Dar handed me the small, thin cup of Turkish coffee and said "drink". I don't drink coffee, but she said she can glean my future, near and distant, from the coffee grounds left after I drink it. Fascinated, I drank and gave her the cup. She studied the bottom of the cup, her small forehead winkled in concentration. "All I can see is your near future, tomorrow night to be exact". Such a narrow scope for soothsaying was a deliciously new concept for me: "Well? I'm curious. Look, I'm biting!!!" She extracted her arm and said "Tomorrow you'll hook up with one of the most beautiful girls you've ever seen" "Huh? Sex?" "Sex! With a stunningly beautiful girl. It's very, very clear here. Also says you'll have one child but not tomorrow. Tomorrow night - sex f'r you you bloody pig. Better shave your sorry mug first; you give me strange urges of dialing 911".
The next night, I went to the drum-and-dance. I realized I needed sleep and was feeling a bit dizzy, but Dar said... So I went. I'm not in the mood for gratuitous sex, I thought, I'm not really looking to hook up after this long and complicated relationship. It ended well, but left me wanting something more than just casual sex. But I went and there I was, dancing around the room in ecstatic dancing, deliciously bouncing off fellow revelers, sweat starting to mist my naked torso, when I saw them: One small and dark haired with glasses, managing to radiate both a deep intellect and uncertainty, and the other... Slim, lithe, supple, with deep pale skin and huge green eyes. She looked almost elfin, and radiated the easy, proud confidence of someone used to being stared at and wanted. She was easily one of the most stunning creatures that I have ever seen. Arrogant, conceited, ostentatious, patronizing... But beautiful. So impossibly beautiful. A haughty hottie, I thought. Your head held high, your body posturing its superiority every minute. Must be tiring. Look at the insolent way with which you scope the room, asserting your superiority. But Good Goddess you're so lovely... Out of some pure impulse and feeling like I was in a predictable dream, I danced towards her and pulled her to the dancefloor. Her eyes went very wide but she went with me and pulled the other girl behind her. We danced, the three of us, her aloof and aware of her movement, me and her friend more with the spirit of the event, losing ourselves to the music and allowing our bodies to flow and sway to the beat.
Fast forward to the afterparty, and I realized that I'm a part of a nearly scripted play that has played before in different venues: Nicolette, that was her improbable name, She explained why it was "so cool", I don't remember. I just played my part. It was clear that I had a good connection with her more conventionally-named friend, what was her name? Susan? Holly? An old name, I can't remember... She had, Nicolette snorted in my ear, an uncharacteristic crush on me, Very Cute. It was suddenly clear that Nicolette had some cruel streak that compelled her to take me away. "It's time I give this thing a different ending" I thought, but then Nicolette was on me and in my arms and Dar said and Good Goddess she was lovely and the guys there were giving me withering envious looks and I was dizzy dizzy and her mouth was minty and the whole thing just wasn't real and...
The sex was a very predictable all nighter, I played my part. She made the right sounds and put on a great show, but her eyes were almost as dull as the conversation that lead to that point, and some part of me stepped aside with great disgust and was thinking about a Durrell book I just read. ================= Susan or Holly or whatever your name is, I wanted to tell you that I picked the wrong girl. I want to go back and pull away from Nicolette and take you in my arms, tenderly, instead. I want to make you feel like the most beautiful girl in the world because I would have realized that if I wasn't caught up in my self-glorifying rut. I would have started to heal all these other times when guys didn't as much as glance at you but stared at her hungrily; I would have smoothed over the times where they only approached you to ask about "your friend". I want to know your name so I can whisper it to you and moan it at you and add various terms on endearments to it. I want to turn you over and massage you until you fall asleep. You quoted that line from The Dispossessed about not having to be a fish to know how to swim... How could I possibly have overlooked that?
I looked around, and realized that I could feel energies around me - people, plants, trees, life! Of the 20 people that I ASSURED I would give massages to, none was around. Weird, after being perpetually behind on body work and hounded for it, I suddenly found myself with no familiar face around me to work on.
"I feel connected" I announced, "I'd love to work on someone", and I waited for a line to form, at least, and laughed at myself at the sight of people in the middle of doing things, busy, not jumping at the "opportunity". But then M, who I just met, got up from her blanket, sleepily told me that she would appreciate a few minutes on her sore shoulders.
