Wednesday, July 5, 2017
This was the year I met someone who would shape and influence a very particular part of my life. His name will not be mentioned but the story must be told.
He was a senior and I was entering my junior year. We both sang and admired each others voices. We began to spend so much time together laughing, completing each others sentences in perfect synchronicity. We got each other on a level I never had with other heterosexual males and I was refreshed to have someone so close that I could have this with.
He, in the beginning of our friendship was dating this church girl who was a fiery Puerto Rican. She quick became annoyed at our close proximity and eventually started giving him ultimatums of spending more time and attention with her as I was taking too much of his time and energy for her liking. That didn't work as he relatively ignored her. She then decided to approach me and inform me of how much I needed to "know my place" and understand she was his girlfriend. I told her the only truth I knew, "I know him better than you. I know what he likes, how he thinks, what he feels. THe stuff you should know but probably never will. So while you are his girl, girls can come and go. A best friend will most likely outlast you."
I was from then on not her favorite person. I was however, quite right.
I had another close girl friend at the time, this was the friend in other essays I described being intimate with. She was the girl who held a safe space for me to explore my sexuality through and with her and in essence taught me the beauty of being with a woman in such a manner. I having brought my good Boy friend around more often, things opened up to us engaging in sexual activities together. Us three intimate and together. It was the best of my two worlds coming together and I was so elated to be part of the threesome with two people I genuinely and deeply cared for. TO look over and see my best friend aiding me in pleasing my other best friend and us being able to lock eyes while we engaged in this and to see her obvious pleasure, it was magic.
Nothing about this became weird for us, we maintained that platonic bond and would mention it with out any fear of it being a funky issue. There was never discomfort between us we always held space for each other. That was the beauty of our friendship.
This was until he started dating the Troglodyte. She was a friend of a friends friend. A college girl who was the awkward frumpy yet funny girl. I took to her immediately and naturally by extension so did he. Me being of a certain age and mindset would never have guessed the two would or even could become an item of any kind. People like him didn't date girls that look like him, and vise versa. I've seen the pretty girls he made swoon, she was not on the list of candidates. Sad thing in retrospect is I boxed her in this same box I feared and resented people placed me in. Pot kettle anyone?!
Well imagine me and other peers of mine surprise when the two started getting touchy touchy and eventually closer. Close enough to maybe even be an item... we were all in shock. No one more than me who denied such allegations until I laid eyes upon it. Naturally I was flabbergasted.
I quickly understood the dynamic of someone with feelings for someone else and the depths of such. None of which I was prepared for as I realized I was now a third wheel in the mix of things. I never had to fear such a thing, others were the third wheel not I. That had all changed. I was watching as I had less and less time with him and I would hear third hand of him traveling and hanging out with other mutual friends we had and I got zero of an invite. Being invited was not a party either as anytime I hung out with them it was them cuddled on a couch kissing and touching while I sat across the way trying not to notice. I then realized how possessive I had become of him and paranoid of our friendship of which now seemed to have been changing drastically. To watch him hold an actual space for this person and be so close... to kiss them and look in their eyes. It infuriated me, I was seething. I was surface of the sun heated and eyes squinted to high heaven. I even tried dating other dudes to distract myself and it did nothing to feel the want to have my friend in the mix.
I had to confront him.
"Whats with her? How does this even work? She came in and took over you and I'm out here left in the cold. I don't appreciate it. You know how much I love you, like you are my dude. I got to share you with her of all people. Leaving me out of things? And when you do invite me I have to watch you all locked up with her on that couch?! I cant do this, this is too much."
He responded in kind, "You know I love you. This just happened and I actually like her and we are just seeing where this is going. Just don't be so mean with her and so distant."
Call it self preservation based on fear and paranoia. I could not be in too present with them it brought out such an ugly in me. I could not deal with the sight of them together and so close, not while I was no where in that mix. No place for me anymore.
