Empowerment

Standing at the candlelight vigil along the Mississippi River, honoring all the lives lost in the Orlando gay club massacre, I realized something for the first time. How I missed it, I don’t know. The message has been everywhere, but it never struck home: Don’t be ashamed.

Empowerment. I was raised in a culture of dis-empowerment. Ashamed of my natural self. Nervous since childhood for wanting to wear my mother’s makeup and clothing. Beaten and shamed throughout my life for the unique and strange person that I am. Embracing it outwardly, but inwardly being cripplingly embarrassed of everything I’ve ever said and done.

Yet the crowd tonight, brought together by indescribable horror, was there to honor those who were targeted for being unashamed. People who were murdered for being true to themselves, and not being scared of how the rest of the world viewed them. While we were there for them, we were also there for each other, empowering our neighbors to embrace their full expression. To kiss and fuck and love and wear whoever and whatever we want.

I’ve understood empowerment before. But never in this way. I’m happy to be alive in a time of such solidarity, even in the face of incredible setbacks and tragedy. Thanks to everyone who does not hide. You give me strength.

#BernieOrBust – Go fuck yourselves

Growing up as a gender bending ‘faggot’ taught me a few things about America. It taught me you can choke a child into unconsciousness in front of a crowd and everyone (adults included) will just watch and laugh. It taught me you can publicly beat someone’s face most days of the week, and because being a ‘faggot’ is by nature an act of incitement, you’re the one that gets charged. It taught me you can have a bag pulled over your head, be pulled into a van, pummeled by a gang for a mile, dumped in the street, and cars will just drive around you instead of stopping to help you up. It taught me that you can have fingers shoved up your ass in a stairwell, repeatedly, and no one will do a god-damn thing about it because as a ‘faggot’ being raped in the ass is what you must want. It taught me that police can drag you out of your car, throw you face first into the cement, put their knee in your neck while their partner cuts up your car night after night with no cause, and then just laugh it off when nothing turns up. It taught me that you can reach the cusp of suicide repeatedly and no one will ever know. It taught me that many of those who commit suicide will be minimized as “troubled” teens. It taught me, at a young age, that if you are on the wrong side of the majority in America, you’re absolutely powerless.

But mostly it taught me that political and social policy are engaged in a dance that can kill motherfuckers without anyone batting an eye. And that’s just the experience of some privileged white kid that likes make-up and women’s fashion. I can’t begin to imagine the experience of the black community, the immigrant community, and all of the other groups in the US that have truly monstrous forces aligned against them.

So when you say #BernieOrBust, or when you say #VotingDoesntMatter, or when you say anything that equates to supporting politicians who promise to take us backwards to those days, you’re being nothing more than an onlooker in an assault on those around you. There’s a reason why the vast majority of non-whites support a Clinton presidency regardless if they are also Sanders supporters, and why a majority of LGBTQ do as well… because they know how easy it is to be thrown under the bus and what it actually means. At least Trump supporters will tell it to you straight. I can respect someone who tells you what they believe, even if it’s wrong. But to say you’re aligned with equal rights, human rights, and then suggest throwing people’s hard earned rights away because your point matters more than gay lives/black lives/poor lives/immigrant lives; because you’re deluded enough to think revolution will actually come and that you’re prepared for it because you’ve watched enough episodes of The Walking Dead; because you don’t understand what it’s like to be warped by fists and the hot breath of society on the back of your neck before you ever had a chance to find your voice… that’s just fucked.

It’s the job of the status-quo to listen to the voices on the outside and work to include and protect them. Regardless of my personal experiences, I’m part of this status-quo as much as most of you are, and it’s our job to listen to more than just our personal rage from our golden privilege being fucked with.

At the end of the day vote for who you want and be proud to do so. Don’t let me, my rant, or anyone else make you feel ashamed about your choices. But know what those choices actually mean, and learn to look everyone you’re fucking in the eye when you do it. Trump’s supporters are honest enough to give that courtesy, and so should you.

Now we can all go back to being friends. I love you all.

On Abortion & Shame Politics, from a generally male perspective

The following is a short / adapted version of words I’d been writing for myself. With the recent fuckery of American politics, and some new, brave initiatives to combat the shame surrounding this issue, I’ve decided to share some of my experience in a small attempt to stand with the women this culture war is effecting.

I recall placing my hand on my girlfriend’s lower belly. Trying to feel what can’t be felt. Simply imagining it. Our child was about six weeks along… just a lump of cells aspiring to be more. I centered my mind. Cleared away all fear, all worry. Just me and this potential of life. I found I wasn’t scared of it. Wasn’t scared of the responsibility of the child. I was slightly scared of working full time for the next 18 years, but I took a breath and let that go.

What scared me wasn’t the child. It was of my own life, and how that would effect the child. It was my relationship with the mother. It was the fact that we hardly knew each other. That we were barely friends. That as of yet, we did not see eye to eye on many things, and that the relationship had weighed heavily on both of us. That we’d been broken up already at the time of finding out. That due to a multitude of reasons there was a good chance we ultimately wouldn’t live in the same geographic region, leaving us both with the terrible choice of relocating from the places we love or not participating in the child’s life. I pictured the unhappiness of us both. I imagined all the potential threads of possibilities from this starting point. And I knew that my decision was made.  It was a troubled decision within my worldview of promoting all life, but I knew the situation would likely limit my reach with how I’d like to promote a child’s life. My vote (knowing it ultimately meant little compared to the mother’s will) was to abort.

