Wednesday, June 27, 2012

But I Was Only 5

2012 has been kicking my ass.  And yet, I feel stronger now.  At least I feel strong when I'm not actually feeling hopeless.    

I started off 2012 just diving right in to some of the most intense social situations I've ever had.  I wanted to push myself to get out there, overcome my shyness, meet people, and make new friends, get connected to others and be part of something.    

The first situation was by choice.  But the second one was not.  The third one was. The fourth was not.  And so on and so forth.  Back and forth it went and continues on that way.  Each event, situation, trial, confrontation, mistake, was/is pushing me through, in what appears in my dreams as, mountains of rushing water, a metaphor for my emotions.    Sometimes I come out of it with a new grounded sense of who I am, but other times I'm left wondering what in the fuck is left of me.  What have I learned?  What am I getting out of this?  I'm still working on it.  I'm still trying to sort it out. 

But here is what hit me lately:

A new found awareness of what it feels like when I leave authenticity.   I've started to notice the twinges of emotion, pangs of anxiety, eagerness to please while concealing my resentment.  All of these signal to me that I've stepped out of authenticity.  Awareness of where I stop loving the people around me, stop loving what is happening around me, and I start to judge the situation not as it actually is but as my suffering ego imagines it to be.  It's paranoid, hurt, afraid, and it tells me stories about what it thinks is going on.  Stories that have nothing to do with reality but I'm lost in my emotions, I'm not acknowledging them for what they are, and I'm feeding them these stories.  I don't know why, but it keeps the pain alive.   Leaving authenticity is something I do more often that staying in authenticity.

It's pretty fucked up. 

I've been jumping into things too fast, too eager, too afraid that if I don't do it right now, I may never get to do it ever.  I'm not realizing that I have not fully accepted myself so I still put on a mask, I still try too hard to play a role that I think is expected of me.  And I fail.  I fuck it up.  My sense of confidence, that confidence that I think others are looking for, is not real.  I conjured it up and pretended to be something I'm not, something that I know I can be but I'm not ready to be.  I'm not ready because I'm not doing it from my own personal center and awareness.  I'm doing it as a mirror of how I see it in others.  

This time it put me in a situation where I hurt someone.  I unintentionally inflicted serious physical injury.  And I've destroyed, permanently, a trust that I had just started to earn.  The ripple of that is not only losing his trust, but the trust of an entire social circle because of how he will warn others; spread the word that I am a bad person.

What was I thinking?  I don't know.  I wanted to be perfect.  I wanted to be what that other people expected of me.  I only wanted to please. 

Later that night, as I was making the long drive home from my disastrous weekend, I was talking to my mom about what had happened.   I was already feeling out of place from things going on all month but this weekend pushed me over the edge.  My body, thoughts, emotions, were all exploding.  I was feeling fear, frustration, anger, worthlessness, rejection, guilt, shame, regret.  I had hurt someone.  Seriously hurt them.  

I was reminded of an indecent that happened when I was 5 years old of a little boy, struggling, one step at a time, heaving a heavy stroller carrying the crying baby of my baby sister up onto the front porch, trying desperately to get her in the house.  She was crying; I was trying to comfort her. I had no idea what to do but get her in the house so that mom could make it right.   But I was afraid that I would be punished for making her cry; after all it was my fault that she was crying. 

I was spraying the lawn with the water hose, playing, pretending to be the little Rainbird sprinkler, as I smacked at the water stream with a plastic spatula. And she, for whatever reason I don't know, was alone with me, sitting out in the sun.  Was I supposed to be watching her?  I feel like I was.     But why would a 5 year old be responsible for a tiny baby just barely a few months old?  I don't remember but I do felt like I had been given the responsibility to tend just because we were alone together.  I don't recall being told to do it though, but it was common for my dad to tell me to do such things.   So, there I was, just hoping nothing happened and that mom or dad would come and get her soon before she started crying.   But then I slipped, I turned too far and a blast of cold water hit her face, startling her and she screamed. 

I was ashamed, I had accidently hurt her, I got her wet, and now I was going to get yelled at, punished, whipped with the belt or whatever, I don't know.   She needed comfort, she needed to be held, and she needed to stop crying so that I wouldn't be blamed for causing it.   But I was too small to pick her up.  And I didn't know where mom or dad where.  I didn't call for mom because I knew she couldn't hear me.  If she hadn't come by now from my sister screaming, she couldn't hear; she had no idea anything had happened. 

