Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Die 2016. Just Die Already.

**Strong Language Ahead. Reader Discretion is Advised**

I wanted to post something unbearably clever about 2016, since this will be the last post of the year, but really all I can say is, 2016, you're a whore. You're a dirty, crusty whore. From losing jobs to break ups and car accidents, this has been an incredibly fucked up year. Now, I usually pride myself on being resilient, hard times usually don't phase me. But 12 months of utter chaos are taking their toll, and I just want to run away and live on the beaches of Fiji, smoking Himalayan Temple Ball, and watching the sunset over the ocean. But then I remember that I have better things to kill my brain cells with (Like Scotch!) (+500,000 redeeming points because I like Scotch. Scotchy scotchy scotch), and I hate being bored. So without further adieu, let's hit the highlights and low points of the year. I'll keep score and let's see how 2016 does.

I lost my job in January (-500 redeeming points. Also, thanks for that one, former bosses. January is THE BEST time to lose your job). Yea, this caused some stress, but at that point I was starting to look for a new job anyway. Sending people to collections because they haven't handed over a tax credit seems shady at best, and downright illegal at worst. I found out that I was going to be losing the job on or around January 15, so right as the semester was starting. Again, thanks for that. Now, I realize that they had to do what's best for the company, and I understand and accept that. It's totally fine.

Skip ahead to March, and I find an amazing new job in... a town that's 64 miles away(+50 redeeming points)!! So, this one is a blessing and a curse. I love my job(+10), and I love taking a proactive role in helping victims of domestic violence(+1,000). I love my co-workers(+10), and I just love my job. Plus the town it's in is super nifty. Notwithstanding, I have to leave my house by 07:30(minus like five million for this. I hate mornings. But not really. (-500), otherwise I'll be late. Awesome. So because I was settling into a new job, I had to finish the semester without attending class(-500). But I did it through no small amount of effort and the help of an amazing friend(+100).

June was awesome, because Pride (+300). Except that during this glorious weekend, my boyfriend and I got into a fight(-600), which kind of overshadowed the whole thing. But that's fine. Just 2016 doing it's thang. Oh, and Bernie Sanders lost the nomination(-500). To conventional Democrats and those who subscribe to identity politics, I would like to offer you a deep, sincere, and heartfelt fuck you. America has changed more than you know, and you have to throw white folks a bone every once in a while. If you run on a platform for and by the minorities, you will lose the Presid... oh wait. GOOD FUCKING JOB GUYS. *Sigh. OK, let's keep moving.

July-August were pretty unremarkable. Thank god. 2016 has been the kind of year that, when an unremarkable month occurs, you're happy. (+1,000. I feel sick that I had to assign those points. Just for being life, without anything shitty happening. Awesome)

September probably takes the cake. My ex-not boyfriend broke up with me(-1,000,000), I moved (all of this happened in the middle of the semester. -1,000,000). Seriously. Fuck 2016 with a hot pipe. Two major life events in the middle of the god damned semester. Whatever. It's fine. Frankly the break up kind of colored everything till November. I went out and partied a lot, met some amazing new people (+1), discovered that gay men just can't be friends (-40 redeeming qualities), and worked on doing and being my best. I honestly was really happy (+500) because our relationship was toxic and it really exacerbated my depression and his. We're both good people, but at that point, not for each other. Anywho, so partying, drinking, staying out too late continued till I started my competitions. I had three competitions in four weeks, all in different cities in California and Utah. Good times were had (+500).

And now we're in December. I wrecked and totaled my car (+1,000,000. How fucking sad is that that the best thing to happen to me all year is a car accident? Lulz). My semester is done (+500,000), but I find myself in a severe depression (-1,000,000). But it sucks because I'm a high functioning depressive, so yea, I want to lay in bed and cut myself (not in bed. Blood is a pain in the ass to get out of luxurious 500 count Egyptian cotton sheets). But I don't. I get up and drive to work, deal with insurance bullshit, and go home. Nobody knows the crushing darkness I'm in right now, and that sucks.

So, let's tally and see how 2016 fared. Total negatives: -3,002,600. Total Positives: 2,003,421. Year Outcome: -999,179. Verdict: God-awful, not good, very bad year. Sentence: Having to read the tweet from Carrie Fisher's dog after she died every day for the rest of your life. OH YEA! Carrie Fisher died! But what a way to go, she drowned in the moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Tack on another -1,000,000. I grew up with Star Wars. Fuck. You. 2016.

Oh yea. And Trump. But he doesn't even deserve a cursory nod. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

3 Things Gay Guys Need to Stop Doing

So I've noticed something, when I was reintegrating into gay society, and I'm sure that a lot of straight women will agree with me. Boys suck. The sheer depth and breadth of the self-serving, narcissistic nature of men makes me want to be a hermit in the mountains. Now, I should clarify. I'm sure that not all gay men are stupid, but it surely seems that the lion's share of them are. This post isn't going to be about bottom shaming or any of that stuff that my social justice warrior colleagues peddle. I just want to give three ideas that may help gay guys be less... stupid. If that's possible.

1. Learn how to be friends with other gay guys you are attracted to.

OK, You've just met someone who is just way too attractive to not talk to. However, they're recently out of a relationship, new to the gay scene, coming to terms with their sexuality, insert reason here. They've told you their not ready for a relationship and only want friends, and you do pretty good at the "just friends" thing for a minute, but then the little innuendos work their way back into the conversation, the joking flirts start building sexual tension, and before you know it, you're full on hitting on them again. I've noticed that single gay men seem to gather around them other gay men who they aren't interested in boning. Yea, they have a great personality (*insert hardcore eye roll here), but you don't like their hair, they're fat, they're stupid, or you're just not attracted to them for whatever banal reason. That's fine, it's OK not to be attracted to someone, but being forced to surround yourself with people you're not attracted to because you keep chasing off the attractive ones because they don't want to bone or have a relationship is just bad form. Now, this is coming from a place of deep frustration, because I thought that I had made some good friends during my reintegration into the community, but they couldn't seem to understand that I just wanted friends. I didn't want friendship with the added emotional, romantic tension of, "I'm fine being friends right now, but I'm waiting somewhat impatiently for you to be ready to date again. So while I'm waiting, why don't we cuddle?" So yea, I'm frustrated right now because I thought that I had set down clear boundaries, but these were swept aside, and I've had to distance myself from people I thought could be my friend. I don't want to be unfair here, so I will say that when the flirty innuendos start again, it's super easy for the person who's not ready for a romantic entanglement to flirt back, thereby sending the wrong signals. So it's not all on you to observe and enforce the boundaries. The person who set them should also be cognizant of them, because it's super easy to send the wrong message to the person who is interested, and at the end of the day, all there are is a lot of hurt feelings. So learn how to just be friends. Those relationships will be a lot more rewarding if they're cultivated with care and patience.

