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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Time won't give me time...

I've been thinking a lot about time lately. Time. It's our most precious commodity. It's one of, if not the greatest gift we have to give, and the greatest gift we can get. We always wish we had more of it. We crave time. I'm starting to think if I could hoard anything, it would be time. Time has become my drug. I get all crazy when I don't have it, lash out if I feel it's been wasted, cry when I wish I had more. I'd like to shoot up some time, inject it right into my veins, into my loved ones veins, then we could sit around in a huge, comfy, multi-room house getting high on time with each other. Time. I want more of it.

Time is the best thing anyone could ever give me. I think it's all I really want from anyone. I just want time with you. A cup of coffee. A beer. A walk down the street. I just want time. A laugh or two. A quick hug. An hour if you've got it. Just time. An afternoon at the zoo. A concert. A honk and a wave. Please, sir, can you spare me some time? A shared meal. A sleepover. A lifetime of friendship. Time is all I could ever need, or hope for.

I hope I can stop thinking of time as "wasted". It's not "wasted" if I listen to a new song, or make up a joke, or think about someone I love. It's only "wasted" if I sit in anger with it. I can't begin to express how grateful I am for the time that has been given to me, the time that has been spent with me. I hope that I've given time as greatly as I've gotten it.


Now that you've read this, you've just given me your time, which is all I could ever need, or hope for, from you. And I don't know how to thank you for that.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This has got to stop...

So last month I saw a movie called "Bullied". It was about a boy who was tormented, tortured, and bullied throughout his junior high and high school career. He was called names like "faggot" and "queer", he was beaten, teased, tortured, all because of the assumption that he was gay. He went to his administrators and was told on both the junior high and high school level that maybe if he didn't act so gay he wouldn't get picked on. He was also told that "boys will be boys".

After the movie, there was a discussion in which I found out that a boy at Julian Jr. High recently was pushed down a flight of stairs by someone who had been bullying him, also under the assumption that he was gay. He was hospitalized for a week. I'm not sure how he is now, his parents were at the screening of the movie, and at the time said he was doing okay, so I hope that still is the case. But this boy, teased and called "faggot" and "queer" and pushed down a flight of stairs because people think he's gay, does not even identify as homosexual. In fact, most people bullied for supposedly being "faggots" or "queers" in junior high and high school don't identify as homosexual later in life. They simply are smaller than the other boys, or they like doing theater, or they might not like wearing dresses like the other girls, or they like playing sports, so the assumption is that they are gay. And the answer to that is to bully them, beat them up, spit on them, call them names, and push them down flights of stairs. What are we teaching our children? Cuz from here, it doesn't look like we're teaching them enough.

These words can be poison, and they are infecting the lives of innocent kids every.single.day. Bullying doesn't "build character", it kills potential, and it kills people. The next time you're at a sporting event, and you feel the urge to call a player, or a ref, or a fan of the opposite team a "faggot", think about your son being called that as he's cornered by a group of kids knocking his books on the floor and kicking him as he goes to get them. The next time you want to call something "gay" because you feel it's stupid, or it didn't work out in your favor, think about your child seeing that written on their locker and all the kids pointing and laughing at them. The next time you feel yourself wanting to kid around with you pals, and call each other "queers", "homos" and "fags", think about your kid being called those same things, but being surrounded by kids who aren't saying it "all in good fun". The next time you want to ask the girl who is wearing a sweater vest in the bathroom of the Cubby Bear if she's a "fucking dyke or something", think about your daughter being asked that while spit on as she walks through the lunchroom.

I'm not innocent in any of this. I've used these words "all in good fun", and even in anger. But it starts with us, it has to, and we have to change this. We have to be aware of what we're saying and how we're acting in front of our kids. Bullying isn't natural, kids learn it from what they see in their adults. If they see you bullying, they will bully. If they see you standing up to bullying, they will stand up. "Monkey see monkey do" is the most true statement of all time.

I hope someday these words can be empowering. I hope one day to take these words back. I hope to be called "gay" because it's related to awesome things, not stupid things. I hope that someday, every one of my queer brothers and sisters will be as proud of being called a "queer" as I am. I hope that your kids don't ever get called these names in any way other than positive. I hope that if they see someone saying these words with venom that they stand up and say "no". I hope that if you see someone saying these words with venom, you will stand up and say "no". We have to be better monkeys to our kids.

