Friday, December 30, 2011

Got called a Faggot: Lessons learned

I just got home from work and am sitting with my feet up, eating a simple lunch and reflecting on some different things that I have learned from other people in the past few days. I cannot say I have fully grasped what they have spoken into my life and in many ways the ideas do not sit all that comfortably with me, but once I have a bit of distanced from the conversation and am able to examine the message without all the emotional load attached, I am beginning to realize at least a part of what they have told me is true. I thought I might as well sit down and try to write a bit of it out, not that others will find them as profound as I have, but in a effort to truly grasp what I am attempting to grasp from them.

I got called a faggot this week by someone I consider a friend. It was not used as a term of endearment or in a joking friendly way, in the manner that we sometimes do in my circle, but rather, it was loaded with hate and venom and still stings and upsets me. This is basically what was said to myself and another friend at a car club meet.

"Seriously though, I don't like hearing about two dudes pretty much fucking each other. I was raised by a man, therefore will act like a man. It's the PUSSIFICATION of America that people like you support that ruins this country. Whether it be by God, or my opinion, you can go to Hell. FAGGOT."

" Why do gays get to be all up in your face about it? A gay man will never be as manly as me because I get pussy, and I LOVE it. You know? That good old thing that that women have between their legs. Until two men can reproduce, I don't want to hear it. Gays can speak their mind all day, and they usually do. But when I (the typical American) give my .02 cents about it, I am deemed ignorant. I don't care if they are flamboyant or timid about their homosexuality, I just don't want to hear the details about their love life."

"I am not back peddling here. You want to be flamboyant, you get called a FAGGOT. You want to be attracted to the opposite sex, you are gay. No different than being black or a nigger, white or white trash, Mexican or a beaner and so on and so forth."

Basically how this conversation came about was a bunch of friends and guys from my car club got together for a drive and cruise since the weather has been so nice. We all were standing around talking about whatever and some of the guys were discussing their relationships. My friend (the only other out gay guy in this car club) was in the conversation and related a story about a awkward moment that had happened with him and another guy this last week. The story he told was not sexually graphic and related to what the other guys were talking about, namely, sleeping with a person who said they are single only to find out later that they had lied. After he said his piece and asked for advice (he works with the boyfriend of the guy he slept with who lied about being single) one of my friends completely flipped out on him. I tried to reason with him and he turned on me. He was being completely unreasonable and hateful about homosexuality and wouldn't even back down when our other str8 buds told him to can it.

Now these are guys I have built cars with, hung out at the lake with over the summer, been in their homes for dinners and spent time and life with. Even the guy that called me a faggot and told me I was destroying this country was someone I considered my friend. I helped him install the engine in his Mustang and have helped him in the past with concrete work and other odd jobs. He is a good guy, has a great girlfriend and we all have got along and then BAM! He flips out.

The lesson I learned? Sometimes you don't know people as well as you think you do and even those you consider friends can actually be bigoted, racist people. It only takes some trigger to make them speak their mind and when they do, no one wins. This is why silence about ourselves can be so damaging to ourselves and others. Hiding who we are does no one any favors but it will be a long time before things are truly equal in this country. Sadly, I served in the military to defend the very freedoms that allow this guy to spew hate and vitriol at me. I pointed this out to him but he did not care. He felt that by us talking about our lives, as everyone else in the group was, that we were being "flamboyant" and "shoving it in his face". If you knew me or my gay friend, nothing could be further from the truth. If we were so flamboyant how did he know us both for two years and never grasp that we were gay? It had never come up in conversation and really isn't important unless it does become a point. I truly thought I was going to have to physically defend myself and my friend at one point because the discussion got so heated. I was upset and my and my friend just left without going on the cruise. I will have to think long and hard about hanging out with him again, knowing how he feels but I am thankful for all my good friends who did speak up for me and my friend. This double standard that this country runs by is not fair or equal. It is okay to be gay as long as I don't actually do anything gay or ever, ever mention it. Is that how str8 people live? Not at all! They are always referencing their sexual orientation each and every day, with their dating, their stories, their marriages, their children. It is heterosexuality being shoved in my face and I am just supposed to take it and keep my mouth shut? Where is the equity in that? This hate comes from one place...the Church, but that is another blog post entirely.

