#122: “Living Like I’m Not Alive”

How do you stay alive? It’s all so much. The worst part of being happy, of finding friendship and love and hope, of traveling to new places, is when you lose it all. When you move back to the past, and you’re surrounded by the places and the people you hate. And suddenly, those weeks and months of happy times, of meeting friends, of laughing and being told how good you are, they’re all distant memories, and they feel like they’re fading away so fast.
 
I can’t take care of myself. What will I do next? Find someone else to take care of me? I don’t mean to be down on myself when I say I can’t take care of myself, I truly mean it. And I’m shouting out to everyone: “HEY! I can’t take care of myself! Someone, help me!” And everyone responds with “Oh no, don’t say that about yourself, you’ll be fine! You CAN take care of yourself!” But that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that I just can’t, and I need someone to help.
 
Where do I go? All of my friends are so far away. All of my hope is back in Delaware, with Zack and Robert, with the dogs, with the living room and my bedroom and the office and the computer. With the places where I belonged. My parking spot in their driveway is empty. And I’m empty. I hate that they aren’t here every day, that I go moments and hours without thinking about them. I hate that I’m losing them. They’re not leaving, but they’re transitioning. They’re becoming Zack and Robert Three States Away, instead of Zack and Robert In The Next Room. I didn’t want that transition. I didn’t want any of this. I didn’t want my world to shake and crumble.
 
How do you keep living? It’s not that I want to die. I want to live. If I wanted to die, this wouldn’t hurt so much. The fact that I can’t live, it makes it so much harder because now I want to. And they’re so far from me. They can’t pull me up here. And I can’t pull myself up. I can’t take care of myself.
 
I need safe arms to hold me. I need a place to recuperate. But there isn’t one. I have to get up and find a job. And I just… I don’t want to live like this anymore. What can I do? Where can I go? How can this be happening?
 
How can you live?

#116: The Mind Killer

ampersand

(Originally posted a few days ago, September 19, 2016, on Facebook)

Probably the hardest thing about living with anxiety disorder is that once you’ve had a panic attack, your natural inclination is to run away from where you had the attack and never come back. But most of the time the place you had the panic attack is somewhere you have to go on a daily basis, like work or school. In my case both have happened. Many times.

Sometimes you go back and you see that you’re going to be alright, and that just being somewhere can’t hurt you. And sometimes it’s even worse than before, and absolutely nothing, no matter how hard you try, can make the anxiety, the fear, the panic, and the misery stop. There are times when no amount of optimism and positive attitude can fix the problem, and the anxiety just. Gets. Worse.

Today I’m going back to work after having an incredibly bad panic attack yesterday and getting in trouble with management besides, because I had this panic attack while berating the management for doing a shit job. I’m lucky not to have been fired. But the fact is I have to go back, and the anticipation and the anxiety is absolutely unbearable. I’ve taken my meds but honestly they aren’t doing much of anything anymore (made an appointment with my doctor for next week), and I just have to do it. I have no choice. I have to work. There are no other options.

This is the hopelessness of living with anxiety. This is why people say they can’t bare to be alive because of the fear. Every breath is a battle against your own body, and the more you try to take care of it and help yourself the more it betrays you. Frank Herbert says in Dune, “fear is the mind killer.” Anxiety is a personification of fear that grips tightly around your body, tendrils that suffocate and paralyze you.

But still, you have to get out of bed. You have to brush your teeth, and take a shower, and put on your shoes, and drive to work. And smile at customers. And spend hours wondering if you’ll make it through the night. And you know that this will go in indefinitely, until you’re given enough drugs to numb the sensation. Because every feeling is a jagged knife that cuts you.

I have to go back to my own battlefront. I am afraid. I am just… afraid.

Abortion

paint

Abortion.

I have a lot of thoughts on this subject but here’s what I want to focus on right now: whether or not a fetus is actually a human. This may sound surprising but it’s truly something that’s really debated. A lot of pro-life people say “life starts at conception” and pro-choice people say… well, they don’t say anything definitively, but the popular notion seems to be that a baby begins it’s life once it’s been born.

I think they’re both wrong.

The pro choice side of the abortion debate is coming at the issue all wrong. They keep acting like a baby isn’t REALLY a person (whatever “being a person” is supposed to mean anyway) when it’s a fetus, either because it hasn’t developed a certain system or certain capabilities to feel, smell, etc. But the truth is, a fetus is a potential person. A person who has not yet begun living on it’s own, but it is a living being, and it IS alive. For this reason, it’s incredibly fragile and requires close protection, hence the reason it’s growing inside it’s mother.

This is WHY abortion is difficult. This is why it’s a difficult decision for everyone. If people truly believed a fetus wasn’t really a human being, then women who make the choice to have abortions wouldn’t be dealing with immense pain because of the loss, or guilt because of their decision.

And women SHOULD have that decision. Hard as the decision is, it’s still up the mother to decide what she wants to do with her body, even if her body is harboring another person. Whether or not the fetus has become “a person” is beside the point.

Think of it like this. Imagine that someone were terribly ill and dying, and the only way to keep them alive would be to hook yourself up to a machine that used YOUR body to keep that person alive. A machine that kept them alive using your blood, your oxygen, your lungs, etc. If you were in that position, dealing with all of the potential problems that arise from another person using yours to survive, you would still have the CHOICE to end the treatment if it were using your body. You have autonomy over your own body, you have the right to decide what happens with your own body. It would be WRONG for the doctors to force you, against your will, to remain hooked up to a machine to keep someone else alive if you didn’t want to.

Imagine something much simpler: a parent or a sibling is dying, and they need one of your kidneys to survive. It would be WRONG for a doctor to sedate you, remove one of your kidneys, and use it to save your relatives life, WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION. Sure, it’s a moral dilemma. What if removing one of your kidneys would drastically decrease your own lifespan? What if YOU can’t live without both kidneys? There are a million perfectly valid reasons why you might not want to give up your kidney, painful as the decision would be. And in fact, you may choose not to give your kidney for any reason or no reason at all. But the reasons don’t actually matter, because it would still be your choice to do so or not to do so, and it would be wrong for someone else to force you to give a kidney without your consent. It would also be wrong for someone else to force you to keep someone else alive with your body without your consent, or force you to carry a baby inside your body and give birth to it without your consent.

The problem with this issue is there is no right answer. In any case, someone is undergoing grave harm. On the pro-life side of this argument, where a woman is required to carry a baby to term without her consent, that woman could be going through any number of traumas, and then the baby who is born could have any number of difficulties ahead of it just because of the situation of it’s birth. And what if that baby, through no fault of the parents, would be born with some severe defect that would prevent them from living a normal life? Does everyone else suddenly get to be the arbiter of what happens to that child? Or does the woman carrying it get to decide? The answer is the latter. It’s a difficult choice, sure, but it is HER choice to make, no one else’s.

As a sidebar: there are plenty of circumstances where I believe the father’s input should be considered. Those circumstances do NOT include a father who raped the mother, or who has no interest in being a part of the child’s life. But even a father in a perfectly benign situation (i.e. one who loves the mother and will support her and the child), even if he wants her to keep the baby, it doesn’t mean he has the choice. It’s hard, but it’s the truth. Think about the kidney situation again: maybe your friends or your spouse or whoever really wants you to give that kidney to save your relative. There are situations where it would be a good idea to hear that person’s opinion and take it into consideration. But honestly? It isn’t the father’s right to decide what the mother does, it isn’t even really his right to give his opinion if the mother doesn’t want to hear it, because hard as it is, it’s STILL HER CHOICE. There are plenty of circumstances where I believe the father’s input should be considered, or at least the mother should hear him out, but there are plenty of other circumstances where I don’t think his opinion matters whatsoever. Like if he raped her, for instance.