This new dynamic wound up pushing me out into the world where I met new friends. Gay friends. I have never had gay friends, I feared having them and acted hostile to a degree. There was only room for on gay and that was me, and no I didn't want to be identified as a gay. I expected my sexuality not be mentioned or discussed with anyone or for any ones entertainment. I, however did not want to openly associate with gay friends who would bring more attention to me and what I thought was my in place façade of assumed heterosexuality. Well here I was with a new set of friends who took me in and began showing me the lifestyle of gay males. I got hipped to the cruising in the seedy and public spots, I got hipped to wardrobe and clubs. People like me were out and about having great sex and great times in safe environments with people who identified with my sexual orientation. This space allowed me some time to get to know other males in ways I never would. This was a "sisterhood" of men... or so I thought.
Guess who came back into the mix once the troglodyte love interest suddenly didn't work? That's right, my bestie, my boy, my boo... And what did I do? I opened up these arms and I let him back into the space I carved out for him by my side and in my heart. Come home boo come on through and welcome back into my fold.
This was until I realized what bringing in a straight an open minded hetero into the mix can be or would be... Like chum in shark filled waters. I had no idea.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
This was a group of mixed folks. Myself, a Cuban man, A Puerto Rican man, a Guyanese man and woman. The music requested that was played shortly after, was Salsa. Here is my thing with Salsa, I could dance well on my own. I could dance like the only salsero when it was just me, myself, and I. Once I had to be paired with someone and do something like a turn I immediately became self conscious and scared. Would I be the one that stepped on their toes? Accidently kicked their shin? Perhaps fall off step and beat embarrassing myself and my dance partner?
This was the position I was in when that music began to play in the bar. I was grabbed by my friends and ushered to the dance floor. I hesitated and I protested that I did not dance well with others despite my desire to do so. They got me anyways and in good patience and sincerity started dancing with me and showing me how to be turned and how to follow the lead. I shied away so bad I felt the whole room shrink and what felt like an audience of people watching how horrible of a paired dancer I was. I shied away and several times tried to leave my dance partner and friend on dance floor, he strengthened his grip on my waist and hand and said, "Come on. Like you have confidence. Wheres your confidence?"
It was a comfortable moment, I felt safe and vulnerable all at once. I felt inadequate and eager to learn. Most of all I felt lost and shy. I was that awkward child and awkward man I've always been when it came to interaction with others that resulted in me and other men in a close setting.
Where was my confidence?! Why was that not the fucking question of the year, or of my life?
I don't even know what the word means when it pertains to me. I mean, sure I know I do some things well in life that I am confident about by which I can execute well. However, the feeling of confidence overall was not something found in my character or persona. I walked around meek and what I thought was humble most times. This meant saying thank you when complimented but not really believing you were the greatness or the goodness of the compliment. More that the person giving the compliment was just being kind. This meant knowing you are good at something and just not ever thinking you were great, knowledge allowed you to understand you just were not bad at it. This meant that while I knew I was not ugly, I knew I was not beautiful/attractive.
Was the partnering of Salsa too intimate? Was this why I actually could not excel at it or wouldn't allow myself to? Did this spring from my insecurities in which I could not allow myself to be intimate or close to men in a non sexual setting? Was this from my inability to connect to my Puerto Rican identity due to my inability to speak Spanish or knowledge of what appears to be Latin music and or popular culture? WHat made me shy away from this man dancing with me? What made me feel so small? This was nothing he did, this was definitely all me.
I recalled all the times I was rejected and ignored by men I showed interest in. I remembered the times I was told I was friend material and not much else. I remembered the time I was told how lucky I was that I was even touched let alone seen in public with an individual. I was then called fat and ugly. Icing on the cake. I remembered countless times I fell for someone who would be my friend because there was at least a level of closeness there an investment of feelings in each other. Yet I was still friend zoned.
I do not have an answer just yet or a solution other than I know I am in the midst of change in how I see myself and how I think about myself. I hope to one day be able to be embraced in dance and be able to allow myself the comfort of being in the moment instead of the all the past flooding into my mind and causing paralyzing fear.
Friday, June 23, 2017
There are distinct times where me an over intuitive Cancerian had listened to what I swore was the voice of my gut and wound up being the voice of a wounded soul. Every time I listened to that voice there was a damn problem.
I have encountered many people who do the same. The insecure partner who muses, "I feel it in my bones that he/she is cheating on me."
