1. A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition
  2. An established disposition of the mind or character
  3. Customary manner or practice: a person of ascetic habits
  4. An addiction, especially to a narcotic drug

I’ve had some bad habits in my life. Smoking. Porn. Manipulating people to get what I want. Sabotaging relationships with guys I was really interested in. The best way I’ve found to break my bad habits is to be transparent. Open. Exposed. To public scrutiny. And then replace them with better habits.

Years ago, I gave up smoking cold turkey. Same with looking at porn.

No one knew about Billy. Because what would people say? What would people say if they knew I didn’t want what everyone around me wanted? My life of convention was not what I wanted. I was raised to keep things “in house” – to not air dirty laundry. But fuck that.

So I started talking. To two people I trusted not to judge, who were outside my social sphere. The first person said this:

“Sometimes it helps to write it down. Get it out of your head. You can at least have an honest conversation with yourself.”

The second person, the one friend who had known me the least amount of time, offered me this:

“You’re living a lie and you have no perspective. You need to get some perspective. Move out. Even it’s temporary. You’re so caught up in the inertia of it all, you can’t even see any other way.

You can live with me if you need to.”

Of course, the person I needed to be talking to was Dexter. And I wasn’t. So finally after another sleepless night, after telling Billy that day at work everything I needed to say to Dexter, I came home to Dexter and said, “We need to talk.”