Monday, August 12, 2013

Chapters From My Life: Stranger Danger

Keeping with the theme of the last two posts (sort of), I decided to type out my experience with a stalker.  When I was 17.  Apparently, I had it going on.  Now, when I say stalker, I don't mean that this person followed me everywhere, but it was still sort of creepy having someone that was obsessed with me.

Like I said, I was 17, in my senior year of high school.  Probably around March when it all started.  School had literally been out for 3 minutes, and I was walking down to my car.  Not to go spend time with friends or go to the local "hangout" that everyone else went to (spoiler:  it's the only restaurant that's open after school, the Chicken Hut).  No, after school, I went to pick up my sister, who was about 4 months old at this point, from her half-sister that kept her during the day, and then to take her home and watch her until mom came home from work.

Anyway, I'm down to my car, I'm ready to leave, when my brother (who is also driving to school now, who also takes his girlfriend home or to our house after school) comes running at me telling me his girlfriend's friend wanted to talk to me about something.  I protested, of course.  "I have to go pick up Sister, you know that."
"I know, it's only a minute, just wait, here they come now." he said, pointing up the hill towards the school.

I follow his finger and see a freshman walking down towards my car.  So I wait, I figure this won't take long.  He, yes, that's right, he, gets down to my car and starts stuttering (he has no speech problems).
(Images Drawn May Appear Fatter Than In Reality) 

"I, um... I, um, I, um, I'm making a, um, movie, and, um, I wanted, um, to ask you, um, if you, um, wanted, um, to be, um, in it."
Okay... he wants me to be in a movie, he's in the drama club or something, so that isn't too weird I guess...
"Okay, I can, I guess... I can't talk about it now, though.  I need to go pick up my sister from the sitter."
"Oh, um, okay, um, I can, um, talk to you, um, about, um, it tomorrow."

And he walked away from my car, to go catch his bus.  I left the parking lot, went and picked up my sister, and everything was fine after that.

The next day, I had first period with one of my friends, and I decided to talk about this with her.  (This little snippet also shows how much of a Richard my friends can be, so, there you go).

"You know Gerald, right?  He wanted to talk to me yesterday..."
"Oh, what about?"
"Well, he said he was making a movie and asked if I would be in it."
"HA!  I bet he would like to make a movie with you!  You walk in, he turns down the lights, lights some candles..."
"What are you talking about?"
"... put on some porn music."
"Oh, hell no!!  This shit ain't happenin', we're dating if he asks, you got it?"

Luckily, she agreed.  Not that it helped any.  At the end of this school day as well, I'm out at my car, unlocking it from the passenger side (because my car's remote doesn't unlock it, and the alarm goes off if I unlock it from the driver side).  When I feel a tap on my shoulder.  I turn around and: 

I kind of wish it had been her... I could have handled that.  Anyway, "Gerald" is standing there.  Wanting to talk to me.
"So, um... the real reason, I, um, wanted to talk to you, um, was, well, because, um, I have a, um, a crush oh you."
(Hair Drawn:  Bad, yet accurate)

Yeah, I had never been approached by anyone saying they had a crush on me before.  I had never really been expecting it either.  But, I did what I thought was best in this situation.  I threw my books in the back seat and said:
"Um... I'm not gay.  Sorry."

I then walked to the driver's side of my car, because I thought the conversation was over.  Apparently it wasn't.  He followed me to the driver's side.  I opened my door and looked back, and BAM!  There he was.
"Sorry, I just don't swing that way... I'm going to go pick up my sister now."

I then proceeded to get into my car, and after I had buckled myself in, I looked up and saw that he was already mostly across the parking lot.  I felt bad for him, and it took courage to come up to someone you don't even know and admit that, so I give him credit for that.
By the way, the reason he approached me at all, was because my brother's girlfriend, lets call her Jeanine, told him she thought I was into the D.  I had watched "Repo:  The Genetic Opera" over the weekend, actually, I fell asleep watching it, so after the credits rolled, it went to the menu screen, which I believe belts out one song back to back.  She happened to stay over that weekend, and heard it through the wall (thin walls between bedrooms) and just ran to him based on that.

