Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?







Monday, February 28, 2011

Jackpot!

Swag City, Baby!

I hit Tallahassee on Saturday to volunteer for a booth for PFLAG
(http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2) and the
first ever Tallahassee LGBT Business Expo! It was a beautiful day,
a great showing, and a lot of fun!

The Dee-Jay played all the songs that have been sung on GLEE and
there were some really cool and innovative businesses. Everyone
had some great marketing strategies!

There were gift bags at the door, goodies at every table, I won a
stylin' golf bag as a door prize, I gots me a free massage which was
HEAVEN!, and I made a lot of cool business contacts for digital
media art and cooperative politicking!

Looking forward to some hook-ups with the new people and
learning some new things. Even had a visit from a few of my fave
PFLAG members who sat with me!

Now if only the fitness guy had been giving free massages!......

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Movie Gallery Closing (March 2010)

Well, Movie Gallery is finally going out of business.


I knew of this earlier this year, since the law firms
have to send out notification that anyone who is owed
money by the company can suck dirt at this point.

The writing was on the wall, though; it's really sort of
miraculous they lasted this long with the business
structure they had.

People have said "Aren't you glad?"

Hell, no, I'm not glad.
I won't be getting the money they owe me; neither will
anyone else who is owed money through their neglect,
theft, or poor business practices. Another big company
gets off free while the little people are left holding the bag.

The COO and CEO and all those folks are going home
millionaires. The consultant that ran it into the ground....
the people who made disastrous choices...they will be
well paid as always. This here affects the working poor;
the thousands of employees who will now not even have
their SLAVE WAGE Minimum (and baby we do mean
MINIMUM) Wage paycheck to keep afloat.

This is quality of life for many folks. And another
corporate decision to avoid responsibility has adversely
affected it for them.

There is also the matter that, in small rural places
like Donalsonville and Blakely, there are no alternatives
to movie rentals. Not everyone has a computer or
a credit card, both of which are necessary for
netflix (an awesome company, but with some real limits
if you're poor.)

There was little to do to keep people happy, distracted,
entertained, or occupied as it was. NOW what the hell
are they going to do?

There are no jobs available, and there won't be any
severance packages or unemployment, so....another
couple thousand folks going through depression and
financial despair. More house foreclosures. More
spiritual and emotional upset.

No, I'm not happy.

I'm not even the least bit 'satisfied' that the individuals
who screwed me are getting a taste in return. Life is
hard enough...no one needs extra horseshit.

One more piece of this town's already diminished
landscape and social scene is going. It is truly a sad day;
there for sure will be nothing to take its place.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Behind the Veil

In honor of V.D., a little snippet glimpsing some
openness, honesty, and willingness regarding love
(romantic, familial, or platonic!)


"Behind the Veil"



Caring about someone means opening yourself up to hurt...
asking for drama...doing what isn't always comfortable.




It's unreliable, imbalanced, scary and uncertain....
we have to take things on faith...
learn different ways to communicate
as we see the imperfect details of another soul
(and find out, sometimes gently, sometimes harshly,
that our own universes are less than perfect, too.)



In time, we lose steam and get in a groove,
forget to have the same interest in one another,
become complacent and irritable.


Some days we have to decide again and again
to give of ourselves and let someone in.
There's always a reason to limit, to withdraw,
to take for granted.


Maintenance is harder than start-up...
newness and best efforts die off. Facades erode.


Reality sets in, familiarity begets boredom,
respect can seem perfunctory and a chore.

It's not science; it isn't perfect or fixed.
Sometimes the fit is easy, most often not.
It's not seeing ourselves mirrored back resolutely,
but finding the discordant pleasing.


It's not sunshine and rainbows,
but weathering storms and standing firm.


We waver, but we choose not to fold.
We get what we give.
If we feel unheard, are we listening?
If we feel invisible, are we looking?
If we feel unappreciated, do we give undivided attention?


These are the questions we ask
when we expand our scope to include another.


The decision isn't to be entered into--or departed from--hastily.
Learning to offset one another, not control or change, is alchemy's
greatest manifestation.


We all know loneliness and emptiness, heartache and disillusionment.
We all struggle and bleed and fall....sometimes sharing that pain
is the best way we can connect to another on the journey.


The greatest gift we give is to show our true self to another,
and remain loving as they do the same for us.


No candies, no flowers, no hearts...just a hiccup in 'business as usual'
of expectations and demands, judgments and self-centeredness.

A reminder that love, like the people generating it, is a living thing
that requires nurturing and care....if we choose to look behind the veil.


*****************************************************

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More than Materialism; Joblessness' Battle for the Soul


As I enter another week of joblessness, I face the wall
once again. That ever-growing, ever-intensified, ever-
unscalable wall of lowered self-worth and lessened
masculinity. At least, in my despair-mind, which threatens
to overtake me.


I know well the dangers of attaching one's identity and
well-being to specific circumstances; after all, any job can
end, as can a person's ability to do specific jobs. But this
lack of work is far more than economic suicide. It's eating
my soul.


