I’ve had several conversations with friends lately — people who are going through their own personal discoveries later in life. Out of those conversations came a thought which I’m now finally putting into words. I didn’t think Facebook – the land of kitten memes, political rants, and humble brags – was really the right place to have this conversation. And maybe WordPress is also not the right place to have the conversation, but it definitely feels a lot safer than the alternative.
I suppose I could journal about it and keep my thoughts hidden away for years on end with no real conversation started at all — mostly a monologue for my audience. And maybe that will be what this is, if there are no real conversations that come as a result. But with everything happening in our society, I believe it’s an important conversation to have, a different way to think, a different way to be.
I’ll get to my point, since I’m rambling on.
If we weren’t conditioned with the gender norms imposed on us by years and years and YEARS of traditional thought, could we — would we — be more willing to love freely and openly anyone?
Is there something as 100% heterosexuality or 100% homosexuality? Do people really live and or exist in those particular places? Can they say, with 100% certainty, they have never found another person of the same sex attractive? Does that happen?
I identify as a gay man. I have known I was gay since I was probably about five or six, before I could really put a label on it. But even under the circumstances of my coming out and declaring to the world of my love for man-on-man action, I recognize that I’m not 100% gay. I’d say, if I had to put a number on it, I fall somewhere around the 8.5 scale, with 10 being 100% gay and 0 being absolutely heterosexual.
Diving deeper into that, I recognize the beauty within the feminine form and on occasion, when I’m in my moments of self-discovery (re: masturbation), sometimes straight porn does the trick for me. In all fairness, I’m lusting after the man, but the visual stimuli is interesting and can do the trick as well. It’s not always my go-to, but it can work in a pinch.
A conversation with a friend recently as she was describing her daughter’s coming out and her son saying he could love anyone made me think — in this new generation, where it seems labels are completely disregarded and we can love who we love — if our society as a whole had that freedom, would there be more fluidity in the way we love?
Marriage now in the United States is legal between same-sex partners — at least until our idiot president decides to try to do something about it. But what’s to stop two best friends from marrying each other for tax benefits, for friendship benefits? After all, a marriage really was a strategic alliance between families where the betrothed really had no say in the matter at all. All about the business, they say. So, is it possible that could happen again?
Could Susie, lifelong friends with Diane, and who identifies as physically attracted to members of the opposite sex, be inclined to marry that person for the reasons stated above? For health insurance, for tax benefits, for other items? And while intimacy is a part of a marriage, with the rise of poly-amorous and open couples in many of our younger generation, is it possible they can define their relationship to be an intimacy-free marriage? Married in title only?
There are things that do come into play here — if Susie or Diane should fall in love and want to marry another person, they would have to go through the messy separation in order to achieve that goal.
But is it possible Susie and Diane could share some semblance of a physical relationship?
Lest you think this is some weird lesbian fantasy I may have — let me correct you that is not the case at all. It could be the exact same conversation with men./
Joe and Bob have been best friends throughout their entire life. Grade school, middle school, college. Always hanging out together for the good game. For whatever reason, they have been unlucky in love, but determine they care for each other so much, they want to spend the rest of their lives together.
So, do they? Could they? Does it matter?
How long would we have to go before that sort of thinking becomes something more mainstream? “This is my husband, Bob.” “Oh, you’re gay?” “No, just best friends. But we decided this was okay.”
And then, the question comes out of it, does physical intimacy ever come into the equation?
I’ve been rewatching “Will and Grace” since it just landed on Hulu, and they clearly love each other and spend all their time together — though at times it seems their need for a different connection is secondary to that particular bond. Could marriage once again return to the strategic alliance bgetween families? Not necessarily to propagate blood lines but an out-and-out business transaction?
There are so many people who say it’s taking an oath under God, but what if you’re atheist or agnostic? Does that mean your marriage — regardless of whether it is a heterosexual or strictly gay marriage — means any less? Absolutely not, we would all agree. The marriage is still a bond between two people.
So, within this conversation of gender fluidity, love/attraction plays where? Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe we don’t need attraction for marriage.