But, it doesn't stop there.  He sees my friend at the local dollar store, and approaches her.  Concerning me/us.  He asks her if we're dating.  He had heard the rumors (concerning us dating), and wanted to know if they were true.  And as far as he knows, we were dating, I guess an earlier rumor concerning the two of us paid off (She was allegedly pregnant with my baby, which she then lost when she was in a jeep that rolled over or something.  People sure have active imaginations).

And... it doesn't stop there!  About a month later, one of the people in his circle of friends is standing next to me in line.  I guess I could say me and this person were on friendly terms, being fellow ex-band geeks.  Anyway, she says:

"You know, Gerald asked me what color your eyes were."
"Why?  That's an odd thing to ask... They're blue, by the way."
"He said he was writing a song about you, and he wanted to know."
"A song?!  That's... sweet, I guess..."
"Yeah, he's pretty obsessed with you..."
"Oh, well... I told him he was chasing a dead end a while ago.  I don't know what else to do."
"Yeah, he'll get bored eventually.  Sorry he's kind of fixated on you."
I never heard the song.  I'm kinda disappointed I never heard about it.  Although now that I think about it, maybe it was more of a distanced-admirer thing instead of stalker. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Inching Out

I wanted to do this post separate from the last one, because I felt that it would turn what I intended to be a short(ish) post into a short story.  Not that it didn't turn into one of those anyway.

So, I'm gay, and not out.  But I wanted to talk about why I'm not out, just so that it would be out there and maybe not on my mind as much.

First off, have I mentioned I live in a small town?  Because I do.  The kind where everyone knows what you did three counties over before you get home; somehow without the power of the Internet.  And, being in a small town, nearly everyone is a Christian, of one denomination or another (I'm aware of 5 people, including myself, that aren't).  I'm not saying I did nothing worthy of discussing in the hallways or at the local watering hole; I'm sure I've been the topic of conversation a time or two.  But I would just prefer, for now, that there be no snap judgements made about me concerning who I'm attracted to.

Normally, I have no issue with what people think about me.  But I attended high school in this small little town, where... 3 individuals were openly gay (surprising for a small town, I thought), and you could hear the typical slurs around them (out of anyone of authority's earshot, to be sure, although I'm not sure they would have done anything about it).  But, they mostly kept to themselves, within their own groups of friends.  And, I felt I was dealing with enough in high school:  uncomfortable with my body image, hormones, random boners, etc. and didn't want to deal with any more during that time.

Secondly, I enjoy having a place to live for now.  Yes, I still live in my mother's house.  No, I have no friends that would like to allow me to stay with them.  I stayed home while attending college, which I finished a year and a couple of months ago.  I stay here mostly because I have no income.  My fancy college degree isn't busting down any doors revealing people eager to offer me a job, or even give me an interview for that matter.  I'm sure my mother would be fine with the fact that I'm gay, but I still don't want to tell her while I'm technically under her roof.

See, when I was 14, I was in marching band.  Being 14, I had no legal way to transport myself other than walking, which is not an attractive method of travel when everything is at least 10 miles away.  So, I was stuck with my mother driving me to and from practices / Friday Night Football at the school, or to get on the bus that would whisk me away to a competition every Saturday for the fall/winter semester.  On the way to one of the Friday Night Football games, (if you're wondering why all those letters are capital, it's because that was a "thing," which we heard about every morning from cheerleaders over the PA), she started a conversation.  I don't really remember what we were talking about, something involving school I'm sure, when it turned into talking about homosexuality (we may have been discussing one of my friends that was also in band).

Mom:  "Well, that was one of the things I always feared about raising you and your brother by myself."
Me:  "What was?"
Mom:  "Making you or your brother gay.  Because that's what I heard when I divorced your father all those years ago."