2. Observe boundaries.

So to piggy back off of that, talk to your friends and/or/ your romantic interests. Ask them how they feel about things, ask for clear cut boundaries. I'm going to complicate it a little bit by saying that in my mind, there are hard boundaries and soft boundaries (calm down SJW's. Let me explain). First off, I'm a mega-busy person. I spend three days out of the week doing 16 hour days, homework on weekends, competitions out of State, etc. I won't say I'm introverted, but I do know that I'm just tired a lot of the time. So with friendships and my relationship, I want to be able to just say that I'm tired, I want to go home and go to bed early. That's a soft boundary, because if my boyfriend says, "I know you're tired, but I'm feeling neglected." of course I'm going to go cuddle him and tell him how important he is to me. Hard boundaries generally seem to involve sexy rumpus, so in regards to that, observe the hard boundaries in the bedroom. No means no. Don't infer that they're OK with what you're about to do with that zucchini. There are hard boundaries outside of the bedroom too though. If they're a sexual assault survivor, find out what their triggers are, or if they are dealing with internalized homophobia, ASK what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable. Learn each other's boundaries, live each other's boundaries, love each other's boundaries. Now, it's important to note that boundaries will change over time. No one lives in a homeostatic universe where their personality will remain the same for years and decades to come. You will change, just as your partner will change, so communicate openly and honestly. Don't let your late night conversations be all about pop culture and clothes (or whatever pods of gay men talk about), actually try to learn something about your boyfriend/love interest/partner. Finding out what their boundaries are will make your life a hell of a lot easier and the relationship a lot more rewarding.

3. Stop being so damn catty.

HYPOCRISY ALERT: I am an extremely sarcastic asshole. It's my second language. But I also know when to rein it in and be serious, compassionate, etc. Being sassy all the time is not cute or endearing. I hate it when I'm trying to tell a story and I get interrupted by some baby gay who has a killer one-liner. And it's not limited to the baby gays (those who are just barely coming out of the closet). I've watched many gay men be unnecessarily sassy or catty, and it's just irritating. I understand that you have a sharp wit, but there is a time and a place for everything, so learn when it's appropriate. I know that being the bigger, adultier person is not fun, but we need a community of mature men that can interface with the powers that be. If all the outside world sees is a bunch of guys being sassy bitches to each other, it decreases our standing in the world at large. Have some maturity for once. Control your impulses to cut down or denigrate someone else. Complement them instead and see your life get better. Like I've said, I'm an offender on this point, because I fell in love with that little bump of adrenaline that I get when I'm sassy. I love the face the person makes and I love that I can render someone speechless. But, that's also a great way to end up alone because it ultimately pushes people away. "Yea, James is a good guy, but I just can't stand how sarcastic he is." It's something I still struggle with, but telling someone how nice their hair looks or that you're glad to see them really makes the day brighter. This world is dark enough without us being bitches to each other.

So that's my list of things that really have been grating on me lately. Take it for what you will, it's not a sure and fast way to have a happy life, indeed it seems that these actually take more time and effort than just giving in to my baser instincts. I suppose that's probably because gay men look at each other like we're disposable. Don't like your boyfriend? Get a new one! Want sex? Have a hookup! Intimacy is hard, but I've found that when I actually apply myself, observing these three things, along with a few others, makes me a better person, and because I'm a better person, improves the quality of my friends and friendships. Last, but certainly not least, have a merry christmas. Go spend time with those you love. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Case for Hate

I was laying in bed the other night, texting back and forth with a more conservative friend of mine, and they brought up the point that I should feel lucky to be in the US, because in Iran or Saudi Arabia, they just push homos off of really tall buildings or set them on fire or hang them with cranes. Yes, how fortunate that I live in a Country where I don't have to fear institutional retribution for who I am. I should be thankful that this isn't a Muslim majority country that has instituted Shariah. So yes, I should fear and hate Muslims for what they've done to members of my Community.

But wait, that doesn't seem quite right does it? It would seem that I should feel fortunate that I live in a Christian majority Country, where I only have to worry about being denied marriage equality, healthcare that is LGBT informed, and the ability to hold hands with my boyfriend without fear of having the shit beat out of us. So no, I don't have to worry about being killed, but I do have to worry about the institutional discrimination that I, every member of my Community, and every minority in this supposedly great Country has to face.

So I'm curious. Why should I hate and fear Muslims when I face discrimination here at home by people who have a deeply held religious belief? Why should I be tolerant of their reticence and intolerance? Why should I be tolerant of their subscription to Divine Command Theory as a viable code of ethics?

Because I'm a decent person, that's why. I will stand up for my Christian brothers and sisters (I'm still Catholic) and fight for their rights to worship god in whatever fashion they want, and I will fight for them to be able to post on social media about how evil marriage equality is, or that HIV/AIDS is god's punishment for being gay until the bitter end. And I will fight for women to have ultimate control over their bodies and equal pay to men. And I will continue to fight until the bitter end. But it's striking to me that this seems to be a two way street, but one lane is empty.

I've been admonished by my deeply religious friends not to judge an entire faith by the actions of a few misanthropes. So why the hate and distrust for Muslims? There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world, they compose roughly 1% of the US population, and while there are radical Muslim terrorists, how is the Westborough Plains Church any better? How is legislating against a minority in the US Congress any better? No, they're not hanging us, but they are stripping away rights, and it may continue to the point where gangs can tie up young men to fence posts and beat them to death. A democracy must take into consideration the well-being of ALL people. Not just the minority.

Finally, isn't Love the fulfillment of the law? I've got to jet. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Homophobic Monster (Pt. 2)

Last week, I confessed that I suffer from a case of internalized homophobia, or more succinctly put, hatred of self. This is, in large part, because I was raised in a deeply religious home, and I was also home schooled, which only served to intensify everything. I remember learning Leviticus 18:22, which states that, "A man shall not lie with another man as with a woman. It is an abomination..." I vaguely remember the end of the plague years, when effective medication was finally created and released for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, specifically that HIV was sent by god as a punishment for their (mine) wickedness. I remember members of my family calling Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen DeGenerate instead (admittedly, that's clever. But still not OK.) Above all, I remember feeling two very conflicting emotions. 

One was, "Yea, those people should know better and come to god!" I was pretty high on the Holy Spirit at that time. I remember thinking that being gay was a choice, and that these heathens were just so lost in sin that they refused to change, similar to the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah. How could they refuse the saving grace of god? It just felt soooo good going to church on Sunday, singing hymns, learning immutable truths of the universe. But that didn't play well against who I was as a person.

Because I knew from probably around age 10 or so that I was different. I knew that I liked seeing shirtless boys at the swimming pool, and I knew that I had a crush on one of my guy friends. So I pushed that down. It was a choice, after all. 

Except that it wasn't. The feelings never went away, so I mentally, emotionally, and spiritually vilified that part of myself. I hated it, whenever I would see a cute boy, or when I felt the stirrings of adolescence towards another guy. During this period, I was equally high on god and filled with self-hate, and it appears as though self-hate has a longer shelf life. 

