Saturday, March 31, 2012

Motivation

I received a comment this morning from Max, a blog buddy, that not only educated me a bit but also made me consider my own motivations for speaking out against injustice and where that energy and voice comes from. You can check out his writing and thoughts here if you like. He has a unique perspective on life and his mind and heart move in directions that I admire and respect. http://maxjournals.blogspot.com

While I have only a few brief moments to write this morning, as my work day is starting earlier and running later, I was able to consider it and have come up with a partial short answer.

One of the reasons that I speak out loudly and often at the social injustice, discrimination and lack of freedom and civil liberties on behalf of the LGBT community is my own personal pain. While I grew up in a more progressive family than most and have had the support and friends and community in my own life journey, there still is a lot of trauma, hurt and confusion that I have experienced personally from people in authority, spiritual leaders, institutions, places of education, peers and strangers. I tend to downplay the negative and live with my optimistic outlook on life, but the truth is, I too have personally suffered for my identity. To spare even one young person growing up this experience or to help by sharing in the struggle and promising the hope I know to exist, I sincerely hope that my voice is not simply fading quietly into the night.

I speak out...out of my pain.

This is not the most healthy platform, I realize, and does not come from a place of strength and grace, but it is what it is, at the moment. I do not want to be a voice of pain struggling against what I see as wrong and believe to be harmful to myself and others. There are other places that I can speak from that will reap far better communication and results. I will need to learn to make peace with my past and present. Somehow the grief and agony that I carry with me will need to be laid to rest.

For now, I speak out of my pain.

I hope one day to speak out from a space far different.

daemon

Friday, March 30, 2012

Censorship

Well, the great people over at the Day of Dialogue have censored our entire conversation and removed everything I said while leaving all the supporting anti-LGBT and pro-DoD comments intact. After being asked several times why a respectful conversation was not allowed to continue, I have yet to receive a response. Basically the Chistians once again cannot communicate without total control and refuse to actually listen to anyone but themselves. Fuck them and fuck their religion. That is not the God I believe in.

Feel free to print these cards out and hand them out on campus on April 19th, the Day of Dialogue. :)



daemon

Stand Up!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My current "dialogue"

 · 9,704 like this
15 hours ago · 
  • Like & share--Day of Dialogue favorite Scripture: ”Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example …in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12



      • Person #1 That is very true. Just because someone is older than you here doesn't mean they are older than you in Heaven.






      •  ME: Will this definition of "dialogue" include listening to the LGBT youth that you will be talking to/at or will the "dialogue" merely be sharing your opinions/beliefs and side of the story and attempting to refute their reality?






      • Day of Dialogue: Yes, Day of Dialogue encourages a free exchange of ideas & honest conversations among students. Of course, an honest conversation would necessarily involve listening on the part of each student. No student should be forced to accept another's viewpoint against their will. Day of Dialogue is simply about creating a safe place at the table for students of faith who want the freedom to share their thoughts in a loving & respectful way.








      • ME: How will you address the very real concerns that FOTF's stance and Day of Dialogues belief system does NOT create a safe space at any table, but rather one of hostility and opposition to a LGBT persons very existence?


        You are setting aside time and space to communicate to individuals unlike yourself that their innate identity and humanity is centrally flawed, broken and needs to change, according to your faith. How could you possibly construe this as a "safe" space for LGBT students?







      • Day of Dialogue: It sounds as if you are in favor of banning anyone who holds a religious/Biblical viewpoint on marriage and sexuality from expressing their perspective in the public square. Labeling/stereotyping an entire people group as "hostile" based on their religious viewpoint can be a very effective way to censor different perspectives. As for your second pt, We take issue with the phrase "unlike yourself". Actually, those who support our effort are informed by a biblical worldview that every human being is equally flawed and equally in need of God's salvation---including ourselves. There is no difference. There is no hierarchy in our deep need for God's grace. We've also made it repeatedly clear that we believe all students, including those who identify as gay and lesbian, have innate dignity and worth & are sacred lives created by God--and therefore should be protected from harm.




      • Person #2 AMEN, D OF D!!!!!!!






      •  ME: That is an eloquently written response of double speak and a great straw man argument, but it fails to address the real fact that your "religious/Biblical viewpoint on marriage and sexuality" demands not only that an LGBT person not express their perspective in a public square, but also, that in order to be accepted by God, by church, by their families, by your organization and by peers who hold this perspective that they completely alter their natural born orientation and commit to a life of singleness, celibacy, reparative therapy, denial of love and relationship with the whom they emotionally and physically are attracted to, enforced heterosexuality and to joining your religion. THAT is the hope that you offer them? Putting censorship onto the table is a great way to shift the argument to something you can emotionally manipulate people with, but you are asking people to change their identity, something they did not choose, in order to be accepted, affirmed and allowed to be a part of the communities they find themselves born into and living with. THAT proposition, which you so eloquently mask with your "love, dignity and worth" rhetoric is one that you will not admit to.

        LGBT young people are not killing themselves because of your excellent example of God's love towards them. They are not committing suicide due to the amazing outreach and support they receive from the Church and their families. They are not making the tragic decision to end their lives because of the fair and understanding dialogue that concerned peers and authority figures are having with them about acceptance and affirmation of their worth. They are choosing to die due to the fact that from their spiritual leaders, their religious families, their peers and from society steeped in rejection of anything that doesn't fit their "Biblical viewpoint" that they are NOT worthy of love, acceptance, relationship and concern. Instead, in the pews of their churches, the dinner tables at their houses, the circle of friends talking, the hallways of their schools, the locker rooms and the sport playing field they are hearing that to be an LGBT person is an abomination, a curse, a special breed of sinner that God despises and that those who follow him must shun, reject, demonize, spew vitriol at and change, fix, save and alter at any coast...at the expense of their eternal soul. That you "love the sinner" but "hate the sin". All that phrase means is that you hate them and they MUST change in order to gain acceptance.

