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What is Love? Baby, don’t hurt me.

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.

 

 

 

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The morning after…

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.

 

Pride and Prejudice

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:

http://everytown.wecanendgunviolence.org/
https://secure.bradycampaign.org/page/contribute/center-enough

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.

 

June 26, 2015 — Complete

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States made history and allowed America to overturn the gay marriage bans that had infiltrated state constitutions and laws for far too long.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order that said if I choose to marry a man, my partner, that I could, that it was effectively the law of the land.

This morning, I stood in my shower and just beamed from ear to ear, for I thought that this day would come but much, much, much further into the future, when I was old and gray, and perhaps had 15 cats and was living a life of solitude.

Instead, I am in my thirties, and see what so many people had fought for come to fruition.

I’ve always lived my life as an openly gay man, but still there was something missing.

Today, the Supreme Court says that my love is valid, and must be recognized as such.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.  –Supreme Court Majority Opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy

I never needed their validation to love the men I’ve loved, to be a gay man, but it’s nice to know that now there are laws that protect me as opposed to laws that try to squelch and oppress me.

This is truly an historic day, and I am so pleased and proud to be a part of this monumental decision, if only cursory and supporting from the sidelines.

I had no direct impact in the outcome of this case, as many of us didn’t — save for living our lives as authentically and truthfully as we could as proud gay and lesbian, trans and cis-gendered men and women.

Thank you to all who have given so much more so incredibly selflessly to fight for our rights.  As President Obama said, this decision has… “made our union a little more perfect.”

Gay Pride

“Are you going to pride?”

Every year this question comes up, and I can’t help but feel conflicted.

On the one hand, the answer is, yes, I would like to go.  I think it’s important to show solidarity, to embrace the community, to say we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it, march in a parade, enjoy the spectacle and pageantry of all that gay pride has to offer.

On the other hand, the idea of sitting with a bunch of strangers in a completely crowded place where most of the people are partaking in alcohol and other delights has no real appeal for me.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m jaded.  Maybe I need to get over myself?

I try to rationalize it by saying that instead of celebrating pride one day of the year, or weekend, I’ll celebrate it every day.  I make no qualms about who I am, what I am, or where I’ve been.  I’m open and honest if people ask me questions about my orientation.  I have no problem introducing people to the person I am with as my partner, boyfriend, et cetera.  In fact, I take great pride in that, if you will.

But as I sit here and wonder about whether or not I need to be out there supporting the parade, rather than just living my life, and being who I am on a daily basis, and feeling conflicted about the whole thing, there’s a sense of urgency to be with the community.

But what is the community anymore?

When I first moved to the Emerald City, there was definitely a gay district.  Capitol Hill, Broadway, with all of its splendor had no less than five shops that catered to a specifically homosexual clientele.  Over time, and as the years marched on, those shops gave way to a generic neighborhood found in any city, USA.  Still known as the gay district, gay bars pop up every now and then, and last for a few years, but it doesn’t seem to have that same sense of taboo that it once did.

We’ve come a long way.  The other day I heard on the radio an advertisement on the radio stating that to “kick off pride weekend, celebrate with us!”  Wow.  That’s progress, my friends.  Ten years ago, that would have never happened.

With the recent passing of DOMA and the Prop 8 decision, I felt something inside of myself that reminded me while I sit at home, typing on a computer, there are very real people out there with very real struggles.  I felt something that made me feel grateful to be who I am, to be what I am, and to know that even though we have a long way to go, we have won a very important victory.

Ten years ago, the idea of getting married was a far-fetched notion.  Something that I thought would only come to pass if I was in my 50’s, and no one would want me anyhow.  (Gay death is 35, by the way)  But now, I see couples I’ve known, couples I haven’t known, the images on websites like the Huffington Post, Seattle Times, et cetera, of these people who are celebrating themselves and the person they love, and I sit and recognize that I want that too.

That desire to feel something, for someone, and to be desired by someone…that need to express my love because, damn it, we can.  It’s been a long, arduous journey, and we’re nowhere near the end.

This post is all sorts of jumbled, so thank you if you’ve made it to this point.  It’s actually helped me realize that while the crowds may be overwhelming. the alcohol maybe be overdone, the parades may lack a certain choreography (that I could totally help with), that I do have something to feel proud of, and that this is a celebration that I should attend.

