Friday, July 20, 2012

The Hospital

I hate hospitals with a passion.

I hate hospitals and medication and procedures and being sick.

But more than that, I hate not knowing what's wrong with me when I'm not feeling well.

For the past few months I have been feeling light-headed and having intense pressure in my head, especially around my ears.

For the past few weeks I've been losing my vision.

Everything goes white, colors melt together and/or everything gets blurry. Words don't make sense when I'm having one of these episodes and it makes it impossible to read, much less write.

The doctors don't know what's wrong.

Actually, my primary care doctor is just now being forced into looking into what's wrong with me, she's been a little too focused on my transition and not enough on my pain and other medical issues.

Here's the biggest problem, I'm scared.

I don't scare easily, but I am so scared that all I want to do is cry.

I have taken my 182 IQ for granted. My love and easy learning for languages and knowledge have been things that were just there. When someone would say something about how smart I was, I would shrug it off. Not because of false humility but because to me, there was nothing special about it.

Now I feel like I'm getting stupider.

I know that's not what's happening, but when I can't think of simple words like leg, when I'm someone who grew up reciting Hebrew prayers and reading Shakespeare for fun... well, it's a little scary and unnerving.

The worst thing is that because of what happened a few months ago, because of the reactions of people, because of people pulling away from me, ignoring me, because I don't think I could bear losing another person because my life is too intense, or fraught with drama and tension, too dark or because I'm too controversial, or whatever the reason is, I don't say anything about how bad it actually is.

I don't tell my parents or other family members, I only tell Cherie when she makes me and that's usually when things have gotten really bad, and even then she doesn't know how scared I am.

Words are my life and whereas before I could have written this entire blog post in ten-fifteen minutes, I started writing it at 6:45pm and it's 7:23pm now because I had to keep stopping to remember words and trying to figure out how to spell them and type them properly.

I went to the hospital today and saw the pain doctor and then went to the eye clinic. I was up there from 9am until 2pm and when I left, I knew everything that wasn't wrong with me, but still didn't know what was wrong with me.

And I'm still scared.

And I can feel myself, or at least that part of my brain that is still functioning, that's telling me to leave and go off somewhere by myself and go blind and paralyzed somewhere away from everyone so I don't have to be a burden. And I know Cherie would be pissed off if she knew this, but at the same time I have to think of how much simpler her life would be. I mean, obviously those who have walked out of my life (or signed out of it, typed out of it, whatever) are happier and better off than those who stayed right? And yes, I'm doing well since they've left, better actually than I was when they were in my life. I'm still a bestselling author, my books are selling like hotcakes over on Amazon/Kindle. They're selling like fire over on ARe and Mickey's Duke is #20 on Bookstrand. I'm doing well professionally, better than I could have ever dreamed of.

Except for the whole loss of vision, comprehension, dizziness, pressure, pain, inability to walk because of dizziness and pressure thing.

And I'm looking at the clock now and it's 7:35pm and I'm upset and disgusted and so disheartened because I have to go back to the hospital on the 24th and I'm wondering what they will tell me. What they can tell me. We think it's neurological, or that there's a cyst on my spine. All I can think of is the fact that I'm having such a hard time actually thinking.

Seeing. Reading.

Most of all writing.

I hate not being able to write.

Since serving in the Army I've lost the ability to dance and now reading and writing.... these are the things that keep me, kept me, sane all of these years and while I don't regret enlisting in the Army and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, because I loved serving my country, I do wish that I wasn't losing so much.

So, I'll be going back to the hospital soon. Not looking forward to it, but hopefully coming home with some answers, a diagnosis, a treatment plan.

A fucking cure.

That would make all of this a whole lot easier for me.

-Vicktor Aleksandr B (7:53pm)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Introducing Chipmunk to Gay & Lesbian YA Books

I am the parent that promotes education and reading above all else.

It's what my own biological parents did for me. With all of their flaws I'm glad they did so. I'm happy that I have an IQ of 186 and that I've been reading since I was four. I'm proud of the fact that at the age of 10 when my teacher asked me what my favorite book was, I stood in front of the class and told her that it was "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare, though it was more of a play in book form rather than just a book.

I was a nerd.

I am a nerd.

I'm proud to be one.

It's me that friends come to when they want to know something about history. I'm the one they come to when they want to spell something or if they need a mathematical equation or taxes done. I'm not typical. I am so book smart that according to the bio mom I have no common sense. LOL.

I know that's not true, but I do know that I'm really smart. Maybe not all the time. And with what's going on health wise with my body [Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Blurred Vision, white vision, letters swimming on the page, words not making sense when I read them, getting a headache when trying to read] I'm starting to feel stupider, but one thing I can always do is encourage my daughter, my Chipmunk to read.

