Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Attention students and potential students.

If you are a resident of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington, (regardless of where you want to attend school), don't forget to apply for Pride Foundation scholarships.

Check out the available scholarships. Only one application is needed. It plugs you into all the scholarships you'd be eligible for. And yes, you can be awarded more than one.

Deadline is January 13, 2006. More info as well as applications available for download can be found here.
I'm running late. Overslept and I think this weird on and off cold is hitting me again.

Here is Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology and Mark Morford's column, When The City Eats Your Soul - Where do you go when you've had enough of the urban grind but still crave it like heroin?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"I don't know what's going on, I don't know where I'm going, I don't know who I am and I don't know who I'm becoming. It's quite unsettling."

My words to the shrink yesterday.

This is now my life.

Last week I wrote about painting, or the idea of destroying paintings. Week before I wrote of invisibility. Yeah, it's been a month.

After last week's entry, I received support and suggestions from three amazing artists. I'm not going to out them in this context because well, I want to keep it private. But the first one reached out and we spent quite a bit of time on the phone last Wednesday. Thank you.

He helped in a few ways. First he unknowingly clarified what my shrink was trying to tell me. And then we spoke of painting. Painting to paint. Painting as play. Painting because it is what a painter does. It's not about painting for others, for society, for a finished product. Some of the thoughts that floated from his lips have embedded themselves in my being.

The second called me that evening.
"Hey. I just read your blog."
"You know, paintings are just stuff. Nothing more than stuff."
"Thank you."

The rest of the conversation twirled around an interesting proposition. The sadist is holding my newest paintings for safe keeping. We are going to get together again to play. He suggested I bring other paintings as well. We will be surrounded by the work...and allow the play, the energy to go where it will. If I feel the need to sacrifice, he will be there to support me.

What we spoke of is so obscene, perverse and sexy that it juiced us. Our kind of S/M.

The other conversation was over the weekend. It was with my former teacher. He asked how I was and I briefly mentioned what was going on, with me, my art.
He said 'so you're dealing with ghosts?"
I gave him a questioning look.
"Well one ghost in particular."
Again, I'm being dumb.
"Your mother."

He reminded me about my mom.
I know I wrote about mom a few years ago. The conflicted artist. She had 3 brothers. She, her brothers and her dad were artists. I remember mom painting away in her studio when I'd come home from school. That is, until I was about 10 years old. She was working on a large portrait of my two sisters and myself. It remained unfinished.

Aha, found it. In September 2003 I wrote:

I remember coming home from school at 5 and 6 years old. We’d find mom painting in her studio. She’d make herself stop and then tend to the 4 of us. (My littlest brother wasn’t born yet). About 7 years ago she told me that I had the opportunity to live the life she couldn’t. Many years before that she mentioned that when we came along, she really struggled between being wife and mother, or being a painter. She attempted to do both and couldn’t. She spoke of being so ripped in half by the two things she loved, her family and her art. By the time I was about 10, mom put down her paintbrushes, and hasn’t picked them up since, except for a couple times, specifically to make Christmas gifts. There needed to be a purpose for others in her act of creation. She’s now 74. Mom’s had arthritis in her hands for about 15 years. Some days it’s so painful she can’t use her hands. Other days, it’s much better. I deeply feel, in my gut, that her arthritis is the result of not allowing herself expression in the manner closest to her soul.

She did find ways to allow her brilliance and creativeness come through to prevent art constipation. Major house redecorations. New carpeting and paper or paint. Purchasing or moving furniture. Somehow she always knew the future trends in color 3 or 4 years before they’d even appear in New York. One of her gifts. Another was her cooking. She’d sew clothes. At times even design and make the patterns. In the 70’s she would create very large banners for her church, to hang on the sides of the alter…from the ceiling. She would create a logo or card for someone that needed it. She whip off little poems for a family occasion. She’d sit down with us and we’d make all our toys. Blocks, musical instruments. Homemade playdough. We’d then sculpt together.

She’d take me to the library each week so I could load up with books. And at night, when we were little, we’d all curl up on her bed and she’d tell us stories. Stories of when she was little and her escapades with ice skating. She wanted to be a figure skater. Then stories of her massive stage fright and how she chose to combat that by forcing herself to sing on stage. Mom had a beautiful voice. We’d sing lots and lots. She told us of the times in her early twenties when she was working in garages, doing the hand lettering on commercial trucks. She spoke of being the only woman in this male enviroment. This was back in the 50’s. Pretty much unheard of. She spoke of her brothers and their art. She gave us stories of her dad and his hopping from job to job. He even did a short stint as Bobo the clown.

Mom is beautiful. And she’s filled with love for others. But, in some ways that love is tainted because she wasn’t true to herself. She didn’t have the opportunity or the know how. She came from a very sheltered life. There was one role for a woman. Her heart was trapped. Being the person she is, she was somehow able to work through that and create a loving enviroment for all and herself. Yet…there’s a stiffness at times, regarding passion and emotions. I think she’s afraid of herself. She fears the passion that is so deep. I wonder if it’s still there or if it’s burnt itself out from not being stoked.

When my former teacher reminded me of my mother, it made sense.
He said "I know you have great ability and talent, but who are you painting for?"

Good question.

I've wondered if the angst I feel over my older work is because I was painting for my mother instead of myself. In doing so it would carry all the conflicted ideas around embracing myself wholly as painter.

This weekend, when not being sick, I spent time socializing. It took all I had to tuck my inner stuff to the side. I feel I'm dealing with so many insights, possibilities and an overabundance of questions that I don't know how to hold it all in my body.

Yesterday, while catching up with one of my coworkers, I relayed all this to him.
This conversation brought to light the idea that each of the three men spoke to a different part of my painting. The past, the future, and the present. (Hmmm...Scrooge just came to mind.)

So, what do I do with all this? I haven't a fucking clue, except to sit with all that is happening. In all this, I don't know what's going on, I don't know where I'm going, I don't know who I am and I don't know who I'm becoming. And yes, it is quite unsettling.

Although this morning I notice that the more I sit in the unknowing the less uncomfortable it is. Today is a little better. Life is still a question mark and maybe it is how it is to be.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Good morning.

It's been quite the few days. Between the holiday food , all the internal goings on, and then the physical way the emotional stress is manifesting itself...well...I'm quite full.

I spent Thanksgiving at Hoss's. Met new friends who I felt I clicked with right away. Love it when that happens. You can read the little holiday blurbs here and here. Want photos? Check this and that.

Thor, thank you so much for treating us to ice cream. Although we've yet to meet (and I look forward to it!) it felt as if you were with us. We toasted you with spoonfuls of chocately goodness.

Qnetter gave me his iPod shuffle on Tday! He had upgraded and generously spread the wealth.

I was invited to a post Tday dinner on Friday night at Imaenad's and unfortunately never made it! I spent Friday curled up with a blanket, sick and flirting with a crappy cold.

I think what happened, now that I look at it, was one day with people, one day without. Thursday wore me out. Friday I couldn't do much of anything. Hoss had us get together on Saturday which was a blast. But I could feel my energy not up to snuff. Sunday, I was to do dim sum with the crew. Looking forward to spending one more day with badfaggot, but I needed to cancel at the last minute. I was sick, shaky and didn't dare put anything in my mouth. In the evening, the bunny called and mentioned that the Bear was making turkey noodle soup. He reminded me it would go down easy. So I popped over for a few hours, ate and then received a bag of what looks like great leftovers from the Friday night dinner that I missed. Thanks everyone.

