Acceptance and Other Tales

Self-acceptance is something I was mildly blessed with early on. I say it that way because there is still much of myself I dislike or haven’t come around to realizing is just who I am. Yet even with that, I still have come a long way to have confidence. I think that is why I have to remind myself that not everyone has gone through the same or probably ever will.

When I was younger I fought the idea of being gay tooth and nail. I was raised in a deeply religious home, went to Christian school and being gay was never an option open to me. The idea of even telling anyone I had those thoughts was a flat out no. I grappled with my sexuality. I prayed, in tears, that God would take away those feelings. I didn’t want to be a sinner or disowned from my family. I wanted to have the “right” life with a wife and kids. Yet, there was no denying that I was not attracted to girls. The idea of being with them ended when it came to sex. I love women and could have a deeply emotional relationship but that was where it would end. I wouldn’t be in for the deepest part of commitment and whomever I would have been with would deserve better.

I very nearly lived a “straight” life. I had girlfriends, I did the song and dance that came with it and if it hadn’t been for one fateful night I probably would have driven down that hetero-road and dealt with the consequences that came with it.

The first person I ever told I was “bi” was my friend Becky on her birthday, which is only a week away. I had been so entranced with this boy named Sergio at her birthday that I felt compelled to tell her in the hopes maybe he too… As it turned out he was and he ended up being my first boyfriend and first heartbreak. I fell hard and fast for this kid. When he ended it with me, I was devastated. It took months before I was able to move on because I wasn’t ready. I am someone that is so desperate for love that I dive in without even thinking. I envision this life of bliss and when everything turns out to be the opposite I am hard-pressed to understand that the dream I had was only that. It’s probably a sickness.

The first few days after I told Becky I was so furious with myself. “Why did I do that,” I kept thinking. It wasn’t true. I wasn’t gay! But I was still in denial. It wasn’t until I met with that boy, for our first “date,” that something in me turned and I never wanted to go back to pretending. Being with him came easy. Sergio, or “the s” as I called him to hide his gender and identity, was my first kiss. Real kiss. He was my first boyfriend. And my first infatuation.

I thank him for making me who I am. I learned so much from the short experience. For one, don’t get involved with someone young because they (unlike my freak self) haven’t made peace with their sexual preference. After Sergio I only went for older guys because I couldn’t deal with the heartbreak I had felt when he went running. I know now that I came on too strong and he just wasn’t ready. As a result, I learned to shield myself from people. Well, at first. The moment I get a compliment or am shown just the slightest amount of attention all walls come tumbling down. I am just that desperate for love and attention.

I’m almost certain I’ve shared this story on here (or other blogs) countless times. I probably even wrote it in one of my columns for the Renegade Rip. I almost never told Becky my truth. I went to her bowling party and played my role as a straight dude well, and at the end of the night went to leave. However when I got to my car the battery was dead. I called my parents to help me out and while we waited for AAA I went back inside and whispered to her the words I never thought I would say. It’s strange to look at tiny moments as mundane as a dead car battery altering the entire course of one’s life, but it did for me.

My hope is that others can find the same peace I found when I finally just accepted me for me. My natural follow-up is that it is a hard journey, but in all honesty it wasn’t for me. I have lead the most charmed life. The only real moment that was rough was my mother’s acceptance. She was very much not on-board at the start, but since then she is someone else entirely. Sure there is bigotry, but I rather be at peace with myself than fighting a battle I would never win. Denying your truth is a tortured life, full of secrets and lies that only grow as time goes on.

P.S. May I suggest what spurred this blog post, it’s a song by Brandon Stansell “Hometown.”

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The Night I Met My Husband

On this November the first, I celebrate my husband’s and my 4 year wedding anniversary and 14 years as a couple. It’s weird to think about how much time we’ve been together, yet here we are. And what’s most peculiar is how we were introduced purely by accident.

I have told the story numerous times on my blog, but I will do so yet again because it is one of those tales that intrigues me for the utter random happenstance of the whole thing.

