(Don’t) Fall apart

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Don’t fall apart

Don’t come undone

The temptation’s there, the thrill of mourning is intoxicating

But don’t fall down that rabbit hole

The majesty of the flames is enough to make you forget the house behind them

Don’t come undone

Don’t fall apart

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FAQs: SEXUALITY

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I want to start a new series on the blog. One I think is very important and would open up channels of communication for many people. I want to try, in my own little way, to help people understand a little more about things and people they would not have otherwise engaged with or considered.

Some topics will be fairly common, but I guess bringing them up is more about my wanting to drive a few points home and speak to and against some very important issues.

I don’t claim to know it all; I’m probably a very vocal advocate for the “Help me learn more association”. I can be very ignorant, but that’s only because I don’t know any better. This is in no way exhaustive or from a professional.

These questions are a mere reflection on my past encounters and wanderings and they touch on a few questions I’ve been asked or have overheard people asking.

I have to admit, some of these questions I asked my LGBTQI friends as well, but I was curious and needed to be educated. Now that I know, some parts, I can share some of what I’ve been taught.

Here we go…

How do you reconcile your faith with your liberal views on homosexual acceptance?

I personally don’t think there’s anything to reconcile. The Bible preaches love, quite vocally might I add, and as a Christian man I understand that God is Love and we have been commanded to love. In my heart, I believe that God in His entirety supersedes any views expressed by a disciple who was a mere man who lived in a time that was very intolerant of many things. I don’t believe that accepting someone for who they are and how they were created is in any way a defiant stand against God or a slight against my faith, nor is it treason. It’s saying “I accept you because you are as you were intended to be”. I don’t think God would make a mistake.

Would you be happy if you son turned out to be gay?

I would be happy if my son was healthy, happy and in love and if he was successful and a good young man. I would be afraid, for his life, because we live in a world that isn’t very accepting and someone might see his existence as an insult to him in some way and the only way for him to move forward or express himself would be if he hurt my son. Because of that, I would worry about him being safe and I would probably want to protect and shelter him even more because of that. That would be unhealthy for him, by the way, but he would be my baby and I would do everything in my power to make sure that no harm comes to him. But I would raise him up, every day and I would tell him that he needs to be better than the best and he needs to be excellent because not everybody will have his best interest at heart. He needs to be strong and grow up pretty fast, but I would love him either way.

Why should there be gay pride, why not have straight pride?

Without wanting to repeat the old and worn out but still very true response, but having to; every day is straight pride. It’s like saying “All lives matter” in a way. This is in no way equating the two situations, but for context.

Every day is straight pride. Every Sunday is straight appreciation day in every church. Pride isn’t a message to say the LGBTQI community places one orientation over another, it’s saying “The prejudice needs to come to an end”, “the hate crimes need to come to an end”, “we need to live in a world that values our lives and stories and dreams just as much as it values the lives and dreams of every other human on the planet”. Pride is not an agenda to push “the gay way”, it’s not propaganda, it’s lifting up a community that’s been downtrodden for centuries, it’s lifting the stigma off something that should have never had it to begin with. It’s a proud call to action for an equal chance at freedom. Straight pride would honestly be redundant.

Isn’t it a choice though?

The choice is when someone chooses whether or not to come out to the world as who they are or not. The choice is in how their families react to their sons and daughters finally expressing their truths. Being is existing is breathing is not choosing. That is what people need to understand.

Nobody in their right mind would choose to be persona non grata, nobody would choose to be hated, the poster child for all things anti-god and nobody I know would choose hell over heaven and all its glossy splendour.

But who is the guy and who is the girl?

In a lesbian relationship, both are meant to be the girl. I mean that’s the whole point. Just as in a gay relationship, both are meant to be the guy. People want to reconcile their idea of sex, heterosexual sex, with that of what they picture homosexual sex (should) entail. Thing is, homosexual and heterosexual sex is both fundamentally different and not that different at all.

The rolls change and some are rigid, in homosexual sex. The boxes so conveniently created for those who live in a world of binaries are Top and bottom. The specifics you can google (at your own risk), but I’d argue that those are the answer to what someone would want to know as being “the man” and “the woman”. Sex is inherently fluid and very complicated. You can’t limit it to two simple roles.

Don’t you think that kids nowadays just want to be different and are all about experimenting with everything, including being transgender and bisexual? Aren’t they just confused?

Firstly, you could say that there is an element of confusion there, just not in who they are. The confusion is in trying to express their truths in a world that refuses to recognise them. Imagine living in a world where being LGBTQI was what was traditionally accepted and being straight was “taboo” or “the big evil”. And babies arrived by stork. Now imagine being straight, and knowing that you were born straight, but you don’t know how to express that or fit into a world not moulded for you. Gender identity has been a muted crisis for centuries, people aren’t suddenly choosing to be transgender because they’re “experimenting”, they’re choosing to be open about their truths now because they feel a change in the ether. They feel more accepted now. It’s still a long way to go, but it’s going somewhere.

How can this be something beautiful and about love if all we ever see it as and hear about is the sex?

