Monday, November 28, 2016

A Ruinous Lust

You look at him. He smiles. It’s that same smile he’s been smiling at you for years. That same smile he smiled at you back when he was still “straight.” You feel the flutter in your stomach. You thought those butterflies had flown away, or better yet, died years ago. You worked hard to coax them away; bury them. You tried to give them no nourishment so that they would have to leave you alone and find another place to live; find their way into someone else’s stomach through the hole in the heart left by Cupid’s arrow.

It seems that with the sensation you felt that day you realized they had merely fallen into a deep slumber. Your feelings are still there. You would go with him one more time if he would only ask. You're not in love with him but you love him. Lust is what you’re in with him. You’re in the deepest lust with him and you just want to feel him deep inside you.

He doesn’t care about you. You realize that, right? Yes. You realize it. You know it. He will be your friend but he will be nothing more. He used you once. That was about him and not you. Your feelings were collateral damage. You will never kiss him again. You will never feel his lips on yours or his hands on your body. You will never take him into your mouth again and he will never penetrate you in the way you yearn. Unless you consider the way his has penetrated your heart. But you have to heal that wound. It will do nothing but fester if you continue down this path of wishing and pretending.

He can still be beautiful in your eyes. You have to find the balance. He will never be yours and you will never find yourself comforted in his embrace. You will never fall asleep with your head on his chest.

He is not good for you. You know that. Yet your heart overrides your head every time you see him. You keep hoping, as you’ve been doing for too many years, that the right moment might arise and his eyes will be open and see you as the person he is missing in his life. That is never going to happen. He sees you and he wants nothing more from you than friendship.

That hole in your heart left by Cupid has merely crusted over. Propel the butterflies up and out. Make them break through the scab. Make them exit. Let that particular hole close. Cupid will hopefully provide you with another one day. 

He is the boy that was never meant to be yours and no amount of wishing is going to change that. He doesn’t want you. He never really did. You’ve been suffering, on and off, with your unrequited love of him for too long. 

It’s time you loved yourself more than you think you love him. It’s time to remove the infatuation cataracts from your eyes. Your lips, hands, and body deserve more than the desire to one more time have a chance to get it right and win his heart. 

Your heart is more important than his and some desires do nothing more than ruin a life. Don’t let his smile and your lust continue to affect your life. They’re a mad combination doing nothing more than conspiring against you.

There will be another He if you let there be.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Shoes & Safety-Pins: Unexpected Symbols of Freedom

Sometimes a shoe is more than a shoe. 

Sometimes it's a piece of art that you wear for its beauty. But sometimes it’s a symbol you wear in defiance of all the prejudice, fear, and hate that is around you.

Sometimes a man needs to face himself in the mirror and apply a swipe of mascara, maybe a bit of eye shadow or eye liner, or both, then put on his heels and confidently (Oh how I've had to muster every ounce of courage to appear confident in the days since) walk out of the apartment.

In a country that has proven itself to be at least half (considering the voters in the recent election) full of racists, sexists, and phobes of some sort, it takes a lot for someone like me (a person who deviates from society’s idea of normal) to hold his head up and Just Be.

I am not alone in my fears. I am not alone in my devastation. I am not alone in my courage.  And I am thankfully no longer feeling alone in my sadness. I have friends who can help me be strong and who I hope I help be strong. Now more than ever I feel like we have to be there for each other. We have to support each other. We have to find support if we don’t have it. We have to help others who are hurting—friends and strangers alike. 

Yesterday, as I began to see images of vandalism; to read tweets and status updates of racism and homophobia—at a reprehensible low—I took a moment to breathe down the nausea. Then I took a moment to feel grateful that I live in progressive and generally accepting New York City and had not directly experienced that hate. Then I got angry.

Our President-elect incited this madding crowd during his entire campaign. He unearthed them; brought them into the light. His inability to hold his tongue and be diplomatic (EVER!) has given many of his supporters a sense of empowerment to now say and do whatever they want to anyone.

I want to do more than use my words. I’m stirred to act up; fight back. I want to get my hands dirty and help. I’ve donated to The Trevor Project and Planned Parenthood. That is not enough but it’s a start.

Our President-elect doesn’t have the backs of most of the people that he is set to starting leading in January 2017. It doesn’t seem as if he will surround himself with advisors that will have our backs either.

There are many of us that are angry. Many of us that are scared. Many of us that are grieving. Many of us trying to find a safe place to land.