        I am a gay Christian. I attended a Christian, fundamental, Baptist, evangelical private school. My Dad is a Baptist preacher. I was raised in church. I am college educated and have served my country in the United States Navy. I am not an uninformed person. I am aware of your teachings, your doctrines, your perspective on the Bible, the ministries and churches that support your views as well as the very real needs in my own communities that have been shunned, damaged, broken and abandoned by the very families, churches and ministries that support your "Day of Dialogue." You have chosen to observe your event as a counter attack and retribution for the affirming "Day of Silence" that is observed by some, at great expense to themselves, and are now seeking to espouse your religious viewpoint to those that have not solicited it. Haven't you done enough damage to your children, peers, communities and fellow citizens? Why can't you simply leave LGBT people alone? They did not ask for your "help". They simply ask for your love. Love is not asking someone to change to suit your beliefs. Love is not sharing with them the news that they are not worthy, not acceptable, not valued until they alter their very identity.

        You beg the question of censorship. I ask you, if you are willing to engage in meaningful dialogue with LGBT students on this day, will you listen? Will you listen and hear their pain? Will you keep your mouths shut, if only for a while and hear what they have to say, look into their eyes and accept what they have to say about themselves? I understand you want to share what you believe is truth to them. I know that you believe it is your calling and duty from God. Dialogue is not listening to you can refute their arguments. Communication is not pausing a bit so you can ask someone to reject themselves, change their orientation and join your religion. Listen to them. Talk with them. If they want to know what you believe (and they already do, they have heard it enough at church, home, school and elsewhere) let THEM ask those questions. Give this a chance. Do what you say you are going to do.

        In closing, if you are asking them to come to the table as themselves to talk about and listen to what you have to say, to share their worlds and reality, then I ask you...will you join them on the Day of Silence? Will you meet them where you are asking them to meet you? Love doesn't ask someone to change. Love accepts people as they are. Consider it...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Foodie Groupie?




Jim and Tracy welcome Celebrity Chef Ted Allen on Today Now! to show them how to make the most obnoxious, contrived meals for your dickhead foodie friends. Enjoy!

daemon



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bottled up

Today was a bit trying. Okay, that might just be an understatement. In all reality...I feel that life is slowly eating me alive. Each day I get up, shower and carefully shave, stare deeply at those eyes in the mirror and silently ask them, "Who am I?" Putting on my clothes and shoes for work, I try to present a picture of who I wish that I am, but the truth that lies beneath the surface of my polished presentation is more of a jumbled mess of ideas, thoughts, opinion, experience, self doubt, questions, lack of answers and an ever inquisitive wondering about this experience that we call life. I feel that now I am barely treading water, no long fighting and swimming against the current, but holding on in hope of something. A savior? A rescue? The end of it all? I truly do not know.

I am not used to listening to my feelings. I distract myself from them if they are uncomfortable and retreat to familiar haunts and past times in order to make them subside or at least retreat for a while. I think I am upset. I am sad and bothered. Things have not been right with my world for a very long time, longer than I can remember. The high points of glory and joy come to me often but my memory is a fickle master and tends to edit and redact the events and emotions that I do not care for. Each day is an exercise in avoiding the pain, and if it is not avoidable, I medicate with all the many things in my life to sooth and help. I have become the Artful Dodger of my soul and self. Somewhere along the way, I started looking at my shadow stretched out ahead of me and convinced myself that it was me.

So many stories, altogether too many places, a vast string of faces. What have I become? Who am I now? I used to have simple answers to these questions. Time seems to be speeding up and I have yet to find all of myself. Each time I seem to grasp a piece of it, I start seeking another, and in that seeking lose the one that I had grasped. Empty hands, always empty heart. What am I looking for? Why am I always seeking and wandering?

It may be time to start thinking and examining some of the parts of my life that I never share. To take the moments and effort to look into those little black boxes that I have packed so neatly away in the deep, darker recesses of my mind. I am aware of what has happened. I know the choices that I have made. I firmly accept that many of them were made for me. Somehow, someway I need or want to reach back and tell that boy that everything is going to be alright, but I feel that would be a lie. Everything is NOT all right. Things are NOT getting better. If they were, where is my peace?

I don't let these thoughts out much. I cannot afford to. The picture and presentation that I have built of myself has become my insulation and emotional armor, but if I do not start sharing and talking, will I ever? I cannot imagine carrying all of these things in my heart to pass with me when I die, though I have sworn to do so. I cannot fathom that long green mile alone. What will become of me when I let others truly see me? I am so very scared most of the time. I never stay in one place long, as my childish nature and lack or maturity becomes all the more apparent the longer of a space that people have to observe and interact with me. I can only take people in small doses. I am rather solitary though others find me social.

I have to get this stuff out. It hurts too much, but somewhere along the way, I forgot how to answer the question, "Where does it hurt?" I think a better question may be, "Where does it not hurt?"

So I am fessing up. I am not well. I am not happy. I am not at peace. I am not okay. I cannot pull off this charade any longer. The mask no longer fits well. I do not like looking out into the dark from my hiding place. I am sick of tricking myself into smiling and ignoring the bad. I will not let my past continue to haunt me. I choose to not let others opinions about me chain me into silence. I have to break free. I will not let my inner self convince me to do so is selfish. It is time to talk.

daemon

The Three Little Pigs

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thought of the night

Busy life

Just woke up a few minutes ago. I am working today so flipped on my laptop to check my schedule for this week and discovered I am working eight days in a row! I cannot say I am overjoyed at this news but I am thankful for the work when so many others are struggling right now with careers and this economy. I had several of my friends on my mind that I have been missing time with lately and know if will be a bit longer before I am able to see them and spend time together. It has seemed as of late as if my social life revolves around a texting, the occasional phone call and contacting the people I know and care about through email and on Facebook.

To be honest, in the last few months I have started to feel spread a bit thin. While I certainly enjoy my own company and tend to walk and wander alone in my free time, it would be nice to be able to find a happy medium of friends, family and social activities. I know that this business is just for a season but I am feeling the need for more contact and shared life. My community will always be there for me, but I cannot help wondering what I am missing when I am not present. This is going to be a long week.

