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I've always been a little baffled by the concept of "internet" friendship as opposed to "real" friendship, and this has come up in an interesting context now that Facebook allows us to keep records of who we *have been* friends with in addition to our current stable of connections. This came to my attention today on a friend's wall, when I realized that two of our mutual friends in a conversation were listed as "also friends of" -- as in, "not friends of yours" -- even though I know that this was not the case at least a few months ago, when we were all happily mutually connected. Cue internal conflict and intellectual oddity. 

It's weird to have a conversation on Facebook with people you realize defriended you at some point, most likely recently at that. There's always the immediate instinctive reaction, whether or not to try refriending them, what it was you said that made this happen (for me, I assume it's the usual angry ranting about gay rights), etc. There are also questions about the true implications for a real social connection. 

Are we still friends in the rl? Were we ever? How much should I take it to heart that this person I don't dislike appears to dislike me (at least online)? Is it sad that my feelings are a little hurt, or should I just take it as the inevitable consequence of being outspoken when my opinion is not the majority opinion. Strangers, I don't care so much about, but people I have known...

A whole wash of different emotions come with this, and it's not stupid to be upset about it. You are effectively being silenced in that person's (online) life. So I have to ask, am I offensive (to people I care about offending)? Do I post too much? Is it the opinion, or the intensity of it, that offended? Is the person the sort of person about whom I have been railing, and I didn't know it? What did I do, and should I modify my behavior if it's something I didn't want to do?

I've only ever "defriended" three people: one who was crazy and dangerous, one who was actively hate-spamming me, and one who posted some truly monumental amounts of stuff that was personally offensive (it took months for me to conclude that this was unhealthy for me to see). I don't like echo chambers; I want people to speak up when they disagree with me, because that's how I learn, grow, understand the other side. Should I be offended myself that my opinion wasn't considered worth reading anymore? 

It's not like I am lacking for friends, in or out of the network; there are, currently, just over 700 people on my friends list. The vast majority of them are people I care about and have personally known -- living in three different metropolitan areas with very transient populations and a bunch of divergent social circles will do that for you. However, the ones that go "missing" are like an itch I can't scratch, a feeling like I've messed up somehow, and probably won't ever have a chance to know how (or if) it might be fixed. 

So what are your thoughts? Should I take it to heart? Should I take it personally? Is an internet connection a "real" connection? Should I contact the person(s) and ask what's the what, or let it go and accept a life with the mere hordes of people with whom I am still in contact anyway? 

Is this a total non-issue that I am overthinking, or does it warrant academic research?

Another

I was on my way to bed when my husband showed me this.  I read it straight through, despite stabbing pains in my chest and a sudden heat rising in the depths of my torso.  I read it because I couldn't not, because it's too close, like a wound I feel myself.  I was that kid.  I was that kid so much it hurts.  I read about the things that were said to him, and about him, and they are the same as the things that were said about me, same age, maybe not quite the same place.  I never knew him, but I know the people around him, the feeling of his life, as if I were right there.  Maybe I'm just projecting.  Probably not.  Whichever, the story raises spectral rage from my own life that needs to be exorcised.  

In 8th grade, I very nearly did this myself.  I thought about it constantly.  I was that kid that got called a faggot, was literally told in my freshman year of high school, "why don't you just disappear?  No one wants you here."   That is a quote.  It stuck, and I can still remember the contempt in the eyes of the person who spoke it.  I still know their name.  I doubt they remember saying it; from a distance, it's not very earth-shattering, but it sank deep.  Every time someone called me a "faggot", it sank home.  Everytime someone called me gay, it stayed with me, like little weights bearing me down.  Every time I saw some talk show where glbt kids were trotted out like freaks to be derided, or heard about another bashing told with a tone that said this was a natural result of being out, every time someone implied that queers are all child-molesters and drug addicts, that they all have AIDS, that they're sad, pathetic, unloved by God, unwanted by the world, it stayed with me.  