I must remember;
"Happiness is Choice, not Chance." My joy is established
by a lifestyle choice, not life giving me what I wish. I know,
too, that how I perceive and respond to things makes a huge
difference in how things go.


Idle hands, idle mind, lacking purpose, lacking interaction,
loss of schedule, loss of self-sufficiency...these are not
minor things. I do my best to keep busy with tasks and
staying connected--in addition to continuing to search for
and create any and every income opportunity possible--
but the nagging thought is that I do not earn my way and
I continue to circle the drain.

I need to remember there's more to life than material goods.
That I am a champion despite the world's view on anything.
I can't take it personally.
I must know that I am stronger than I realize; that I can and
must push through this wall. This is my defining time.


As I seem less able to hold on to what I have, I descend
into the Nether Regions, where people no longer invite you
to be around them, worried for the poverty cooties and
general depressiveness they assume will accompany the
stories you must have to tell. I don't blame them; we stick
to what we know. there's a discomfort, too, with people
not knowing what to say...or feeling like there's an expectation
of 'help' from them.


Visiting with a poor person is sort of like a visit to a nursing
home; a horrible downer that keeps you watching the clock
and feeling guilty.


No eating out. No movies. No TV. No phone. No Internet.
No gas for travel for necessity or pleasure. Those seem like
trivial matters--until there's no longer the freedom to do them
at will. Being disconnected is not a pleasant experience.

You drop in prominence and significance. You can pretend
 it doesn't matter--get your stiff upper lip starched--but in the
end, it chafes. No matter how resilient or independent we are,
there is a basic need in all of us to feel like a part of something.
A desire to belong.


You can resolve to be wealthy no matter what, but to what end?
That you will do whatever it takes to succeed? I could have
broken the law many times over and be in charge of my life; no
longer have need to worry. What does morality offer me at the
end of the day? What good is peace of mind when my toes are
frozen and my stomach is growling? What good are platitudes
when I am isolated in my home, losing it?

But all i have left is who I am. Is my sense of soul worth something
if I die as a result of neglect? It's too much for my mind to balance
out.


But you can get used to the cold. You get used to hunger. You get
used to loneliness and no one to talk to. You get used to sore feet.
You get used to anything you have to get used to. Life is what it is.
You buck up; stop feeling pain, stop seeing limits, stop complaining,
stop waiting for miracles, stop worrying, learn to live without and
focus on what you do have.


You learn your true value. You learn to fight. You learn to see
what's important. You learn to make do and reassess.You learn to
develop a self-sufficiency and survival instinct that nobody can take.


Self-pity? You bet your sweet ass. Somebody has to feel for me.
The government doesn't care. The town I'm in has no resources.
There are no jobs. There are no programs. There are no funds.
I don't want charity--I want to be able to pull my way. I want to be
a man. I want to have purpose. I want to have my voice heard.
I want to matter, like anyone else on the planet.


I don't want to just slip away into nothingness and longer.


I'm tired of going places I don't care to go to get free food.
I'm tired of leftovers that are unhealthy for my dietary needs.
I'm sick of people assuming my laziness and apathy is at the core of
my unemployment. I'm sick of all my good being overlooked with
that wince of summary disappointment expressed when people find
out I don't have a job.

There are no illusions; you find out quickly who your real friends
are. You find out what people are made of. I can remember that
I am my own best friend, that no person is dependable anyway, that
I can enjoy my own company, and I can find new acquaintances
who better relate to my circumstances. Problem solved.


I dislike having shoes that are falling apart. That have to be painted
to keep them from being as obviously dirty and decrepit. I dislike
wearing stained clothing because I can't afford either stain remover or
new/used clothes. I hate that I have to beg for help to feed my animals,
and that the only option there seems to be for their being better off is
being put to sleep, as no one is looking for more mouths to feed.

But still I rise, and do what needs doing, assuming a better day,
and making the most out of the one that's here. bitterness affords me
nothing except soul sickness, and my soul is the last valuable I own.

I'm fortunate enough to have shoes, feet that work and can carry me,
my mobility, a life of any kind, a sufficiency of things here and now,
a mind that works, access to a library and computer, and so on.
Things are not nearly as bad as I make them out. Perspective.

I do affirmations and positive thinking and ask everyone I meet
about work, and I have joined club after group after church seeking a
means of the necessary networking required to get any work.


Beyond understanding, beyond known opportunities, beyond the
knowledge I possess or that I have sought out.......I continue doing
what I can and feel compelled to do but 'slowing the sinking' does not
feel much like progress. There are days when merely surviving does
not have the appeal I would like it to.


The worst of it? There is no tangible threat to wrap my hands around.
No one or thing to oppose. I truly understand how some have gotten on
the anti-government bandwagon; it helps to have a viable scapegoat to
be the target of angst and despair, even if it changes nothing. Having an
outlet is very cathartic in some ways.


