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 By the time it’s been mass produced, packaged and shipped it’s been outdated by newer and better technology.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 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 was 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 proceed 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 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 and answer and this strange man agreed to meet with me. 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 that was disgusting. 

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 and had a profound affect on it. It helped me realize and understand my sexual identity and it got me the man I would spend with for the rest of my life.  I will forever be in its debt. 

Advertisements

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.

Nothing to add, merely to relay

As much as I don’t want this to turn into a political blog it will inevitably trail that way sometimes. Especially because people insist on making laws or having ideas for change that will or won’t hurt a community I am a part of.

It’s funny because before the whole election I had little to no interest in politics. What was happening beyond my bubble was far beyond me. Which is what I feel so many Americans felt. We were disengaged because we had always trusted the system to work for itself and it was in that complacency that things began to go haywire.

The only law that mattered to me and my life was gay marriage. I wanted the knowledge that I could one day wed the person I wanted to be with. When that finally happened, for me, everything else became moot. And, again, I was complacent.

As it turns out this was the week to attack the rights of anyone under the rainbow banner of LGBTQ.

Let us begin with tRump’s pick for the head scientist of the department of agriculture. He is a gentleman that believes that homosexuality is a choice and that we are on the same level as pedophiles. It’s lucky that he is headed for the department of ag because he appears to be useless anywhere else. What terrifies me is that he is not the only one that thinks this way, and I imagine that most of those that inevitably will fill the remaining administration will probably have similar ideas on the topic.

For a brief moment I understand where they’re coming from with the logic “it’s a choice.” Yes. To some degree it is in fact a choice as everything we do in our life is a chosen by us. However, by choosing to conform to the straight life because it’s the “right way” would cause harm to the person doing the choosing and those around him. In addition, who the HELL would want to knowingly choose a life of pain and heart ache if they had ANY want/desire/attraction to the opposite sex. It would stand to reason that one would just choose the “normal” way and be done with the whole issue. But they think it’s for sexual pleasure, and yes it is, but what if I told a hetero man that he could never have sex with a woman again, but only men because it was right? They would say absolutely not because they’re not hardwired that way.

When I get to the pedophile shit I just cringe because his statement is accusing me of doing just that, and there is nothing I despise and loath more than a person that sexually abuses a child. As having been abused myself (not by an adult but by an older neighbor boy) I find it insulting. I am too an extreme that if I knew someone had harmed one of my loved ones as a child I would seek vengeance however it may be. I’m like a rabid dog when it comes to protecting the innocent, so to lump me in with someone that abuses a human, that is still struggling to understand what it is to be human, is infuriating.

It just shows me that most of those that fly the Christian moniker tend to be the least empathetic people, especially when an R is attached to their political affiliation.

Now… This last issue is not one that I am super strong about because I am not transgendered. I don’t know anyone personally, so that fight is not one that I feel I am in. However, I know what it’s like to be ostracized by society because of who I am, so I know when the bully on the playground picks the next victim I have to stand up to defeat him. Trump going after trans in the military is pointless and just dumb. They want to pretend that it’s about keeping a cohesive unit or that the other soldiers are in danger, but again it is because they lack any semblance of a heart. If they tried to look at it from the other person’s side they would see that their fears don’t even exist. Most trans people are more terrified of being outed because it could result in an even harder life.

Every morning when I wake I am terrified what the day will hold. It’s stressful. It is honestly wearing me down to the point that I have finally just accepted that the world is doomed. The life we lived is no more and now the powers that be have an agenda that benefits only them and no one else. That is why I have become very nihilistic. I genuinely hope that they fuck our shit up. I want them to ruin the country so that it will be on their watch, under their command, and all their fault. Unfortunately they will not see it that way and will spin it to be someone else’s doing because no one in politics can just own their bull shit.

I dislike writing about politics because I am not as well versed on the topic as I should be, nor do I have anything new to add to the constant chatter that buzzes around these issues. I wish I did have more to add/say/reveal but ultimately I have nothing. I am absolutely helpless. Knowing that my communities way of life is always in the hands of those who are not a part of, nor care for is soul crushing. It is in this powerlessness that I come to two very different metaphorical roads in my mind. Both are scary. One leads to me accepting myself as a victim under those that seek to oppress me; or I seek to be the one with the power, fueled by my rage. The second is more enticing because it gives me the illusion that some sort of war is being won, but I know that road leads to radicalization and inevitably ends up hurting the overall cause. Yet, on the other path, I have to take what is given to me with a smile and keep moving on, all the while have my spirit torn apart.

A Promise to a Life of Action

I need to get back in the habit of writing. The idea of having this site is two-fold: one, it’s a way for me to continue my column from the Renegade Rip as I have timed out my time in the class (the KCCD deemed that it was inappropriate to repeat courses for funsies); and two, because I want to be a writer more than anything and most literary agents, I have read, want the author to already have some sort of platform built. The second one annoys me, but it’s all in an effort to play the game and I refuse to do self-publishing. I don’t mean to insult anyone who has gone that route, I just know that I am a lazy self-promoter (at best) and peddling my own wares (which I paid for) is not in my wheel-house.

There is also a third thing, but it has more weight and can’t really be lumped in with the other two. (The reason why has escaped me. Maybe it’s because I miscalculated my reasons and instead am sticking to my guns refusing to re-write.) The thing that keeps me coming back is because this bitch has to write.

I don’t know what it is but I have to put my words out there. Whether it be a story or my own personal thoughts doesn’t matter. As long as I am putting my mental musings into the world I am happy. I find excitement and worth. To not do such things leaves me feeling jaded. I suppose it’s my own form of therapy.