Another friend is strictly asexual. No sexual desire at all to be with anyone — male or female. In this situation, I could see my friend marrying someone simply for companionship — not of the physical variety but of the friendship, deep-seeded bond for someone.
Then, could/does/would it grow into something attraction? Can you have intimacy without physicality?
I would argue yes, absolutely. Intimate and personal details of another person don’t require you to be having sexual intercourse with them. It makes the intimacy stronger in some cases, but not all. We’ve all read the stories of couples who stayed together for one reason or another, but there is no longer physicality in their relationship and they’re okay with it. It truly becomes about the bond between two people.
So what would it take for our society to move towards the idea that a bond is enough to be able to be together? And not so much what the society says, but the world at large? True, the world doesn’t need to understand or accept such an arrangement. Geez, we can barely agree where people are going to the bathroom. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could?
If ultimately, it becomes about the person and not what’s between the person’s legs?
I would say that some of those same-sex friendships is predicated on true feelings of love. Not necessarily physical attraction but a deep-rooted love and care for the other person. Could something like that transcend the physical element? Could it bring elements of the physical into the relationship without it being ruined? Would someone be more open-minded to allowing the physicality in a situation like that?
We have made so many great strides in our country — I wonder where we’re going to go next and what that does for the things that we know.
Is it time to turn them upside down and shake them loose?
Looking forward to reading your comments.
It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’m writing now because I’m currently sitting awake in Fortuna, Costa Rica with lots on my mind. Mostly the fact that the mosquitoes are going to enjoy my flesh and that I haven’t seen any monkeys yet…but there are other things as well.
Today there was a weird occurrence that happened. It came after a good experience, which made me start questioning all sorts of things and thinking things through. Perhaps I’m spiraling. Perhaps not. I don’t know. But enough to give me pause and need to write it out.
After the good experience, I made a comment about this couple we had met and how they were getting married tomorrow. My boyfriend said “that’s nice. If you’re into that sort of thing.”
Well, here’s the thing. I am into that sort of thing. And our friend who was with us also looked kind of shocked that he said that.
But the thing is, I don’t know if it was a joke or not. And it set my brain to thinking about all sorts of things, and whether this has all just been a long elaborate fraud for the last five years with no desire to move forward.
So I’m trying not to let it ruin my vacation right now, but at the same time I can’t help but wonder if he even sees a future together or whether it’s a futile thing.
And as I laid in bed, I started thinking about a lot of other things over the past five years and wondered if I had been too much of a pushover.
And it was making me upset, so much so that I had to leave our room and get some cool air. Our friend asked if I was okay and I said I just needed some fresh air for a minute or two.
So now, here I am blogging and wondering all sorts of things.
Damn it, I’m 40 years old. This stuff is supposed to get easier isn’t it?
Or maybe not. Maybe there’s no recipe for beautiful disasters, andyou just make shit up as it comes.
It’s kind of a hectic way of living.
I guess ultimately I have to decide whether that’s the kind of life I want to lead.
And now, three mosquito bites later I am going to back inside and try to sleep. Maybe I’ll see some monkeys tomorrow.
This morning, I woke up and stretched as I usually do, but something felt different.
No, it was still the same grey sky that I’ve come to know and love in a city I know and love. My room was the same, somewhat messy and in need of a dusting. My kitchen looked the same, with the glass from my previous evening’s drink still sitting in the sink. The light in the bedroom still didn’t work every single time (thank goodness the landlord is fixing that!).
I woke with a profound sense of sadness. A sense of loss for 50 of my brothers and sisters in the community, who simply assembled to share their joy. Maybe to meet the person that was destined to be the one for them. To make new friends, to celebrate the ones they currently had, to simply be. To dance without fear of judgment of who they were dancing with, or who they were kissing.
They were in their sanctuary.
For so many in the LGBT community who feel rejected by the standard church’s teachings, the gay bar is/was our home. Our place of communal worship, albeit of a liquid god. I say that in jest. But seriously, it was a place for community, a place where one could go without feeling as though they were different. Because everyone there was just as different and unique as them — making us all for those two-to-three hours somewhat “normal.”
