“Turn the Beat Around”

Guest Writer: R. L. Norman

Honey Let Me Tell You Something:

I’m lying here in the darkness of my bedroom.

I’ve closed the shades to shut the world out. I’m feeling like I don’t have a care in the world as I let my troubles stay outside my door, and just relax for a while. It’s my mental health day, so to speak.

I’m lying here with a good friend of mine. His name is Carl, and I’ve known him for almost 15 years. He’s my special friend with benefits.

A couple of times a year, we visit each other. But because of the pandemic, we haven’t seen each other since earlier this year.

However, we’ve both been tested three times for the virus before we decided to enjoy each other’s company. And I am glad we did because I’ve missed the touch of a man. I’ve missed the physical contact of someone helping me exhale.

Carl is light-skinned, 6’1”, 170lbs, bald, clean-shaven, except for a cute little mustache. He’s sexy in clothes, but even sexier when he’s naked. He’s got great DNA (D*** and A**), which is probably why when we get together, we are naked most of the time.

But along with the sex, we have an intellectual relationship. We talk about anything, and laugh and joke about everything. It’s good to have someone to talk to; you know, to just get things off your chest.

I’m not sure why we are not in a committed relationship; but being friends with benefits is great for us, considering the state of the world today. The whole world has changed. We are now in the “new normal.” As we are intertwined, we started talking about life—including being a gay Black man in this day and age.

I’ve been 60 years old for two months now, and I find myself thinking more and more about the state of my life.

Am I where I want to be in my life at this age?

Did I fulfill my hopes and dreams–or at least some of them?

Am I happy with my life at the moment? Or, is there something more I need to do to further my legacy?

I remember when I was 16 years old in high school, thinking I was grown. I didn’t have a care in the world! I hung out with my friends drinking Wild Irish Rose, Thunderbird, or Old English 500–whichever our two dollars could buy. We would smoke cigarettes, trying to be like the cool kids instead of the nerds we were. At the same time, I was trying to figure out how to “play with boys without anyone finding out.” (Think about it. You know what I mean.) Life was good.

But then came college.

I had to consider what I wanted to accomplish in life. Suddenly, I had to have a plan! So, I had a list of goals to achieve.

I longed to be an architect and design and build my own home. I wanted to be married with four kids and a dog.

I desired to work for a big company in New York, where I had an office and a secretary. And I wanted to travel the world.

But as I lie here, I start thinking about what goals I’ve achieved.

It seems like none.

First, I never became an architect. I never designed or built my own home. I did get married but never had kids. And I never had a big office or secretary. And I didn’t travel the world.

So, the question is: did I accomplish my goals and meet my expectations in life?

Unfortunately, at this moment, it appears that the answer is “no”. It seems like I didn’t do any of those things in my 60 years of life. However, instead of dwelling on the negative, I must focus on the positive things I have accomplished.

Being a gay Black man in this day and age, I have done a lot: becoming an engineer and working for a large company in New York, on Park Ave.

I experienced several years of wedded bliss; that is until I got divorced. And for several people in my lifetime, I was the best partner I could be.

I become an author, columnist, podcast host, poet, and stand-up performer. And I did travel to London and Paris!

I also became the best friend I could be to several people and showed the best love I could to my family.

As I think about it, I truly did achieve a lot! But sometimes, I think I could have, should have, would have done more.

And sometimes, I wonder if I did enough.

During the quarantine, our minds play tricks on us. We start to think more and more, and sometimes reality gets twisted–especially if we are doing it alone. We become depressed and dejected, dwelling on the negative things that make our heart sad.

And sometimes, just sometimes, you may need to talk to someone with whom you can voice and share your hopes, dreams, concerns, and life issues.

Two good friends of mine are forming workshops and seminars for men of a certain age (MOCA), 40 and over. They will be frank, open discussions, and analyses about the unique and critical issues that directly impact men of a certain age who are Gay/SGL (Same-gender loving).

Unlike some people, I have Carl to talk to about such things. But some people need this type of support group during this trying time of quarantining and possible depression.

But we need to turn that somber beat in our head around and make it pound faster and faster to the positive beats in life. Make a list of goals and rise up! Don’t let your life be at a stand-still. Just because life is limited right now due to the virus, doesn’t mean that your possibilities are limited.

So, as you analyze your life, don’t fixate on the negative stuff. Instead, focus on the positive aspects. Don’t sit around thinking your life is over and you have gone as far as you could. Turn your life beat around.

These thoughts are running through my head as I turn around and cuddle Carl a little bit more…

R. L. Norman is a writer, podcaster, performer, and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.”  The fifth installment “Honey, Hush Don’t Ask And I Won’t Tell ” was a sizzling sequel to the series. Now his sixth and seventh books, “Honey, I Can’t Stand The Rain” and “Honey, Love is a Rollercoaster,” both debut in 2021. As well, R. L.’s “Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived, performed, and wrote, showcasing the main character of his series, returns next year. And catch his podcast, “Honey Let Me Tell You Something Else” also returning soon to Itunes. All of these endeavors are part of his production company, Honey Let Me Tell You. You may reach R. L. at his online home, https://rlnorman1.wixsite.com/honeyletmetellyou; by email at rl.norman@aol.com; on Facebook at RL NORMAN; on Twitter, @rl_norman; and on Instagram: rlnorman1.