Taking a Look

Friday, March 16, 2012

Let's Get One Thing Straight, I'm Not

"The pressures on gay teens can be overwhelming--to keep secrets, tell lies, deny who you are, and try to be who you're not. Remember: you are special and worth being cared about, loved, and accepted just as you are. Never, ever let anyone convince you otherwise" ~Alex Sanchez

“If no one had ever challenged religious authority, there’d be no democracy, no public schools, women’s rights, improvements to science and medicine, evolution of slavery and no laws against child abuse or spousal abuse. I was afraid to challenge my religious beliefs because that was the basis of creation—mine anyway. I was afraid to question the Bible or anything in it, and when I did, that’s when I became involved with PFLAG and realized that my son was a perfectly normal human being and there was nothing for God to heal because Bobby was perfect just the way he was.” ~Mary Griffith 

“I'm a supporter of gay rights. And not a closet supporter either. From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community. There are so many qualities that make up a human being... by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.”  ~Paul Newman

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals.  That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals.  It's just that they need more supervision"  ~Lynn Lavner

"Who would give a law to lovers?  Love is unto itself a higher law"  ~Boethius,The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524

"If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work:  'Hello.  Can't work today, still queer.'"  ~Robin Tyler

"No government has the right to tell its citizens when or whom to love.  The only queer people are those who don't love anybody."  ~Rita Mae Brown

"There's this illusion that homosexuals have sex and heterosexuals fall in love.  That's completely untrue.  Everybody wants to be loved."  ~Boy George

"I get sick of listening to straight people complain about, 'Well, hey, we don't have a heterosexual-pride day, why do you need a gay-pride day?'  I remember when I was a kid I'd always ask my mom:  'Why don't we have a Kid's Day?  We have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but why don't we have a Kid's Day?'  My mom would always say, 'Every day is Kid's Day.'  To all those heterosexuals that bitch about gay pride, I say the same thing:  Every day is heterosexual-pride day!  Can't you people enjoy your banquet and not piss on those of us enjoying our crumbs over here in the corner?"  ~Rob Nash

"If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise."  ~Johann von Goethe

"Never apologize for showing feeling.  When you do so, you apologize for the truth."  ~Benjamin Disraeli

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."  ~Dr. Seuss

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy."  ~Lucille Ball

"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying 'Amen' to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive."  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

"It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality.  It's like disapproving of rain. " ~Francis Maude

"Everybody's journey is individual.  If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy.  The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality."  ~James Baldwin

"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity:  monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine.  The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man:  members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity."  ~Thomas Szasz

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Correspondence

Dear 2011,

As I'm sitting here, waiting for the clock to tick down the last 34-ish hours of your life, I'm really only wondering two things: 1) What the hell, man? and 2) How well do you know 2012?

You're a fickle beast 2011, and you were entirely unpredictable for all the time that I knew you, so I'll give you props for keeping me on my toes. I know everyone sees a different side to you, but I think I saw you for what you really were: indecisive.

I think that you got a bad impression of me before we even met, and I'll attribute that to 2010. We ended on a pretty rocky note last Christmas what with the break-up with my ex-boyfreind and all. Tis the season to be brokenhearted and unwilling to get out of bed, indeed. You must have gotten all the details about that, because when you rolled around, everything just got worse.

January was a dark, dank, depressing. And I use depressing in the literal sense. Because, as you know, this was when I started getting pulled down that slippery slope into full-blown major depressive disorder. Ouchies. But at least by the end of the month you sent the ex away to study abroad again, albeit he left behind a suitcase of lies. But he found replacements while he was away.

I really wish you had taken the time to have gotten to know me in February, because then maybe, just maybe, we could have avoided the whole indoor graffiti incident. Oh, I'm sorry, incidents. Gotta love that plurality. Needless to say, that was a real kick in the nads. And stomach. And head. And heart. But if that wasn't enough, you took my friends. My closest friends up at school. Okay, I'll concede, you didn't really do anything personally to them. Probably because you were focusing all your angst on me, and then they decided they couldn't be around me. You've clearly never been lonely. And I'm talking truly, deep down, in the pit of your very existence, lonely. Because you would never wish that on someone if you had a decent bone in your body.