Should the government do more? Probably. What can be done? I
don't know. The mess is so large and so unmanageable that it defies
quick fixes. It's my responsibility to look out for myself; that's what
everyone who isn't in this bind thinks. The outlook only changes
when they themselves are found in this situation. But then it's too late,
because the disenfranchised and the penniless have no pull.

A friend says "Those that would, can't...and those that can, won't."
It pretty well summarizes how people in the world operate. Those
with the least to offer are most generous, it seems. Knowing how
it is makes people more responsive, I guess. A cynic would say that
'giving it all away' in the name of brotherhood is what keeps us poor.
But poverty is a mental affliction, and I am not impoverished.

I can be a king even living in a van. I am a master on the streets.
I am unafraid. I am powerful. I am a survivor. I am free.
There's a sense of invisibility at the bottom. A sense of total humility
as your identity is stripped bare and you realize that the world will
most definitely go on without a hiccup upon your demise. Hell, it
doesn't much seem to need me now. The only one my life truly
matters to is me, and that makes my job as head cheerleader and
mud hole stomper all that much more important.

I'm going to throw my beret in the air and let the world know,
"I'm gonna make it after all."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

CONFESSIONAL on LONELINESS


I enjoy my own company, mostly. (That doesn't take into account Psycho-Killer mode, but, you know, otherwise.)

I am not, however, oblivious to the machinations of my own mind. To wit:

*I know I hate inclusiveness in part because I have never belonged (nor see myself as possible candidate to ever be a part of what-have-you.)

*I know my aversion to relationships and bonds and commitments is because I don't believe any of them to be real...at least not for me.

*I know I promote an air of intolerance to keep people at a distance because that is more comfortable than the anxiety and risk of them being otherwise.

*I reject others first so that I am spared the inevitable rejection.

And so on...
Let's just illustrate with the perfect example of my insanity and emotional upheaval.

I have this friend....
Well, let's call him a friend for the sake of argument.
I don't know what to consider him.

He has been--at alternating times--a miserable bastard, one of the most beloved persons I have known, a good guy, a regular Joe who's nice to talk to, a potential friend, an object of my affection (although certainly the opposite wasn't true,) a connection to salvation, and generally a "real piece of work."
Depending on what mood I'm in at the time. (Or, what mood he was in at the time I was in my mood.) Anyway; we're acquainted. Other than that, I haven't a fucking clue what label to use.

So this friend (for the sake of argument) has some real issues with consistency of emotion. (Right, I know. Maybe I notice it because I suffer too, but who am I to speak, right? Anyway....) We have this never-ending up-down, come here-go away, yes-no thing going on with our friendship. One moment offering encouraging words and a helping hand, the next defensively posturing with seething hate and resentments. One moment oblivious to one another, one moment playing mind games to inflict injury.

I think we are drawn to one another because we are very similar in some ways (which are our problem areas; not a good basis for forming relationships,) and we are very different in other areas (the general areas that people tend to find common ground on. Differences are initially interesting in relationships, but unless both persons are really strong, it's bad in the long run.) Kind of a bad mix!

I should point out that this is, despite appearances, a platonic relationship. (As if those are any easier for me to maintain than another. Intimacy is intimacy, at the end of the day.)

So it finally occurs to me as I notice I've been obsessed for days over the latest drama that transgressed, that there must be more to it than the surface level. I start to dig to try and figure out what is at the base of all the bullshit and childish petulance. I came up with a lot...unfortunately. Instead of a diatribe on each, I'm just gonna break it down to brass taxes, and keep it simple. It's pretty self-explanatory anyway.

* How could you care about someone, and then stop?

* Why am I not good enough?

* Why couldn't you just be honest with me?

* Is this how it feels for other people when I turn on/turn off my feelings on the outside based on what's going on inside?

* Did you lie when you said you cared, or are you lying when you act like you don't?

* I have real love for him. If I didn't, it wouldn't have hurt so bad to have been hurt by the lack of reciprocity.

* I do know that my hurts, resentments, etc are all open to interpretation. Hurt may not have been intended in all the actions taken.

* A lot of this could have been avoided by open, direct, honest discussion of the original slights (real or perceived.)

* Part of it's jealousy that others know him better and are well regarded. Part of it's insecurity that I am not the kind of person who makes a good friend.

* I have overlooked (ignored) my own pettiness when dealing with him because it's embarrassing to acknowledge that a grown person can be so stupid. I am equally responsible.

* I don't like myself very much, and thus 'every little thing' is perceived as rejection and criticism.

* Probably, he doesn't like himself very much either. That should be grounds for grace, not a weakness to be attacked.

* Anger is a convenient, posturing, face-saving bullshit emotion, only serving to cover up pain and hurt.

*If either of us were to leave this world today--or simply be unable to see one another again--this negativity and crazy horseshit is NOT how I want things left.

The question is, when I approach him to attempt reconciliation, will my resolve be sufficient if he's still defensive about our last go-round? I have to be strong and determine it will be.

He is a friend, if truth be told. (Obviously.) We all make mistakes. How can I question his place in my life just because I'm afraid of the risk? Just because I've been angry at his perceived shortcomings, while failing to admit my own?