Now...I do have more to write about...but I'll save it for another entry.

What I will say is, I've been blown away by everyone's love and kindness over the last week, which includes a few connections I haven't shared yet. Some will stay anonymous for now because I don't know if they want to be outed. I've been given so much food for thought that it's doing nothing more than milling around in my belly at the moment.

Thank you. Everyone.

all my love...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

passing along a message...

....from my good friend Michael - for those in the Seattle area who want something fun to do Thanksgiving night...or for those who are into kinky Thanksgiving images...


(there were more creative things done with that turkey during the shoot...and I had the pleasure of said turkey for dinner the following night.)

While I'm at it, Michael, when not performing his duties as International LeatherSir 2005, is a chef at the Hopvine Pub in Seattle. Last year, his first cookbook, Seattle's Own Undeniably Perfect Soups, was published. If you're in town, hook up with him and maybe if you ask nicely, he'll sign one for you, as he did again last night at the Pub, on the eve of his 2nd printing.
A heartfelt thank you... to everyone who has reached out privately and publicly, in response to yesterday's entry and last Thursday's entry.

I hear you. All of you.
Right now, I can't respond to each of you individually but did want to acknowledge your kindness.

That's all.

Here is Rob Brezsny's FreeWill Astrology for this week.

Morford is deliciously brutal this week.

"So, so lonely, sitting over in the far corner, all by herself, nursing her one glass of white wine. No one really talks to her anymore except Dubya and a maybe few brusque words from Rummy, who she suspects is always imagining her cleaning his guns and polishing his boots and calling him "master." Suddenly, her heart jumps. She sees Dubya looking at her from across the room. She smiles that demonic, dominatrix-y smile that always creeps out the Asian press. He does that thing with his thin little lips, that little gesture only she understands. Her body is instantly warmed. Oh their special bond, a dark secret. It is her breath, her raison d'être. It keeps her alive."

That's an excerpt from his latest column, Scenes From A Bush Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

(Written last night - posted today)

I'm a little buzzed...otherwise you wouldn't be hearing from me tonight.

You see, I'm in a space.
A dark, black space.

Over the weekend I realized that for me, hurting myself isn't about taking my physical life. It is about destroying my paintings and all my writings. I think my glass of wine and two shots of sambuca is bringing out an anger tonight that booze doesn't normally bring out in me. So I'll talk. Talk in a way that I refused to talk to the shrink today. I kept my secrets from him this morning. Now the liquor's warmth has filled my belly and out it comes.

Yesterday (Sunday) I was going to destroy my paintings. Yesterday I was going to pack up the little mini microscopic studio space I made in the corner of a 8x12 living room. And yesterday Hoss called me. He doesn't know this yet, unless he reads this...that I've noticed he has become (unknowingly) the guardian of my painting. Anytime I came close to destruction of myself as a painter or my work, he'd happen to contact me and provide distraction in that way he has where I can't say no.

Yesterday he had D and I get together. A big distraction that made for a wonderful afternoon with good food and a great movie that I've wanted to see, The Dying Gaul. Excellent film. When I returned home, I was too spent to do anything else.

Today, an appointment with the shrink. For the first time in the 3 years I've been seeing him, I kept secrets from him. It felt off, very wrong, and I didn't give a flying fuck.

Once again, at one point I put on my boots and declared I was leaving. He calmly informed me that we had 2 minutes left and he was sure I could say a lot in those two minutes. I opted not to. And once again, my dramatic exit was thwarted.

I lasted at work all of a couple hours and needed...HAD to go home. I couldn't focus. Everything was dark.

After being home a while and regrouping, I knew what I needed to do. Yes, I packed up all my art stuff and put it away in the hall closet. And then, I had to call the bunny and asked him if he'd be willing to temporarily store a few paintings for me. For safe keeping.

I gave him 5 new ones and an old one.

You see, if I destroy the ones remaining, it will only be like cutting off a finger. Nothing big. And honestly, I'm curious.

I mean, why not go with the flow, right? Why second guess myself? I chose the first victim this afternoon. It's a 2x3 foot painting from my thesis show. My first sacrificial lamb. I've been fantasizing most of afternoon and evening as to what it will be like to take my butcher knife to the canvas. Yes, in one way it is obscene. In another, I sense relief.

I wonder if my belief that I was a painter is a part of my pretending to be someone other than I am. I wonder if it was only a fabrication.

Maybe I need to destroy and let go of all my old work. It's a life I don't know any more. I'm not sure of who I am anyway. Even with all the uncertainty, I needed the new paintings to go someplace else. If I begin carving into canvases, I fear I may not know when to stop. The new ones are too fresh and speak a different language...tell a tale of something other than the old. So they are protected and the others...well I can feel the tension of the knife against a paint-filled canvas, tearing and ripping.

Maybe it will only stay a fantasy. Only time will tell. And according to someone who has been through this experience himself...although I may cause myself some harm in the process...time will get me through it. Supposedly, I will heal and create a new way of being in the world. We'll see.

Right now, his words are the only thing I have to hang on to.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The best fire in your belly speech I've ever experienced.

From his bio

"A recording artist since 1988, Chicago native Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag) is most recognized for his recent work as a founding member of "homohop" crew Deep Dickollective (D/DC) and his development of the label Sugartruck Recordings...

...Noted for his dialogues on the convergences and conflicts of race, identity, sexuality and class in pop culture, Kalamka has written and illustrated articles for Kitchen Sink, Colorlines, and the now-defunct bisexual issues magazine Anything That Moves."

Juba Kalamka was given an award and gave a speech the first night of the conference. Although I've heard powerful speeches throughout my life, this was the first one where I was so moved by the words that, once he got rollin', there was a continuous stream of tears falling down my face.

His speech began traditionally enough, and then like a good piece of music it picked up steam which filled your belly and blew through your being. Guess you had to be there to get the full impact.
Anyway, here's the speech. It's a long read, but oh so worth it.

Note I didn't only give you an excerpt but posted the whole damned speech.
Read it.

I dare you.


Delivered at the Welcome Plenary session of
The National Gay Lesbian Task Force's 18th Annual Creating Change Conference
November 10, 2005
Oakland Marriott Hotel, Oakland,California

By Juba Kalamka

About six years ago, I sat outside with my ex about 1000 feet from here. We had run out of money and gotten kicked out of the residential hotel where we were living. I remember sleeping with one eye open that February night and thinking to myself, "what in the fuck am I doing here?" Over the next year and a half, I lived in a Christian homeless shelter, couch surfed, lived in a San Francisco youth hostel, finally taking up residence in a storefront down the street from here.

Six years later, I've released five albums with Deep Dickollective and as a solo artist, curated an internationally known, Oakland-based LGBT hiphop festival five years running, seen that festival spawn sister events in New York, Atlanta, and London, England. I've written and illustrated articles for numerous sexuality and culture magazines. I've toured the United States twice with crazy punk dyke spoken word artists, appeared in three porno films you may or may not have seen J, curated or served as a panelist at a gaggle of workshops at numerous colleges and universities.

After having some gained some stability in my living situation and a few artistic accomplishments, I was still unsure of exactly where what I was doing would be going. That isn't to say that I always know now. The difference, I think, is that I don't have to know what's happening, exactly. It's enough to know that I must go where I am led by what feels good and right even when what feels good and right also feels scary as hell.