I'm sure mom was in the house somewhere but I didn't dare leave her alone. If anything were to happen to her because I left her alone, I would surely be punished.   So I did the only thing that made sense to me at the time, get her in the house so that mom could hear. 

The stroller was heavy, it was awkward, and the handles were as high as my shoulders.  The best I could do was tilt it back and drag it backwards, heaving the back wheels one step at a time up the concrete stairway, one, two, three, steps, then pausing to rest for a moment and regain my grip.  Each step hit her with a profound jerk and bump, each one seemed to make her cry worse.  Four, five, six, I was at the top.  Tilted the stroller back on all fours and then turned my attention to opening the door.   Once I managed to get the door open I turned just in time to notice the stroller had rolled toward the stairs, out of my reach and the front wheels had already hit the first step. 

I was literally frozen as I watched the stroller tumble down the stairs. Each jostle of the wheels as they dropping down onto each step sent shards of adrenaline through me and amplified the sound of terror I was hearing in her crying. When the front wheels hit the bottom the stroller flipped forward, head over heels, landing upside down, smashing my sister's face into the concrete. 

I no longer heard any crying, it had all gone silent. 

I rushed down the stairs; I was shaking, and muttering to myself, "Oh my god!  Oh my god!"  I was so weak; I was trembling; I could barely turn the stroller on to its side.  "Oh my god!" I kept muttering trying to unfasten the seat belt.  But I was shaking too much; I could barely grasp the buckles.   Her face was contorted as if she was trying to cry but couldn't catch her breath, she just shook, trembled and twitched.  There was a bit of rocky dirt on her chin and forehead and blood was starting to drip from the edges of her mouth.  "Oh my god!  Oh my god!"

When she finally caught her breath, in what seemed like a lifetime, she let out the most disturbing cry I had ever heard and don't want to ever hear in my lifetime again, a frantic screaming cry of terror, panic, pain, trauma. 

This was bad, this was serious, this was my fault, she was hurt, really hurt bad and I couldn't do anything, I didn't know what to do, and I had caused this. 

It was shortly after this when mom finally heard the screaming and came rushing outside to see what was going on, all the while screaming at me in panic, and demanding answers.  "What's going on?!  What happened?!  Why is she bleeding?!   What in the hell were you doing?!  What have you done?!  Get away! Don't touch her!"  I don't remember what I said or if I was even able to say anything.

Mom took her in the house, at which point the details of my memory have faded to images of her trying to get my sister to suck on popsicles or bottles but she couldn't do it.  Images of streaks of blood on anything her mouth had touched, the unending crying that seemed to last for days, and then I have no more memory. 

But this memory of my baby sister has been with me, haunting me my whole life, playing over in my mind from time to time, but only as a bad dream, disconnected and disassociated from it.  But now, I was suddenly reliving it all over again while driving home that night. 

I had to stop the car, before I passed out and crashed.  I was convulsing with intense wailing, soaking my clothing in sweat, releasing emotion it seemed from every pour of my body.  Even now, as I retell this story here, even rereading it as I proof read, I crumble in fits of sobbing.

I had found out a few years ago that I had actually broken her jaw.  I had broken the jaw of a baby only a few months old.  She is now in her mid 30's and has had to cope with problems as a result of that her entire life. 

And now, out of some twisted turn of events, I'm still paying for my mistake.  And continue to do so as I keep replaying my history.  Doing it all over again; hurting people while trying to play a role that I am not ready to play.  Just like when I was 5 years old.   But then, I was also forced into that role.  It's no wonder I feel such intense anxiety when I'm forced into roles, jobs, obligations, commitments, that I'm not willing to do or I'm not ready for.

That is why I hated being in the Mormon church so much.  It was an obligation, a commitment, a role, that I couldn't fill.  No matter what I did, I was never good enough.  But I did it anyway to keep the piece.  To protect myself from the anger and wrath of those who had authority and control over me.    But I'm not there anymore, and yet, I have been continuing to force myself into a roles I'm not ready for today.  Why?  To please others in hopes of earning their respect? 
Respect that I can't ever earn?  Am I doing it to try to redeem myself for the harm I've caused?   That seems ridiculous, as I'll just keep causing more harm.   I don't know. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Thoughtless Police

Lots of discussion going around on Facebook, on blogs, amongst distant friends in distant cites and elsewhere, all talking about all the great people in their lives, all of the wonderful dates they have been on all the wonderful support and sex they have with their dates, partners and spouses.