There’s a new symbol that is being warn to show solidarity. It’s a simple safety pin. You’ve probably got several in the bottom of a drawer where you live. It’s in the name already—safety. It’s a symbol of support: an identifier marking an ally; a safe place for all of us humans who are targets of the Make America Great Again constituency to feel supported, respected, equal.

So as I enter the Third Morning After I’m reminded of a few lyrics from that good ol’ show tune, “A Little More Mascara” from La Cage Aux Folles: “When life is a real bitch again and my old sense of humor has up and gone…I put a little more mascara on.” To this I will add a fabulous pair of shoes and a safety pin.

I will be myself and be a safe place. I will support you and ask for your support in return. I ask that you help me stay strong and courageous and I in turn will help you.

Sometimes a shoe is more than a shoe. And sometimes a safety pin is more than a pin.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Even in Trump’s America, I Will Shine My Light

As I sit in my apartment, trying to drink a cup a coffee on the morning after, I can’t help but feel completely alone. I’m trying to assuage the dread and fear that is knotting my stomach. I’m trying to decide whether crying or not crying is best. I’m angry. I’m devastated. I’m scared. 

I have connected with friends this morning who share in my grief at what happened yesterday in America. I have reached out to a few family members without knowing what the response will be or even if I’ll get one. I have read through many tweets and articles that have already been tweeted and published this morning regarding the outcome of yesterday’s actions. Texts and tweets are a from of connection but in reality, I’m alone in my sadness.

I never knew how much racism, sexism, misogyny, and homophobia existed in my country: the land of the free; the home of the brave. (I’m no fool. I knew it existed just not to this extent.) With the hate-filled words that spewed from his mouth during his entire campaign, Mr. Trump shined the brightest light in the sky, illuminating his existence for all who might feel the same way as he and want to follow him down his dark path of making America great again. (America is already pretty great. Where do we go now?) 

Parallels between Harry Potter’s big bad, Voldemort, and Mr. Trump have already been made Mr. Trump's his Dark Mark shining in the sky brought forth a glut of supporters. His divisive words allowed those who longed for the “good ol’ days” to stand tall, proud, fearlessly in that light and affirm their beliefs because he was saying out loud how they felt. 

As a gay man I have seen so much positive change in our country during President Obama’s two terms. Change that I fear our new president wants to wipe away as quickly as he can. I don’t want to go down the road of #NotMyPresident. But I don’t know how to respect a man who does not respect me and will not have my back.

I’m afraid for my LGBTQ friends (adults and youth alike), my muslim friends, my black friends, my latino friends. Our new conservative leader does not seem to have the best interest of any of us at heart. His own words have proven that during his campaign. On the whiter side, he does have the backing of the KKK. Wait. Stop. Think about that for a second. I saw a tweet this morning by Mikey Walsh that said: 

"Our First Black President will have to greet, and give up the White House & the presidency to a Man endorsed by the KKK. 2016."

Is this America? 

So, what am I to do? What are any of us whom our leaders view as second-class citizens supposed to do? Noah Michelson wrote a fantastic piece at 3am this morning called Dear Queer America: Here Is What We Must Do Now That Trump Will Be President. He tells me to never stop fighting. He tells me to continue to live my life and be me. He tells me to come out again and again. He tells me to be vigilant, to be brave, and to speak. 

The first thing I did was cry. (That answers the question posed in the first paragraph.) Then I tweeted Noah my appreciation and came out again to him. I plan to continue to live my life and show up and be seen. I will continue to love men. I will continue to paint my fingernails and wear high heels with my boy clothes. I will continue to wear eye make up whenever I want to. I will continue to write and explore and be me. I will continue to push back against those who wish I would just go back inside the closet.

I’m terrified of what this upcoming regime change may bring upon this country I call home. But as terrified as I am I don’t want to cower in fear of the Dark Mark hovering above us. The homophobic, racist, sexist, misogynistic citizenry cannot be allowed to make us feel less than. I am an American: a man, a homosexual, an equal.

The sky is gray in New York City today. At first I thought is was the perfect metaphor for the ominous future that is hanging over our country. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe those dark clouds need an even brighter light to illuminate the sky and dissipate the darkness. Maybe a disco playlist will lighten the mood.

I’m still here. I’m still queer. I’m still me. And you’re still you. We have to pull together and not allow this victory to defeat us. We’re Americans, damn it. We’re made of stronger stuff. And to quote the Tony Award winning Best Musical Avenue Q, “Donald Trump is only for now.”

We’ll get through this. We have to. It’s either survive or die and death is not an option. Stay strong. Show up. Be seen. Be yourself. Shine your light.