Perception is a unique affliction. What one sees another cannot wholly echo. Not to go all conspiracy theory on everyone, but in a world where same sex love is so taboo, would you expect anything but the sordid to be expressed as propaganda? With that said, sex is a very natural and beautiful way of expressing so many emotions; love, lust, longing, etc.

But think about this; if you were too afraid to love freely and openly and show your affection for someone every day, twenty-four hours a day for fear of retaliation, and all you could do was lay in wait, bottling up your emotions, holding back. In those few minutes, maybe an hour or two, of freedom with someone like-minded, would you spend that time playing scrabble or would you want to feed your hunger for connection.

We aren’t meant to be solitary beings. We’re sentient, social and sexual creatures that need human contact to survive…literally, by way of reproduction, but to also feel connected and not go feral. Many in the LGBTQI community are stealing moments; what little time they have, they use to fill themselves before winter comes again and they have to lay in wait for the next brief moment of freedom.

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This is a very important and very extensive topic and discussion that I have not been able to do justice to. So much more needs to be asked and answered. The more people learn, the more they understand and the less they feel…phobic. We’re a world hungry for answers. Let’s be a world prepared to accept them.

Feel free to comment and or ask anything. This is as much my forum as it is yours.

Say something…

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I was maybe five when my fascination with wind took hold of me. I say took hold, because the questions grew like sun-soaked mould and spawned a battalion of disjointed, equally as invasive and just as confusing musings…I was only five, remember.

I guess the big question for my then five-year-old self wasn’t what wind was, that was a bit too advanced for me to even contemplate I think, but rather where it came from.

I can’t, with certainty, say that the answer has been received and the origins understood. I’m sure google has the answer, but I’ll probably always wonder.

Which is beautiful, I think.

To not be satisfied with what you’ve been told is true, but to want to engage with what you believe is the truth. It’s kind of like faith in a weird way; you can’t grow within whatever belief you’ve designed your life around without truly questioning its origins, trying to understand its principles and I don’t think that anybody will ever truly understand the entirety of any given faith this diverse planet houses.

But this post was not meant to be about faith; I just went wildly off topic like a dog with a bone and I got carried away when in actual fact, I wanted to delve into the complexities of existential direction.

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This post was and is meant to unpack the struggle that is, I guess, life. It’s far less broad then that, but the idea is that there is this growing trend of unspoken suffering. I’m wrong, the trend is that people are becoming increasingly unhappy, they’re expressing their unhappiness without expressing it at the same time, it’s very bizarre but it exists and I need you to stay with me on this one.

It’s like speaking without saying a thing. Social media is a great outlet for everyone; it’s this cross-generational cyber public pool where anybody and everybody gets to say what they want to say without actually saying it in person. It’s a remarkable way to break down social contracts that have governed human interaction for centuries and has presented this new normal where people get to pretend to be real with other “friends” who are also pretending to be just as real…

No shade.

What am I trying to say here? Well my point is, we’re free to be and say whatever we want to be and say and this is an opportunity for many people to express their unhappiness with life or…whatever. The problem is that said expression is often not the truest representation of where people are in their lives, and that’s what I wanted to get to before my mind wandered to Antarctica, through Mauritius before stopping by Mexico and finally coming back.

I wanted to speak to this new breed of suffering where people suffer in silence, in public. The pictures are posted for all to see, the likes are raked in, the hilarious comments are added and the captions are ominous without being specific.

We’re candidly vague about important issues that we’re going through when we actually have an opportunity to speak up and be a voice to our own trials. It’s scary, I get it, but more people are going through life alone then there were let’s say thirty years ago.

It’s not because there are any less people in the world, there are actually millions more. What’s happening is that people are posting their feelings and emotions, filtered and photoshopped so they’re more palatable…or rather, so that the likes remain and the “friends” lol.

The beautiful thing is that there is a generation that isn’t satisfied with the status quo, a generation ready to shake things up and prepared to say more than what was okay not two years ago. This is a generation that is…”woke”. A legion of young millennials that are prepared to say “We’re hurting, this is bad, we’re not all glossy and glamourous and this is what it looks like when wounds fester”. A generation prepared to burn cities to build new ones…a generation that should be admired, guided, nurtured and groomed because if not, then they’re to be the generation that tears it all down.

Some questions don’t need answers. Some thoughts don’t need actions, but some emotions require a voice and I guess what I’ve been trying to say, in my own very weird and roundabout way is that texting is not speaking, “liking” is not loving and hashtagging isn’t always the “help me” that gets you off the island.

I may not understand its origins in my basic, accounting geared mind, but I know the wind exists. I know it’s there, I know what it feels like, what it sounds like and I know it’ll never stop moving.

I was twenty when depression took hold of me like sun-soaked mould. I say took hold because it consumed my every thought, inhabited my every movement and spawned a battalion of issues that weren’t exorcised by a Facebook post that only got twelve likes…

The running man…

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It officially began with an emotionally exhausting song, a post pregnancy money tight older sister and no BIS.