I hated myself, because that's what I was taught, directly and indirectly, that gays deserved whatever life threw at them.  I hated myself, even before admitting that I was gay, even to myself.  I wanted to be dead, because the future I saw when I was a child could never hold anything but misery.  My life was over before it ever began - I would die of drugs, of disease, or of the inevitable bashing, or I would be forced into a life of perpetual lying or of solitude.  If this hurts to read, if you were there with me, if you helped to raise me, and this is all a surprise to you, if you find yourself feeling attacked, defensive, guilty, maybe that's not such a bad thing.  Maybe you should know what your words mean.  Maybe you'll pass that on to someone, maybe share the lesson.  

The only things that stopped me, the only things, were my best friend and my great grandmother - fear of disappointing them, fear of not being around them anymore.  That's how low it got.  Sorry to everyone else who might think you were a lifeline, but this is where I was at.  I know they weren't the only ones who cared, but they were the only ones who really made me feel like life was worth it.  Ultimately, the only way I could really become healthy was to get away from my own life, to start somewhere new, and frankly I was lucky, or loved by God, or both.  I lucked out because there were people who cared, who cared for me and cared about me, whose love came with no conditions and no exceptions, whose love extended to all parts of me, and did not leave out the unpalatable pieces.  

If you knew me when I was in grade school and early high school, you knew me when I thought about killing myself, every, single day.  If that hurts to read, then you're paying attention; congratulations.  If it hurts, it means you're starting to get it.  If not for a couple of very strong threads, I would have been dead more than a decade now.  I would have been dead before sodomy laws were declared unconstitutional, before 9/11, before Columbine, maybe a little after Don't Ask, Don't Tell was put into effect, a little before Will and Grace, before Queer as Folk, before Buffy, before a lot of things that are still new, however nice it is to pretend they aren't.

I'm actually angered by the cheap platitudes that I already see cropping up around this.  I see people sending their love and support just a bit too late.  There is another side to this; the part where a child gets tortured.  This is the part people don't like to think about, because it means that maybe you're part of the problem, sometimes even when you're also part of the solution.  Sometimes the same people who loved me were the same ones who hurt me.  Sometimes people flat out hated me, and sometimes they really didn't care if I lived or died.  Sometimes they did care, and sometimes they knew I was hurting, but felt like they couldn't say anything, like there was nothing they could do.  Sometimes they thought bullying was normal, that it was perfectly healthy, that it's part of growing up.  Sorry, but that's nothing more than a comfortable lie, and if you believe it you're delusional.

Bullying is not just kids fussing at each other, chafing at the edges.  Oh, maybe it seems that way for the kid doing the bullying, but no.  Bullying is murder by degrees.  It's the ritual destruction of an individual, by a group of people who often do not and can not know what they are doing.  Bullying is systematic, targeted and very precise; it's vicious, and it's tribal.  It's an inquisition in microcosm, a series of tortures that are often sanctioned by a society that speaks platitudes while silently encouraging it, maybe even agreeing with the sentiment.  It is insidious, and fueled by the lies a whole society can tell itself.  This is not the gladiatorial combat of a school yard fistfight; bullying is far, far worse, and far more destructive than it is widely credited with.  It is particularly vicious, because it's a form of absolute rejection of a human being by people who are supposed to be their equals.  It's trial by jury and by fire.  It's done with unofficial sanction. 

If that thought bothers you, do something about it.  Apologize to someone you called a faggot when you were kids.  Find them and say you're sorry.  I promise, they probably remember, even if they say they don't.  If you see a kid who looks sad all the time, or hesitates to laugh, show them love.  Make it clear that you don't need them to be anything other than themselves for you to love them anyway.  Be unafraid to show your love; hug them, nurture them, and never waver in coming to their defense.  Bullies aren't jealous; that's the biggest bullshit lie I was ever told as a kid.  Bullies believe in their own superiority, in their right to be cruel.  If you see someone being a bully, stop them!  Stop them and stick up for the weak, and stop convincing yourselves that adults shouldn't get involved.  That's the lie, too, that we have to remain outside of the world of children, that we have no place there.  Be a knight in shining armor, a warrior, a protector.  Be the hero your children need!  Don't ever, ever let them feel abandoned!  If you're afraid they'll grow up weak, maybe you should take a look at yourself and really challenge that logic.  Which is more important, teaching them to fight for themselves, or showing them how to do it, leading by example?  