Little did I know, however, that you were just getting started. Because March was a doozy. The lies unraveled, the depression got worse, the therapist didn't know what the hell to do with me, and my nightmares increased to two-per-night. Assuming I even managed to sleep. A lot of times I couldn't because I would spend my evenings running down the bathroom so that I could stress vomit somewhere other than my garbage can. Eventually I didn't want to do that though, because I started getting paranoid that I was being watched. I mean, clearly this person knew where I lived right? And they had gone to great lengths (twice) to frighten me there. Can you blame me for the fear? Maybe. But can you blame the depression and the loneliness and the ensuing feelings of self-pity and self-hate that resulted thereof? Maybe not. Of course, with a  concoction like that, all you can really brew is suicidal thoughts. I know, I know, completely illogical way to respond to everything, right? I had a lot of love and support going my way, but the funny thing with depression is, all that stuff gets blocked out when your mind gets taken over by something other than your own consciousness. You can't hear the cheers, just the jeers. 

Were you proud when I decided to take those pills? When I downed, I don't know, what was it? Eight, nine, ten of them? Or was that you? The strange, separate voice in my  head that told me to stop? Well, who knows. But I did. Threw them all up and decided there was another way out. Which I then took immediately. Bye bye school! I'll catch ya later.

You know what, I'm being selfish. Maybe things were going on with you that I just wasn't aware of. Depression can do that to you. Make you think that you're the only person with problems. The only one struggling to get by. And I know that's not true. I generally like to think of myself as a good person. Selfless when I can be. So I'm sorry if you were going through some things too and I couldn't be there for you. Believe me, I wanted to. But you have to understand, I couldn't. Physically couldn't.

Maybe you took pity, or maybe you were working things out for yourself, but you allowed April to get a little bit better. Though not a lot, I have to be honest. The days I spent wishing I could stop crying, and the nights I agonized over whether or not I should sleep for fear of the dreams, were pretty numerous. And you didn't let up on the loneliness. But the reinforcements were coming, and all-in-all I had started to see that I made the right choice amidst all the crap the month before.

And then May, when I think that I finally won you over, at least for a time. Perhaps you're just more agreeable in the sun and springtime. Who isn't? Was I still depressed? Absolutely. Was I finding reasons to keep going? Here and there. My friends certainly helped. Oh, no, not the ones from up at school. No, see, they were done with me. But my other friends had stepped up in their absence. I'm sorry, look at me digressing like this. Where was I? Oh right, June.

Could June have been a better start to my recovery? I think not. So applause to you, my friend, and eternal thanks. I got to experience my first ever surprise party (though I deduced the surprise beforehand), tanned it up in the Bahamas, and then left North America spitting in sea foam as I sailed towards the Mediterranean. And that's when you really pampered me. Not a drop of rain for the next 66 days. Just a summer of tapas in Barcelona, gelato in Naples, poetry in Rome, kissing in Croatia, Bulgarian beaches, Turkish baths, and camel rides through the Moroccan desert. 

I will always be infinitely grateful for every last second of those sixty-six days, on and off ship, as well as the incredible people I met, the time I spent with them, and all of the places we saw together. I know that I am lucky to have experienced such an adventure, and I'll never forget my own fortune in that respect, but I do like to think that I deserved it all. 

So then bam! It's back to school in September. A decision that surprised many, including myself. But I was on a high. It seemed that Mount Vesuvius, hungover kayaking trips, and sexy ship boys had alleviated my depression for the time being. What a relief. So I marched back up north, as you know, and tried to make it all work. But, alas, other than my enjoyable 21st birthday weekend, not much worked. Not only was I getting anywhere in my major, but I realized that hey, there ISN'T anywhere to go in this major. It's a waste of time. Which I seemed to a lot of my friends now that my ex and I were studying on the same campus. Be glad, 2011, that no one can ever use you as a stand-in friend. It's not a good feeling.

Neither is being told that, for the third time, someone has gone out of their way to make sure you know exactly what they think of you. I get it, I get it, you're not O.K. with the whole gay thing. But you'll have to take it up with my DNA. Because that's me, and I have nothing to apologize for.

Well, I had clearly pissed you off again, because everything started falling apart once more. He wanted me gone, no one seemed to want me around, and all of the support (though appreciated, this I swear) was too little, too late. Bye bye again!