I did it when I had custody of her. I encouraged her to go to her school library and read, bought her books, and whenever she said she was bored I told her to "go read the Bible," because obviously she'd ran out of books to read right?

So today I sent her a copy of Cherie Noel's book "Shadow Dance" because I know that it doesn't have any sex in it. At least not the free part of the story. But now I'm stuck because I don't know any YA books out there because I don't read them.

So I'm asking all of you. Those of you who actually read my blog [thank you!]:

Can you recommend some good Y.A. novels? Gay, lesbian, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary. Doesn't matter. My child loves the Twilight novels but she also loved something called Snake River or something like that. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I want to try and get her a NOOK or a Kindle so I can put them all on there and then send it to her. But for now I have to send them to her email addy.

So, can you all recommend some good YA books?


-Vicktor Aleksandr B

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Not Personal, It's Business... For You, Not For Me

Had a few conversations with two of my sisters about how I've been feeling with certain people and their treatment of me and the sentence: "For them, it's not personal, it's just a business move. They're just thinking of their business or their career, they're not even considering how that move affects you, no matter what your relationship is to them," got thrown out there to me.

Rather than go into the selfishness, ignorance and total fuckery of that statement I decided to share the video that popped into my head when I heard it, because it's just so fucking true:

What did I learn? That whatever I do, whatever I say, it affects someone in some way, whether that was my intention or not. I also learned that if it did affect them negatively and that wasn't my intention, or if it was an action for or against someone else and it affected someone I loved or cared about in a negative way then it's up to me to apologize to them, not the other way around.

Anyway. Dammit, no matter how many times I tell myself that I'm going to stop being so "real" and "dark" on this blog, I just can't help it. I will always be real on here and if that means writing a post where I just say fuck everyone because I'm in a bad mood, then that's what I'm going to do.

Okay, maybe not, but you know, I'll always be myself and vent on here and work shit out or whatever you know?

Anyway. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

-Vicktor Aleksandr B

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vicktor Aleksandr B... College Student?

"We are happy to inform you that you have been accepted as a student for the Fall 2012 semester."


I got my letter in the mail today and this upcoming semester I will be returning to college.


And because I am an overachiever I will be double majoring in Business and Accounting and minoring in Foreign Languages.

My parents (the real ones-not the biological ones) would be so proud.

And they are.

My parents, my older siblings, friends.

Even Chipmunk.

So I'm ecstatic that I'll be back in school come September 4th, when classes start. I already have the schedule written down that I want and it's about six classes (18 credit hours) and that on top of writing and Rooster & Pig stuff and being an uncle, dad, younger bro, bestie, bf, etc. means that the number of blog posts from me is going to seriously diminish.

No worries though. I seem to thrive under pressure and with little to no sleep ("I'll sleep when I'm dead."-Tupac. Granted he's not the best role model for a guy like me to have but still.), so I'll still be blogging and though there are some who try to point at my openness and honesty as being a bad thing, I'll still be me. I didn't come tumbling out of the closet only to wear dark clothes you know what I mean? I won't fade into the background because there are people who wish I was invisible or who wish I didn't speak and make them feel so damn guilty (oops, I'll stop talking about that now). I will forever and always be me. I'll always be REAL, never fake.

Just Vic.

And now I'm Vicktor Aleksandr B: dad, brother, uncle, son, friend, bf, lover, Veteran, writer, business owner.... and college student.

And I couldn't be happier.

-Vicktor Aleksandr B

Friday, July 6, 2012

Some Happy (NSFW)

So I had a day where I almost quit writing, when I decided not to quit (because dammit, I fought hard and went through too much to get here) I decided to put up some happy because that's what makes me smile.

And nothing makes me more happy than Will Ferrell, Chris Tucker, Shemar Moore, John Barrowman, Scott Hoying and nekkie men.

Not necessarily in that order.

So share in some happy with me:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

[So for some reason, none of my scheduled posts posted, so I'm doing them manually. Better late than never I say]
Happy Fourth of July to my fellow servicemembers. Past, Present and Future. Your sacrifice, bravery, courage and strength are some of the things that we honor on the day that we celebrate our independence. We would not enjoy freedom, if we did not have the military and those who fight for that freedom. So thank you.

-PFC B-----
(Vicktor Aleksandr B)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Broken, But Not Destroyed

I am writing my autobiography, but not.

Let me explain.

I am, perhaps, too overly cautious about respecting and protecting members of my biological family. So, because of that I am writing my autobiography from the standpoint of a fictional character.

