The Intensity of Wisdom (opinion subject to change)

I will never discuss banal things.
I like conversations about ideas. I want to talk about sex. I want to hear your thoughts about space travel and colonies on the ocean floor. I want to hear your thoughts on God. Philosophy. Religion. I won’t accept your Atheism, Christianity, or Wiccan ness unless you tell me why.
I want to know why.
I don’t accept things because we throw pretty and modern words to the masses and because it’s repeated over and over again. Tenacity is not truth. Mendacity is just a pretty word for lie.
Concerning your sexuality, I want to know your experiences. I want to hear from you about when you found out you were straight, gay, trans.
I want to hear your truth between the words you speak. I want to feel your emotion wrapped up in the nuances of your speech.
I have spent too many years with people who promoted their ‘truth’ so absolutely that I am suspicious of others? Or, maybe that’s not the right word. Inquisitive? I don’t know.
When I left the Fundi Baptist church – I left the philosophy due to its shallowness. It’s inconsistencies. It’s inability to contribute anything meaningful to the world. It lacked ethics. It lacked aesthetics. And it half lied and it half told the truth. And that truth was manipulated for control’s sake. They were out making converts twice as fit for hell as they were in accordance to their own holy text.
The Atheist makes a point that if you need the threat of eternal damnation to do the right thing, you don’t lack religion, you lack morals. And they’re right.
But even those with religion, the saved of the saved, have the fear of the ‘Big Sky Daddy’ and STILL lack a conscience. We see that played out over and over and over again through not only history but modern political thought. Ayn Rand was a shit person who had an irresponsible philosophy that our current speaker of the house shares. Donald Trump is another great example of utter garbage in our world today backed up by American Protestantism. Like the German Church, they’ve thrown their hat in with someone who could be a kind of Anti-Christ should he gain control. And on the flip side of that, Trigger warnings at the University level and even in book production today is utter bullshit. Truth is not often pretty. Sometimes it’s downright nasty. And you shouldn’t be protected from those things because people who went through them, weren’t. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the hammer blow when I see something in regards to child abuse or systemic racism. Because I often know where it’s rooted. And it’s rooted in the idea that a person ‘owns’ another.
And these things are not in an attempt to make me sound smart. There are smarter men and women than me by light years. And I don’t want to talk about these things to intimidate people. I’m not trying to prove anything. I owe you nothing and you owe me nothing.
But I’ve spent years trying to figure myself out. Trying to figure out what the truth is in regards to who I am. Because the more I know about you, the more I find out about me. And these things lead me out of a word of certainty. Statements made with exclamation marks.
An uncertain person will never kill a gay person, will never blow up a Mosque, will never call a woman seeking an abortion a whore, will never subject someone to the auspices of a book translated by a King with an authoritarian ideology, will never once hold a slave, or castigate someone for finding their own truth and living freely in it. And uncertain people make shitty terrorists.
At the end of the day, I know very few things. But I do know that I love my husband and I love my friends. Anything else is anyone’s guess. And the willingness to live in such a nebulous gray place requires intensity, I guess. And it requires the understanding that the more I learn, the less I know. Aristotle said the beginning of wisdom is the understanding that I know nothing.
But it also requires being brave. And you can’t be gay in this world and be a coward. It’s impossible.

Gay for you

John (my husband) and I were having a discussion about the origins of sexuality. Were we really born this way?

He was telling me about a story he’d read where a straight guy had a roommate that he’d known was gay. They’d been roommates for years. But as time wore on he started becoming a little bit angrier and a little bit angrier until he’d become downright mean to the guys his roommate brought home. He’d never considered himself a homophobe. He’d been pretty opened minded about the whole thing but he couldn’t figure out why he was raging against his friend’s boyfriends so much. And it had gotten to the point where his friend was tired of his shit.

Well, it bothered him enough to take it to social media where explained the situation and asked for help. And some of the responses came back inquiring if in fact, his anger may not be gay hating, but simple human jealousy. Was he jealous of these guys? So, he took his issue to his sister, who basically said the same thing.

One night while the two guys were having a Quentin Tarantino marathon *romantic, I know* the guy started to talk to his roommate about what he was feeling and what people had said about it. And then he kissed his roommate. And then suddenly realized, ‘Hey, I may be gay.”

Because now, he has a boyfriend.

We’re all familiar with this idiot diagram below.

The-Kinsey-Scale

Not for the Kinsey Scale per se, but because the scale goes from Modest to Slut in six easy steps. Like the more ‘gay’ you are the bigger hoe you are. And that isn’t true. But Kinsey does allude to sexual fluidity.
Now, if we assume sexuality can be fluid, we should also consider love to be fluid as well.

I believe love is never stationary. It’s in a state of flux.

Consider the process of meeting someone you find attractive. You meet, you talk, and maybe set up a date for coffee. You are attracted to them. You find you like them. Now let us say one date leads to two, two days together ends up, weekends together, then you give them a key, then they move in..over time like (aided by lust) slowly begins to turn into love. Now, you ‘go steady’ (does anyone go steady anymore) and suddenly there is an engagement ring, a wedding. And in that process – love- is changing. It’s, hopefully, but not in all circumstances – growing. You’re in love. The greek called this Eros. Romantic/ erotic love.