I urge you to find out if the schools around you have a bullying policy, and if not, that you force them to come up with one. Tell the kids in your life that there is NOTHING wrong with being gay, that it is just as natural as anything else, if you need help getting the point across, or want to do some dancing while you tell them, put on "Born This Way". And if you believe that there is something wrong with being gay, then get the f*ck off my blog and out of my life.



**I know there are kids who are bullied for other reasons, being gay is just something I happen to know about and therefore something I feel confident speaking about.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Arty, arty, we like to party...

So I've never really been huge into art. I don't know what to make of some of the things I see, I don't understand what some artists are trying to say with their pieces, I sometimes feel like anything can be art, so therefore I wonder if anything is actually art...or maybe everything is...including me...since I was created...by something other than me. Anyabstract, art is not something I ever really considered. I know when I like a painting, and know when I want that painting on my wall, and that's about as far as art and I have gotten...not even to first base.

For the past 3 years now, my friend Jessica and I have been talking about going to the Art Institute. Yeah, I know that's a long time to discuss something as easy to get to as the Art Institute, but life and boozy good times kept getting in the way of the learning. After 3 years of all talk, no action(gee, that sounds like some high school relationships...HEY OH!!!), today is the day that we finally made that learny-shit happen.

Jess led me through the 'stute, I basically told her I was her bitch and she could just lead me around like a dog. I was surprised at how literally she took this, showing up with a dog collar and a leash, but J is literal like that. She took me from favorite thing to favorite wing, starting with Contemporary, ending with Impressionists. She wanted me to see the things she liked, show me some stuff she thought I would like, and just give me a great taste of the art world. We were getting ready to leave when she remembered there was one more painting she wanted to show me. She couldn't remember exactly where it was, so we were going to skip it when we saw an information desk. PS...the lady at the 2nd floor Information Desk right outside of the area where that park painting made soley of dots is had me wishing that she had been my teacher throughout my life because she taught me the ins and outs of the museum in under 2 minutes. Seriously, I don't think I've learned more so quickly in all my life. So thank you, stranger lady with the mad teaching skillz...thank you.

This right here, this is the painting that Jessica wanted to show me. This painting, upon first glance, gave me the willies. It's big, and tall, and dark, and scary, and there's a woman's withered hand just visible near the side, and it's from your point of view as you look at it, so that's you looking at the door, at the eerie, tall, dark door. While I was creeped out by this, I was also somehow drawn to it...mesmerized...creepmerized, I suppose. As I stared at it, Jessica told me the name of the painting: That Which I Did Not Do I Should Have Done(The Door) by Ivan Albright.

We walked out of the museum through the ancient Buddhist statues, we talked about the painting some more, and she said something like "Yeah bro, it's like, I never want to be an old lady, with that hand, holding that handkerchief thinking about the things I should have done, but didn't. I mean, he could called that painting 'I tried my best', but coming at it from the negative, it's a much different thing"...dag, she's right.

That painting, that's what regret looks like. That's what not sending your resume to the job you've always wanted but been too scared to try looks like. That's what saying "no" to skydiving looks like. That's what deciding not to go to college because you're too old looks like. That's what not enjoying a meal in a restaurant by yourself looks like. That's what not finding something to look forward to every day looks like. That's what deciding not to take the vacation looks like. That's what missing a legendary concert because you don't like crowds looks like. That's what being moved by someone but being embarrassed to tell them looks like. That's what walking by the celebrity without saying "hi" looks like. That's what not giving someone that last hug looks like. That's what living in a constant state of negativity looks like. That's what being scared of holding babies looks like. That's what being scared of rejection looks like. That's what not laughing loudly and raucously looks like. That's what not getting the tattoo because your grandma will hate it looks like. That's what putting off the Second City writing classes looks like. That's what not telling your parents you love them looks like. That's what not telling anyone you love them looks like.

That painting, that is what regret looks like. A stunning, and deeply moving painting of what regret looks like. I highly recommend you check it out next time you're there. And I highly recommend you don't become what that painting looks like. I know I'm going to try my best...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buck-wild...