Alexander Vicktorious.

Yeah, I know, that's a no-brainer when the book is written by Vicktor Alexander. But in this, all of the names have been changed. There are situations I don't reveal, conversations that I don't remember and of course, it's all 1st-person so it's all from the character's POV.

The thing is, I'm stripping myself bare in it. Being completely exposed, raw, turning myself inside out and laying it all out there.


I think the dedication and the "From The Author" I wrote for the book (before I wrote the first line of the book) explains it all:

This is my story. This is the story of so many others that have come before me and so many that will come after me. This is not a story about being transgender. This is not a story about being queer. This is not a story about being gay. This is not a story about being black or about being a veteran of the United States Army. This is a story about surviving.
This is a story about forgiving, love, overcoming adversity. This is a story about truth. Understanding yourself, moving forward, healing from the wounds of your past and stepping into the beauty of your future. This is a story about living your truth, being yourself, realizing that yes, it does get better.
This book is dark and gritty…honest.
This book contains abuse, incest, rape, talks about pedophilia, eating disorders, BDSM, suicide, AIDS, transphobia, homophobia, religious persecution, prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, racism, mental illness, and even supernatural issues that may trigger some readers. Unfortunately these issues are an important part of the story, so be forewarned.
But more than the darkness, the grittiness and the brutal honesty, this book, this story, this truth is about romance. One man’s quest for love, for acceptance, for understanding and compassion. Something that everyone seeks or has sought as some point in their life.
Though Alexander Vicktorious is a fictional character, his story is all too true and the events contained all too real. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent, the somewhat innocent, the not so innocent and the guilty as fuck.
I invite you to share in Alexander’s journey. Cry with him, laugh with him. Share in his triumphs, his failures. Walk his journey with him and when the story is over, for him, I invite you to hug, encourage and celebrate the Alexander within you and the Alexanders that surround you.

Hugz, Squeezes, and Fist Bumpz,

Vicktor Alexander


For those who survived.

For those who saved my life either through a phone call, an email or an offer of family and shelter.
For those who loved me and saw “the soul inside the shell.”

And for the ones who have gone on before and watch over me from above.

Love always.

So what made me think about BBND today? A post about a friend who committed suicide last year. It brought all of that back up for me. Because he was one of the ones I talked to about all of this. He was one of the few who understand what I meant when I said "The darkness is in my throat today and I can't talk." He didn't judge me when I told him there was a knife in my nightstand that I held in my hand every night before I went to sleep. How I would sometimes look at cars flying down the road and wonder if they were going fast enough to hit and kill me.

I'm not always that dark, depressed and suicidal, I rarely am these days, but writing this book reminds me of that darkness, reminds me of those dark days.

Reminds me of the friends I lost, the loves that died, the baby I wanted but who couldn't stay.

That hurt that's always there, buried beneath the smiles, the friendships, the new family, the crazy, unexpected success I've achieved as a writer, I'm now reaching down and bringing up into the light to splatter the pages of my book to let others read it and experience it. The happy times, the hard times, the dark times, the light times, it's all there.

BBND is not a Tate Pack story. It's not fluff, I don't even know what classification I'd give it, only one thing jumps to my mind when someone asks me to describe it: REAL.

And a lot of things have been happening lately to make me think about the subject of realness. Finding out that two people online are really one person. My child being sick and realizing that there are just some people I just can't turn to. Feeling invisible, discounted, rejected, scorned, shunned, pushed aside, ignored, chastised, objectified, placated, and patronized because of who I am. Those things coupled with the darkness that I'm always going to have to fight against brings that whole subject of what is real, what is my reality to the forefront.

I've begun to hesitate on calling people friends and family, hesitated to talk to people online and I hate that, because it's not me. I forgive and forget. I'm beaten down but I always get back up.

I'm broken but not destroyed.

But here I am now and I feel like I'm at an impasse. I feel as if, with every word on the page, with every chapter that I write, that I'm losing people, because when you write about how someone from your past treated you, abused you, used you, lied to you, and manipulated you, you tend to notice those in your present who are doing the same thing. So as I write I'm looking around and observing, noticing things, wondering if that spot in my life, that drop of darkness is something that I can remove myself or if the person attached to it needs to be removed.

Because one of the biggest things writing this book has taught me is that I'm a survivor. I'm stronger than I give myself credit for and I've endured enough hell in my life that at this point, I can't keep inviting it back in to sit and have a martini with me.

So that's the reason my posts as of late have been a bit more... introspective and dark and real than usual. It won't stay like that. Daniel and I aren't together anymore (though we're still friendly), but I've still got my amazing family and someone who makes me smile when I think of him. I'm still writing. I've got amazing things coming up in my life that shock me when I think of them.