This feeling of conflict that I feel when someone asks me if I’m going to Pride will be something I deal with next year, but mostly for superficial reasons.  I don’t care for the crowds, and I don’t care for the heat.  But I am absolutely 100% proud of myself and my fellow brothers and sisters who have fought long and hard to achieve what we have achieve, to simply be who we are, and to continue to march on.

 

Untitled

This is specifically titled, “Untitled,” because I don’t quite know where this collection of thoughts is going to go.

A lot of things have been swirling around my brain this past week.  Mortality, being alone,  jubilation at the passage of Referendum 74 in my home state of Washington, and a bunch of other thoughts that may or may not make it into this blog.  We’ll see how adventurous I am at 11:59 at night.

 

The first thought – mortality.  That chapter I described in an earlier post , has got me thinking about my own mortality, people close to me, what I want to happen when I should pass on, as we all must.  I already know that I want to be cremated, and perhaps a small portion of my ashes spread at the ocean, the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, and the rest can be thrown away.  Silly, I guess, but there are two very specific reasons why.

The ocean, because water is always important to me.  The ocean has always been a place of refuge, a place where I seek solace, ask questions to the universe, and remind myself that there are things bigger than me when my ego gets in the way.  Not that I necessarily am an egomaniac, but it’s nice to be reminded that there is a force, a life force out there…call it God, call it the Great Spirit, call it Chuck E. Cheese for all I care.  It’s just something that is important to me, and when I die, I’d like to be a part of it.

Disneyland, because for me, it’s the happiest place on earth.  For a long while, my life was a musical.  Even to this day, songs and melodies accompany almost everything I do.  I can be walking along, see the most innocuous thing, and suddenly, a melody pops into my head.  It helps me get through the day.  Some of the songs are good.  Most of them are not.  But the ones that need to be kept alive continue coming back, are refined, and then put out into the world.  It’s how I hear the world, through music.  And to me, Disneyland represents this happiness, this joy.  I can walk down Main Street and suddenly feel like the rest of the world is gone.  I’m not stupid.  I know there is still poverty, and the sweatshirts in the gift shops most likely were made by child labor.  I’m not naive or simple.  But it helps me to forget a lot of the things that plague me, those daily reminders that while everything on the outside may seem happy, inspirational, and upbeat, inside lies a dragon that every so often rears its ugly head.  Like tonight apparently.

Five years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.  If you were to put two and two together, you could probably figure out what it was.  It marked the end of an era, and a beginning of a new one, probably for the better.  But in it, there was an aspect of my being, a part of what made people relate to me in a weird sort of way suddenly a much more difficult path to be able to utilize.  I’m not saying that my sexuality (the physical act, not the part of being gay) was my defining characteristic, but it certainly was a tool in my tool kit.

Without going into too much detail here, I could simply say that I thought that the person I was with and I would be together forever, as we were in the same boat.  Yet, five years later, he decided to try to pray the gay away, and I’m here, looking in the world, like a kid in a candy shop.  My eyes are big, but I feel the big hand of THIS telling me that I cannot, and should not ever touch.  Fuck.

This thought became issue number one after the whole death of a former boyfriend thing, and has seemed to magnify over this week.  I think about it and know that I’m still the same human being underneath, despite having THIS.  The dread IT.  The whatever the hell you want to call it.  Yet, because I’m also a nice guy, and an honest guy, I recognize that finding someone who is willing to accept that part of me as simply part of me is a difficult task.  Add to that the joys and desires of starting over at age 35…where my boyish good looks are no longer eye-catching, my hairline receding, and what could essentially be referred to as “gay death,” it seems insurmountable.

A friend and I had dinner, and we were talking about life in general, and about referendum 74.  It was bittersweet for me, the passing, as I thought that he who shall not be named (apparently I’m dating Voldemort) and I were going to be together forever.   We had discussed marriage.  And now that it’s an actual possibility, a real, live possibility, I see many acquaintances getting engaged, announcing it to the world, and yet I sit here and wallow.