This could very well be true in fact one who is intuitive and observant can surely feel when one becomes distant or withdraws to a significant degree from them. I mean if you have been in any toxic relationships like I have been in you would know how horrible it feels to be alone in the same room as someone you are in a relationship with.
However, spirit and intuition is solution oriented and does not dwell in the same space as fear. You will notice, as I did, that there is a resignation or action influenced mindset that follows the gut tug feelings. For instance when I felt like my significant other was cheating I also was presented with the feeling of, "So what you want to do about it?" Intuition forced me to delve into questions like, "If you really feel this thing are you going to confront it? Are you going to wait for some proof or trust the gut tug? Are you going to stay or are you going to go?"
See, insecurity/ego will whisper the problems to you hardly ever offering you the insight or opportunity to delve into self reflection or a problem solving mindset.
There were times when I had convinced myself I could not nor would not do something and then related back to myself in a negative manner. This was fear, the ego mind telling me I cannot dress in good fashionable clothes because I am not the right size. Or I would shoot down the idea of being able to find something I liked or that fit me already "knowing" that nothing would be there for me that I actually liked or could where. This turned some of my retail purchasing moments horrifying and extremely agitating. Which voice was that? EGO/Insecurity.
Times when I knew my then partner had no interest in me but much interest in other men, no conversation could utter from my lips because I just knew I would be alone and the fear of such kept me from any solution at all to how I was feeling.
I find my intuition is conversational with me in how I process. That voice which comes out and asks, "Bitch really?! What you doing about your feelings? Whats the plan of action?"
Verses that other voice that says, "So you are not worthy of that good thing/opportunity/place." That voice of aint shitness.
Part of spiritual development is learning discernment and when to tell the difference between two opposing things. What better way to start than with yourself and the difference of opinions within your consciousness?
So I'm putting this out there when you think your intuition is talking just STOP and Breathe... ask yourself the good questions and do your best to determine what is really speaking in that moment.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
This year, with age and maybe even with this writing commitment I noticed I was examining many portions of my being that I may have glanced over and or just generally accepted. Part of that was the use of the word Faggot and the weight it held in my own life. My last memoir/essay talked about this very thing, and in the fashion of the universe responding to us in kind... I was faced with this very thing. Where there is a resistance in your life to something there is a lesson to be learned there and Life, God/Goddess, Universe is ready to teach you.
So I was on the 4 train heading to work and it was not your typical morning. There were some train issues and minor delays. This caused this particular 4 train to be rather full in the early hours of the morning where it normally would not be. In typical NY fashion people pile themselves in to the train car like a modern game of jenga and twister all in one. You ever see some of the angles one would put their back, arms, legs, and but just to fit into the cart and be on their merry way to their intended destination. This one black man, slight of height perhaps 5'7" with a lean yet muscular build and medium length dreds just barely touching his shoulder enters the car. He really didn't fit in but he made sure to squeeze his way in to the already tight and filled space by the door. I observe all this as I usually do when I am in any public setting. I need to see who is on this train with me, I take note of any characters I find interesting or not. Plus you never know if you on the train with "The Killer"... just saying. I go back to reading my kindle, I'm steeped into my sci-fi series I have been reading over the last 3 months. That's when I hear the mess 3 people down from me. By whom you ask? Why, none other than Dred man.
"Excuse me and I apologize. I aint into that gay shit. Thank you very much. No faggot shit for me thank you." My head snaps up in pure NYC nosey-ness he was not talking to anyone in particular just outloud and I figured the car train must have jostled as it normally and often does causing another man near him to perhaps bump into him or touch a place of him he considered his "privates". Look this is NYC, congested as NYC in a train car filled with people anxious to get to work or home you sometimes have to take the L, bite the bullet and put up with the close confines and movement of those crammed into the same car as you. There is no time nor need to get in your feelings unless someone is willfully and inconsiderately doing something to upset you and encumber upon your person.
This dude was being DAILY News... as in EXTRA EXTRA read all about it! He went on a tirade, a small 'I need attention' party.
"No faggot shit here. I aint no pussy boy. I'm a real man. I love the ladies. Faggots will not get into heaven. They are sick, and disgusting."
