one step forward, two steps back

I’m looking at my phone, waiting for a reply. I was vulnerable, tried to meet up with the a guy I know we have a connection with.

Can we meet after 4? I called at 4. Benefit of doubt, there might be a good reason for not picking up.

I numb my brain, distract, some anime that I’m really not interested in. It’s convoluted, I don’t know what’s going on. Alone in my apartment, I always am. I don’t remember the last time someone else was here with me.

What the fuck? 6 o’clock. I hear japanese but I’m looking at my phone. A weight on my chest and neck, breath shallow. I don’t understand. What the hell are they talking about?

text message – really? A text message? I fucking called you over 2 hours ago, and you send a text message? I’m tired … blah blah … tomorrow?

coward! child! you’re not worth my time!

But I want this, his beard against my cheek, to sleep next to him, his snores disturbing my sleep.

You’re not good enough, what’s why he didn’t call you back. You’re only worth a text message. He doesn’t want to talk to you. Look at you, you’re scared.

Ranting uncovers my insecurities

Ranting can be cathartic. I think people who journal or write know this well. I read somewhere that stream of consciousness writing has been proven through studies as an effective tool for people experiencing a mood disorder. But it’s hard for people supporting someone with <insert disorder> to cope through a rant. In my life, they just don’t know what to do.

A close friend got an eyeful tonight. Circumstances triggered my insecurities. This friend has more than enough to try to cope with, and I feel selfish to send the email. But I did and now I’ve posted it here. I am going to write more for this blog: it is evident that I need to.

Hi.

I felt like I needed to share this article with you. But I don’t know if I’m sharing this for my own reasons, or for you. Typing this email, I’m reminded of when I spoke to my supervisor about self disclosure. She asked me to reflect on the intention of the self disclosure, is it for me, or for the other person. Does the desire to share come from a place to validate my own experience/feelings, or is this really about a positive impact for the other person?
I probably over think this kind of shit. I think we talked about this earlier today, but I have come to judge myself for being negative, or, for talking about my sadness or pain. I feel that to maintain relationships, I have to either self censor my emotions, or, put on a brave face. I have experienced people close to me drift away or look uncomfortable when I talk about what goes on in my head.
And I really do admire how you are changing right now. Your focus on gratefulness is a perspective I’ve not been able to maintain. And I don’t, for not even one second, want to disrupt your positive reframing of your perspective. This strategy seems right for you at this time. You’re a kinder person, you draw strength from spirituality and you see goodness in people, even if you sometimes don’t see it in yourself.

We Shall Overcome

"We Shall Overcome" button

“We Shall Overcome” button

I didn’t think that I would get quite as emotional as I did when I visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. My heritage is not African-American, I have only lived in Australia. My experiences are vastly different to those of the African-American people, and I do not claim any authority or judgement of their struggles, but the sheer tragedy cut me through. It echoed what I had learned of the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. It highlighted the current human rights issues we face, including refugees and people living under oppressive authorities.

The museum started with a bag search and a metal detector: this is the site where Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The days of domestic hate crimes are not long past and the majority of the crowd were African-American. What would it be like to be one of the staff (African-American) at the museum? To be reminded of their tragic history at work, only to step out into a world where #blacklivesmatter is a burning issue. But I saw a certain strength and positivity in the African-American staff.

Racial segregation still existed in the 1960s in the USA. That’s within the lifetime of my father. He would have been 24 years old when Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. The revelation that this is contemporary history shifted my world view. Considering that the generation that experienced segregation still lives, how much has our society and authorities really changed in such a short amount of time? What is the effect of the intergenerational trauma? My father told me, when he was younger and travelled in rural Australia, the pubs were displayed signs that they don’t serve Aboriginal people. When his father, my grandfather, was young, Chinese-Australians were not allowed to sit in the seats in the cinema; they were forced to sit on the ground. The new Chinese migrants, in Australia and San Fransisco, were treated as 2nd class humans and institutional racism was perpetuated by government policies like the White Australia Policy and the Chinese Exclusion Act 1882 (USA).

