Archive for the 'Open' Category

02
Apr
13

Closet: I Am that I Am

I am a Black/Native/Unknown gay cisgender male.
Raised Christian, Pentecostal to be exact.
I currently identify as Spiritual, Intuitive and Blessed.
I am in regular communication with God through myself, my ancestors
and the challenges of life.

I am Loving by choice
Open and Friendly by choice
I am hurt, but actively trying to let go and not hold that against you.
I’m insecure about my masculinity
But there. To offer an ear, a hug, a meal or a couch to loved ones in need –
And holding down a job, a home, and a life.

I am sexual.
I am revolutionary – which I feel embodies imagination, kindness, love and optimism
In the face of your ugly side.
I am ordained by Destiny.
Blessed by Spirit to make dreams tangible,
Yours and mine.
My words speak things into existence.

I am Visionary.
I am compassionate.
I am here to change the world –
To love you, to learn with you.
I am curious.

I believe that God made me in Her image,
I believe I am saved by Grace.
Spirit is with me, shining brightly
Whether I be in church, on the streets or in my lover’s arms.

I am a commitment to nurturing Love and relationships around me
No matter how clumsy or insecure I may feel.

I am a commitment to fostering Freedom for All
Despite the resistance of those I fight against, for and with.

I am a commitment to being Christ-like,
Despite my particular Christian programming.
I’m not what I oughta be, but thank God I’m not what I used to be.

If we lived in a world where it was okay to be “out” about all these things,
My heart would be extremely light.
But we don’t.

We live in a world where YOU have to think it is okay for me to be these things;
And therein lies the problem.

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15
Jul
09

Brotherhood

So I won’t get into details, because it’s not completely my story to tell.  But I will say that my brother is facing hard time, and I’m freaking out.  I can’t decipher if I’m more broken hearted over the fact that I didn’t take advantage of all of the opportunities he created to kick it?  I was usually to busy.  Is it because he was already somewhat self-isolated from our judgemental family?   Communication is a two way street.  Or am I more pre-occupied with the family that he is going to be separated from that I haven’t been much of an uncle or btother-in-law to – and will guilt get the best of me?   I’m still not interested in babysitting. 

I just can’t belive this has happened.  My brother is not a statistic.  He is an amazing father, a loyal friend, an entrepreneur, a tradesman, a stoner, and a loving man.  He is also stubborn, impatient, superficial, and  eccentric.  But he’s a pretty bad-ass package nonetheless.  His imagination just doesn’t have the discpline or follow through, and a good team mate is hard to find – so he gets caught up.  

I just wish my family were more like the Wayans’.  Because our lives are definitely “In Living Color”.  From God-drama, to relationship drama, to baby momma drama – we are chock full of anecdotes, heartbreak, and irony.  All the good makings of a prime time hit.  And we are all sarcastic bastards, so we would have cutting edge jokes, too.

The thing about our bunch is that we don’t stick it out with each other.  And that we all want to individually prove to our parents how  success we are.  SO much so that we set ourselves up for failure by planning in a vacuum of secrecy.  Not open to the feedback and support of a strong and complimentary team.   We all want to make it big so that we can make our family proud (and hook them up), but we all have our unique brands of drama that hinder our cooperative genius.

But when I’m hanging with my brother one-on-one, or when I call my sister to swap relationship drama rants – everything is perfect.  Their common experience of our parents (though we were raised in different eras) is similar enough where some things just go unsaid.   Our common experience as Quinns in the world gives us the connectedness we need to face the drama of our days.  And considering the formidable mountains we all face, it’s nice to have someone in your corner who gets it.

And where are the parents in all of this?  Riding a roller coaster that swivels between Tough Love and Prodigal Sons.  Wondering where and why daughters went wrong, how what and when sons managed to pull those capers, and what chapter in The Bible they missed when raising this holy bunch of hooligans?  But they did get things right.  We all have the most beautiful hearts.  We all thrive when we make others happy.   We respect others and have stable work ethics.  We stress out over making sure our partners are satisfied (ok, so what if we are high maintenance too?)

