Friday, August 13, 2010

Addicted to Filling the Gap

If Dr. Laura was black and ranted on about the "big N" word it would've been acceptable but since she wasn't, her rant wasn't either. Well here goes my rant and remember I am one of you and being within my rank, I can criticize from within.

I refuse to become so addicted to Grindr that I can't have a meaningful conversation with a friend without looking at my phone every 5 minutes to see who's sending me a nude pic of themselves. I refuse to fall into the gap of online hookups in order to fill this gap within me. I refuse to feel like i'm a freak because I don't succumb to the status quo of my community. I refuse to create an alter porn-ego of myself and post pictures of my throbbing, hard penis to thousands of unknowns just to bait them in to love me. I refuse to feel like i'm not good enough because I don't get laid 2-3 times per week with 2-3 different strangers per week. I am not less-cool or attractive for it. I am more than just a slab of grade A man-meat and I want more than just man-meat. I want a real and whole man that isn't looking to find what's the next better catch every night on the online hook-up slot machine. Are we so jaded that what I am saying is so off the charts? Yet, if I dare say these things out loud to my friends or strangers, they would roll their eyes and look at me pitifully as if I was an idealistic Charlotte from Sex and the City. Are we so hungry for intimacy that we are willing to deny we have any feelings at all just to get it? Like a meth addict that loses his teeth to keep getting "fixed", have we given up a part of ourselves just to get our "fix"? We all need love, everyone knew this even before the Beatles sang about it. So why is it in the gay community we act like we don't really need it and that's it's enough to just "hook up"? Are we just taking the bare minimum because we don't feel we can get any more? Have we lost faith that there is anyone more out there? Is being pretty or hot all there is? Have we reduced ourselves to body measurements as if we were ancient Roman slave traders?

I post a pic of my latest tattoo on my facebook page and a girlfriend quickly comments on my Wall -"you're addicted!" I pause and soon realize it rings true. I am a little addicted.

I started out with one tattoo to mark the moment my first book was published. Then a 2nd when I turned 35. Then a 3rd humongous ancient Tibetan symbol in the center of my back to commemorate the peace Buddhism has brought to my life. Finally my 4th tat on my writing hand to constantly remind myself to be true to myself and to never whimp out on any opportunities life throws my way. Each and every time I would get addicted to the fear of the pain beforehand, the pain of the needle piercing my skin and then the sweet pain of my skin's cells responding to that pain and feeling my body heal. I would savor how that stinging pain would send goosebumps up my spine like a masochistic pleasure that shakes your insides so that you feel the sliver of space between your body and spirit. Each and every time I would feel satisfied after doing it because each one meant something, earning me an emotional badge by surviving my self-inflicted trial by fire.

Like Journey sings in Don't Stop Believing- "working hard to get my fill-everybody wants a thrill". Addictions come in endless shapes, sizes and flavors. They can be booty calls, midnight snickers, shopping, sport cars or funnel cakes-it doesn't matter. What matters is that there's an itch that needs a' scratchin'. A need that calls to be satisfied-a "gap" that needs a' fillin'. This "filling the gap" may sound pornographic and to some it is -literally. Ask any porn star what they love the most about their trade. They'll confess it's the constant flow of good sex with hot partners and they can never seem to get enough of it. The "gap" I'm talking about is one inside each and every one of us. The key is to find out what the hell it really is and eventually find that Snickers moment and finally feel sat-is-fied. We all have a desire to escape the misery of needing something. Buddhism teaches detachment is the only way to avoid suffering but we are human and we will always need a million things. The trick is to force yourself to stop needing ANY-thing and have the faith that whatever we do need will come to us naturally. When we finally do get there we realize that the one "thing" we need isn't a thing at all but a feeling.

Like Chinese food or a one night stand; these addictions leave you hungry for more moments later. They are brief respites; never enough to fill the gap inside long enough to last a lifetime. They are momentary stop-gap measures that like the temporary gulf oil cap, will eventually start to leak out all the dark pus we carry inside until we find the honest guts and self-realization to go in there and really clean house to find the true reasons behind each addiction or lack of self-love. The reasons are inside each and every one of us, secreted away so deeply that sometimes they are taken to the grave and never shared with even the closest of loved ones.

With so many opportunities for addiction, anyone can agree that moderation is the golden rule of life that we should all strive for, the foundation for happiness. For if we tip the scales to any one side, we eventually fall like the fatter end of a see saw. Just as the pendulum that swings too far to the left or the right, when it finally swings back to the middle, all is in equilibrium and all is at peace and the ying-yang tug of war of life is quelled for the moment. It is this coolness, this alive feeling that I yearn for. The hardest part is to find the least damaging way to fulfill it.

What are you addicted to? Where will you find your god; on Grindr, in the Mac store, in his abs, or within yourself?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's A Mad World - Maddening Us Gays

Reading through the paper, passing the countless updates on legal battles going on presently in this country regarding gay rights; "Lingle compares gay marriage to incest", "Gay groups sue governor Lingle of hawaii to overturn her veto to gay marriage ammendment", "Washington DC court upholds gay marriage bill, preventing a majority to ever vote to strip a minority's rights in that state", "Proposition 8 Overturned! Opponents Vow to take Appeal To US Supreme Court", "Montana Tea Party Advocates Hanging of "Fruits"" etc, etc. I get a little down and Google, "cheer me up" and find an article that rates the 10 happiest cities to live in the United States. My mind begins to wander and think happy thoughts...What if we (us gays) could build our own utopian island on par with the man made islands off the coast of Dubai- a modern day mythical Atlantis reborn by and designed by legions of the top minds from our LGBT communities across America. Our ardent opponents fantasy's of shipping us all off to an island would finally be realized. Sure, we already have our gay sanctuary-cities like LA, New York and Miami but like Sergio Arau's "A Day Without a Mexican", America would finally see what a day or several years without a gay is like and what will happen to our society with the complete removal of it's "gays". I know it would totally suck but just stick with me here.