I feel pretty good, considering I am working ten hour shifts and catching my sleep, rest, eating and exercise wherever it may fit into my life at the moment. I have not been able live as I please lately and that lack of freedom that I once enjoyed is wearing a bit thin, but I know that the pay off for this work and education will be well worth the cost. My mornings start early each day and seem to be ending later each night. My bedroom has quite a few stacks of clean laundry that I am able to keep up with, but cannot seem to find the time to actually put away before I need to wear the clothes, so my dresser has been these neat towers of clothing. Maybe I should leave them in the laundry room until life slows down a little bit?

The to-do list of chores I need to get down around the house this Spring is already feeling a bit daunting. The flower beds and landscaping needs tended to, as all the plants are coming on strong now. The yard needs to be power raked, edged and mowed for the first time and the garage is going to need a cleaning after this winter. I am wondering where I will find the time to fit it all in? I can understand now why being married or at least in a relationship where the guys live together at one residence is attractive at times. The added help with tasks and the important things of life gets divided up and the other is able to assist in all the small things that differing schedules allow. Does't look like that is going to happen anytime soon. This last adventure in dating has left me a little boyfriend shy.

Hopefully I will be able to knock my work out with good timing today and get to evening service or at least over to see Michael. He is doing well and we are managing to stay in touch about the important things in our lives. While our relationship and friendship certainly has changed since this last Fall, it is still great to know that we care about and love each other very much, no matter how that relationship changes and is defined. The dogs are doing great and I do need to get over there and spend some time with them all. Things are just too busy at the moment. *sigh*

There are a lot of things on my mind that are kind of escaping me now. I guess I am just concentrating on the tasks and activities that I know must be completed this day and this next week. I still think about many different topics, I just rarely have the inspiration in the early morning hours to write about them. I still want to get a post out on porn, on friendships, about the current state of my family, where I feel faith is in my life now and a myriad of other things that pop into my head at all hours of the day. I guess those will have to wait for another time? The shower is calling my name. There is coffee to be made, clothes to get on, breakfast to eat, a top to get off the car and my game face on for another day in the kitchen.

Happy Sunday everyone, wherever you are and however you may be spending it. We all have a lot to be thankful for and I hope this day finds you doing what you like, with whom you care about in the places and spaces that bring you happiness and smiles. While I don't seem to be getting much play time, at least I am doing what I love as well. Later!

daemon

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wat? Just woke up...

I successfully stayed up late last night, seeing that I have today off, but I completely failed at sleeping in. Guess I am just too used to an early morning schedule to ever do that again. I sure hope not! I woke up just a few minutes ago and have been starting my brain by checking all my social media crap and just had to post that Guinness commercial that my friend, Joe Conrad, sent me. If you get a chance sometime, check out his blog  http://www.trippingandstumbling.com/ . You can find the link over there to the left. Guy can seriously write, has an eclectic and vast appreciation of different music and always leaves me with more questions than answers. In short, a great writer.

So I have today off! I can't remember the last day I had a Friday off to myself, but then, my memory isn't the best or I am just to lazy to figure it out this morning. I gather that many times if I answer "I don't know" to a question, it merely means "I don't want to take the energy to think that much". Guess that would be the more honest set of words to use, but even that would take more words and thinking.

I know I want to get to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum today to check out a few new collections that I have been dying to see. My coffee shop will be in there somewhere, to read, listen to music and people watch. I did some baking last night, so have brownies to drop off to some different friends during the day. Need to call my parents and siblings and let them know life is good. Get my schedule for work this next week. Errands and the bank. Might go shop for something, new kicks or jeans? I dunno...my brain isn't on yet.

Sometime this next week, if feeling so honest and inclined, I will get back here and try to share my thoughts, opinions and experiences about porn. I said "about" not "in" porn, silly! I do have some friends who got involved in that business for varying reasons, but that is their own stories to tell. I want to make sure that post isn't just some rambling crap bag of words and that I actually can get some of my ideas out as they tend to live in my head. In short, for better or worse, I like porn...no scratch that...I love porn, but I reserve on making any type of moral judgement about it for myself and others. I have never seen it interfere in my relationships or life so I guess it lives in a neutral area in my head? Enough about that for now.

I need to go shower and make coffee. I am in a talking mood today, so prolly will find myself back here before I head out into the city. Be right back!

daemon

Guinness, anyone?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To those in pain...



I ask you, if you have doubts, fears and pain about your identity and the things that make you different than others in your family, school, college, church or friends, please, take the few moments to listen and watch the song and message expressed here.

This is what happens when you combine composer Stephen Schwartz, Dan Savage, the It Gets Better Project, and the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

"Testimony," an incredible piece that puts the heartfelt sentiments of the many "It Gets Better" videos we've seen to music...in such a touching, moving way.

Enjoy - and share it. It may just help someone that is hurting in silence.

daemon

Monday, March 19, 2012

Captured in sound



I believe that these sounds, above all others, capture my emotions and soul tonight. To let myself drift and be moved along by what this music evokes within me is healing and helping me find a path back to myself, even though I had not been aware that I had wandered and left so long ago.

Times and places change and we, as humans often forget the spaces and persons we came from. In  the living and becoming strangers to ourselves with the passing of time, there come glimpses and instants where once again, in the light of our own humanity, we see ourselves, who we were and whom we are, for one fleeting moment. That clarity causes us to hold our breathes and stop...and in the twinkling of an eye, all too often, we lose it. Memory steals it away. It passes through our fingers and is taken by the winds of seconds, moments, minutes, days, hours and years.

We each pause, in our own ways, when we recognize ourselves in the world around us. We meet ourselves a thousand times over in everything and everyone we see around us, but we do not recognize ourselves and simply stop. Stop and stare at the beauty, the wonder and the spectacular, aching, painful and fleeting scenes that are our magnificent and short lives.