I guess the point is that WE deserve the multi-million dollar franchise.  Not the Wayans.  Well maybe they deserve it because they have initiative.  Maybe because they are all identical twins.  Or maybe because there just haven’t been enough Scary Movies or Epic Movies or Whatever the hell movies they are making.  

I guess I’ll just continue to play my supporting role in the un-filmed epic of my family.  And hope that our prime time prayers and miracles come true.

27
Oct
08

Double Your Standards, Double Your Fun

I believe at this point, I have already admitted at least a dozen times that I am not good at relationships.  Not just the romantic kind either.  Family, friendships, acquaintances – you name it.   So I am not sure whose bright idea it was to move in with my boyfriend.  And I don’t know whose bright idea it was to make him agree to it.

Don’t get me wrong, things could be a lot worse.  Overall, we are both genuinely caring and considerate – necessary traits for two strong willed peeps to share a small one bedroom apartment.   But what I never planned on was discovering what a petty and random bitch I can be.   And how like no one else, I can put the ASS in passive aggressive.   All those little things that you never have the chance to notice when you’re living in your own worlds – how much time you chat online, how often you don’t do laundry, where cum towels go, how smelly bad bowel movements are – are now in your daily realm.  And both of you learn just what you signed up for.  What have I learned?

I am now pissed off when I go into my kitchen.  Not because it’s messy, but because a greater chef has things in it I’m not sure how to use or pronounce.  I beam about my ability to cook and be a healthy bachelor – but now I’m the fast food and lazy minded of a pair.  My turkey burgers and stir fry dishes do not compare to the red curry shrimp or the breakfast quiches.  I used to secretly admire that at least I had more book smarts than my boyfriend, but realized recently that it depends on the type of book you’re referring to.  The amount of cookbooks that now occupy the newly bought extra target super shelf for kitchen related things is intimidating.  I opened one supposedly written by Pam Anderson (until now I did not consider that a common name), to find no hillarious pictures of clevage inbetween glazed cornish hens; but smal type text with recipe after confusing recipe.

When I gave him the card key LONG before he moved in, I felt proud for taking a step.  Now I regret it because every time we approach the door I pull out my old fashioned key only to be outraced by the swipe of his wallet where the key is strategically placed.   Take the card key back, you say?  I don’t mind having a key type key – I just like opening my door.

A friend came over the other evening, and noticed how clean my place looked.  Her surprise saddened me, as I now had to face the fact that I am a relative slob.  Now that I have started to pay attention, my boyfriend has risen the bar on chipping in.   This is a lazy person’s nightmare.  I used to think I ran a pretty tight or at least snug ship.  But now I can see that I ran a loose ship.  Not even a ship, an inflatable summer vacation toy boat.   Now there is a vacuum in the house, always a dish being cooked in and cleaned, new cabinets for stoner organizing tasks that last for hours, and at least bi weekly runs to the garbage and recycling area.

I know I should stop my bitching and appreciate the upgrade in living, but my ego and independence are taking a hit.  I’ve always been able to be loving, compassionate, uplifting, honest, patient, and all that jazz.  But one thing I seem to be allergic to is selflessness.

I am an adventurer, a roamer, a free spirit.   But I am also vulnerable, lonely, and hardening.  I am trying a different take on relationships – one where I don’t run all the time and start integrating my life more.  Practicing being the same me with my family as I am with my man as I am at my work.  But it’s hard to unsplit your personality.  It’s like I rented an apartment but am still staying in the closet, unsure of what to do with this newfound freedom.  So I search for the freedom that I’m used to – casual sex, secrets, drugs, and denial. Not that all of that’s bad, but I can feel myself slipping away.  And this step of moving in together, my latest in a series of jabs at maturing and letting someone in – really in, keeps throwing everything I’ve let myself become back in my face.

So the Sagitarrius in me rebels – longing for the freedom it knew.  And I take it out on the poor one bedroom apartment and the hubby.   Mad at how long he spends online – more because he makes friends in chat as opposed to my just looking for sex.  Pissed that he pushes me to go to the gym, when really I want it.   Upset that a healthy and creative dinner is prepared when i get home from work, because i wanted to cook and complain about it instead.   I get bitter about all the crazy and wild encounters I’m missing, when the best sex partner I’ve ever had is living under the same roof.

