Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Biggest Rant Of Them All

I went back to Portland a few days ago to visit my family, and journey to my mom's grave, and see Jen and some of my other friends.

I never realize how much pain being home is going to cause me until I'm there.

Home. What a sick word. What definition of Home causes Portland to be classified as mine? It shouldn't be, by my definition. Rest assured that if I could leave it behind, I would.

There are people who might ask why I go back, and equally as many people who would ask me why I don't come back for good. I know both sides, trust me. Both sides are in my head on repeat the whole time I'm there from the second I pass the high school.

My stomach turns itself into knots, and I tell myself that nothing ever happened.

Life has a funny way of reversing down the driveway in your car and speeding headlong into your past. I explored the John Jay Center with my friend Amanda last month, and this time I spent some time at Hudson Park with Jen. I can tell myself all I want that I've left this little town behind, but here I come in my car again to see it.

Like a train wreck, I can't look away. I look up at the Ritz and think about what life might have been like if I'd started my adulthood correctly, moving out at 18 into the apartment I would otherwise have shared with one of my exes instead and went to school at Ivy Tech through John Jay. Stayed at BK until I finished school, avoiding management. Wrote my first book at 20, started honing my talent instead of wasting almost a god damned decade chasing idiots down the dating drain.

Who knows what might have happened if I'd been thinking clearly before graduation, made good grades, applied to Ball State, gotten out of here?

The town that Wal-mart built, because no one can remember life before it.

Maybe I should have gotten out when I learned that Muncie was only step one toward real life.

But what is real life? Black rimmed glasses and coffee? Instagram photos? What are we, my generation? A whole lost maze of adult children, drifting back into our parents' homes. That's what we are.

Fuck grammar and sentence structure.

I want to feel something other than remorse when I come to Portland.

I want to feel something better than wishing I could erase whole years of my life.

Because knowing that some of the people who used to be my friends want nothing to do with me makes me not want anything to do with anyone. To know that a single mistake spurred two years worth of mistakes spurred whole groups of people to leave me, friends and family and strangers alike... it makes me want to stand on the side of all the main roads and scream until I ruin my throat and blood starts coming up.

I see people I used to know and hang out with and I just keep driving, because what would they have to say to me, or I to them? I've got my writing and my school and my job now, and they've got nothing to say to me still, after four years.

Oh you silly abandoneers.

I tried to make communication with some of you a little over a year ago and was disturbed and disappointed at how angry some of you still were with me.

That's rule number one in Portland: If someone lets you down, don't ever ever EVER let him forget it.

Rule number two: If someone becomes too busy to respond to your every communication, he is a bad person and obviously hates you.

Those are bullshit rules that likely apply to all small towns.

I do have some news to all the gossiping scapegoateers of Portland, flinging themselves from bar to filthy wood-paneled bar and talking about how I'm a terrible breed of human: I realize I've made more mistakes that I can count on both hands and both toes. However, you needn't remind everyone and therefore vicariously me about it.

I wish I could get debt collectors to stop calling my parents asking for me. It's embarrassing. However, I can barely pay the bills I have now. I should call them all and give them my number. If only I had their numbers.

But the main question is still the same. Why do I come back to Portland?

After I've betrayed all of Portland and my entire extended family and the whole world with my avoidist behavior, why do I come back?

The simplest answer is that this is where my Mom lived almost her whole life. When I drive or walk the streets, I feel like I'm tracing her steps. I don't feel so lost when I think of it that way.

You know, I got a lot of criticism for following my mom's wishes to be cremated. I was looked at as a scheming little monster, out to save money any way I could and stick my mom in the ground for cheap. “I don't think she really wanted to be cremated” you said to one another.

I don't think I've ever properly responded to that.

I realize that grief is a funny thing, and it makes people do and say silly things, so I will be kind and considerate and respectful, which is more than I was shown at the time outside of the small circle that consisted of myself, Joe, Lynn and my aunt Joann at the time. I'm setting those people aside, because they were nothing but supportive and strong and wonderful companions at that time.

The rest of you are subject to a bit of a reality check.

Put down your beers and cigarettes and listen to me, because I am not you anymore. I will only say this once.

Mom told me point blank that cremation was how she wanted it. Perhaps she said it because she wanted to save us all a little money, but she did not ever retract that statement, and I was not about to go against her wishes because friends and family could not accept that she had not wanted to be buried whole for the bugs and snakes to eat.