Picture it, it was the height of AOL days, 2004. I would spend my late-teen evenings chatting with my friends online through IM or through a typical chatroom known as BakersfieldM4M. My friends and I would log on and broadcast one large conversation in the room, while simultaneously having our own individual private chats. This is where my now husband, then unknown, logged into the room and happen to see my username: MelancholysChaos. (Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes too.) He then confused me with someone else and decided to message and inform me that indeed he and Diego were still together. Being the sarcastic almost-eighteen-year-old I was, I acted as though I knew what he was referring to and carried on a conversation until I got bored and flat out asked him who he was. He told me his name, Charlie, and I added him to my buddylist after I learned that my very recent ex, Travis, had been a big fan of his. However, Charlie had not been attracted to my ex in the slightest, which brought me joy. (And when I say recent here, I mean a week to a couple days.)

For whatever reason, I would message this stranger whenever he came online, which wasn’t that often. Almost a week after letting me know he and Diego were still a thing, he let me know they weren’t. To which he proceeded to ask me out on a late night date to Denny’s.

It should be noted that I was still living at home and attending high school, in my senior year. So, for me to do a late night date I had to sneak out of my bedroom window and “borrow” the station wagon. To give the illusion that I was still in my bedroom, and not out galavanting around town, I put a coat hanger on my door-knob to where it slid in between the crack of my dresser and the wall. It was the most white-trash lock I could concoct but it served its purpose. To add to the illusion of my presence, I put on one of my favorite Disney movies, Sleeping Beauty. I quietly backed out of the driveway, started my car on the street, and made my way across town to Denny’s.

Again, for whatever reason, that night I chose to wear a pair of kahki’s and a red polo shirt with blue stripes. I tell you this because it was VERY out of character for me at this stage in my life. I was very much “goth” at the time. I wore nothing but black t-shirts, black dickie’s, black converse, and black eye-liner. I even dyed my hair black to match how I felt on the inside. (I was going through a phase.) Like I said, for some reason I did not wear any of that. As I later learned, if I had our relationship would very much have ended that evening. My husband liked him some preppy boys. Anything that remotely deviated from that path was shunned.

I pulled into a spot facing the empty street and as I got out of my shaggin-wagon I saw this white mustang drive by and turn into the same shopping center. Somehow I knew that was this dude. He hadn’t even told me what kind of car he drove but I was certain of it. (Those are the kind of thoughts one has when they encounter fate.) And I turned out to be correct.

For the next hour we sat in a booth having lame conversation as we attempted to get to know each other. He had a silver Motorola flip-phone that he kept spinning nervously in between his other facial tics. He kept rubbing the middle knuckle of his index finger along the side of mouth, like someone does when they have a goatee. Later I found out that he had briefly had one and developed the habit. My husband also has a tendency to twitch his nose in the most adorable way when he’s nervous and that night it didn’t stop.

As the evening wore on, neither of us having eaten anything at Denny’s, (I imagine he got a diet soda, his drug of choice) we decided to go back to his place.

I don’t remember if I messaged a friend to say I was going over to a stranger’s house in the wee hours of the morning. I want to think that I did, but more than likely not because I was (and still am) an idiot that thinks nothing of potential dangers.

He lived in this old brick face building downtown that had once been an elder care facility back in the day. It was also located across the street from a former morgue-funeral home (which is where we would later hold our wedding reception.) He lived on the second floor, at the front of the building with a beautiful view of downtown. Bakersfield isn’t much, but the view he had was wonderful.

He fancied himself a collector of DVDs at the time and was showing me the small tower he had amassed. The film he chose that night for us to watch had been decided at Denny’s when I told him that I had never seen “Philadelphia.” Now, he claims he had never seen it too, but I distinctly remember him saying that it was one of Hanks’s best roles. He popped the disc into the tray and we watched the 2 hour long movie about a man dying of AIDS. How romantic.

A remnant of my former relationship with Travis, some thin rubber wrist bands, chose that evening to break and I ended up throwing them away. I think they split when he discovered that I was ticklish and I was wrestling to get away. What a surreal picture to make a romantic connection with someone as we watched a man waste away from a deadly disease at the height of its terror.

