Author: Gregory Patrick

A mad man who writes books, knits, and deals with the daily dilemmas of living 20 miles from nothing...I'm not kidding.

And I Denied the Sun (Part II)

After posting last night, I had no interest in doing anything else. I ate half a cup of soup, tried to get some knitting done, but it just wasn’t working, so I decided to go to bed. It was an early night for Phillip getting home from work, but I didn’t even wait up for him. I just wanted….I dunno. I wanted to lay in bed and visualize my dream house, my “Honeychurch,” and drift into a dream.

I woke pretty early though, about 2am. As per my routine, I started the coffee and went to reading emails and comments. And I have to say, here it is just shy of 6am and I am so overwhelmed with how kind and caring all of your comments were. I was moved to tears. I really was. And thank you for all of the affirmations and reminders of how much we’ve accomplished, how far we’ve come from the beginning of this journey, and the humbling clarification that this blog, these words, really do affect people in positive ways. I can’t thank you enough for that. And in a perfect world, that would be enough, wouldn’t it? That love would be enough to fill whatever hole has been blown through me. That love would be enough to heal whatever illness I’ve been grappling  with since October. But, it isn’t a perfect world. So, to the doctor I go.

I had forgotten it was President’s Day, so finding a doctor today probably won’t happen. So, I’ll be heading out tomorrow. And doctors aren’t free, so I still have this bear and blanket set in my shop to sell. To keep expenses down, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center is a block from here. They do free testing for all of the things a gay man my age should have avoided years ago, but didn’t, and free counselors I hope to be able to talk to about the emotional issues I still deal with from my transition from homeless to functioning member of society. They’re closed today, too, but again, tomorrow looks to be busy. So, I guess we have a plan.

Today….I’m going to go back to bed for a while. I shouldn’t have gotten up so early, but there you have it. Phillip is off today. Maybe it would be a good day to just…..I dunno….hold each other for a while.

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And I Denied the Sun….

I’m just going to start writing. Maybe that will help. This blog has always been an open diary, ready for anyone to read. I had a publicist say, you say too much, and another say, you don’t say enough. How about I just share on my own terms?

If you read this blog on a regular basis you know how much I yearn for the sun, how much I struggle through darkness and demand light to bleed through me. And today, today was the first day I’ve ever seen in my life where I resisted the bright light of the sun. I turned my back on it. My friend Kara was over, just randomly decided to come over. There is no such thing as random….She popped in and said, “Its a beautiful day! Let’s get sit outside and enjoy it.” And I told her no. Most of my friends, the few I have in real time, have noticed something is wrong. I look different. I sound different. My weight, my health, they’re all issues to those around me. When Mark was over a week ago he kept giving Phillip looks. He’d look at me, then look at Phillip with a real look of worry. I finally spoke up and said, “Mark, get on with it.” To which he replied, “I’m just worried about you.” Even Phillip saw me get out of the shower and did a double take and just said, “Babe…..” The look on his face was not one of amorous enjoyment, but of true concern. And now he hovers over me with care like a good husband would.

I have been very depressed the last few weeks and to be truthful, I don’t know why. I really don’t. But, I’ll tell you this. You never ever fully recover from homelessness. I still deal with health issues from those days. When you don’t have food to eat, you go into decline, and good luck trudging back into getting fit when you are in your 40’s. The lack of nutrition caused problems that still extend into today. I still deal with psychological issues. The agoraphobia set in. Fearful should I leave my apartment, something may happen to it. Or even on most cases I would once again have to deal with the cruelty of people. Face to face they can be monsters. They’ll tell you that you’re worthless, a nuisance, a blight…..all right to your face, because you don’t matter.

By the grace of God and the ambition He gave me, I got out. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick. It was years before I had my little 10×20 apartment. But, once I had it I felt it was all over…only to discover that it never really is. And when things start to fail, you feel those days like a haunting reminder swarm over you, envelop you….take over you. So, that’s why I hid from the sun today. I needed to get into that darkness and relive it for a second because it terrifies me every moment of every day that could be my life again. I won’t survive it a second time. As much as I write about hope and optimism…..I know I won’t survive going through that again.

Suffice it to say, its time to see a doctor. My weight has dropped to 110. I look grey, drawn, older than I am. I cannot eat. Sleeping long hours was always a problem for me, but now…its really all I want to do. I fear going to the doctor, I really do. Because I know what he’s going to say and I just don’t want to hear it. I want to lie to myself and breathe in a breeze cooled by the petals of a bougainvillea, dim my eyes beneath a mossy oak as the birds chorus around me, singing me to sleep. I don’t want to ever shield myself from the sun ever again. I want to revel in it and let all of this let itself go.

A good friend wrote to me the other night. She said, “Don’t you dare ever lose that spark.”

I’m trying. I really am.

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Think of Meadows and Brighter Days

I really have gotten so wonderfully lost in doing these “corner to corner” crochet blankets with the bears. And I needed some kind of distraction. I’ve been a little down lately, but we can talk about that later. I’ve enjoyed watching how different skeins and colorways block themselves into these amazing, random patterns. So, I find myself going quickly back and forth, anxious to see what the next row is going to look like. So, here is my latest set with baby blanket and bear. I had to get him ready fast so we can get the electric bill taken care of. Despite everything, I’m glad this set was made on a memory of meadows and brighter days. If you’d like to take the set home, click here. 