I mentioned to this friend that I would die alone, probably a crazy old cat lady.  Why?  Because I’m one cat away from Junior Cat Lady merit badge status, and because of the previously aforementioned reasons.  The IT.  The THIS.  The nothing that is destroying our world.  I’m glib about it, but it is something that weighs heavily on my mind.

Add to that a dash of non-typical gay, and the fact that my job that I despise isolates me from the world in ways unimaginable, and it is the perfect recipe for isolationism, or to end up like this.

Thirty-five, and I seem to have no knack for connecting with people.  I don’t drink.  So, I feel stupid going to bars, by myself, where I can meet people.  My job literally is the most soul-sucking employment on the planet…honestly, I feel like being a garbage man would be better.  And frankly, more rewarding.  At least I could see that my job is doing something instead of just being a simple cog in a machine, no hope of recognition, no thank you, not even a raise.  Dear god, I need a new job.  A direct quote from one of our managers, when speaking about the boss, “She views you all as Kleenex.  Disposable.  To be used and thrown away.”  That gives me all sorts of warm fuzzies.

And then, there’s the fact that I am simply a nice guy.  A nice guy who would do anything for people.  Because I’m nice like that.  Or, if you want to get into my psyche even further, because I have an insatiable need to make people like me due to sexual abuse that happened when I was five by a jerk-of-a-guy babysitter, and have been playing catch up ever since.  Having to be the grown up, having to be the caretaker, making sure that people were all right before myself.

The funny thing is, I would go to the end of the earth for someone with no questions asked, simply because that’s what I know how to do.  If I were a robot, it would be part of my programming.  I would be the “iFixIt 2000.”  That’s what I do.  Take care of things for people.  I don’t need you to do anything for me.

But Jesus (or Buddha, Allah, Mary, or crazy man on the corner who spouts biblical nonsense at me all day) I could use a break.  I could use just one break.  Or two.  I don’t mean to be greedy.  But I could use one.

Every day, I post something on my Facebook wall that is inspirational, a quote of the day, if you will.  Via Twitter.  (@turpinharry if you’re interested).  People always comment about how they love them.  How it brightens their day.  Great.  I’m happy.

But the thing is, I’m not happy.  That dragon that I mentioned earlier lurks just under the surface, brimming with his sadness, ready to break out of the skin, and take wing, overwhelming any sense of happiness, joy, or positiveness that I could possibly contain.

Because I realize that I am alone.

People don’t answer my calls.  Maybe because they’re rude.  Maybe because they don’t get to the phone in time.  Maybe because they simply don’t want to talk at that time.  Who knows the reason.  I certainly don’t.  And yet, I still continue to call, hoping that someone will pick up, we can exchange pleasantries, and I can feel that human connection that seems to be missing in my life.

People do, however, call, when they need something.  Remember “iFixIt 2000?”  He has practical purposes.  Call him, and he’ll get it done.  Because he doesn’t say no.

Even at work, I say yes to the point where it wreaks havoc on my body, afraid that if I say no, they will no longer ask.  And then, I’ll be out of work, and even more destitute than I am right now (and believe me, I’m living so paycheck to paycheck that if that were to happen, I would be homeless in a matter of minutes).

This is a lot of stuff to carry.  And if you’ve made it this far, I applaud you.  Maybe I shouldn’t be writing it for the world to see.  Though, as of this time, my blog has -1877911 followers so I don’t think I need to worry too much about it coming back to haunt me.

So, now perspective.

Tomorrow, I will wake up.  I will totter to my desk.  I will sit down, put my headphones on, and lose myself in the sorrows of other people as I do my job that I despise.  I will answer any phone call that comes my way, in hopes that someone wants to spend time with me, but knowing that they probably want something specific and I’m the guy to do it because I’ll get it done.  I’ll finish work.  I’ll wait for the evening to come so I can go to sleep, so I can start all over again.  This machine is permanently set on wash, rinse, repeat.

I’m tired.  I’m tired of being the person that people come to for advice.  I’m tired of carrying the weight on my shoulders.  I’m tired of having the THIS.  I’m tired of a lot of things.

And yet, I’m not so tired that I give in.  Because I hope that someday, somewhere, someone will see me for what I am — the most perfectly flawed version of myself that I can possibly be, someone who recognizes these thoughts, and does his absolute best to change them within the confines of the reality that envelopes him like darkness.

