.
The Four Reliances
First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings,
not on the words;
Second, rely on the teachings,
not on the personality of the teacher;
Third, rely on real wisdom,
not superficial interpretation;
And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind,
not on judgmental perceptions.

i pulled the following from my profile on LinkedIn. it summarizes some of the things i have been privileged to do within the grace of sobriety these last 10 years. needless to say, recovery as changed my life and it completely changed the direction in which i traversed. there are so many unexplained circumstances along my journey that i am certainly at a loss to explain how i have survived so many treacherous and dangerous situations, yet here i find myself with an almost higher-powered directive to give back.

Certified Trainer of Peer Recovery Coaches using CCAR curriculum and philosophy.
Developed peer-to-peer quarterly newsletter “On The TEN” for HIV Community 2008-present
Established Peer Advocacy 501C3 organization named TEN – Treatment Education Network in 2009
Recognized as Advocate of the Year 2010 by Advocates For Recovery Colorado
Implemented Meth Treatment and Recovery Program for Englewood Agency 2012
Created and maintained recovery oriented blog “The Climb” for AFR Colorado 2011-2012
Served as Recovery Rally Chair for AFR Rally For Recovery 2011 and 2012.
Co-Facilitated HIV+ Recovery Support Group as peer in tandem with LPC at A.R.T.S. 2005-2006
Implemented a peer support group for LGBT seeking recovery from methamphetamine 2006
Co Chair Denver Office of HIV Resources Planning Council 2006-2010.
Strength In Numbers Colorado Moderator 2007-2009
Managed Cicatelli & Associates training for Peer Mentoring and HIV One on One Colorado in 2009

i certainly don’t begin to represent that i have created and completed all these on my own, but i was able to participate to the level that i feel some stewardship and some accomplishment. without the input of a community of recovery, i would doubtfully have found my way to 6 months recovery let alone 10 years. the above definitely represents input that can easily be compared against the years of my life before recovery. i spent the life i was given taking and taking and complicating.

i submit a very humble and very heartfelt “thank you” to all the beautiful and the impossible individuals i have met along the journey thus far. you have given me a feast.

life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

 

a spell on you

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"Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old."  — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

with each passing year in recovery, the challenges I face become more intricate. it is unclear whether this is due to clarity of focus, or because the responses are have matured because “fuck it” is no longer the 1st response. either way, it is understood that thinking through the consequences of decisions has become the response of choice in lieu of impulse reaction. and damn! this can be confusing.

life has never been better all the while it has never been more mysterious. try as I might, it is uncertainty and fear that cause the most concern. I hope that writing about this does not indicate defeat, but does reflect insight.

only time will tell when coming up for air.