Friday, January 9, 2009

Losing My Religion

That's me in the corner
that's me in the spotlight
losing my religion

This is it. I must be really going crazy. As I tried to ease into the room, I felt the fourteen pairs of eyes piercing at me. I was the last one to arrive and this was it. This was therapy. Group therapy. A Workshop on how the relationship that black gay men have with their fathers affects the relationships that black gay men have with their partners and friends.

I was not sure how I got myself into this mess. I wanted to turn-around. This force kept holding me down. I will not even tell how I met the therapist or about hour previous one-on-one session the night before that ALMOST went Overboard….(ALMOST!) I promised him that I would give group therapy a try and well I guess from the looks of it…I was trying it.

My first thoughts…I was beating myself up for wearing khaki slacks and a cardigan. I guess that was my way of trying to assert myself… to prove that I was more than a pretty face, a young dummy with nothing to offer, You know…that sort of thing. Channing (the therapist) warned me before that I would probably be the youngest in the group, that most of the men were in their mid 30’s, and probably would consider me a baby. Well I’m far from being a baby and I guess I felt the need to dress the part. Anyway, can you say OVERDRESSED! These men had on jeans, generic t-shirts, sandals (yes in the Winter)… so you can imagine how silly I felt.

They had so much food and I did not understand why. I didn’t eat. I hate eating in front of strangers. So I filled out my name tag (contemplating jotting down a fake name…but decided against it since Channing already knew my real name) and waited for the show…I mean session to began.

Well, the fact that Channing had passed out an article that he xeroxed from Wikipedia did not impress me. I do not know if that was the English Major in me coming out or the Judgmental Major in me coming out…whichever it was…I tossed it aside and deemed that I would not be able to get what God obviously wanted me to get from being there…if I spent my time worrying about fashion, food, and how it irks me when people use Wikipedia as a reputable source.

Can I just say that once I finally focused… I was in for some serious healing. Channing kept emphasizing a point that hit home… “How can you as black men…love another black man when you cannot, will not, or do not love your father?” Channing asked us to write down the recurring negative feelings experienced in our last relationship and then the recurring negative feelings experienced with our father. In my last relationship, I did not feel “good enough”, “handsome enough”, “equal enough”, and “valued enough”. Ironically, this is the same way I feel with my father.

You see, I only saw my father one time in my life (Refer to my I Am My Father’s Son Post) and we do not have a relationship. I feel nothing for him and I did not realize that this nothingness affects the hell out of me. I guess I always felt that if he thought I was special, that he would seek me out…that he doesn’t even lose sleep over me when he closes his eyes at night….that he has a relationship with his other children…but not me.

Until I faced this…took care of this…then it will continue to daunt me…that it will show its evil faces in my relationships and friendships….and it was true. It was too true and I was too done.

The men shared, and of course I sat silently…but on the inside I was saying something…a whole lot of something. I was touched by their tears, their testimonies, them having to tell their fathers about their sexuality…and what it did to them…how it broke them…left them into scattered pieces….similar to the way I felt scattered my whole life… underneath my togetherness.

“Until we are honest about our experiences, our feelings…even those that are painful…until we do the work with our fathers”, Channing said… “We can’t progress.”

When the fifteen minute break was called, I couldn’t move. I was there…but I couldn’t move.

Here ended the first half of the session. “Be sure to come back for the second half…we’ll be discussing something, I’m sure you all will enjoy….SEX”, Channing announced.

P.S. I ran to my car and for fifteen minutes I cried like I never cried before.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hey Jupiter

No one's picking up the phone
guess it's clear he's gone
and this little masochist
is lifting up her dress
guess i thought
i could never feel the things i feel
hey Jupiter
nothing's been the same
so are you safe
now we're through
thought we both could use a friend to run to

I still love Tori. After all these years, she can still feel the pain of some black boy who grew up with nothing but wanted everything, who fights, day after day, the simple wars, the ones that destroy.

A masochist is one who gains gratification gained from pain, deprivation, and degradation that is inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others. A masochist usually seeks this form of gratification. Jupiter, the little masochist lifts up her dress and she feels. So when Jupiter lifts up her dress, she opens herself up to more pain. She invites the pain in.

What’s wrong with Jupiter? Can she not feel anymore because she has felt too much or has she died a different kind of death…the death of Ivan Ilyich?

Who is this masochist? Who is Jupiter? I think we all have a little Jupiter inside of us.

In many ways I felt that I was Jupiter

I was Jupiter when everyone cried and I sat still, untouched, and locked.

I was Jupiter when he moved away, after very little notice, and then insisted that we play the pretend game.

I was Jupiter when I turned down going out with polite and nice (but average) for cruel and nasty (but beautiful).

I was Jupiter when I stayed in bed to escape the 9-5 routine.

I was Jupiter when I couldn’t relate to his tears because I have known deeper cuts, deeper struggles, deeper battles.

I was Jupiter when I have to deal with that ignorant confederate boss, every single day, smiling, biting my tongue, looking into her blue eyes that reject everything about me…. And I reject her….and every time we play this game of fa├žades just to get alone…well it takes me to considerable lengths

I was Jupiter when I made a 99 and everyone thought that I should be happy.