I woke up feeling unrest. I have been lucky in my life as a gay man. I came out, and felt immediate love and support from my family. From loving and being accepting of my boyfriends to recognizing that I am me, my family has been a stalwart supporter of mine, through words and actions. I never felt the need to go to the gay bars to simply hang out to be around my kind. I’ve always identified as a man who happens to be gay.
Today, I am a gay man, and the attacks in Orlando are having a profound attack on me. Maybe I’ve lived in a completely isolated world where the hate and fear of myself for simply being who I am has tarnished my worldview.
You hear about things like this happening in rural Wyoming, where a young man is lured out to a roadside and beaten to death. You hear about this happening in the deep south, where the world view is not as evolved as one would like. Heck, their city view is not as evolved as one would like. You hear about this in North Carolina, where people are afraid to pee next to someone who may have been born different, but went on their own journey to figure out and accept who they are.
You don’t hear about this in cities like Orlando. LA. Seattle.
These are large metropolitan cities known for their acceptance of our community. Hell, our mayor, a gay man himself, painted several crosswalks in what could be called the gayberhood as a rainbow and the city rejoiced. Two major airlines competed for the right to sponsor our never-ending pride parade (seriously, that thing is way too long but you do you, boo).
A Facebook friend summed it up best with, “They just wanted to dance.”
And that makes me filled with uncontrollable anger and sadness. They simply wanted to dance.
Can you imagine any of the people who had made a choice to get ready, take a shower, pick out their cutest outfit, do their hair, looking forward to an evening of fun and frivolity, dancing to the latest music and simply getting the chance to express themselves with abandoned pretenses on the dance floor, sometimes finding the two and four, but having a good time and being around their contemporaries and peers — to suddenly have a madman come in and target this group of people with a semi-automatic rifle? To go into the bathroom where people were hiding and shoot them down in cold-blooded murder? To have people frantically sending text messages to their loved ones, letting them know he was there with them, waiting, to call the police now. Saying their goodbyes, saying how much they loved their moms.
Can you imagine being on the other end of such a message, reading in real time the horror? That your child had a very small possibility of making it out alive, and then, silence. Nothing from their phone, no idea of whether they had made it, were injured, were in the hospital, but knowing in the back of your mind, that the last thing you had heard from them was them begging and pleading for help.
I want to blame things. I want to blame people. I want to blame the world for this. I want someone to feel the brunt of my rage because I.AM.ANGRY.
I’m so angry that I don’t know that I can keep my emotions in check. I’m sitting here at my desk, fighting back tears as I continually try to make sense of it, to figure out any silver lining in this massacre. Or any massacre for that matter.
Newtown, Denver, Charleston.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired and angry, and I want to do something.
What can I do? Devote my life to ending gun violence? That’s something I seriously am pondering. Something where I can make a difference.
I’m not for taking people’s rights to have guns. I understand it’s a constitutional right, one so ridiculously divisive. I’m not one to take away anyone’s rights. But I want the rights to extend just beyond the .300 gorilla in the room. It’s not ONLY about guns and whether or not you should own them.
Someone said, “Let’s arm ’em all.” What a fucking miserable and horrible idea. No. Let’s not arm them all. Let’s not arm any of them, frankly. Guns have one purpose: to kill. Not to be centerpieces on your table, not to be decorations on your wall. Their entire purpose is to main, destroy, or kill.
I don’t want to live in a world where I have to worry about whether or not if I cut someone off in line, whether on accident or not, that I’m going to be shot because they had a bad day and are carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle.
I don’t want to live in a world where I wake up and hear that innocent school children are murdered, their lives cut short because someone was mentally unstable and unable to get the help they need.
I don’t want to live in a world where if you’re gay and you go out dancing, you have to fear that someone is going to come in and murder you in cold-blood. Shooting fish in a barrel.
I don’t want to live in a world where if you go to church to worship, you have to be careful when closing your eyes that someone may open fire on you for worshiping your god, for trying to find peace and salvation in what is a very frightening world.