As I walked through the museum, the mood changed to one of defiance and perseverance. The speeches of Dr King rang through the room, footage of sit-ins ran on the walls and “We Shall Overcome” repeated in the next room (lyrics scrolled on the screen and visitors were encouraged to sing along). Stories of how the African-American community protested with direct non-violent action were shown. I discovered stories of how non-African Americans came together to support the Civil Rights Movement. The deplorable story of Viola Liuzzo’s death. But I found a gem that touched my story:

Displayed at the National Civil Rights Museum at Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Displayed at the National Civil Rights Museum at Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

The Women’s and LGBTI movements also supported the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Though, all these “movements” still need to progress further to equality. The current environment is better for the LGBTI community. Young LGBTI people face less harassment than prior generations, and same-sex marriage becomes legal in more countries. Yet harsh laws for homosexuals still exist in the world, gay men get thrown off buildings by ISIL, and, the Australian government sends refugees escaping persecution to detention in countries that criminalise homosexuality.

Despite all the shit that still occurs, I am filled with a bittersweet hope. I see how far the Civil Rights Movement has come in the last 60 years. I see how far the LGBTI rights movement has come in the last 45 years, within my lifetime. The common threads in these stories come together like in a quilt, perpetuating compassion and empathy. There still is a long road ahead, but as share our stories in this connected world, I understand a little more of the experiences of a Syrian refugee child, Rosa Parks, Harvey Milk, or a descendant of member of the Stolen Generation. I am also a we.


This is not my usual subject matter. I’m not a political historian, just an ordinary person. Thanks for your patience, this post was an impromptu one, and I tried to be respectful to all groups whilst maintaining my own perspective and not self-censoring for the sake of political correctness. I hope that I did do that, it is not my intent to disrespect.

 

 

 

I Didn’t Know How To Answer “What do you do for fun?”

Small introductory talk is hard at the best of times, but today I didn’t know how to answer the innocuous question “What do you do for fun?”.  The inquirer was a person I had just met in my friend’s backyard. It wasn’t a date or an interview … just two strangers who happen to be in the same space. My inability to answer the question honestly dropped my mind like a rock and the following rapid negative (yet realistic) thinking ensued.

“What do I do for fun? I can’t remember the last time that I had fun. I do do stuff, but I find those things fulfilling, engaging, necessary, but not fun. Am I too serious? Do I not know how to enjoy life? Et cetera …”

I was already feeling awkward: the host is a new, yet very deep, friend and it was the first time I had met his friends, family and partner. I had come alone to the party. None of my other friends had met him yet. I spent a lot of time inspecting the garden and staring at the view of the valley, masking my social anxiety with appreciating the view.

Things that I enjoy doing … they are … For the past 3 years or so, since this period of major depression started, I have lost interest and enjoyment. Anhedonia is the clinical term for it, but I prefer “meh” or the french word “bof”. I used to love to cook, I even made a successful career of it, but I hardly cook at all now. I study a subject that I find engaging, sometimes fulfilling, but it’s not fun. I work to pay the bills. Fun is just not a priority when I’m trying to feel like my life is meaningful, so I can go on, when I don’t feel like I want to stay on this planet. By being so engaged, have I lost the ability to be care-free? I suppose that’s the essence of it, I feel like I need to care, otherwise I won’t care about anything at all, including myself. I need to see the aesthetic and scientific beauty in the clouds above me or the leaves of a plant.

I don’t know if I am ready for fun yet. My studies give me meaning and are fulfilling. I hope to be able to help other people in the future, but I don’t do it for fun. But to have no fun? To not feel giddy, cheerful or amused? This isn’t a sustainable way to live.

Loss in Change

Hurt

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

Written by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails)

and covered by Johnny Cash


Recently, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. Less recently, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. And I will continue to experience a lot of loss. The difference between drowning in grief (I keep trying to convince myself) and short-lived sadness, is that loss is a part of change and if I look hard enough, I can see the beauty in my loss and in change.

My 2 best friends from my school days now live across the globe, one of which only moved to London a couple of months ago. I realise that in the year prior to M’s physical departure from my current life, I could have been a better friend; I hardly saw or spoke to M in that year. I mourn the lost time with M in that year now that M is in London. I mourn the time that I currently don’t have with M. But I know that M is where they need to be and appreciate that M has far more courage to face change and to step outside of their comfort zone than I do. Mourning seems to me to be a selfish emotion, which is not necessarily a negative. There will always be loss in life and now I know the importance of cherishing my connections and the importance that I nurture these people: my family.