Of course, this time being home wasn't as awful. Oh, don't get me wrong, it was still pretty shitty. The nightmares, which had never really let up, even in the summer, came screaming back. With a vengeance. And I felt that cold sting of loneliness again. Old news huh? Yeah I guess you're right. But it's hard when you have to admit that the world you loved and the place you called home ended up failing. Were my expectations too high? Was I in the wrong place to begin with? Had I done something to anger you again? Did I have too much fun on my voyage? Was that it? Was I too happy? Gotta be careful about that happiness. It'll bite ya in the end.

It's a good thing November rolled around, because that helped prevent the depression from taking over as strongly as it did when we first met. I think you know, as I was pretty vocal about it, but if you forgot, I wrote a novel. I completed 50,000+ words in 29 days, the most I've ever written in that amount of time. And you know what? It really helped. If only to keep me busy. But that's how you fight depression, or at least that's one way. Stay busy. And visit family. They're good medicine. Especially mine. Because even if they live in Stupid Ohio, they know exactly what to do and where to go to make you think that you're living it up in LA. So that's what I learned: stay busy and put yourself around family. Oh, and start therapy. Managed to do that by Thanksgiving too. And didn't that take forever? I'd like to think you weren't involved in that, but maybe you were still harboring some sort of grudge.

If you were, I didn't notice. Because I kept writing through December. Which made it a MUCH better time than when 2010 was around. I ended up with a 97,000 word novel on my hands, ready and waiting for the rewrite/editing process and eventual publication. Yeah I didn't end up with a holiday job, and yes, I was too late to make admission for a new school in the spring term, but I don't think I wasted my time. I think there was no better way I could have spent the end of our time together actually.

You did let up for the holidays, though, and I tip my new fedora to you for that. Christmas was exponentially more enjoyable than it was last year.

And now our time together has come to an end. And I have to know, have you left me any indication of what things will be like with 2012? You were so back and forth with me I have no idea what to expect next. Is 2012 as prickly as you are? Laidback? A firecracker? A fan of surprises? Or pretty predictable? Hopefully not too stressed out, though there is that whole end of the world thing he has on his shoulders. 

I guess these are all pointless questions to ask. There's no reason you should know anything at all about 2012, or exert any influence, is there? You're over. Finished. Done with. Sure, you'll go out with a bang, but everyone always does. It's nothing all that special anymore. 

And I've just got to say, though I thank for those amazing, sunny months in the middle, you can take all the crap and the disappointment and the heartache that bookended that time and get the hell out of here. I am not sad to see you go. Or better yet, let me turn my back on you and ride off to greener pastures. And I'll leave you to finish whatever it is you need to in these final hours. Don't expect a visit. I'll just be taking my experiences, a few good memories, and the lessons that I learned and be on my way. 

I have a date with 2012. 



Friday, October 14, 2011

Burned Anew

"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy"--Aristotle

I kept it all in for months. You see, I was afraid it would come across as hate. But it's not hate. I don't hate, and I feel none towards the following. It's simply anger. To prevent it from becoming hate, however, it had to be said. And it had to be said here. And now.


Anger noun. 1. A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong 2. Pain 3. grief; trouble

Anger, one of the five stages of grief, along with denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Forgive, verb. 1. To cease to feel resentment against 2. To pardon an offense or an offender

How dare you? The place I once called home, that I loved so much. How dare you? How dare you tolerate this kind of behavior? How dare you tolerate it three times? How dare you make promises and promise answers and answer nothing? How dare you take my pain and twist it into a community campaign? How dare you? How dare you disregard my privacy and MY SUFFERING for your marches and vigils and rallies? How dare you try to martyr me in the offices of your pretentious buildings? How dare you cover up your inadequacy with new departments and special positions and redrawn policies? And you do all this and yet you found nothing. You punished no one. YOU STOPPED LOOKING. How dare you? How dare you make insinuations? How dare you overstep your Goddamn fucking boundaries and treat us like children? How dare you play couples counseling? How dare you say any of this was for my benefit?

How dare you? How dare you help me wash the paint off and then brush me away? How dare you leave me when I needed you most? How dare you tell me the pain was too much for you? How dare you tell me I was better off alone? How dare you tell me that you do not understand, and how dare you not try? How dare you? You who were my closest friends. How dare you apologize too little and too late? How dare you stand there as if I were in the wrong? How dare you ever treat anyone the way you treated me? How dare you turn your back on someone in pain?