And yet, here we are.
I’m frustrated that people still cling to beliefs which promote hate and fear.
I’m saddened that innocents have to die because of madmen and women.
I’m angry because I deserve the same rights as anyone else, and I shouldn’t have to worry about my safety if I’m out dancing or drinking with friends.
I’m horrified that people believe and preach that their way is right, and yet they murder innocents. How warped is their thinking that this has ever become an option?
I’m disgusted with our Congress who has refused to react. Who turned their noses up when innocent children were murdered and accepted that as the new normal for our country.
I’m tired of having to watch our President — a man who has faced insurmountable racism and hostility while holding the highest office in the land — come out and give yet another press conference, to find a new way to say to the people who are supposed to help support us that this has to stop.
I’m horrified that a presidential candidate has the gall to take congratulations over the shooting in Orlando.
I’m mortified that people support said presidential candidate.
Mostly, my heart is heavy for the families of those people who were affected so tremendously by the actions of a madman. Lives that are irrevocably changed forever. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children who have to bury people now and say goodbyes that shouldn’t have had to have been said. Husbands and wives who only less than a year ago were celebrating their joy and dedicating their lives to another who now have to say goodbye.
We chase the melodies that seem to find us until they’re finished songs and start to play when senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day. This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall, and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside. As sacred as a symphony Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love and pride. – Lin-Manuel Miranda
In a naive sort of world view, I’d like to believe that this will finally spur some action on gun control. We will finally have a conversation around what we are doing to ourselves as a country and to our fellow people. That we cannot — will not — accept hate any more. Demagoguery should be the exception, never the norm.
And that we should be free to be who we are, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else that makes us unique and individual.
Love is love is love.
To all my brothers and sisters out there, I stand for you because you cannot.
This morning I woke up to Huffington Post notifications about the deadly attack in Orlando, Florida. Fifty people dead. Another 50 or so injured. And I started crying.
Why does this keep happening?
There are no words to express how I’m feeling — but this is not about me. This is about the hundreds – no thousands – of people whose lives have been forever changed due to one man’s hatred and prejudice, his irrational fear for people celebrating who they are.
I am shocked, saddened, angry, frustrated, and feeling powerless. I don’t know how to convey what I’m feeling any more except through a series of erratic hand banging on my keyboard to get the point across.
Why does this keep happening?
Why is this okay? Why is this the new normal that we as a society are forced to live with?
My heart hurts for everyone in Orlando today. My heart hurts for my community, and the devastating loss we all feel — when our security is threatened even more. My heart hurts for the families of the victims. My heart hurts for all of us.
Money seems to be the only method of getting anything done. Dear readers, if you can find it in your hearts to donate, please do so:
You may ask yourself “Why should I care? It’s a bunch of gay people. I don’t know them.”
You don’t know them today, but eventually you will. If this madness continues, it will be someone you love. A friend, a family member, your spouse, your daughter, your son. And then it will be too late.
There is no reason in the world for someone to have an AK-47 assault rifle, unless you are in the military — and even then that’s questionable.
Guns are not meant to be conversation starters or decorative pieces. They have one purpose and one purpose only — to kill. Whether that be an animal you’re hunting or another human being, death is the designed outcome.
And we have become too complacent with the designed outcome that it numbs us.
It’s time to stop. Donate now.
Today I’m changing my name. It has been a long time coming. I’ve never gone by the name that I was born with, but instead have all my records, both medical and otherwise, in a different name with the exception of one: my passport.
But I’m not changing my first or even middle name. I’m changing my last name.
Why? See my previous post. And another post. But really, as I think about it, it’s a way to honor my stepfather, who raised me.
I’m sure this will be seen as a slap in the face by my father’s family. My father doesn’t really care about anything I do. I would hope they could see it’s not about them but about the name I’ve always gone by…even when I was five. For as long as I can remember, I’ve used this name. And it’s time. It’s just time.
So now, I’m waiting at the courthouse for my appointment. One more hour to go. And then, I will walk out with a new official name. No one else will know really. But I’ll know.