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Stuck in the Mud, Burrowing in the Dirt

So, we had finally arrived. Phillip had his first day off in a long while and I had been knitting from dawn to dusk for far too long. We’ve been spinning our wheels, so to speak, but our little yarn truck was still stuck in the mud, if not burrowing further into the dirt. That is all COMPLETELY metaphoric, of course. He’s been working any extra hour he can get, and I’ve been knitting whatever skein I can get my hands on. Our attempt to get caught up hasn’t worked. We’re trying. We really are.

But, it was his day off and he said, “I really think we need ‘Movie Day.'”

That is our own code for, “Let it all go, rest on the couch, eats some nibbles and just….rest.”

We used to do it once a week. We grab a couple of movies, some cheese and crackers, and just rest on the couch and recharge, spend time together. I love those days. Maybe for selfish reasons. Maybe for the reasons I’m agoraphobic. Maybe because it can be a day where I get to let the BS of being a knitter go and be….normal? No, I don’t usually knit on movie day. I’d be too focused on the stitches and would miss my husbands ridiculous laugh, or his hogging the cheese and crackers, or just the moment…..I’d miss the moment where two people who live and love in the same home finally get a chance to share. I’m sure many of you know what it can be like. Some people call it “date night.” Well, we just think that was too corny a term for us so we came up with “movie day.” But, the same rules apply. Time with each other, with no burdens haunting us. Escaping into cheesy films with crackers.

So we got ourselves set up. Movies. Check. Cheese. Plenty of. Crackers. Don’t call us that.

And I’ll be damned if 20 minutes in I could hear Phillip snoring. Ah, what the hell….might as well rest my own head for a minute. We both slept for 7 hours. I woke, he had rolled himself to the floor. I guess he was more comfortable there. For a scrawny man, I can take up a lot of room when sleeping. These long legs of mine like to do what I call, “sleep ballet.” But, the funny part was the both of us waking and being bewildered at how long we had missed out on the day, how long we had slept, only to giggle at each other and say, “I think I’m ready for bed.” Off to bed we went and slept another seven hours more.

No wonder we were exhausted. We’ve been dealing with a lot on this end. As much as I share, we don’t share everything on this end. I share a lot about our lives….but, I don’t always share everything about me. I’m afraid….and we’ll leave it at that for now. But, we really needed movie day. We needed a moment to forget about things and rest. I don’t know if we rested, but we did get some sleep, some recharge.

I hope this recharge was what we needed. It was something of a mini miracle. And God knows we need some of those right now.

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Boy, am I tired. I got up roughly 1am this morning. Just couldn’t sleep. Here it is the middle of the money and I need to get busy. So, I popped out of bed, started the coffee and began work on this little rabbit. I figured with the season coming up, it would look perfect in an Easter basket. I had asked on facebook last night if people thought the rabbits would go well. I got a resounding, “absolutely.” So, here it is just past 6am and he’s done. It usually doesn’t take that long to make a rabbit, but I kept getting up to make more coffee and walk around to keep my juices flowing with enthusiasm. The color reminds me of “Peeps” so that’s what I’ve called him.  And he REALLY needs to find a home soon. There’s only one so act fast! Oh! The pattern for this little bunny is in my book, “BEASTIES, A Collection of Knit Animal Patterns” available from either me by clicking here, or on craftsy.

If you’d like to have him, click here. Ok, I think its nap time…. 🙂

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Where Words are Born

You can readily agree that Spring has come to Central Florida, despite what sheets of snow and pelting ice may be hampering the rest of America. The air is warm, the dew drops on blooms, brown leaves yield to new shoots of green. People often question why I am so fond of Spring, but I think the answer is rather simple. I love rejuvenation and rebirth. I love watching the cycle of darkness and dormancy being overtaken by brightness and life. I yearn for Spring because I feel that is when my prose is more poetic, I’m not sure why. Every writer has their own conditions for getting to that place in the soul where words are born, where feelings manifest themselves into syllables, emotions are felt by the reader, and a human connection in conveyance and empathy is made. I require the early sun of a Spring morning, the chattering of birds, the flighty dashing of bees, the dew dripping in diamond glisten from blooming trees. I don’t know why, never have understood it, but there it is. It inspires me, it catches me in silence and leads me easily to that place in the soul where words are born. And I love being in that place, because despite what damage my life might be enduring, I can rest there for a while, contemplate, hold close to a reality that we rarely get to see, but only feel.

Sales have been appalling. Very bad. But, this is why I need Spring. To remind me of brightness and life. We are out of the dark now. We may be flat broke, but we’re out of the dark heading slowly towards the purple hue of a beautiful new dawn. We’ll get there. Somehow, someday, we’ll get there. Spring reminds us that flowers will bloom. Its a promise.

Oh, can you imagine if my writing was able to captivate as well as a top ten single? Can you imagine if just one post was as valid to the emotions of many as a Taylor Swift song? One can only dream. Can you imagine if I were able to use these words that spill through the keys to feed myself with? That’s every writer’s dream. Oh, but imagine the possibilities of my penned prose saving us. So, that’s what I’m comforting myself with today. The dream that these days of struggle will someday be saved by the heartfelt way I can emote the moments of my soul’s struggles.

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A Bright and Sunny Cuddle

Whew! Dashed back in a quick jiffy yesterday with the yellow yarn to finish this set, went to bed early, woke up early so I could finish him up and get him ready for the world. So, here he is! I really do like all the vibrant colors. Just what the world needs right now. More brightness. So, I’ve called this set, “A Bright and Sunny Cuddle.” Now, let’s hope THIS little guy does well. We sure could use it right now. If you’d like to take him home, click here. 

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