And then...it is gone. We were so very alive. This life is so short. Love is.

daemon

Odd weekend

I realized that I had said I was going to write about porn next, but I really am not in the mood this morning to share my thoughts about something as personal and revealing as that topic. This was a strange weekend and I woke up before my alarm today to a strange quiet after a really bizarre dream. For sake of my sanity and some level of decency, I will refrain from sharing the details, but I woke up ready to hump anything that moved! At least I got that taken care of before I tried to write today. This whole weekend was pretty out of the ordinary, though the facts on the surface seem quite mundane.

Friday and Saturday I worked long hours and I had this Sunday off. I went out for a few hours on Saint Patrick's Day and visited with a few friends and then crashed early. Got up on Sunday morning, went to my coffee shop and then church. Something strange happened at church which I still haven't processed. It seems as if all my emotions and feelings kind of rushed at me all at once and from the opening song till the very end of the service, I sat and cried. Not in the horrible, ugly way that guys have of grieving loudly and without control but a quiet stream of tears that would not stop. I searched my mind the entire time for the reason while listening to Tim talk and still came up with mostly a blank space in my head and heart. Something is hurting me, deep inside, and I still have yet to discover what it is. I wish somehow I could just bare my soul, even if to myself, but often that path of self discovery is a hard one.

Gareth, my mate from Australia and Tom, a close friend and mentor, both approached me after service having noticed my distress, but I was unable to speak to either of them, merely listen to their words and leave with a bit of my composure and bearing intact. I literally could not speak. I used my phone to text out to them that I had no words and returned to my car and escaped. I was embarrassed that my feelings had betrayed me in such a public setting but those who know me also realize my emotions are usually close to the surface when I am dealing with something. I wish I had an answer for this episode but all I was left with was an incredible feeling of being alone, even surrounded by so many good friends and guys I consider true family.

I could blame it all on the immense amount of coffee I had drank that morning, or possibly on the after effects of the stress of a new job, different schedule and coping with the loss of a budding relationship, but to be honest, I simply do not know at this moment. I will let it rest in my head and heart until I have more clarity about it. Something is welling up in me, trying to get my attention, and I need to start listening to myself all the more in order to discern what it may be.

Today is more work and I am a bit nervous, as I will be flying solo in the kitchen, working a station that I feel ill prepared to tackle by myself. The training has been extensive, to be sure, the massive amount of recipes, techniques and details even now seem to be escaping my mind. I know that I will do my best and that I have a great staff who will augment and support me today, but I still have a bad case of the nerves. I used to feel this way before a big game, or piano performance, really just about any kind of competition that I have been involved in growing up. My exterior never belies my panic and energy. I have learned to always appear calm, controlled and precise, but that doesn't mean that I am not doing a whirling dervish right behind my eyes and under the surface of my skin. I will be fine. I always am.

It is warm and cool outside this morning. I flipped the exterior lights off and stepped out into the morning for a few brief moments and listened to the silence. Even the birds this morning were hushed, almost as if they too sense the coming storm. Looks and smells like rain to my eyes and nose.

I have to start getting ready for work now. The day awaits me, but I feel a bit better after getting some words and thoughts out on paper. I have forgotten how therapeutic writing here could be. I will return at some point to share my thoughts, beliefs, ideas and opinions about porn and its use later. I do think it is good to talk about the elephants in the room. Porn and jacking off are two of those that kind of lurk beneath the surface of every guys life and most are either reluctant to discuss it with others for fear of being judged or all too willing to spout off about what they like and do. I hope to strike a happy medium between the two and bring to bear some serious thoughts and questions I have about the issue. Sexuality and how we live that out certainly is a strong force in a guys life. Tell me about it! I feel like I have spent most of my life since puberty following my swinging dick around, searching and looking for my next adventure, but that is also another story for another day.

Have a good day, strangers and friends. I have to put the trash out, hop in the shower and scarf down some breakfast before my whirlwind of a day begins. Thanks for listening to my ramblings and I hope to be back here soon with good things to say and share. Ciao!

daemon

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Porn

I am going to write about it...later. Freal. You have been warned...

daemon

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!



I am off to work in just 5 minutes but wanted to wish you all a happy and safe holiday! To all my friends, family, community and random acquaintances, please have a great celebration and remember to be responsible! If you are not, you know my number. I should be off work around 6 pm or so and might just join ya for a pint, unless you are in dire need of rescuing.You know which ones you are... Enjoy! :)

daemon

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hello Doubt?

I went to bed rather early last night and as a consequence find myself awake three hours before I need to leave for work. I cannot say that this is a bad thing at all, as there are many things that I can get done in these quiet morning hours before the world truly wakes up and begins their day. I stepped outside to take in the cooler morning air and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt this early in March. Yesterday saw a high in the 70's and today the temperature may even crest to 80 degrees. I enjoy consecutive days when I can keep the top down on the car and enjoy my morning commute through the back roads and woods. The curves are always fun to drive and that time listening to music and simply enjoying my car and life bring a certain peace to the beginning of my day.

I awoke this morning plagued by true and incredibly deep uncertainty about my life and the choices I have made over the years. While these emotions and thoughts could simply be chalked up to the vestigial remains of the odd dreams I know myself to have and not always remember, when I came inside the idea that struck me was this, "What if I am completely wrong about everything that I think and believe about myself, others and this world I live in?"

Now, in some people, that concept or notion could strike a blind panic of self evaluation or prompt some soul searching effort to rectify the matters in life that solicit doubts, but I must admit, I actually do enjoy a good bit of introspection even if it may be prompted by a deep rooted insecurity I have yet to discover or face  in confrontational manner with myself to discover a resolution. The fact remains that while I am certain that I am not completely wrong about all of the things I think and believe, there exists the real possibility that I am incorrect in some or many things.