The envy, the jealousy, is difficult.  I do not like being alone,  I do not like going months if not more, with no one to touch.  And what makes it all worse is that I have no idea when the next chance will come.   And for whatever reason, some of those people are drifting away.  And some are now starting to avoid me.   I respect their rule of not sticking their dick in crazy.  I'm sorry I'm crazy.  I don't mean to be. 

Every status I see, every post I see, every picture I see setting on the desk of a coworker where they are flaunting their heterosexually, every god damn moment my co-worker has to talk about his fucking girlfriend, is a moment I want to die.  

I would really like to be happy for them.  I would really love to feel the joy and happiness they have. I would love to be able to have it so that I could share it as well.  But then, would I share it?  Would I do that so that I would be an insufferable prick to someone else who is dealing with profound isolation and loneliness? Would I be so insensitive that I would thoughtlessly share my happiness with others in ways that taunt, and mock them?  

I probably would.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Justice and Mercy

At the second coming of Christ, when all are resurrected, I imagine there will be great justice when Jesus walks up to Joseph Smith, restored in flesh and blood, and kicks him in the crotch.

At which point, Christ will show his great love and mercy by allowing the rest of us to do the same.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's next? Bestiality?

In paraphrase:

SG: "So if gay marriage is legal, what's next?  People are going to want to marry their horse?"
OG: "Why in the hell would I marry my horse?  I already own the god damn thing?"


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It needs saying even if it's wrong.

A sure fire way to affect change in a difficult emotional thinking pattern is to state it.  Give it voice. Put it into words, whether spoken or written.  And sure enough, whatever beliefs that arise out of that exercise will suddenly dissolve; especially if that belief was not formed from a rational headspace.   

I don't know why that is.  But it is why I write in this blog.  And it is why I need to keep doing it and continue to give voice to whatever is on my mind regardless if it's rational or not.   Because, for whatever reason, only writing in my private journal seems to have stopped resulting in parsing the jumble of thoughts in my mind.  This writing, this blog, has been necessary for me because of one basic thing, the awareness that what I write has the potential of actually getting read by someone.  That truth changes my entire thought process.   I don't even need to know who reads it or when, just that the words I write are going to end up in a place that can be found and read.  Without that concept of "public", I don't seem to be motivated to process any thoughts at all.  My private journal writing has essentially turned into an exercise in avoidance. 

So here I am, putting more time in to free-writing publicly about my journal writing being an avoidance mechanism so that it will dissolve and go back to being a catharsis.  Wait, isn't the awareness of what I'm writing about change the scope and purpose and end up sabotaging it?    Damn it! 

Nonetheless, I still want to take a moment here to state something about a post from a few weeks ago (April 7).  It was a post that exposed more about me and my messed up state of mind at the time I wrote it than it did about anything or anyone I was whining about.  

It's real, it's how I was feeling at the time, I can't deny that, but there are parts of it that are big red flags to me that I was not rational.  But in order to discover this, I had to forget about the post for a few weeks, finish a story I had been working on for a year, write a follow up post to that story, and then, by chance, go back and read the old post and realize that I was not resonating with whoever it was that wrote it!  Yeah, I wrote it but, I don't really know the person who wrote it.   Does that make me schizophrenic?  Not really, but it does expose how depression manifests itself to me. 

So, what do I want to say about the old post?  Not much other than to say that the feelings of isolation and loneliness, and the belief that I've been the recipient of judgments and rejection, have actually been ME doing most of the judgments and rejecting.  In turn, I've ended up imposing more isolation on myself, well beyond the physical isolation that I actually can't control right now.  Yes, the communities are generally dogmatic, cliquish and exclusionary, but that's over generalizing and unfair to the many individuals in the communities who are not that way and disrespectful to those who desire and need such closed door policies.  I mustn't forget that what seems like a clique is actually a close nit family.  One just doesn't walk into someone's family and expect to be treated as if you were always there.  It takes time, lots of interaction and the right chemistry.  And if it doesn't happen, it's OK.  It wasn't meant to be.  The problem I face is that I so rarely get interaction I never get the chance to ever know where I stand. 