I promise yall, I was just trying to read my book and mind my business. My head started shaking in disbelief, I could not believe in pride month this Ass Hat was giving all of this. Before I knew what was happening I heard a familiar voice say, "Man shut the fuck up! Nobody wants to hear all that shit. Just shut the fuck up." I realized the voice was mine. I couldn't even hold that in, it was absurd to witness that early and unwarranted.
His first typical hood and macho reaction was, "Make me pussy boy. Faggot"
In that moment I laughed. I couldn't control it and I couldn't tell you from where it came exactly but it erupted out similar to my previous outburst. I was given images of this person, run ins with a man who would visit the family who molested this young man. A self hatred due to a desire to be close to other men and not understanding why and or how far. This was an individual ravished by a predator and his own confusion about what happened to him and possibly the whys. I have seen it a million times before. This was nothing to do with homosexuals but much more to do about his struggle.
Somewhere along my laughter I realized I wanted to be sad for him but the laughter at the toxic masculinity that permeates the earth that doesn't allow men to talk about their abuse and or be seen as weak and the need to puff up their chest and be loud and vocal about themselves to mask their fears and pain... its laughable to a degree. I paid this character all I could, in joy. He would not take that away from me, I responded in joy to his mess and other joined in with me laughing. We drowned out his spewing hatred with laughter.
Happy pride yall.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
I trembled whenever I heard the word. First time I heard the word it was my gym teacher of East Middle School in Brentwood, Ms. Brown. She saw something in me and despised it, I could only assume it was my homosexuality or what she perceived as such. I mean there was no way to assess such a thing, I was not sexually active nor was I one of those kids who had a date to anything or a steady someone. Socially I was a chubby kid with a smart mouth and a joke at the ready. I was known for my singing and ability to impress people with my large vocal range, being able to sing Jodeci, Tevin Campbell, and Mariah Carey with little effort. Even with this talent, I never felt I had anything worth noticing enough to make me popular or wanted by my peer group. The other boys around me all were athletic. They loved B Ball or Football or baseball. I most certainly did not. For one I'm not running unless a wild animal is in pursuit, or a deranged monster from one of these movies. I also never wanted to draw attention to my frumpy and plump body. I wanted to meld into the mix and be ignored. This dreaded fear to draw any attention to myself while changing in the locker room or how my little extra poundage jiggled when I ran. NO SIR! I would not willingly subject myself to that. This woman must have saw this insecurity, this awkward avoidance of anything physical within a group setting. She latched on to this and made it her personal mission to what I assume was to "toughen" me up.
In one particular class she was showing us how to dribble the ball. I had big feet and was not a coordinated young man by any means. I often could not get the hang of dribbling the ball in place without it hitting the tip of my sneaker and go sailing off and away from me. She looked at me, eyes squinting with disapproval and loudly blared, "Stop dribbling the ball like a faggot." She proceeded to grab the basket ball and throw it at my face. It hit me in my right eye and I felt so assaulted. Having always been one to finish what anyone started with me, I bum rushed her and snatched her heavy gym keys from her neck and proceeded to wail on her with them. That led to more than a few weeks in what the school called, In School Suspension. This allowed the unruly problematic kids to sit in a room the whole day and only eat one thing off the lunch menu... PB&J. And not just any PB&J... this Peanut Butter came in a loaf... that's right like a bread. It was dense and in a plastic tube-like binding. It was sliced from its cylindrical shape into a circle... think about that for a minute. So thick you couldn't even spread it. It just sat on your dry hamburger bun like a hockey puck. Every period a teacher, teachers assistant or elect student would drop off your classwork to you so you can be in the loop of what was going on in the class you should have been attending. I spent more time in the In School Suspension that in any actual classrooms.
WHy you ask?
My mouth and my temper. I was quick to tell adult and child alike that when it came to me, don't ask me shit. Mind your business was my tag line and mantra. I repeated that often, freely, and with much gusto. So far what I could ascertain from my social status was that I was a troubled child with no noteworthy physical features or aptitude.