The unusual pattern about the things that we believe about ourselves, others and the world around us is something I find to be this. They are all building blocks that are assembled foundationally, one upon another, each one stacking or joining to its predecessors and antecedents. They eventually all become interconnected in some fashion in our hearts and heads and truly effect the manner in which we live, act, talk, present, dress and form community with those around us. What I believe about myself alters what I do. What I do certainly changes daily what others believe about me and how we all interact as community, whether it be the workplace, peer groups, family, friends or acquaintances. It is all interconnected in this things we call life and "no man is an island unto himself."

There are always things that I doubt about myself, as we all do to some extent in this human experience. Some are incredibly formational and profound, while other doubts and insecurities are less apparent, even to myself at times. Am I a good person? Am I attractive enough? Are these choices I am making with my career going to bring me the results I wish for? Does my peer group love me for who I am, or merely the idea of me? Should I have done that? Will I ever find true love? What should I do on my day off? Am I a good person? What could I have done differently? How do I really feel? Are my parents right about more things than they are wrong? Is there really any absolute truth? Does God exist? Am I self delusional? Why do I like that sweater but never wear it? Do people miss me when I am not there? The list of questions and doubts could go on and on if one lets it, but they are the verbalization of internal scrutiny that forces me to examine myself daily from what I would hope is an objective third party perspective. All to often, I know I fail at this miserably, as I am forever locked into my own window and view of myself and those around me.

Why do I doubt myself? Maybe that in itself is an even better question? If my life is put down on paper, it looks amazing. The facts of my existence, both in the past and currently are certainly in many ways a model of success by others reckoning. The thing that betrays simply listing facts and circumstances is the reality that the unseemly, unattractive, immoral, incorrect, embarrassing mistakes, tragedies and situations that have also contributed to my existence never seem to be considered or listed. That selective editing of my past and present in order to present myself in a confident and successful way from a position of strength seems to be a weakness that never allows me to truly open up to those I love and trust. The very walls I have erected to protect myself eventually have become my own prison, to which I have lost the key.

There are some in my life who know more of my story. There are also those that with their keen skills of perception and own life experiences are able to read between the lines of my thoughts and actions and see a more whole picture of who I truly am. Am I able to do that myself or have I carefully assembled all my good things in such a fashion to blind me to my obvious and glaring faults that others can detect in such an easy fashion? Even an attempt to consider self doubt leaves me posturing in such a manner as to minimize exposure, loss and possible pain. That is frustrating!

So what if I am wrong? Is that possibility all that bad? What are the eventual consequences for not having everything right or correct in my head and heart? Does that quest for "truth" or "correctness" not also rob from me the simple daily enjoyment I find in this human experience? To what extent do I need to concern myself with being "right"? I have some friends who simply just live, with no thought of what the outcome may be. I find that alluring at times but know that it would not bring me the results and outcome that I seek. I have been the carefree wandering spirit at times in my life, and while I enjoyed it, I did not find comfort or pleasure of not being the master of my own fate and decisions. Placing the responsibility of my existence on the actions and choices of others is not the type of man I am nor wish to be.

Have I struck closer to a realization there? Is doubt and certainty, right and wrong, correct or false more about a struggle for control? Or is it possibly the frightened reaction to the very real possibility that complete control of my life is an illusion or something that I am slowly losing as I grow older and my habits and patterns become more ingrained into my personality? What are the consequences of not being in control? Is the struggle with faith more about my pride and lack of surrender in any area of my life about dominance and submission? I refuse to be ruled, this much I know, but at times in my life I have accepted others authority over myself easily, as long as the outcome and pay off of the scenario was to my ultimate liking. If the endgame was mine, I didn't chafe under discipline or orders.

I know I am frightened of being wrong. I know that I am often not right. I keep seeking "truth" whatever that may be, about myself, others, faith and this world around me. I do have doubts. There are also many things of which I am certain, at least for this day.

I believe I can live with that for the time being.

daemon

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The simple things

Well, it is Saturday and my hope last night was to sleep in for a bit before heading off to work. I actually got to bed early last night and managed to sleep about seven hours before my cough and the usual morning wood woke me up. I took some medicine for the former and ignored the latter for a change and set about starting my day. I am doing a load of laundry now and am baking Blueberry Muffins and Cinnamon Rolls, just because I can. The house smells amazing and as I sit here, I can hear my coffee maker working away, adding its scent to the smell of pastry and home.

Some of the most simple things bring me the most pleasure and contentment.

The feel of a fresh hair cut. A hard scrub and shower in the sunlight and then toweling off with a warm rough towel. A baby smooth close shave with a fresh razor. Driving down some incredible curves in the woods with the top down and music blasting. Setting in the sun with a good book, a cup of coffee, eyes shut and enjoying the sounds of the city waking up. A warm, heavy woolen sweater and leather jacket on a cold day. The sight of kids laughing and scampering about discovering life. How the rain drops run down a window pane, turning the entire view into a Monet inspired painting. The crash of thunder and flash of lightening during a sudden summer storm. The smell of the fresh dirt being turned over for spring planting. Grass freshly cut floating in the wind.

The friendly, nonchalant wave of a passerby in the neighborhood. Watching the dogs play and chase imaginary things only they seem to sense. That first piss in the morning when you really, really, really have to go. Feeling my toes pop and crunch when I stretch so hard my legs vibrate. A hard, warm hug between friends when neither of us let go first. A good cry when that one song comes on, at that right time, in the right place. Rubbing my eyes and head hard when I get sleepy and know that my warm bed is waiting. A hard, full pump and sweat after a long full work out. Taking off your shirt outside for the first time in Summer. That first dive into the lake on vacation...

I could go on and on. My memories and mind are not moving faster than my fingers could possible keep up with and I find it time to start my day. Looking back at even this short list of things I find...