Now for the good stuff, kind of. Something else that was pointed out to me this week as that I often speak and communicate as if my own personal opinions are actually facts and truth, not just my opinion. At first I was upset when my friend told me this, but I had to stop and think about it. Many times I do not know the difference between fact and opinion. It all seems and feels the same to me in my head. The way that I see things and believe about them IS my truth but I need to realize that other people see things vastly different and in my communicating with them in this manner, I often come across as an asshole or at least a very insensitive person with no empathy or regard for others peoples ideas, beliefs and opinion. 

Lesson that I learned? It can be summed up in a good quote a friend sent me this week by Anias Zim.

"We do not see things as they are. We see things as WE are."

So that is what I am thinking about today as I eat my lunch. Being open and honest with people, despite their reactions is the only way to hope and build towards a day of true equality. Those who live in a closet hurt themselves and others. While I can appreciate all the reasons they may give for doing so, their lies that they base their lives on only serve to make others feel justified in the belief that we have something to ashamed about or keep a dark secret. The closet is not really a closet but a coffin, for it kills the person in it a bit each day and serves to keep their true self buried from others. I realize coming out is a huge decision and at times MUST be delayed for reasons of safety, dependence on parents or other life factors, but those who continue to live in an independent lie for their own comfort or the comfort of others are doing themselves and others a huge dis-service. If you are ashamed of who you are, the someone taught you to feel that way. When you live a lie due to that shame, you are telling the world that they are right and that the hate they point and pour on us for our sexual orientation is warranted.

That is all I guess. I have tons of things on my mind, these are just a few I was kicking around today. Hope you all are well and that you have a safe and Happy New Year! Michael and I are going to dinner at Bo-Ling with our friends and then to two different parties. I know we are going to have a blast though I am a bit nervous. His best friend from Atlanta and college is coming into town and while I know about him and he knows about me, we have never met. I hope I pass his approval! :)



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I seriously need to get my butt in gear and write some stuff out but my journal and friends have been taking the brunt of my sharing lately. Still have a lot of things all crammed together that are not ready to come out of my head and heart but I have had and am having a fantastic holiday despite some rather heavy circumstances and situations.

Tonight finds me pretty tired rather early and I might just turn in soon. I have two whole days off and I am excited for the "me" time as well as the plans Michael and our friends have for celebrating the turning of the New Year. Hopefully tomorrow morning will find me in a head space ready to share a bit more of what has been going on in my life or at least some rambling words about what crosses my mind from time to time. It is not so much the unwillingness to write but rather the loss of a healthy habit. I need to reconnect with the creative head space that got me started here and I think I know just the way to do that.

More words and stuff later! Thanks to all the new readers who have swung by and for all my constants that support and help me each of my days along the way. It really is turning out to be quite the adventure!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why love?

The end of this year is fast approaching and I could not help but notice that I have written far less on my blog than in this past year. I do not think it was from lack of inspiration from the events in my personal life, but rather the change in schedule, different turbulent events and my own individual reticence at sharing some of the more intimate and sensitive details with the different people that come along and read my words.

This has not prompted me into a flurry of writing to compensate for lack of sharing but rather it has pushed me back over this last week into the perusal of my own personal writing in my journals. The words and thoughts I have found there while reading back through the past year has given me a time to pause and reflect over what has transpired and elicited many different emotions as I read the words penned on different days about the time and circumstances that have transpired.

It has been a rather difficult year in some respects to say the least. Family, faith, , friends and love have factored prominently and my emotions and feelings in each situation have shifted wildly at times. I seem a man tossed on an ocean barely keeping my head above water at times all the while attempting to project a calm and cool exterior of a guy who has all his shit together and a ready answer for everyone and every thing that happens.

Nothing could be further from the truth, but in that realization, I have found that I am learning to reach out to others. To ask and seek out what the people in my life think about what is going on and actively listen and apply some of the advice and truth that they have shared with me out of the wealth of years, knowledge and experience that life has brought them. This has not been an easy task as it has always been further complicated by the interior pride and independence that I wish I actually had versus the reality of my existence often as a lost and seeking soul of a boy who still is baffled and hurt many times by the trials and tribulations that this life seems fraught with.