How dare you? How dare you ignore me, reject me, avoid me, hurt me and have the nerve to call me "pissy" when all I ever did was reach you to you? How dare you? How dare you use me as a stand-in until your circle of friends was complete once again? How dare you throw me out like I never was there at all? How dare you look me in the eye and promise to be there and be everywhere but? How dare you say nothing, say nothing but “leave” when I expressed the gut-wrenching pain that was consuming me? How dare you? How dare you call yourself my friend?

How dare you? How dare you come into my life? How dare you take my hand and tell me everything was all right? How dare you bring us together knowing full well we had an expiration date? How dare you take my heart to Europe and drown it in the ocean? How dare you send me that letter? How dare you tell me those three words? How dare you take them back? How dare you? How dare make promises you never intended to keep? How dare you lie by calling me friend? How dare you? How dare you act as if you never knew me? How dare you treat me like that in public? You who won’t even read this, you who I extended every apology, friendly gesture, and peace offering to no avail, you who behave like a child, you, who knowing how much pain you have caused me, knowing to the deepest extent, never once said YOU WERE FUCKING SORRY. How dare you? How dare you ever say that you cared for me?

How dare you? How dare you presume anything about my life? How dare you publically humiliate me in my private space? How dare you bring to light my deepest shame? How dare you soil the place where I lived and turn sanctuary into prison? How dare you make me fear for my safety in my home? How dare you call me that? How dare you hurt me without knowing me? How dare you say those things in writing but not to my face? You coward. You self-righteous, ignorant, disgusting coward. How dare you walk around that campus after you destroyed everything it meant to me? How dare you make the effort to express your hatred for me THREE TIMES? How dare you sleep at night knowing what you’ve done? 

How dare you? You who looks back from the mirror. How dare you call yourself brave? How dare you not stay and fight? How dare you give them the satisfaction? How dare you believe that you made the right choice?

And You. Where were You? Where are You? You who are supposed to walk by my side, carry me through hardship, and show your light in the dark. Where were You? When I cried in the night, and screamed in my pillow and my eyes turned up as the blood ran down, where were You? Awake, a living nightmare and asleep, dreams laced with horror, and I fell and lost and was defeated. And I used tears and blood to whisper “Please.” And You said nothing. You did nothing. Where were You?


Thank you. To the place I once called home. Thank you for the time I spent, the people I met, and the things I did. Thank you for all of the lessons learned. Thank you for the opportunities, the experiences, the activities, the insight. Thank you for showing support, misguided or otherwise. Thank you for reacting and responding. Thank you for changing. Thank you for attempting to be my home. And thank you for helping me realize we weren't meant for one another. 

Thank you. To the one who apologized. To the one who said "I'm sorry" and let me say it back. Thank you for the memories, the gifts, the smiles, and the laughs. Thank you for letting me heal, and thank you for being there in the end. Thank you for putting friendship above pride.

Thank you. To the one showed me how to be cautious. Thank you for showing me who my true friends in this world are. Thank you for reminding me that I am far too forgiving. And trusting. Thank you for all that you did while I was in pain, and thank you for not doing anything recently. Thank you for stepping out of my life, so that I wouldn't have to push you.

Thank you. To the one who hurt me more than anyone. Thank you for teaching me to guard my heart. Thank you for teaching me that love is cruel. Thank you for showing me that my worst fear was a rational one. Thank you for letting me see that I can live without you, and that I want to.

Thank you. To the coward. Thank your for helping me realize that I am stronger than you will ever be. Thank you giving me a chance to start over in a place untainted by your presence. Thank you for fueling me to overcome all the hurt you know that you caused. Thank you for helping me grow enough to know that in walking away, I make the choice to live and not suffer your ugly actions anymore.

Thank you. To the self. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for pushing yourself every day. Thank you for getting out of bed. Thank you for reminding yourself that you are loved, and for looking at that red binder whenever you need it. Thank you for actively seeking help. Thank you for taking a life-changing journey. And thank you for stepping away before the progress you made was torn down by hate.

And thank You. For the clear voice that said Stop and prevented The Worst Night from becoming The Last Night. Thank You for helping me forgive and love all of the above. But not to forget.

"Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean"--Maya Angelou