On that question, by the way, of “is a sperm alive”? It’s important because it’s a parallel that’s drawn all the time between ejaculation and abortion. If depriving a possible human of it’s potential life is murder, then isn’t ejaculation murdering thousands of sperm? Well, here’s what I have to say to that. Sperm HAVE to be released, one way or the other. The male body will release the sperm on it’s own if it isn’t done through sexual activity. So, whether or not the release of sperm is murder actually doesn’t truly matter, because it’s going to happen to one way or another. And really, I think the real question is, will something SUFFER when it dies? A sperm won’t. And as far as I know, aborted fetuses don’t suffer either.

The release of sperm is a part of the natural course of how our bodies work. The growth and birth of a fetus is a part of that same natural course. An abortion is, by definition, something that changes that natural course. But that is not in an of itself a bad thing. After all, the practice of medicine changes that natural course. Surgery, antibiotics, vaccinations, chemotherapy, these things are all “playing god” in the same way that an abortion is, changing the natural course of our bodies, for whatever reason, it’s just that in an abortion, there’s an added question about whether or not a human life is being taken. We don’t worry about the moral implications of taking antibiotics, because we ARE killing living bacteria, and those bacteria are living organisms, but we don’t assign the same importance to those bacteria as we do to an unborn human (and for the record, I don’t think we should. Bacteria don’t feel pain, and it would not do us any good on an evolutionary scale to worry about the potential moral implications of killing a bacteria).

dudes

So, let’s be real. Abortion is taking away a potential life. That’s WHY it’s so difficult for the mother, who may have very, very good reasons for choosing not to allow her body to be used for the child to grow inside of. There are valid reasons why a person may need to stop the growth of a living organism inside of them. When that organism is a flu virus, we don’t hold pro-flu-life rallies, and that’s because we don’t assign any meaning to the life of a bacteria. But when the organism is a person, we understandably and rightfully assign meaning to it. But we still, in the course of life, have to take the lives of others. Humans in our history have needed to take the lives of animals for food, for warmth, for a million valid reasons. And there is a way to do that, to take that animals life, and to acknowledge the difficulty of the fact that another creature needed to be sacrificed for some reason, and to honor it. So when it becomes necessary, for any variety of good reasons, to end a pregnancy through abortion, we can be honest and acknowledge that yes, a potential human life was in fact ended. And yes, that is terribly sad. More so for the mother than anyone else. And it’s so strange that the people holding signs up at pro-life rallies are really concerned about THEIR feelings about an abortion, but don’t give any thought to the way the mother having the abortion feels. She’s the one who has to deal with these philosophical issues. She’s the one who has to wrestle with this. But no one seems to worry about her feelings.

But just because an abortion means the death of a person, or of a potential person, doesn’t make the mother a murderer. Like I said, if you choose not give someone else a kidney, and they died, would you be a murderer? Maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t (I would say, by the way, that you wouldn’t), but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s your right to control what happens to your own body. People don’t deserve to have their own bodies taken hostage for any reason.

And finally, we keep running up against this question of “is the aborted baby a person?” Well… what IS a person? How do we know what is and isn’t a person? Pro-life people say “life begins at conception,” and pro-choice people say “life begins at birth.” But… what IS “life” in this sense? Isn’t a sperm alive? Isn’t the fetus itself a collection of cells? When does it start to be “alive?”

I think the truth is, what we’re really asking here is, when does the baby have a SOUL? When does the baby have consciousness? When does the baby have sentience?

But there is no way of measuring when a person is “a person,” when a person “has a soul,” when a person is truly “alive.” It’s all caught up in an infinite philosophical grey area that we can’t solve in this discussion. Because even though the abortion questions calls into question a lot of our beliefs about sentience and consciousness and death and life and taking life, the truth is, none of that actually CHANGES the fact that a woman has a right to choose. And these questions? The questions about whether or not the aborted baby had a soul? Had a life? Was a person? These are the questions that that mother will struggle with. And rather than have the debate FOR her, rather than SHAME her for not doing what you wanted her to do, you need to respect that she has the right to make the decision. It is NOT an easy decision.

There is no woman in the world who just goes around getting pregnant and having abortions willie-nillie like it’s no big deal. This an actual myth that is perpetuated, that there are these “immoral whores” who are just going around getting pregnant and having abortions thoughtlessly, that they use abortion as a form of birth control. But it just isn’t true. And guess what?  Even if it WERE, those women would STILL have the right to do it, REGARDLESS of the philosophical implications.

In the end, it doesn’t MATTER whether the aborted baby is a person. Not because the subject in an of itself is unimportant, but because it has no real bearing on whether or not a person should have autonomy over their own body. It’s difficult, yes. It’s an upsetting situation on all sides. But it doesn’t change the fact that a woman has the right to decide what does or does not happen with her own body. Just because there are a lot of upsetting questions about life and death, sentience and living, doesn’t change that. It’s still her body that this child is being grown in, and she still has the right to decide whether or not that continues to happen. And she doesn’t deserve to be shamed for her choice.

amanda

Operation Organize Everything: Part 3 – Progress Reports on Life

This is a collection of Facebook posts from the past year or so, from within a group of supportive friends. I tend to go there to talk about what’s happening in my life most of the time, rather than writing about it here or in journals, so I’m collecting some of them here, in an order that forms something of a narrative about what my life has been like in the past year. This isn’t at all a complete record, there is much more to sleuth through, but this will be a nice time capsule for me to look back on later and see my words about what was happening in my life at these times.

September 6, 2015

Iris

September 7, 2015

*takes a deep breath*

Hi. My name is Jesse. These are the things I’m too scared to say out loud. But I’m going to do it anyway because this group gives me courage. I’m 25. I still live with my family. I have a lot of trouble working because of my extreme anxiety and depression. I have low testosterone and vitamin D which cause me to be more depressed, and the depression meds cause me to be weak and tired. All of the aforementioned things lend themselves to weight gain and lethargy, and I weigh 250 pounds, so I’m at risk for hypertension and heart disease. I haven’t ever gone to college and I feel more regret about that than anything in my life. I want to experience college life, I want to be SURROUNDED by people, I want to have roommates, I want to always have a place to go and something to do, and also I really want to learn, to spend my days going to classes, not driving to a menial job I hate.

I haven’t accomplished anything in my life, not truly. I have a blog where I’ve kept my writing and poetry, and I’ve composed some songs but I haven’t released anything or published anything genuinely, and I haven’t started school. I’m terrified of life. Ever since I was thirteen years old I’ve spent my time sitting alone in my room, wondering when things will change. I’m just not strong. I’m not strong enough to change the things in my life that need to change, and it’s slowly chipping away at me, killing my self-esteem. I have a bad relationship with my family, my mother is abusive toward me emotionally and mentally (and sometimes physically) even though she’s often allowed me to live with her and helped me financially (despite kicking me out several times). I can’t keep a relationship because I’m either too clingy and needy, or I need SO much independence and space that I want to sleep with other people or just be single again.

I’m terribly lonely, all the time, and it only seems to get worse. I have so much love that I want to pour out on someone, but there’s no one here to give it to. I think I may be asexual and I love wearing stuff that wouldn’t be considered “male” dress but I get so many looks and I just feel like a freak. I have an incredibly high sex drive that scares people away. Strangely during the times when this could help, my meds cause me to have a LOW sex drive. And it fluctuates at the worst moments. I don’t believe in any kind of spirituality anymore. Sometimes I’m happy with being an atheist, sometimes I’m not.