Back aways on the road when I was 19 years old, I had the good fortune of catching the late black gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs' film "Tongues Untied" on public television. Shortly after moving to the Bay Area ten years later, I found myself on a street in San Francisco acting the total fanboy while speaking to one of the cast members who was in the middle of a safer sex outreach project. Not a week later, I visited the Castro for the first time and found myself outside near the Castro Theater where Riggs walks in several scenes. In that moment, I thought, "This is why I am here - I am home." In the next year, I continued to have opportunities to meet a number of people that would collaborate and incubate the numerous arts and activism projects I'm involved in today.

I traveled to that moment outside on Castro street, when preparing for this day's speaking to you. I realized that if I am to continue in this direction, moving toward change, then I must continue to visit that moment because they are a part of this road - good and right and scary as hell. I was finding this new "home", yes, but I was, like many transplants to the fabled queer mecca, taken aback by the nature of the intracommunal conflicts - the overt misogyny, the transphobia, the infighting, backbiting, and general haterism that existed here.

My idyllic notions of a queer community that was progressive around race had been shattered years before by Riggs' film, by the way he described his experience of the pervasive racism of the Castro and the Bay Area's extended gay community. Nevertheless, the infighting that existed among queer factions and how it began to overlap my presexisting issues made for some challenges around creating community out of these communities.

As part of those challenges, I learned that I and my fellow bisexuals weren't gay enough for a biphobic gayristocracy; that I dated too many women and too many white men for a Black gay community; that I was too nigga, too hiphop, and too feminist for a white gay male community comfortable in its overt and implicit misogyny and racism; too black and too funky and too black sissy for parts of my bisexual community too steeped in oblivious privilege and heteronormative pretense to recognize the overlaps of its classism, sexism, racism and transphobia. As a black bisexual man, I have been at once frustrated and exhilarated standing at the intersection of communities and {seeming} conflicts of identity. The experience presents an opportunity to engage multiple conversations around coming to and continuing the activism carried forward by the likes of yourselves and begun by those who have come before you.

See me engaging: I am an emcee, a poet, a father, a slut, a faggot-ass faggot cocksucker, a freestyler, a knucklehead, a smartass, a slow talker, and a faster learner who is unapologetically black and queer all at the same time. Fifteen minutes is an eternity in the performance world but an instant on a stage such as this one. I could take the cheap, chickenshit route that I've watched black people take in contexts like this on many occasions.

To a certain extent, it would be completely valid to stand here and play off the guilt and hit white people upside the head with similies and metaphors on racism in queer activist communities and how much it pisses me off. I mean, I am really, really, really angry, and I could get some points with the people of color and be done with it.

But, I'm not gonna go that route. There's so much work to do . . . all of which will not get done here, but some of which can start here, now.

So, I got ta use this time well . . . and that includes owning my privilege, owning my shit . . . I have the privilege of a post-grad education, of a middle class upbringing, of being a man in patriarchy, of having a family of activists who are supporting me being here, of access to technology and culture recognized as such, of my good health, of my unincarcerated state, of my much appreciated indoor toilet. I own my responsibility to be honest with and about myself, so, I can be honest with you.

Ready? Here goes.

To the white folks - I ain't interested in parceling ya'll into neat lil' good whitefolk/ bad whitefolk packets. That's an old, tired game and a waste of everyone's time, energy, talent, and resources. What I'd like to do is encourage you, implore you to ask those hard, uncomfortable questions - in the parking lot, in the bathroom, on the elevator, when you're ordering lunch, or by remembering to tip the housekeeping folk - pull your brothers' and sisters' coats - stop and say something when you get that twist in your gut that makes you question when you see wrong (because that's what got you here today); say something even though you know white folks won't let you in the club no more, and because it means that you might love yourself and this work and the rest of us more than all of those privileges.

To my gay brothers and lesbian sisters - my brothers especially because the policy decisions of gay-identified men have controlled the timbre of much of the conversation within queer institutions. When they come - and you know who I mean by they - they will come for all of us, like they always have . . . because all of us sit here tonight, at these tables and in organizations and at homes and in streets across the world being who we are, and that is enough; that is all it takes. We cannot warn or protect each other if we are too busy thinking that making ourselves acceptable and normal to straight people will make us safe. We cannot take care of each other if we are politicking for space at tables that will not accept us as we are . . . in khakis, in leather, in kente cloth, in Abercrombie, in Birkenstocks, in doo rags, in drag. When they come, they will not ask if you are queer in a same or different sex relationship, if you are monogamous or not, or how long you've been with a current partner. They will not care if you've sucked 2 dicks or 2,247 clits, if it was an hour ago or at Creating Change '98. They will not care if you are top, bottom, or switch, or how long you've been clean. They will not care if you're a Kinsey 6 and it was just that once that you snuck and had sex with a girl or a boy. What will matter is that they know - because you were here, today - that you are not one of them, and that is all that matters.

To my sister folk - and I mean all my sister folk, the ones who can't get into Michigan, too - I would like to address and thank you specifically for the template you've provided me, the path laid out that has allowed me the opportunities to communicate as an artist-activist. The message and reminder that although all men are sexist, many of my brothers - the ones who aren't too lazy to do the work - are sexists in recovery. Just so, the white men who are doing the work are racists in recovery. Recovery is a moment by moment task, and those of us in it have a responsibility to remind each other of it. We also must make those who have refused to do this work accountable. We should pull each others coats when necessary. We must be unafraid to question the self because it opens a space to challenge the thoughts notions and motivations of the collective.

To my queer people of color, I implore you even more to interrogate these same myths of purity, this fake ass construction of race that we cling to, refusing to break it down and understand. We fight a very real system of global white supremacy, yes, and in that fight, we have too long used too many of the master's tools - the one drop, the blood quantum, the rabbit proof fences, marginalization and erasure of mixed race folks, the lack of recognition that even though the racist science of race says Arabs and Jews are white, the lived realities of Arabs and Jews says otherwise. These sign posts and barometers that we allow to verify our existence in the name of making community have been used in much the same way to keep us separated from each other because we don't know who we are unless white folks tell us. We will never know until we face that truth.

With all that said, you may be asking, where am I suggesting that we as individuals and a community of activists go in these few days? It would probably be more accurate to say that I am asking what will we, what can we begin during this conference - as that is the opportunity that lies before us.

The easy thing to do would be to stick with the welcome, the plenary, the luncheon, the panels that fit the specific interests and leanings we came here with.
The more difficult, and ultimately, more productive approach is to go toward what frightens us. Though we are here from a variety of different spaces and places, we are again here, with each other, and I believe we are called to this space in the name of a common good.

James Baldwin said in 1963 that "to be a black person of any state of consciousness is to be in rage most of the time." I would have to amend that for myself and say that being an out bisexual black man, I am in a constant state of immolation.

I stand here on fire. I am enraged. I am perched on the thin line between that rage and fear. It is sexual. It is urgent, and it is frightening. I have been afraid to be angry because I didn't want to deal with what that big plume of fear would make me say to you . . . And as scared as it makes me in some moments {like now}, I will run toward that flame, that fire. I will smoke a cigarette in this darkroom of volatile photographic chemicals. I will run into this hell wearing my best gasoline drawers because I have to if I am serious about doing what I can to make justice happen. I am scared as hell of how angry I am, and I'm going to shout, to scream to you through it because I gotta make you hear me.

So, listen, please, even if you have to strain to hear me:

Gay boys!!!!
Go grab that program book and pick a panel to attend where you can listen to those scary, angry lesbians . . . they have brothers and need and want them in this work in the same way you need sisters.

