Archive for category Life

Edge of Glory – Gaga and Gay Marriage

prince-eric (2)Like most children from the 80s and 90s, I grew up on Disney movies.  The cartoons were full of magic and wonder, and I was enthralled.  Prince Charming.  Happily Ever After.  The whole nine yards.

prince-on-white-horse (2)As a strong, gay adult male, I’m not looking for some Prince Charming/White Knight to ride in on his horse and save me.  I’m fully capable of saving myself.  But as for the Happily Ever After… who wouldn’t want that?

After Lady Gaga released “Edge of Glory”, a guy in California filmed a fan-made video (more like a short film) to go along with the song.  I’ve watched it countless times, and it makes my soul happy every time.  This is definitely a Happily Ever After I would want.

 

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Incoherent Ramblings on Love and Relationships

In Cincinnati, this wonderful city of ours, there are many questions we ask ourselves and others. What flavor of Graeter’s ice cream will I have today? How bad will traffic be after the Reds game? Can you believe they finally broke ground on the Banks project? But when talking with friends and co-workers, conversation usually turns to relationships and love… and that brings up another question…

“What is love?”

On the surface, that seems like a pretty straight-forward and easy question, but under closer examination, things aren’t always as easy as they seem. So, let’s take a look at love. I don’t mean familial love or love of your fellow man, but that great love that binds people together, for better or worse, till death (or divorce) do you part. That’s the kind of love I’m talking about. Some people spend their whole lives searching for it. For other people, it finds them. However it happens, most people do experience love at some point in their lives.

Each person has a different definition or interpretation of the word. Webster’s defines love as “a strong affection for another arising out of attraction”. That’s very clinical… boring…cut and dry, and really doesn’t seem to do justice to the idea of love… in my never humble opinion at least. What about the romance? The quickening heartbeat when that special someone enters the room? The knowing glances? The unspoken understanding? The pure, unadulterated joy? But it’s not all sunshine and roses. There’s also the opposite side of the spectrum to consider. What about the sorrow? The betrayal? The tears? The fights and the pain? Through it all, the good and the bad, aren’t most of us looking for the possibility of a “happily ever after”? In the above definition, where does all that come in to play? That’s right, it doesn’t.

With that being the case, let’s take a look at where all of us learn about love… the movies. Movies teach us that out there for all of us is “The One”. Barring horrible events like a sinking ocean liner or an untimely fatal illness, we are guaranteed to ride off into the sunset hand in hand. Or so they’d like us to believe. Unfortunately, this happens less than 1% of the time in the real world. Even more unfortunately, we all have to live in this real world. No Fairy Godmother, no magic twist of fate, and, most of the time, no Prince Charming.

Enough with the broad generalizations of love. Let’s look at something more specific: Relationships. Relationships are the road on which love is built. All relationships have a beginning, a middle, and an end. At the beginning of a relationship, there is uncertainty: Where is this going? Do I want this to go anywhere? What do we call this? No one really likes uncertainty, so some people like to rush through the beginning stages of a relationship and jump right to the middle where they feel nice and stable and can say things like “I’m in a relationship”. But more often than not, when you rush through the beginning, you are also rushing right towards the end. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry. Let’s go back to the beginning.

After the initial meeting, all roads to love begin in the same place. Dating. Dating in the movies is much easier than real life too. In the movies, you’ll have a quirky first meeting, a few impossibly romantic dinners, a terrible relationship-ending misunderstanding, but not to fear, because, in the third act, all is resolved, and you and your sweetie can share a kiss on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. In reality, the adventure that is dating can be the definition of insanity… doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different outcome.

In my experience, this has often been the case. Not to say I haven’t tried changing it up. I’ve tried dating for romance or dating for passion. I’ve even tried dating for mutual respect and decent conversation… attempting to avoid the messy trappings of all that other stuff. (Sometimes you just have to get out of the house.) Whether my fault, their fault, or no one’s fault at all, no matter the start, they all had the same result. Close the curtain. Take a bow. Relationship over.