What I truly wanted to put into words this week is the self-loathing, hate, and sadness that comes along with this problem, however some trite thought experiment fails to capture the raw, visceral emotions that come along with this. It feels as though you're perpetually disappointing your parents, making them sad, and angry all of the time. It's like carrying the full weight of every wrong you've ever done, but you can never right this one because it's who you are. It's like looking in the mirror and not recognizing yourself, because, in my case, the amiable church going, god believing in, trying to be hetero guy is not looking back anymore. It's a complete loss of personal identity (when you first come out, and years of cognitive dissonance thereafter), knowing that you're disappointing your parents, sadness, and anger. 

And these don't go away easily. If, during the formative years of your life, you are indoctrinated in a certain way, that simply doesn't wash away with a few therapy sessions and a good cry, because that was your identity up until the day you come out. It's not something that confronting the homophobic people in your life fixes, and it's certainly not something that resides quietly in your mind. This monster roars persistently until you deal with it. But the way you deal with it matters. 

Speaking for myself, I need to learn to love who I am, including the nasty, messy, squishy emotions. I need to truly believe that it's ok to be gay, and I need to learn that ALL of me is intrinsically valuable, not just the parts that please my family or friends. So I hope that this sheds a bit of light on what homophobia feels like, and that what you say to yourself or to your gay friends really does matter. I don't usually say that we should treat people like delicate little snowflakes, but in the case of LGBT people, especially those struggling with homophobia, it's important to be cognizant of what you say, because this affliction kills. Gay kids are eight times more likely to kill themselves. 

I've got to jet, be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon!

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255. Suicide doesn't fix anything, it just prevents even the possibility of things getting better. Stay strong.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'm a homophobe

I've struggled to write this post, frankly. I didn't really want to discuss this openly, however the secret to a good blog is sharing everything. Now, I have already told you that I come from a conservative family. I was home schooled using a religious curriculum from a deeply religious academy. I grew up in a Protestant faith, and I was deeply immersed in the Church up until I was about 19 (ironically the age I also came out at). I'll briefly tell my coming out story just for context.

I knew from a very young age that I wasn't quite like other girls, but I pushed it down until I couldn't deny it any longer. I knew that I needed to come out and live authentically, otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep muscling through my depressive episodes. So, I came out to my parents. They flat out denied it, because I tried to come out as bisexual, and so they just didn't comprehend it (I think).

So, with that brief over view, I'd like to make an important concession. I am a homophobe. Not in the traditional sense, where I want to tie young men to fence posts and beat them to death, but rather in the sense that I hate and fear myself. Having spent so much time hearing about the evil homos and their evil agenda, it became a part of me, hating them (and now myself). I do not hold any grudges against my parents for the way they chose to raise me, nor do I hold any grudges against those who decided they didn't want to be friends with a homo after I came out.

But the fact remains that I still hate myself for having these attractions. I hate that I want to have a life-long, committed relationship to a man. I hate that I even find men attractive. Would I become straight if I could? Absolutely not. I've worked too damn long and too damn hard to get this far to just give up. But the fact remains, I know my mom is disappointed and thinks that with enough prayer I can change (I don't think she thinks its a choice anymore, so I won't offer conjecture on that). I know that certain members of my family would rather have a straight brother.

But what I truly wish is that they could feel what I feel, think what I think, and go through what I've been through. A part of me still thinks that I am still some unnatural thing and that same part wants to kill me, because I'm tired of being a disappointment to my family.

But that's why I am striving to stop being a disappointment to myself. Because it's not unnatural. Homosexuality is ubiquitous throughout all of nature. It's not a sin, because socio-economic pressures dictated that men and women procreate as much as possible, and men boning men prevented that. There is nothing sinful or immoral about it, and I sincerely hope that someday, I actually believe what I just wrote. I've got to jet. Stay humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Void (Pt. 3 of Letters to My Ex)

This is the third and final installment of the Letters to My Ex series. I started to post these letters as a type of catharsis, and it's been working. Because I don't want to turn this blog into a memorial to the relationship, I will make this the last letter.

It's been a month since we've been apart, and the nights still seem terribly long without you. I know that you're probably having the time of your life, getting back out, and meeting new people like you love to do, and that brings me happiness and pain in equal measure. I wish desperately that I was at your side, doing those things, but I know now that you and I were just too different to make it.

So I am going to be happy for you. I'm going to be happy that you are now able to go out and be a social butterfly. I'm going to be happy that you will be able to pursue your dreams and wants, even if it's without me. I'm going to be happy that you can... be you. And I want you to be. I tried to "fix" something that wasn't broken, and you resented me for it, and rightly so. But now we're free of each other, and even though it's painful, I'm glad for it.

My therapist told me that I am in love with things that could be, that I adore potentiality, and that I'm constantly running. My entire existence is focused around the concept of, "To be is to do.", and I tried to bring that to our relationship. I tried to accomplish it, just like I try to accomplish everything else. And that's wrong. Apparently I still have a lot to work on, and I'm sorry that I didn't have the fortitude to realize that sooner and break it off. I miss you, but I'm glad that you're happy again. I hope to someday see you again, but until then, I hope that you're life is spectacular.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Remorse (Pt. 2 of Letters to My Ex)

As part of an ongoing effort for recovery, I'm publishing a series of letters I wrote to my ex during the immediate aftermath of the break up to today. Here is part two.

It's been three weeks now since we parted ways. I don't sleep well anymore, and the bed feels so big and empty without you beside me. But I've been wanting to hate you lately. I've been wanting to think that you're the worst person in the world, and I want to put you on the same level and Delores Umbridge. But I can't. I refuse to stoop to that level. We're both good people, just not good people for each other, and so as painful as this is and probably will continue to be, I know that this is for the best.

We had our ups and downs, but I think we finally got into a contest to see who could be the biggest douche bag... and I think I won. I desperately wish that we could roll back time so we could avoid saying such horrible things to each other. Where did we go wrong? What happened? We used to stay up, talking and laughing, but somewhere in there, the laughter died, and it became a chore for us to be around each other. I want to pinpoint that moment, but what good is it now? Distance is adding perspective, and I'm starting to realize how much we changed for each other, but I think it was change for the wrong reasons.

The night you broke up with me, you said that it was a miracle that we lasted over two years because we are such different people. I don't want to admit it. I want to cling to the rose-tinted view that love conquers all, but I know in my heart that that isn't right. You enjoy being an eternal socialite, and I get really anxious and uncomfortable in large groups. You're a video game lover, and I'd prefer to let me imagination run wild while I stare off into space. You want children and a family, and I want a career. It burns my heart to think this, but I'm starting to realize that you did the right thing for both of us, and you are the stronger between us. I was willing to keep subjecting us to the war of attrition that our relationship became, while you knew that it was wrong.