White folks!!!!!
Do the same thing - attend people of color panels and listen to what they have to say. Just as the men will, you'll hear a lot of shit you might not want to about yourselves. You are here, and you have come again because you are best equipped and are needed to take that message back to your organization, your dinner club, your racist lovers and friends, your bar, your school, your bathhouse, your clinic, your hometown, your world.

I challenge you, my bisexual folks, to raise up again right now, this minute - the sometime-though-nobody-knows-I-have-sex-with-a-guy-slash-girl, the normal
kinda regular ones, the dj, the b-boy and b-girl, the vanilla fifteen-year monogamous relationship ones, the sexworkers, the curious and questioning ones, the mission hipsters, the bi trannies, the wicca priestesses, the agnostics, the atheists, the born-again Christians, the new age crystal wearin' dudes, the yerba mate drinkin' sistas,the leather bdsm switch freak flag flying ones, the fats, the femmes and their fellow genderqueers, the bi bears, the negatives and positives, the softball dykes, the wheelchair basketballers, the marrieds, the d&d geeks, the trekkies, the Goths, the furries, the IT guys, the bi soccer moms in suburbia, the middle management weekend dads, the PFLAG-ers and family members - all of us - to stand up and be visible now and in moments and years to come because it is important for queers as well as straight people to know that we are standing next to them and expecting to have the value of that space recognized and honored because we have to if we're going to be truly effective. We need people to see us in our kazillions of ways of being bi and have them understand the ramifications of that for all of the communities we traverse.

I challenge each of us, the ones who could afford to be here this weekend, to stand in more than token support for the marginalized within our marginalization - the transpeople, the intersex, the disabled, the po' folks - the ones who very literally could not afford to be here - my ex, the bi video artist who has been out of work for a year, my transman homeboy just back from visiting his folks in New Orleans and going through bankruptcy and a nasty custody fight, young folks and old folks, the Ibrahim Farajajes and the Lani Ka'ahumanus and the Venetia Porters, The Bill Beasleys, the Victor Lewises, the Alan Taziri's, the Loudas Perez's and the Ciana Stewarts, and the Angel Fabee-ahns and the Kuwaza Imaras' and the Penelope Williamses and the who've been a part of Creating Changes past and those whose names you might not recognize, the bold fierce angry bi colored folk shoulders I stand on - and to remember, in those spaces that you can...because some of ya'll are old enough...

. . . the days and the spaces before we even had a storefront with folding chairs and punch and cookies and parades in every city and bars in which we would not be arrested or asked for three pieces of ID by gay boys who forgot and clinics with free rapid HIV tests and lavender senior organizations and websites and listservs and high school gay straight alliances . . . .those who remember phone trees and mimeographs and rub-on letters, pasting up magazines, who remember the days when they could not imagine that a black queer hip hop artist would ever and could ever be standing here, in the midst of all these possibilities and imperfections and work that needs to be done within this organization and without . . . standing here suggesting what you MIGHT be able to do because I can't believe that a kid from the west side of Chicago is getting a chance to say this to you.

I say this because even when I think about how far I have come, I know there are those who have come through more and from farther than me to be here, and still more who made a way for me to be here whose stories we may never know in specific that are just as relevant to the creating of change - bi men with AIDS in Veterans Administration hospitals and sleeping outside on Telegraph Avenue right now . . . bi women staying in the shitty marriage for them babies that they have no other way to provide for . . . for the church sissies and choir directors that confide in our ministry folk, for the students who emailed me from Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan to say thank you for being Pointfivefag . . . for all of those making a way and making a way and making a way . . . for the making of a million ways because if for just a few moments and oft times for longer, somebody reached up out over and through that fear - that fear of being wrong, fear of not being the king of the hill, fear of not getting that grant because they talked too much shit about a racist development director or a sexist asshole of a foundation head or board members who are made nervous by loud angry homeless transwomen or those that continue to bow and scrape to keep their jobs because they got theirs and they fear of missing that extra lil' scrap of chicken and mouthful of biscuit and pat on the head from the status quo because they are afraid that men or white folks or rich folks straight folks won't let them move in if they don't.

We stand on the shoulders of those writing and working dancing pushing screaming fighting rhyming and stealing away and fucking and fucking and fucking and flying though that fear.

-to Audre Lorde journaling through radiation and cold and puke and pain

-to Essex Hemphill shaking but standing strong at Black Nations/Queer Nations on three T cells

-to Marlon Riggs dancing in bed with an IV and making notes back in 1994, so his assistants can finish his last movie because he knows he don't have much longer and has to make sure it gets finished

-to them young boys who sucked cock for coin and for love in the corner of a bar on Polk or in Folsom Gulch, on Christopher Street, in Oklahoma City and on Halsted in Chicago when you could still be arrested on sight for just looking like a faggot

to Gwen Araujo, to Rashawn Brazell, to J.P. Warren, to Emmet Till, to Simon Nkoli, to Ruwa Chire, to Barry Winchell, to Matt and Brandon and Sakia

to the butches and bulldaggers in pants, tie, and pocket chain back in the day when that meant the lockup, a beatdown, or worse

to cornfed country boys, to babydykes in North Cacakalack and Johannesburg

to them girls strolling for coin right now around the corner
on 20th and San Pablo, scared as hell but holding tight to the hammers in their purses

and to them black babies - the children out across from here RIGHT NOW on 14th and Broadway twisting and voguing and partying and holding each other and daring you to say something to them because they daddy already put them out and they don't have nothing else but each other

to the ones with a momma that wasn't afraid to love them in Jesus name when the church folk told them not to

All of these small victories lead us to and prepare us for big ones And bigger ones
And ones that seem tiny that we cannot take for granted
All of them the millions upon millions upon millions
They have told me/ their bodies are calling me
They are the reasons why I keep going
Because I am mad as hell and in love with you and them and we

I will open my arms, run headlong into these flames
I will own this heat in my chest
I'm on fire and for you and you and you and
you and you and you

I am ready to fucking fight
-Juba Kalamka
Matt Foreman, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force delivered the keynote address at Creating Change on Friday.

From his speech:

"I say it's time to stop running away from the moral values issue, and instead seize it and go on the offensive.

First, let's start proclaiming our moral values - personal liberty and equality for all - not only for those who are white, or rich, or who subscribe to a particular kind of Christian dogma.

We believe that liberty and freedom are more than words, but mean that neither the state nor any church has any right to control our bodies, or restrict our reproductive or sexual freedom.

Because we believe all people are truly equal, and believe in racial and economic justice, we reject a system that blithely and utterly abandons people of color and poor people, as so vividly laid bare by Katrina.

Because we actually value human life, we oppose capital punishment, we deplore, we are sickened and we are outraged by the carnage in Iraq.

And, while we proclaim our moral values, we must never shy away from calling out and speaking the truth about the utter and appalling and disgusting immorality of the ongoing and escalating attacks against us, our families, and our very beings.

We must say over and over and over again, simply, directly, and unambiguously that anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-bisexual and anti-transgender discrimination in all its forms is immoral."

Here is the link to the pdf of his full speech, ‘Reclaiming Moral Values: A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Agenda for 2006’

Good words.
Okay. A bunch of links today. And I'm posting them separately, because each deserves their own entry.

Let's begin with Mark Morford.
Today he writes:

"We cannot afford any more wars. The environment has been sold to the bone. The national spirit has been beaten like an Alaskan baby seal and the GOP has worked our last nerve, passed through the karmic blood-brain barrier, reached saturation to the point where even moderate Repubs and gobs of intelligent Christians are finally saying, Oh my God, what have we done, and how did it all go so wrong, and how much Prozac and wine and praying to a very disappointed Jesus will it take to fix it?