I’m afraid that I’ll die and leave nothing here, that life will be a fleeting breath and my existence will mean nothing. I’m afraid that I’ll never know the feeling of a lover calling me into the next room and putting his arms around me and kissing me for no reason, or laying my head on a friends lap while I’m surrounded by people getting high or drinking or laughing or having fun. I’m scared that I’ll never be a good musician, or write a novel, or amount to any of the things I thought I could be when I was a child. When I was little everyone thought I was bright and brilliant. Now they just think I’m strange and odd. I don’t understand humans, I really mean that genuinely, laws and customs and belief systems don’t make sense to me, they all seem so arbitrary and flawed.

I’m fucked up, emotionally. (Trigger warning). I was physically abused, molested by two different people, and all before the age of five. I have an unhealthy view of sex, it means so much to me that at once it is meaningless (once I have it I feel empty and alone), and it means too much (I become overly attached to the point that I can’t maintain myself emotionally). I have weird fetishes and attractions that scare me and make me feel like a freak. Sometimes I think very dark and destructive things that make me feel like a scary person. I smile, I put on a nice customer service voice, but everywhere I go, I am constantly being sucked clean by a void inside my chest and I don’t know how to ever make it go away. I’m in therapy but I’ve only had a few sessions and I don’t know how it’s going to go.

I’m scared. I’m alone. But I’m trying. For me, even moving a centimeter is sometimes the most I can do. I’m trying.

September 15, 2015

Today my mom told me that I’m lazy and that it’s my fault that I’m miserable, that I’m ungrateful and that I have no responsibility for myself, and a lot of other things. I’m broken. She’s broken me. I really want to die. That sounds overdramatic. But I really give up. I’m going to try and do some things to make things better, get in touch with my health insurance and try and schedule affordable therapy, I’m going to the doctor tomorrow to find out about getting a doctor’s note to try and get disability because my anxiety.

But honestly, if someone pointed a gun at my head right now, I’d ask them nicely to shoot. There’s only so much one human can take. At a certain point message of encouragement just lose all meaning when you know that you’ll never achieve anything, and that you can’t really hope for any chance.

September 17, 2015

We were together for 3 years. He hurt me. He ignored me. He made me feel worthless. He hit me. I hit him too. It was bad for everyone. I wanted to get out but it was so hard. I was so miserable. I wanted anything else. I finally got out of it.

It’s been a year now. A year. Days upon days, weeks upon weeks, months upon months. Yesterday I was driving and a song came up on shuffle. The memories hit me like a ton of bricks. I went and looked at his picture online.

Why can’t I stop loving him? Why can’t I move on? I have so much love to give and I can’t find anyone to take it, and when I do, he’s all I can focus on. I don’t want him back, but I can’t stop being in love with him. Why? Why can’t I stop? It hurts so much. I carry him around like a weight on my heart, and the worst thing is the chains attached to him are broken. I can throw him off any time I want. But I just… can’t. I keep him there. I suffer. But I would rather suffer missing him than not feel him at all.

I just can’t stop loving him. And it’s killing me.

 

October 7, 2015

Guys… tonight is very hard. I’ve been doing SO well lately. I made a resume, put in applications, I’m changing antidepressants to help myself do better, I have a phone interview tomorrow for a new position, I’ve been losing weight, I quit drinking soda, I’m writing and reading more, due to a weird circumstance a family friend is going to give me 5,000 dollars to use for college and my own little camper to live in… but tonight it all fell apart. My mother told my little sister (THREE times) that she wished she weren’t her mother. My little sister was crying and I kept trying to stand up for her but my mom kept telling me to get out of her house, and she told me to take my sister with me. We drove away and I went to my ex’s apartment, but his new boyfriend answered the door (he wouldn’t even OPEN the door, just cracked it slightly to look at us) and then when I explained the situation he said “Sorry” and closed the door. When we came back my mom was in bed, and I turned on my stupid noise-maker (rain setting), my box fan, and got in bed to try and go to sleep.

But for two hours, I laid there and no matter how hard I tried, all I could think about were all the ways I could die. I imagined taking all the pills in my room and in the medicine cabinet and overdosing in the kitchen floor, but then my sister would have to find me… I went through the list in my head of all the nearby bridges, which was the highest, which would be the most painless to fall backward off of. I started writing suicide notes in my mind. I got into angry, violent, loud arguments with people in my head. My body twitched and shook as I tried to make my heartbeat slow down. I thought about running a knife across my throat, I thought about crashing my car, I thought about what I would say if my suicide attempt failed, who I would leave things to. What my funeral would be like. What songs I wanted played. The things I wanted to say to my family that I never did.

Finally my eyes popped open and I just couldn’t take it anymore and I sat up and opened my computer. Now I’m trying to calm myself down and make myself go back to sleep.

 

October 7, 2015

I’m homeless again. My mother bullied my little sister and I tried to stand up for her, and I’m homeless again. And I have a job interview on Friday, but nowhere to go to live until then.

I know I’ve talked about this before and I don’t want you guys to just keep encouraging me and then hearing me act like I don’t appreciate it, but I’m shaking all over and I’m really thinking about killing myself. I just can’t. do this. anymore. Either I’m going to hurt myself or someone else. I’m at the end of my rope.

 

October 19, 2015

So I haven’t posted about this yet, but I have big news. I am officially moving 🙂 My mom told me to get out of her house for about the hundredth time a week or so ago, and two amazing people have offered to let me come and stay with them. It’s a long way away, in Delaware, but I really think that this is going to be a great start for me, and that I’ll be able to get away from this toxic environment, be near friends who are supportive, and have a chance to work hard and make something of my life. I’m so excited 🙂

October 20, 2015

Guyyyyys I just bought my train ticket, it’s really happening, I’m leaving my horrible mother and moving to Delaware to start my life and be near friends and support and hope.

I’m so fuckin’ excited!

 

November 7, 2015

“Going to see Eisley in concert! Also, guess who is alive and well?” – Zack

Zack

December 15, 2015

Feeling worthless right now. People always say “You can do this, you’re stronger than you think! You’ve got the power inside of you!”

But you know what?

I’m just weak.

People give, and they sacrifice, and they try for me, and I do nothing to repay them. It’s no coincidence that people who begin as my friends end up hating me. I drive them away. I’m tired of even PRETENDING to be strong. I’m never going to be. And I don’t even want to be.

This kind of world just isn’t meant for people like me. Natural selection weeds out the creatures who can’t survive in this world, and keeps the strong.

And I’ll just… I’ll never be strong. And it isn’t self pity, it isn’t hateful, its just the truth.

I’m weak.

And I’ll always be.

And the world will always be too big for me.

 

December 19, 2015

So, I’ve definitely come a long way from earlier this year when I was homeless and you guys gave me money for food and shelter. I recently created another GoFundMe page, because I’ve been living with my slothy saviors, Robert and Zack, for almost two months now, and it’s been difficult to find a job, and I don’t want to be a financial burden on them. So far a couple of people have helped and that’s AWESOME.

However, I have REALLY good news! Robert told me not to announce it to anyone because it might tempt the universe and jinx it, but I want to be honest with you guys like I always have. I was up for a position working for a really good company, and I almost got the job, but the hiring manager chose someone else at the last minute. I tried to take it in stride, but honestly, I was really torn up about it. I thought to myself, “Well I guess I’ll just have to make do with scanning people’s groceries or making people’s coffee for the rest of my life,” and I really never thought things would get any better. I was prepared to take a job somewhere that I hate (should one even have been OFFERED) and just deal with it so I could survive.