But why do I still want you? I know that you don't want me anymore, and that's ok. You need to do what's best for you now, just as I do. But I don't want to. I want to fight and make amends for everything. But I know in my heart of hearts that I need to accept this and move on. You can find someone who will make you happier than I ever could because they'll be able to hear the song that your soul sings.

You know, I've heard people bandy about the word 'remorse', but they don't have the slightest idea of what remorse feels like. It feels like rolling a boulder up a hill perpetually. It feels like all the joy has been sucked out of the world, it feels like the burning brilliance of the sun, laying bare the cold, hard truth. I miss you, and I hope that you'll find happiness.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Letters to My Ex Pt. 1

As part of my coping with the loss of my friend and lover, I'm going to publish a bunch of un-sent emails and letters. Here's the first.

I really hope you're doing well, and that you're happy. I miss you, more than usual today. It feels as though my heart has been ripped out, and I can barely breath. I miss Sunday mornings and late Fridays with you. I miss seeing you when I come home, and going on walks with you and Oscar. I miss the way you encouraged me when I was having a hard time with school, and I miss the way you would smile and laugh. 

Most of all, I just miss you, with your unpredictability, craziness, kindness, and occasional ass hole-ishness. You were my rock, and I will forever live with the regret that I was a fool and didn't see it. I am so, so sorry that I didn't see it before this, and I am so so sorry that I caused you to be so depressed during our relationship. I... just really fucking miss you. You're getting back to being the person that I fell in love with, and that makes it so much harder, because I didn't realize how much I was changing you, and now I think of you staying up till all hours, drinking, laughing, and having a good time, and that is who I fell in love with. 

If I could rewind time, I would. But I have to live with this now. I hope that we can someday be friends, but I know that we weren't good for each other, and we did our level best to destroy one another. I can't romanticize our relationship and forget the bad that happened, but I hope that you will someday find someone who hears your song. I do still love you very deeply. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Shame on Georgia!

First off, I needed to take a little break. The full weight of being alone after 2 years of constant companionship hit me, so I stepped back from a great deal of my obligations. I needed to breath and actually re-asses where I am and where I need to go. It's been hard, but life marches on, and so I find myself back in the fight, swinging as best I can. So I'm sorry that I disappeared for a while, but it needed to happen, otherwise I may very well might've gone crazy. Now I find myself fighting off a cold, two weeks before I need to go compete for some debate teams I belong to. Ah well, such is life.

But as some of you may know, I am a Freemason. I adore the Fraternity, and I have near maniacal devotion to it because it saved me from myself. But that's not the point of today's post. Today's post is about the bigotry and nonsense coming from the Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee. Now, to preface, in the U.S., there are 50 some odd Grand Lodges (State-wide governing bodies), and each one is autonomous and able to make it's own decisions. With that being said, let's jump in.

Freemasonry is supposed to take good men and make them better through philosophical studies, and, for the most part, it does. I've met so many remarkable men through my involvement; I can unequivocally say that I have become a better person because of the lessons I have learned. However, there seems to be those in other Grand Jurisdictions who think that being gay is akin to being a serial rapist or murderer, because they have banned outright the membership of gay men.

Ok, I concede that is a little unfair. However, the salient point is that they think that gay men are morally bankrupt, sexually devious individuals that cannot be trusted. Now I, admittedly, don't really pay attention to such claims anymore, mainly because I know that I am more moral then those people in Georgia and Tennessee because I forgive them for their ignorance. But that doesn't mean I'm going to sit idly by and watch them ban gay men from pursuing light.

And that's what I wished that they realized. We're supposed to be enlightened individuals. Not individuals who use a centuries old Fraternity as a glorified dinner club or as a means of peddling their specific religious beliefs. To be frank, I somewhat admire them for sticking up for their beliefs, but at the same time, I am angry and full of contempt that they think that being gay is grounds for banning men from joining. The actions of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee and Georgia, honestly, demonstrate to me that these are men who are Masons in name only.

This means that they are not true Freemasons. They enjoy having their dues card, going to business meetings, performing ritual work, etc. They do not enjoy viewing all men as being equal. They have hijacked the world's oldest, largest, and most esteemed Fraternity to be a show horse for Christian beliefs.

Now, before you get your panties in a bind, I have no problem with Christianity. But in Freemasonry, there is no central religion. There is no one definition or right answer as to what god is, and we are not even allowed to discuss religious matters in Lodge. That being said, Georgia and Tennessee have forgotten this, and I wish that those who are behind these invidious policies would simply leave. I wish them no ill-will, but they have, as I have said, hijacked my beloved Fraternity to meet their own ends.

So to any gay Freemasons in those Grand Jurisdictions, please don't leave. Make like the Dixie Dems after the Civil War. Move into positions of power, and change things. Don't leave. And, as trite as it is, be the change you want to see. We cannot survive this storm unless those who are targeted by this legislation move upward and not out. But, I've got to jet. Stay humble, don't stumble, and I'll talk to you again soon.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Going on the Pill

I try to be very open and honest about my struggles with mental health issues. I'm a high functioning depressive with social anxiety, and far too often I find that the stigma keeps far too many people quiet, particularly in the LGBT Community. If I'm having a bad day, I try to tell my boss that it's hard for me to be at work, or if I'm suffering from a really bad episode, I will lay in bed for hours on end. Before I started dating my ex, I was taking antidepressants, and I admit that I actually started to enjoy life again. However, as time progressed, my ex expressed a certain discomfort with antidepressants and also that he (eventually) wanted me to stop taking them.

So I did. For better or worse, over the last two-ish years, I've been managing my depression as best I can without medication. Being with my ex certainly helped, because he was very attentive when I was having a black day. But now that I'm back on my own, it's become very nearly unmanageable (no need to worry, I'm surrounded by people who are aware and who care very deeply). So I'm going to my doctor today to go back on the pill. I don't know why, but I actually really hate myself for doing it. I know that it's hypocritical of me to feel this way, especially when I've told fellow depressives that going on antidepressants is a good thing and can really help, and they truly can. So why am I struggling with this so much?

Well, I'm sure part of it has to do with social conditioning. Another part of it has to do with my upbringing, and the final part has to do with the fact that I don't want to ingest a chemical just to feel 'normal'. It's a bit ironic really. I know that, just like my grief, this depression is just the result of chemical cocktails and reactions in my brain. My brain isn't producing enough seratonin, and that is, mechanically, what my depression is. Like I said, everything I am feeling as I process this break up are just chemical reactions in my brain, and opting to not take a small pill to counteract and correct one of the symptoms is just plain foolish.

But that's the thing of it, isn't it? That's how strong the social conditioning can be, that I would play with fire, essentially, just to avoid the stigma of being on antidepressants. I hate telling people that I'm clinically depressed, because then they treat me like a little bird with a broken wing. Bitch, I am not a delicate little flower. Don't treat me differently just because my brain literally tries to kill me on occasion. For that matter, don't treat anyone with mental illness differently. But it's important to be open about it and to educate people that mental illness isn't a defining characteristic of someone's personality.