When the movie ended he walked me to my car, like a gentleman, and I kissed him. I was annoyed that, that was all we ended up doing, but he wanted to wait until I turned 18, which was only a few weeks away.

I drove away that night thinking I would probably never hear from him again. Oh, how wrong I was. The dude blew up my phone. He was an over-the-road trucker at the time and had looooong hours of nothing to do, so he would call me and keep me on the phone late into the evening.

Looking back, I was so young and stupid. I had no idea what I wanted or who I was. Yet, we seemed to work. It is true that our lives have gone up and down over the past fourteen years. Nothing is ever perfect. For a brief year we ended our relationship yet continued to live together and sleep in the same bed. We were crazy and confused. But, there is truly no one else I would want to go through this with than Charlie. He is perfect in the strangest ways and we compliment each other like a broken window pane. Apart we are two jagged pieces of glass, but together we make the other whole. It’s sappy, but it’s true.

Unexpected Thought Provoking Projections

Every person has that one musical artist that they identify with and call their own. Each song they sing sounds like the words from their own heart and they hold that person up as some mystical creature to be cherished. For me it’s Robbie Williams. I know, weird. I came upon him in my most formative days of my youth when I was obsessed with anything and everything British. I so badly wanted to live across the pond and when the music video of an ex-boyband, turned bad boy, showed up in a random cluster of music videos, singing about the “Millennium” I was entranced. I bought his album”The Ego has Landed” and found myself entranced by each track and even a little frightened at times to where his music was taking me. The song “Karma Killer” made me feel so uncomfortable, because it was such a departure from what I had been listening to.  It was dark and curious.

I have followed the man’s musical catalog since then. I even went online and purchased his UK only releases and a great many posters to decorate the wall of my American home with this British singer. He was a god to me. I’ve loved (almost) every one of his albums. (Rudebox was just not my cup of tea.) I have found that since he parted ways with Guy Chambers I haven’t been a slob for his music as I had once been. Now he has to really try to get me rocking out in my car.

His most recent album “The Heavy Entertainment Show” is pretty good. There a few songs that make me go, “meh” but overall I’m belting out each lyric in my car as I speed down the freeway. While I was working today, I chose that one to blare on my car speakers and there are two tracks that he wrote for his children that brought up a topic in my head I couldn’t shake.

The songs are great. The one to his daughter is “Love my Life” and is this beautiful melody that wins me every time. The one for his son is “Motherfucker.” Don’t let the title mislead you. The song is a rock-ish romp about how everyone in his family has a past where they have battled their demons. It’s really good, and it’s super fun to sing “motherfucker.”

The tracks made me realize how parents tend to project these ideas, personalities, personas, and lives onto their children. Before they have truly developed their own identity, Robbie wants his daughter to have a charmed life where she loves every facet of it. That idea in itself is strange because no one, no matter how pampered their life has been, will escape the harsh reality of “human experience.” But I understand the want for your child to find joy. We all want that. But it’s silly to think that’s even achievable.

The other song  is projecting this idea of masculinity or rebelliousness on his son. He very well may be just as rambunctious as his father but then again he may not. It’s interesting to me how he would even consider that as something his son would have to fight, but not his daughter. He even calls his wife crazy in the song as a reason his son will be a “bad motherfucker.” Shouldn’t she have the opportunity to battle the shadows of the past?

I know he meant nothing harmful in these songs. It’s beautiful that he would even write something for them. I just think it brings to light a problem we have as a society.

In addition, this notion was exacerbated for me when a friend of mine posted a set of photos that were “gender reveal” cakes. And on them were the most stereotypical ideals of what it is to be a boy or girl. One was “Lures or Lace” and another was “guns or glitter.” I like none of those things. Do I have no gender identity?

I think we as a collective look at our children to fix the mistakes that we made or expect them to not have any at all. I think it also perpetuates this idea that girls are delicate creatures that bruise at the slightest touch and boys are tough as nails and up for a fight. And it begs the question, do we grow into these stereotypes that our parents project onto us, or are we our authentic selves?