I survived because of love, because of love expressed, because by some magic I found people to love, frankly to cling to, who stayed patient with me while I learned to love myself.  It got better, but it was a long, difficult road.  It took a lot of movement, a lot of running away, a lot of shifting, a lot of help until I finally got to peaceful; it took Topher and Matt.  It took Arthur.  It took JD, it took Fritter, and it took Sandra.  It took Hector, and Sabrina, and Mary, Trapp, Whitney, Karen, Rob, Greg; it took Kahli, it took Dave, it took Pete, and Shortbus, and the other Pete, and Sean; it took Christina and Mandy, Julie, Brandy, Becky, Val, Alissa, Krystle, Nate, Drew, Sarah, Kim.  It took Brittany and her whole family; it took my Laine, my satyr; it took my mother and sister, it took my grandmothers (all of them) and my parents (eventually).  It took aunts and uncles and cousins and friends.  It took people who never even knew how much they were helping.  It took armies; it took worlds.  I was lucky, always, and loved by God, but I didn't know it and couldn't accept it until I could wrest the knowledge of that love from self-appointed gate-keepers of the soul, who think they know what Heaven is, and who's allowed inside.  Don't let those people win by being silent.  You really are the only one who can do something; you really are responsible for the well-being of the people around you.  It's the burden of being human.

I have become a life-loving, love-affirming man in the years since high school.  I have friends, who chose to remain my friends knowing who I was and what my life was like, people I met and didn't need to feel like I was disappointing to them, like I turned out "wrong".  I am surrounded by love, and I'm grateful for it, but dear God there was a time when I didn't know all this.  There was a time when I was Jamey Rodemeyer.  I'm not anymore, but it was a thin edge between.  Making that known, I can feel my rage subsiding, though the sadness remains.  Sleep and time will help, and so will love.  Always, love.

Why "I Didn't Mean It" is Utter Bullshit

Recently, the Tea Party removed Tim Ravndal the president of the "Big Sky Tea Party Association" for incendiary comments he made about gay people on Facebook. Tim Ravndal, along with his evil friend Dennis Scranton, casually invoked Matthew Shepard's horrific crucifixion in response to a debate about the status of gay couples in Montana seeking equal protection under the law. Here is a snapshot of the conversation in question:



Here's the text, if the picture doesn't work for you:

Tim Ravndal: "Marriage is between a man and a woman period! By giving rights to those otherwise would be a violation of the constitution and my own rights"

Keith Baker: "How dare you exercise your First Amendment Rights?"

Dennis Scranton: "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."

Tim Ravndal: "@Kieth, OOPS I forgot this aint(sic) America no more! @ Dennis, Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?"

Dennis Scranton: "Should be able to get info Gazette archives. Maybe even an illustration. Go back a bit over ten years."

In case you don't get the reference, or even if you do, here's a breakdown of what these men are really saying.  

Dennis Scranton thinks "fruits" are "decorative", and we should hang them up the way they do in Wyoming.  You know, like they did with this boy

Matthew Shepard Smiling


















Who was brutally beaten by two other boys, and then tied up to this fence post:

Crucifixion


And left hanging, alive, for eighteen hours until he was found by police and taken to a hospital.

Though he was finally found, Matthew Shepard did not survive long enough to see the trial of his attackers.  His memory has become something of a focus point both GLBT activists and hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who really came to prominence protesting Shepard's funeral and his attackers' trial.  

He suffered, literally crucified for who he was.  His story is a reminder of the brutality that human beings are capable of, and the lengths to which people will allow their hatred to carry them.  

Tim Ravndal believes this is the best way to treat homosexuals, and Dennis Scranton wants illustrated instructions on how best to do it.  That is the America these men want to "return to", the one where it's okay to torture and crucify gays, much less allow them to marry.  This is the real fight: not simply equality, but survival, the real right to life, no mere fucking political slogan but an actual, visceral right for which every person has to struggle against overwhelming odds to keep, and these men would gladly take it away from anyone whose lives and actions they don't personally condone according to their theocratic leanings.


