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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

 

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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