Little old 14 year old me, struggling with coming to terms with it myself, was told this.  I'm sure that I would still be accepted after, but... the message I got from it at the time, and still read into it today, is that she doesn't want a gay son.  For whatever reason that may be.  We're not very religious, but maybe she's just religious enough to disown me.  (Note to parents that may be reading this:  kids remember a lot of the stuff you say to them.)

Keeping with the last post, I wanted to address some statements that I've seen or heard in other places.

Why don't you just try being straight / Do you wish you were straight?

I can't say I ever tried being straight.  I mean, I can think a girl / woman looks pretty, or nice, or hot, but I'm just not attracted to them.  I mean, I've talked to girls, and been friends with lots of them, but there's never any spark or anything there when I look at a woman.  As for wishing I could be, I don't know.  Sure, things would be somewhat easier in my psyche, but then I wouldn't be the person I am today.

Well, I'm a youth minister, and a lot of the people I talk to that are gay were molested at a young age by an older male.  It makes me wonder if that had anything to do with it.

I won't say that their past experience had nothing to do with shaping who they are.  And I can only speak of my experiences.  I  was molested around age 8.  I won't say any more than that because I feel it has no bearing with what I want to say here.  Even before that event happened, I still felt the same way.  I can remember being 4 or 5 walking into a fast food establishment with my mom or grandparents, and seeing a cute guy running the cast register / taking orders and would get nervous about talking to him, even to order my food.  And I was only this way about men running the cash register.  I could order my food fine if there was a female running the cast register that most heterosexual men would rate at an 8 to 10.

Aren't you afraid of burning in Hell?

Are you afraid of being shanked by a unicorn one day?  I will say I struggled with this question for a while when I was younger; being brought up Christian and not knowing there were any other religions in the world.  But when I discovered other religions, religions I felt  I resonated better with than Christianity (I was and am skeptical of the Immaculate Conception, which I think bars me from Christianity and Catholicism, along with other points).  I guess my point is, I don't believe in the same afterlife as Christians believe in.

Anyway, I think that's all I wanted to say on this topic, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Catching Up

So, for this post, I want to talk about DOMA (Defense Against Marriage Act) being struck down.  I wanted to do a post on this when it was relevant (about a month ago), but issues came up and I didn't have as much time to be at home, or sit down long enough to write what I wanted to say on the subject.  I still don't know exactly what I want to say, but now I have some time to write down some thoughts.

Full disclosure - I'm a gay male.  So, you probably know which way I'm going to swing on this post, but I feel that it's something that should be known when discussing this.  I don't think I flaunt it or am overly flamboyant; in fact, I think I have only told 4 or 5 people, and none of these are people I've actually met in person, just friends met while gaming or via an online class.  Sure, I've got to know these people well, and talk to some on a daily basis, but I just can't bring myself to tell a person that I physically see with any regularity.  But I'm getting off topic, and I'm planning on doing a separate post on this anyway.

Anyway, DOMA was struck down, or a part of it was, in June.  As everyone is probably fully aware of by now, this decision did not make gay marriage legal in all states; this decision didn't even make it so that a state has to recognize a gay married couple if they were married in another state.  It did, however, make it so that any legally married gay person(s) receive equal rights/benefits under the federal law.  This means that gay couples that are married can receive tax breaks that other married couples receive.  If one of the parties in the marriage have a pension - their spouse can now receive it if their spouse dies or becomes ill.  If one spouse is hospitalized in an area where only family can visit, they can now visit their spouse instead of having to wait in a waiting room until their spouse either recovers or passes away.

Those are only a few of the perks now afforded to gay couples.  I'm sure there are more, concerning wills (or lack of a will in the event of a death), property, and other things.  I also thought I would look at some of the arguments against gay marriage and give a point of view on them.  I do not speak for the LGBT or any other affiliate, this is just my own personal opinion.  I wasn't sure if I needed to say that, or if I would be accused of having some "agenda," by doing this, but... there it is.