I've never really understood the whole "gonna go to Starbucks, hang out and do...stuff" thing. Mostly because the "stuff" is generally school stuff, studying stuff, alone with your thoughts stuff, writing a novel stuff...the kind of stuff that one might easily be distracted from anytime the blender went off, or the barista shouted out someones order. PS, is that what coffee people like to be called? Baristas? I'm not sure that I've ever used that word until now. Probably because I'm currently sitting in a Starbucks and otherwise wouldn't have occasion to use that word. And do people actually say that? "Pardon me, barista, can you leave room for cream?" That word just smacks of a snotty attitude. *Author's note: my apologies to anyone who uses that word on the regular. Love you guys!* Anylatte, to me, Starbucks as a place to do "stuff" never made sense to me. Until now.

I'm sitting in a Starbucks right now, doing "stuff", that "stuff" being writing this boog and it just....it feels right. There's my pal Jess sitting across from me, people to watch, conversations to listen to, music that's boppin my head, delicious things for my nose to smell(unless a hobo comes in here and sits by me, then all bets are off. But who am I kidding, hobos can't afford Starbucks. Not even a River Forest hobo!) There's a lot of potential material here!

As I look around at my fellow Bucksers, I kind of want to make up scenarios about what their story is. Like the couple right outside the window, who happen to be facing me and who keep catching me staring at them. *Second author's note: In defense of my staring, I need y'all to know I am an out-the-window starer, I'm doglike in that respect. It's not my fault they positioned themselves directly in my line of vision!* But I wonder what their deal is, random shopping trip to the Men's Wearhouse, got thirsty for a Pike's Place Roast? Romantic stroll down Harlem, hey let's pop into Starbucks? Last stop on a first date? Oh shit, they just caught me staring at them kiss. And now they're leaving. I think it's safe to say they're now wondering what my perverted deal is. *Third author's note: I'm not really a pervert, I just play one in the movies.*

Okay, and the young man talking at his laptop...my guess is he's a college student from someplace international, someplace exotic, and he's Skyping with his family, telling them all about the thesis he's writing about something college-y and hard to pronounce. Or he loves "Just My Imagination" and is simply rockin out.

Hmmm...I'm really curious about the new group that just moved in consisting of 2 older couples and a younger gentleman, who have just said a prayer before snacking on bagels and coffee. And now they're talking about camping. The younger guy has pushed his chair away from the table a little, and is not participating in the camping discussion. What is happening? Oh my god, what if he was kidnapped by these people while they were all camping! Don't drink that coffee, fella! I think that you've been kidnapped and they are drugging your coffee! They're going to make you the pool boy in their weird religious summer camp for the elderly!!! Okay, now I'm letting my imagination run wild...

How about the man reading the newspaper with no coffee or any other sort of Starbucks product anywhere near him. I wonder if his power is out because he couldn't afford to pay the bill this month, you know, money has been tight ever since his son Jonesy got out of the slammer, and that no-goodnik hasn't gotten a job on account of his useless hand, thanks to a shiv-fight he got in that jacked up the tendon in his thumb. So this poor shlub has been workin two jobs to support him and his boy Jonesy, only he got laid of from the Port-a-Potty job for showing up drunk last week, but how else was he supposed to get through those long days of cleaning the filthiest of other people's filth? So when he lost the Port-a-Potty job, he had to make some decisions, some hard decisions, lights or booze...booze wins every time. And once the lights were shut off, he was feeling out of the loop, so he headed to a place where he knew there would be lights and an opportunity to catch up current events, so here he is.

Wow, I really got into that last one...I need a minute.

Point is, I get it, I get the whole going to Starbucks to do "stuff" thing. I mean, shit, if I hadn't come, I wouldn't be bopping along to Jackie Wilson, writing about nonsense, and I think I speak for all 2 of you who read this when I say thank you, Starbucks, thank you.

You want a scene? I'll show you a scene...