Which is why I'm here to tell you hope abounds. In fact, George W. Bush gives me hope. He gives me hope because he has led the country into a zone where the only way to go -- morally, spiritually, economically -- is up. Is out. He gives me hope because after it has all appeared so bleak and ugly and lost for so many years, it would now appear that all laws of karmic and poetic and moral justice still hold true. And how reassuring is that?

It is the eternal formula: When all is at its darkest, you cannot help but feel that some sort of transformational upswing must be just around the corner, one that maybe, just maybe contains the seeds of something resembling health and progress and revolution. Darkest before the dawn, baby, and don't you see the sky getting just a little bit lighter?"

Read the rest in George W. Bush Gives Me Hope
The astonishing collapse of the Bumbling One surely means healthy change is imminent, right?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

(I began this last night but felt too vulnerable to post it then. Have since added to it, and here you go)

Creating Change
It truly created change. A pivotal moment in my personal life.

The ugly truth -

First, transcribed from notes on Saturday 12 November:

Yesterday, I wrote that I remembered how my activism is different. When opening my mouth I was reminded again. Right now, I'm trying so very hard not to shrink into invisibility. I see how my ideas and way of being in the world is unique.

Throughout all this I have to work so very hard not to get sucked into the maelstrom that spins me into nothingness. I see how when one looks and fits the part, it is easier to be heard. I listen to ideas similar to what I've previously voiced be given a receptive audience and kudos because the mouthpiece is bathed in familiarity. I know when I utter my thoughts, it is the silence, not the applause, that deafens.

Throughout all this, the idea that I am as valid and worthy as another is on the precarious ledge. Some days my arms are weary from hanging on. Today is one.

Then...I see it. The moments of golden light. In casual conversation in innocence, I'll relay a story. Raising my head to look in the other's eyes, I find tears along with the discovery that my words validated their wounds.

It is in the one on ones where I affirm my connection to the rest of the world.
It is the same with play. No, I may never get or have the large parties where I am welcome or feel the energy of home. But the magical intensity will manifest itself in the small and intimate exchange.

In my one session with the shrink last week I told him how I believe that living as a Shining Alone was a fucking death sentence.

"It is a death sentence" he said with a smile.

I knew what he meant.


Last night-

Rereading Saturday's words I realize how right on I was when I spoke of a precarious place. There is a reason why I haven't been able to blog. I even mentioned to the shrink today that I am seriously considering shutting down my blog. It doesn't matter. Retreat into the void. It's where I belong.

There is a reason why I've shrunk into nothingness. I don't matter. Simply.

The conference, as wonderful and powerful and intense as it was, pushed over the remnants of bricks that we've been dismantling in therapy. There is nothing left inside. I knew I was tired and exhausted, but until today, was not aware of the whole reason, the full impact. You know those moments of truth uttered without fanfare. Quiet words slip from the lips.

Today's insight, enormous.
Sitting on the couch, "I am tired of pretending that I am not invisible."

It was such a big truth that I couldn't even really comment on it. The shrink noticed as well. He mentioned the profoundness of my statement. I dared not look at its meaning. Instead, I think I changed the subject.

"I am tired of pretending that I am not invisible."

It sat with me all day. Eating and chewing. I was the last one in the office, finishing up to attend our grants celebration tonight, which I love. Pressure in my chest and the floodgates burst.

"I am tired of pretending that I am not invisible."

Blackness thicker than before experienced came over me. All I could see was my death and I didn't want to die. Not yet. But in that moment, I knew there was nothing to live for.

After a bit, I shot off an email to the shrink who responded immediately, and suggested I call, which I did. The few times I've contacted him, I'd grab solace in his words. Not so this time. While listening to him, I sobbed harder. Deep, choking breaths. On the phone, the almost first words out of my mouth:
"My parents created nothing."

"Now you're getting to the truth."

Oh, he's so comforting, isn't he?

He continued:
"They did not give you a foundation. The conference pushed it all over the edge. You know your potential. You know you could be one of those leaders you saw. You know all this. And have no way to solidly build on it. You try, you pretend and have done a really good job. But you can't anymore. It's gone. All gone."

For most of my life, I knew I was an imposter. I felt artificial. I never knew why. Today I know. There is nothing inside and I've been pretending all along. Yes, I can shine in moments. Excel and succeed, only to come crashing down again because the base isn't there. Even those small jeweled moments of one of one connection weren't enough to carry me to the next plane. I'd see them, note them, cherish them and when the wind picks up...they are gone.

I've been building a house of cards.

Pretty broken, eh?
Yeah. And right now, I feel much shame around it.

So where does that leave me?

Honestly, I don't know. Maybe, as the shrink suggested at the end of our conversation, it is focusing on only a half a breath if that's all I can do right now.



For one who has quite the imagination, I cannot even forsee the possibility of a solution. Where do I begin, what tools, what materials? How can I create my own solid core that won't shift its shape even during a gentle breeze?

It is quite the bizarre predicament.

I know I am a good painter and with deep roots of self can become a great painter. I know I have radical ideas that the world needs to hear and yet the lack of footing only allows silent words to flow from my mouth. I know I have a heart so big that cries in the night for the hurt and hate and pain in our world yet without foundation it still wails for the terrified child who longs for the secure arms of a parent. The fear frought from that terror morphs the child into full invisibility.

I am incredibly fortunate to have had and still have guides, teachers and mentors. I've surrounded myself with good people, sexy, big hearted people who love me and care for me. People I love and care for in return.

And yet, until I can create, if I can create a solid foundation, everything else is in vain.

I do not know how to do this.

"I am tired of pretending I am not invisible."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Attention Visual Artists


The rules and online submission form is available at

Deadline: December 15, 2005

The Seattle Erotic Art Festival (SEAF) was founded in 2002 by Seattle’s Sex Positive Community Center (SPCC) to promote freedom of sexuality, speech and creativity through the erotic expression of fine art. The Festival strives to exhibit work not easily found in mainstream galleries and museums; we enjoy art that avoids clichés or stereotypical images. We invite artists of all backgrounds, countries, ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexualities, and ages (18+) to submit up to four (4) works of art of any media. 3D artists and painters are particularly encouraged to apply; please note that photography is a highly competitive medium.

Entry Requirements
Accepted artists must be at least 18 years of age by March 22, 2006. All submissions must be of original work created no earlier than 2002. Art previously displayed at SEAF will not be considered.
How to Enter

Online entries are preferred. If you are unable to enter electronically, please contact the Festival Director at or SEAF c/o Wet Spot, 4714 Ballard Ave. NW–M309, Seattle, WA 98107.

All artists must complete the SEAF2006 entry form (available Oct. 15, 2005) with the following:
• Legal name and contact information.
• Artist statement (250 word/1250 character limit).
• Description of each work including title, year, media, and dimensions (H x W x D) in inches.
• Images of submitted works: JPEGs between 150-250kb ONLY. One image per 2-dimensional
work, maximum 3 images per 3-D piece. Improperly formatted images will not be accepted.
• Entry fee (one fee per artist): $15, U.S. funds.
Payable on-line at www.brownpapertickets/event/1848 or via check made out to SPCC.
Incomplete entries will not be accepted. Forms and payment must be received by Dec 15, 2005.
Video/Performance Art

Please contact for submission information.
Here are Wednesday's offerings.