Now, quite honestly, at this point, I need to be careful here because dwelling on my current physical isolation is one of the many major triggers that have literally shoved me into the hell of depression.   And even though I'm aware of how depression manifests itself at this moment in time, it doesn't mean I will recognize if and when I fall into it again.  So, will stating what I just stated mean that I will recognize it next time?  That's the expectation.   But now I just stated that the stating of it will now change its outcome.   Damn it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Horseback Riding With Myself

I would love to say that my story with horses has come to a wonderful conclusion.  I dearly love them as I love all animals, but I haven't been able to reconcile my past experiences as well as my new found ones.  I still feel at times ignorant and undeserving of the knowledge and still a bit frustrated that I'm not as good of a horsemen that my fellow riders are.  I'm also insanely jealous of them as well.  Most of them are teenagers or younger and have the most uncanny, if I could say, natural ability to communicate with their equine companions that seem so unreal to me.  And the worst thing about all of this, is how out of place I feel as a 40+ salt and pepper hair, gay man, in a class of female teeny boppers, who can ride circles around me and jump fences, all the while I'm just trying to keep my horse from cutting the corners around the arena.

I'm currently not riding right now; I've had to stop in late 2010 because of health problems that have made it unsafe.   Problems with an untreatable, proximal positional vertigo being the main one as well as excessive weight gain, unpredictable heart fibrillations that cause dangerous lightheadedness, and a still as yet undiagnosed muscle atrophy, weakness, and neuropathy,  have made it difficult to make any progress on anything let alone dressage.  I don't really know if my riding days are over or not.  I hope that I can return to normal health.  But I just can't feel confidence in that happening as things seem to continue to slowly decline.  And to make it worse, other than the vertigo and heart issues, the doctors can't seem to find anything medically wrong with me. 

I've really been missing my time just being around those great creatures.  Grooming, hugging, leaning on, sitting on, smelling their sweat, picking their hooves, pulling their tails, giving them treats, whistling little songs to them while they crowd around me out in the paddock,  rubbing them on the brow and behind the ears until they practically fall asleep while their snotty snout is pressed into my stomach.  I've gotten so close to them now that I have gotten the point where I wish I could be one.  It's that way with all the animals I've ever made a connection to.   I see them as innocent, free spirits, always in the moment, with wonderful beauty and pure unconditional love.  Who wouldn't want to be them? 

Not to get too far off subject, as if there ever is a subject on a free-write post, but ever since I was 5 years old, I've spent much of my waking imagination in silent contemplation wondering what it would feel like to actually be one of the many animals that have occupied my waking sub-conscious.  I say 5 years old because that was how old I was when I had my first lucid dream that involved an animal.  It was a tiger. In that dream I also became a tiger and experienced an intimate and spiritually deep connection to the tiger that appeared to me.  I also felt a strong desire to never want to leave that dream and have pondered the experience off and on for decades since.  I don't know why I still remember that dream so vividly 35+ years later, but it was a life changing experience. One in which I don't really know how to explain, and it continues to be meaningful to me now, as well as many other similar experiences that I've had since, both in waking and non-waking dreams and meditations.  And aside from the apparent, if not superficial, similarity to the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, it was nothing like Calvin & Hobbes, although I really do love that comic.

Only in recent years have I bothered to seriously look into these dreams to find out more about their possible significance and meaning.  And quite surprisingly, I've found many communities for that aspect of my life spanning from Therianopthy, to Native American spiritual traditions to the Furry Fandom.  So at this point, I can honestly claim I'm a furry and oddly enough, I actually couldn't care less about all the stigma and stereotypes associated with furries. They are my people, drama and all.

So what is the point of me saying all of this?  I don't know,
just to get it off my chest I suppose.  I haven't had a pet in my life for over 10 years.  That last one was a female tuxedo cat, who I still really miss.  We had a very special bond, as I've had with all the cats I've ever had.  She was always begging me to hold her up to the lights so that she could get at the moths.   I don't think I've ever gotten over her death.  She was suffering from an Alzheimer's like disease and it totally fucking sucked to see her go through the states of confusion she often went through.  She was only 12.
(1989-2001) picture taken circa 1994

Anyway, I wish I had the strength to just go down to the riding school again, but I also can't shake the feeling of being out of place there as if I don't belong.  It was easy for the most part to forget about that feeling when I could just jump on my horse and trot around the arena as it was just me, the instructor, and the horse.   But when I'm not riding, I become acutely aware of the dozen people there, and I am the only male.  And of course, the troublesome pink elephant in the arena that I wish wasn't there despite the common stereotype that all male dressage riders are gay.  I don't live in a gay friendly part of the country and there is always someone reminding me of that fact.

Some days I really hate my circumstances.  I really resent the shit my life has now.  And quite often I forget that in many other ways I have it really damn good!   It's as if one aspect of my life got amazingly better while others have reached their shelf life and are about to expire.  And it's those expiring parts that I never had the chance to make something of them.  For each day that passes, I find something new to regret.  