Truth be told I was always an avid writer; from the many ‘I hate you’ letters I’d pen for my, then seemingly, dysfunctional family – my sister receiving the worst of it in my formative years – to the far more frequent ‘I hate my life’ journal entries I’d fervently scribble with the most illegible handwriting known to man. To my family I was an almost mute, emotionally aloof and wildly demure little boy. However, within the sovereignty of my imagination i was a French painter being harboured as a favour to my late father – the Pope – or I was the missing link; a bridge lodged in the gap between humanoids and extraterrestrial beings from unnamed galaxies. I was once even the late great Whitney Houston’s abducted son, banished on the day of my birth and desperately searching for my long lost mother many years later.

Fast forward to November 2012 and you have an emotionally delicate twenty-one-year old who’s just begun his summer vacation after an intense third year of studying Accounting and Statistics at the University of Cape Town. Playing male-nanny for my sister and her two month old son and wondering what the…heck?…i’m going to do with my life, after she’d bluntly refused to buy me enough airtime to purchase the coming month’s Blackberry Internet Service. It was over; the sky was falling, the ground caving in and life as I knew had come to a screeching halt while I stared in the face of a hollow, internet-less, backwoods abyss.  

I was, and still am, very dramatic.

Being the devoted blogger I’d convinced myself I was, I decidedly took to my blog to bring to life the unfathomable slight against my freedom and to share with the world (the very, very small part of the world that actually cared about what I had to say) my sorrow, and only to find that without my lifeline, my connection to all that is real, my precious internet, I couldn’t blog the word “jump” even if I’d wanted to.

The days stretched lethargically and after innumerable diaper changes and baby formula formulating, it was clear that I needed a well-deserved break. My sister agreed wholeheartedly and thus assigned dishwashing duty to me as a way to “let off some steam”. It wasn’t what I had in mind, I actually think it’s not what anybody has in mind when they plan on “having a break”, this was some Jedi mind-tricking of the highest order, but I was a guest. So with my headphones moulded onto my face and the water frothed and dishes stacked on either side, I let the music move through me like liquid nitrogen; touching parts of me that were on fire, calming the frantic parts and washing over frayed nerves. I let the mournful lyrics and soulful voices breathe life into my fluid dishwashing action and I allowed heartache and pain to lance through my roaring bloodstream like oxygen as it took and gave life. I allowed my mind to travel to previously suppressed thoughts of unhappiness with my choice in studies, to thoughts of crippling insecurity with regard to my post apocalyptic acne scarred face and to unhinging thoughts of loneliness.

This was as good a time as any to purge, to allow inspiration to take hold of my being, to use my limbs and to allow myself to be a conduit for an entity far greater than myself. I needed to blog something, but without any internet connection I was – metaphorically speaking – shooting blanks. With the dishes done and my resolve firmly set, I took to my internet-less laptop – it’s one of the old ones – and set to type out anything and everything that came to mind that would best express whatever the hell had infected me with the itch to say something. I sat there with the TV buzzing like white-noise in the background, with the lights out and the piercing glare from the laptop screen washing a cool white over me and I let it all out. I allowed my subconscious to bring its emotions and thoughts to the fore and watched in amazement as one page turned into two which turned into ten until I had an entire first chapter down. I saved the humble beginnings of what was then titled “Double Edge” in the early hours of the morning – 3:30 am if i’m not mistaken – and went to bed feeling sated and exorcised enough to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

Weeks jostled on by like a wayward wind and chapters were born, characters were given life and emotions were respected. January arrived all too soon and I was due to pack up, steel myself and double up on some energising prayer for my final year at UCT. Emails were sent back and forth, letters of final notice were received and sent back and residence acceptance letters were finally rejected and returned when all too soon my once filled academic calendar collapsed pathetically with flailing vestiges of my once rousing dream of completing my degree in the same year. All too soon everything changed; I was unemployed, I was a statistic and I was a university dropout. Money may not make the world “go round” but it sure does give you a chance at completing your studies and that was a luxury I couldn’t afford; no matter how smart I was or how hard I’d worked.

After having kept up journaling all throughout my third year, I took to my trusted and nonjudgmental little black book with everything. It was then that I took my writing seriously; feverishly polishing up plots and subplots, adding dimensions to characters and sub-characters and investing time, emotion and energy into my writing. I chose to escape; to ignore the ‘what’s next’ questions, to look past the pitiful stares and to immerse myself in someone else’s reality. I chose to write someone else’s happy ending and share in someone else’s joy and accomplishments. With what’s now titled “Animal Kingdom” completed I took to my laptop once again and created an entirely new world; one inhabited by sassy teenagers and forthcoming, racist housekeepers. I again submerged my emotions and energies into someone else’s life, someone else’s dreams and an alternate reality, never allowing my own bleak reality to catch up.

Some might say that i’m running, that I’ve always been running and that once I stop to catch my breath my reality would catch up with me. To them I say: if running allows me the joys of engaging with imperfect fictional beings that perfectly play out a plot I created, an alternate reality, where I have all the control, then running’s fine with me.