What is strange about this notion is that while I know how much I love it and truly do enjoy the task more than eating French fries (and this bitch loves him some French fries) I make all the excuses in the world to not put pen to paper. Or in this case, fingertips to keys. I say, I’m too busy, or that my husband would be upset if I stowed away into the office to write. Sometimes it’s just that I am tired and don’t want to. But, not writing kills me and, also, not doing it keeps me rooted to the spot. (In both my life ambition and self-care.)

That is why I have chosen to promise myself, and to the select few that traverse this site, to deliver some sort of content on every Friday. There is no excuse for me not to do it, truly. I have the wordpress app on my phone and can even write a tiny blurb on the run. I just don’t want to continue this life of nothingness, where all I do is work and sleep and work and sleep. I get nowhere and do nothing. I want to live. And living involves action.

I was reminded of this fact the other day when a friend of mine, a mentor, quoted one of my most favorite movies to me. “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” It’s one of the most quotable lines from the Shawshank Redemption. (Which is easily one of my top 5 films.) In the past I never paid it any mind because I only took it into the context of the film, where Andy has had enough of his prison life. With it taken out of the scene and just read to me, and forgetting where, how and why it was said, it’s really some great advice for life. Life is meant to be lived, however that may be. For me it’s a need to be heard, to be understood. It drives me and pushes me to a reality I long for.

So stay tuned. I don’t know what I will write, I just know that it will be something, and I will try to make it my best. Maybe one day something will come of it, and maybe something won’t. But the only terrible thing I could imagine is looking back on a long life and feeling as though I have not lived.

P.S.
As of late, I have returned to the first draft of my first completed manuscript to start the process of spit and polish. I am trying to stay strong as I sit there and attempt to pick it apart, because after all it is a FIRST DRAFT and is filled with holes, splinters, and rough edges. For a short while I wasn’t sure that it would be this particular manuscript to pick back-up, but seeing as how it has a gay protagonist in a real world fantasy realm, and I did win an award for my column about gay life, it only seems right to begin here.

“Do what you want, BUT …”

I’m really mad at my husband, and since he happens to be up in the mountains out of cell reception I have decided to air my grievances here. After all, someone might learn something from this because God knows he probably wouldn’t even if I told him.

That last part may seem like a dig at my husband, and it is (not gonna lie), but it is also the truth at the same time. He has this character defect that causes him to tune out anyone that “yells” at him. I say “yell” because his and my definitions are drastically different. While I have a habit of raising my voice because I am a very passionate person from the theatre (who projects) he takes that as me “yelling” at him. When I yell… well it as an ugly affair that does not paint me in a pretty light at all. I think he’s seen me “yell” maybe three times over our 13 years together. But I can’t help but get loud when I am super passionate about something. I am not one that holds back my feelings, I wear everything right on my sleeve. So when I get upset, I “yell.”

It helps when I practice my speeches beforehand, so I can find the beats I want to hit and the points I want to make to make certain he knows where I’m coming from and can understand. What’s worse is the dude is johnny-on-the-spot and no matter how much preparation I invest he can throw a curve ball question at me that sends me back into my rage. Honestly, the dude should have been a lawyer.

So I have spent most of the day practicing how I want to go about telling him that what has just transpired between us is something I do not appreciate and has thus made me very angry.

I was asked to be a guest on this little talk show that broadcasts on Facebook live. It’s called “Canoodle After Dark” and you can find it on “Canoodle Studios” Facebook page. (I promise I’m not plugging for them.) The topic of the show is basically a rip-off (see, not plugging) of Love Line. It’s three woman all talking about sex. The topic for tonight’s show is supposed to be anal sex, so it makes sense why she asked me to be a guest. In addition to me just being hilarious, remember I am the face of the gay community now. Self-appointed.

Now, the situation reeked of “you’re going to be in trouble” from my acceptance. So I phoned up my husband to ask if it was alright. He gave the usual ho-hum “do what you want, BUT…” and that’s where I take umbrage with the situation.

Look, if he didn’t want me to do it for the “but” reasons and flat out said, “Hey, it will make me uncomfortable for you to do this because x, y, and z, I’d really prefer you not to do it,” I would probably be annoyed but I would understand his logic and not do it. However, he took the manipulative route which drives me nuts. You can’t tell me I can do what I want and then give me some small print that will basically be setting me up for a fight. In my mind, I want to do it and it will be fun. He said I can do what I want, but…

I’m not one to play games like these. If I do not like something I will tell you, to your face, that this makes me mad or uncomfortable. I’m not going to pussy-foot around the subject because I “don’t want to look like the bad guy who’s controlling you.” Um… That’s exactly what you’re doing, you just have somehow convinced yourself in your head that because I didn’t flat out say you can’t do it, I’m not a controlling husband.

To me by doing that has made his response an ultimatum, without being an ultimatum. The situation set before me is “do what you want, but… if you do it I’m going to be furious.”

I get his reasons. He’s a private person. I understand. If he had laid that out and then said I don’t want you to do it, I would have been fine (annoyed, but fine.) I know how petty I sound that I want him to do it my way. But, at least my way doesn’t force anyone to do mental gymnastics to understand the true route to take. It’s a weird “Sophie’s choice” game. Like he’s testing me to see how much I “really care about him,” when me wanting to do this show has NOTHING to do with him. It’s all how I love being the center of attention and look amazing on-camera.

I love my husband. No relationship is perfect, ever. You’re trying to put two different people together to make a life work. There are going to be bumps. But unlike my husband, I’d rather say “hey, stop doing this cause it makes me mad,” than manipulate him. I guess I just respect him more than he does me. (Did you see what I did there? Manipulation.)