Ravndal later tried to pull a classic, cowardly Right-wing not-really apology for the comments, claiming he "never made the connection". Obviously, he thought the subject had changed, and instead of hanging gay people, he was referring to the traditional Wyoming Banana Hanging Festival. Either that, or he isn't quite courageous enough to outright state what he believes, which is sort of obvious considering how he and his friends couched their language.

See, if you don't actually say "I hate gay people and condone violence against them", you don't have to admit that you hate gay people and condone violence against them. It's a thing that happens, certainly, and you can make all the smug references you want, but no one can call you on it because you didn't really say it, right?  After all, it's not like you personally want to commit torture; you just think it's understandable if someone else can't stand the sight of all those uppity faggots, walking around in broad daylight like they have the right to be alive, and now demanding to be treated like your equal.  Those poor boys, all they did was beat up a faggot, one who had the audacity to hit on them!  Surely, they don't deserve such harsh treatment.  They've been through a lot.  




It's been ten years since Matthew Shepard's murder, and in a way it's good that Ravndal brought it up.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that sodomy is still a criminal act in several places in the country, and it wasn't until 2003 that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the protection of privacy, and hate crime legislation only covered gender and sexual orientation beginning in 2007.  These are not changes supported by the Right, who, for all their screaming and crying about freedom and the rights of individuals, do not actually support freedom and individuality; merely the freedom to be Christian in a Christian theocracy, with the right as an individual to brutalize anyone deemed threatening to their "way of life".  That way of life does not include freedom of religion, of choice, or identity or of life.

Matthew Shepard's death meant something to me.  When I found out what happened, when I saw the brutality, it affected me very deeply even though we'd never met, as deeply as Columbine, or 9/11, or Katrina.  It told me that there is no safety in America, that freedom truly isn't free, and that if I was going to live true to myself, I was going to have to fight for it.  I could have been that boy; I could still be that boy.  So could many of my friends.  GLBT people are still attacked all the time for who they are, for who they fuck, and for who they love.  They are treated as less than human, and it's not just about marriage, it's about survival balanced against truth, trust against cowardice.  The most important lessons I learned from Matthew Shepard are: never trust a person who will speak hatred, then pretend that's not what they meant; never turn your back on someone who justifies violence with religion; never back down from the fight for my own existence; everyone is dangerous, including me.

So I say, over and over again, fuck you, Ravndal, and everyone like you.  You are a coward and a liar, and it doesn't really matter if you didn't mean it.  You may not condone "violence against individuals", but you still long for a day when gay people don't matter.  You may or may not represent the Tea Party, but you are absolutely the heart of everything wrong with the violent Right, and I will spend my life pointing out how close we are to letting murderers like you (yes, murderers, vicariously and with gusto) take away what little progress we've gained in the last twelve years.  

Apology unaccepted.

Getting Inspired

I'm sortof stuck on my novel, and need to write something else to loosen up.

So:

In a bid to shake the rust off the machinery in my head, someone give me a sentence, and I'll try writing a story from that. Any subject, any object, as long as it is syntactically correct; I'll turn it into a 1500 word story and post the results.

:)

Overdue Brainspill

Another year passes, and I feel like a grown man. Sometimes I feel like I had too much childhood, sometimes not enough. I think of the strange trajectory my life has taken, and can't really pinpoint a single moment when it hasn't defied linear storytelling in some fantastical way. I imagine whole lifetimes in each place, see people whose lives I might have lived, had my own made any damned sense. I haven't left pieces of myself behind; I've shed lives like skins, molted seasons and sensibilities. It makes memory a carnal act of regression, slipping into an old self. This is all a very good thing; it makes the thought of mortality simultaneously less and more terrifying. What I fear most is the dissolution of my consciousness, the joy of observation and cognizance.

I've become more comfortable in my skin, more at peace with the immediacy and perpetual movement. I am less concerned with the fact that I can't simply stop, though I still begrudge the need to sleep. Why, when we already have so little time, are we saddled with spending one third of our lives inert and unaware? I diverge.