I do my best to remain as light.

But even lights burn out.

 

Final Political Post of 2012! WAHOOO

This will be my last political thought process/post on this election.  Only because it relates to an experience I had over the weekend.  See?  There’s my justification.  Then I can go back to writing about the moon, failed relationships, cats, Christmas, and whatever else I think might be blog worthy.

I was at a theater event on Sunday.  I stood there, discussing potential opportunities with the artistic director of the company, and a woman walked in.  She was wearing two buttons.  One for Romney (fine) and the other one saying marriage One Man, One Woman.

I didn’t care so much about the Romney button.  I have friends who are Republicans who are very dear to me.  The button that got my blood boiling so much was the Marriage One man One Woman idea.  I laughed a bit to myself, which apparently was audible enough for her to hear, as she turned and caught my eye.  I simply smiled, and that was the end of our exchange.

What this woman didn’t know is that a man who might love another man was standing next to her.  I wasn’t wearing rainbow flags, or proudly announcing who I was, but I was there, sharing her space.  And she, this older woman, held the belief that I should not have the choice to marry whom I choose, be it man or woman.

It was enough to spur me to come home after the show and fill out my early voting ballot, and send it in.  It’s in the mail today.

Referendum 74 in Washington State seems to be gaining enough traction that it may pass and we will have written into our state constitution the ability to marry a man if we so choose.  I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope (a thousand times over) that we do, regardless of my current relationship status.

I don’t know why this woman believes that it should be between a man and a woman only…I didn’t dare ask her.  All I know is it was enough to spur me into action and make my voice heard.  I hope that you, wherever you are, will also jump into the fray and make your voice heard for whatever your issues are.

I remember when George W. Bush was elected the first time.  At the same time, there were a number of ballot measures aimed at preventing gay marriage.  I wasn’t so disappointed that Al Gore had lost (that one was foreseeable) but that so many states in our union, found it necessary to restrict a person’s right to marry the person that they love.  It was disheartening in the worst possible way, and as I watched the returns come in, my heart sank deeper and deeper.

Family members who would deny me that right.  These so-called friends who would also deny me that right.  It was heartbreaking.

I don’t discuss politics with my friends and families.  Nor do I hide my sexuality.  I am a proud gay man, and will continue to be for the rest of my life.  I only wish they saw the consequences of their actions, by denying the freedom and liberty to one particular sect of this country, someone they know, someone who it impacts greatly.

If you are in Washington, please please approve Referendum 74.  The idea that I could choose to spend the rest of my life with a man I love is something that even little gay boys aspire to.  Maybe we don’t need all the trappings of the modern wedding.  Maybe we don’t need bridesmaids and bridegrooms.  But the knowledge that should my partner get sick, should my partner be injured, that I have equal visitation rights under the law is important.

This launches into an entirely different debate regarding family and friends, and who we choose to call family.  Blood is strong, yes, but those people who will stand up for you when they see rights simply being voted away by the majority due to ignorance are the people I would be proud to not only call my friends, but my family as well.

I don’t consider myself a smart person when it comes to politics.  But I know that this election, especially in my home state of Washington, is very important to me.  Personally so.

 

Thank you for letting me write about it.  Now we return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Why I am voting for Obama

Recently, my brother posted on Facebook, asking, “Romney or Obama?  I don’t follow politics that closely, so your thoughts are welcome.”

As a general rule, I don’t post on Facebook about my political leanings, but because this blog isn’t connected to my Facebook feed in any way, I’m posting the entirety of the text that I sent him.

******************************************************************

I’ll try to be as clear and concise as well as rational as I can via qwerty keyboard. It makes it hard to text these thoughts, but I’m sending them because you are important to me. Your question was Obama or Romney.

While i feel Romney may have some attributes that make him a generally decent guy, I believe his mission would be detrimental to our country. For starters, he wants to cut social programs, accusing the 47% of, “not taking responsibility for their lives.”  While there are some people who shouldn’t be on welfare, and abuse the system for their own personal gains, there are those who need those programs to survive. I am one of those people.

I work hard, and put in very long hours, but without the government assistance provided, i would not be here today. The subsidies provided helps it so I can have health insurance by funding state-wide programs to help insure those who may have preexisting conditions, that are not covered by traditional insurance. With that insurance, I am then able to afford medication for my chronic illness, which is literally saving my life.