...it truly IS the simple things.

daemon

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stretching out and listening

Drinking my first cup of coffee of the day and ruminating on an interesting comment I received here about a post of mine and my blog in general. A new reader managed to find my blog by a similar interest (piano) and read a few entries and left some insightful words about not only my unrest with others acceptance, or lack there of concerning my orientation and practice of said, but also inquired about all the other many interests that make up this varied life of mine. I find it fascinating that when others, who are not familiar with us, take a moment to look at our lives, or at least the way that we express them to others, they are able to see more clearly through the mists that swirl than we ourselves are capable of. Clarity through unfamiliarity, I suppose? For his words and questions, I am thankful. They give me a moment to reconsider the larger picture of my life and not just the small measure to which I examine pieces of it here.

This blog has largely become a place where I contemplate, consider and communicate about my relationships, my sexuality and the singular journey of faith and disbelief I find myself on. I know, simply from a quick perusal, that it has become a bit repetitive and circular in its scope and tone. It accurately reflects a segment of my life that has in the forefront of my mind and heart for the past year or so but, at the same time, is also lacking an address of all of the other facets of my life. Other bloggers that I read tend to have more focused writing habits. They tend to pick a topic and write about it. I, on the other hand, have tended to just word vomit whatever comes to mind when I sit down for a few minutes, and I think that myself, as well as those few who do read this, have suffered for it.

There have been times where I would want to revisit issues I have written on and promised to do so. Rarely have I ever come back to write follow up posts on those ideas and questions. There are also so many other things in my life that fill my space and time that I have never considered writing about. Some for privacy reasons have not been touched and others, for the thought I have that most people would find them boring. I do know that I am going to attempt to stretch my writing legs out a bit over the next few months and hope to fill in the gaps and missing pieces, not only of my personal history, but also the other interests, people and activities that make my life so full. Maybe then, when one looks here, they will see a more accurate picture of myself and maybe not so many pictures of half naked guys. (though I do love me some pictures of guys!)

So, blah, blah, blah, going to start writing more than just my ramblings about dating, relationship, sex and random faggotry. :) Hope I can get my head wrapped around it and hope you all enjoy the new leaf that will be turned over. Any suggestions, questions or comments from any of you are certainly welcome. I am never at a loss for words, of course, but to focus my communication and sharing is my intent, so please bear with me if it doesn't happen over night or in a less than orderly fashion. Now...to drink my coffee and head out to work soon.

A big thank you to Phineas for his observations, concerns, words and questions. Inspiration and motivation can come from anywhere at anytime and I certainly wanted to thank him for being that catalyst for me. Have a good day all, I hope to get back here later tonight and write something. Kind of excited! :)

daemon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stripping...

...the Label.

Stripping The Label from James Vong on Vimeo.


This is a powerful short film about how we define ourselves, as well as how other define us, by the labels that choose us and those that we choose. The message I found here was actually quite different than one of bullying and oppression from others.

I was challenged to stop identifying as a Gay "__________". My sexual orientation is certainly something I am not ashamed of, or am I? If I was completely at peace with it, would it factor in so greatly in my life or would it eventually become assimilated into all the other facets that make up the complete individual that I am and am becoming in life?

Much more thinking about this message is needed and I hope to share my thoughts here on this later, but I am off to work. Thanks to http://secretguystuff.wordpress.com/ for sharing this video with me. If you haven't checked out his blog yet, you need to. It is a must see for any guy who has any questions about being a guy in this world we live in. Definitely check out his articles and the great surveys. Go ahead and follow him on Twitter too! He will make your day with some of his thoughts, ideas and questions. Later all!

daemon

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Second Day Thoughts

Since my days are starting early once again, I am going to attempt to get a few words out each day in order to keep my thoughts and life current on my blog here. Mind you, this is not some commitment to writing each and every day, but I do need to make an effort to do so, if only for my own mental and emotional health.

Yesterday at my new job was a bit grueling, to say the least. I wanted to see what kind of chops my staff had, so simply worked 9 1/2 hours, non-stop, no breaks, no food, no sitting down...nothing. Came in, set to work and just pushed myself and them all day long. Needless to say, I am elated and impressed with the way the team pulled with me. It almost became some kind of contest and the effort they all put into the job, in their respective stations, really showed me the kind of success that we can have. It became apparent to me, that most had found their strongest skill sets and the communication they already have in place is fantastic.

After a few hours, the sous chef I was working with, Alex, finally gave me the third degree. Married? Nope. Divorced? No. How many kids do you have? None. Finally he paused and jokingly said, "So I guess you have a boyfriend?" He was completely kidding around but I just looked him square in the face and said, "Actually, yes. I do have a boyfriend." He kind of got a strange look on his face and went back to work in silence for awhile. He looked up later and said, "I really can't tell who is gay or straight anymore. I didn't mean to offend you. I was just kidding around. Are we cool?" I told him sure and we had a good conversation about simple diversity and never making assumptions about people. Later that day, while we were checking in our produce order, he came out to me, but let me know that he is not out at work, only to a few close friends. All in all, I made a new friend, and that is pretty cool. He worked with me all day and I can tell he is a great part of the culinary team and is honest and does his best. After meeting more of the front of the house staff, it became readily apparent that we have a pretty high percentage of gay guys working at that location. Makes me feel at home already, as long as they excel at their jobs, pull their weight and keep the drama at home.

I am sipping my first cup of coffee with an eye on the clock and will be headed out soon. I think I will work about 7 days straight through to get my house in order, so to speak and then take 2 days off. It will probably depend on the needs of the business, but I can already tell, though it is a huge challenge, I am going to love working for this company in all their different concepts and venues. It will be neat to travel to each different restaurant and explore new cuisines and ideas. A good choice on both sides of the table, and for that I am happy.

Well, I guess I will go slam some breakfast and get this show on the road. I hope you all enjoy your Saturday. Hopefully I will have enough energy to hang with Brian tonight. Seems kind of strange not to be able to see him everyday, but that is just the way it will be till life settles down. Geoff leave for Aruba tomorrow, lucky bastard, so I do hope to see him as well tonight. Guess that is all that is on my mind at the moment. I am outie here!

daemon

Friday, March 2, 2012

Confessional: A brief exposition

You look like you have it all together. Ready for work this morning, dressed in a new starched Chef toque, your slacks pressed, hair freshly cut and all scrubbed and polished, you are the picture of competency, poise and professionalism, but the reality is, you are slowly falling apart.