Skepticism has driven me to a fulcrum of un-provability, at which I realize that faith is ultimately a decision, with all the evidence incapable of really convincing me one way or another what the world really is. When I say this, I don't mean simply that I have faith because I believe in God, or lack faith because I don't. Rather, to either believe or not believe is a state of faith (a state, rather than an act). Belief transcends evidence, in that evidence can always be turned to support or deny one or the other state; experience is a Rorschach against which we project what we believe.

This does not invalidate God any more than it proves God - God here meaning no bearded earth-shaker, rather I could say "Godness", the possibility of God, in some formulation or other. What it tells me, instead, is that whether God exists or not is almost irrelevant to my belief. If God is, and I believe in God, it is incidental. If God is not, and I believe God is, it doesn't matter. If I don't believe in God, either way I am left in a sadder world. If God does not exist, then there is no harm in the opiate comfort. But none of these really matters, either, as having a reason to believe is not sufficient to justify belief - whether in something or nothing.

So, what do I believe?

I do not believe in a God of dogma, any dogma, or any description that incorporates language. I do believe there is a "-ness", a state of ----, something deeper than simple physicality, or more difficult to describe. This is sub-lingual and visceral; it is, in fact, comforting, but I would be hard pressed to determine whether the comfort comes from the belief, or the belief from the comfort. What I mean is, I feel most comforted when I am taken by a very specific sort of momentary state, when language (like my many lives) drops away, sloughs off and leaves me with an essential core from which no more can be taken, and to which no mere description can apply. I look at the sky, and see past the words and into the rare existence of this place, in this context and beyond all other moments. It is the sky as can only be described by total contemplation, borne on emptiness and devoid of symbolism. It is a sense, a whisper of essentiality that I believe is, and everything else is manufactured by logical symbolism.

Does this mean I am a Christian? No. I can not in good faith agree with a doctrine as sneaky and underhanded as that of any religious institution I've ever encountered. Do I deny the validity of spiritual experiences? No. But I do reject the interpretations, the vanity, the agenda-mongering. Inasmuch as I've decided what I believe, it is still rooted in the same skepticism which brought me to it in the first place. I believe that the moment faith is encapsulated in institutional form, it becomes an engine by which a few control many. Churches are great, in that they allow people to share an experience which is in some ways very lonely, but they are dangerous in that they create an atmosphere of consensus which is easily taken advantage of. It's not hard to create a doctrine, all you have to do is share faith and mingle it with language and an agenda.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I have faith, but what I mean when I say that is that faith is inescapable, because it applies equally to belief and disbelief, and all the arguments and evidence are an afterthought. At the same time, I reject the specificity of religious doctrine on the grounds that religion attempts to co-opt an experience which is profoundly personal.

(PS: this is me attempting to write where I'd stopped for awhile, more brainspill/journal style than what I'd been doing - you'll see more of it.)

Big Plans, I Say!

Monday begins another new semester, one which I feel will provide me with a lot of opportunities for personal growth and development. Instead of New Years Resolutions (which are now traditional in both the making and the breaking), I've decided to make semester resolutions; equally at peril, but possibly more attainable for their somewhat shorter span. Like any decent apartment contract, I can renew them on a month-to-month basis once this period is up.

My schedule of classes starts at 11am, Monday through Thursday. Monday and Wednesday nights, I'll be rushing from class to work, where I'll be until 9pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll have a solid block of classes throughout the day, though I may be dropping one if I feel it's too much. On Tuesdays, I'll have class til 6pm, and on Thursdays it'll be til 3pm. Fridays and Saturdays, I work 9:30am to 5:30pm. Sundays I'll have off from both.

My plan is to use the extra time in the morning to get an hour workout in each morning. Nothing fancy; basically cardio with intermittent weight training. If I leave my house at 9am, I'll still be leaving an hour later than I was every morning last semester, and will comfortably have time to get to the campus gym before class. The gym machines are set up so that I should be able to do some reading before class each day, and the commute lasts at least 45 minutes each way, so even if I round down to 30 minutes, that's another hour of reading time. I can read an awful lot in two hours.