So if I am like the masochist… If we are all like the masochist… Do we keep lifting, running, feeling? I suppose that in retrospect when the boots leave a mess on a heart that’s soaking wet, that in all that breakdown there will be beauty. Jupiter does not know it yet. I don’t either.

P.S She’s keeping the baby. It’s all coming out. Everything. From the Inside.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Boys In The Trees

Do you go to them or do you let them come to you
do you stand in back afraid that you'll intrude
deny yourself and hope someone will see
and live like a flower
while the boys grow in the trees?

I wish I was straight and I envy heterosexual males.

The last time I felt like this is when I made myself come to the conclusion that I was a homosexual. After praying, crying, and trying to understand, I finally did understand. I realized that being a homosexual is just one part of who I am. It did not have to absolutely define me; furthermore, it did not have to affect my behavior, goals, or choices. It simply meant that I preferred to sleep with men, not women….and I probably had to rethink my visions of a wife and three kids. What a tough pill to swallow? I swallowed it though and believe it or not I was starting to love and accept my life as a homosexual male.

Everything was fine until I moved to Atlanta. Atlanta has been a tough, tough city for me with a capital T, and I often find myself feeling like such an outsider to the “Mecca” of black gay men. In Atlanta I can only see a bleak future for myself when I observe the plethora of black homosexual men who are CONSUMED and caught up by the gay life.

Dating in Atlanta has been a non-existent disaster for me.

I just want options!

I have no gay male friends in Atlanta. I only hang out with females. Most men hanging out at the places that my female friends and I hang out: live music lounges, nice (not even expensive) dinning, independent film showings, and things of that sort are all straight...and this causes most of my loneliness.

You see, I had one of the best nights, I have had in a very long time when I went out with my good female friend to this spot called, “Loca Luna’s” about two weeks ago. It felt good just to be out and the men were sending me into some serious overdrive….nice button downs, tailored blazers, stylish loafers, and Creed fragrance. The music was a nice blend of salsa, meringue, and house. The band and the delicious tapas made me feel good to be alive. The only problem was that all the men were straight and they certainly were not checking for me. They were rightfully checking for the beautiful women who had noticeably come with their A game. I am not saying that when I go out, I need to be validated by having someone “check” for me…. But why shouldn’t I? I kill myself in school, at work, and the gym. If I had been a straight man, I would have left with tons of numbers that night. I am completely sure of it.

The scenario would have been much, much different if I would have been in any of the “popular” black gay establishments in Atlanta. The footwear would have been either Timberlands or extremely colorful sneakers. The music would have been undoubtedly ALL hip-hop. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against hip-hop, Timberlands, or things of the sort….but much of this is just not a reflection of my aesthetics. There would be no diversity. I would have to go to either an ALL black gay club or an ALL white gay club. I am not use to this.

The white gay spots are even more awful and depressing in Atlanta (The South) because 90% of the whites only like whites and the other 10% want their idea of a black “thug”...which is borderline offensive (but the blacks want a black “thug” too). What a mess and as you see I have nowhere to go. To make matters even worse, the few black guys in the white gay establishments will not even speak to you because they consider you a threat and think they, themselves are white. At least some of the white gays will speak or can carry on a conversation about something other than Beyonce or sex. At the black gay establishments, many times, I have witnessed guys stand in their circles and send off nasty energy, that always bring down my spirits, talking about every guy that walks by…. I know because many times, I have been that guy.

The more I self build…Stimulating my mind and exercising my body, I feel a distance (there goes that word again) from myself and the other black gay males in Atlanta. It has caused a great deal of recurring pain and detachment.

When I lived in NY and looked outside my window, the mass melting pot of people going and coming gave me an indescribable invigorating feeling. I longed to be exposed to new things and new ideas. In Atlanta, I just feel nothing and my non-existent dating life and companionship sends me into an overdrive of despair.

I just want to know what it would be like to be able to have the kind of choices and availability that straight men have in Atlanta. Isn’t it ironic that they are the ones rocking skinny jeans, button downs, aviator glasses, and turning Lucky’s Food Lounge into a Soho haven!

I do not understand when grown men call themselves kids and child. I have no desire to be in balls (no pun intended) and attend black gay pageants. I feel funny having to pay to get into a club that feels more like jail, with scary lesbian police following you around and yelling. I do not wear excessive urban wear or backward caps. I am allergic to broke-down parties where you have to bring your own bottle and the people only associate with the people who they came with. I often feel sad that I have tons of new shit from Club Monaco in my closet that I just cannot wear because I feel that the only compliments that I would ever get when I wear them are from females....and why bother.

You see, lately, I have been doing some real struggling. Why must I always feel this anxiety, this difference, this remoteness, this coldness, this “it’s been months and months, and he still has no dates.”

It is just not fair. You know. I had to be born this way because I would never choose it and it is too bad I have enough truthfulness to refuse to refute it.

The funny thing is that since I moved to Atlanta, so many people constantly tell me that I expect too much, have unrealistic expectations, and live in a fantasy world. I hear this at least once a week.

P.S those “so many people” have all been black gay men.