The author would like to preface that his story is in no way wholesome, nor eloquently put, or even socially acceptable, but it is a story about innocence through dark times, coming alive when you thought you were over, and healing; not just persevering. This is a story about his dream, his “White Picket Fence.” Surviving dick, drugs, and mental health battles, all in front of a judgmental public, he was able to hold on to the hope that his dream and living to see the future could still be possibilities. This is “White Picket Fence” by C.L. Frederick.
Have you ever been so pissed off at the world that, instead of breaking and giving up, you said “Fuck-it. I’m going to rebel against everything that pisses me off and I’m going to be okay!” This ‘crazy’ bitch did just that. You can say that I took the road less traveled, but it was also a road to personal destruction.
I didn’t know what was happening to me. But looking back on it, I could say it was this ‘perfect storm’ of multiple “oh my fucking God” experiences that brought me to my knees and not in the good way. I was battling a severe depression coupled with undiagnosed PTSD from unaddressed past traumas. It was as if a war was raging inside of my body. On the outside, I masked my inner demons by playing into pretty and normal. I was compelled to convince everyone that “there were no problems here, I’m totally normal.” I was ashamed, bewildered, and completely blind to what I was going through. I have since realized you only fail at covering up your mental health and addiction struggles. I learned this the hard way. I failed epically.
Before this debacle, I had never been a regular drug user or abuser. My straight boys introduced me to ‘kush’ and it filled my rebellious heart with excitement knowing I was being bad with the boys. Using gave me peace and experience of what ‘numb’ felt like, I fucking loved it. Soon I was saying ‘yes’ to more hardcore drugs that in the past I had always refused. I found myself increasingly feeling the need to numb. It was during this time I stepped up my “love of dick game.” I was in so much trouble. As my addiction entered “code red, we have a major problem here” territory my shiny-new drug problem escalated until it was out of control. You could have quite literally dropped me off in the middle of a corn field hundreds of miles from civilization and I would have still managed to find drugs within minutes. A talent indeed. Numbing my pain through using any drug I could get my hands on became my ‘new normal.’ I needed to numb and didn’t deserve to have to feel. I never thought to ask for help, I trusted no one. I didn’t have a clue who could help me anyway.
I have never been the “give me sympathy, I need you” type of gay. I’m the “fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you, I’m out” type of gay. Thank Godney! I have always had a certain strength and that hasn’t always been a good thing. The gay communities I have been a part of had more times than not made me into their most talked about, gossiped about, and would rip me apart any chance they got. A lot of times I provided the ammunition as a means to “stick it to ‘em.” I see this all now as a very backhanded compliment. My family was incredibly ignorant of anything LGBTQ. I felt as if I had no one to talk to or protect me in life. I desperately needed to not go through my struggles alone. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how important this was at the time. Then again, how was I to know? I was no mental health or addiction expert, and it didn’t seem like anyone else in the world was either. Even today, mental health and addiction are stigmatized issues and most who suffer are given the stigma ‘scarlet letter.’ Few are open about their struggles. I needed someone to crack my façade, to reach me. I needed someone to let me know I wasn’t alone and that I would be okay.
Now let me level with you, I have had a few ‘rock-bottoms’ along my journey. As difficult as they were, I needed to have gone through them. These were give-up moments and I nearly lost everything, including my life. I’m basically the Joe Exotic of rock bottoms (btw…that bitch Carol Baskin totally fed her husband to that tiger). I consciously made the decisions to give up. All of the bad that I have experienced in life finally caught up with me. I lost complete interest in every passion I had in life, I cared about nothing. I figured I might as well go out with a bang. Benders with the added bonus of group sex sounded like a fun way to accomplish this. I didn’t have the strength to fight my personal demons. I didn’t understand why I had no fight left in me, but by that point it didn’t even matter anymore. I was over. I was so fucking over!
I don’t know how I managed to survive this ordeal and have since been diagnosed with what was a severe depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder (shocker), and PTSD instances from traumas in my life. I was hardcore embarrassed, but I was alive. I finally realized that being destructive isn’t brave. I needed to learn to love and trust myself and to fight tooth and nail for my ‘White Picket Fence” future. I had a fresh determination to fix my heart, to move forward, imperfect past and all. It is extremely difficult to ‘come-out’ as suffering from mental health and addiction issues. I grappled with that reality. Selena Gomez bravely spoke out about her own bi-polar disorder diagnosis. She said, “When I get to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it.” She is absolutely right. I owe a debt of gratitude to Gomez, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Colton Haynes, Demi Lovato, and Jonathan Van Ness who have been public with their own struggles. Through their shared experiences, I discovered I wasn’t alone in this and I hope the sharing of my story here helps others on the same level as their stories helped me.
Relationships in the ‘gay-experience’ are terribly important, but are often complicated. After years of disappointment and connections that were more about social, I found myself settling for and becoming comfortable replacing intimacy with random sex and sexual conquest. Adding to my fuck list became the safer option than opening up my heart. Hooking up while high, on the other hand, cut out the middleman as you’re spared feelings and emotion. I jokingly refer to that as ‘zombie love’ and it is basically just that. I was terrified to try for a real, normal, and healthy connection again. The pain of losing someone you genuinely cared about can be a devastating affair and I never wanted to feel that hurt again. Looking back, it’s difficult to grasp that I preferred being a slut than belonging with someone. Speaks volumes. One day I just might get this right and recognizing my intimacy issues has been a huge leap in the right direction. I guess this is where I should explain what “White Picket Fence” symbolizes to me. It’s the gay fairy-tale – two soulmates finding each other at exactly the right time, both having conquered their demons and are invested in keeping on the path of what is genuinely important in life. Value and mutual respect are priorities. An “us against the world” mentality. Creating a home life and paving the future as one. The home, fur-babies, and memories to be made. My ride or die bitch! Sex that is vulnerable and sober, devoid of the need to pursue opening the ‘connection’ sexually for others to join. And that is that. Basically David and Patrick type couple goals…you’re simply the best!
The tough love from my friends and my ‘created’ family has been the only thing to reach me. I am eternally grateful for them, especially after the hell I have put them through. They were brave and strong enough to call out my bullshit and believe you me, I was not always a joy. Concern when it comes from the heart, even when those offering feel helpless, is the foundation to an individual’s recovery. It took me a very long time to recognize this and I am so sorry for that. After some time, I learned to free myself from shame and listen to their concerns. I had problems that desperately needed to be addressed, it was time to ‘suck it up, buttercup’ and get real with myself. Seeking help is in no way easy, but you gotta do it. My recovery journey has been a hard one and people aren’t always understanding when it comes to mental health and addiction issues. That is why I find it important to share our personal experiences. Shedding light on these hard to talk about issues can make the journey easier for others. Intense therapy, treatment, and sober living have been making the difference in my life. I encourage anyone struggling to seek out resources that may work for them. I’m in a good place and I relish everyday because of what I have survived to get here. I am proud that by sharing my story I can help “normalize” the issues of mental health and addiction. It saves lives. Personally, I do not want anymore negative mental health or addiction plot twists in my life. I’m on the track to get all I ever wanted, to be loved and to have that “White Picket Fence.”