But, to avoid making this post a complete downer, I will include this cropped picture of me wearing my riding boots.  I'm on a horse.

Yeah, yeah, I know, toes forward! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Horseback Riding With My Dad

My older brother affectionately called them Dumbass and Shithead.  Euphemistic terms of endearment I'm sure.  And in many ways, a direct reflection of how our dad thought of us as kids.  But the horses' real names were Stormy and Lancer.  Stormy was whitish in color. Lancer, a much younger sibling to Stormy, was black.  I wasn't a fan of most horse names.  I usually just referred to them as "The Black One" and "The White One" because I couldn't think of anything better.

They were, if I recall correctly, part Arabian and were rather feisty. They weren't the first horses my dad brought home though; the first one was a whitish mare named Lady Mary.  She died of something when she was around 8 years old.   She had only been with us for about a year when she developed some health problems, I thought, at the time it was probably from eating moldy hay, I didn't really know and wouldn't know until just a few months ago when talking to my mom about this story that I found out what really happened.   Lady Mary was pregnant and her uterus had detached.  I can imagine that she had suffering pretty badly.  She was not very old.  Shortly after she died, my dad got Stormy and Lancer.  But they were both sold about a year later so we could relocate to Northern Utah.

Growing up, I never knew much about horses despite the fact we spent a good number of years living in the southern Utah ranching country, where pretty much everyone was some sort of cowboy or ranch hand.  Not us though, we were somewhat city types even though we had never lived in a big city.  A few years before we had horses, when I was about age 9, my dad, on a few occasions, would disappear to help a friend from work setting up things for the local rodeo.  Occasionally my brother and I would go with him but we were too young to help.  I vaguely remember a scary incident with a raging bull that got loose, but I never saw my dad on any horses. 

Most of the time, while dad was off doing whatever it was he did while helping with the rodeo, my brother and I would just play under the arena stands, searching for money that had fallen there during the last rodeo event.  Bonus when we actually found paper money.  But most of the time it was a few dollars in coins, which we would then go spend on candy.  In those days, a few dollars bought a few bags worth.   Dad really didn't pay much attention to where we would run off to.
Also, during those early years, I once got to sit on the back of a pony at a birthday party.  I was by myself and the pony was there for riding so I got on jerked the reins and kicked just like what I saw on TV, but he didn't move.  I felt stupid sitting there so I got off.  I felt even more stupid when another kid grabbed the reins from me, got right on and took off, riding around the side of the house as if there was nothing special about it. 

A few years later, we moved to another small town in south-central Utah.  Even though it was a small town, it was in a much larger ranching community.  In the previous town, the primary industry was the saw-mill, here it was farming and ranching.  Many of my school classmates were avid horsemen or horsewomen who would ride in drill or rodeo events. 

I was always made to feel like I should know about many things that I had never seen before growing up.  But no one really offered to teach me anything and oddly, I never feel it was my place to know. Although, I was rather envious that I wasn't given the opportunity to learn about horses or riding other than a token effort to get a Boy Scout merit badge, which I was never able to get because I didn't have a horse or, by the time we got some, I didn't get the support from my parents to get acquainted with them.   But at the same time, I was ok with it, because, again, I didn't think it was my place to know about horses, and also, I was somewhat scared of them anyway.

My older brother once attempted to ride with a friend but was bucked off and bruised up pretty badly.  My dad was always telling us about how they were easy to spook and that you should never stand behind them or they'll kick you and that they could be very dangerous and we should stay away from them!  And yet, I also had been led to believe from somewhere that horses would never purposely step on you.  I have since realized that even though they may not do it on purpose, they will still step on you!
We, as city types, didn't seem to fit in here even more than in the past town we lived in.  But, it was here that my dad decided that he wanted a horse.

We all thought at the time that his reason for getting a horse was mainly for show.  But perhaps he wanted something more out of it.  He was much more motivated to do things to keep up with the Jones's, as he was to satisfy some unknown want for something.  But perhaps it was practical.  After all, we had 2.5 acres of alfalfa that had to be cut and baled at least once during the summer.  More if we had actually watered it.    But with a horse, that field was turned into complete dirt in a matter of weeks.  We didn't have to cut and bale that damned hay anymore. The bad news was we had to buy hay.  Lots and lots of it.  I was very allergic to hay as a kid.  VERY!  Eyes swollen shut for days sort of allergic.

