Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holiday Expectations

Greetings everyone. As we head out to our various dinner locations, let's take a moment to acknowledge our expectations.

1. As a youngster in these mean, mean streets, I remember getting scolded by various adults for being an "embarrassment" at Thanksgiving. Well, chances are, those adults had expectations of how I was supposed to act on Thanksgiving and those expectations were in place to establish impressions among others. Generally, if someone is capable of embarrassing someone else, the underlying belief is that the embarrassing person is a "reflection" of the embarrassed. To chastise and criticize an embarrassing person is, therefore, to chastise and criticize a reflection of self. So don't wait until the holiday party to care about your reflection. Model good behavior consistently throughout the year and your reflection will not be an embarrassment.

2. I used to play out in my head the way social circumstances would transpire. As a result, my social anxiety would increase drastically and by the time the social circumstance was underway, I was a reckless mess and the experience was exhausting and unpleasant. In hindsight, had I done the same things, but not prematurely created a non-existing social circumstance based on my expectations of what should happen, things would have gone smoother. So I live in the moment. Nothing goes as planned. Things go as they go. I keep my head in the game so I don't burn the food.

3. If your family or friend group is anything like mine, there are a lot of big personalities with different points of view. So what? I lock away all my weapons, pad anything with a sharp edge or tip, and let her rip. It is not my responsibility to protect anyone from anyone else...including themselves. And if I don't feel safe, there is a whole world full of trees, grass, streets, sidewalks, and city wilderness to walk around in for hours if I choose. I am not bound to any circumstance no matter what anybody else thinks.

4. People might die. It's no one's fault. When it's your time to go, it's just your time to go.

So now that we've acknowledges some expectations, we can take a moment to reset and enjoy the simple cranberry sauce. Oh, and here's a lovely Holiday Tune by Yours Truly to usher in the spirit of Thanksgiving. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Does My Happiness Make You Uncomfortable?

There are a lot of people in the world who have a lot of pain and shame associated with being gay. As a new convert into the happy life, I tried to adapt the know, wanting to fit in with others who identify with me now, as though I changed...but whatever...

But I couldn't. I even tried to care what other people would think if I told them, but I couldn't. I tried to be nervous when telling friends, but that didn't make sense. Most of my friends were happy and even the ones who weren't were artsy new agey people who accepted everybody. So every time I told a friend, they'd say "Congratulations! I wish you happiness!" As a result, my experience was not as dramatic or life altering as I'd hoped it would be. Again, too much made for TV cinema during my formative years.

There seems to be an expectation for happy people to "come out of the closet." I just don't feel that need. I guess it's because I never was in a closet. I dated men, I liked dating men. Now I'm with a woman. It was a life change. There was some leftover church chatter in my brain, but I was already pretty much broken from that as a result of my transition out of indoctrination and into what I really thought. So maybe there is a "coming out of the closet" of sorts: The closet of being molded by the world I was in into something that doesn't make sense to me and then slowly navigating my way out in order to have a life that doesn't raise my cholesterol, make my skin break out, and lead to hypertension...

Trying to make sense of the senseless is a full time job. Not to knock what makes sense to others or their experiences, but my life is not about them. It's about me. And the indoctrination that I experienced does not make sense to me. It didn't when I was in it and now that I'm out, I can look back and see why I thought I was a bad person: because I could not be what I was "supposed" to be, no matter how hard I tried or how many zits and doctor visits I had. Not to mention that even though my indoctrinators knew what perfection was, none of them could demonstrate it. That was frustrating.


Monday, November 25, 2013

My Mentors

Those who I admired never thought about what the dreaded "they" were thinking. Those who I admired had bigger issues...issues like what color they were going to paint their studio or who's ass they were gonna kick if anybody even thought about interrupting a phone call with their child. Some of these people had odd tattoos and piercings in very obvious places, carried amulets for protection against evil spirits, and even had signs on their office doors saying things like "Don't even bother unless you brought chocolate." Not to mention the music you could always hear blasting from their personal space...

These people were often quick to call out anyone who tried to marginalize them or anyone else on the basis of hair, wardrobe, shoes, or anything else that did not matter. They were usually oblivious to others superfluous opinions and if they encountered rogue gossip, their knee jerk response was, "I don't give a shit about that shit." They were comfortable in their skin, they liked what they liked, and they could use their energy to make changes in the world. Hair, nails, shoes, clothing, a car, or lack thereof didn't have a damn thing to do with a damn.

These people came from all walks of life. They worked all kinds of jobs and had all kinds of incomes. Regardless of what they wanted out of life, they never felt they had to appeal to anyone's ignorance in order to achieve their goals. They were comfortable with who they were, they enjoyed what they did, and chances are, they couldn't be easily replaced because they were simply the best and everyone knew it.

These days, I find myself being a lot like those who I admired. When offered the option to be otherwise, my knee jerk response is, "I don't give a shit about that shit," almost as though the phrase had been locked away inside me since birth. When faced with criticism, especially superficial criticism, I am utterly confused. There have been times when I had to ask a critic, "Are you speaking English because I have no idea what you're saying." (I'm laughing right now because a photographer at a club once told me something and I thought the guy was speaking Japanese. For all I knew, he was warning me of threats to come. I just couldn't make it out. Then, he slowed down and said some words that still didn't make sense to me when put together in that order. I simply can't process bullshit). Sure, I have my insecurities, but as it concerns other people's ideas of what I should do, I remain happily oblivious to what's considered "inappropriate" in various circles. Way I see it, if no animals were harmed in the making of this production, the fuck's the problem?