More than that, I think of my friend and I let him know, him and all the other friends I've lost over the years, that I'm surviving. Still fighting, still pushing forward. I may be broken but I will never be destroyed.

And that's something that to me, is worth blogging about.

-Vicktor Aleksandr B

Monday, July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper: Unapologetic

I honestly didn't know what title to give this post after reading Anderson Cooper's email to Andrew Sullivan (which you can see the entire article here). "Bravo Anderson!" "Three Cheers to Anderson Cooper!" were two of the ones that instantly jumped into my mind, but honestly, just his name seemed to suffice without making it seem as if his coming out is any more important that a young, unknown man or woman coming out who lives in a very fatally homophobic/transphobic environment.

I'm happy that Anderson finally "came out" to the public. I really am. His words were beautiful and heartfelt and he didn't go into details about too much, didn't try to make excuses for why he's never come out before, he was sincere and sincerity is something that is sadly lacking in much of our daily interactions with each other. For me though, I read his email to Andrew and all I could think of was how happy I was to have another well-known person stand up and say, "This is who I am. I am unapologetic about who I am. I embrace who I am. I love who I am and I stand for who I am and others like me." Though I must admit that whenever I hear someone say that they're not an "activist" they just take a stand for what's right, I always get a little smile on my face, because that's what an activist does.

Maybe this held such weight with me because of things I've been struggling with in my own personal life. The feeling of being inconsequential to people who say they care, to the world at large, the proverbial pity-party my subconscious throws at least twice every day because I'm not doing enough. I know that I hold myself to a certain standard, one that others have told me is impossible but one that I can't seem to tear myself away from. I love helping others. I want to change the world. I'm determined to do both of those things. So, yes, I am an activist. In addition to being a writer and a brother, and uncle, a father, a son, a friend, a business partner, a boyfriend... I am an activist. It's not something that I run from, it's something that I embrace, just like I embrace being transgender and being gay, black, a Messianic Jew and a disabled veteran of the United States Army. I don't shame easily, I don't let people tell me that I shouldn't be so vocal in the issues that I fight against. I marched with Save Darfur, proudly. I've protested, passed out fliers, called members of Congress and the Senate. Written letters to the President, the Vice-President and whoever else I could.

I'm not ashamed about the things I've suffered and endured, the ways I've overcome abuse at the hands of family members, the abuse I suffered at the hands of ex-boyfriends, friends, hell, the abuse I've suffered (albeit only verbally) from people online. I'm not ashamed of those things. I know there are others who would be, who go through what I have to suffer from guilt and shame, but whenever those feelings creep up on me I remind myself of my ultimate goal: to change the world. I remind myself of the group home I want to start, the charities, the non-profit organizations that I want to run. I think of the lives I want to change, the teenagers, the children, the people who are waiting on someone who cares enough to fight for them. Who understands what they've been through, so they know to never stop fighting. I think of them and I refuse to apologize for being an activist. I'm a writer, yes, I understand that. I love writing, it gives me a joy and a peace that I would be lost without, but I'm also a world-changer. Someday that's what people will know me as.

So maybe that's why Anderson's email so snatched my heart from my chest and clutched it in a firm grip. He's so unapologetic. He doesn't apologize for being who he is, for the decisions that he's made, he just explains them. I for one love people who say: this is who I am. It is not the whole of me, it is not a big part of my life's portrait, it is a piece of the puzzle, a small portion, but it is a portion of me that I embrace, that I celebrate, that I love. I will not apologize for that, I will not let you make me feel as if I should apologize for that and I will not let you make that the sum defining total of who I am.

So for that reason I say: Bravo, Anderson. Three cheers for you.

Here's the email below:

Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I've thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to.
But I've also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I've often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.
I've always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn't matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly 12039_084asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn't set out to write about other aspects of my life.
Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.
I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.
The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.
I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don't give that up by being a journalist.
Since my early days as a reporter, I have worked hard to accurately and fairly portray 19447_001_1563_CCgay and lesbian people in the media - and to fairly and accurately portray those who for whatever reason disapprove of them. It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth.
Being a journalist, traveling to remote places, trying to understand people from all walks of life, telling their stories, has been the greatest joy of my professional career, and I hope to continue doing it for a long time to come. But while I feel very blessed to have had so many opportunities as a journalist, I am also blessed far beyond having a great career.
I love, and I am loved.
In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life. I appreciate your asking me to weigh in on this, and I would be happy for you to share my thoughts with your readers. I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.