By cutting funding to those programs, I would have no other recourse or option. I would be forced to choose whether I purchase food and pay my rent, or buy my medicine, as the medication costs along are well over $1,700 per month off of insurance. That is a choice I have made in the past, sacrificing food so that I could live. It is a choice I am not willing to make again.

Second, the party – the Republican party – have made it very clear that they are against abortion. Why this is still an issue in America is beyond me, as it was decided by Roe v. Wade. However, it is something that comes up every two-to-four years and apparently needs to be addressed.

What I find so hypocritical as well as misogynistic is that if men were the ones who carried babies to full term and were faced with the decision on having an abortion, this issue would have been decided a long time ago. As a man, I do not have that privilege of carrying a baby to full term. While I may not agree that abortion is humane or necessary, and once again, a few rotten apples choose to abuse the system for lack of responsibility, they can be sometimes medically necessarily, emotionally necessary in the case of rape, and perhaps humiliating when a woman decides she must have one. I know several people who have had to make the difficult choice, after being raped, of whether or not to have an abortion or not. I could never and would never want to be in their shoes, and thank goodness for that. Because the idea that you had to terminate a living growing thing inside your body is a weighty issue, but should ONLY be decided by the woman in question and her doctor. Not by a bunch of bureaucrats in a room with no skin in the game.

Thirdly, Obama came out as saying he supports gay marriage. As a gay man, I am not afforded the rights that other citizens of this country receive. Being gay was not a choice, it was something that I was born as. There have been numerous times over my lifespan where I wished I was a straight heterosexual male, but to deny who I am at my fundamental being would be a detriment to my family, but ultimately to myself. Life would have been exceptionally easier had I been straight, but the fact is, I am gay. I have always been gay, and always will be. And the idea that the man representing me, a minority but still a part of this nation and its populace, believes that I should have the ability to express my love for another man as Obama does is empowering and lets me know that someone out there gets it.

Even his own political views have changed with regard to the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community. But those views changed based on personal experience, and he was willing to go on record to support a smaller minority of this country who still are denied visitation rights, who are denied the right to marry whom they choose, and the right to simply be in this country. Romney himself, over the course of his political career, has continued to pander to whomever will give him the largest sum of money. And it becomes very clear to me that Romney is simply about the almighty dollar.

What’s so fundamentally discouraging about this principle is that Romney has not shown any humanity, any compassion, nor an ounce of dignity in his quest for the presidency…only that he wants it really, really bad but isn’t willing to recognize what it represents.

Obama is not perfect. There are a lot of things he has done that I don’t necessarily agree with, but the fact that he is our president is something I take very seriously. He has shown his mettle numerous ways, as well as seeing through to completion and saving us from the Republican philosophy of trickle-down economics, which has never worked. Wall Street is a great example. It simply doesn’t work. He inherited a mess, and has worked hard to continue to right this ship. But like any ship that has suddenly found itself moored in the precarious shores of destruction, it will take a lot of money to repair those holes.

The spending was necessary. And the viewpoint that it could be fixed in four years is something that perhaps the President shot his mouth off on. But the fact is, Obama has saved us from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, helped to save the auto industry, which Mitt Romney opposed (and advocated for failing, thereby leaving millions and millions of people without employment, and having to go to the government for assistance), and we have seen job loss stagnation and then job growth meaning that things were getting better. Whereas before, the employment rate was continuing to hemorrhage under the policies of George Bush, and would have continued to do so unless something had been done to correct them.

I don’t believe I will ever be incredibly wealthy. I simply want the opportunity to live my life, as a middle class American, but with the freedoms and rights guaranteed to me under our constitution. All men are created equal. And as such we should have those same rights.

Both candidates are millionaires, but Romney believes his money makes him better than me, you, our children, or anyone else who isn’t in the upper echelon of wealth. Romney hasn’t had to struggle a day in his life. He was born with the proverbial spoon in his mouth.

Obama gets it. His family struggled. He rose through the ranks and is now a top earner in our country, the 1 percent, if you will, but he has been there. He understands what it is like to live the American dream, to rise from nothing to become the most powerful man in the world. He is the living example of what this country, its ideals, and the opportunity afforded to every single American, regardless of sex, creed, or color.