It's uncomfortable and I hate doing it, but we can't be quiet about it anymore, particularly when we have young men and women killing themselves. LGBT men and women are at a significantly higher risk of major depression and suicide due to their sexual identity than our heterosexual counterparts. And that's what truly sucks about being gay. When you're in the closet, you're depressed. When you come out, you feel better, but if you live in an uber conservative area like me, you have to deal with homophobia and ignorance on a daily basis. So, as much as I hate to say it, sometimes, it doesn't get better. Sometimes, you just have to keep fighting even when the sea seems so big and your boat so small.

But the potential for things to get better automatically ends if you off yourself. So, brothers and sisters, don't stop fighting. Go talk to your doctor, find a mental health professional (which is a lot cheaper for my French readers, ;-). Find a good friend who won't treat you like a wounded bird. I've got to jet, but stay humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a major depressive episode and is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Stay strong, you can make it. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

It's Not My Fault

It's been about a week since I moved out of my Ex's apartment, and things are going... ok. It's honestly a struggle to sleep, because this is the first time I've been alone at night in two years. But in those quiet moments, before I fall asleep, my mind goes back and asks, "What could I have done to keep the relationship alive?" or "How come I was such a shitty boyfriend?". I've said in previous posts that I'm a high functioning depressive, so during the day, nobody knows that it feels like my arm has been torn off because I'm smiling, laughing, and joking. But in my head, I've been berating myself for being a horrible, shitty boyfriend and that I should have tried harder. I should have made more time in my schedule, I should have told him how much I love(d) him more. I should have done this, I should have done that, I could've been better, I didn't try hard enough. The litany of mistakes keeps marching through my head, shod in lead boots so that I can't ignore it.

But then I really start thinking about it. I know that the mind has a propensity to romanticize the past and start to gloss over the bad. When I remember that, I start to really, truly think about our relationship. Did we have good times? Yes. Did we make each other laugh? You betcha. Was it the relationship that was going to be life-long and make both of us happy?

No. When I remember that I couldn't see myself marrying him, I remember the parts that drove us apart. The fact that he loved to go out on the weekends with his friends, and I preferred to stay home. The fact that he wanted children and I did not. The fact that he hates big cities and I want to live in Chicago. The fact that he "needed to relax", even though he was only working at the time, and I was working, going to school, and taking on increasing responsibility in my Fraternity. I remember the irritation and resentment we felt (and probably still feel towards each other) about our differences and the different ways they pulled us apart.

I love him, and, as trite as it is, a part of me will always love him. However the break up is neither of our fault's. We tried for two years to make things work, even though our demons couldn't stand each other. I'll be honest, I want to hate him. I want to be angry, throw things, and scream curses at him. I want to be angry because it's an emotion I understand, and I know how to deal with. But I can't. He was gentle and kind in the last days, and we laughed and had a good time. And I just can't do it. We both knew it was time for us to split up, and so it just comes with quiet acceptance.

So, I know it will get better. The days will start getting brighter, the pain will gradually fade, and next year, when we see each other at Pride, I think that we'll be able to laugh about the past. But in the mean time, it sucks. I miss having him in the bed, and I miss talking to him a great deal. I miss getting coffee with him on Sunday mornings, and I miss walking the dog with him late at night. But this too shall pass. I've got to jet. Stay humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

We broke up!

Well, I had hoped that I wouldn't have to write about this, but I became single recently. It wasn't too surprising, but that really doesn't decrease how much it stings. We had been dating for two years and lived together for more than half of the relationship, and now, for the first time in a long while, I'll be living alone. It sucks, but it made me realize that breakups don't have to be acrimonious. Even though they suck, emotions run high, and it is a seriously traumatic event, people can, in the eye of that storm, find peace and forgiveness.

It's very hard, but possible. For example, my (now ex) boyfriend and I had been arguing almost all weekend. He needed to take his dog to the vet on a Saturday, and I tried to beg off because his mom was going, and I needed some alone time. I ended going, but I took my book anyway, because why not. I read all the way down, and during the visit, so he was irate with me for that. So we argued about that, then on Saturday night, he went out to the bar with some friends, and I did not (because alone time) My brother showed up at my front door, and I ended up hanging out with him. So my ex and I fought about that. Then Monday, we fought some more and broke up.

Initially, it looked like it was going to be an asshole contest, because we were both hurting and lashing out at each other, yet, as the night progressed, we started to calm down, and it got better. It still hurt, but at least we weren't trying to hurt each other more.

I stayed living at what used to be our apartment for another week, and I was worried that it would be super awkward, however, Wednesday night he came and talked to me, and it turned into a very sweet conversation. We both expressed our deep, deep sadness that it was over, and we admitted things we could have done differently. But, at the end, we still acknowledged that breaking up was the right decision, even if it does suck big donkey balls.

The rest of the time passed easily, we talked as though we were good old friends, and we laughed together. Neither one of us were ready for me to move out, but then again, I don't think that anyone can ever really be ready for something like that. So yes, it does suck, and yes, I am in a great deal of pain and I am grieving, but the fact remains that we still care and love each other. So yes, at the end of the day, I have a big ass empty bed to sleep in at night, but I am glad that we, at the end, didn't try to tear each other down or destroy each other psychologically and emotionally. I will love him for a long time, but I look forward to the day when we can welcome each other back into our lives as friends. So, I've got to jet. Stay humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Depressed People Suck

Speaking as a high functioning depressive, I can unequivocally say that depressed people suck. Myself in particular. We suck because we don't respond to message, emails, and phone calls for days and sometimes weeks at a time, we turn down invites to parties, claiming that we just have so much to do, but in reality, the thought of going to your house party sounds like the Stations of the Cross. We suck because we got a 97% on an exam, instead of a 99%, and we'll beat ourselves up for hours over it. We suck because our brains are, quite literally, trying to kill us.

But what really gets me is that, as a high functioning depressive, nobody knows what's going on. I don't languish in bed all day or stare out of a window. I work harder, hold myself to even more unattainable goals, and push through. Apart from random fits of crying on the way home from class, there's really no physical manifestation of the funeral in my brain. Coupled with the fact that I'm a major introvert, it makes it even more fun to deal with.

Occasionally, I have the privilege of being regularly depressed, and I become listless and quiet(er) than I usually am. But those are rare. I hate that I hate doing things I love, like moot court, mock trial, ethics bowl, going to business meetings, talking to people, living. But I hate not being able to show it outwardly. Perhaps I'm too stoic, or perhaps I fall back on the trope that I don't want to burden people with my problems.

I can safely say that I am the type of person who would swan dive off of an overpass, and nobody would know why. Am I going to? No. Do I struggle with the urge to eat a bullet for breakfast? Absolutely. However I am surrounded largely by loving people who know and care for me. I have an amazing therapist who helps me, and I know that tomorrow is another day (regardless of how tortuous it is.)