Freewill Astrology and Morford's latest column.

I'll be back with more links later. As far as a regular entry, like with my thoughts...well, that needs to wait.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday morning conference impressions.

~It's hard for a fierce introvert to do the conference thing. I really needed to periodically run to my room and get away from people, thoughts, crowded energy and regroup. Saturday evening, I called the bunny because I realized I didn't have one really comfortable, safe person to lean on while here. His voice was balm.

~It's a fucking amazing conference. :-)

~I thought I'd be writing lots about it, but couldn't. No energy. It seems that because of the raw and vulnerable place I've been in the last 3 weeks, it made this conference extra difficult to me. I feel/felt extremely shy...and uncomfortable (although it didn't prevent me from opening my mouth in a session if I needed to). I attend caucuses, workshops and plenaries...sometimes bumping into people I know as well as meeting new people and made a couple connections that I wanted to make. Each step, at this point in my life, was seriously out of my comfort zone. Just sayin'.

~There were some excellent workshops. It was good for me to see a bigger snippet of the larger queer movement in more depth all in the same place. The diversity, the language, the different needs, the vision of others. I enjoyed getting to see, smell and speak with other flavors of queerness.

~I am tired.

~And....I feel somewhat freaked out in the sense that I've become acutely aware of how "out there" I am with a few of my ideas and basic life philosophy. That part feels pretty isolating and yet, I know I need to turn that around into some type of positive. Maybe when I'm rested.

~This is a conference that I feel everyone (involved with organizations or not) should at least try to attend a part of at least once.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I am so tired.

I've popped back to the room for an hour...just enough time to take a relaxing bath and put my feet up, to then head up to a donor's suite for a pizza meet 'n' greet, and from there, then into the reception sponsored by the Woodhull Foundation (yes, another really great foundation). You see, the foundation I work for is one of a few that is for the glbt community. NCSF is about S/M rights. Woodhull is about the larger picture of sexual freedom for all. What's not to like?

After my first full day of workshops, I now remember why I'm not an activist in the regular sense of the word. There is a reason why I tend to a database in my job. I left each workshop with good food for thought and ideas, and the more concrete realization that my personal activism is a very different beast. Not good or bad. Just me.

Uhoh...Wizard of Oz just came on the tube. I can't get dragged in. I can't get dragged in.
I only have an hour.

See ya.
Two days late and playing catch up.

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.
Good morning!!!

Yes, I'm in Oakland at the conference. Want to see what workshops I'm planning on checking out?

Session 1- Getting Beyond Bisexuality: Honoring and Letting Go of Labels. (The name intrigues me. I hope to get ideas)
Session 2 - Art and Politics
Caucus - Today's Leather Community (curious)
I'll have to look over session 3 and 4 again. Nothing immediately jumped out at me. But after last night's kickass speaker, who I'll write about later...well...he challenged us to attend a workshop that would make us uncomfortable, a part of the culture we would normally shy away from because either we don't agree or it's just not who we are. Brilliant thought.

Saturday -
Session 5 - Either - It's About Gay Sex: Strategies for Working with a radical right obsessed with Gay Sex Practices OR Tending Yourself, Tending the Tribe: Psychological Survival in the Face of Anti-Gay Politics (I think I'm leaning toward the first one)
Caucus - Sexual Freedom Caucus
Session 6 - Sexual Rights Are Human Rights: Common Causes in a Global Context
Session 7 - That's Obscene! Pornography, the Government and You!
Session 8 - Instituting a Development Services Component: Donor Management, Prospect Research and Stewardship (the one workshop I found that pretty much directly related to my job)

Session 9 - Human Rights Principles for Sexual Advocacy
Kweers ‘n Sexual Healing: An Intro to Erotic Mentoring, Sex Coaching, Sacred Intimacy, Sexological Bodywork and More (I'm leaning strongly toward the sex healing one because's what our world needs, isn't it?)


Now that I have internet access (yes I was a tad discombobbled without...isn't that a sad statement???) I plan on checking in more often. I'll chat about my trip into the Castro and hooking up with some great guys who played guides for me.

For now, I'll finish my coffee and post this.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My cactus bloomed sometime in the last few days and I didn't notice until I was headed out the door this morning, apartment dark with only the light from the hallway guiding my way.

It made me sad.

I've been either swallowed in pain, or numb, with only periodic connections with people for temporary salve, that I haven’t immersed myself in the goodness of the earth.

The shrink has returned. We have an appointment in a few hours. I don't even know where or how to begin.

Friday night, before the migraines began, I was at dinner with my former teacher. It had been about 3 weeks since I'd seen him because I intentionally kept away. We smell each other's energy in a powerful way so when I find myself struggling, I'll keep away and let him know why. He understands.

At dinner he asked me what was going on. I couldn't be specific because it's all so very big. He smiled and said "would you like a metaphor for what you're going through? It may help."

He reminded me he had done similar internal work many years ago and this image helped him.

I nodded.

"Pandora's box. You've finally dug up, reached and opened Pandora's box. When the lid came off, all your demons that had been contained for years flew out and are circling around you."

It's a perfect metaphor. It explains why sometimes the pain is directed one way or another.

Yesterday I watched a short video of Pexa working on gesture drawings. Seeing the large pad of paper, his arm, and the marks appear on the page made me hungry. But it was a tease. I'm getting ready to head out for a conference and don't have the luxury of time and energy to even do the same. Maybe feeling the hunger is enough for now. Maybe I need to watch and be and trust...truly trust that I am really headed in the direction of painting and drawing again.

Because if that's not the case...then what is left for me?

You see, art is all I really have that is mine. Yes, there's masturbation. Other sex is reliant upon others to engage with. Painting, drawing...I don't need anyone else for that. My art is not sexist, homophobic, bigoted, racist, classist, ageist, lookist, or a plethora of other isms. It doesn't fret about being politically correct. It doesn't care if others swoon or pay attention. The art that lays within me simply is.

I am the one that cares. Not about the isms, but I care if people don't pay attention. The art doesn't. If I can get to a place where I become the art that lays within me, then I too would be free.

In that freedom lay my glory.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lesson learned.

Never, NEVER be without at least one Imitrex in the house.

It's my migraine med. I normally always make sure there are some around. But after I ran out last month, I kept putting off refilling the prescription. It's not cheap and although I know I can get a partial fill, such as only 2 pills (I've done that in the past), this time I hadn't.

Friday night the migraine began. I couldn't get to the pharmacy until Saturday morning. Although once I took the Imitrex, the pain subsided, it kicked my ass for the rest of the day. Wiped. Saturday night it began again, and I took another. Sunday morning it flared up again!

In the last 2 years I've come to know the beginnings of a migraine. If I take my pill right away life barely misses a beat. If I delay, such as 12 hours…then I'm bombarded for a few days, even with the medication.

Friday, November 04, 2005

"You have way too much crap.

I'm just guessing. Guessing that right now, in your life, in your closets and in your garage and in your car trunk and in your brain and even in your desk drawer you have way, way too much stuff, far more than any one person or single family needs and, oh my God, have you even seen your closet lately?

Yes, today Morford asks Why Do You Have So Much Junk?

I rarely do this, but will throw in the ending...although go read the whole thing.

"The cure is simple, so graceful that it will make you feel lighter and healthier and good the minute you start, and of course you can start right now and you don't even need any drugs or wine or nudity, though those always, always help...

...It is one of the healthiest things you can do. Honest psychologists and good spiritual healers often advise patients with overactive minds and squirrel-like attention spans and problems focusing and problems sleeping, they will tell them not to pop some Ritalin or merely take an herbal tincture and eat more leafy greens, but to go home right now and, yes, clean out your closets. Clear out your clutter. Strip it all to the beautiful essentials and then keep it that way.

They will tell you that one of the fastest way to hot-wire your divine Camaro and reconnect to that feeling of cosmic wholeness is to take stock of your life and take stock of your body and see how much you've really got, and then purge-purge-purge. Get rid. Clean out. Toss old looks, old ways, ties to the past. Empty your drawers. Dump the stuff you're hiding from, that you've been uselessly protecting, that you've been scared to let go because it makes you feel safe and connected and more clearly defined as a human when, in fact, it's doing the exact opposite.

I do not care how cheesy it sounds. I do not care if you scoff and whimper and cling to your pile of old newspapers like Paris Hilton clings to her perturbed little sneer. You gotta make space. For breath, for thought, for perspective, for health. It ups your vibration and frees your mind and helps you tread more lightly on the planet, all while thwarting the snide environmentally unconscious demons of gluttonous neoconservative ignorance. It is the easiest and cheapest therapy you will ever enjoy. Do it now."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Finally...and nowhere near perfect, here is my piece on last week's play. It evolved a little at a time. By last Friday I could no longer even look at it. Until today, that is.

What never fails to surprise me is how much can come up when I remain open. Not every play experience is such, nor would I want it to be. This way, it makes these times all the more cherished.


How the hell am I supposed to write about this? It was so powerful. So sexy. So safe. So hot. So crazy. Sick fucks. I don't know what I gave him. But he gave me huge. Big time. Immense.

Whatever I write is going to be one sided. Thing is, isn't everything? My perspective, my bias, my ideas. Yet when relaying transformative experiences shared with another, it feels wrong to only speak of one side.

Next to my shrink, I played with the person safest to me. He knows me. He knows what I've gone through the last many years. And so, how could it not creep into our play? Or more accurately, gallop in when it saw an opening. Our play felt as natural as anything else we'd done together: movies, dinner, walks, talks, work. It was all the same. It was all different. Mainly, it was familiar.

He wanted my pain. I was to give it to him. Transcend it and we'd work it together. Keep my eyes glued on his. Look down into his soul. No running away. No losing myself in an endorphin high. Awake and aware. Present. He, I and the pain.

He chose a spot on my body. One small area. Inner thigh. That is what he'd work over.
"You've been a raw nerve for the last few years. Let's focus your pain here" as he claimed his chosen area.
"This is mine."
Many times he'd remind me "this is our spot. My spot."

I gave it to him.

It was energy. Pure fucking goddammed energy. No roles. No rules. No rituals. Each open and willing to go where we needed to. Together, in unison, we bottomed to energy.

It is energy. All energy. Everything else, although needed, submits to energy if we allow, if we don't fear, if we want to live. Live big and suck up all the juices we can squeeze out of life. Let life's cum flow from our mouths and wash over us.

I hadn't played with energy/ pain combination in over 3 years. It had tucked itself in the deepest corner of my attic brain. Stashed and forgotten. Attached with cobwebs accumulated over time. Last week it ripped open. Once he reminded me, I greeted an old friend.

I don't know how to describe my experience. Maybe I'm not supposed to. Maybe some moments are too big for words. Maybe too big for paintings also. Therein lay the challenge for the artist, the poet, the musician. How to describe the otherworld in a tangible way.

When he let me loose of the chains and the restraints, restraints that carry the torment of time spent in a psych ward, bearing the teeth marks of a tortured patient, only to reposition and lock me once again, I could no longer see his eyes.

"Refocus the pain" he said.
It had been so long that I'd almost forgotten what he was talking about. Puzzled, and then enlightened. Oh yes, I remembered.

Move the pain. Channel it. Work with it.

I chose my belly. The pain from my inner thigh would travel to my belly. Dark recesses, filling with excruciating torment. Once it began to accumulate, I opened the channel from belly to heart. The heart that was broken. My torn down, worn down, tired old melted heart. That poor heart. It's been through so much.

Pain could heal the heart.

He began again the attack on that place. Our place. In shifting the pain, my thigh no longer hurt. Continued caning and all I felt was energy. Hot energy. Lava thickly flowing into my bowels and belly seeking its next destination. My heart.

As my heart began to feel the heat of pain it too filled and covered my chest. Then up my throat, through the top of my head only to explode in orgasm after orgasm.

Magic happened.

I touched upon a trauma from almost 4 years ago. A frozen portion of my heart cracked open and tears fell. I began to grieve, witnessed by another. The sadistic sage wrapped me in his arms while I embraced the grief and cried into his chest.

The pus that finally flowed from that wound has oozed for the last week. After festering in my core for years, it was time for its release.


Words cannot do it justice.
I haven't been a very good friend in the last month or so. I'm not connecting with the guys as frequently, sometimes making plans only to cancel at the last minute because I can't bear to go out and it's just damned hard for me to fully engage with others right now. One day is fine and the next is rough. The shrink did warn me.

Regarding Tuesday's entries-
I do want to say that I do not, nor have ever overlooked the personal connections I've made with individuals. They are each unique and quite special to me. I cherish the energy and substance of the relationships. I am very fortunate to have the intensity and intimacy in the connections I do have.

I also know that I was still pretty cryptic in my posts. Something that is so bizarre and tough enough to explain in person to close friends is even more difficult to put in writing. Maybe one day I'll find the words. Hmmm, or more honestly, the balls.

Call me chicken.

Normally, I don't do PC. I think that overall (there are exceptions) political correctedness is bullshit. See? I'm not the typical queer activist. I understand the intent and origin, but give me a break. Now having said that, I know full well that I publicly dance around my stuff because in a very big way, it is SO not PC. Remember when I wrote about my first experience with courage? It was a few weeks back. This, if I allowed it to, could be my second.

Oh well.

Surprise, surprise. I'm still sleeping like crap.

I'll be in Oakland next week from Wednesday the 9th to Sunday the 13th for the Creating Change conference. Don't laugh, but it's my first time in CA.

Painting is so distant from my sight line. Last week I considered putting everything away and turning my living room back into a living room. This is what I've done in the past. I know it's the pain that is creating the desire to make painting go far, far away. I've chosen not to give in to it. If I can't paint right now, so be it. But I force myself to stare at my palette, paints and canvasses. I'm allowing them to taunt me. Yes, I will make it over this fucking hurdle.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's Wednesday.

Here's Rob Brezsny's Freewill Astrology for this week.

Last week WNBA's Sheryl Swopes came out. No...I am not a sports fan. But a couple coworkers are into it and passed around the article. At the end of the week, in the sports section of the Seattle Times no less, columnist Steve Kelley wrote Straight or Gay? Someday, we won't care.

He begins with:
"Someday it won't matter. Athletes will date, sleep with, live with whomever they want, whichever gender they want, and they won't need headline stories in national magazines to explain themselves.

Someday homophobia will die a quiet death. Living rooms and bedrooms will be private places. The innuendoes, the rumors, the silly whispers about the sexual preferences of superstars won't be fodder for newspapers and talk shows.

A generation from now, we'll be embarrassed by our obsession with such private, personal matters."

Today in Where Are The Gay Pro Athletes? Mark Morford writes:
"Sure, WNBA MVP and three-time Olympian Sheryl Swoopes can come out and admit she's a lesbian and no one really gasps all that loudly because, well, it's the WNBA, and she's a woman, and it wasn't much of a secret anyway and -- perhaps the biggest reason of all that her coming-out story is a nonstarter -- it's not about manhood.

Think about it. No male fan in his sticky armchair is right now saying, gul-dangit, my image of the WNBA is totally shattered, shattered, I tell you, my manhood's threatened and my Budweiser supply is endangered and what the hell is happening with the sports that define my beer-bellied soul? It just ain't happening.

But it does bring up the bigger, more sticky, fascinating issue of gay male pro athletes and why it's still such a viciously loaded topic and when it will finally be cracked. (It's inevitable, of course. Not if, but when. And, of course, who. And how soon thereafter he will be shot.)

Why the absolute terror of a gay male sports star? And why so different from the lesbian version? Simple: because accomplishment in male sport lies in direct proportion to virility. Touchdown equals manliness. Slam dunk equals large penis. Home run equals steroid -- er, prowess. There is a very straight (ahem) line between male athletic ability and the theoretical ability to satisfy 20 women in five minutes. Take that macho illusion away and men will simply crumble. The veil will be lifted. There will be no "pure" male culture, nowhere for boys to turn. Except maybe bowling. Or bass fishing."

It's a good article.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I began a reply to someone who is becoming a good friend and in doing so...I realized it should be an entry instead.

In response to today's earlier entry, Mike wrote:

"When I approach people, I've noticed recently, I'm subconsciously listening for personal pronouns, hints and views of how they see themselves. Too often I've had people blow up at me for using the wrong label, because all my defaults are set to the lowest denominator of what I see (or think I see). And while I know I wait for corrections, it becomes a battle with most people, wherein I've just declared war on their body mind and soul."

I do the same with others, and fully agree with your statement. I've seen how using the wrong word can wound others, even when that word wasn't meant as a weapon. As far as I go, for me, I stopped (mostly) getting upset with the words people use to describe me. I look at the context. There's no reason for me to correct people because well, first, I don't have a good word for me. There isn't one. Secondly, it's not a big deal.

A couple big things recently have really brought to light that I'm in a serious minority. Most times, it wouldn't affect me so. I've been feeling the strength in myself and therefore see it as a good challenge. Character building and all that stuff. But in the last week, the reality of my life hit me. It was a train wreck. Within this weakened state, the daily innocent questions and comments have added to the bloodied mess. I haven't had the strength to put them in the "it's just life" category.
"Are you gay?"
"What are you?"
"She's only a girl."
"I'm sorry but maybe we'll find a nice dyke for you to play with."
"Have you tried going to pan play parties?" And on...and on.

Over the last few years, I've become increasingly stronger in letting the comments slide by with a smile and very little comment. This past week, each remark screamed out at me as another nail in my coffin. Every word, in my head, translated into "you fucking freak."

It's my stuff. No one else's.

I do not, and will not get to the place where people feel they need to walk on eggshells around me. I want everyone to be themselves...comfortable and beautiful. If something happens to hurt me, again, it's my shit not theirs.

There were a few times over the last year I'd speak of the greater issue of sex and gender with my shrink.
"Okay...I'm obviously hiding because I'm afraid. I have this massive wall and it's apparently easier for me to concoct an ambiguous gender and sexual orientation then step into and engage with the world as we all know it."

Thank goodness for the shrink because he'd mention it's good for me to look at that, but essentially it's bullshit. He'd say, "you know down deep who you are. If others don't get it, it's their deal. Yes, it will make it hard on you at times. Yes, you will very rarely be allowed to the gatherings you know in your heart is home for you. But don't give in and refold yourself into something you are not."

I do know I'll come out through this. I do know I'll be even stronger for this experience. In the meantime, I do what I have to do. Today the pain was so great I needed to leave work. Sitting at my desk crying wasn't doing me or others any good. I pulled out a couple queries, worked a couple problems and then called the bunny where he met me at work and took me out. His energy comforts me.

This growing up stuff sucks sometimes.
A person.
He sees me as a person first. The fact that I am female, or even if I were male, drops to the same category as the color of my hair or whether or not I'm right or left handed. Of course he may use the pronouns but it's irrelevant. It is just a way to assist with speaking. I know he carries no weight in "he" and "she".

As it should be.

This isn't because he's a therapist. His Buddhism and queerness may have something to do with it. But it is who he is. He sees the world in a much larger way, without the categories that the rest of us clutch dearly.

He is the only one I've encountered who sees me as such. He gets it. It is a breath of fresh air.

I don't even know how to begin to explain it to anyone else. I understand all the arguments and the other way of thinking. I do.

My friends and family, who I love dearly, miss the mark as well. It's not their fault. Look at our world. We are inundated, taught and have it beaten into us that it's about seeing the physical, not smelling the energy which would mean living a life bigger than our skin.

When I speak of not fitting in and not finding a place in this world, this is what I speak of. I don't seem to have peers, those who know, who see the world in a similar fashion. The most loving, well-intentioned people will still try to fit me into some place pre-determined by our culture, which doesn't see deep.

As I've written before, in the first few months of training I was required to drop all assumptions of who I am. This included sexual orientation and gender. In doing so, throwing off the shackles, I became other. Something that wouldn't fit. Yes it is messy. Don't even ask me where I fit on the Kinsey scale. You need to claim a gender to claim a Kinsey number. Sexuality is three, four, five or cazillion dimensional not linear.

I honestly believe that this transformation was a surprise to everyone. Including me. The depth of the opening was quite unexpected. You see, I was unconsciously primed to go this route. Given the opportunity and direction I busted out.

But what do we do with such a creature?
Let's hone her skills, her intuition, work with her energy and play. Then we are done.

She'll make her own way.
It doesn't matter that we aren't even comfortable with the new being. It can be someone else's problem.

Wonder why I feel like Frankenstein's monster many times?

Last week in the shrink's office, I cried out "I don't want to sit at the front of the bus. It's lonely up here. I want to sit in the back, with a quiet life surrounded by others."

"It's too late. You can't get to the back of the bus" the shrink replied.
"You MUST figure out how to be here."
He continued "You need to see the difference between being lonely and being the shining alone."

Lovely. The fucking shining alone. Sounds like a goddammed death sentence to me.

This is where I sit.

I've spent the last week seeing the world, acutely aware and yes, sensitive to all the categories, boxes and rules. It grates against my skin. It rubs my flesh raw and is working its way down into my fiber. There is no blame game. We can all only understand what we can understand. No one can be forced to see differently. Awareness happens when it happens.

It is no surprise that this is all hitting hard now. I believe there is a reason for it. The shrink is gone for almost two weeks. Out of touch. I see it is time for me to deal with my biggest challenge thus far, alone. By myself. And I haven't a map or a diagram. There is no way to put slot A in tab B. There aren't any slots and tabs. All I can do is breathe, get up, go to work and be in this pain. All I know is if I resist any feelings or thoughts, if I feel guilty for what travels in my head and heart, it will prolong this part of the journey. If I allow myself to look at all I find around me in these woods while continuing to step forward, I will move through it.

I don't even know how to ask for help in this because I don't believe anyone can help. This is the first time in the last week I can even really begin to put words some of the depth of my experience. When something is so big, so circular...sometimes it seems the only language that can be used is the language of the heart. Words are futile. And then there are times where words are necessary.

I do see a glimmer on the other side, yet the vast landscape between where I stand and the sunshine is blackness. I am walking blind. But I'm walking.