Life has you on the ropes right now and you keep compensating with your carefully selected words, bright smile and impeccable grooming. They always say, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You know intimately the deep seated truth behind this statement. You learned from a young age at school that even if it isn't good...make it LOOK good. This behavior was reinforced over the years by the schooling and grooming you went through and then later set into stone by your military service. Even here and now, as you try to put into words the helplessness you truly feel, you keep examining the phrases in your mind as you try to write, always keeping in mind the others that will read here and what picture and image that this self confession will leave them with.

You are too scared to simply be, to truly be yourself in an unembarrassed and unabashed way. This hard wired and incredibly rigid self placement and posturing has always been the defense mechanism with which you keep the world at bay. There is no hurt, pain and weakness that must be allowed to show. To truly reveal yourself would open up the walls of your heart and mind to examination by others and in the end, you are terrified of what they might see beneath your constructed surface.

What has hurt you so bad? What type of abandonment and rejection has made your mind into this castle of illusion? Certainly the way that you present to others in this life is made of the building blocks that are a part of you and your identity, but that cool, aloof and happy exterior only serves to keep the people out who truly love you and desperately want to help you. The portion of your life that you allow others to see IS a segment of your reality but it masks the person you know you truly are.

There are secrets hidden in the waters of your soul that you have sworn to take to your grave. There are heavy burdens of shame, guilt and inadequacy that slowly are breaking your emotional spine and as each friendship and relationship grows deeper, you keep opening up a bit, against your own will and those around you are starting to notice the cracks. The truth is, they were never quite taken with the illusions at all, but since you place them in a position of distrust, they have had to content themselves with the small pieces that you allowed them to share. Those nearest you have learned, if they were to probe deeper and ask the questions that you will find the answers to, they are quickly cut off from contact, and as the nomad that you have fashioned yourself to be, you will set sail from their lives, wandering, never to return.

Selfish, by emotional necessity, you have assumed utter and devastating complete control over the things you can master in order to hide the resolute and crushing helplessness that you feel over all things beyond the grasp of your hands, heart and mind. Will you always walk alone in this fashion? Have you never wondered why you are always happy? Why you take such joy at the simplest of things while your world around you may shake and crumble to burning and shattered pieces? You have isolated yourself from your own feelings and become disassociated to such an extent that you no longer allow yourself to feel anything except the few select emotions that you enjoy and are able to control by self manipulation, self medication and complete and total self absorption. You have become a world unto yourself and the distance that you feel from others has been fabricated by your need to never feel the pain and hurt that you have been exposed to, year after year of this life.

When are you going to open up? The way that you have shut others out is the exact same technique you have employed with yourself. You have said it best when you explain that the only two emotions that you have and feel is either happiness or confusion. All the other shades of this amazing human existence have been edited and redacted to the point that your emotions now govern your short and long term memory and you continually and daily shut out your true past and origins in order to make it through one more day with the illusion of care free joy and success. It is a magnificent work of art, I grant you that, but it has left you cut off, alone, hurt and coldly impassionate to the feelings of others. The choices that you make each day in self preservation hurt other people. The empathy that you lack, either by practice or choice does impact those around you, and by shutting yourself off to their pain and confusion, they slip further away from you.

You cannot continue to avoid it all. It has lasted a long time and has been an excellent run. This show has gone on but is reaching the end of its run. The audience is clamoring for a peak behind the scenes. They want to meet the principle actor in this production you call your life, not to expose or hurt you, but to love you and learn the details about the story, the lighting, the costuming, the direction, all of the pieces that make this person work, live and breathe.

You know the truth. The cowering, trembling boy they will meet behind the curtain is NOT whom they expect to find and discover. The boy who plays at shadows cannot be the hero you think they demand. You fear that behind the experience that is your life, they will see who you truly are and walk away in disgust and disappointment, wondering why they were ever taken in by the magic that sprawled across the stage. They will leave you, like all the others have in the past and you will be truly, utterly alone. They will hurt you and heap abuse and pain upon you, leaving you shell shocked in a place that will take years to recover from. The insulation of success, money, material possessions, knowledge and power only suffice to assuage the terror and fear that you live in. You have become director, actor, prop master, costumer, lighting director and engineer of your own show and in doing so, taken a well placed seat in the theater, watching your own life play out and wondering who you truly are. You have bought the ticket and are working both sides of the stage. You live and you watch yourself live. It is the most excruciating insecurity and plea for acceptance I have yet been forced to experience, and somewhere in all of it, the two people you are, the boy behind the curtain on the stage and the man in the audience are becoming one.

I'd like you to meet someone, daemon. He is right over here. He is you. He is Damon. He has been doing the best imitation of yourself for many long years. I think you should get to know each other. He is, after all...you.

Welcome to the start of the rest of your life. This time, why don't we try being present for a change?

daemon/Damon

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One Night: Revisited

One night

Warning: This post contains strong language and some graphic imagery. Please take that into consideration. My goal was not to offend but to get something out of my head. Thanks. Daemon











It was supposed to be a beautiful night.

The sun was going down over Boystown in Chicago and the air was alive with a breeze that promised a fun filled night of smiles, good tunes and some great dancing. He could hardly wait to get out there and see what was going down in this city. Three days had already rushed by and it seemed like in a moment he would be due back to his life.

He left Nick's brownstone at Belmont and Halstead around 7 pm and beat feet down to the already packed strip that was clearly marked by those friendly rainbows on each light post. It was a little cool and his new sneaks and tshirt felt awesome.He knew his lucky jeans were just the thing for this night. Can't beat a good pair of broken in button flies. He met up with his friends down at Spin and they spent their time going from club to club, making new friends, getting their moves on and generally having a great time being young guys in the prime of their life.