Somehow the walls are closing in on me, but I know this is just a stubborn and scared reaction to a whole new world of freedoms opening themselves to me.  We just have to get a bigger apartment.

25
Jun
08

Bust A Move

In the streets

I can’t convince me to believe in myself as an artist. But I’m surrounded by less talented people who make better money.

Over the course of my life I have used several performance verbs to describe how I spend my time: act, sing, write, dance, direct – none of them having stuck around for a career. And yet I cling desperately to my sealed university parchment – underwhelming in its thoughtlessness “BA in Sociology Drama”. I had to go through two majors – tuition and all – but apparently I was not worth the investment of two degrees; or at least one that distinguished my two specialties rather than one odd field of Social Science performance that confuses people.

And it turns out I confused so many people, myself included, that I am indeed in some odd performance and social science realm – one where benefits and salaries are never guaranteed, competition is fierce, and you’re expected to go above and beyond for less than nothing. But that’s not what grinds my gears. I am at peace with giving myself for something I believe in. I just think somewhere along the line I got stuck giving and never getting anything in return.

At work, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m really good at it. In love I can’t choose which side has greener grass – so I live in an eternal flux of co-dependent loneliness. I am getting better at dealing with my family, but only because I’m getting better at self medicating. And the only outlets that get me through lately are dancing, writing, and reading. But when do I have time to do that? That’s where I get pissed off. There seems to be no time in my life anymore to pursue what makes me happy.

When I work my ass to the bone, and can’t afford a $12 Capoiera Class, I have to ask – where does my money go? I was “making it” just as well when I was waiting tables at Bubba Gump’s and washing plastic for Jamba Juice. And now I’m a manager at an increasingly panicked non-profit, supervising and supporting dam near everyone, prostituting the agency for money from anyone, while trying to thrust morale and momentum into an unknown future displaying only that my hours will soon be cut.

When I come home I want to dance. Thank GOD for Carnaval – at least I got to shake my stuff in the streets. Unfortunately, the middle school girls who were a large portion of our contingent were afraid of the half naked chubby bald man with the crazy skirt, breasts bigger and hairier than theirs, and metallic body paint. Fitting how the two skinny guys whose idea it was to go “topless” flake out. So it’s me and the girls dancing. I could have drummed like the other guys…but I wanted to dance. So I did. And if nothing else, the rehearsals worked me out, and I learned the moves quick enough to help a few rhythmically-challenged girls get it together. I won’t be joining the crew for PRIDE, however, because I do not want to be stuck with the little girl crew on the day where all the hotties are naked and celebrating. I’ll have to get my dance on at the stages…

During those dance classes, and in the streets of the parade I felt so light and free. As much as I love theatre, I do not think I am a great actor. Decent writer, yes. Great scene director, for sure. Techie? Not really. My acting resume is saad, and there is not one performance space I’ve worked in that hasn’t been school-related. And that does not make me feel too cast-able.

As far as writing, now that I’m Captain Save-a-Non-Profit…I do not have as much time; or choose to rest my writing muscles outside of work. This sucks I know, as is apparent by the rusty and whiney tones of my recent blogs. I wanna write about life and all the obnoxious lessons I’m learning lately, but self medicate so much that I just wanna sleep when not living through the stress.

Then there is dance, or any opportunity someone gives me to bang a sexy drum. That seems to be when I feel most alive. Other than sex, camping, good friends and food that is.

Let’s see – if I had to break down my current dance history to pretend I had the least bit right to claim proficiency, what would that look like:

Exaltation Youth Choir. We were Kirk Franklin-esque and choreographed our concert and competition pieces. Half step team, half soul train…some moves were great, and a welcome relief from a revival sermon.

Middle School and High School Dances…I won’t pretend I was good at any of these, but I have rhythm and I tried.

Big Sister. I would always swear to hate her, but loved dancing with her when she was left to care for me…which was often. Now we’re as close as ever, and all we need is a living room and a CD player. She also gets credit for introducing me to an eclectic music taste and trying new sounds.