However, a couple of days passed, and the hiring manager called me back. One of his associates is leaving at the end of the year, and he offered me that person’s position. I came in yesterday and had my FIRST DAY AT MY NEW JOB! I never know how much is appropriate to share here, but I will just say that it’s a FULL TIME job, with benefits and everything, and it’s in an office building, where I’ll be in front of a computer and playing with numbers and things (a.k.a. introvert Heaven, not dealing with the public, no rude customers, etc.). I have my own little desk, an area where I can bring in little knick-knacks or pictures to customize stuff (a really nice lady in the office gave me a wolf figurine from her desk, it now watches over my keyboard). I’m going to be working Monday through Friday with weekends off, and honestly, I’m so relieved I can’t even begin to really process it yet.

Last night Rob asked me if I was excited. And yeah, excitement is a part of it. But the majority of what I feel is profound relief. For years I’ve said that my dream job would be a full time, 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, office job, working in front of a computer, sitting down, getting tasks done on my own. And… that’s honestly what I’ve been given. I don’t even know how to process it, to be honest.

So, that’s the story. I wanted to let you guys know about it for two reasons. First, because I love sharing with you all, and second, because I would feel dishonest if I kept my GoFundMe page up asking for help when I finally found a job (career, dare I say?). I’m going to delete the post, because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, but the GoFundMe will still be up in the case that anyone wants to be awesome and generous (I still have a lot of money to pay back to Rob and Zack, after all).

 

December 21, 2015

Feeling sad tonight. It’s been over a year, and I still fall asleep missing him.

December 22, 2015

My little sister is 14, she sent me this today. I’m so proud!!

The Killing Type

January 16, 2016

Today sucks. I hung out with someone last night and in the middle of sex got rejected, then had to spend the night awkwardly sleeping drunk and alone in his bed.

Then today I got pulled over and got a speeding ticket. And now I’m sitting on the cold floor in a Rite Aid because my phone is almost dead and I had to buy a charger and plug it into the wall.

 

January 22, 2016

Holy shit you guys. I’m sitting at work and my phone starts vibrating. It’s a call from an unknown number. I declined. They called again. I answered and someone asked for someone whose number this is NOT (sidebar: I have been receiving calls from people thinking I’m this woman for months because she refuses to change her public number). I hung up. He called AGAIN. I answered. This is LITERALLY the exchange. Keep in mind he was copping an attitude the entire time.

Him: “You hung up on me ma’am.”
Me: “Who is this?”
Him: “This is (blahblah I don’t remember), I’m calling because I have some court documents I need you to sign.”
Me: “Who do you think this is?”
Him: “………..uh…. Ivy?”
Me: “Nope. This is not Ivy. Stop calling me.”
Him: “Oh… who is this, ma’am?”
Me: “This is Jesse. And I’m not a ma’am.”
Him: “Oh….. are you transgender?” (note: he pronounced the word with a particular venom, as though he was disgusted to utter the phrase)
Me: “Are you an asshole?”
Him: “….no, actually…. I’m smart.”
Me: “Then hang up.”
Him: “…..you hang up.”
Me: *click*

WHAT THE HELL GUYS.

P.S. I don’t know if I really made it clear but this has REALLY upset me and I’m sitting at work just trying to calm down.

 

January 30, 2016

You know how when you’re out visiting other people from the Patron group and you’re having fun and laughing and singing and everybody is amazing, and then suddenly one little thing sends you down a spiral of depression and you have to smile and pretend to be happy around everyone even though now you feel miserable and alone and you wish you had just jumped off the bridge when you had the chance and you’re sure that you’re never going to mean something to anyone and you’ll never have someone to love and you regret ever taking the trouble to breathe?

Yeah, me too.

 

February 16, 2016

I’m having a tough day at work. Nothing particularly bad has happened, but I just don’t want to be here. I feel miserable, I feel unhealthy and like a failure, and I was reading Sandman at lunch and Delirium makes me so sad because I identify with her so much. I know there’s only three and a half hours left until time to go home, but it feels like such a long time.

I feel so weak, and alone, and scared.

 

February 20, 2016

Two things. First: thank you to everyone for being so supportive of me the last few days. I’m about to sit down with a book, two coloring books, colored pencils, a pen, two decks of tarot cards and their books, a blank sketchpad and a notebook and just SEE WHAT HAPPENS art-wise.

Second: today I managed to actually sum up all the reasons I’m single into three concise paragraphs.

Polyamorous Musings

February 22, 2016

Of all the presents I’ve ever received in the mail, this is by far my favorite. I present to you a riveting tale by my straight male best friend (I have gathered a few straight male friends but he is still the title holder) entitled “Matt and Jesse Charge the Moose Fortress With Their Army of Warrior Giraffes… That Clearly Have Different Intentions For Eradicating The Last Fortress Held By Moose-Kind.”

Note, Noble Lords and Ladies, the many sub story arcs, including the Giant Duck hired by the giraffes (presumably low on funds due to the moose war) to eat the moose, the elaborate designs decorating the the drawbridge to Moose Manor, the smiley-face flag of peace flown by the moose which clearly our giraffe crusaders care nothing for, and even the Ambassador Moose who seeks to quell the rising tension. One may even notice the lone defecting giraffe who wants to give up his life as a soldier to be a dancer, or the giraffe commander who leads his own squadron of rainbow ninja giraffes.

Yeah, DaVinci was good, but let’s be real: THIS is art. I heart Matt so.

Battle

February 22, 2016

So, nutshell version of life updates: went to new doctor today. Verdict: my old doctors were doing a shit job of managing my health. Not that it’s all their responsibility, but still. When testing someones blood for low testosterone, you are apparently always supposed to draw blood in the morning because there is supposed to a testosterone spike right after waking up, and the blood work is supposed to be done after not eating for 12 hours.

Next, they shouldn’t have just been giving me testosterone injections without knowing the reason. There could be a problem in my testicles or my pituitary gland, but those are very different problems with different solutions, just injecting me with testosterone isn’t fixing anything. The doctor even said that of all the possibilities, one is that there could be a tumor in my pituitary gland (though there’s no reason to suspect this right now, it’s just one of a myriad of possibilities) but an MRI was never done on me to see.

As for my depression / suicidal tendencies: clearly my antidepressants, in addition to being more expensive than crack ($180 for one months supply) weren’t doing much to help, since I’ve still had severe depression. As for the anti-anxiety medicine, I’ve been taking Klonopin EVERY DAY for three years. I have informed my doctors of this and not once did anyone say “Holy shit don’t do that, you’re only supposed to be taking that when you’re feeling a panic attack coming on! All you’re doing is building an immunity to the effects of the medicine and making yourself chemically dependant.” But my doctors never told me that, they just kept their heads down, gave me drugs and sent me on my way.

So this weekend I’ll be getting blood work done, and I’ve also been taken off both my old meds and given new ones: a new antidepressant to take daily, and an anti-anxiety to take as needed. I have a bad headache already because when I don’t have my Klonopin I withdraw. So the next couple of weeks will probably involve me behaving as erratically as a pregnant woman, but hopefully this will help things get better.

Mentally, I feel a little better. I sincerely hope tomorrow at work isn’t a bucket of stress. Otherwise, I just want to start really trying to lose weight, eat healthier, and feel better.
Okay so that wasn’t very concise, nor was it in a nutshell. But it was an explanation.

March 9, 2016

Hi guys. I apologize for posting so many threads today. I haven’t asked because I was saying so many other things today. But I started listening to Machete earlier and I’ve pretty much had it on an infinite loop. That song just broke me completely.

The tears have been coming like an ocean for hours. I’m about to go to sleep. I’m exhausted. I’m sitting here in the darkness. It’s so lonely. All I can think about is death, and loss, and loneliness, and sadness, and tears, and disappointment. The bad thing about getting away from your abusers is that you start to realize just how much they destroyed you and you have to go through a new kind of trauma.

It’s so hard. It’s SO hard. It’s. So. Hard.

Being alive is so difficult for me. I wish I didn’t always want to die, but I can’t control how I feel.