One popular argument is that homosexual people being allowed to marry will ... let's say desecrate, for lack of a better word, the institution of marriage.  Two points:

One - When it comes to marriage, there is the religious ceremony - you know, it normally takes place in a church, with a pastor / rabbi / preacher / whatever officiating the ceremony.  The couple invites their friends or family, there's multiple people involved in the ceremony, normally a couple of children doing odd-jobs, yadda yadda yadda.  There is also the legal aspect of marriage, which is where the license comes from.  The couple goes to the justice of the peace, or the judge, or the county clerk's office, after getting some blood work done (depending on the state, I believe).  This is purely a government arrangement, and has nothing to do with any religious ceremony.

Two - In my opinion... the sanctity of marriage has been jeopardized, if not already in the gutter, for a while.  Do I have to point out Kim Kardashian's wedding that lasted maybe two months?  Or Mario Lopez's 2-week marriage?  Britney Spear's 55-hour marriage, Cher's 9-hour marriage, and on, and on, and on.  Sure, these may be celebrities - but they were afforded the right to marry and divorce/annul and I doubt any big brouhaha was made about it.  Or what about what I like to call "Serial Brides," who bounce from marriage to marriage (I want to do a post about this too).  The point is, any "sanctity" that marriage had is long gone by now, in my opinion.

Marriage was meant to provide a stable environment to raise children with, or Marriage is a device to promote procreation.

So, what exactly is wrong with a gay couple raising a child?  Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it, it's two individuals wanting to raise a child, just like any other person.  And in a gay marriage, both parties have to consent to having a child, I doubt it's something that they would be able to surprise their spouse with out of the blue.  And there is no chance to conceive a baby to "fix the relationship."  Furthermore, while I have not met a person raised by homosexual parents - how would you be able to tell without them telling you outright or you asking them.  On the other point, the one where marriage was a device to promote procreation - gay people can still have children - their plumbing still works I assume.  They just aren't attracted to the sex that can result in a baby.  But there is IVF now, if the couple wished to go that route.  And if that is one of the arguments used, what about menopausal women?  Are we going to force them to leave their husbands of x years because they can't have children anymore?  Or sterile people?  What about people that don't want any children but got married because of their love for each other and wanting to make their relationship more permanent?

If men can marry men, then it's only a matter of time before men can marry animals.

Okay.  Just... okay.  I realize there's a fetish out there involving the last half of that statement, but... *shudder*
Let's look at marriage:  a contract between two consenting adults.  (Men and Women if you're religious or in a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage, I suppose).  Animals are not able to sign their names.  I doubt animals do a lot of heavy thinking that should go into making a decision as large as getting married.  Don't get me wrong, there are smart animals; I think my dog is pretty smart, capable of emotions, and can tell me when I'm driving in a way that displeases her.  But I doubt that she would understand what a marriage was, what it entailed, and come on... she's a dog!  That's just sick.

What will gay people want next?  We gave them civil unions but those weren't good enough!

The U.S. tried the separate-but-equal thing a while back between white and black people.  It didn't work then, and it didn't work with civil unions.  If they were the same, why not call them both marriages?  Why not cut out the whole religious part?  And, the issue with civil unions was what was mentioned at the beginning of this post - other states were not required to recognize them or provide the benefits that came with a marriage.

For the record, I could care less about marriage.  I'm not seeing anyone right now, and have never dated another male.  I may change my mind down the road, after I meet someone, where I would like to get married, if my state ever decided to allow it, but for now, I see it as an out-dated institution.  But I can understand while others may want to get married, or to just be treated like any other married person in America.

And, if anyone has made it this far, thank you.  I understand this is a sensitive topic, and I welcome any comments you may have on the subject.  I only ask that you keep the comments civil, as in discuss the topic without dragging any specific person through the mud.  I think that is how change can happen, discussing things pragmatically.  Too often I click on an article and look through the comments to see people degrading others just because they don't agree with their belief.  Whereas if they looked at their argument and presented their own arguments as to why they believe otherwise, maybe one or more people could walk away knowing something they did not before.