I would also like to point out that I did not pay for her funeral. My aunt Joann did. Joann is one of the kindest, most honest, most beautifully human women and people I have ever known, and she took it upon herself to go from one ATM machine to another, racking up credit card debt so that I would not have to pay Don Spencer's outrageous bill for a cremation and non-ceremony at the grave. She also fronted the bill for the headstone and helped me decide on the details for everything because despite me looking and acting like a real asshole at the time, she and the others in that group knew that I didn't really want to be alive right then, either.

I don't think that people in country towns realize the psychological damage their bar talk does to a 21-year old boy who has just put his mother in the ground. Accusing me of being a cheap dick, and trying to save money on the funeral? You wonder why I visit so few of you.

Resume beer and cigarettes, because that's all you'll ever be.

You wanted a normal relative? What's a normal relative? Someone who doesn't start rumors that I, as your cousin, wanted to fuck you on my mom's grave? Someone who doesn't start a smear campaign about me because they don't like my mom's final wishes? Someone who doesn't carry some god damned grudge against me because I dated someone they didn't like?

I'd like one of those, too.

You're all fired.

I don't think that any of you will ever know the depths to which I sink when I come to Portland. Please, don't expect me to have a jolly old time when I'm there.

That would be selfish and unrealistic.

I'm facing questions right now like: Am I a sociopath? Is it worth continuing another 30 years? Why have I wasted so much of my life?

I don't need your questions, too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear Pastor Worley

Dear Pastor Worley,

Unless you plan to withdraw from the world as we know it, I would consider retracting your concentration camp-esque statement about what to do with all the gays and lesbians of the world. I will tell you why.

We are cooks and factory workers, and we touch all of the food you eat, at some stage of the process.
We clean your house every day.
We change the oil in your car.
We are doctors and we keep your body functioning, much to our dismay.
We ring up your order at Target.
We are CEOs guiding the decisions of companies that can smash you.
We are in the government, deciding your healthcare future.
We are fighting overseas because you decided we should go there.

We are all around you, and we are the only reason that you personally are not dead some days.

You are welcome for that Junior Whopper and Senior drink at Burger King.
You are welcome for that medicine that keeps you from dropping your bowels into the toilet and keeling over dead from a coronary.
You are welcome for the car that at least one of us helped build for you.
You are welcome for the very media outlets that allow you to be so obscene.

You are welcome for being allowed to live another day.

One day, when you're too far gone to take care of yourself, we'll be all around you in some nursing home or retirement community, making sure you don't fall and break your face. We'll serve your food, we'll drive you to Wal-mart, we'll even switch the channel on your TV.

I think we deserve a little respect.

Just because you are an ignorant, awful old piece of rotten does not warrant the treatment you have suggested of the very people who keep you going.

Unless they magically ban all gays and lesbians from working at all, we will be all around you, and we don't have to do anything for you. We do it because we respect that you are a human, and because we expect that in return, you will have respect for us.

Be very very careful, Pastor Worely. I hear bad stories from nursing homes. I would not want one of those to be yours.

Yours truly,

A queer gay.

Thank You, But I Politely Decline Your Invitation To Participate In Your Hallucinatory Definition Of Normal

Sex really is that one big issue that everyone gets in a giant uproar about.

People kill each other over it. People destroy lives for it. Some people die for it.

Most of my adult life, I have found myself to be pretty unhappy with it. I don't know what exactly it is about it. Maybe it's that it's an expected part of a romantic relationship, or maybe that particularly in the gay community, it's more and more acceptable to expect an otherwise judgmentally sound person to drop his or her pants on the first date or two.

Admittedly, I have made some unwise choices that I would like to think my peers are not stupid enough to have made. I don't talk about these choices. That's my decision. Normally, anyway.

I don't know. I'm in a situation right now where “cuddling” is being forced upon me in such a way that it's not intimate or friendly or special, but simply as the expected next step after seeing someone in person twice.

This person is a very good person, and I enjoy his company, but the pressure to do this one simple gateway action which will inevitably lead to more intense interaction, probably that same night, is irritating. I've told him this, and we apparently agree to disagree. It's such a big deal that I haven't heard from him for the last few days.

If you pressure me to cuddle or anything else that involves me letting you far enough into my bubble that I will be uncomfortable, it's like telling me over and over that I'll like a specific movie. Every time you tell me I'll like it or ask me why I still haven't seen it, I'm picturing myself shoving the DVD case up your ass. I'm not sure how the physics would work with cuddling, but believe me, the mentality is the same.

This isn't the first time I've felt a large amount of resistance to someone else insisting that things move much faster than I'd like. Up until a few years ago, I didn't realize it was okay to tell someone I didn't want to cuddle or make out or whatever. As you might imagine, I have regrets.

You will never catching me posting photo quotes that say things like “don't live in the past” and “no regrets” because I see that sort of thing as denial.