My father was the next person to call me Faggot. In an attempt to teach me basketball and show me a "mans sport" the way I attempted dribbling the ball... again... and the way I ran after it after it got away from me incited an annoyance in my father who told me to be firm with the ball I was on control and to NOT go "running around with it like NO Faggot."
This was exactly why I hated sports. Why did I have to play games that consisted of hitting balls with sticks, or running with a ball through a field as people chased you to take it away? Bitch, have the ball it aint that serious. Each time I was forced to play touch football, wiffle ball, basket ball a piece of me became fearful. Why must I be subjected to being compared with my older siblings and other boys I could never measure up to? This was torture. I longed to throw on my cassettes and lip synch to my favorite artists while drawing illustrations of comic book characters that I conjured from the creative chamber of my imagination.
This word followed me through school. Each year some brave and silly soul would call me out my name or allude to my sexuality being anything other than heterosexual and in essence questioning this mantle I called manhood. I fought a lot. I body slammed, and punched and insulted my way through the ranks of offenders and all to be left alone. I assumed this being left alone, this second guessing by my would be adversaries was respect for my maleness, for this notion of this one identifying factor that I gave so much power to.. and yet I still felt alone. I still felt apart from the other boys and men.
As I came into myself more and into my sexuality and lived life I let go a lot of the pain and toxic mentality that centered around this idea of maleness. This effected my choices in intimate partners in that I didn't want anyone like me who was perhaps deemed "feminine" and less than, I wanted the regular boys I always wanted to be and would never. I wanted this fantasy of hyper-masculinity that I thought existed based on the narrative of life around me. I was the asshole with the " NO fems" ready to tell another man who may be interested in me and whose love and affection I probably could have benefited from, that they were not wanted simply because we were on the same side of not masculine enough. Can you imagine that? There are dating profiles all over the place that exclude the fats, the fems, and the like and yet the fats and fems don't want the fats and fems either. They want the abusers, the ones who hold power by embodying some fantasy of masculinity that in reality does not exist.
Mind blown as I look at how toxic this is.
I think about any oppressed marginalized people and groups and you will often see this reversal, in their seeking for freedom and the shift in privilege and power you see the desire to want to be the holder of the same power, wielding it similarly. I cannot determine if this is simply human nature or not but its scary to see the effects it has in our community.
I see it with lesbian couples too. The idea and notion of "masculinity" equates with power and aggression and therefore any woman who exemplifies something deemed "masculine" may be found more attractive to those who are not.
Things are never black and white, there are the gray areas and that must be acknowledged. There are the colorful and that too has to be acknowledged. One of my hardest things to come in contact with in my relationships was when to be aggressive both sexually and in general and when to be passive while not feeling like someone was questioning my manhood or diminishing it.
"So what I bottomed for you aint your bitch!"
Messy aint it?
This is the topic I would love to see amongst more men.
I recently came across those who embrace a moniker of Radical Fairies and Faggots and empower the word. I'm at a place now that I can totally take hearing that from another gay person but from s straight man I react with the anger of my youth.. This has just happened more recently. I have been public about the abuse by some in our spiritual community and some of the offenders have resorted to name calling. Namely the many slurs associated with my sexuality which held this underlying slight at my manhood.. I realized as I stewed in anger that I had not fully dealt with my thoughts regarding the illusion of masculinity and manhood from a perspective of male misogyny. I did not realize how much IM ready to still have to prove myself to people I can give less than two shits about and that are actual offenders and supporters of Domestic Violence. And I'm allowing my manhood to feel questioned and examined? LAUGH MY WHOLE ENTIRE ASS OFF!
I'm glad I have this outlet to write it all out and think about how these words will only have power if I allow them to, that these people who really aint shit should not rile me up so else I give them way too much of my energy and worse... peace of mind. No one deserves that shit.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
It all starts with me walking on the Fulton platform waiting for my A train to arrive and walking up the platform where I can get to a spot that will allow me access to the first 3 cars of the train. I observed this Indian boy of no older than 15 yrs old, sitting on one the railings underneath the stairs minding his own business and on his phone. This was a place many people sat and or leaned back upon as they wait for their train as seats are limited on the platform if at all present. This day was already rainy and damnp leaving people in somewhat of a mood that can only verge on tense or annoyed. This older white women walks by and her plastic bag pancho gets snagged on the knee of this youth. The pancho catches and causes a tear along its side between her arms and flank. She jerks a bit from the snag, looks at the youth trying to decide if he did it on purpose. He obviusly did not as he softly apologized. She walks away shaking her head, headed back down the platform on her unmerry way. By this point I'm just passing the young guy in my swift NYC stride. This is when I hear a ruckus erupt behind me. Would you know this woman walked back to this kid and started screaming and cussing at him.