If this upsets you, I do apologize, but I am not sorry. This is the plight that many, many people face on a daily basis, and we need to be honest about it. Many people, particularly in the LGBT+ community, face suicide daily and keep soldiering on. The way it was explained to me once, is that a depressed person is like a soldier, alone in a fox hole, without reinforcements or ammo. But when you find them, they ask you to give them something to keep fighting with, even if it's just a stick. Because we keep fighting. It's what we do. And for those of us who have fought as long and as hard as they can, and give up, you'll find our bodies on a pile of brass if you look hard enough. But we keep fighting.

For me at least, I can say that it has, at some level, made me more insensitive, because if I hadn't been desensitized, then I would be dead. The reason is that I feel things so damn deeply it's insane. The empathy is too strong with me. I remember things vividly and to the point where just the memory of the emotion is overstimulating. For example, I was vacationing in California with my brother, a homeless man with a mental disability asked me for something to eat. He didn't want much, just a dollar hotdog or something to that effect. We went and got him something substantial to eat, and some other food for the next few days and some money as well. He hugged me, and I still worry about him. I worry if he's had enough to eat today, or if some punk ass kids have beaten him with bottles. I don't know. I still remember how sweet and diminutive he was, and how he showed me what gratitude really looked like. I don't want praise or adulation for being a decent person, I want to know that that man is ok, and that he's not suffering.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Academic Trigger Warnings

Goodness me friends, what a week it's been. I'm still a student in University, and the new semester started a couple of weeks ago. I adore school, and perhaps someday I'll get my doctorate just so I can be in Academia the rest of my life. But it struck me, a Philosophy Major, as odd that we must provide trigger warnings and safe spaces in Uni. I understand PTSD and particularly mental illness, but I haven't paid tens of thousands of dollars to not be challenged because such challenges might set someone off.

I for example, have several triggers that can send me into a depressive episode. I won't tell you what they are, though, because I don't want to avoid them. I don't want to shy away from my weaknesses or force others to change how they behave because I might be much too sad for a few days or weeks. Am I really in the minority in this outlook? Are my peers really such delicate little flowers that they can't abide hearing an opinion, however wrong it may be, that they crumble at mere words?

One of my (many, many) mantras is that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. I'd rather know that there is a homophobe in my class than have him/her keep quiet. I'd rather know if a politician hates women than if they just keep quiet, all the while passing misogynistic legislation. The reasons are thus. The first is that I will respect that person more for being honest, even if it's something I don't like. Phyllis Schlafly was a horrible person, but I respect her for being honest. The second is, at least I'll know who to watch out for. I'd rather see an attack coming than be KO'd out of nowhere. If I see the guy in class who spouts homophobic slurs walking towards me in a dark alley, while carrying a baseball bat, I'll have a pretty good idea of what his intentions are.

So why are we gay people, at the least, shying away from those who disagree with us, and at the most, silencing them? How does that make us the bigger person? If you're a gay person in Uni, demand to be challenged. Dare to have your mind changed by someone or something else, and above all, welcome those who disagree with you into your inner circles (just make them leave their baseball bats at the door). Yes, I am advocating for a return to a seemingly more brutal culture, and I shall not apologize for it. The LGBT lobby did not accomplish all that it has by being delicate little flowers. I've got to jet. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Christian Gays

I have been following, and occasionally responding to a blog called The Happy Alternative, which is run by a friend of mine who is a devout Christian. While I do somewhat admire his dedication to the Faith and his dedication to celibacy as an answer to, as he calls it, SSA (same sex attraction), it got me thinking. Is celibacy an ethical answer to being gay? I realize that when one is arguing with someone who has abandoned reason it is similar to administering medicine to the dead, however, I want to write a more cohesive answer to the position of celibacy, and also to say a few words to anyone who is gay and also a person of faith because, having come from a religious background, I am a student of philosophy and dedicated to true morality and ethics, free from interpretation by religious authorities. That's not to say I don't believe in a god((s)(esses)), but my beliefs are my own. My ethics are not decided by deity, but by reason and mercy. That being said, let's get started!

So, you're gay and a person of faith. How do you reconcile the two? According to my friend at The Happy Alternative, just don't get into a gay relationship, pursue god, and be celibate. That will keep you safe, sanctified and holy, right? Wrong. As the Bible graciously points out, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). That basically means you can be guilty of sin, even if you've never known(biblically) another man. If you look lustfully at another man (or woman. I'll be inclusive), that means that in god's eyes, you have just slept with them. Does that really seem viable to you? Does celibacy in that context even makes sense? Again, I say no. If you can be guilty of thought crime, even in your sleep, then that infers that you have just had sex with someone without even touching them.

Let me re-frame the question. Is celibacy, when required by divinity, ethical? Again, I say no. I am generally a sex-positive person, though I don't often post about it. I am also a student of philosophy, and a significant portion of my work has been dedicated to what makes a good life. So superficially, if you're not allowed to have sex, then your happiness (READ contentment) will be significantly diminished. Further, how can a kind, loving god deny his creations the most enriching forms of a personal relationship? Granted, I am an empiricist, and any divine authority is automatically suspect in my book, notwithstanding, anyone who tells you not to pursue a relationship that is loving and edifies both you and your partner is lying. But, I've got to jet. Stay humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you next time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to Not Mistreat Your Introvert (Pt. 1)

Being an introvert in today's noisy world sucks. I am a painfully introverted person, large gatherings make me severely uncomfortable, and dealing with strangers... well... let's just say I'd rather shit in my hands and clap than do that. And don't even ask me to answer my phone. So, in no uncertain am I an introvert. I have a close circle of friends, maybe 3 or 4 people that I talk to about my problems, their problems, life, philosophy, etc., but I'll be damned if I meet some random schmo at a party, and immediately start calling them my friend. I personally think that the word 'friend' is severely abused in this day and age. In my mind, a friend is someone who is there no matter what, and who's opinion you value above all others. It's also someone with whom you share such a deep connection with, that time and distance really don't have an effect on the friendship. For example, my best friend moved to Georgia a few years ago, and we haven't talked in a good, long while. I miss her terribly, but I know that when we reconnect, it'll be like we never even parted ways. But what about romantic relationships between an extrovert and an introvert?

Well, having been in a relationship with an extrovert for the last two years, I consider myself a bit of an expert on that topic. The first thing, that shouldn't even need to be mentioned, is that it's ungodly. Obviously extroverts and introverts are completely different creatures. Whereas, I don't enjoy spending time with a lot of people, even if I do know them, and he does. I enjoy a quiet drink at home with two or three people, and he loves to go out and mingle at the bar. I enjoy reading books or browsing the news on my phone, while he enjoys watching a ton of TV. I'm not castigating him or trying to make it seem like he's filled with a longing to pursue the banalities of life, but he enjoys pursuits that bring him into contact with many many different people. That's totally fine. Except I get coerced into attending any number of silly parties, rife with drinking and empty chatter.