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The Racing Mind that Aches

see-flick-ing flickers headlights

too fuck loud dakka rain voices drunk cars too many cars

eyes down voices can’t see

pain good fury scratching nails neck wrist scalp

twitch cigarette hitch throat

run frozen RUN stuck hide shame


I’m over-reacting and dramatising, I’m sure of it, but I think that I may have (am) experienced a mild episode of paranoid psychosis. I’m safe at home now, but the first part of this post describes how I felt less than an hour ago. I had just walked out of the cinemas after watching Mad Max: Fury Road. There are scenes in the movie where Max has short intense psychosis. Those images really impacted me – intense flashes of disturbing images. Then I was extremely over stimulated with all the action and flames and cars and guns and and and and. I probably shouldn’t have driven home in the dark rain with headlights constantly coming at me, but I couldn’t stay on the street. I had to come home to safety. I’m still anxious as I write this, I just had to try to focus my brain to make words and sentences. I need a cigarette …

I’m pacing a lot when I stand. I tried sitting down as I had my cigarette. My toes twitched till I got a cramp in my foot. The rain heightened my anxiety instead of calming me. I keep feeling itchy on my scalp, neck and arms. My toes are twitching again.

I don’t know what is going on in my brain lately. I’m functioning okay in the day, but the nights are messed up. Anxiety just sets in, or I just get this slow headache that lasts all night. A fleeting thought: is this withdrawal? I’ve not had an episode like this before. Today was the last minimum dose of my now old antidepressants. Tomorrow I won’t take any meds and the next day I start a low dose of the new ones. I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting a really low mood with withdrawal and lethargy, but not anxiety that has no impetus.

Bed. I can’t sleep now, but if I’m in bed maybe my body will think that it is time to sleep.  I can ride this out. It will be better in the morning.

Oh, and this is how I describe those slow headaches. I wrote this earlier before I had my little episode.


Cotton ball storm meanders around the brain.

Dull and obscuring, it pushes on the backs of eyeballs, furrowing brows.

Scalp tender, bruised from the inside.

Taking Away The Safety Net of My Meds

I just realised that I’m scared. I thought that that it was just normal anxiety, but the root of it is fear; the fear of taking away my safety net.

Today I started to gradually lower my dosage of the antidepressant medication that I have been taking for the past 2 years. It is the only medication that has worked; I have only taken 2 types. This transition will take 3 weeks: 1 week to gradually wean off the current meds to no meds, and 2 weeks to gradually get to my estimated new dosage of the new meds.

I have been feeling really anxious for the past month. I have been very busy with work, commitments to a men’s workshop that is now over, and also lots of assessments due for the end of term for the course that I’m studying. I had a lot on my plate (I study full time), and my psychiatrist and I have been planning this change since 2 months ago. But I submitted my last assessment this morning and I’m still feeling really anxious. My jaw is constantly clenched, the point in the middle of my brow tense. I think my tongue has been clenched too; it is now. My body feels weak and my appetite has disappeared over the last couple weeks. I hardly eat and sleep is scattered and poor.

Cognitively I am okay with changing my meds. I made the decision because I was frustrated with the side effects of the current meds that I’m on. The new meds belong to a different family of antidepressants, so I expect the side effects to be different. I don’t know if it will be better, but I don’t know until I try. Side effects affect each person differently. But I couldn’t keep going on the same meds wanting a different result. I think that I was even optimistic and hopeful about the new meds. But now I’m just scared.

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Dawson’s Creek and Gay Male Representation in Media

I loved the US TV show Dawson’s Creek. It really was overly dramatic teenage tripe (read: that made me love the show even more), but 15 years ago, in the Season 3 finale, it showed primetime television’s first passionate kiss between 2 men. Even though it was a secondary plot arc in the series, this event had a huge impact on me, and solidified Dawson’s Creek as a seminal series of my adolescence. (Is there a pun there? Totally unintended.)