When I look at my own life, I don’t know if my parents had any kind of expectations of me. Other than me being a good person and marrying a woman and having hundreds of babies, there was nothing else they wanted of me. (Boy did I let them down.) They never forced me into sports, they always encouraged my artistic side. They let me develop as I went along.

I know that if my husband and I do adopt (which we better fucking do, goddamnit) I want to make sure they know they can be and do whatever they want. I will hold no other expectation out of them than to respect those that are around them, and to treat others with courtesy, no matter how terrible they find themselves being treated  in return.

I will say, if they don’t love Robbie like I do, I may have to disown them. However, I let my husband’s dislike of him slide. So, what’s one more under the wire?

AOL Days IM Nights

Technology is dated the moment it comes out. By the time it’s been mass produced, packaged and shipped it’s been outdated by newer and better technology. It’s just kind of how the digital age works. Things appear from nowhere and disappear just as fast. For those that enjoyed the item while it was there, it will hold a special place in their heart that can never be outdone, no matter how well the thing that replaced it performs. For me the item from the digital age that deeply affected my life was AIM.

Now, I never actually used just the AOL Instant Messenger. I had the full aol shebang all because of the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” Like a lot of preteens I was chasing that silver screen fantasy of finding someone special. Funny now that I think of it, that it did in fact do just that. Just not right away.

Being a fat, pale, shut-in with no friends the internet opened up a whole new world for me. I got to meet people from all over the world and talk with them. The conversations were vacuous and silly but it was a way to connect when I felt so alone.

AIM gave me that opportunity.

I still have one friend from that time, Heather. She was my “shopgirl” before I realized I really just wanted a “shopboy.” Well, I knew I wanted boys I just hadn’t accepted it because of my religious background. AIM let me “have a girlfriend” without having to actually touch or kiss another girl. It was all about words and creating an illusion. Honestly I did love her. She was sweet and I enjoyed talking to her. She lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

When my husband and I went back to New York last years, I had wanted to meet with her (since she has moved) but it wasn’t possible. One day I hope to see her face to face and give her a friendly hug.

My real “shopboy” (btw this is a reference from “You’ve Got Mail” you must get to understand) came in the form of a dude named chuck77393. That was my husband’s old AIM name. And the first thing he ever said to me was “yeah, Diego and I are still together.” I of course being the troublesome 17 year old I continued on the conversation like I knew who he was and what he was talking about. I added his sign name to my “buddy list” and proceeded to message him until he and Diego called it quits. That was 14 years ago.  Crazy.

Though AIM also offered some not so good or nice things. It helped facilitate the meeting for my first sexual encounter.

I was 14 years old when I messaged Trucker93313. I’m not positive, but almost certain this man was in his mid to late forties. He and I arranged through IM that I would meet him at the end of my street and he would take me back to his place, which turned out to be the sleeper of his semitruck parked in a Rite-Aid parking lot. Gross.

I justified it at the time because I wanted to know whether or not I was really gay. I had been looking at pornographic websites and feeling so much shame. (Never once did I check out women by the way.) I needed an answer and this strange man agreed to meet with me to provide one. I lied and said I was 16, like that is somehow better than 14 when the dude is sitting near a half a century, but whatever. The logic of a pubescent brain.

I walked away from that event feeling disgusted and certain I was DEFINITELY not gay. As it turned out I am most certainly a homosexual it was just this dude was that disgusting. He’d have to be to meet with an underage boy.

When I think about it, this man could have murdered me. I knew nothing about him at all and if he had my parents would have had no idea what happened to me when they woke in the morning to find that I was gone.

With the announcement of AOL ending AIM after 20 years, it has made me reflect on all the hours I spent at the computer, conversing with strangers. It really and truly changed my life on which it had a profound affect. It helped me realize and understand my sexual identity and it got me the man I would spend the rest of my life with.  I will forever be in its debt.

The Garden

Relationships are hard. No matter how one cuts it they are work. This idea that Hollywood has peddled to us that it’s always supposed to be easy has really done a disservice. It is a garden to be tended and seen too. There will be the lean times where it’s more work for not much reward but then there will be bounties unlike any have seen, if the effort was put forth 

My own relationship is fine. (I think.) It was just on my mind this week because a good friend of mine has found herself caught up in a whirlwind romance. She has found her other half and it looks to be something more than a casual trist. And I couldn’t be happier for her. She deserves it. Her previous relationship was hard tended but it didn’t bring forth any real fruit. 