Please. See me. See me. Please see me.

March 9, 2016

This is a message to Amanda. I posted it on her page but I’m also posting it here in hopes that she’ll see it.

Amanda,

I know earlier you were hoping more people would have Machete questions and comments. I hadn’t heard the song yet so I didn’t say anything about it. I started listening to it a couple hours ago and I’ve had it on an almost constant repeat.

I just wanted to say thank you for this song. It means more to me than you can know. Bigger On The Inside, Lost, Want It Back, and now this song, they have been constant companions and friends to me. You can’t know how I’ve clasped your music close to me in all the fear and darkness I’ve wandered through in the last couple of years.

Sometimes every day is a struggle just to want to be alive. But your music is my friend, and it comes and sits with me in the dark, and I don’t feel alone.

Thank you.

March 16, 2016

You can’t read this because you aren’t a member of the group. The group is where my family is. I don’t really trust saying personal things on my wall, I only really trust the group. You can’t see this because you aren’t in the group and you have no idea that I’m talking to you in a post somewhere on the internet, but I am.

I’m saying this because I have to say it somewhere, to someone, even if you don’t see it. You left because I asked you to. We stopped because I said it was over. And I meant it. And I still don’t regret it. We loved one another for three years and I guess I figured I’d just stopped loving you. I didn’t realize my love for you would only grow deeper once you left. After I broke up with you you decided to move home to your family, hundreds of miles away. I agreed it would be the best thing.

I woke up one night feeling like water had been spilled on me. My back was wet. Then I realized I was warm, and that you were holding me. Our shirts were off and our skin was sticking together the way it did in the summer. And your tears were going down the back of my neck and in my hair. And you were singing to me. You were singing a song we had sang for fun, it had never been “our song.” It was never something romantic we sang to one another. But you were singing it. And you were crying. And then I was crying. I felt so guilty. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted you to go home so we could heal. I was ready to be done with everything.

I went to my mom’s house for the weekend, right after you left. Your sister came and picked you up and I watched her drive away with you. That weekend I slept alone for the first time in three years. I hadn’t realized that not once in all three years had I ever slept alone, not since we moved in together. When I got home I stood at the door to our bedroom. It was closed. I had closed it before I left. I lifted my fingers slowly and I knocked, and I called out your name.

You did not answer. I don’t know what I had expected. I walked inside and there was such a mess. We’d torn the room apart packing your stuff. I said don’t worry about it, I’ll clean it up later. Now it was later, and there was stuff everywhere. Papers and clothes. and music and books.

And a shirt, slung over the armchair. When we first met you had worn that shirt to class for a couple of days and then given it to me, because I wanted something that smelled like you to hold at night. Ever since we moved in together it just got worn every now and then. But you’d worn it for the last two days before you left, and you’d left it sitting on the chair for me to find. I picked the shirt up. I started singing the same song you had sang to me that night, holding me and crying into the back of my head.

“My last night here with you, same old songs just once more. My last night here with you, maybe yes, maybe no. I kind of liked it your way, how you shyly placed your eyes on me. Did you ever know that I had mine on you?”

I sat down in the floor and I held your shirt close to me and I cried. And I’ve never really stopped crying. At first I would wake up in the night and reach over for you, but you weren’t there. I wasn’t used to having so much space in the bed. The first guy to ever come over and spend the night was hugging me in the night and in my sleep I said, “I love you,” followed by your name. He was a little annoyed. I thought it was sweet that my subconscious was still talking to you.

I still think about you. I think about you every night when I go to sleep. I still can’t get used to there being so much space. I sat down on the floor and cracked, and the yolk ran out all over the floor, and I still haven’t stopped crying.

I still don’t regret my decision. But I just thought I might stop missing you one day. That day just hasn’t come.

March 21, 2016

I have a full time job working in an office-ish environment. On one level, my job is easy peasy. I get overloaded with stuff but ultimately I come in, sit at the computer for nine hours and go home. Weekends off. Health plan. Sounds good, right?

I thought so too at first. But the thing is I HATE my job. It’s still retail, which is what I’ve been doing all these years. I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, because there are plenty of people who would love to have full time work and don’t. And it could be way worse, I could be behind the counter at McDonalds or ringing up groceries at Wal-Mart. But I just can’t help feeling so completely unfulfilled.

For example: before I moved to Delaware I cleaned houses. My mom has her own cleaning business and I’ve worked for her for a long time. Apart from my mother being there (she’s a crazy person), the job was great! Five hour days for like four days a week, and all I had to do was turn on an audibook or a podcast and silently scrub, polish, vacuum, mop, organize, dust, and clean for five hours. It was simple, it wasn’t incredibly entertaining but I still felt I was good at it and I could do productive things with my time like listen to lectures or audiobooks.

Now… I just sit there for nine hours and see how many different ways I can count the hours until I’m done. If I start looking for other jobs I don’t even know what to look for. I’m terrible with crowds and lines and rushes and pressure, I don’t like food service, I don’t like retail, I might like another office job but I have no degree and little experience apart from my current job. Won’t i just feel miserable at another job too? Do I need to keep trying or just accept that work time is always going to feel like a useless void that prevents me from ever feeling fulfilled or happy in any other area of my life?

 

March 23, 2016

So a thing happened yesterday. Someone said something on Facebook that hurt my feelings and in a moment of annoyance, rather than respond I just deleted Facebook off of my phone.

Then it was quiet. And there were no push notifications drawing my attention away. Suddenly my thoughts were my own again. And it felt so free. And I thought, oh my god why don’t I feel like this all the time?? And I realized that I waste so much of my creativity on Facebook. When I’m feeling creative, I could be writing, or drawing, or singing, or playing piano, but instead I get on Facebook and use that inspiration to make a few silly comments and turn into a vegetable on my phone.

Now don’t get me wrong, this group of sloths means the world to me and you all happen to be accessible mostly through Facebook. But Facebook in and of itself, when I’m over on my wall and not here within this very safe and nurturing space, is a little different, even though I make it a priority never to keep friends who upset or hurt me. The problem for me is that I have interesting thoughts and observations that I WANT to preserve, so that one day I can look back on my days from years past and know that my thoughts still matter, that my ponderings and musings still have some meaning, even if only to laugh at how silly I was.

This next part might sound vain or pretentious but it isn’t meant to. Wherever I go, people laugh and smile. At every job I’ve had, in every social group, people always laugh very loudly when they’re around me. I am told almost daily that I should be a stand up comedian. I love that people experience that around me. I’m also totally mytified because I’m actually an incredibly dark, somber person. But I seem to have a way of making people laugh, and my presence in the room is ALWAYS a strong one. People notice me. If you say my name, people will always instincigvely laugh, raise their eyebrows, roll their eyes, SOMETHING. I just don’t blend in with the wall. I’m saying all of this because it’s something I never REALIZED until recently. I never noticed that I had this effect on people.

I guess partially I’m just rambling, but partially I want to say that this slothy community means the world to me. No, genuinely, it does. You all ARE my family and there is just no two ways about it. So that’s why I wanted to take the time to let you guys know that I may be somewhat sparse on Facebook, and it’s NOT because I’m leaving the group, it’s NOT because I’m mad, and not because I’m causing a scene (unless this post counts as a scene, it probably does, I am kind of incapable of doing things in a subtle way). I deleted Facebook from my phone and I feel so FREE afterward.

I’ll still probably get on here a fair amount, and there may not even be a noticable change. But if there IS, if you don’t see me posting and I don’t respond to your messages, it’s not because I have abandoned you all.

I also want to point out part of why I want to stay off Facebook is so I can direct my creative energy toward writing. To that end, I will plug my blog, it’s my name, Jesse Colton dot com (my roommate bought me the domain for Christmas). I want to use my creativity to write, to chronicle, and also to work on myself.