Between the ages of 15-18, the television series accompanied me through some emotionally turbulent, and even traumatic times. I had realised that I was attracted to men; I attended an all boys high school; I was closeted, having only come out to 3 people (1 of which was traumatic); I was marginalised for the perception of being gay. I don’t know if it was bullying, but it was continuous. Throw in the adolescent mood swings, hormones, and budding attraction to some classmates, and I got lonely teenage years.

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Afraid to Open Up to Those Close to Me

This post will be a free-flow way for me to disseminate my thoughts, as I have little idea what the end conclusion will be.

Since writing my last post There Is More To My Story, I have been thinking about my relationships with the people close to me, specifically, what I choose to reveal to them. I was also chatting with another blogger, Fictionatrix, in response to her post Late Night Thoughts – Who Am I? Some of her words struck a chord with what was going through my mind.

As mentioned in my last post, I just got a new set of tattoos. They are on my wrists, so they are quite visible, and I not one with a lot of tattoos. I’ve got a large one on my back, that’s it, but people don’t tend to see it. Hardly anyone in my support network have tattoos, and I know that they will ask me what my tattoo means. The tattoos aren’t “pretty” or superficial, and those close to me will know that there is some significance to me. I tend not to do things lightly. I don’t want to lie or give a half-truth in reply. I care and respect them and it would make me feel incongruent. I am feeling fear and shame right now.

There is a certain freedom with writing a personal blog. I can write what ever I want, be raw, be imperfect, and without the risk of worried and concerned looks from the ones that I love. Only very close friends know of my blog, sometimes even read it. My family knows that I blog (if they even know what that is) but they don’t know the site address. But even with my friends that read my blog, I only sometimes tell them the full depth of my thoughts. Continue reading

There Is More To My Story

Arm muscles tense, anticipating.

I look to the ceiling, focusing on the hanging light.

A brief distraction; the needle drags across my skin.

Fuck. My courage falters.

I couldn’t do this to myself.

ying yang semicolons

I got a tattoo today. Physically it is two separate tattoos on separate parts of the body, but I say that it is one; connected. It’s a strange feeling, being ambivalent about something that is permanent. It is still fresh, colour jarringly bright, not yet aged and faded. I don’t yet love it: I don’t know if I ever will. It’s not really aesthetically nice. A lesson on acceptance of permanent imperfection?

One on the inside of each wrist, a marker to remind me that when life is totally fucked up, there will be more. Just, more. Not a qualitative “more”, I don’t know if it will be better or worse. The important thing is that I don’t end my story.

On some  of the occasions that I have thought about harming myself or ideated on suicide, my mind has gravitated to my wrists. I would forlornly look at my wrists, images flashing through my mind. I would cover my wrist with my hand, close my eyes, willing myself to stop thinking. From now on, when I look at my wrists, if I be forlorn and desperate, I will be reminded that there is more to my story, more untold.

The semicolon, a marker at a seemingly end of a sentence, but indicates that there is more to come. Not only something more, but something that is connected to what has just been. I’ve liked punctuation for a long time. Punctuation herds words into ideas. It tells us when to breathe. My semicolons will remind me that there is more to my story; to breathe.

Tattooing, in a way, is a form of self-harm. A sharpness, running across the skin, drawing blood. Today’s act was a defiance to any future self-harm that I may do. And fuck, it hurt. I don’t think I could ever cut my skin with my own hand. If ever I wanted to self harm, my semicolons will remind me that there is more to my story, and the pain that I persevered.

 

Celebrating the Little Things, the Really Little Things …

Joel Robinson Photography

Joel Robinson Photography

This post has been itching to get out of me, but I would never be in the right mind to write it. The moment when this idea hatched has passed, now only, a light glowing through the fog.

Self-love can be a skill forgotten. The ever growing things that should be, filling the basket on my back, heavier, slower. Too often though, after I push and huff, make my basket lighter, I lament how heavy the basket still is.

I try to celebrate these victories. These sometimes very small victories. Yay! I folded the laundry! I emptied the dishwasher! And on my darker days, I will celebrate that I got out of bed. I don’t do a little jig, I don’t have the energy, but I look at my achievement through a microscope to see the strength I have. The more good things that I see through this lens, I can convince myself that I have a lot, enough to nurture.