At first, I was nervous. Was I really making the right decision? But the more I thought about it, the more clear it became. Absolutely this was the right decision and I feel with every fiber of my being that this is who I am. It’s just taken me 40 years to realize it.
So, onward and upward. Here’s to new things and new experiences.
Yes, I borrowed the title from Obama’s book, Dreams for My Father. No, this blog post will not be as brilliantly written as his book. In fact, my blog post will most likely be full of grammatical errors and may insult small nations. I hope not, but I can’t predict what’s going to come flying out of my fingers at 9:12 AM.
The title, Dreams for my Father, is not me being hyperbolic. I do have dreams for my father. The way we relate, the way we interact, the relationship we could have.
However, something happened yesterday that left me numb and sad, determined and resigned. If you read through my previous posts, you’ll find a post called The Stranger and the Friend. This was the last time I had spoken with my father. Go ahead and read the post…I’ll wait.
(time goes by, so slowly…tick, tock, tick, tock)
You’re back? Oh, good. So, that post happened, and since then, let’s just say that things haven’t been super hunky dory between me and the man who inseminated my mother. How so? We haven’t said anything. He continually “lost” my number. But all of it — ALL of it — came to a head as recently as Sunday through Yesterday (Yesterday is not a real day of the week, but in this example, it is Thursday).
His mother had passed away two months ago. I, being the compassionate person I am, reached out and organized flowers to be sent from myself, my brother and my sister. We couldn’t be there in person — and frankly, didn’t feel it was right. We didn’t have a relationship with this woman, save for a few awkward hugs across 39 years. I can count on one hand the number of times we had seen each other. I didn’t dislike the woman — I just didn’t know her.
Nevertheless, it was my grandmother, and my father’s mother. Not wanting to seem insensitive, we sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and card expressing our condolences. My father and I texted over the course of the week before and after the service. I wanted to make sure they got there, and that he received them. He did, he said thank you, and asked if I would like a memory card from the service. I said yes, please.
This past Sunday, I was catching up on some correspondence, and reaching out to people I love, which I do every Sunday. I send a little text that lets them know I’m thinking of them, asking how they are, scheduling time to talk during the week. It’s something I’m doing to be more engaged with people around me. I sent him a very innocent little text, something that read, “Hey. How are you doing?”
Three days later…(read that in your best SpongeBob SquarePants voiceover voice), I got a text back that said, “Who is this?”
Who is this?
Um…I was stunned. I was floored, I was flabbergasted, gobsmacked. Whatever you want to call it. I mean, I had the chat conversation from the previous two months where we had discussed his mother’s passing. I didn’t know how to respond.
Why was this so important? I’m named after this man. I’m his first child. I didn’t know how to respond. I had spent 39 years trying to be a good son, reaching out, wanting that relationship, and then to be caught by this information was truly surprising.
If I were to take an honest and hard look at the past relationship with my father, I really shouldn’t be surprised. Hurt, yes, but surprised, no. I can give multiple examples of how myself, my brother, my sister were afterthoughts. One that comes to mind immediately was in 2006. I was on the road, and happened to be playing in his home state of Michigan. I had called three weeks earlier to ask if I could have Thanksgiving with them, as we would be there at that time. He said, yes, he would love to have me.
I was excited. This was the first time I would have spent a major holiday with that side of the family. We made arrangements, and agreed I would reach out once I got into Michigan to finalize everything.
I can remember that week like it was yesterday. I had called, emailed, called, and called again. But nothing. Not.a.single.response. My father decided he didn’t want to follow through with Thanksgiving with his son. His first born son. I sat at a restaurant and had Thanksgiving dinner alone, as everyone had already left for the week. I was devastated. Thirty years old, and devastated on a day reserved for giving thanks.
Then, of course, you know about the incident three years ago. And now this.
These are just a few of the examples that come readily to mind of disappointment after disappointment.
I wasn’t sure what to do, and so finally, I responded back stating that I was looking for my father, is this not him? No response until…
three days later…
He wrote back and said yes, who is this. I have yet to respond.