We are no different from the Kurds in Iraq or Muslims in Bosnia-just another minority that would better off be eliminated or altogether made to disappear so that the majority won't have to tolerate or understand us. The idea of a gay Atlantis-utopia would call them on their bluff and while others would call it cowardly, I muse it would be a passive-aggressive, checkmate move. It wouldn't take long for the same factions that opposed us to create a new demonized segment of society and create a new holy war against divorces, illegal immigrants, tangas or mini-skirts. Like removing the US embargo off of Cuba, robbing Fidel of his excuse for his country's miseries. These Ameri-bans would finally be exposed for the fear-mongering fanatics that they are and the masses would finally "get it"-then maybe then we could return from our safe-haven-utopia and finally be left alone to live our lives without having to fight every damn day to defend ourselves and gain equal rights.

Staring at this map of happiness I remember my first day of school where I kicked, screamed and scratched to not go into that classroom. A place where no one knew me and where I felt I was too different-not because I was gay-I didn't have an inkling of that yet but because I was a strange young boy that never spoke- Too focused on figuring out this strange world to speak or relate to anyone...So many questions I obsessed about; Why money had value? Why did my parents run around, working so much and not spend more time with my siblings and I? Why there were killings, rapes and wars? Why were kids at school so competitive and mean to each other? Why did I feel like a lepper?

High school gifted me with an angelic being and my first gal-pal of many that would provide solace and sanctuary for me. It was only fitting that she looked like a younger version of my tender, loving idol; Marilyn Monroe. We were brief lovers and in her arms I found a shoulder to drown my sorrows and finally confess my "gayness". She soon after, released me to take the gay, road-less-traveled. 23 years later, the world is still cruel and cold but a little more tolerant and our people are no longer the free, gay and happy people that created the epitome of good times from the 70's and 80's. Our world renowned wit, dampened and drowned out by our cries for equality, finally getting fed up enough to quit partying and start demanding respect.

We are in wartime, no time for being light and caddy, we are a weary, beleaguered masses yearning to breathe free. A shadow has been cast by our tireless political opponents obsessed with lying about our love, cheating and manipulating laws to have their religious war won, eroding the fabric of America's Constitution along the way. The shadow is cast over almost every gay community worldwide by a religious cloak from almost every religion hiding the hatred and homophobia behind their regurgitated and selectively manipulated doctrine. We, as a people have lost a part of ourselves along the way, lost in our own rainbow. Our cause is just and as important as the recession everyone is stuck wallowing in. This battle affects millions of lives of good and Gay American citizens. We are a large portion of society fighting and counting the days until we can feel free, light and good again- to finally feel fully equal and accepted. It's a mad world- maddening to one of the last portions of society to be included in one of humanity's final exams, truly testing the tolerance of it's inherent differences. Our rights were supposed to have already been afforded to us by the Constitution with a clear separation of church and state. We shouldn't have to fight this battle but nonetheless, here we are mired in it. Although it took us a while to get pissed off enough to get organized, we are now witnessing one of the biggest battles of our times, where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on either side of the political battlefield.

I imagine a day when we are finally done with this mess and all those millions can be redirected towards helping to change the really damning problems of our world like lack of water, overpopulation, incurable diseases, etc. I imagine a time where I could reunite with my brothers and sisters on a dance floor, where the music is uplifting and good again. Where I don't leave feeling depressed from a gay club, sensing the sadness oozing off these reality escapees of a harsh world -dancing to forget. I await on a metaphorical cliff looking out to a new horizon where this civil rights war is behind us and we can finally regain our joyful outlook and wit that we were so famous for. I can't wait for my younger gay brethren to feel as loved and accepted as they were on their birthday as every child should feel. For LGBT suicides, gay bashings and death penalties for gays to be relegated to the dark pages of our history books for serve as a reminder that this time that mentality should never be repeated. I await and dream of the day we win this battle for equality and justice. To be able to sing happy birthday to "us" and this mad world will become a bit more of a glad one.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!" — Jack Kerouac (On the Road)

One day we will be able to look in the mirror and feel beautifully whole and comfortable in our own skins with a contented smile instead of expressionless, poker faces and smiling will be cool again. I pray that after we do that the hatred doesn't shift to illegal immigrants in this country as it already seems to be happening.

This whole gay thing isnt about gay or straight -it's about loving each other-for real this time- no matter what- to end this hatred amongst ourselves and knock the cycle of hatred, division and intolerance out of this Earth grid for good. Or at least until a new challenge like acceptance of beings from other planets comes inevitably along our evolutionary path. That moment of contact will never happen until we can get over our differences here at home. Would you want to visit such unfriendly territory if you were light years ahead of Earth?

"There is a template of pain and suffering on this planet that the earth is tired of and we need to move through it to progress. Love light and happiness begins with you. " Guru Ganesha

Gay director John Waters muses on the current state of the gay community. Click here

Russian billionaire calls for the extermination of all gays and lesbians on Moscow public radio.

*Photos above by Jeff Kilmer from his recent book "23%".