Thank you for your attention, you may now return to your regularly scheduled Facebook.

 

March 24, 2016

So today I’m sitting at work and all of the sudden I just broke. Like I didn’t start screaming or crying or anything, but I just knew I was done. I just realized that I can’t keep doing this. I’m working this full time job and I absolutely don’t have the strength to carry this burden. I’ve been taken care of my whole life. Even though my mother hurt me and made me want to die, she was still giving me food and shelter. Sure, she kicked me out every few months, but during the time she didn’t kick me out she was taking care of me.

And that’s the thing, I never learned how to take care of myself. I just can’t. My only hope is to marry someone rich because I just. Can’t. Live. Like. This. I can’t wake up at 6 in the morning and go to a job I hate, and come home tired and afraid and unable to cope, and repeat, repeat, repeat, FOREVER. My roommates have been so kind, they took me in and gave me safety and shelter. And I know they can’t afford to take care of me if I’m not working.

But guys I just can’t. I am not quitting my job, I’m not jumping off a cliff, I just… I’ve given up. It’s easier to have no hope, and nothing to look forward to. Because if you have hope then you can be disappointed. And I’m so tired of being let down. I’d rather just feel nothing.

 

March 29, 2016

Laying in bed. My head hurts and so does my body. Dealing with a lot of fear right now. It feels like just as soon as I think the world has become a loving and forgiving place, I’m constantly reminded that everyone everywhere is telling me to toughen up or just get over it. And I just can’t do either of those things.

I’ve tried to make a change. I started putting in applications to other places. I can’t keep working at a job where my soul is just being crushed every day. But I don’t know if I’ll even have the courage to make it through the trials of the next job or the next. What are my options? I could keep looking for new work. I could give up entirely and go back to my family. That would be akin to dying. Because I would rather die than go back there.

I’m so lost. I’m so hopeless. And no matter how much encouragement I’m given, it doesn’t change the situation. It doesn’t change there being something fundamentally wrong with my brain that prevents me from being able to function. I am just so useless. What good does it to me to be a talented writer or play the piano? People won’t give me food and shelter in exchange for poetry.

All this way that I’ve come and I still feel the same. I’m still rotting away inside. I’m still mangled and broken.

 

April 1, 2016

YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT.

You know how I hate my job and just being in the building is like standing in a massive black hole that pulls all hope, creativity and energy out of me and makes me want to die?

Well, I’ve been putting in applications without much success. Today I stayed home from work and worked on more applications, then printed out some resumes and went into town to hand them out. The result were pretty bleak, place after place just told me to go online and weren’t interested in talking to me. Finally, I gave up and decided to go eat lunch. But I stopped just before the parking lot and gave it one last shot, at Staples.

I went inside and asked if they were hiring, someone told me they were but I needed to go online. Though they quickly ran off in the other direction, I didn’t give up, went to the back and found the manager, who I handed my resume to, and she pulled me into the office to interview me. Both the assistant manager and the store manager said they loved my attitude, they thought I was positive and they liked my energy, they were impressed by my resume, and they hired me on the spot.

I still have to fill out an online app and let them know, but they’ve basically given me the job on the spot. They’ll be running my background check as soon as they get my application and then I can finally work in a place where there is sunlight and talking and hope, and not a dark hot warehouse staring at a computer for nine hours and hating life.

YAY!!!

And thank you especially to those of you who have been sending me good vibes. As a weird duality of Pagan/Atheist, I have no clue if I believe that positive energy has any real qualitative effect on the world around you, but regardless you kept my spirits high and maybe if you all hadn’t been so encouraging I wouldn’t have thought to try one more place before giving up. Thanks guys.

 

May 5, 2016

I want to express something but I’m afraid it’s going to be controversial. So before I say anything, remember I’m just stating my own opinion here, and I’m not attempting to put down anyone else’s opinion by doing so.

tl;dr: I don’t want to give Amanda any more money for cover albums and ukulele ballads.

I have the greatest respect for Amanda Palmer, she’s an incredible artist. Machete really proved that she’s still just as much of a powerhouse as she was before. But honestly, I’ve been very disappointed with her in the past year. She really put a lot of effort into Who Killed Amanda Palmer and Theatre Is Evil, but the majority of what she’s done other than that has been silly ukulele songs or one-off live performances. The music she’s released through Patreon has been, in my opinion, very sub-par. Bigger On The Inside was a fantastic song, so was The Thing About Things, but most of what she’s released in the past year has been live webcasts, ukulele diddies, and random collaborations and covers. The only song that seemed like a “real” song was Machete.

I’m not trying to be the fraud police here, and I think Amanda should make whatever she wants and not worry at all about how I feel, or anyone else feels. I wouldn’t want her to read this and think she’s obliged to me to make what I want to hear. That isn’t really my point. She’s been through so much awful shit in the past couple of years that I’m amazed she has the fortitude to perform at all, so that’s fantastic. But for my money (and I really mean that, because even if it’s not a lot, I am giving her money for her work), she isn’t putting out top-quality stuff. It feels like she’s using the Patreon mostly to fund live shows and then paying back the Patrons with a webcast (by the way the webcast with the string players was AWFUL quality, which I was particularly surprised by because she raved about how great the quality of the recording was. Maybe we didn’t get the same recording she did, because the webcast sounds like it was recorded on a VHS in 1994).

This new album really, REALLY bugs me. I have never liked the way Jack Palmer sings. He has a very Johnny Cash vibe, and I get that some people love that but I hate it, and it bores me to tears. I accepted it when she put out a single with Jack at Christmas, but now she’s doing an entire folk album of covers with her father, and it just feels like an unnecessary vanity project. Now, granted, she can do whatever she wants and she doesn’t have to please me. But it just makes me sad that we’ve been waiting around ever since Theatre Is Evil and we’ve gotten: a kickstarter album of birthday improvs and Lou Reed covers, an album of live performances with Neil, a handful of webcasts of Amanda playing old songs, two low-quality live bootlegs, nine singles on Patreon, most of which are covers, ukulele one-off’s, or collaborations, and only ONE of which is a full band song, a cover album, and now a second cover album. I can list for you the original songs she’s put out since Theatre Is Evil on one hand.

So, I’m really considering dropping my pledge. Not because I suddenly hate Amanda or because I disapprove of her doing what she wants to do with her own music career, but because this new album is WAY out of left field from anything I would enjoy, and I enjoy a really wide variety of music. The Patreon has mostly been used to put out vanity projects instead of working on a real, concrete album, or at least real concrete singles. I’m still incredibly excited to see Amanda in New York this year, and all of you guys, but I’m just really aggravated by this whole “Jack Palmer cover album” thing.

 

May 6, 2016

So, two years ago I started having a variety of weird symptoms. I was incredibly tired no matter how much I slept, and no matter what I ate I still felt sluggish and malnourished. Whether I cut soda or sweets or ate healthier, no matter what I kept on gaining weight. I started having serious depression and suicidal tendencies. My anxiety was coming back. Things were getting bad and I didn’t know why. I went to the doctor and he did some bloodwork, ultimately informing me that I had low testosterone and a Vitamin D deficiency. I started taking Vitamin D supplements and getting an injection of testosterone every month (something that every doctor since has said seemed like a very bad decision on my doctor’s part to start giving a 24 year old hormone therapy before trying any other avenue). Things improved a bit, but the majority of my symptoms remained. A year later I had a sleep test and learned I had really severe sleep apnea, which I now have a CPAP machine for.