Under George Bush, the ship that is our country had taken on more water through his failed policies that it was necessary to spend to repair the damage and the holes to prevent even more underwater. Obama has done that.

He may be painted as a do-nothing president, but that is an outright lie. He has championed for the people from the first day in office, signing the Equal Pay for Women act, as well as working to reform our education system. And he finished the job that Bush couldn’t do, by getting bin Laden.

Much like a house, if you maintain it all along, repairs will be less expensive to fix. Our health care system, our education system, all of those needed fixing but were ignored under a Bush presidency, and would be under a Romney presidency. His policies and viewpoints are almost ideological to George W. Bush’s, but yet the Republican party is trying to pull the wool over the American people’s eyes by not even invoking their previous candidate/president in their own political convention, simply relying on the statement that Obama is wrong.

To leave things to the finality that they got to under Bush required almost a major overhaul….much like finding asbestos in the walls of a house. Things needed to be gutted and rebuilt. Similarly, we needed to spend money in order to get out of this mess that we’re in. This is a point that the president has failed on, and did not get the message out earlier. Yes, things were going to be expensive. But they were for the good of the country, to rebuild our foundation so we could move forward and upward.

I have never seen so much vitriol and hatred directed towards the leader of our country, but as he himself pointed out, this is something that even he understands. It is our freedom of speech. People can call him a Muslim, people can call him a socialist, people can compare him to Hitler, but the fact remains, Obama stands up for that right. THAT inalienable right guaranteed to us by our constitution of these United States.

Our country was founded on the principles of freedom, of separation of church and state, as well as the liberties to form a more perfect union.

Perfection is a lofty goal but it is something that I believe we should continue to strive for, and that includes all people. Every single person. From the elderly, to each child, to gays, straights, black, white, Muslim, Christian, Jew — it doesn’t matter. To form a more perfect union. Not THE perfect union, but a more perfect union.

The word union means togetherness. Exclusion, denial is simply the antithesis of the foundation of this country.

And my final point. One of my most prized possessions is a letter from Fred Rogers, from Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a program that was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of Arts. His program, along with Sesame Street, the Electric Company, and countless others, allowed me to use my imagination, to think outside the box, to be an artist and live a fulfilling life pursuing music, pursuing dreams, and re-imagining the way our world is so often viewed, in black and white numbers.

The composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim said it best, to make a hat where there never was a hat. Or to dive into a world of pure imagination, as Willy Wonka sang. While it seems trivial and trite, these are important points, as out of this imagination comes things that we would never have thought possible. Space travel. Cell phones. The internet. Basic computers. Things we take for granted now, but were once only the dreams of people who had lofty ideas. The fact remains they had the ideas, and without the support of artists and the nurturing of their humanity, some of these things would eventually get here, but not with the rapidity that we saw under the nourishment of the National Endowment of the Arts, and other like-minded organizations like PBS.

Life is not black or white, but filled with so many colors that to not have those colors in my palette is saddening. And idea that children would be denied the opportunity to see things slightly askew and askance from the norm is equally as sad.

I value my imagination. I value Melody’s artistic skill, I value my son’s ability to escape into fantasy, and I value my niece’s ability to draw. To deny them an opportunity to explore that side of their personality, to see what their potential could truly be if they were given the chance to explore, to dream, to create may be denying the world the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Pablo Picasso, Stephen Sondheim, Meryl Streep. The list goes on and on.

What makes us human is our humanity….there’s a reason the arts are considered uniquely human. To compose a piece of music that makes one cry with sadness or joy, to express oneself in a way that also satirically looks at how we value things, such as Andy Warhol’s soup cans, that allows even horrible films like “Transformers” to be made, is what makes us human. Our expression, our soul, our humanity.

I am not a perfect human being, but by pursuing my dreams and the goals I am working towards that happiness. After all would we even be here if our founding fathers didn’t have the courage to dream of a better loves for themselves and their kin?

I share these thoughts with you only because this is a very personal election to me. While the average citizen may not see the immediate repercussions of what would happen under a Romney presidency, there are very real consequences, there are very scary consequences, and they are very frightening.