I want to throw a tantrum, a balls-to-the-wall, throat shredding, fling-myself-onto-the-floor, scream-till-my-eyes-feel-like-they're-going-to-pop-out tantrum. I want to do this, and I only want to have to sheepishly say "I'm sorry" after I'm through, then fall asleep on my couch, because obviously I'll be plum-tuckered out from my tantrum. I don't want to have to worry about my wife wanting to talk about it, I don't want to worry about my friends defriending me or taking a break from me, I don't want to worry about explaining myself, or being made to feel crazy, or foolish...I just want to throw this tantrum, flip my shit, say sorry, and have that be it.

When you're a kid, you throw the tantrum because you don't understand something, or things haven't gone your way, and you don't get why. Can't that still happen to us as adults? I know for me, sometimes I simply don't know what's wrong. Sometimes what's wrong are feelings I don't understand, or a fear I have about things that can't be changed, or just a general irritation with my inability to not want to throw a tantrum.

Nowadays, us adults, we're expected to talk about it, try and figure out the root of our anger, bring up things from the past to get to bottom of the present. As much as I love that idea in theory, it doesn't always work. Tell me what the eff good talking about some of this stuff will do? Maybe I don't want to just suck it up and be an adult about it, I want to be a child about it. I think we're doing ourselves a disservice if we don't allow ourselves to occasionally experience the pure joy of anger. We allow ourselves to feel the pureness of every other emotion, so why not anger? Tantrums are the most natural and pure reaction to things that upset us, things that we don't understand, and so long as we're not throwing them at a rapid pace, I think tantrums should be considered gifts from God.

I know, I know, they're childish and immature, but you know what? I like being childish and immature. I love to swing, and play with Legos, and tease, and get tucked in, and have a Slurpee, and eat french toast cut into tiny pieces the way my mom used to cut it for me...I like things that remind me of being childish...tantrums included.

If I had an extra closet, I think I would pad it with gym mats and put a bunch of pillows in there, and stuff to kick. Then, whenever I felt like this, I would go into my tantrum closet and just lose my mind. And I know there are plenty of you out there who would be getting in line right behind me...

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's about gayin time...

So La Ga's new single, "Born This Way" dropped today. As many of you know, I am a HUGE La Ga fan, I'm totally a Little Monster, though I do need to work on putting up my claws and showing my teeth. I look a little silly doing it, probably because I'm not doing it with the reckless abandon that a Little Monster should. Regardless, I worship at the altar of La Ga, her concerts are my church, her message my religion, she is my higher power...I love everything about her.

I've been eagerly awaiting the new single, I've been reading all the articles about it, read the lyrics, read comment boards, read everything I could get my grubby monster claws on in anticipation of today. As I was driving this morning, my nipples pinged as the DJ announced it, and I heard it, I finally heard it...top to bottom heard it. My friends, I was not disappointed. As I listened to the music and the lyrics and bopped my head along, I heard this song, and I felt...validated. I felt so effing validated. At 34 years old and openly gay for 13 of those years, no, I do not NEED a song by the world's biggest pop star to validate me. But at 34 years old, knowing this song was about me and for me and full of love for me, shit, it felt good. And I felt validated. At 34 years old knowing that some of my younger cousins, or children of my friends would have this song as their anthem, have this song validate them, be about them, for them and full of love for them...shit, it felt good. This is the anthem.

Yes, there have been songs before "Born This Way" that have had a similar message, one that embraces everyone and all, recently there was "Firework" by Katy Perry, and "F***in Perfect" by P!nk. Not as recently "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilara, and the song that "Born This Way" is being compared to, "Express Yourself", by Madonna. But they aren't "Born This Way".

Never has the message "we, all of us, are BORN THIS WAY" been more clear. It's for ALL of us, even though described as a "love letter to the gays", it's for ALL of us. Every single person on this planet was born this way, each of us came into the world the way we are. Sure, we can be shaped and molded as we go along, but we are born who we are. And yes, we are all a "Firework", we are all "F***in Perfect", most of us are "Beautiful" and you should absolutely "Express Yourself". But until today, no one but La Ga has ever made it a priority to nail the most important point on the head, that we were all, every one of us, "Born This Way". That is the message, that is the anthem.



For all of you who want to hate, and say it's just a new "Express Yourself", go ahead and hate. You'll hate no matter what I say to you because likely, you were born that way...and isn't that the message? Isn't that the anthem?