But a lot of these symptoms remained. Sometimes my body will just crap out on me, I’ll be so weak I can’t get out of bed, other times I’ll drink too much juice and I become so shaky that I feel like I’m having a seizure. But I’ve done what my doctors told me, and apart from a variety of medicines to keep the anxiety down, nothing much has solved any of my problems. I keep gaining weight, I keep losing energy, I keep feeling malnourished and there’s just a general sense that there’s something WRONG going on in my body. My newest doctor ordered blood work two months ago. No one ever notified me about the results. I went in a couple of weeks ago and when I asked, they seemed to have completely forgotten about their responsibility to follow up on my blood work, no one had gotten the results OR bothered to call me. So when I was on my way out of the office they were on the phone getting my results. Still no call. Nothing from them. So today I went to the hospital with Zack and got a copy of my bloodwork for myself. The results: Vitamin D is within normal range, testosterone is just BARELY in the normal range, by only one point. Glucose, however, should be in the 70-100 range and it was 190. That’s WAY too high. I called the doctors office and let them know about this, the nurse was surprised that they STILL didn’t have my test results, despite calling in to get them twice.

Then I told the nurse about my high glucose, and she very calmly responded, “Oh yeah you’re definitely diabetic.” And then scheduled an appointment for Monday.

Look, maybe I have diabetes. Honestly, two years ago that is EXACTLY what I thought was happening, but my doctors have really mishandled my healthcare up to this point, and the only reason I know anything today is because I took the initiative to get my own test results and have Zack look over them. If I DO have diabetes, then that means we can actually TREAT it, and maybe I can finally get out of this rut my health has been in for two years. What bothers me is how in two years, not one person has said “Oh, maybe we should check to see if you have diabetes.” I have a copy of my old blood test results from last year and they didn’t even look at my glucose. I’m also not crazy about the news being delivered by a nurse saying “Oh yeah, definitely diabetic.”

So, right now I’m nervous. My anxiety will doubtless convince me before Monday that not only am I diabetic but I will surely go into a coma before I can get to the doctor on Monday. I’ll try not to panic as best I can. Basically, I just wanted to let you guys know this. I’m nervous, and I just want to have a chance to fix my health. I don’t want to be overweight and unhealthy anymore, I want to be able to function in my own body. 25 is too early for everything to start failing

June 6, 2016

This is Jake. Jake is my roommates’ dog but he loves me a lot and has bonded with me very closely. He follows me from room to room wherever I go (right now he’s sleeping in a corner of the kitchen because it’s where I happen to be standing), when I go to the bathroom he waits outside the door and sniffs underneath, when it’s his dinner time he follows me and watches me put all the food in the bowls (I like to say he’s “helping me make dinner”). He brings me his tennis ball and makes me throw it, especially when we’re outside.
He sleeps in my bed with me every single night, curled up on the passenger side of the bed. He gets very upset when I have to leave for work and whines at the door. In the morning Zack gets him out of my room so he can have breakfast and then he immediately comes back to my bed and lays with me. He likes to put his nose against my chest and sleep. Oh yeah and he snores a lot (just like me!)

Fun fact, between the last paragraph and this one I moved to the couch. He followed and is currently next to me. Oh yeah he loves licking my feet. I don’t know why, he must like the way they taste. He is VERY well behaved, he almost never gets into mischief and always comes when I call him.

This post is just to share Jake with you a little and recognized how great of a puppy he is. He’s a big furry black lab (when Zack and Robert adopted him they were told he was originally brought into the shelter with mange and had NO HAIR, now his fur is in every corner of our house and especially on my sheets and in my room) with a long spotted tongue who is always happy to see everyone. I love my family’s animals but I don’t think I’ve ever had an animal bond with me as strong as Jake. I love him very much.

 

13325564_1361195987229767_422775306769173834_n

June 7, 2016

Hi guys. So, I posted something last night, there was a very brief amount of discussion, and I threw my hands up and walked away. Now that it’s the next day and my thoughts are a little more together, I’m going to try and make my point again, more concisely and a little bit calmer.

I’m not going to repost the article, but there was a blogger who wrote a very creepy angry post about the kid who raped a girl and was acquitted (is that the right legal term? You know what I mean). I think we all agree this was an egregious miscarriage of justice, and the little bastard doesn’t even seem remorseful for his actions. So I totally understand being angry at him or even hating him.

However, this blog post was literally titled “We With The Pitchforks,” and in this post the woman swore that she would amass an online mob to stalk and harass him everywhere he went, to slander his name in every way they could and make his life such a living hell that he would rather be imprisoned. It was incredibly creepy, seeing someone respond to this rapist with an attitude that felt not-altogether-unlike-rape. The way she spoke in her post with seething anger sounded like a serial killer tormenting their victim before killing them. It was INCREDIBLY disturbing.

More disturbing to me was the positive reaction the blog post was receiving, and I saw someone from the group share it. I was honestly really disgusted reading the article. What that kid did was wrong, the way the media portrayed him and his amount of white privilege were all terrible, and it was a total miscarriage of justice. However, stalking and harassing him is ALSO wrong. He escaped conviction, but that kid knows what he did and he has to live the rest of his life with it. Forgive me for being so sympathetic toward a rapist, but I can’t help but think, wow that is a fucked up kid who made a really terrible choice and NOW, because he isn’t even being forced to pay for his crime, he has to live the rest of his life not truly understanding how he hurt another person.

You may think it’s silly of me to show sympathy to a rapist, but I remind you that this is a group who applauded Amanda Palmer for showing sympathy toward the Boston Bomber. And who also has lyrics talking about sympathy for terrorists and the 9/11 attackers. So I would say having sympathy for this kid who committed a rape is well in line with that kind of thinking.

My main point here: anger against this kid is justified. Loathing of this kid is justified. Hatred of this kid is even justified. The desire to want to stand up for that innocent girl he raped, and to punish him for it, is a natural and human desire. But that doesn’t make it OKAY to do so. I hate to see this group, which preaches so much about loving thine enemies and showing compassion even in the most dire of times, turn into a pitchfork wielding mob.

Sometimes justice is not served. That doesn’t make it the job of everyone else to ruin the kids life further. Trust me, being known nationwide as a rapist who got off scott free will already do enough to damage that kids life. But to be honest, watching a bunch of people respond to this by promising to BULLY him? He’s already fucked up enough, let’s not lead him to committing suicide or something. He clearly needs help. The response here is to BE ANGRY, but not actively try and harm him. Then what you’re doing is just as wrong as what he did. You have no right to dislodge that kids life and future, just as he had no right to dislodge that innocent girls life and future.

(Note: The “you” in this post is rhetorical, or if you prefer, aimed at the woman who wrote that blog post, and people who agree with her.)

June 12, 2016

Alright, I have a confession.

I got swept up in Bernie mania. I really do think he’s a great candidate and probably the best when it comes to real change. And I bought into a lot of what a lot of the Bernie supporters on Facebook were saying. And you know, I DO find it very strange that Bernie fills stadiums and yet even though it seems like EVERYONE is supporting him, he’s somehow losing in the polls. It reminds me of the rigged American Idol season when Adam Lambert clearly lost because the producers decided he had to lose.

Today, I saw Hillary Clinton’s autobiography (not Hard Choices, the older one), and of course, for fun, I turned straight to the chapter about Monica Lewinsky. Just listening to the way she spoke in her book, even if it was written by a ghost writer, I couldn’t help but find her really solid and trustworthy. She didn’t seem like a manipulative con artist doing whatever she could to lie her way into office and into power, she seemed like a person who was skilled at being a politician and was willing to play politics to get shit done. I wasn’t reading any malice or corruption from her.