I guess, in part, I am finding more integrity with my exterior and interior life and have started to live out who I truly am instead of projecting and emulating whom I wish I was. Authenticity is a elusive and shaky concept at best and my hardest efforts at such often find me bewildered and hurt when attempting to share. The verbal processing that I do with the people in my life often reveals to me in that instant what I am truly feeling and sometimes once the words are out there, they are not my true self, but rather a jumbled mess of emotions that get aimed like a cutting edge at the very persons who love me most. In the effort to rid myself of the pain and confusion I am feeling, I end up passing it to them, as if I somehow think that if we are both hurting in some way, that I will feel the pain all the less.

Some things have been gnawing at me, in my guts, in that innermost place where a man can be himself. That quiet and biting voice that I can never escape from that tells me that I am not good enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not beautiful enough. Not enough of all the things that others would want. That if they truly knew the "me" me that they would not love me and in fact would shun and reject me.

This voice is a lie. I am learning this now. The people who truly love me, love me. Just me. They do not love me for the body I am in, the personality I have, the talents and gifts I possess, the things that I own, the money that I make or any of the things that I do. They love me. There is nothing I could do to earn this love and there is nothing that I will ever do that will make them stop loving me. In this discovery I found a simple but stunning truth.

I do not love me.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I am selfish like any other human. I like the idea of me. I am madly in love with the portrait I paint for myself each day to shield and protect me from all in this world that I find scary and baffling, but I do not love the "me" me. Over this past year I have reached out to friends, old and new, and shared events and experiences from my past that I truly never felt that I would open up to another human about in my entire life. In each of these exchanges, I fully expected to find pity, disgust, revulsion and hatred from those I hold dear in my heart, but instead have found acceptance, compassion and an unfaltering and unshakable love for me, just as I am. I would not be myself if it were not for these things and knowing my past history, the real version, not the carefully edited and well lit parts, but the entire journey has brought me closer to them and restored my faith in how others can help us carry our pain and hurt. A shared burden truly is lighter and the silence that I have shrouded parts of my past in has created an airless void that slowly has suffocated my soul.

And they love me.

This I need to learn.

How does one learn to love oneself?


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A response


Morning came softly and I awoke to the quiet rushing sound of white noise and thoughts that brought my mind back from that interior space that it travels to in those hours of sleep that reset me each day. I climbed out of my bed's warm embrace, slipped on a pair of flannel pants and walked quietly through the still house. The refrigerator's bright light flashed briefly in the kitchen and then was dark.  Cold clean water in a deep blue polished glass has never tasted quite so good. I stood and sipped it in the almost dark and noticed that the full white moon was casting my faint shadow back on the hardwood floor. Gazing at the moon I wondered, who am I?

I am still not quite awake but my day has begun. My thoughts are not quite ordered but I am at a place of tenuous peace. This week has changed things. Subtly in ways that I can not quite put my finger on, but there is a differentness to everything about me. It can only be felt with something that is either a combination of all of my five known senses or possibly some other sense that has yet to be defined or clarified. No what the matter, life has changed. My eyes, my mind, my heart is translating life in an altered fashion and I am not quite aware of what has passed and begun anew.

I can rest easy in this space because it feels like progress. Something is in the space around me that is moving me forward. Maybe it has always been there and I am only rarely perceptive enough to be cognizant of its existence. Is this the passing of time? Is it maybe maturity and growth settling lightly onto me with each days end and new beginning. I do not know but I will be present to its existence. I want to know.

I am still unable to write coherently about the events that are transpiring but please know that I am well.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hey all

There are circumstances occurring in my life that I am unable to write about here. Needless to say, it has been the longest and most stressful week of my life emotionally and physically. I hope to wrap my head around everything and be back to writing soon. I simply cannot communicate about my reality and wanted all to know that I am alive and living. Hope you are all well. I may be back later to write about completely unrelated things, it just depends on what I feel like. Peace to you all and maybe a little bit for me as well.