But over the years, they body breaks down. Gravity and old age set in. Maybe your no longer having sex. Or maybe you are. But you don’t look the same. But you hold hands, kiss, sleep next to each other. Very much still in Eros sure. But let us say one of you gets sick. And maybe it’s a bad sick. Chemotherapy, vomit, bed pans, maybe adult diapers, maybe even having to clean them up.

What keeps people from leaving?

I hypothesize that love, that selfish Eros, has grown up. And just like the silver in your hair, there is little strains of Agape or Selflessness now, unconditional or even Godly love. Love that allows your heart to remember when you were young and beautiful – and maintains that beauty and holds that steady.

We live in an age now where we’re slapping labels on everything. Genderfluid, homoromantic, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, heteroromantic,- fuck a duck- everyone has a title and I can’t keep up. Today, everyone has a label. My question is, why?

Why the labels? And why are we militantly defending them? And are we really born that way?

I think we’ve said so to legitimize ourselves. There’s an innate need to defend ourselves and saying we’re born that way. It sort of removes the nebulousness of human

When talking about labels, it’s important to understand that these are arbitrary and are culturally determined anyway. Homosexual in the current US meaning didn’t really come around until the 20th century. Until then, there was a concept of same-sex behavior but not BEING gay. (Think Romanesque behavior of the Top not being homosexual because he was the one doing to fucking whereas the one being fucked, was homosexual). We can see this attitude reflected in Latino culture.

There’s an innate need to defend ourselves and saying we’re born that way. It sort of removes the nebulousness of human affection and its necessary in the age where we live. If you can delegitimize people, you can dehumanize them, and if you dehumanize them, you can do with them as you please. And most of that would come from God-fearing religious people. So I understand the why part that.

I’ll even go so far as saying the scientific community, as well as the psychological community, have jumped in to bolster this ‘born this way’ argument. Mostly, because they understand what happens to ‘other’. The usually end up hurt or worse. Murdered because of their ‘otherness’.

But the question I have, is it possible that our understanding of sexuality is as limited as our understanding as to why some couples make it into their golden years and some don’t? Or as limited as our understanding of love? Every time I hear someone say, “Love is love, I want to give them a high five in the face with a chair.”

Because, no it isn’t.

I am not saying one love is less than, or one is more than, but I think Heraclitus said it best, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

It’s human nature to want to compartmentalize. To label. And point at something and say this is this because it has these attributes.

What if gay people are not born that way? Would it matter? What if people weren’t born lesbian, or bisexual, or transgendered? Would it matter?

“Well, it would delegitimize me.”

To whom? And do they matter?

Could sexuality be as innocuous and mundane as a gentleman who prefers blondes who one day sees a redhead that knocks him off his feet?

Love is a human experience. An Asian no more loves a person than someone of African descent. No gay person loves more profoundly than a woman or a straight man. No lesbians words are sweeter, nor truer, than the depths and breadth of human language  and experience.

Is it simply preferential?

“Well ,then this becomes a sin.”

No, it wouldn’t. The sin is to not seeking love. The sin is To turn away from it. And I am not talking about hate (that is not the opposite of love), I’m talking about Apathy.

We seek love. All of us. In one way or another seek to connect to one another. Be in familial, erotic, platonic, agape, We seek to connect. It’s what makes us human.

I remember looking for ‘my origins’, trying to connect with the past. As if this was some evolutionary process. And trying to find out other people’s experiences. And reading stories about love. And how they fell in love. And when did they know and suddenly the prevailing wisdom was, ‘well, some people are born this way.” But there is NO hard proof to suggest that. There’s stuff that kinda sorta eludes to maybe , but nothing solid. Psychology, the same thing. And I don’t think there ever will be.

So what happened with the straight guy and his gay roommate? He started falling in love with him. He moved passed the gender, moved passed, the labels, moved passed the stigma. Does that make the straight guy gay or bisexual? If he sees himself as bisexual or gay, yes. That’s not a title we get to put on him. That’s a title he gets to claim for himself.

Is it possible for an absolutely one hundred percent heterosexual male to fall in love with a gay man? Sure. If he steps into love and finds the waters have changed. Because when he steps down, he finds that love isn’t the same, and neither is he.

Write your story (Hop for Visibility)

UmbrellaNo Year

Fear

Hate

Bigotry

Homophobia

Transphobia

Bi-phobia

Racism

Sexism

Violence

Pain

Exclusion

Erasure

ERASURE …

Everyone who has drawn breath, has a story to tell. Everyone who has lived longer than ten years on this earth, has a story to tell.  This world is not easy to live in. By any stretch of the imagination regardless of who and where you were born. How much money you did and did not have. What your skin color is. What your gender is. What your sexuality is. What religion you adhere to (or not) and on and on we go.

And regardless of all these things, these constructs and titles that separate us from one another, there is a history there. And we all have, and ALL OF IT, is important. And the best part of it all, is despite everything we’ve been through, we’re here…right here and right now and somehow, we made it to this point.  That, is miraculous.