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life Lessons

I once dated a guy who came from the black upper class. Initially, I didn't like him, but he pursued me through food, which I couldn't resist because food is the shit. He was the kind of gentleman that I'd only heard old women talk about: holding doors, insisting that he buy my ice cream even when I offered otherwise... Months later, I discovered that everything he told me about himself was true: he was a superficial asshole who valued others' perceptions, and therefore needed a girlfriend who looked good on paper and in photographs to fulfill his upper class black image. 

I was naive. Not because I thought I could be the arm candy of a self-appointed black aristocrat and be happy. I was naive because I thought he was joking. I didn't believe that his type of person existed in the real world. I thought those people were the subjects of made up stories; D-list movies starring Whoopie Goldberg and Danny Glover. It was surreal to me that I would have actually found myself in the world of someone who truly viewed impression management as a way of least a way of public life...because behind closed doors, he was insecure and boring.

And then he became jealous. In my attempts to show him that he had nothing to worry about: I wore costumes on stage all the time... I took pictures all the time... my performance steeze was top notch...he became jealous of me! I demonstrated to him that it was nothing for me to put on a dress, talk intelligently in heels and garner the adoration of everyone at the Christmas party. That all the things other girls worked really hard to convince people they were... you know, smart and interesting...well, that was child's play to me. I even had a formula for working a room: compliment the men and flirt with the women. Everyone was disarmed and looking forward to seeing me again. Playing dress up was fun! However, in my clever performance, I overshot his expectations. Being charming was background noise, but I still was better at it than he was. So he did everything he could to deflate my colorful balloons. And I believed him because I thought he knew something I didn't know. I was in search for the meaning of life and I thought he had answers. He was mean to me and I allowed it because I had no identity. My sense of self-worth was wrapped up in the mean things he said about me.

I came to my senses 5 months in when he broke a date with me for the 3rd time. It was as good a time as any to break loose from that mess, so I did. Turned out it was easier to break away from him than it was to break away from the damage to my sense of self.

And I learned things: never judge a person based on what I believe is possible. People are all kinds. When they tell me who they are, I believe them. I'd say that experiencing and accepting that lesson was one of the best decisions I made in life.

The other lesson, which was slower in coming, was that nobody knows anything that I don't know, especially not about me. In this life, I'd rather have irrationally high confidence than low self-esteem and it's all up to me which I choose.


What the fuck is "they"?

Inspired by recently hearing someone talk:

When interacting with other young women who look like me, especially concerning the "Natural" shenanigans, I often get the impression that "it's a choice", "you can still look professional" and "it's ok if you're subtle at first, and slowly let your "natural" come out as "they" get to know you" are considered "evolved" perspectives.

This type of thinking is the reason I haven't liked people. I am a human being. I have just as much a right as anyone else to show up in life exactly the way I happened. I do not have to slowly introduce myself to anyone. I do not have to gradually unleash myself.

I came from a world where people aimed to learn what it took to be upper middle class. Once they got the technique down, they did everything and followed all the rules. Then, they worked up the ladder in the hopes of one day being the most respected version of their group that could exist in the white male hierarchy of American humans. At best, they were the only one of them in the board room, perpetually disregarded and disrespected by their white male colleagues, but celebrated when they went back home to [insert minority group here]-landia. This was introduced to me as the best life I could possibly have by those who saw me as having "potential."

Only I never understood why I should strive for such a thing. So when opportunities arose that would allow me to position myself in such a way as to guarantee that future of disenchantment and overall ineffectiveness, I scoffed. I scoffed because I was too young and naive to understand that scoffing resulted in contempt from those who cherished the life of a marginalized token.

Freedom from oppression is a choice. Part of being free from oppression is letting go of the need to care whether or not who I am is "appropriate" in any "setting." If I am happy with who I am and what I look like, I'm not breaking any written laws that could result in the loss of my constitutional freedoms or unalienable rights, and I'm not harming children or animals, then I am appropriate. Anybody who doesn't think so simply isn't buying what I'm selling. As a result, they don't matter. I challenge anyone to convince me they exist.


It's up to us to stand up and be proud. Our children are watching us and they need our support.

Monday, November 11, 2013

-The Management

I can no longer manage.
I feel flipped and squeezed. Nothing I intended occurred, yet what transpired outweighed my provisions. I sit in my bed feeling a cryptic sadness. Mourning the loss of the isolationist dream I craved. The dream that fueled my endeavors; the cure to my misanthropic pipe fantasy. I have lost control of everything I thought I knew. The world I created does not fit into the world that is emerging.

My deceptive ego lead me to believe that humanity would be better off without me; that I was a burden to most, at best. I refused to believe that there was anything good about me or that I could do anything other than harm to another. I was toxic and preferably avoided. I removed myself from the realm of human interaction, sending out nondescript messages into the ether to channel the vitriol without directly indicting a single soul. Rageahol for a rageaholic. A buffer for my absolute hatred of life. I transformed that hatred to disdain. Disdain just seemed easier.
And the shame of feeling this way. And the guilt of feeding these thoughts. And the hypocrisy of it all...because nobody wanted to hear this when asking me how I was.

So to appease their curiosity and subsequently afford my escape, I lied. I presented the disdain as reckless acceptance, rejection as inclusion, ostracism as community, sadness as satire, abuse as healing, helplessness as generosity, hopelessness as whimsy...because this is honorable and I mastered the technique. The irony is not lost on me: that which I designed to protect me from others has only drawn me closer to them. What a mockery of my efforts.

So, I can no longer manage.
I feel flipped and squeezed. Nothing I intended occurred, yet what transpired outweighed my provisions. I sit in my bed feeling a cryptic sadness. Mourning the loss of the isolationist dream I craved. The dream that fueled my endeavors; the cure to my misanthropic pipe fantasy. I have lost control of everything I thought I knew. The world I created does not fit into the world that is emerging.