The fog around obscures my vision, but virtue glows with a dim gold light. I seek out these small gold seeds in everything that I do. Collecting one in every meal that I don’t feel like eating. Every little damned thing I do. The basket on my back is still the same size, the things that should be still fill it. Golden seeds grow within me, my basket seems lighter than before.

What Is It To Be A Non-Practising *Insert Identity Here*?

Happy Mardi Gras!

I’m giving fair warning: this post may get a bit heavy and is NOT a post about being so-called “ex-gay”. Also, personally, I prefer the label/identity “same-sex attracted” rather than “gay”, but in this post I am using the term “gay” for ease.


If a rainbow zebra loses its stripes, is it still a zebra, or is it just a horse?

For me, this is not a rhetorical question, though it seems like it should be. And it is making me feel anxious and my mood low. The Mardi Gras Festival and Parade is on in Sydney right now. I usually (and think that I should) feel PRIDE in my own difference, PRIDE in being a part of the LGBTQI+ community. But I feel like I’ve lost my rainbow stripes, my gay cred, my membership expired from lack of use.

Maybe a false assumption, but a huge part of gay identity is a sexual identity: being or wanting to be in a gay relationship, having or wanting to have gay sex. My body doesn’t demand another’s sexual touch, doesn’t crave and search for opportunities for sex. Fear obscures my desire of being in an emotional gay relationship. And this situation is not new. It has been many moons since I have acted on a sexual impulse.

Walking through the Fair Day event, through sun, glitter, rainbows and skin, I did not feel a part of the community. I felt alone and apart. Projections I’m sure, but I saw the normal social practice of people wanting and creating intimate emotional relationships. I sensed in others the want to get laid. I remember a time that I did want gay stuff, so I’m not asexual, but that spark of desire has gone missing. The crucial aspect to my gayness, my gay identity, is gone.

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Is It Really Any Better?

“I am not my thoughts.”

When I first came across this statement, I was confused; I even thought that it was ridiculous. I’m not religious, nor do I believe that I have a soul, so for a long time I had the cartesian dualist perspective that “I think, therefore I am.” The only thing that I was certain of was my thoughts.

Since realising how much of an impact the body can have on one’s mind (the brain is a physical organ after all, a detail I used to forget), this dualist perspective broke and melded into one. Why else have I been popping these pills everyday for the past 2 years? I do feel better (mood) when I do exercise, eat and sleep properly. But lately, I have been wondering, am I really any better than I was 2 1/2 years ago?

Sure, I’ve stopped smoking dope, which was had a major negative impact on my mood, but subjectively, I don’t really feel that much better. It is still really hard to maintain good lifestyle habits, and today at close friends’ wedding, I felt like there was a curtain of sadness between me and the joy around me. People noted that I was irritable and not being a part of the festivities. This is not the first time that I have felt like this, as I described in this post.

Maybe the anti-depressant medication isn’t working anymore. I don’t know, I will have a discussion about this next time that I see my psych. I have been rating my mood each day, and the same ratings are maintained, not getting better yet still the same as before I started these meds. Though I think that it is hard to compare over time, cause each day is so subjective, and my memory of when I was at my lowest is hazy.

I’m just so tired of it all. The constant tension in my jaw and shoulders. The feeling that my heart is made of lead and is weighing me down. Ah fucking damn it …

Energy Crash Part 2

Continuing my last post Energy Crash.

YouTube has been my symbiotic the last 2 days. I figured out that my symptoms/behaviours have been physcomotor retardation. Everything is so exhausting and too much. I woke up at 4am, exhausted and really stressed. I could feel my glands pump out stress hormones into my body, like I was constantly in the fight/flight response. These were the feelings why yesterday I felt the need to sleep so much, I was escaping away from the stress into the forgetfulness of sleep.

Anhedonia: the loss of being able to experience pleasure in life. Fuck, I have been experiencing this for so long. Food & sex = meh …

This is not the first time that I have realised this. This is not the first time of experiencing these. My doctors have explained it to me as well, many times. But I have problems with memory during a depressive state. I ruminate on traumas, not remember useful information that could give me an objective perspective.

Ergh, my mind feels like a thick cloud. I can hardly string a few sentences together.

