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.