"You shouldn't be fucking sitting up there. Get the fuck down from there you fucking idiot!"
The boy, eyes wide and very intimidated started to gather his book bag and move..
Enter me, Captain save a ho got up right in his face without looking at her and said, "you stay right the fuck there. You don't let no bully get in your face and tell you to move. She had plenty of room for her plump ass to meander and navigate where she was going. You stay right where you at and ignore her stankin ass!" At this point i shot her a glare and she shut the hell on up and walked away from him.
I want to know what warranted such an outburst from her towards the youth. Granted the kid could have been more aware himself of where he sat and perhaps the length of his legs as he was quite tall but there is no need to talk like that to that young man who already apologized. I could not help but wonder would she have talked to him this way if he was a white child? Did she realize she was just as unaware as he was in where they were at the time of their collision and interaction? She could have easily watched her surroundings instead of assuming he was ware and would move.
I often mind my business but I see it more and more as people tend to lose their good sense or consideration for train and or subway they share with other people. I see people who think nothing of your space and comfort as their need to get home or wherever they are going overrides all things including others.
Today a black man screamed at a Latina woman because every time the train moved her bag or arm grazed him and he was not one to be touched in a crowded train in the over populated NYC. She was standing with her reasonably sized pocketbook clutched to her side and he wanted to tell her how she should be standing so that he would not get "bumped". Wrong Latina though. While not the best display of wit or intelligence, she went into pure survival mode and decided to scream louder than him and tell him about himself and how miserable he is and where he needs to keep that misery.. namely not directed at her.
They went at it for a short while and then it died down. I stepped closer to her because I was not confident if this man would hit her and while I loathed the notion of having to put down my kindle and scrap on the train I was ready to defend this young lady if he tried anything. Thank God it never happened and I got to read some more.
Oh new York transportation perhaps one day will clean you up and get some order... or maybe a psychiatrist present on the MTA.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Today was great. I bought new clothes that were smaller than I'm used to buying. I tried on shirts I couldn't close before and can now close comfortably, and fitted jeans I could or would never wear. See, people my size didn't wear fitted anything.
Going shopping has always been a depressing thing for me to do. To look for cute clothes they never made in your size. Feeling taunted by racks and racks of clothes that were all the stylish rage but you could never fit into. The myriads of clothing marked your size but definitely run smaller than average not only wasting your time in trying them on but dealing a back handed sinister stab to your emotions. Marked XXL but really a medium large.
There were moments in a dressing room I stared in horror as the shirt i just tried on did not lay on my thick built body but instead clung to mounds and dimples I tried hard to ignore. It willingly punted me to every problem area I avoided. If i stood still enough and listened i could feel the clothes laughing at me. They carried the mirth of the manufactures who must have owned this moment. My own private humiliation. Tears have often streamed down my face as I looked at myself in these intimate private moments. I would never be stylish, I would never be cute..i couldn't get the clothes I want I instead had to settle on whatever could close and button around my rotund frame.
Frustrated,defeated and annoyed as I would leave clothing stores.. wanting nothing more than to head to the food court for a will placed taco bell meal or Auntie Anne pretzel.. fuck it I can't fit these clothes anyway. Might as will eat the goddamn carb laden food available and accept my date as the frumpy fat die with the cute face.
This day though, this day was different.. I got jeans i liked and they fit. Clothes I was going to throw away that didn't fit me last summer I was able to keep. This is new, this feels good. While I don't feel remarkably attractive by any means it felt nice for once in my 34 years of shopping to actually feel positive about clothes shopping.. feeling stylish or dare I say Cute.