Energy Crash

There seems to be a small window that I can write. One one side I have am busy and motivated; keeping on top of things and really not looking after myself nor giving myself the space to just be. I don’t really write, or, if I do write, it is only half done with no real conviction (I have 5 unfinished draft posts waiting on the sidelines). On the other side, I just can’t be fucked to do anything, anything at all: not eat, tidy my apartment, not dry the washed clothes in the washing machine, not get out of bed, not WRITE. That is where I am right now.

For the past 6 days, I have been very very busy. Something has always been there to occupy my mind and I had the energy to actually do things. Today, my first day off at home after the 6 busy days, I have totally crashed. My mood was okay when I was busy, but on this day of “rest”, my energy and mood have crashed. My mind overrides my body. I know that my body wants to eat, but I just can’t be arsed and weirdly I don’t feel hungry. It is 5:30pm, and the only things that I have eaten all day are a handful of sultanas and some chocolate (which made me sick). I have something in my freezer that I can heat up in a microwave, but I just can’t be bothered getting off the couch. Even to go outside for a cigarette just seems like such an effort.

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Missing in the Future. A Small Dose of Generalised Anxiety.

The back of my throat, a tightening, in constant contraction, like I want to throw up. The back of the neck and head radiates heat. Arms, hands and feet tingle yet are still. I do nothing; fearing yet living in the future.


I am Missing In Action in my own head. Thoughts race around in a cyclone, ephemeral like smoke. I’m finding it harder to write this post, as thoughts are not structuring in my head, so I’m just going try to loosely stream my consciousness on to the screen.

I am not confident that I can handle this state of mind. Not that it is definitive, but my psych has not diagnosed me with generalised anxiety. Depression and anxiety mostly come hand in hand though, like the other sock in a pair. I’m not on any medication for anxiety, and most of the personal work that I have done if for depression. I am trying to use my mindfulness techniques for my racing mind, but it is like grasping at smoke, or trying to calmly watch whilst being in the centre of a whirlwind.  Continue reading

Part 2 Another Marriage, but Why Aren’t I Happy? or, Heterosexual Privilege in Marriage

2 days ago I wrote this post Another Marriage, but Why Aren’t I Happy?. It was written hurriedly between attending a wedding ceremony and the reception. I tried to capture my down mood and anxiety at that moment. Now, though, it is 2 days after and after travelling interstate, I am back at home. I haven’t read all the comments on the original post, nor have I reread it. I can’t even remember all that I wrote.


For the most part, I did enjoy the reception party. I walked into the room; a reasonable sense of control of my negative emotions. Over 200 guests, all dressed up, milling around or sitting, having pleasant conversation. I weaved through the small groups of people, found my table at the front, and poured myself a glass of wine. I was aware of my chirpy facade. People asked me what I did after the ceremony. I said that I tried to nap and did some creative writing – not quite a lie.

The night did become more enjoyable the more free wine that I drank. Speeches were emotional and almost brought me to tears. I watched the faces of the bride and groom, raw with joy, as their loved ones expressed their happiness of the union. In that moment, I shared that joy. But now, I wonder, if I was to marry, what would be said on that day? Would my parents say a speech? What would they say? I know that I am catastrophising in my head; my self-doubt influences my imagination. But there was such strong emotional and cultural significance reflected in the speeches, like the marriage marked the next stage of their life journey, almost akin to rite of passage that made them more “complete”. I feel like I am lacking. Maybe a lot of single people feel this. Maybe I feel this because of my mood disorder. But I feel that, because I am same-sex attracted and want to fall in love with another man, this feeling is different to my peers. I can not experience this rite, this cultural institution, and will not be complete.  Continue reading

Another Marriage, but Why Aren’t I Happy?

Sitting, white hotel sheets crushed.

A pillow to the side; not for resting, but for holding.

Wait. Alone. Wait for the party to begin.

This bed is too big.


I write this post in the interim period between attending a wedding ceremony and attending the reception.


Today I attended another wedding. I have known the groom my whole life. Before his bride arrived, he was smiling and joking at the church. And when the couple were first announced as husband and wife, they both beamed in such a genuine way, that my heart ached.

I am was overwhelmed with happiness for the two people in front of me. They have found their best friend, and declared that. Though, for me, weddings are always a conflicting experience. On one hand, I have positive emotions for the 2 people, but on the other hand, I feel sadness that I don’t have someone to call my partner in life, and I also feel inferior, because I can’t get married.