The Nights

It’s midnight here in the Emerald City and I find myself not able to sleep. These nights have become less frequent, as the days go on and I get used to my newly-found singleness. The waves of loneliness have become like the tide – some days pounding the shore and others an afterthought, but lurking in the background.

I spend most of my evenings alone. There’s nothing wrong with solitude, far from it. However, my particular work is so isolating that I find myself craving human contact. A hello, a chat, anything to help pass the time and remind me I’m still here.

This wasn’t the life I imagined.

Retrospect provides opportunity i suppose, and allows me to stop looking for answers and simply recognize I am better off without him.

Still, I miss his silliness, his certain way that only he could be. Grieving, reliving, and longing to be close, my hand on his, my leg touching his, a kiss goodbye in the morning, a kiss hello in the evening.

Words cannot describe it, so I’m left with only these images of happier times that run through my head like a never ending film…one in which has had all the bad times excised.

I see the opportunities that are opening before Me, things I wouldn’t have considered if we were still together. And I know – I am sure that I am much better off. But the nights are hardest.

Do we wish upon the same moon? Are we both longing for the better parts of our years together? Do we both look at couples with only the faintest hint of jealousy and envy, yearning for that closeness, thinking we may never find it, and wondering where to even start?

This isn’t the life I imagined, but this is the life I have.

All I can do is put one foot in front of the other and just keep walking on.

I’m not the first person to suffer heartache nor will I be the last. Ironic that while I feel so completely isolated and alone, there are probably millions of people going through similar emotions at the same time.

Isn’t life funny?

The nights are hardest but the moon is my faithful companion, and I look to her for solace. Thank you for embracing me, and holding me close.

Goodnight.

On the WaterFront

I hesitated writing this blog, dear readers, because I wasn’t quite sure how to begin it.  This happened yesterday, so one could conceivably assume that I simply didn’t have enough time to sit down at my computer and write it…though, you would be mistaken.

To be honest, the experience as a whole has left me somewhat shocked, shaken, and surprised.

I apologize in advance at the graphic language that may or may not appear in this blog posting.  I’m not sure what will come out as I tell you my experience.

I was meeting a friend for lunch yesterday at noon, downtown Seattle.  I arrived early, as is my custom, found parking, and decided to take advantage of the day by going and sitting on this little alcove area that overlooked the water and the new Ferris wheel on 1st and Union.  I had some lines to highlight in a script, and found a spot next to a lovely fountain where I sat, with an unobstructed view of the Sound, the water rushing behind my back in the fountain, the sun bouncing off the water in front of me.

I was lost in my own world, simply enjoying my surroundings.  Water is a place of rejuvenation for me, a place where I go to remind myself that there are things, forces bigger than myself, and in a completely woo-woo sense, to wash away whatever is troubling me, and let me continue on with my day-to-day activities, struggles or triumphs.

This day couldn’t have been more perfect.  It was the last bastion of summer, before we head into the Seattle drizzle, and I was loving every moment of it, excited at the prospect that I was to be working as a guest artist in a play, and looking forward to meeting my new friends for sushi and wine.

Suddenly, I heard a voice from above, “What’s that?”  I looked up, and there is this woman, about 30-ish, wearing a plaid shirt, yellow hoodie, her hair in pigtails, the rest hidden by a hat, her eyes behind sunglasses.

“It’s a script–” and that was all I was able to get out.

“You fucking faggot.  You motherfucking faggot, with your pink highlighter, and your fucking attitude.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“You fucking faggot, you deserve to die.”

“Ma’am, I don’t understand.”

“Why are you calling me ma’am?”

“Because I don’t know you.”

“You don’t understand huh?”

“I’m positive I don’t understand.”

“I bet you are.  I bet you’re positive, and you take your fucking medication so you can go and spread your disease around to all your faggot friends.  You deserve to rot in hell.”

“Ma’am, I’m not going to engage with you.”

“You’re not going to engage with me, huh?  Why not?”

“Because you’re not saying anything nice and this isn’t constructive.”

“Fuck you, you dirty fucking faggot.  You’re dripping with disease, and you’re a scourge on the earth, and you should be killed.”