Musicals. If you didn’t know I was gay yet, there you go. I had to ease on down the road in ‘The Wiz’, do the funky chicken in ‘Oklahoma’, embrace an awkward waltz in ‘Street Scene’, scoot out a British line dance in ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’, and absorb some minimal stylistic movement and combat skills for ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Romeo & Juliet’. If nothing else, these experiences got me to think about connecting emotion and movement to build pictures.

Dance classes at SFSU. This is when I finally decided to try something. 2 units a semester of a physical fun class to make sure I didn’t nerd out 100%. I took two semesters of African Haitian (which showed me just how inflexible I was and began to wake my spine up). It was in African Haitian that I was introduced to drums, loas, mambos, a dance rooted in community and culture, and some sense of feeling filled. I also took a semester of Modern Jazz, which was…eh.

Loco Bloco. Awesome troupe housed in San Francisco that welcomed me into their contingent for Carnaval 2007 and 2008. It is here that I re-find drums and the dances of my ancestors which both relieve all the tensions that entrap me in my daily grind.

Hip Hop @ The White Horse. Who knew my random side job as a barback would pay off? With Thursday night Hip hop classes, and smaller clienntel – I often find myself on the dance floor grooving away my worries and being the happiest guy cleaning glasses you ever met.

So that’s the story of me and dance, and I know I want more of it. But I can’t seem to find a creative way to fit dancing into my life. Sometimes I feel stuck in my situation, but know I am choosing to fight a particular battle right now. I just want to get more aligned with my spirit, so I can sustain the fight. That’s the part of me I feel suffering, and is affecting my balance and presence in all areas of my life. I am taking baby steps, but not the stylish leaps and bounds I should be.

I really do have to find a creative and accessible way to bust a move.

23
Apr
08

Big Shit

What Next...

Everyone always tells you not to sweat the small shit. But no one tells you how that works. Or what constitutes small shit versus big shit. Or if you’re not supposed to sweat it…what you should do with the small shit. Especially if the small shit keeps on coming…does it build up to big shit that you have to deal with? Or just stay lots of small shit, like a dirtying windshield – clear enough for you to keep on driving, but noticeable enough to irritate your journey?

No one tells you that the key is to laugh during the short gasps you get in this triathalon called life. And even if they did tell you – you wouldn’t listen. When we get that simple advice we’re usually too stressed and overwhelmed to listen – or worse, we write it off as nagging hippie optimism. But that’s all we have – because our drama is not going to get better or go away. And even if by chance it does, something even more challenging will replace it. And to see this ever increasing mountain as a testament of your strength, rather than proof of how much the universe hates you is rather frustrating. But why?

We are so closed to optimism because we are convinced it means the giver can’t possibly fully comprehend the layers of our problem(s). Even if your friends offer reasoable solutions, you will counter with unreasonable scenarios that will rob you of even having the potential of hope in your situation. Why is it so easy to remain ovewhemled, but so hard to just let go? How invested are we in maintaining a status quo we’ve set up for ourselves instead of making our happiness and well being the norm?

I’m not writing this to convince you to be happy through your trials. I am writing this to remind myself that I have to be. I apparently have some measure of talent. I care about the world. I believe that regardless of how outnumbered goodness is in this world, it is still worth investing in. This places me in a scenario where traditional success and happiness might not come my way. But since when did I lead a traditional life? I am learning to re-think the way I value my riches. By nature of being Black in this country, gay in this world, caring in this economy, community driven in my career – I have agreed to take on some weight. Maybe not the weight of the world, but the weight of MY world. And lately I spend every free moment lamenting this life I don’t have time to live because I’m too busy being tired, frustrated, or venting.

The simple solution would be to find a new path if the one I’m on makes me so unhappy, right? But I’m not unhappy at all. I am unbalanced, and that’s the shift. I love my job, regardless of the ridiculous situations and hurdles I am placed in front of. I have faith in the intention, creativity, and beauty of my team. But as a super student and workaholic, I was just starting to figure out what my identity includes OUTSIDE of work. There is so much more to me than where I work, but my choices in life lately do not reflect that. I limit myself constantly, spend energy blaming my job only to return to work there, and repeat the cycle. A cycle that is unfortunately common in my chosen field.