After a few hours of clubbing, his friends decided to call it a night but he wanted to go shoot some pool. Too much Redbull and excitement had his pulse throbbing and his feet tapping. He said goodnight and let them know he'd be back in a few hours. They hugged and set off on their separate ways, him to the pool hall and his friends back to Nick's place.

It was supposed to be a beautiful night.

Hey Faggot! Yeah, you...you fucking Faggot! Where the hell do you think you are going? Got some dick to suck you fucking Queer?!

He tried to ignore the guys and keep walking, his shoulders hunched against their words and his pace quickening. He had endured worse before and stood up to most, but knew against three guys his size, there was not a chance. Plus, he could not afford to get into trouble. Who knows what that would cost him?

Why are you running Faggot? Slow down! We just want to talk to you! What the fuck are you looking at Faggot?!

The street seemed even more desolate. Where had everyone gone? How had he got so turned around? This wasn't Boystown anymore. The welcoming rainbows and packed restaurants, shops and clubs had given way to industrial buildings with the occasional gated apartment building. Why the hell did he leave his phone at home? What was he going to do?

He heard the shouts stop and the quickened pace of feet running faster behind him. It was fight or flight time now and he chose the latter as his first option. He broke into a hard spring, but he had waited too late.

The first blow took him hard upside his head above the ear, stunning him. It spun him around as his feet tangled and he got his first look at the guys who were attacking him. His eyes registered their faces and an idle thought that they were young and attractive, not criminals at all,  faded past his mind as a second punch knocked the wind out of him. He doubled over hard. He stood up as best as he could, shook his head to clear it and stood to. If they wanted a fight then he wasn't going to go down quietly.


How could this be happening to me? This happens in those other places, to those other people...his mind was racing as his eyes darted back and forth to the three guys faces. Who would rush first? Who is the one to keep an eye on? Which one is the fastest, the strongest? Their mouths were running out an endless stream of hateful epithets but they had dulled to a roar against the pounding in his head and crash of adrenaline thumping through his veins.

That's when he saw the knife.

Everything rushed in with blinding clarity and seemed to stop time as soon as the street lights glare flashed along that gleaming edge. It hypnotized him and he could not take his eyes away from it. It seemed to promise death and his entire being cringed at the visceral thought of being carved up.

He froze rigid.

His hands dropped.

His face fell.

Knees grinding hard into the dirt and gravel. His glasses knocked off somewhere to be crushed. Rough hands grabbing his head and neck. The sounds of belts being unclasped, zippers dropped.

Choking. Can't breathe. Eyes closed. Gasping. Throat hurting. Gagging. Trying to find air.

Neck held cruelly. Head being forced so hard his nose is close to breaking.

Just do what they say. That knife's edge always in the back of his mind when not being held to his neck.

It will be over soon. He starts shutting down. Nothing but reaction, obedience and silence.

Hot tears. Knuckles taut white. Fingernails biting into his palms. He is deaf and blind to the world.

I am not here. I am not here. I am not here.

Being yanked to his feet. What is happening? Fear. More blows to his head and back. With his glasses gone, everything is a blur. His belt zings into the air like a leather whip and he feels his favorite jeans being cut at the waist and coarsely shoved done with his boxers to his ankles. The belt is wrapped cruelly around his neck. So tight...so very tight. Arms and hands are bending him over so hard that it feels like muscle is tearing. Can't breathe. What are they doing. Oh, God...

Not that.

Please, dear God, no.




It seemed to go on forever. Pain, white hot, tearing at his insides. The hot trickle of blood as it ran down the back of his legs. Still choking. Still afraid of the knife. Assaulted brutally at both ends. They take turns. No longer a boy. No longer a human. Just a thing being used to be discarded. Trash. Their hate driving them to degrade and destroy something they did not understand, or understood all too well.

Thrown on the ground. Kicked and beaten. Covered in the evidence of their use and abuse. Spat upon, urinated on and still feeling and tasting all the bitter hate filled rape that they had poured out on and in him. He felt the knife. He heard the words. Silently crying, he promised. Not a word. Not a word, ever. They had his license. They knew where he lived. I promise. I swear. I swear. Holy fuck, I swear. Please, just don't kill me. Please don't kill me.

They put themselves back together with  cocky swaggers, laughing and talking about him as if he had left. Congratulating each other on showing the Faggot who was boss and had the swag. With a few last curses and a well placed kick that split open his nose and lips, and blacked both eyes, they sauntered off into the night, hooting and hollering. Just three college guys out on the town, enjoying their social privilege and spending their parents money. The guy they had just savaged had already left their minds. He never existed in the first place.

He laid there for what seemed like hours, days...lifetimes.

The tears flooded his face along with blood. Was he dying? How bad was he hurt?  His fingers probed his face and jaw. Each movement brought horrible pain from everything down there. He hunted around for his glasses, tapping blindly on the sidewalk, crawling like a child and found them, crushed and mangled but with one lens still intact. Using a dumpster as a ladder he manages to claw and pull his way to his feet and stood there trembling and swaying, trying to breath. His legs are not broken at least. His arms still work. He starts searching for his wallet and missing shoe and almost falls to the ground. The pain all over is making him gasp and shudder. He feels so cold, so very cold.

He finds his shoe and manages to get it back on. He removes his belt from his neck, gasping at the welt and marring it has left and gingerly pulls his torn boxers and jeans up, refusing to look down at the mess he knows is there. He can still feel hard, strong hands pulling at him and squeezing his genitals till he tried to scream. He gets his pants up around his waist and uses his belt to hold them as best he can. He tries to clear his eyes. He feels the familiar stab of a broken rib with every shallow breath.

Where is he? His eyes cast around for a landmark. The skyline, that is it. I can take a bearing off of that and go East towards the water. What am I going to tell my friends? What am I going to tell the Navy?

I can't tell anyone. Ever. This never happened. It never happened. It never happened. 


He takes off walking, one step at a time. Just one more step. One more..

It was supposed to be a beautiful night.

Supposed to be.

Supposed to.

Suppose.