Then there’s something they don’t like to mention in the movies. At the end of a relationship, you are presented with a wonderful new gift… baggage. (Ahhhh, baggage.) Baggage can come in all shapes and sizes: doubt, trust issues, self esteem problems, etc. The list goes on and on. The end of a bad relationship practically guarantees you a matching set of brand new, oversized baggage. Even good relationships can be enough to mess you up for awhile. You just hope that by the time you decide to try again, your baggage has been reduced to something closer to a carry-on tote than a steamer trunk.

For me, when it comes to relationships, I think Carrie Bradshaw put it best when she said, “There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

In the end, love in the real world is like walking through a mine field. You take a step, blow up, put yourself back together, and stupidly take another step. It makes me wonder… Why do we do this to ourselves… again and again? Some say that it’s human nature: it hurts so much to be alone that we’d all rather blow-up than be single. I don’t agree with that at all. The answer I keep coming back to is that because when it’s good, it’s totally worth it. And those great moments are what make me keep coming back for more.

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It Gets Better

If you’ve been near a newspaper, tv, or the internet over the last two weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about the gay suicides across the United States due to bullying. Some of these kids were 13 and 15 years old. Just children. Starting puberty or starting high school. This is the most difficult time in their lives. This is the time when they start really developing their personality, discovering who they are, and carving out their identity. And to think that they felt their life was so hopeless that they had to do something as drastic as taking their own life… well, it just breaks my heart. I feel like I need to say something. Share part of my story. Something. Because what is happening CANNOT be allowed to continue. As a society, we need to be teaching love and acceptance, not hate and intolerance. The younger generation learns from our actions and behavior. We must be the example.

I would love to think that someday we’ll live in a world where bullying doesn’t exist, but this is the real world, and there will always be bullies. Dealing with a bully is never fun, but there is always a way. There is always hope. Hope survives, even in the darkest of times.

Growing up gay in the rural mountains of West Virginia was not easy. I did my best to hide what I was, because at that point, I myself didn’t really understand it. I knew I was different, and I knew the feelings I was having were not the same ones my friends were having. In a town of 2000 people, there’s no such thing as a gay role model to look up to. And there weren’t gay characters on tv and in movies like there are now. So I completely understand the feelings of confusion and lonliness. And I had my share of bullies. No physical violence or anything like that. But nasty names and rude comments, yeah, I dealt with that. Personally, I used my quick wit and sarcasm to deal with bullies… to the point where the bully was then the odd man out and getting a dose of their own medicine. Is that the right thing to do? Maybe not. But that was my defense mechanism, and it worked for me.

For the gay youth out there, in the end, what I’m saying is that there is always a way to deal with what you are going through. Sarcasm and a quick wit worked for me. Maybe for others there is the support of their friends. A family that loves them. A trusted person to talk to. Something. Anything. Never give up. Suicide is not the answer. EVER.

The most important thing I can say is that yes, it does get better. So much better. Once I was honest with myself and my family and friends about who I was, things got significantly better. I had a support system. I was able to surround myself with people that liked me for me. Right now, teenagers just want to be normal, and I completely understand that. But as you get older, you’ll realize that being normal is boring. Being different is amazing! Embrace your indviduality! You are special. You are amazing. You are loved. And you deserve to see all the wonderful things life has in store for you.

But if you need someone to talk to, there is help. There is hope. Contact The Trevlor Project. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1-866-4-U-TREVOR

Below are some videos from people with the same message for you that I had. First up is a song/video from a dear friend of mine that she wrote for her son, but it applies to all. Listen to their words and know “It Gets Better”.

Sherry McCamley – “My Beautiful Boy”

The Trevor Project – It Gets Better

Ellen Degeneres – An Important Message About Bullying

Kathy Griffin – A Special Message

Chris Colfer (Glee) – It Gets Better

Eric Himan (Singer/Songwriter), featuring Angel Adams/Jimmy Adams – It Gets Better

Jay Manuel (America’s Next Top Model) – It Gets Better

Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) – It Gets Better

Tim Gunn (Project Runway) – It Gets Better

Todrick Hall – It Gets Better (song and music video)

Joel Burns – City Council from Fort Worth, Texas – Personal Story for It Gets Better

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