But I’m not in this field by choice. I was placed in this field to use a skill set I apparently had but couldn’t articulate. What is important is that I am choosing to stay in this field. I want to empower myself in this situation, because I can leave at any moment. I am young enough to make moves – but I feel honor an pride and worthiness in doing what I do. That self-investment is worth more than salary to me. But that commitment makes it all the more important to invest in the areas of my life outside of work that make me who I am. To go on the camping trips, to dance, read, write, take long uber-gay candle-lit baths, and rock out in crazy outfits.

I can’t take my frustration out on the world if I’m choosing to stay in my situation. I just need to get a grip on why I’m staying. I can’t keep avoiding people I care about as I delude myself that it is only until I get better at enforcing my priorities. Baby steps is the key. Not being upset at being overwhelmed, but expecting it, honoring the feeling, and doing something besides wallowing to balance that energy in my spirit.

Fuck you, I know this all sounds common sense. But this shit is huge for me. Which makes it hard to deal with the little shit – like people’s attitudes, or parking tickets that fuck up your paycheck to paycheck routine, or commuting, or no groceries, or double booking friends, or not having clean underwear. They still exist, and can still fuck up my day. But a fucked up day doesn’t make a fucked up week, month, year, or life. And that’s whats up.

I don’t have time to dwell on how bad I am in relationships while there is someone busy trying to love me. I don’t have time to feel like I abandoned my family when I have nephews and nieces growing into young adults who need an ally. I don’t have time to pout about not being in a play, when opportunities to dance are always around. I don’t have time to feel embarassed about how small my apartment is when most of my friends have roomates. I don’t have time to get pissed that I never travel when there are so many local things I haven’t seen. Okay…so maybe I do have time for those things, but couldn’t that time be better spent?

I know this all seems simple logic, and you might very well have figured much of this out already. But it’s the simple logic that gets most easily lost in a chaotic world.

Dance

21
Oct
07

The Intervention – Volume 1


 

stairway_to_heaven1.jpg

The personalities are officially merging. And I don’t know if I’m crazy in the first place for having so many, or if it’s crazy that they’re trying to work together now…but either way this is going to be a process worth keeping track of.

My life hit a rather low point a the other weekend, and a few things came crashing down. I know that sounds dramatic…but I believe without a shadow of a doubt the universe was trying to kick my ass into gear. I think I’ve had enough of living my life from the sidelines.

We all know that breakups are reflective times – we want to put the file away in a drawer – taking careful note of what was our faults, the other persons’, how this story is portrayed in the media (A.K.A. the friend circle), and take away a few notes for next time. Well, when I realized just how much of my last relationship meltdown was my fault – I believe that was the catalyst for a lot more. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think everything was my fault, or that I’m 100% responsible for my partner’s experience, but I definitely am 100% responsible for sabotaging myself.

This is not about that relationship. This is about all relationships. How I perceive myself versus how I am perceived. My level of intention and commitment to my relationships. To friends, to family, and most importantly – to myself. I have put a lot of stock in relationships in the past – so much so that I border on co-dependent, which is dangerous for a Sagittarius. Investing so much in one person at a time – that best friend, or lover, or long lost friend whose life has recently aligned once moe with mine. My happiness and social life starts to revolve around this person, must to the detriment of my other relationships. I’m an amazing friend when my energy is focused on you – but what about the 90% of time it’s not? And that is one of the challenges – I love meeting new people, but have trouble maintaining healthy relationships. Possibly because I see a little of myself in so many types of people. But most likely because I inherently avoid going deeper. And yes friends, it’s about to go there…I believe this has a great deal to do with me living a life of secrecy.

For an openly gay man, I live a life full of secrets and shame and loneliness. I do not want to make this solely about being gay, because I understand there is more to me than just that. I do, however, feel that all the areas of my life I am trying to live out fully are compromised by my shame and insecurity around being gay. I have had trouble embracing more than the title with my loved ones. It feels as if I came out just so they would have an idea about what was going on when I dropped off the face of the earth. I do not live and breathe it around them. I come home to superficial conversations, skirting around religious issues, not prioritizing family functions so I can save my family the embarrassment. Yet I’m out. To all the people I meet nowadays, not to those that matter. Those who might enjoy getting to know me for me. Those who i fear will leave me and not love me, but am not giving the chance to prove me wrong.