Homework: anything I need to do on campus can be Tuesday and Thursday nights, or Sundays during the day - it's not hard to get to school on Sunday, and the library is actually open later on Sunday nights than on Friday or Saturday. Since Thursday is also a relatively early day for me to get out, I can also take that evening as time to hang out with campus friends. A social life, however minimal, will be nice. In the meantime, I have Friday and Saturday evenings to do excess homework and/or get away from my work. If I give myself a solid four hours each on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to do homework (which can be shifted as needed between the four days), I'll be pretty much golden, and still have time to occasionally go do something else.

Now, here's the tricky part: I am also hoping to give myself a chance to write, one hour a night. I haven't been writing like I should, and have accomplished just about nothing over my vacation; the less I do, the less I am inclined to do. I guess busy people really are the only ones with time. I'm not going to write a novel in a month, or anything like that, and I'm not even really going in with a plan. Just write whatever comes to my head (however stupid it may seem at the time) and run with it. The object here isn't to finish any major projects, or even start any major projects; I want to just habituate myself into writing regularly.

I know this sounds like an awful lot: my schedule is pretty much a solid block from 9am to 9pm, six days a week, with half of the seventh taken up in overflow. I'm not going to get much personal time, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll have more this time than I did last time, if for no other reason than I have a solid idea where I can maneuver room for myself. I am living on a tight budget; $400 a month for all personal expenses, including food, rent for my storage space, and the commute. I won't be able to spend money on pretty much anything else, so it's not such a bad thing to be blocked in like this. Hopefully it will limit the opportunities for me to spend money in the first place.

Oh, that's the rest: Spend no more than six dollars a day on myself, and cook dinner for the household at least once or twice each weekend (they cook for me pretty regularly, and I should be contributing more to that labor pool). If that amount of spending seems too high or too low, keep in mind that I have no opportunities to get home during the course of the day, and even if I carry a lunch, I am going to need some sort of cold beverage during the course of the day. However, I will try carrying lunch, and bring tea with me in the mornings.

Topher and I will be in the worst way here, as he's starting a much more stressful and time-consuming job beginning in February. I'll be away from home all week, except for bedtime, and who knows how we'll fare on the weekends. On the plus side, he's got a new job, and in the long run we'll be far better off once I've finished my degree. I focus on this fact, on what it will mean for us in the future, to keep myself from giving up. At this point, it'd be far more expensive to quit than to finish, and the benefits of finishing far outweigh the needs of the moment. We are in tumult, yes, but it's purposeful tumult.

In any case, that's my hopes and plans for the semester. I'm sure some will fall by the wayside once things kick in, but having a plan means having some knowledge of what can stay and what can go.

Just So You Know:






That is all.

Postmodern Divination

I, miniscule, stand:
fulcrum, nadir, crossroads, nowhere space.
Futurist historian; post-humanist, jaded
literati, reading narrative runes,
(silly bones)
skeptic speck on the back of infinity, riding
alternate waves of light and un-light
(specifically not darkness)
self - less - ness: dissolution,
conveniently sufficient
to take on divine nomenclature.
Anti-thesis, adverse response:
too much language, too little to speak;
autism born of the Holy, if.
If
Response, query:
Function derived from form,
creation without design, except
what comes to the reader, writing.

I, the stuff of nonsense, fail to stand,
fail to know "standing", to stand, knowing no thing:
is knowable knowable?
Narrative stretch, limbs wound, tight
upon themselves.
Structure insurmountable, total only
within itself
whispers doubt: essential?
Nothing. Is this, too, knowledge?
Narrative, inescapable: forgivable?
Toss the bones, fictive, rattling;
cast history into winds, scatter
the pieces...
Read in language, letterbox,
sacred forms, made to order.
Plethora!
Answers abound, numerous as contexts,
real as distant stars.

Can't Sleep, Brain Numb...