I know what I want to say. And the only things I want to say are angry and emotional. And now I share my first draft of what I want to write to him:
This is your first born son. I am hurt that after 39 years, I am not in your phone, but I suppose after 39 years I am not surprised. I have wrestled over what I have done or may have done to anger or upset you, to cause you to be so emotionally distant. After a lot of consideration, I realize that it’s not what I have done, but what you haven’t done. Thirty-nine years I have spent investing in something that was not even in the back of your mind never mind the forefront. Your continued non-action has showed me that the only thing I share with you is our first name. Because I would never and have never treated my own son this way. Your life in Michigan seems to be pretty complete without me complicating it. I wish you only the best and I won’t contact you again.
Am I hurt? Absolutely. Do I wish he would grow a pair and be a man? Yes. Tell me you hate me. Tell me that I’m not what you wanted. That I was a mistake. Anything except for apathy.
My father is a coward. Any strength I have learned in this world comes from my mother. My mother, who left this coward of a man with three children, after being subjected to the abuse by his hands, and his constant belittlement. My mother who raised four incredibly independent children, all with quick and sharp minds, able to see through people’s bullshit. Sometimes we get blinded, though — some of that bullshit gets on the window of the car we’re driving through life — but we’re able to wipe it away and see with more clarity.
I write this because I am still angry. And who knows, maybe I will send this message to him. I can’t say that it would make any difference if I did. Would he even care? Who knows.
All I know is that these actions reaffirmed the choice I have made for myself: next week, I go and change my last name to my stepfather’s last name. It’s the name I know. It’s the name I was raised with. It’s now time to make it official.
To my stepfather, my dad — I say I love you. Thank you for having the courage to raise me as your son when I was not of your blood.
To my father, a man with whom I have nothing in common — all I can do is wish you well.
Oh, and go to hell, you selfish piece of shit.
I haven’t written anything in a while, but trust me — there’s been a lot on my mind. Today, I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about what’s going on in the world, wishing we could all be full of rainbows and glitter and get along — and knowing that we can’t.
I recently had a dream that was very troubling. I haven’t had many like this, so it was something that could have been a recycling of current events versus actual deep-seated fears. However, with all of the shootings going on, the dream consisted of me being at Disneyland and there was a terrorist attack by a group of Japanese schoolgirls. We couldn’t figure out how they got the guns into Disneyland, because they do a bag check — though not an actual pat down — and then it was discovered that the guns were being implanted in the balloons, and then the Japanese tourists were buying the balloons, popping them and going on their attacks.
Okay, it’s not something that is very reasonable. But hey — it was a dream. My subconscious telling me something.
I’ve watched the rhetoric continue to rise over the course of the last several months, all due to the political system, and I am frightened for my country, for my fellow countrymen, for my family, and for myself.
I am a gay man. There’s no secret about that. To hear the things that come out of the mouth of someone who is hoping to be the president of our country is frightening. Not only frightening, but terrifying. I can’t rationalize how anyone in their right mind would think that he is a good, safe choice.
But politics aside, what it is doing is breeding this fear that is now running rampant. I’m afraid of how this will end — in bloodshed, in harmless hurt. I don’t know how to stop it, and it’s frightening.
So, what do I do? Continue to love. Continue to be who I am. Continue to preach tolerance and peace, while condemning the hurt and hate that seems to be the default reaction and go-to emotion for so many.
Dreams out of fear are quickly turning into nightmares.
Lately, the phone calls I’ve been having with my significant other have been getting shorter and shorter.
I wish I had an answer as to why. But I can literally go back and track the times. From 39 minutes to 14 minutes to 12 minutes to 10 minutes to 2 minutes.
I’m not sure it necessarily means anything, as sometimes we have long conversations, and sometimes we don’t. But it definitely doesn’t feel like they are filled with substance.
Is this the end?
Not sure. Maybe.
I wish I could just know.
Is there a magic 8-ball that you can ask that question to? Even if the answer came up, “All signs point to yes,” at least I’d know.