We were not equipped to handle horses.  We didn't have shelter for them; we didn't have any way to keep the stored hay from getting moldy.  We had no means to ride them, no halters or lead ropes, no saddles or bridles or even any grooming equipment.  We didn't even know how to ride them even though the first two had been "broken in".  But ultimately, they were just out there as pretty things to watch.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, they were wonderful to watch, but they were also a burden to take care of especially when we had no idea what we were doing. 

We didn't even have a proper fence to keep them from getting out.  The fence we made only had two wires and it was not electrified.  The lowest wire was high enough for a horse to slide under.  All it took was just one little roll in the dirt, in the right place next to the fence, and upon standing again, one of them would find  himself on the other side.  It was fine when only one horse got out because they hated being separated.  They would stay by the fence looking confused by their predicament until someone could help them back over.  It was this little fence trick that prompted my brother to start calling them Dumbass and Shithead.

My dad brought these animals home with no intention of doing anything to take care of them, that all fell on us.  Just like us kids -- brought into the world to be someone else's responsibility.

We were never instructed on what to do about anything.  Mowing the lawn, installing a sprinkling system, driving a car, or taking care of a horse, it didn't matter, we had no idea.  If we asked in any way what we were supposed to do, my dad would invariably say, "The fuck if I know.  Figure it out, I don't care."  Or on rare occasions he would try and be helpful by saying something like, "Just give them a little hay and make sure the thing is full of water."  The "thing" was a large plastic garbage can.

But sometimes, if we did not execute the chores in the exact manner that he was expecting, never mind that we had no idea what he was expecting, we would get a Final Dismissal with him yelling, "What the hell are you doing?  I can tell you've never been around a horse before!" as if we should fee shamed for the truth.  At which point he would do it himself, swearing and screaming at us the entire time about how useless and stupid we were.  

It was like that with everything; just replace 'horse' with any other noun that is applicable to the situation.  And sprinkle in some choice profanities as adjective such as, "I can tell you've never driven a goddamn truck before." or "I can tell you've never installed a fucking sprinkling system before!"  It hurt because it was all true.  I had never done any of those things before.  I was only 13 years old.  You can't expect me to know all this stuff, can you? 

It was a late fall evening when dad decided that it was a good idea to try and saddle up Stormy and take him for a ride.  He had found someone who loaned him a saddle and bridle.  I was curious but scared that he would ask me to put them on thus making me go through the usual routine of disappointing him for being stupid.  I hadn't seen him do any of this before so I wasn't even sure if he knew how to ride the horse.

But apparently, as far as I could tell, he did know how. He slid the bridle bit in Stormy's mouth and mounted that confusing array of leather straps on to his head as if he had always known how it was done.  Once he had him saddled, he got on as if he had always been a rider and rode the horse around in a slow walk for a few hundred feet.  Even my younger sister had gotten to ride the horse as my dad led it around.  I was no longer envious, I was jealous.  This man was holding out on us.  Why wouldn't he teach us anything?  

I wanted to ride, so I went out there and asked. 

"Sure, just hop on."  He said.

Ok, How? I said to myself.  My nose was even with Stormy's shoulder.  I mustered up the courage, realizing the verbal abuse that would erupt if I were to ask, but in this case, I needed to know so I went ahead and asked.  Sure enough, the response used at least one 'fuck' word.  But he did explain which foot to put in the stirrup and where I could grasp to pull myself up.

Sadly, I had very weak upper arm strength, which caused me to struggle while climbing on.  The whole time I was scared I might accidentally kick his hind quarters and spook him.  But the worst thing about it, as I was getting on, was that I was feeling extremely embarrassed, exposed and vulnerable.  Not because someone took a picture of me, which I didn't appreciate, but because here I was on a live animal and I didn't know what I was doing.  And even then, it wasn't so much that I was afraid of the animal, but that I was afraid of doing something wrong that would elicit a verbal and abusive tirade from my dad.

Once I got situated, I sat there, looked around at my surroundings, everything looked different at this height. I looked down at the horse, his ears were focused on me and it felt like he was standing rigid, calm but not relaxed.  I wasn't sure really how to read the horse.  It all could have been more of how I was feeling.  I was definitely tense and unsettled and quickly growing impatient.  

The sun had just set a few minutes earlier; it was getting dark.  I finally asked him, "So, what do I do?"  

"The fuck if I know.  Just ride him, you should know."  He said.

"How do I go?  Or turn?"  I said.

"That's what the reins are for."  He said.

"I know, but how do you use them?" 

"Jesus Christ, I can tell you've never ridden a horse before."