LGBTQI rights have come a long way in Australia, but same-sex marriage is still a dream. These feelings of inferiority come from the reminder that my expression of love and intimacy can not be publicly declared to be recognised by the state. My expression of love is not as worthy as theirs. I in no way begrudge others from getting married, but every time I go to a wedding I feel sad.

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Beautifully Broken

Youth Of A Nation:Bent not Broke

ab

Many people feel a profound sense of shame for the difficult circumstances and seasons they’ve been through that cause them to feel damaged and broken. They feel humiliated about being in a situation that made them fall apart and have a need to put themselves back together. They want to hide those parts of their story. They might be willing to remember the lessons they learned from the hard times, but tend to gloss over the broken season where they felt lonely or scared or suffered through grief or depression.

Those universal feelings are regarded as weak, and society tells us they should remain hidden. Yet those feelings are the cords that really connect us. When someone takes a risk and shares their story with you, that identification affects your heart, and you don’t feel so much shame about your own story. C. S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at the moment…

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Addiction Ambivalence

Trigger Warning: If addiction or self harm are a trigger for you, caution with this post. If you are feeling distressed, please see my “getting help now” page. This post is not all gloom; there is some hope. 


I sit here, staring at my still fingers on the keyboard. I remember the freedom and the energy of last night. I am aware of the lethargy of now. The ease of social conversation with strangers versus withdrawal and reclusion. My addictive thinkings are rocks swirling, bruising, pulling, whispering promises.


I’ve been sober from weed for 11 months now. But last night I had 2 lines of coke and now my mind is comparing how I felt when I was high to how I feel now in my state of depression. Sure, the 2 drugs are very different, but the numbness from the negative thinking was the same, and so, so tempting. It was a false and hallow feeling, yet I was free of self-doubt, if only for a short time. I need to remember the shit that I went through for 9 months to hold the temptation at bay.

Weed was a social drug for years; only done with friends and maybe once a week, or, once a fortnight. That changed though during a darker period of my current depressive episode. I was living alone and only working casually. I smoked nearly everyday, mostly by myself, to numb the painful thoughts I was drowning in. I rationalised that because I didn’t smoke the night before I had to work (so my performance wasn’t affected), that I was in control and it wasn’t an addiction. I was just making my life more enjoyable … but I was dragging myself deeper into the quicksand.  Continue reading

Mental Illness & Suicide Prevention Help

Feeling distressed? If you’re going through a difficult time, it is important (and OK) to ask for help. Australians experiencing personal/emotional crises, or at risk of suicide, can call LifeLine on 13 11 14 , to speak to someone confidentially, without judgement and free-of-charge. Men wishing to talk about their personal emotional problems may wish to call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78,  while younger Australians may find the resources at www.reachout.com helpful. LGBTQI people may find QLife helpful on 1800 184 527.

Almost every country has a similar suicide prevention number. Just Google “suicide help line” and your country.

Similar crisis helplines are available in other countries:

New Zealand: Lifeline 0800 4543 354

United Kingdom: The Samaritans 08457 909090

United States (and Canada): National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800 273 8255 

US LGBTQ Youth (the Trevor Project): 1866 488 7386

Republic of Ireland: The Samaritans 116 123

I wish the ocean was wood.

Sitting, and also creeping through the morning traffic. People on their way to work. On their way to earn the dollars they think they need to survive. Slightly late for a yoga class. Anxious, knowing that I have been told that it is good for me, that it will help my mental resilience. Body and mind are one. It is mindful. I am letting myself down for being late, if only a little.

Where is the available parking? Okay, keep going. It is just a little bit farther. How late will I be if I have to walk more?

I hit the curb. Okay, try again. I hit the curb, again. Tears well in my eyes and I can’t see properly.

I can’t do this.

“Sometimes I wish the ocean was wood. I feel like drowning.”


Such small stresses, but they built up, and I just cracked. For the past 2 weeks, I have been feeling like a fog has been numbing my emotions; I didn’t feel sad and hopeless like I used to, but I didn’t feel much at all really. But as I was failing to park my car when I was late for my class, that fog disappeared and I just started to cry. I couldn’t handle, well, anything. I went home and wrote this post. I started to cry again as I drove home.