The past exists. You will not outrun it. The ideal outcome is that you learn something from it and you emerge a changed, better person.

I am actually considering the idea that I might not like sex at all, and to be perfectly honest, it pisses me off. It's not like sex is bad, it's just that I don't always want to have it. I don't think that I should have to put out as a normal function of a harmonious relationship.

Cuddling is not something I'm good at in the modern gay sense. I don't like pretending to be okay while someone tries to shove a hand down my pants (and I've NEVER seen cuddling between gay men not lead to this.) It's not intimate or special or anything like that, and it makes me feel like I've lost a part of my humanity when it's over, even if I like the person.

It's been years since I last subjected myself to that sort of thing, because I simply don't have to do that to myself.

I don't have to let someone touch me to feel close to them. He and I should be able to spend time reading in the same room, not talking, our minds mingling across the silence with a shared line and a joke now and then. We should be able to engage one another intellectually. This person might not be someone I'm sexually attracted to, but someone who makes me feel like I've met an equal and that I'm loved.

And let me define cuddling, for anyone who doesn't know. Ready for a revelation? No penises involved, guys.

Do a search for cuddling on Wikipedia. It redirects to “hugging,” and shows people embracing. Everything beyond that is what science refers to as “sexual activity,” and that requires my explicit permission before proceeding.

Perhaps I am bitter. I've been told that. Perhaps I'm wrong. I've been told that, too. I realize I sound like a moral buzz kill, but I assure you this is not a morality issue. This is an issue of what I'm comfortable with. I'm not saying your definition of anything has to be congruent to mine. I am simply not comfortable with what I view as an invasion of my personal space that I neither asked for nor gave permission for. You can call me a prude or tell me I'm going to be alone the rest of my life. I get that a lot. You know what? What's another 27 years going to hurt? I've gone this long not being in a relationship more than an average of a few weeks, and I'm comfortable with that. It's not a personality flaw. It's an inability to relate.

Yes, my past has a hand in my thought process, but just because I haven't made the wisest dating choices these last few years doesn't mean I'm damaged. I've dated some nice guys and I've dated some dicks.

I do find guys attractive. Obviously. And it's not that I don't feel sexual attraction. I just don't like people coming further into my bubble than I allow them. Expressing your disbelief or inability to understand why I don't let you in further makes my walls go higher.

I'm not looking for a boyfriend. Those things are fleeting and based at least on mutual attraction. That can't be forced. I'm looking for a comfortable existence, alone or otherwise, where I can write and be myself and either not be judged or laugh at my judges. If that happens to involve another person, that would be okay, as long as it's organic and based on respect and friendship.

And there, my friends, lies the fucking problem.

No one wants to be friends first.

And if you don't want to be my friend, I don't want to be your partner. I want to know the person I share a bed and a life with. What a novel idea.

Mind blowing, I know.

A Mild Correction Of Something I Saw On Facebook: It Doesn't Mean What You Meant When You Posted It

This is a list of ThInGs ThAt ArE nOt ClEvEr. Let's start with capitalizing every other letter. Kittie did it when I was in high school. It has not been cool since, and it will never be cool again, no matter how hard you do it.

That being said, we shall move on.

There are a lot of cute little sayings being pirated and made into personal Facebook badges out there. Most of these are inspirational in context, but when placed next to a picture and a person, they take a new form. Observe.

"Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore." *Deuces fingers, duck face, alcohol and drunk cats clearly visible in the background.*

So what are you doing in that photo, whorebops? Checking for lost mail? You know, if you're going to make this proclamation, do make sure it's true. Or better yet, rather than using a viral photo to discuss your aversion to the past, you might consider actually separating yourself from it.

Also, the definition of leading a full life is misinterpreted on here.


"Life is not a journey to the grave
With the intention of
Arriving safely in a pretty
And well preserved body,
But rather to skid in broadside,
Thoroughly used up,
Totally worn out,
And loudly proclaiming,
WOW !!!! What a ride!"

Granted, this is the 1897 edition. You can tell because it says "broadside" rather than "sideways," but the sentiment is the same. I agree with this statement. Saying this, allow me to tell you what this statement does NOT mean.

To skid into the grave sideways does NOT mean to leave a trail of mangled dead bodies and boiling vomit herpes in your wake. It does not mean that you fill the internet with videos of you banging yourself with a 2x4 and then wonder why no one wants to date you. It does not mean you get so blasted that you don't remember destroying shit at other people's houses. Living your life like a Ke$ha song is NOT skidding into the grave sideways.

I wish I had more of these to share, but I don't care enough to waste more words fighting the collective ignorance of humanity. I would rather just have netflix.