From her recounting of the past months events I have gotten a vision that if they are still together by thanksgiving, which she will be visiting his family, he will propose. I could be wrong (more than likely I am, I tend to run that way) but something just tells me that. 

When I was younger I could pinpoint with an eerie accuracy when and how a relationship would end. It would come to me instantly in a flash. Granted most of the time it was of my own relationships and one could argue that the events that would occur could have just been a self-fulfilling prophecy, however I never saw myself as the ender of the relationship. 

What does this information have to do with working toward a relationship, who knows. I just miss having the talent. It went away once I met my husband. 

He and I, this early October, will have been together for 14 years. It has been hard fought. Our harvests have been bountiful and filling, but there have been lean times as well. I think the number one thing for a gardener is to remember that fruits will flourish no matter how hard the struggle. 

For the sake of clarity, it has been a summer for our relationship. Not anything he or I have done, it’s just that our obligations have taken us into new realms separate of the other. Me with work, school, and the show. And him with work. It’s weird transitioning from him texting all day long to not hearing from him until he’s on his way home. But it’s work. It is just time to till the soil and pull any weeds that may grow. 

Australian Same-Sex Marriage

So, an article came across my yahoo.com newsfeed (yeah, I know, the eye roll is appropriate.) It told of two gay men in Australia that were against gay marriage. Immediately I was enraged for a couple reasons, mostly because I know that this “news” station is using these two men to justify the other side’s opinion that it should be illegal. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s step back.

When gay marriage was being endlessly debated in the states I read and shared every article on Facebook. I joined a couple groups and would try and get all of my friends and family on board. One of my cousins, an out lesbian, never joined any of my groups and refused joining the fight. While she never outright said it, I knew she was against gay marriage. I was incensed. I couldn’t understand why. All I could conclude is that she’s 1) a nut-job and 2) a republican, which I assume is just to be “different.”

One time when I was taking a basic English class to “get back to the roots of writing” (god, I’m an idiot) I was put into a group that had this one little shit in it that was full of opinions. I have since seen him working at a movie theatre as a ticket taker, so, looks like he’s doing well for himself.   Anyway, I took this class during the heated ‘Prop 8’ in California and the topic was on everyone’s minds. This particular person informed the group that he had gay friends that didn’t want gay marriage because, and I fucking quote, “they didn’t want to get married.” Um… Excuse me? If this was even remotely true (and god I hope it isn’t) all I could think was that this is the most selfish reason to not want legislation. You don’t want to get married? Much like our hetero counterparts they don’t HAVE to get married. They can stay single until the day they die drunk and alone, to be eaten by their hundreds of cats. But to vote against your own community because YOU don’t want to get married is some bull shit.

This article (which I will post a link at the bottom) brings back that rage. How can these fuck faces sit there and tell all the others in their community they don’t believe in marriage because they don’t see themselves getting married. Are you fucking high on poppers? Maybe if you take the bottle away from your nostril for a couple days you might gain some clarity. This is not just for you, it’s for everyone. To sit there and purposefully harm someone else THAT DOES WANT TO GET MARRIED is beyond cruel.

That’s the thing about politics that confuses the hell out of me. People pass this legislation because it either will or won’t affect THEIRSELF. Fuck the other people that have hopes and dreams.

I truly hope this “couple”… I mean, can we call them that? They’re not… I mean… They’re men. That word is reserved for heterosexual couples that aren’t living in sin. They shouldn’t even be allowed to share a bed. They’re not married. They’re just friends… I hope these “friends” are ostracized by their community. Fuck having they’re “own opinion.” “Everyone should be treated with respect.” No they fucking don’t. You’re not showing any courtesy to those who want to get married so why should these “friends” be given any?