I can see objectively that these stressors are relatively mundane. My resilience is so low though. I am just so tired of putting so much effort into normal mundane things. I feel as if, mundane stress is like a 5kg weight that everyone carries around, but I’ve lost all my muscle strength. Most people carry that weight just fine, or even with ease. But I have to use so much more effort just to carry that normal weight. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can even do that by myself. Building mental strength / resilience is such a slow process. Part of me, the saboteur, wants me to fail. Keeping him quiet, not letting the saboteur have power, takes a lot of what little energy I have.

Feeling distressed? Please, see my “getting help now” tab at the top of the page. 

I am my own worst enemy.

It has been a while since I have written anything, and for the past 2 days, I have felt this more acutely. This being the emotions that stopped me from writing. Procrastination is a symptom, but if I really look deep it is all related to my perception of my own worth. “I have nothing good to say. My writing is shit. No one will read it.” ad infinitum. Negative thought cycles have been a constant hurdle, not just in my writing.

I don’t struggle against it, but instead dig myself deeper into the quicksand. I’m under the surface, but my arms, my body, feels heavy with the sand. I can’t act, can’t reach out for help, or seemingly help myself. My time in moment repeat. I don’t know how long I’ve been telling myself to get up, make a coffee, have a cigarette, eat, get up, make a coffee, eat, have a cigarette. I don’t talk to single person all day. My mind and body have betrayed me. Yet I am my mind and body.

Continue reading

Misogyny and gay men … something smells fishy.

In the past 2 weeks, there has been some interesting, albeit sometimes alarming, “discussion” on various sites of the relationship that gay men have with misogyny. It all started with TV celeb Rose McGowan, famous for her role in late 90’s series Charmed and a podcast hosted by the usually controversial writer, Bret Easton Ellis. In response to McGowan’s comments, Patrick Strudwick wrote this op-ed in The Guardian and there was this article on pinknews.co.uk.

As an early 30s same-sex attracted man, I grew up watching Charmed. From ’98, when the show first came out (pun intended), were formative years when I craved some semblance of my story in the media. Even though Buffy holds a bigger place in my heart, Charmed was the story of three seemingly normal young sisters who discover they have special powers which make them different, and which they had to keep secret. We followed the sisters as their frayed relationship became one of solidarity as their powers grew. Basically, an allegory for the story of my/any queer kid just discovering their difference and feels threatened by coming out.

Continue reading

Perfectionism is controlling my life.

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I have been agonising over this first post for over a week now. Cycling through my mind “Will I get this post right? I need to get this perfect. No one will read this if it is not perfect. Don’t write anything, cause it won’t be perfect, and no one will read it.” This self talk constantly affects many, if not all, of my life. Fuck I’m tired … Eventually, though, I am biting the bullet, and putting fingers to keyboard. The blog is not fully designed, I don’t understand how to use WordPress and I’m not 100% clear on the direction of my writing, but here I am. I suppose that’s a little progress.

Passion, or even interest, for things has always been elusive. And over the years my interests have shifted. Cooking is still an interest, but I don’t get the same buzz that I used to get when I was a professional pastry chef. To nurture this old passion, I am dedicating a page on this blog to food. Don’t be surprised, though, if it is all sweets and baking – old pastry chef habits die-hard. I may finally get some use of all the food porn (aka cook books) that I have amassed.

The bulk of my writing will be my experiences and thoughts on identity, but specifically, masculinity in modern society/media, queer identity and race. For a long time, I have felt different from the status quo. Labels can be empowering, but in general I don’t like them. Labels do make some things easier though; my perspective is of an Australian of Chinese heritage, gay cis-man. Seeking belonging and community is part of human nature, and I will document my journey of finding my tribe and to celebrating my difference.

“I’m not right and I can’t get better.” This was the recurrent thought in my mind at the bleakest period of my depression 2 years ago. I am relatively better, right now, but my depression shades every aspect of my life. I think this is the main drive of writing this blog: to raise awareness of mental illness by sharing my personal experiences, reduce the social stigma and reach out to others challenged by mental illness. Isolation is deadly, perhaps I can create community here …

 

Feeling distressed? Please, see my “getting help now” tab at the top of the page.