Have you ever just been so world-weary that it makes you nauseated? That's how those parties make me feel. I don't relish talking about how hammered they got that one time, and like, oh my god it was just wild and crazy! So that would be the first step. There needs to be balance. If you are dating an introvert, it's terribly easy to just steamroll them unintentionally, and drag them into all sorts of highly social situations that will make them (the introverts) deeply uncomfortable. I will temper that by saying it goes both ways. Introverts also need to stand up for themselves and not get railroaded into things they don't want to do. I know, I know, there needs to be balance and other such nonsense, but in my experience, my introverted comrades don't stand up for themselves.

Generally speaking, I think the world is a better place when it's run by introverts. We hesitate to speak until our ideas are perfect, and we're not prone to rash decisions. This, again, isn't meant to castigate extroverts, but I do think that they are flippant people who generally don't think things through all the way. Anywho, to the thrust of it! Speaking as an introvert, it's super easy to get steam rolled by my extrovert. For example, he might ask me what I want for dinner, and I tell him. We have a little tiff, but then we kiss and make up. No biggie, right?

WRONG! Minor disagreements, insults, joking around, etc. stays with me for days. I process and analyze, and then decide how I feel. Granted, I'm just one introvert, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one who, after an argument is "resolved" still has more to say on the matter, even though the extrovert has moved on, and is thinking about whatever extroverts think about. My situation is, admittedly, somewhat unique, because of my Myers-Briggs designation (Myers-Briggs is a personality test that will categorize your personality into one of 16 different types. I am an INTJ, one of the rarest, most analytical and logical types). During an argument, I tend towards the hyper-logical, divorcing all emotion from the situation. I realize this isn't the best way to handle emotionally charged situations (it's something I'm working on. I'm an imperfect person), notwithstanding, it's important for an extrovert to realize that what they say will have long lasting consequences. Take time to make sure that your introvert has said everything that they need to. I've got to jet, but be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Gay Freemasons

**DISCLAIMER** The views expressed on this blog do not reflect nor speak for any Grand Lodge or any individual Lodge. The views expressed herein are mine and mine alone, and do not reflect the views or positions of any Masonic body in the known universe.

So are you familiar with Freemasons and Freemasonry? If you're not, just Google it. I'm, frankly, weary of explaining it, so I don't want to go over the usual perfunctory explanations, because those eventually become so rote that even the most seasoned Mason chokes on the words. I know it seems like a club of dusty old fuddy duddies who enjoy bad coffee more than they do good conversations, and it has, admittedly been just that for a while now. However, a new river of young, vibrant, excited young men have started to join, and I am glad for it. When I joined, the youngest member of my Lodge was about the age of Methuselah, and conversations about the good ol' days predominated the evenings. But, because of my upbringing as a home schooler, I've always preferred the company of old men to young teenagers, usually because the former is capable of giving me sage advice and regale me with stories about the usage of oil lamps and tree bark as toilet paper.

I'm going to operate off of the assumption that you already have some knowledge of this institution, because as I said, I'm a bit wear of explaining what we do. So to the meat of it. A lot of my fellow brothers are starting to wonder if the Fraternity is still relevant to the 21st. Century, and I absolutely think that it is. Where else in the world facilitates friendship among Democrats and Republicans, or Jews and Palestinians? What other institution, with roots in religious teachings, allows homos to join their ranks and attain leadership positions? The Stone Cutt... er... the Freemasons! I adore my Fraternity, but that's not to say that it's not without it's flaws.

Recently, the Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee banned openly gay men from joining their ranks, alleging that we are somehow morally bankrupt people. Let me tell ya, I am so morally bankrupt. I tear the tags off of my mattress when I buy a new one, and I go five miles over the speed limit. So I'm just reckless! Anyway, I don't really concern myself with the goings on of other Grand Lodges, because piss on them. Not my circus, not my monkeys. My jurisdiction is lovely. The men are socially accepting and progressive individuals. Albeit they don't really have a thirst for the deep philosophical underpinnings of our Fraternity, but that's ok. Philosophy is definitely not for everyone.

I just wish that the older members would stop trying to quash the motivation to look for deeper knowledge. I haven't experienced this at my own lodge, but it would seem that others throughout the jurisdiction have. Which is why we do, truly need younger members. But we'll see what happens. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll look forward to seeing you next week!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The 'Perfect' Gay Relationship

I, as a gay man, don't like to admit to the world that our community is the same, in many regards, as the rest of society. We don't seem to have problems with self image (HA! That's been well addressed by other blogs and websites, so I won't comment on it), education, jobs, relationships, etc. Because our lovely, glittering little section of society was tossed into the gutter and held there for decades, we began to learn how to put on a facade so that the world's perception of our community would be what we wanted it to be. That's totally fine, I understand that if you have a President in the White House who restricts funding for HIV/AIDS research, we want to hold our heads up high and continue to dance while we wait for leadership that understands and appreciates us. Or going back earlier, if a friend got beaten by a mob, we were required to have a stiff upper lip and not let the world see us bleed. I understand the context of our stoicism, and what caused it. I certainly still have a hard time talking to my parents about my relationship and its problems, or talking to any member of my family, really, about being gay and what that means in America today. I'm not trying to castigate them or say that they're terrible people, because they're not. I just know how hard it can be to let the majority of society see our flaws. Our community has been villanized for so long that I think it's become ingrained into our collective mindset that we are somehow less than the rest of society. But why are we still doing it? It has gotten to the point, I believe, that we are starting to turn on ourselves, simply as a means of maintaining conformity in a nonconformist community, and I daresay that individuality is starkly frowned upon. If a gay man isn't ripped, perfectly tanned, and enjoys going out and drinking every weekend, then they are a less desirable mate.

Admittedly, an attraction to muscles makes sense. Who wouldn't want to run their hands all over Channing Tatum or Tom Daley? It's an evolutionary byproduct. We want the fittest mate possible in order to better protect and provide for our family group. (That is just conjecture at my part, and I say it because it makes sense. I have no scientific evidence to corroborate that position.) But the point still stands. Muscled men are hot. I think they're hot, my boyfriend thinks they're hot, every gay man thinks they're hot, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I would even go a step further to contend that objectifying people isn't wrong, but that's a topic for another day, as is body positivity. The fact remains though, that we have a very carefully crafted image that we send out into the world. That we live in the world of beautiful men, where the day is full of lounging by the pool, and the nights are full of raucous partying with beautiful people. Drag queens who are more beautiful than any woman strut around, and alcohol flows in abundance. Nothing ever goes wrong. No single substantive thought will be heard, and everyone can relax in vapid, stupid emptiness. Why? Why don't we attack the large issues of the day? Or, hell, even start to look at other issues that plague society at large to see how they affect us, and indeed, if it's a problem in our community? Take for example, domestic violence. Nobody wants to talk about this, even in straight society. It's a nasty, icky topic. Nobody likes to think of their sister, mother, or daughter getting beaten or harmed emotionally by some prick they thought was a nice guy. But it's a reality that needs to be dealt with. In my home State, 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence, and 1 in 4 men will experience domestic violence. I wonder what would happen if we turned our focus to issues like that, what we'd find.