And then I remembered a few years ago when I knew even less about politics than I do now, and I was totally ready for Hillary. And I thought, I like this lady, I trust her, I like the Clintons, and I’ll be happy to vote for her. How did I end up calling her a voter manipulating power hungry harpy? I blame myself, but I definitely got swept up in the wave of anti-Hillary sentiment. But the question still remains: if Hillary is so unpopular, how is she winning in the popular vote?

Maybe it’s that the Bernie supporters just happen to be the LOUDEST. It doesn’t mean they’re the most numerous, but it does mean that Bernie’s supporters are the same people who use social media to communicate their every thought, so of course we’re hearing mostly their side of the story. “We Are the Media” is a powerful tool at times, but it can also lead you to making just as many errors by assuming what is popular is what is true.

So, I’m still on the fence. I couldn’t care less about “defeating Trump,” I want to vote for someone I believe in. Do I believe in Hillary? No, not yet. But I could deal with her, and even support her as president. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t into the idea of having a female president, as long as that female president was capable. If Roseanne were running again, I’d probably vote for her, just liked I planned to in 2012. But at the moment, I’m genuinely not sure. I might write in Bernie just because that’s what my conscience tells me my real and honest choice is. But I’m going to stop demonizing Hillary Clinton. I managed to fall into the same trap Republicans do by demonizing one candidate and sanctifying the other.

 

June 14, 2016

My whole life I have lived in fear because I’m gay. My boyfriend’s have refused to let me touch or hold their hand in public because they were genuinely afraid we would get shot. People can say what they want about change or progress, but through my eyes, the world is a place that abhors and hates gay people. It isn’t about politics or points of view. This is a world in which being gay is a crime punishable by the bloodiest death imaginable.

If you are gay, you have to get out of bed in the morning and fight the entire world. If you are gay, you have to live in fear everywhere you go. If you are gay, you have to drive past church billboards and protesters and rallies of people all plotting ways to kill you. Every piece of homophobic rhetoric is an incitement to violence. Every person talking about “traditional marriage” is inciting violence, every time any person abhors homosexuality they are inviting the most unstable of us to kill. There is no debate. There is no middle ground. Homosexuality is real and homosexual people are worthy. If you don’t agree with that, if you fight against that, your actions are inciting death.

Am I angry at the man who killed fifty of my brothers and sisters? I don’t know. I don’t know what I feel. But right now, in THIS moment, I feel sad for him. I feel sad because he was afraid, he was afraid of what this entire homophobic world told him. I understand the desire to hurt someone. I understand what it’s like to be fucked up in the head, and to not know how to take out your anger. His anger overpowered him and he took it out on those innocent people.

It’s said that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic state. I did not grow up around Islam. But I can tell you what I do know, and that’s Christianity. I ask you to please remember that I am sharing my personal experience here. I have seen Christianity. I have seen every kind of Christian. I have seen my grandmother, who was kind and loving, who never let me leave her house without kissing me and telling me she loved me, even when she was mad at me. I have seen the Westboro Baptist Church, and I ask you to please, PLEASE believe me when I tell you that as a gay man from Charlotte, North Carolina, you would be very surprised to know that the sentiments written on those Westboro Baptist Church placards are shared by MANY Christians.

Now hold on. If you just rolled your eyes or thought “That’s a minority of people,” or “Yeah but that doesn’t represent everyone or even that faith,” or anything like that, just wait a moment. Please listen. This is my experience. I’m telling you what I’ve seen.

Even the people who are kind, who take people in and help them, who feed the poor, even those people have no qualms about talking candidly about “niggers” and “fags” the moment the door is closed. (As an example, there is a woman I knew from the time I was a child, who loved me and whose grandchildren were my friends, who was kind and smiled and laughed and who gave me food every time I came into her house. This was a patently good person. And when I mentioned offhandedly that I was gay she laughed and said “Now Jesse, you are too much of a nice boy to be a fag.”)

I have seen the face of Christianity. It is self loathing, it is fear, it is embracing worthlessness, it is absolving yourself of personal responsibility, it is denial of pleasure and joy, it is hatred of the world around you, it is a loathing for the world and a longing for death and for a paradise beyond death, it is a fear of anger and retribution and fire, it is a longing to be unworthy, it is an obscene lust to be persecuted, it is a desire to prostrate yourself at all times before a master who condemns you, it is a sadomasochistic fascination with being unclean and hating yourself. This is the Christianity I have seen, and I am telling you the truth. I am not surprised that the shooter claimed an allegiance to Islamic ideals. And it isnt because I’m Islamophobic (at least not anymore than I’m Christophobic). It’s because I understand what Christianity can do to people. Islam is a sister religion to Christianity. Christianity and Islam share many things, and there differences are often only superficial: both religions contain the same calls to violence and the same condemnation of anyone who opposes their views. They also both contain beautiful poetry and wise people. But ultimately these religions are no different.

Let us not get sidetracked by focusing on the man with the gun who killed those people. Remember that he killed those people in that club BECAUSE THEY WERE GAY. If you deny this then you’re burying your head in the sand. And did he do it because of Islam? I have seen Christianity make monsters out of good people, so yes, absolutely it could have been because of Islam. It does not make me a bigot to realize this. It does not make me a bigot to stand up and shout that religion has been targeting my people and killing them for millenia. Christianity has targeted and murdered gay people specifically because they are gay for centuries upon centuries, and Islam is a stone’s throw (pardon the irony) from Christianity.

I am gay. I told everyone I was gay the moment I understood it to be the truth when I was 12 years old. Believe what I’m telling you, I have seen good and decent people become monsters because of their homophobia. I should be angry at those people, and I should be angry at the gunman.

But I’m just sad. I’m just sad, and exhausted.

 

July 9, 2016

I’m really trying. But today is hard. Being suicidal isn’t something you ever really overcome, but I’ve just been through so much in the last few weeks and ive had no time to decompress and process it all. I went from thinking I was going to have to leave my home, to working at two locations for my job, to finding out they still wouldn’t give me the hours or money I need. Then someone offered me a place to live and to help me go to school, and when I made the heartbreaking decision to take them up on the offer and leave my home, they retracted their offer. Then I found out I was hired for a full time job, but my full time job has been kicking my ass. It’s 8 and a half hours a day, usually six days a week, so far I’ve received exactly one day off in two weeks, and I’ve been scheduled for ten days in a row. I’m told this is par for the course, that it’s what I signed up for.

I’m also dealing with my health. I have diabetes now and I’m trying to live with it, but right now I’m being physically pushed beyond what I thought I could handle, working in the heat every day, carrying mattresses and heavy merchandise, and standing on my feet. Most of the people who come into the pawn shop where I work are poor, homeless, or on drugs, and they’re very difficult to deal with. I’m being honest here. A lot of the people are loud, obnoxious, confrontational, smelly, and rude. A lot of the merchandise we have in the store is filled with roaches and you can see them scurrying across the counters and floors.

What am I supposed to do? I can’t just quit. I have to pay my bills. My mother, who is a narcissistic homophobe, keeps begging me to move back to South Carolina, but going back there is like signing a death warrant. I promised Rob and Zack I would get a job that would pay the money I owe them for all they’ve done for me, and I can’t disappoint them by showing how upset I am about this job. I’ve been trying to keep an open mind, not to be judgmental, and to be patient and work hard. I get a few hours every day to fit in absolutely anything I want to do when I’m home, I get virtually no days off anymore, I don’t have time to write, to buy food, to do anything but work and sleep. It’s times like this that I just don’t see any way out and I just want the anxiety to stop, I just want to escape. I just dint think I’ll ever be able to survive in this world.

July 14, 2016

Every night our black lab Jake sleeps in my bed with me. He snuggles my arm and snores. Note that he is never far away from a tennis ball. They are his favorite thing in the world. (His sister Roxxi is currently visiting the bed)

Jake and Roxxi