Here is the match: https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36960765/same-sex-marriage-wollongong-gay-couple-oppose-marriage-push/

 

Same Cake, Different Frosting

Evidently, it is human nature to do the same thing and expect different results. Einstein defined this as the definition of insanity; however, I think it applies to everyone. There are areas of our lives that we need to learn hard lessons, and even then it doesn’t mean it will prove to have any effect on our way of life. I say this because yesterday a bakery in my own hometown declined to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding day because it was against her religion. I get enraged for a number of reasons, not just, because it’s discrimination (no matter how you cut it) but I thought we had moved on. Clearly, we need another round of lessons. So, settle in class.

The thing that hurts me the most is that this is happening in my very town. No matter how liberal or crazy someone outside of the state of California views it’s residents it doesn’t apply into my pocket of bloody red that resides at it’s heart. This town is bleeding republicans. Which is why I am not surprised that it happened, but at the same time in shock. I get so comfortable in my own bubble surrounded by people that love and accept me without question. So, hearing that someone else has refused a service to one of my community members resonates on a whole other level because I know that I could very well have been in their shoes. It also makes me feel guilty, because I have very rarely come across any kind of hatred.

One of my good friends posted how he understood but it made him uneasy that government should have a say over private businesses. You mean, like laws? Where businesses have to have disclose all things in their food or how they have to abide by cleanliness? I’m confused. Where do we draw this supposed line?

My thought is that if you open a business there is a legal and social contract that is understood and accepted; unless the patron in your establishment is acting irrationally, you have to serve them. “The customer is always right,” has been echoed in retail since it was coined (by JC Penny I believe…). And unless you’re establishment offers a niche service there is no reason to say “I can’t do this.” For instance, if I went to a vegan restaurant and demanded a steak. Well, they don’t serve steaks. Or If I go to a Christian book store and demand the latest Stephen King novel. Those things don’t exist in that realm. So, when I walk into a bakery and ask for a cake, unless I don’t have the money or am calling you every filthy name under the sun (and speaking to a man that isn’t there), then the owner has to serve them.

It’s petty bull shit. “My religious beliefs….” Okay, what if this is that person’s third marriage, after she has been divorced twice for adultery? Are you still going to serve them? What about a couple that has had multiple children out of wedlock and is only now getting married? Their morals don’t exist then. They just see dollar signs. But, God forbid (pun intended), that they make a cake for a gay couple.

Now, in this event in my own hometown the baker at least was a “good Christian” and directed them to a bakery that does. Bless their heart. Doing the good Christian thing. However, here is how I see the situation. Let us say I have a coffee shop. And this same faithful baker comes in wearing all the trappings of a “Christian” and upon seeing them I pull her aside and say “I’m sorry. I don’t serve Christians here. However, there is another coffee shop across town that does. You’ll have to go there. Sorry.”

Everyone and there cat knows that woman would be infuriated and raise all kinds of hell. (Pun, again, intended.) Moreover, she would have every right to. No one should experience discrimination for any reason. Ever. At all. No matter what. Unless they’re just an outright asshole. Then let the denial of services commence.

So, if one has a hang-up about making a goddamn cake for a couple of homos on their wedding day then don’t make cakes. Make muffins for a coffee shop. Sell JUST cookies. If your morals are “so strong”, do not go into a job that would infringe upon your beliefs. It is common sense.

If this couple had gone in and lied about what the cake was for and they had made it, the woman would have done just that and they would have taken the cake to their gay wedding. Has this woman now participated in their unholy matrimony? Has she tarnished her “spotless” soul and barred herself from the gates of heaven? No.

The mental gymnastics must get exhausting.

To quote their own faith at them, what about the parable of the Good Samaritan? It was told by Christ to his followers and it detailed how a man lay beaten and bloody in a ditch and was passed up by all these holy men and strangers and wasn’t tended to until a Samaritan (a group of people who were seen as disgusting) finally came to his aid because he saw a man in need. They would say, oh, well the story is about helping out someone in medical need. True, but that’s not how parables work. They are miniscule lessons that impart an overall message. The thing you learn from the parable is HELP YOUR FELLOW MAN NO MATTER WHAT.

So, like most of everything that is happening in our country, here we are, once again. Same shit, just a different day.