And it’s through that history – those stories – that we as readers and writers, connect. One of the greatest parts about writing is being able to revisit something in your past. Something that may have happened and being able to pick the event apart. Unlike others, who wish to move past certain things, we dwell in them. We perform an autopsy -so to speak -of the event and when we put this down on paper we are able to place a value judgement on so said event that not only makes writing cathartic it also creates a safe space for the reader and the author to meet. And it’s in that safe space where humanity is shared. An experience, a feeling, an understanding, and it’s there that one finds empathy – and it’s in THAT moment, when simple words on a page – become art.

P!nk while accepting the Presidential Award at BMI (an award given for writers in the music industry) gave a speech where she said, “”I find, as a human being, that it can be really difficult to hear someone else truth, but it ends up being the only reason you can connect with them, and that truth becomes either what you agree or disagree on, – but you are engage ultimately, And as far as ‘memories’ they help you relate and can build a bridge between your differences.”

Your story – matters. So the point of this blog today is to get you to express it in some way or another. Whether in a journal no one will ever read except perhaps your children or grandchildren, whether you put it to the canvas with paint brushes, wrap it up in fiction in a book that you sell, express it through poetry, or scrawl it all down in a notebook and take it out back and burn it- dance around the firepit with a fifth of jack daniels in your hand and laugh at the full moon (Hello, my pagans) , you should write it down.

If you haven’t noticed – and Jamie Fessenden touched on this with an earlier blog yesterday about the importance of knowing if Abraham Lincoln was gay or not – LGBTQI – and A , people’s stories have been erased in the past and are just now starting to be uncovered, and as these people have pushed forward with rights – there is a certain segment of the population who’d originally been responsible for that erasure – are trying yet again to get in the way of people’s fundamental right to live as they were born to live. And if you’re brave enough to share your truth with the world, that is how we learn, and how we come together and understand each other. We – society – are the better for it. And that is how we stop them.

P!nk also had this to say, “I think you can be pretty, slim, have nice shoes, be popular – but if you have nothing to say, than I’m not listening. Because you’re not going to tell me who you are, what you’re afraid of, what you regret, what you REFUSE (emphasis mine) to regret, and therefore you won’t’ teach me anything.”

None of your titles matter, whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, White, Black, Buddhist, etc. there are people out there right now talking shit about you. There are people out there right now filling the airwaves, the pages with words, on television – with static. With hyperbole. With fluff. With nonsense, trying to convince like minded people that they know who you are and what they think is best for your life. And they’re trying to pass laws with your name on them. If you say anything with a modicum of conviction, if you question the status quo, if you sometimes even try to defend yourself from people who want to label you – or defend yourself against popular views of who and what you are, often offends people.

Your story, your experiences, your truth – wipes them out each and every time. And right now in the state of American politics (and in the current state of popular art) as it is, it’s imparative – now more than ever – to ground yourself in your truth and speak.  The artist has always been on the forefront of societal change – speaking out even in the most dangerous of circumstances – leading that charge.

And as we stand in the midst of an election season that could go really really good or really really bad, it’s important now, more than ever, for us to push. To speak, to join in a conversation, to add to the list of growing voices out there coming out against the darkness, against those who wish to reverse track and push people down, who wish to reassert control over us, or who would perpatrate and support violence against us. And now this is an open invitation to you to join in the conversation.

You have a story.

Tell it.  Strive for your art. Strive for that connection. Strive for that moment. Whether it’s in poetry, music, visual art, journalism, blogging, public speaking, non- fiction, fiction, let us see you. Let us hear you. We’ll all be better for it. Art challenges society. Art – reflects it. And there are people out there who say you should never judge society . I think those people are full of shit. I think if you hold people out over perdition’s flames (Thank you Jonathan Edwards, you son-of-a-bitch) – they often times come back smelling like sulfur.

I look forward to seeing what you can do.

F.E.

You can watch the entirety of P!nk’s speech here at this jump. 

 

 

 

Vive La France! (A Poem)

Paris
City of light, city of love
Fairest art thou in the spring
Shadows shuttled cowardice to your doorstep tonight
Yet through unknown terror Parisians started to sing

Your anthem so rousing and noble
Proudly heard throughout the shock, stilled world
Your character shone strong in your voices
Triumphant even as horror unfurled

You brought to a fledgling nation, salvation
Taught us what it meant to stay true to true things
Every night your children march proudly
Through the streets the revolutions still sings

Vive La France! we shout right beside you
Je suis Parisienne! Here we are!
Long live our mighty sister to our East
A democratic independent bright star!

Tonight we are all gallant Frenchmen
Marching onward ever upward to eternity
Singing songs about joyous revolution
Equality, Fraternity, and sweet Liberty!!!

Vive la France!

There is a comfort I take in France’s history. That is one nation that you don’t mess with. France, during good times and bad, has always been formidable. The French hold liberty, and fraternity, and equality very close to their hearts.
She came to us in our hour of need when we were emerging as a fledgling nation. She delivered to us a symbol of freedom in the Statue of Liberty – a gift that now resides in our New York Harbor.
She’s known good times and bad, but she is one hell of a nation and tonight I think I speak for most Americans when I say, God Bless you.