Maybe I should warn you – this is gonna get a little on the analytical side.

I also feel like my exploration of gay identity inside my closet, made possible by the wonders of sites like gay.com and craigslist, contributed to me isolating parts of myself from each other. Never being genuine though I was always in some part being who I was. Online hook-ups, choir rehearsal, girlfriends, best friend-with-benefits, responsibility, carelessness. All these qualities had to be mutually exclusive for some reason. And I never wanted to face the truth of them all co-existing inside me.

So we have a family who doesn’t know me because my coming out was the end of the road as far as I was concerned…since I sank into the shadows. We have friends who I am fake with, and friends I am real with but insecure around so I have extreme highs and lows. If those are the templates from which I’m building my idea of a relationship, then of course the partners have some pretty hefty baggage to support, right?

And the ridiculous thing is that I found partners willing to support that baggage – and still found a way to destruct them. Granted, it might not have been meant to be….but I cut short the possibility of a more full and meaningful relationship several times. I’ve only had 5 relationships in my life. Two with women, high school, while I was still figuring things out. But they were important women, still in my life. One with a man while I was closeted – who was the catalyst for my coming out…but changed his tone once I actually did. One with a man, who was my first true love – since our relationship lived in the real world – vacations, a family holiday, housemates, life plans. And one friend-turned-more, that was at a level I’m still trying to reach in being comfortable in my own skin. All of these people are important to me, and have definitely shaped who I am – and what I think love is. But with all of them, I had some level of anxiety, secrecy, and self-shame.

I embrace now that I have baggage, as all of us have, and just need to learn to accesorize it.

So recently, when my good friend (see the unicorn tribute) moved to Australia, I lost my confidant. Dealing with the idea of damaged love, breakups, self reflection – was all too much for me to do alone. And to top it off – my attempts to be friends with exes, and prove friends who say its not possible wrong, were failing miserably. Looking through the phone of names and numbers I should have felt comfortable to call for support – I realized that different situations call for different people. But at the end of the day, it gets old to hold up so many fronts. And if that’s the case – what I have is an audience. Not friends.

And when I couldn’t find solace in family. When friends seemed too far away. When I lack the companionship I so long for. I turn to faith. God. spirit. And I realized that my spirit is weak. I have not been feeding it. My soul is tired and in pain, and longing for something. I’m not religious dogmatically, but I am very spiritual, Growing up in a church environment, though restricting at times – gave me a wonderful foundation. It’s where I learned community, how to value and treat people, right and wrong – and I don’t care what you say…we all need some starting sense of that, and lots of love. Not to mention church was where I began to explore creativity, performance, and being a leader – all things that characterize my career path now. Church is a huge part of who I am – but a small part of who I am makes me uncomfortable and un-welcome in the church. And I have not healed from this trauma yet.

But I have through the years, found God in subtle and creative ways. When traffic lights go my way, when I get an awesome opportunity at work, when money works out just right around rent time, when I get in touch with a long lost loved one. I still sing old choir songs in the shower and in traffic. I pray, in conversational ways while doing mundane tasks. I feel that I am participating in things that will make a positive change in the world, and for the most part carry myself with dignity and respect for my fellow (wo)man. I am a loving person with an open heart, good natured, sincere, intelligent, supportive, and thoughtful. I feel that God loves me. I am not sure which religion I believe in – but I believe they all come down to faith, and all that faith goes somewhere. Does something. At least serves as a motivation to do things and get through things you otherwise wouldn’t.

So I don’t want to go to church and feel pressured to concentrate on hell and shame and outing the queer people still allowed to participate in secrecy. I feel upset that my daily good life is outweighed by Sunday Christians who live sinful lives throughout the week. Sure, I do too…but I don’t judge you about it. I support you when you want to change, and love you as a human when you want to indulge. But I was taught real Christians live by example – not by institutional bullshit. But there are some real Christians at my church…who were closer to me than a lot of my family. And so much of my family are ministers, church mothers, missionaries, pastors, and various other leaders…that church and family are blended. They are all this huge network of love and tradition and standards and support that held me as I found who I was. And now that I’m the person i’ve become…I don’t have access to them anymore. And that makes it hard to feel real anymore. To have a meaningful relationship – if this huge part of you doesn’t feel it will ever be validated. And for some reason, I really want that validation. To know that it’s okay to be gay and spiritual and in love and in a meaningful partnership. One that doesn’t have to carry all this weight. That doesn’t have to live in the closet. But I’m scared that I’m going to have to learn to validate that for myself.