Exam, first thing in the morning, stupid early. I can't sleep worth a damn. Galaxies explode in my head, the depth of space tumbles in on me. I travel, in my mind, vacillate between quanta and witness explosions so large the earth doesn't notice them: I live in the realization of a Universe so vast and infinitesimal that mere simultaneity simply does not exist, not incomprehensible, no. Merely beyond the range of something as discrete as visualization or language. Math can put it in a symbol, but that's sortof cheating, isn't it? Nothing is conveyed. I lie down, try not to toss or turn, staring at the infinite depths behind my eyelids. It isn't quite dreaming, but it has that sliding quality; sleep is a frozen river, flowing beneath a frozen shell I can not for the life of me break through. I get up, turn on my laptop. For the sake of my GPA, I write in the hopes that some flow will break the ice, and the current will finally drag me under...

Awake, I resist sleep; asleep, I hesitate to wake. I don't want to miss anything, don't want to give up these precious minutes in which I am alive. I suppose when I am awake, I fear death, and while I sleep I don't have to worry about it. Does my subconscious know something I don't? By definition, I suppose it does. The subconscious is trustworthy. It doesn't lie, merely correlates, perhaps receives some comforting message the waking mind is too terrified to receive. Maybe I'm God, when I'm sleeping. Maybe I'm unafraid.

Not true - I have night terrors, sometimes. Topher wakes to find me sitting up, shaking, worried without my eyes open. I am grateful he's there, keeping me safe when I'm unable to reassure myself, when all my tricks and blocks and rationality are absent, when all that's left is the raw, unprocessed horror. Those are the zombie nights, the inevitability nights. Those are the nights when I know, with cold precision, the futility of the struggle. Civilization falters, crumbles in the hands of the same multitude from which it sprang, and all history becomes again obscure. The emergent principles of the rational mind dissolve like sugar under absinthe, sensible only to some terrible God who'll swallow it whole, a momentary madness in which to write mad poetry. These are my dreams. They flow. I am dreaming now, as I write them. Thoughts slide, but sleep won't follow yet. Maybe by the time I finish this.

The worst part about my fears, the thing that can not be drunk away or thought through or gotten over, is the terrible clarity of them. My fears are fears of the mind; the only cure is madness, willful blindness, not seeing with purpose. Inevitability, frustration, futility. I see it every day, in miniature, in faces full of blindness, in eyes devoid of cognizance. This is no mere idiocy; it's much more profound than that. I recall a word for my condition: Saturnine. To see is to fear, to know is to tremble. If you aren't just a little wild with mad terror, you aren't really seeing it. The Vastness of it all, the beautiful sky, just a little too much to bear, not a weight-bearing structure. It is in the weight of the clouds, their microscopic immensity. To think, all the water in the world rises out of the oceans and the earth, to hover, to fall away over the whole expanse of entire continents. These clouds are titans, they are huge, they weight more than the cities over which they fly and onto which they fall. They are cities in the sky, storms as big as nations, miles above our heads. We barely notice them. They are nothing. They are flecks of spittle, sticking to the walls of our tiny spheroid. There are clouds the size of galaxies, explosions so massive that they render our whole solar system into the tiniest of sparks. There are human beings who've never left the radius of a few city blocks, a handful of square miles in and endless ocean of horizons. Stars live and die over billions of years, and we see, at best, a distant glimmer for a handful of decades.

If this doesn't terrify you, just a little, you are happily blind. I feel bad for you, envy you a little, hope you find solace in your God, your certainty, your apathy, your contentment.

Ironic, I find solace in the same stars that terrify me. In the stupid, milling chaos of the tiny world, there is some comfort to be taken in those distant stars; the hypnotizing wonderment that comes over me as I look up, pick a star, travel in my mind along the distance from here to there. The silence, total, is breathtaking. The cold is enthralling. That same sense of scale which is the source of my nightmares lends me, in these moments, the cool, soothing, calm of relative perspective. Inasmuch as anything I do matters, it is only in the context of my own, tiny life, and the tiny lives of those who know me. There is nothing earth-shattering in my own rise and fall. My span is the breath of a generation, I am a dendrite, an organelle, in a being that spans a molten iron ball, spinning around a spark, undulating through a momentary whorl in a grand bonfire that spans a totality and burns at the speed of light. From here, I can look back and love, and understand what it must be like to love as a God would love, to feel sad as a God would feel sad; inasmuch as this tiny ball matters at all, it could only be in the context of itself. I smile. I sigh. I feel sleep coming. Space is my lullaby. Everything will be fine.