And there it was, the Final Dismissal.

I was done.  Despite how often I would hear him say that, it would still sting every time.  I sat for a few more seconds until I could no longer stand the shame of the moment.  Then I decided that this would never be for me; carefully and clumsily I slid off the horse, walked in the house and never got back on another horse for 27 years.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Am Still, No One

I haven't posted in a long time.  I've been stuck in a sort of a midway point between, "It's too esoteric to post, besides who am I that anyone would care about the strange things in my mind?"  to  "I wish there were people out there who could understand me in all the forms that I inhabit."

It's self defeating in that I'll never find those people because I just can't bring myself to tell all there is to tell about myself.  What is it?  Fear?  Lack of trust?  Am I still in the closet about certain things?   That goes without saying. 

Obviously, what you don't know is what's in that closet.  Now, considering how I hint at things, some may think they know and can even guess, but most likely they'll be wrong.  Well, some people might get lucky and guess correctly but I know that most will not.  However, I want them to guess because if they guess correctly, then I know that I don't have to explain it if they don't get it.  And explaining it is something I just don't want to have to do.  Because, in the past, it has not lead to more understanding, it has just lead to more, "WTF?  You're a fucking freak!"

Still a lot of PTSD, still a lot of fear.   Yeah, I still hate rejection in some things.  Especially the things that get closer to my core. 

I'm finding once again, that I still have yet to find a community that I feel will accept me, care about me, support me, allow me to embrace and express myself in its hypersexual from, and even communally share that experience with me.   Are there communities out there like that?  It seems like there are but they don't seem all that accepting to me.   Am I fooling myself into thinking that such things exist?  It's really hard to know.  I spent one day at Folsom Street Fair last September and one weekend at Mid-Atlantic-Leather Weekend (MAL) back in January, and it sure as hell give me the impression that they do exist.  Despite the attention I got from some tourists at Folsom, I still walked away from those experiences not knowing anyone any better than I did before.  I felt like I have essentially wandered through a convention of cliquishness and exclusivity that I couldn't conform to.

At MAL, I met a few amazing people, and made some acquaintances, but they drifted off, others, after meeting, severed their online connection to me.  Confusing, frustrating, and sad.  There is something wrong with me, I get it.  I'm sorry.  I really don't have a clue how to talk about it, what to talk about, who to talk to and where to go with it.  And really, with no face-to-face, I'm at a loss.

I have so little connection, so little opportunity to travel and engage with others who share that life, being so isolated geographically from all of it, I've never been given a chance to really immerse myself fully, to really find myself, understand how it connects to me and what a lot of it really means.  I'm still trying to strip off the old masks, tear down the old walls from the Mormon cult I grew up in.  I've been isolated from everyone really; even in the cult I isolated myself from it as much as I could.  Few friends in life, difficult to form new ones, social awkwardness seemed to be the defining factor in all things.   And in isolation, social and physical, I ended up developing my own ideas and eccentricities about the way I view life and sexuality.  And even the closest community that I found that aligns with mine, the gay/leather/kink/BDSM communities, which seem to be steeped in its own dogma of identity, that it shuts me out for not conforming.  Confusing, frustrating and sad.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

So, the Internet is all a buzz over the 9th Circuit Court ruling overturning Prop 8 in California.   So much is being written about its details and specifics that I don’t think I need to add anything to it. 

This is such a bittersweet moment.  I'm happy and I'm sad at the same time.

The talks, discussions, arguments and yes, even the insane, bigoted, demonizing rants from some active LDS members and other religious fundamentalists that I've witnessed, and had to endure, over the last few days on Facebook, all pretty much fit in with the predictable pattern of human behavior that is based on extreme religious fundamentalism such as Mormonism as they go through culture changes.  Even drawing from my own experience as an angry and raging ex-Mormon homosexual who has been continually wronged by the hateful domination of my religious peers, and speaking hateful like language on my own blog towards the religions they've committed their loyalty to, I'm not completely innocent in my own rants.   But what is setting me apart in this is that I’m now aware of my own reality. 

 I can understand where they are and I know what drives their fears,  and I’m not trying to prevent them from living their religion, even if I find it misguided and hateful.  I’m also aware that I used to be one of them.  But now I’ve seen and experienced both sides, and I know that their fear is unfounded.  But they only know the shadows on the cave wall, which now look even more threatening to them than ever before.