I held back tears as I wordlessly whispered, “I’m sorry”. An imaginary voice in my head replied, “It’s OK daddy, I love you anyways.”

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On the death of the soul

I still remember the exact moment I became an atheist. I was 10 or 11 years old. We were at a church gathering at a member of the congregation’s house. I don’t remember the occasion, but there was dinner and somewhere I spotted a super nintendo.

During discussions someone brought up a pet recently dying, and asked about being reunited with it in the afterlife. The pastor (whom I have fond memories of) explained that animals have no souls and therefore can not enter heaven. I remember having a quick flash of shock, then anger, a thought of “if animals have no soul, then I have no soul”, and suddenly it struck me.. he’s lying. He’s caught in a lie, and just making shit up to protect that lie. I knew this feeling. As a kid you lie a lot. As an adult, even more so.

I remember thinking “why would anyone lie about this? how can anyone believe this?” I didn’t have that answer right away, but as weeks/months went by I realized that they believed it because they were somehow afraid, and they lie about it because once you believe/tell a lie you’re stuck with it forever (I didn’t understand the concept of admitting your mistakes). I didn’t have a fully internalized concept of the permanence of death yet, so I couldn’t exactly relate to a real fear of it. But I wasn’t afraid, and I didn’t need to believe, so why did they?

A few times in life I came close to believing in things again. Not in a Christian god per se, but the “universal spirit” kind of mucky gray area. I think that was out of confusion, fear, but mostly social pressure. I’d never met anyone that came out and stated with resolve that they didn’t believe in any of it; that there’s no reason or evidence to even consider it; that believing in something is deluding yourself to what it actually means to exist; that there are many things we don’t know, and may never know, but it’s no reason to pretend as if we do. I felt like if I didn’t believe in something, there must be something wrong with me, that I must just be too cynical, negative, or depressed. I usually feel like something’s wrong with me, but I don’t think there actually is.

I’m glad things are different now. Amen.

Robert the Original

I met Victor when I lost my hat.

I met Robert the Original when I gave up my search for a bagel shop.

I saw the sky through my eyelids as the warm, late November sun burned down on them as I laid in the grass.

From the back, Robert is a woman. Big white perm, perfectly fluffed and spun. From the front, well that’s a bit different. He’s a woman with a mustache. Or a man with a perm. The broad insensitive categories our minds jump to in trying to quickly analyze our surroundings.

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The absolute loneliness of the transitional state

Looking back is memorized light. It’s the easy thing to do when you see the truth and the unknown darkness of the road ahead. I think back on the people I knew and loved, none of whom are here now. I think back on old places and friends, all of which are now memories and phone calls. Like how a sex hotline is a memory of passion. Do they still have those? It’s tied into my memory of payphones.

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The Art of Peeing into Jars

For the record, I don’t pee into jars just yet. In another 12 days I begin.

New Orleans is a bathroom nightmare. Nearly every house is a “shotgun”, a straight line of rooms that requires you to traverse every other room to get to the kitchen or bathroom. It’s constructed for maximum airflow, but the side effect is a bladder disaster.

I pee about 4 times a night. Each time I wonder if something’s wrong with me and if I should stick a clothes hangar up my hoohoo to abort my prostate. This new place I’ve moved into is not a “shotgun”, but it does require me to walk through my roommate’s bedroom to use the bathroom, which is directly next to her bed. Continue reading

finding the point

I often avoid blogging because I’m always writing in grand generalities. Repeating timelessly boring tripes about life and love. If I were discussing a change in the properties of a neutrino, it would somehow seem more valid, right? I’d be publicly discussing science and inspiring thoughts on the progress of the entire living Earth.

I get lost in that: justifying my actions based on the perceived measurement of their usefulness within the march of technology and enlightenment. Therefore, the things I love doing seem not worth doing. I had a career in the video games industry until I felt it was the equivalent of selling drugs to kids. I write music, but I hate the childish egos and the drunk social scene that it feeds. I see my life’s choices, and most forms of entertainment, as useless. It’s distraction for the rich while countless others starve in silence. This mindstate is crippling for motivation.

As such, the meaning of life becomes some obscure and ever-changing algorithm based on moment to moment appreciation. It’s like an SEO maze of the non-existant soul. I hold education and the scientific process as the saving graces of our world. Does that mean I should be an educator and scientist? I also believe string lights can transform any environment into a safe haven for the mind to relax and function at its best. Does that mean I should start manufacturing string lights?

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the repairman

A repairman came to fix my oven. In the process, he confessed to being an empath who walks around secretly healing people. He’s still getting comfortable talking about it. After completing the repairs, he asked if we’d like him to psychically clear the room for us. I said “If you’d like”.

He sat down at the kitchen table, closed his eyes, and began taking deep breaths. Only in New Orleans. I was grateful for his originality, his desire to open up, and his lack of fear in sitting in my kitchen breathing like an pneumoniae afflicted airbender, but it took everything to stop myself from laughing. Not at him perse, just at everything. The humor of it all.

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physical location nonsense

A few years ago she said “You know what your problem is?”

I replied somewhat angrily, that hard Jersey accent momentarily slipping through, “What-“

“You’ve had to fight people your whole life.. you don’t know how to stop. Even when there’s no reason or no one left to fight, you just don’t know how to stop.”

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