But wait! We're men! Men don't experience domestic violence. If they do, then they're cowardly and weak, or they're just lying. If you have ever said that, or secretly hold that mentality, then you, sir/ma'am, need cognitive re-calibration. My brother experienced domestic violence at the hands of his ex wife, and he is a big bear of a man. Did he defend himself? Absolutely not, because we were raised never to raise a hand to a woman. Ok, stepping back from being passionate, the fact remains that we, as gay men, can experience DV at the hands of our lovers, boyfriends, and spouses (it's still really cool to me that I can say that now). I'm not going to go over the list of resources that are available to you if you experience DV, because I'm confident that if you are in a violent relationship, you have the necessary mental capacity to get out when you're ready. But that's the thing of it, isn't it? We don't want to shatter the illusion of our perfect little society. I suppose that people in straight relationships go through largely the same thought process in some form or another, but gay men are particularly prone to that. We must have the perfect clothes, the perfect car, the perfect home, the perfect fucking everything, including our relationships. But what if your boyfriend is a colossal dick that beats you or can shatter your self confidence with a few words? What then? Go and cry on the shoulder of a friend until you feel drawn back to the abuser? Probably. It may seem like I'm trivializing the process a little bit, and I may be, however, it's part of the cycle of violence. What I hope I am conveying is that I am sick to tears of not hearing about the real issues facing our community. I know, I know, transgender people can't pee in South Carolina, and religious liberty laws are getting passed around the Country. But these nitty gritty issues are what we need to face down. We can't keep teaching the baby gays (those who have just come out or are growing into maturity) that it's ok to have flaws, as long as we don't see/hear/speak about them. Yes, getting beaten by a stranger after leaving a gay bar is horrible. But getting beaten by a lover is worse. It's a betrayal, not only by the abuser, but also by the whole of our community. 

The baby gays and mature gays hide their flaws (HYPOCRISY ALERT: I try to hide my flaws, like how skinny I am, or that I am a major introvert, or that I enjoy the kink lifestyle.) and it can be deadly. But we don't hear about it. 1 in 4 men will experience domestic violence, regardless of sexual orientation. It floored me when I found that last year, only two men checked into the shelter for which I work. Two. 49 women checked in. There seems to be a slight... disparity. The reason is that men are supposed to be tough, hyper-masculine creatures that can defend themselves and never have to talk about their emotions, but that's beside the point. We must start talking about this and studying what is really going on, because these men that are getting abused are our fathers, brothers, sons, and friends. Our community has faced enough from society, and we must deal with this internal threat. 

If you or someone you know is stuck in an abusive relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or visit the NDVH's website. 

Well, that's all for today. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

When the Earth's Crust Began to Cool...

I won't do some trivial introduction about how I'm glad that you're here to listen to me or anything of the sort. I generally hate small talk. Here is a brief intro to... well... me I guess. I'm a Utah native, though I much prefer the East Coast to Utah, mainly because of the ocean. My mother very graciously home schooled me and my three other siblings in our one room cabin in the Ogden valley of Utah. Just kidding. Kind of. I was home schooled for 11 years, whereupon my parents sent me to a public school. I suppose that is part of the reason why I'm a bit odd. I use words like 'whereupon' and 'obstreperous'. Seriously, how many homos do you know that speak like that? Anyway, back to when the Earth's crust began to cool. Being home schooled came with it's own unique set of challenges and obstacles, such as the incessant question of whether or not I got to start school whenever I wanted to, if I got to do school in my jammies, etc. And the answer is no. Absolutely not. I was usually up by 07:00, and started school at 08:00, and didn't get done till around 15:00. So it was rigorous physically. Academically, it was exhilarating, but taxing. We memorized poetry, learned how to diagram sentences, dissect a word etymologically, and so on. To say it was unconventional would be an understatement. I think the thing that I enjoyed most about this is how I had my best friends around me at all times. Our family is still incredibly tight nit because of the sheer volume of time that we had (READ were forced) to spend together. It was either adapt and change, or kill each other, and since we generally frowned upon capital offenses, we decided not to kill each other. I'm not sure how far this blog will go, but for my family's privacy, I'll call my siblings... Danielle, Lynn, and Sully. I'm the youngest. 

It was fun, as I've said. The only real handicap I would say that being home schooled inflicted was that I'll be damned if I can relate to my peers. For as long as I can remember, they've all seemed a bit vacuous and remarkably uninteresting. Unfortunately, that continues to this day. When others enjoy going out and getting hammered, I enjoy staying home and discussing the philosophy of language over a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black. That's not to say I'm a complete fuddy duddy. I enjoy going to the club and seeing all of the pretty boys and girls, but I don't enjoy doing it often. Ah well, I'm an imperfect person. The other conceivable drawback of it was the religious indoctrination. Our curriculum was provided by a Christian academy based out of Florida called Abeka Academy. Very rigorous and strenuous academically, however they were also a bit hot and heavy for Jesus. So that imbued me with a really neat sense of morality. I mean, fuck gays and atheists, right? Those people just don't know what they're missing out on. Being on Jesus is righteous, as they say. Obviously that has since changed, but I'm still dealing with the fall out. But because of my inquisitiveness, I always asked super obnoxious questions of my Sunday school teachers, like, "Well, what about the tribes in New Guinea that haven't been contacted? Are they going to hell? (The obvious answer is yes). I was a cantankerous child, and gave no rest to my teachers. Anyway, the fact that they could never provide me with satisfactory answers, or at least uniform answers, began to smack of bullshit to me, and so I began to question the truth of Christianity. Obviously I didn't say a damn thing to my parents or any clergymen, except for one ill-fated adventure into an adult Sunday school class, which resulted in a stern talking to from the assistant pastor (I wasn't important enough to warrant a talking to from the actual pastor). Ah, good times. 

But here I am today. I'll save losing my religion and coming out for another day, because those are just footnotes to me. To be frank, I've tried blogging in the past, but I'm going to give it another shot, to see if I can actually make a go of it. I don't think my ideas are particularly special, or worth sharing, but I am interested to see what the experiences of others are, and if there are indeed other gay home schooled Freemasons out there. Just kidding, I don't really care. I'm quite comfortable in my own skin, and don't need yours (it put's the lotion on it's skin... :-P). Seriously though, I want to share my experiences of being a gay Freemason, the interactions with my family, most of whom are still super religious, and just my life in general as I put myself through University, and begin working on accomplishing my goals. I appreciate your time, reading my mindless twaddle, and I hope to see you again. Be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon.