"to you" | wednesday | september 6, 2006 | 11:01 am
APPY BIRTHDAY to my friends Rob and Peter!
I hope they both have a great day.
• • •
"snapshot" | thursday | september 7, 2006 | 7:42 am
T'S EARLY AND I DON'T HAVE A LOT OF TIME.
I have been very lax about keeping my site updated. Bad Ed. The last few weeks have
just been busier and crazier than expected (with my roommate Jane moving in, with
teaching a summer class, with life in general). I have a lot on my mind. And even
more on my list of things to do. That list includes getting an update up soon.
The regular school year starts soon, in less than two weeks, and I have no idea how
I am going to get everything I need to do done. But, as
Tim Gunn is fond of
saying, "Make it work."
read footnotes |
• • •
"also, to you" | monday | september 11, 2006 | 11:01 am
APPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Shawn and happy
birthday to my friend Nathan! I hope they both have a great, great day.
• • •
"mr. sunshine" | friday | september 15, 2006 | 7:59 pm
COULD POSSIBLY FEEL WORSE. I guess that's a
saving grace (albeit
when you're sort of stuck in the midst of a depression). I've been incredibly preoccupied.
Some of it good -- like with teaching, getting the apartment unpacked and set up (more),
rearranging my bedroom and desk space, watching a whole lot of
and otherwise hanging out. Some of it is not so good, however, and totally
throwing me for a loop -- like stressing about the coming school year, feeling
deeply antisocial, disliking my body, being dissed by cute guys (or being lead on
by all the wrong guys), adjusting to life with a roommate, and feeling disappointed
and dissatisifed and distracted and disconnected most of the time. And I'm trying
to sort out all of the above before I go completely bonkers.
I am not happy.
read footnotes |
• • •
"tired" | tuesday | september 19, 2006 | 10:05 pm
OPEFULLY, I CAN EKE OUT A SHORT POST. I am
really tired today (though generally, too). Last week was the last week of teaching,
and now I have a bunch of final papers to grade. I had a good time with the students
these past four weeks. The accelerated and compressed summer schedule is exhausting,
though. Like always, I will miss my students, but I have a whole new batch coming up
soon. (I did manage to make friends with a few of my summer kids, something that
has not happened in a while. They have promptly
facebooked me and have promised
to stay in touch. We'll see how long their enthusiasm lasts as they go into their
first, full-fledged quarter of college.)
This week is training week and professional development. Since I am teaching a different
course this year,
(Composition with Literature), I have to attend training. Monday, today, and Thursday
are my training days. Though, I missed today's three-hour session in order to
go to the new composition TA training to help out as a workshop facilitator. I really
like helping out with the new TAs. Today I led a workshop on course descriptions.
I'm also really keen on meeting the incoming class (a couple of the guys are kind of
cute). The rest of this week is devoted to getting my class sorted out and going
to training and helping with training.
I have decided to go out on a limb with my class this coming quarter. While everyone
else is doing poetry or Shakespeare or "literatures of hell" or modernist novels, I am
doing a mixture of essays and short stories about cyberspace. It's my first attempt
at a digital studies-type class. A preliminary course description can be found via
the UW schedule of classes:
ENGL 111 Q.
The course title is "Imagining Cyberspace: Representations of Cyberspace in Literature, Film, and Culture."
Granted, the course is at core a writing class, but we'll get a chance to read some
cool stuff including
We're also going to spend some time looking at websites and watching films like
Warriors of the Net
I think it will be a challenging class to teach (as well as to take), but the experience
will give me an idea of how to approach this materially not only theoretically but
pedagogically. I still consider myself still pretty new to the digital studies world,
and I think I have a bit of knowledge, experience, and expertise to build.
So, as per usual, school and teaching are going fine. The summer is nearly over and I
look at my imaginary tally sheet and realize that I haven't done much in the past three
months. I really wanted to get some projects finished. Most of my time was swallowed
by really mundane things -- like moving, getting settled, day-to-day living. I guess
I can only do what I can do at any given moment. It's still a little disappointing
though. Plus, I am still woefully out of sorts, and I haven't figured out how to
wake up, get out of it. I fear that things will only get darker (much like the start
of the rainy weather here in Seattle) before they will get better. But that could just
be the crushing pessimistic sapping sadness that I feel right now.
read footnotes |
• • •
"h.b.t.y." | saturday | september 23, 2006 | 8:11 am
APPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Meghan! Happy, happy,
happy birthday to you!
• • •
"my so called life" | sunday | september 24, 2006 | 2:15 pm
That's basically what I'm feeling right now and what seems to be the problem with my life
in general. Too complicated. And as my life gets more and more complicated, the more and
more I want to retreat, to hide, and to simplify. Sometimes I want to simplify to the point
of just not trying, not participating, not being at all. I just want everything to stop.
To catch my breath. To think through things. To just exist without the trappings and
consequences of existing. I think some people call that perfect zen or nirvana or orgasm
or the ultimate high. I don't know. I think you have to be pretty happy, pretty secure,
pretty content for all of the above. I'm so far from that truth. Really.
So I want to simplify. To change. To pass go and collect $200.
I came to the realization sometime last night that I am dangerously close to collapsing in
on myself, of developing some sort of social anxiety disorder by force of will alone. My
need for extroversion is becoming polluted by the fact that I don't seem to enjoy the people
around me nor the neighborhood I live in nor the school I attend nor the life I lead.
That isn't good. I have a lot of frustrations, disappointments, resentments, jealousies,
angers, and depressions that are half-real, half-phantom but fully disconcerting and draining me
bit by bit. The brave face, the calm and cool exterior, the black humor are my best coping
mechanisms, my best defenses. I just don't know if it's going to last. I do believe that sometimes
faking it till you make it is the only way to change. Epiphanies (and perfect zen and nirvana
and orgasm and ultimate highs) are not a dime a dozen -- they certainly don't come cheap.
I feel derailed.
I really need to find a way to find some resolution, some respite, and some surefire way
to release this bottled up-ness with as few casualties as possible. But I'm not sure I know
how. I really should look into going back to therapy. The school year's about to start and
I probably get a handful of sessions through the school's mental health unit. That's a
beginning. Ultimately, I have to find a way to express some of what's going on inside
my head and heart and body to people in my life. It's just so hard. And only getting
harder. The walls are getting thicker and higher.
If I look back at the entries on my blog for the past few years, I see that I write very
little about my inner life, my secret life, my authentic life. I mean there's all sorts
of details about this and that, him and her, here and there. But I hedge whenever I
really have something on my mind. In part, I think this self-censorship is a result of
some fallout a few years ago when my friends lambasted me for writing so personally,
with such detail, about me and them and the things going on around us. But even though
I tried to keep things centered on myself, on my perceptions, and on my interactions,
they were too revealing. So, out of deference, I reneged. I cut back. I glossed.
But there's a slippery slope. And I think I've just stopped writing about things. The
other part is that I just don't seem to be able to write about how I feel anymore -- I
mean really feel. Then again I have always had a problem with letting my guard down.
I protect myself too well sometimes.
I don't know if the answer is to just balls out say everything, express everything, make
no excuses about anything. I don't think I could do that anyway. Not right away, at
least. I have to start small, start simple. But I do know that my intellectual life
cannot be the only life I have. I know that my pedagogical life cannot be the only life
I have. I know that my celibate life cannot be the only life that I have.
I want so much more. I deserve it.
read footnotes |
• • •
"fucking men: an inventory" | friday | september 29, 2006 | 10:39 am
I barely got enough sleep last night. I am a little tired and hungover from last night's
grad pub. But mostly I am just apathetic, energyless, directionless after nearly losing
all of my shit yesterday. The short of it: it's been a really long time since I have
cried in public, in front of friends, in front of complete strangers, in front of the
incoming class to my program. If this were a different era in my life (i.e. high school),
I would have committed what amounts to social suicide. It may still have repercussions,
nonetheless. But what's done is done, what tears are spilt are spilt. I can only learn
from the occasion and hope that sympathy and empathy runs deep among those who were
Central to some of the issues and drama that precipitated into a rather painful display
is my confused, oftentimes deeply ironic relationship (or more importantly, lack thereof)
with men. In the past ten or so years that I have been
out, I have only had a handful (at best) actual
relationships. My first was nearly completely virtual -- a result of meeting online,
long distance, I was on the East Coast, he was on the West coast (the irony that he was
from the Seattle area is not lost on me at this very moment), chock full of late night
chats and phone calls and care packages, the first man to send me flowers, an
exchange of photos, a plan for him to fly out to meet me -- that ended with me
"breaking up" with him before anything physical happened (including meeting face to
face). My second relationship began similarly but
Nick and I actually met, dated long-distance
for a handful of months (he visited as often as he could), and consummated our
relationship; he was my "first." As my first "real" boyfriend, I still very much
love him (even only in my memory of our time together). From that point on, I had
a few on and off attempts at relationships that never really sailed past the
initial, exciting, first dates phase. Then somewhere along the line I stopped
dating, stopped finding available men, stopped being found by available men.
It all just stopped. Now, years later, I live in nearly total celibacy and in some
strange self-imposed abstinence.
However, in the past years, stretching as far back as my outness reaches back, I have
always found myself attracted to unavailable men, usually straight or partnered men.
In part, that attraction is based on the fact that my pool of men was severely bounded
by those I knew or were friends with. That attraction is based also in part on the
fact that my standard of beauty, attractiveness, desire, and erotics tends toward
the hypermasculine (which I have thought about, written about, talked about, and
continue to try to unpack and rearticulate since much of it seems to be based in
internalized homophobia and heteronormativity). Finally, that attraction is based
in part by a string, a pattern, a preponderance of straight men who choose me
as an object of affection, an object of attraction, an object of desire. It is this
last bit that gives me the most trouble, that drives a very vicious cycle. And it
is this last bit that hurts me the most and probably prevents me from attempting to
find and want fully available people.
I have years and years of experiences of ostensibly heterosexual men who, at the time,
in the moment, had little compunction about being my friend, with being with me
and being read as potentially partnered with me (i.e. going out to dinner
and holding hands or not correcting the waiter when they assume we're boyfriends),
or with sleeping with me. Some men only want what I would call an emotional relationship
with me, one that reminds me of the deep, homosocial friendships
in Victorian literature. Some men only wanted to experiment, to stretch their
boundaries. Some men only wanted sex or to be serviced sexually. And some few
did really want to be with me, with a man but were not ready to "cross over."
Some of these men really used me. Some I really used. And all of this anecdotal data
lead me to say things like "I have kissed more straight men than gay men" or "Till
I moved to San Francisco, I had slept with more straight men than gay men" or "I am
the gateway gay." Even in jest, the truth of the matter is that I am attracted to
unavailable men and unavailable men are attracted to me.
Years ago, I swore off actively persuing straight men. I managed to claw my way out of that
part of the vicious circle. Or at least mostly the way out of it. It only earned me
heartbreak, in the end. My one "real" relationship in San Francisco was amazing and
exciting and ultimately crushing for me because Josh was not ready (or willing or able)
to be with me long term. We were described by our mutual friends as "together" the
first moment we met; it was definitely, for me, one of those rare instantaneous
connections. We dated for several months, but never really got to the "Are we exclusive?
Are we boyfriends?" conversation. He broke up with me rather suddenly saying he
was not ready to be in a relationship with a man (he had left a very long term relationship
with a woman when he moved to SF). What hurt the most, however, was that he left me
and a week later began seeing another man, which lasted a very long time. He and I have
talked a little about what happened "to us" since. But that was the last time I really
found anyone or was with anyone. Like Nick, Josh is still very near and dear to me (and
I still think we would have been very good with each other, for each other).
I originally wanted to entitle this entry, this essay "A Tale of Two Brandons."
(Again, the whole challenge and problem of using people's names is a tough hurdle, but
in the need to really just write about things as they "are" I continue.) But
the scope of what I'm thinking about and trying to work through far exceeds just two
examples. Like I said, this is a pattern. And it's a life pattern, one ingrained into
my history, my memory, my emotional and physical and sexual hopes and responses, into
how I interact and interpret the world around me. And it is a pattern that really needs
to be reconstituted, if not totally broken. (I really don't know how to do this.)
Let me start with the two Brandons. The examples are still useful, still telling. The
first Brandon I met almost a year ago. (Why I didn't write about it then is remarkable
and reveals the kind of self censoring and self editing of my life that I've been
most recently writing about.) It was the end of the fall quarter last year, and I was
out with my friend Andrew. We went to his local bar and eatery
Pies and Pints, which is
awesome and friendly and yummy. As the regular, Andrew is friendly with the P&P staff.
We hang out. And I meet Brandon, who worked in the kitchen. Initially, I read him
as straight. He was taller than me, lanky, a little bit of a tummy, scruffy, almost
quintessentially Pacific Northwest, if not Seattle. I thought he was cute, but
did not pursue it. I was not in a gay part of town; I was not in a gay space (though
P&P has always been openly queer friendly). But as the night progressed, things
changed. Brandon overtly flirted with me, at first with just teasing banter. Drinks
later, my interest piqued, I flirted back and he responded positively. In fact, I
remember him saying, "If you don't stop I don't know what might happen." Later in
the night, he comes out of the kitchen and over to me and hands me a card (a random
business card he pulled out of the "Win a Free Lunch" fishbowl that most restaurants
have) on which he's written "Brandon the Hot Cook from Pies & Pints" and his phone
number. I was actually shocked. No one has ever done that for me before. He
said to call him and that we would get together. My straightdar was still giving me
warning pings, but I went with it. I was flattered, deeply. And I was ready for a
little romance and action. The night did end with him kissing me. Again, he
initiated it. I, of course, was more than happy to respond.
Unfortunately, my initial apprehension and misgiving was right. The spectacular
beginning that night was also pretty much the end of that short lived affair. I did
call Brandon. But nothing came of it. Weeks passed. I did see him at the restaurant
thereafter and excuses and explanations were offered. Eventually, I had to just
drop it, forget about it, which was a shame because I really thought that this time
things would be different. This time it was the guy that started things, that made
the bold first move. Eventually, I had to come to terms that though Brandon was
probably interested in "something" with me, he was just not capable of following through
on his intention. Months passed before I saw him again. This time he was having a
going away party because he was leaving Seattle for school. I went and it was nice
to see him. He played it cool and was distant. Late in the evening, I saw him
and one of his best friends at a bar. I was pretty intoxicated; he was pretty
intoxicated. And in another moment of effusiveness, he told me that he really liked
me, that he was really sorry he never called me and we never met up, and that he
admitted he had "fucked up." His words. He also proceeded to get very friendly with
his hands and demeanor. When Brandon went to the bathroom, I asked his friend what
was going on. His friend admitted that Brandon was just a really confused guy.
Well, I wish him clarity and courage in the future. (I did get the promise that
he would call me when he visits Seattle.)
I met the second Brandon also last year going out to
Neighbours. He is
tall, shavy headed, lanky, and cute -- essentially, my type. Initially, we really only just "ran into"
each other at the club. One night he and I spent a good bit of time dancing
and hanging out and having a few drinks. The evening progressed to making out,
and it was very fun. And that was as far as it every went. Then school and life
kept me from going out much, and the months passed before I ran into Brandon again.
This past spring, I started going to Neighbours again. And one night while out with
some school friends, Brandon was there. I invited him to join us and it was a fun
night. Afterward, my friends told me that Brandon was really into me and that I
should totally go after him. I explained that Brandon and I were club friends;
we really only saw each other at the club and that there wasn't really anything
there. Club friends are always really flirty and such. But my friends insisted
that there was more to it. Suffice it to say, I did try to become better acquainted
with Brandon. It turns out, though, that he had a boyfriend (at the time). It was
okay. In my mind, at least I was interested in a gay man this time, though once again
unavailable for other reasons. But the weeks passed and Brandon and I spent some
time together. Some of that time was very sweet, almost romantic. He's smart, he's
got similar interests, and he's affectionate.
Brandon and I hung out a lot initially. He spent all of Fourth of July with me and
my grad friends. We went on walks, went out for coffee, and hung out and watched TV.
We mimed what people do when they're dating. People who saw us together thought we
were together. And I think the fantasy of it all got to me (and probably to him).
My perception of the situation was skewed (it didn't help that my friends
encouraged me in thinking that things were romantic). Regardless, I do think that
Brandon liked the attention I gave him and that he genuinely wanted to be friends.
I think I did give him the impression that I liked him and wanted to be more than
friends. And he did not really give me reason to stop. It was all neat and
self-contained. He and I would talk about his relationship and about relationships
in general. I was having difficulty trying to figure out how I fit into his world
or if I did at all. In fact, his online blog made no mention of me or spending so
much time with me (even though he writes very completely about what he does or
who he is with). It is a level of omission that seems suspect. He did break up
with his boyfriend during all of this. But though it was an opportunity for me, I did not
think it would be right for me to try to swoop in. And somewhere I think wires were
crossed. Somewhere along the way he pulled away. And somewhere I decided I didn't
want feel like a hanger on. So our interactions dwindled. I cannot help feeling
like I was being led on, intentionally or not.
I still like Brandon. I still think he's cute. I am still attracted to him. But
the timing just doesn't seem to be right. And I really don't think he sees me more
than just an acquaintance. Perhaps things will be different, but I leave things to
develop as they may slowly, if at all. I realized that I really just needed to
deal with my own issues, my feelings, and work on trying to keep things in perspective,
to keep things concrete.
The lesson here for me is that I find myself entangled in situations where I am
always on the losing side. I put myself there or I allow myself to be put there.
Maybe everyone goes through this in some way -- the trial and mostly error that
teaches you what you want, what others want, and what works and doesn't work. I am
just hyperconscious of the fact that the men I attract or the men I am attracted
to see me or use me as an opportunity for temporary thrills, emotional
intimacy, companionship, or getting their rocks off. In the moment, they like it,
I like it, and it's sating but not satisfying. I have to take charge of my own
wants and desires and insecurities. I recognize that sometimes I am so desperate
for any kind of attention that these men are convenient and a band-aid. But
who knows? There is a part of me that says that why couldn't one of these men
be the real deal? It may start out as flirtation or codependency or experimentation
but evolve into something lasting, reciprocal, loving? Maybe I am just in denial.
After class yesterday, my friend Pacheree and I went to the
College Inn Pub
early just to hang out and talk. I wanted to spend some time with
her before grad pub got underway. And we talked about the kinds of things
that have been on my mind and getting me down. While at the pub, I met a
guy sitting near us. I introduced myself and chatted him up a bit. He seemed
interested and flirtatious. It turns out we had a friend in common. The
evening progressed and I did my best to keep his attention. There was more
chatting and more flirting. (Again, my friends encouraged me to make a move.)
I thought there was reciprocity. I thought he was into me. I clearly was
wrong. Again. Hours into the evening, he stopped and said to me, "I
just wanted to let you know..." Danger right there. "...before things went
any further..." Fuck, not again. "...I'm straight."
If it were any other situation, if I were in a totally different more secure
place and headspace, if it were sooner into the flirtation than later, I would
have been fine. I am glad he said something -- it is an important boundary
to establish. But last night, in that moment, I was crushed. I had done it
again. I had tried, like so many times before, chosen, like so many times before,
hoped, like so many times before, and fallen flat on my face.
(To be clear, his confession was not the straw that broke this camel's back.
Other extenuating circumstances last night kicked me while I was down.)
The way things go, the men I choose or who choose me, the narrative of my so called
love life is uncanny. Things have reached the point of predictability. I am so
gunshy that I am afraid to find anyone attractive, afraid to let anyone find me
attractive, afraid to try anything for fear of getting sucker punched one more
time. My circle of friends are awesome, and they keep trying to dust me off
and tell me I'm beautiful and assure me that things will be all right. I really
want to believe them. And I really want to believe in me.
I just don't know what that is anymore. I don't know what that looks like anymore.
Most importantly I don't know what that feels like anymore.
For the future, I say...
Fucking grow a pair. Use it or lose it. Just because you're fucked up doesn't mean
you have the right to fuck someone else. Bitter advice that I will take myself, but
advice that men in this world need to swallow, too. I get it. I really do.
I understand that our world is ill prepared to deal with same sex desire (desire of
many sorts, actually). I know that the violence, the hate, the legislation, the
sanctions, the dirty looks, the repercussions, the consequences all add up to a
big ball of fucking doom and gloom and loss. But, damn it, we can, we must, we
do live. For ourselves. For others. For love. For desire. For a better world.
Kiss him. Kiss me. Fuck him. Fuck me. Love him. Love me. Let go of the old
paradigm. If he's the one you want, then find away out of all the doubt and
the fear and the damage and the drama and the dos, donts, shoulds, coulds, woulds.
I know that desire is never cut and dry. But it can be simple. It can be here
and now, not abstract or contingent. If I'm the one you want, then tell me,
show me, be with me, and let yourself and let me be.
read footnotes |
• • •
last month |