We may have won this little fight, but the backlash, bullying, and violence are going to swell because of this.  The twisted, fear-crazed, religious fundamentalists, which includes much of the active LDS membership, right along with other fundamentalist around the nation, most of them in the south and mid-west, are going to be expressing their fear, hate, and rage in ways we've never seen before.   I fully expect to see an acceleration of the continual upsurge of violence toward LGBT people as this so-called "culture war" escalates. 

I know I'm considered a pessimist in this but sadly, this is just the way it is; this is reality. 

It will be several decades before it's even close to being over.  Even if the Supreme Court granted full national marriage rights in 2014, there will always be several generations of hateful and dangerous bigots to contend with.

It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Question of Choice, Again!

Well, controversy!  It appears that Cynthia Nixon has been saying things that have gotten a few people in a tizzy in the past about the concepts of choice and homosexuality.  And now, this recent article has brought that all back in to the discussion again.  (The money quote can be found in context on page 3 of the article.)
I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice.
And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.
A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.
As you can tell, I am very annoyed about this issue. Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate.

And a few others have been weighing in on it as well:

Sulli: The word "choice"
dadsprimalscream: Choices – We’re not All the Same

I like what they have to say about it.  And I agree with Cynthia and Dad, on this as I had pretty much come to the same conclusion myself last year in my post A Question of Choice.

But there is an argument going on in a few Facebook groups about it that I sort of let myself get sucked into.    And I realized that the topic isn't as straight forward for some as it was for me.  But I've been reflecting on it to see where I've come with this since last year. 

Some people feel like she was being a troll in her comment, I don't see it that way at all.  Some are concerned that bringing choice into the argument is dangerous for the younger and insecure kids trying to deal with this while being pounded on by the nasty religious environment they are growing up in, and that her statement is only adding fuel to their rhetoric.  I don't discount that many feel that way.   But I also believe that what they believe is fuel for their rhetoric could also be the very thing that drowns it.

Cynthia has a slightly different perspective than I do as she is attracted to everyone whereas I'm only attracted to my own sex.  Cynthia chose gay over not gay in the end.  But before that she also had to make the choice to accept that part of herself and choose to live it as well.   I also believe that many of the worst homophobes out there may have had the same type of choice.  But they chose to be not gay.  But before that, they chose to reject and hate the gay part of themselves.  

My choice was to decide if I was going to accept it and live as I am or repress it and live as someone who was not attracted to anyone.  I eventually chose the one that would make me happy because choosing asexually for the past 17 years stopped working for me.  So, I tried gay and gay was better.  I never chose heterosexuality because I could never understand it.  I did choose to consider it, date a few women, even claim I was straight, but all that time I was essentially, unconsciously, choosing asexuality when I did that.  And after awhile, I began to believe I was asexual and then eventually identified as such for a time.   I also chose not to live AS a heterosexual because I didn't have or understand what it was.  I chose what I understood.  

For far too long the LGBT community as been on the defensive.   The choice question has been allowed to be framed by the people who want to see choice in terms of right and wrong.  I can say I made a choice and I can defend my choice because I don't let the bigots frame the question of choice as right or wrong.   I did not choose my innate desires.  But I choose how I'm going to live with them.  The LDS church has come to the point now of accepting that the innate desires are not chosen, but that how we act on them is a choice.  Well, of course they are right, HOWEVER, they are also dictating what is the right or wrong choice by giving that choice meaning that is important only to them. And that if we choose wrong by their standards, we should not be respected, supported or loved.  This is pretty much the entire religious right's stance on it not just the LDS view.   

What I'm getting at and what I believe Cynthia is trying to say is that pandering to the bigotry, as if the bigots have any right to dictate what choices people make, is the wrong approach and the wrong way to justify one's own choices.

We do not have to justify our choice to live as we are, even though they are demanding it from us.  They're also demanding the right to have control over people to prevent them from making choices that they don't agree with and that don't even affect them.  That is what needs to be challenged.

Ironically, reminding them that their religious belief is a choice actually doesn't work because they see it as someone making the right choice.  And for them, if it's something they agree with, why shouldn't it be protected? 

Again, challenging their argument that personal choices shouldn't be protected because they disagree with them is really what it comes down to, and it's basically what the whole Prop 8 trial debate has been about.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Version 1 Results of LGBT Mormon Survey

The first version of results regarding the LGBT Mormon Survey has been released.
Contains explanations about the charts released in the prelim results.

Please click here:
Version 1 of LDS SSA study newsletter now available

(Previous reference: Prelim Results of LGBT Mormon Survey )

Copyright (c)2009-2013. All rights reserved.