Goodnight.

Wearing His Things

This morning I did something sneaky. Putting on one of my two remaining pairs of pants, I found his favorite ring in the pocket. He wore these jeans last, so he must have forgotten that he'd taken it off. I decided to wear it; it's not the first time, but it's not something he would encourage.

He can be a little protective of his belongings, the yours/mine dichotomy, such and like. This doesn't bother me too much, though it can be a pain. We're about the same size; he's got slightly bigger hips, I have a bigger stomach. We're about the same height. We are roughly the same build, the sort that makes shopping for clothes a hassle at best. We can wear the same things, more or less, but we each tend to gravitate to certain items in our wardrobe. Some clothes are definitely more his than mine, and the reverse is true. I respect that. Somewhere in there, we both still require some sort of boundary, some stop-gap between our personalities.

Yet...

Sometimes, when he's not paying attention, I wear his things, specifically because they are his. A favorite shirt, a pair of pants, a ring; it annoys him, at times. I don't mind. He doesn't know (or didn't until right this moment) why. What is his is and extention of himself. To wear such a thing, to keep it on my person, is to be reminded of him, all day. It's to get into his skin, to love him from the inside. I smell him, feel him as I go about my day. It may seem surprising that, though we have slept in the same bed for a year and a half (with only one night apart in that whole time), we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like. He's much more apt than I am to point this out; I'm less hurt by the distance, but then again, I have ways of getting around it... like wearing his clothes.

I'm sure it says something about the nature of our relationship, that I am comforted by his closeness to me, his similarities. He is the perfect balance of things I am, and things I am not. I love him for that. I love him for the way he makes me feel like there is a future in which I am not merely adrift; the way he anchors me, prevents me from floating away. I love him for his silly pretentions, and wish he would pursue them more. I love him for the things he wants to be as much as the things he already is. I love his idea of himself, the person he'd like to become.

I have visions of him, have since the beginning. He is the city streets, the cyborg lover, demon, knight, champion and victim, ambitious and domestic. He's his own person, and strong enough to withstand my grudge match against complacency, my night terrors. He is my blanket; I'd like to think I'm his. We share values, even if we don't pursue them in the same way. We share philosophies, even if it doesn't seem so to outsiders. Outsiders, in this case, refers to everyone who isn't the two of us. We have language, too. We are a nationality, all our own. Sometimes, it's easy to forget these things. Sometimes it's hard to see humanity for being human; so I wear his things, and I remember.

We've lived in this current space for over a year, now. I have lived with him for nearly two. Can you imagine this? Two years, as of February. Half as long as I lived in Virginia, and three years since I left there. Less than a month, and we begin a new decade, the first truly new decade of the Millenium. In a hundred years, we at our current age will be as distant as the industrial revolution is to us now. Our great grandchildren will have trouble comprehending the vast gulf between us; we, too, will be relegated to the quaint, irrelevant past. I wish terribly that I could believe I'll live long enough to see the next Turn of the next Century, to be able to compare and contrast, to amuse my great grandchildren with stories of this strange city in the midst of this strange revolution. I think I would be lonely, but not too lonely. All humanity would be there, even if my own kith and kin were not.

I content myself with knowing that I am alive, in this place, with these people, with him, in these moments; moments no one else will even know. I cherish the fact of my own material existence, and cannot fathom any truth in which such immediacy is dismissed, a thought equally abhorrent as any which fails to see itself in the context of other times and other places. In the face of all the flawed possibility and infinite uncertainty, the world is as we decide it is, as I decide it is, for me at least, and I can't bring myself to see the relevance of any other state to this life than the life itself. Heaven and Hell are irrelevant; they are distant possibilities at best, a guessing game that actually detracts from this immediate state of living. What a waste of time to worry about the hereafter, when there is only so much "here" to go around before the "after" comes along.

I think all these things in the course of my day, but I also think of him, my love, whose presence comforts me, with whom I feel less terrified of time and inevitability. I dream of cityscapes and future days and play my game of the Year Before with less infinite terror than I used to, because now he's here to share it with.

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