So feeling a lack of allies and supports – scared of friends, cautious of lovers, burdened by family, denied access to faith – almost broke me. This was the beginning of the downward spiral. And I sat there, blocked. Feeling emotions I couldn’t describe. Feeling this intense love for my friends, and needing their support – but feeling too out of the loop to seek it. Ignoring calls. Barely making it through workdays. Being way too critical of myself (yes, even more than this). Feeling a longing to nurture my soul. To get some strength. Stamina. Some way to pull me through, because I did not forsee this getting any better.

And ultimately, my multiple personalities come into play. I wonder why I’m not a libra, since there is always such an internal struggle. I always weigh both sides of situations, and even when I’m spontaneous – it’s usually in the most prepared way. So I can’t just let myself dwell in thoughts of “everything’s wrong”, and “nothing ever…”. I will always think in detail. What’s wrong? What does it really mean? What do you need to do? Where do you want to end up, and how should you start to get there? Sometimes, when you just wanna sit with an extreme emotion – it’s frustrating to have an internal personal trainer forcing you to think about how it could be worse, and get moving. But that’s a way I started relating to myself since I often find myself isolated from the friends who provide that feedback.

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The Intervention:
So the Intervention will have three phases: Self-Esteem and Internal Strength, Meaningful Connection and Love, and Embracing and Uniting my Identity.

Phase one is nurturing myself through things I love and enjoy but do not commit to or invest in. The gym, music, art, writing. Getting in touch with myself – so relationships don’t sweep me away. But I can be grounded in myself in times of solitude as well.

Phase two will be intertwined with phase one, but be focused on rebuilding and being present in my friendships. Because this is good practice, and I want to appreciate the people I love, and have them there as a resource.

Phase three will involve some form of confrontation or revelation with my family and church family. I’m not sure what this looks like, but I fear it. I fear really living the life I say I want to live – openly, consistenly, regardless of others. But I will. Even if those others are the basis of so much of my identity formation. I owe them the chance to get to know and love me. And am not protecting them by living in secrecy. I really feel that I will have to reconcile this hurt, or at least actively engage in it to get the courage I need to have the types of relationships I want. I can’t be determined by my own homophobia and what might be a false sense of obligation to people who might love me unconditionally.

The point of phase 2, besides active practice in healthy relationships – will be to build a support system in case the confrontation of family and church goes horrible. Then I will know where I stand, who my supportive family and friends are, and be able to build a life – an open life – with those who love me for who I am. So step-by-step I’ll see where this path takes me…and I actually feel freedom in creating it, because part of the plan is not to think – that has been a defense mechanism I’ve used to keep me from truly living.  It’s time to live, and embrace the challenges as they come. Not fear them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

04
Oct
07

Freedom in Chains…

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I used to think I was a good person. But now I’m not so sure. After this weekend, what I think of as “good” and “bad” is no longer so concrete. So I might still be a good person, but what it means for me to be good – is a little more complex.

This weekend was a whirlwind of life. I haven’t let go like this in a while, and I can say I had a few of those “in the moment” moments. From the Folsom St. Fair, to the Love Fest, to the people life brought my way – it was a wonderland that I’m not prepared to return from. And catching mass transit into work Monday morning, looking at dozens of people wearing the same thing, going to the same types of jobs, and living the same types of “day” lives…I realized that this wonder-weekend was going to make my daily routine that much more painful

First and foremost have to give props to Rob, a friend from DC and living proof that sometimes good people CAN come out of bad websites. It’s rare to meet people who are intelligent, well-traveled, that special kind of sarcastic, open minded, and spontaneous all at the same time. It doesn’t hurt to be cute and charming, too. My chat buddy-turned-partner in crime was planning a trip to SF for this historic weekend. I just happened to be in need of an adventure. It seemed an ideal time to meet. So we loved ourselves right on into the Love Fest, and ended up striking up a conversation that lasted through San Francisco walking journeys, dinners, leather vests and flogging, one bad-ass Madonna performance, nighttime city skyline views and bridge drives, and a sporadic trip to The Parkway Theatre. You never really appreciate where you live like you do when there are visitors around.