I went silent.  I wasn’t going to engage anymore.  But I was visibly shaken.  I didn’t know if she would lash out at me, hit me with her purse, what was in her purse, or what I should even do.  I was trying to remain calm and cool throughout this entire process.  She continued to berate me.  Soon it became noise.  And then she stopped.  She then wandered away and then came back and said:

“Nice ring.”

“Thank you,”

“No it’s not.  It’s ugly.  You’re fucking ugly.  Your face is ugly.  You deserve to fucking rot in hell.  You’re disgusting.”

I remained as calm as I could under the circumstances, and let her continue her rant.  Eventually she got tired of berating me, and wandered over to a nice elderly couple, also taking in the view.  “You fucking kykes,” she screamed.  “You should’ve died in Germany.”

The couple quickly moved away.  Then a woman with her two young children entered the circle.  They were carrying flowers.  Sensing another victim, this woman went over to them, and said, “Nice flowers.”  “Thank you.  I just got them at the mark–” “You stupid chink.  No one cares where you got your fucking flowers.  You’re probably going to grind ’em up with a cat and eat them, anyway.  What are you teaching your children?  You should get out of this country.”

Her vitriol was acidic, her tongue, using the F-word much more than I’ve written in this blog posting.  I stood up, as this woman’s attention was currently diverted, and went to find a police officer.

As I stated in the beginning, I was shocked.  Appalled.  Seattle is a pretty liberal place.  And I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  Yes, I’m a gay man.  But was I actively promoting my gay lifestyle?  No.  I was someone who sat down to enjoy the view of the water, while waiting for a friend.  And this woman — no, this monster — was completely and utterly baseless, offensive to anyone and everyone she could encounter.  Harassing people on the street.  Not for money, not for work, not even trying to promote a religious view.  Whatever demons were in her head were causing her to spew such violent, complete and utter filth towards anyone who came near her.

In that split second while she was berating me, I thought of a few things.  1) How do I react?  2)  What if she hits me?  Then what? 3) What if I wasn’t who I am — a proud gay man, but a kid with no sense of himself, questioning his sexuality, questioning where his life was going?  And this woman then went on the attack, bullying him with what she perceived to be a weakness, and causing this hypothetical kid to question even more to the point that he made a very rash decision, thinking things were never going to get better, and ended up killing himself?

I hope — and pray — that whatever demons this woman is facing, that she finds some inner peace and comes to terms with her hatred, her pure evilness, and has some sort of reconciliation at some point down the road.  Her hate is not needed in this world.  I am proud of who I am, and proud of who I love, and the choices I make.

I felt completely tested in this moment, tested in the sense that I had a decision to make.  I could have screamed and yelled at her, reacted just as angrily, said something negative.  What I really wanted to do was push her off the overlook into the traffic below and let her meet her demise there.  But I remained cool.  I remained calm, and tried to keep the situation from escalating any further than it already had.  It was tough, but I managed to do so.

After I walked away, I realized I had a very important choice to make.  Do I allow this woman to completely ruin the rest of my day?  Or do I simply shake it off?

I chose the latter.  This woman, her hate, her views are completely misguided.  She knows nothing about me as a person, and her control over how I feel about myself is nonexistent.  In fact, once this blog posting is complete, I will consider the matter resolved, as I have processed the entire situation, and move forward, on, and up.

I wish her the best.  Whatever she is facing, it must be pretty horrible to have to take it out on people unsuspecting, people going about their lives, people simply being in this world.

And yet, I’m grateful for the experience.  Not because I like being yelled at.  No.  Because I was able to show my mettle under pressure, and allow myself to be gracious, and practice patience.  And above all else, forgiveness for her shortcomings.

I posted on Facebook, and was overwhelmed with the love I received back from family and friends, people who were behind me 100 percent.  Though I didn’t post to make people feel sorry for me.  That wasn’t the intention at all.  The intent was to let people know that there are other people out there who are vicious, and who are cruel and will make judgments based on absolutely no fact whatsoever, except for what they choose to see.  Those are the people I pity the most.  Because like it or not, they are everywhere.

My friends and family:  Thank you.  Thank you for your words, thank you for your kindness and thank you for having my back.  You are amazing, and I feel completely and totally blessed to know you.

And to this woman who approached me on the street.  I forgive you.

And with that, I consider the matter closed.