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But more than I was appreciative of finding a new friend…I was appreciative of finding more of myself. It sucks sometimes to realize that in the grand scheme of things…I’m a pretty mild mannered person. I mean, I’m interesting enough. I’m smart enough. I’m level headed enough. I’m decent looking. (Apparently, I’m conceited too…) But my adventures are relatively tame. Even when it comes to sex. a part of life I’m supposed to be good at – considering how much of my thoughts it consumes, I’m adequate. Don’t get me wrong…I have equipment and can use it. But the imagination part of the game, the wild and crazy side that everyone denies in public and indulges in fantasies – is the part of myself that I’m curious to activate.

This weekend I saw people who were free. Interestingly enough, they were also tied up and chained fairly regularly. The whole BDSM community. The leather scene. Puppy play. Boot Camp role Plays. Flogging. Real Tops. Real Bottoms. Masters. Slaves. Urinals. Daddys. Clamps. Paddles. Naked Twister. People living out their wildest fantasies, in oddly contained and consensual scenes. Fetishes being explored. It was crazy…particularly because until recently I never considered myself to have any.

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I’ve always been fairly “vanilla”. Enjoying the fine art of getting my groove on, but never really considering anything outside the box. I would indulge the occasional scent or foot fetish a partner had – but whenever asked what I really liked, I would answer vaguely – ashamed that the freaks didn’t come out at night in my house…just the nerds. But I’m a sensual guy. I like touch and all that jazz…I won’t go into details here, well, because, then you’d know. But being a top…I feel like I need to step my game up. Let our some of that aggression. Explore a more uninhibited side. Control and dominate a scene….really top, instead of being a passive and timid top. Easier said than done, I know. But walking through a a dense crowd of people who were doing just that, encouraged some baby steps. These people were owning and celebrating a very private, controversial, and potentially vulnerable side of themselves…and getting validation from a community I never even considered.

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I tried to keep myself open this weekend. Open minded and available to what the universe wanted to bring my way. What did it bring me? Some images that won’t soon be forgotten, introductions to great guys from around the world, the introduction of paddles, and a very (very) close encounter with a different kind of urinal. All adventures that will be stored in my memory…but not all that can blogged about. I’m not ready to go that far on the internet yet. Only the journal gets all those privy notes. But what I can say is that I gained a new appreciation for the leather community.

The Love Fest was alright, but I can’t speak to that as much since I felt like the one sober kid at a rave. I couldn’t stand the combined sound of 3o DJs simultaneously for too long. Besides the drunken 19yo USF student that wanted to be me and Rob’s BFF and “loved us”, the Love Fest for me wasn’t that eventful.

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Perhaps I should come more prepared in the future…especially considering the way I get down on the dance floor. I did wish at both events that I had dressed better. The Love Fest was so colorful and loud…and I didn’t quite think my plaid shirt and khakis were sending the message of the day. Wouldn’ t you know…the one day I forget to wear the rainbow sarong. Obviously people were decked out for Folsom…so my jeans and black tank top felt a little boring. But at least I had a leather watch (and one other small leather item) to help me feel in the loop.

The good news about being boring this year..is that my debut next year will be that much more luscious. Is it ridiculous that I already have my theme and costume in mind? I would describe it, but think I have to keep it under wraps until it happens. Look at me, I have cliffhangers now.

It was the weekend I needed. Just rowdy and random and beautiful enough to take me away from the stress of my job, and my personal life, and my neurosis. Just fabulous and creative enough to challenge me to re-invent and refine myself. It was a weekend I never saw coming, and didn’t want to leave. And now that I’ve been bitten by this new and deceptive bug…there’s nothing I can do but come back for more. I know it’s a shame. A San Francisco native who had to wait until 25 to get his Folsom Cherry popped.

But until recently, I didn’t really like cherries all that much either…

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