On my table, I felt it right away: The contamination, the hurt, the horrendous scar. M was sensitive, asked me to fix what I can. "You need a female therapist for this" I said hoarsely. But inside a voice was saying 'no, I won't let you do that! You call yourself a healer? Don't just "try" to help her, don't evade, don't make excuses. She's ready to re-grow her wings, she's ready to heal. She'll do her part, you do yours'. This is too much, I told myself, I have the shadows of my own relationship with my own sex, how can I fix THAT? For a long time, an internal debate raged while I massaged her neck, shoulders, back. Then I had to decide,
worked on that, and took out the filth, and the hurt and self-loathing and contamination and self-immolation and the fears and failed attempts of redemption through sex and tatoos to hide her body and suicidal cries for help and... There was so much of it, and the five minute shoulder massage turned to very hard hour? Two hours? Especially for her, because I did the cleansing but she had to do all the work. And she did. When it was over and she knew she was healed, and - being who she is - she was still mindful enough, empathetic enough, to give me advice: You need a warrior, she said, a part of you that's missing, that will stands firm and protect; that will shield and defend you. You don't have that, and you need it. Through her own maelstrom she was able to gift me that, and I swallowed a small, hard lump and steered her back to her own recovery. Yet I know what's missing in me now. I just don't know how to get it.
M was a mess the rest of the day with dark sunglasses and avoided everyone, especially me, but she was healed. She was whole.
She shines now, I just received an e-mail from a friend; I'm not sure I'll recognize her if I ran into her.
My conversation with magid convinced me I should post this to LJ (not only to Tribe}, because there are people on my f-list that I feel close to but have yet to meet. Here is the cut and past: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- As most of you know, Erica and I have parted ways and she's looking for a new place to live. This has been very drama-free, amicable and relatively smooth. We're still the best of friends, still cuddle, and still call each other silly names and give each other wedgies. Well, maybe not the wedgie part, but the rest is quite true.
Once she leaves, she can spread her wings and I can spread mine; we'll be there for each other if a wing breaks, even if not quite the same way as before. If anything, it'll be healthier.
The sadness over the breakup phase is behind us, joy is ahead.
I've often said that if I could do my life all over again, I would do so in a heartbeat; but I must say that this chapter was one that I would probably keep mostly intact, because there was a lot of richness, love, growth, and caring in this relationship. We've had some adventures, some misadventures, some dizzying ups and depressing downs - just like everyone else. But there was also magic, and wonder, and growth. I came out of it a better person, and nearing the New Year I'm filled with gratitude for 4-1/2 amazing years.
If you invite one of us, you can invite the other; there is really nothing negative between us - in fact we're better friends now, perhaps, than we've been in some time. It's good to know that It's Time, to know when it's healthy to move on, disengage the crutch, spread the wings without bumping the other, and let the joy in. I can't wait to meet her next boyfriend or girlfriend. Or to meet mine, for that matter :)
Watch out world, we're coming. Separately this time, but with zest and joie de vivre that is being renewed in both of us. And, boys and girls, I will now try to sleep with ALL of you... No, no! I'm just being silly. ;)
Anyway. I love her, as I love all of you who are reading it. Happy New Year to you all, and may we all blossom and manifest the best in us.
*The picture was taken at Burning Man at the end of this summer; I blurred her face because I haven't asked her permission to use her picture. I'll repost the image when she OK's it.
I've been "into" massaging for a few years now: I love giving massages, I can tell what hurts or ails you - and I'm often able to DO something about it. I've been trained in a Karen Burmese bodywork/energy tradition whose practitioners are not allowed to charge for their services. Healers, according to the Karen tradition, don't ask for anything for healing, but can accept whatever the patient / client gifts them. I've also had training in Daoist/Chinese massage (Nei Xing), Rolfing, some Thai, Deep Tissue, and a bit of Swedish. The downside is I can be VERY sensitive to other people: For example, two days after returning from Burning Man, I was standing next to a client's chef/estate manager when I had the urge to tell him about his chronic knee, ankle and lower back problems, in detail. The poor man COMPLETELY freaked out, then retreated into an edgy, almost panicky "get out of my body, haha". I clammed up. When not "shielded", I can sometimes tell you how many people are behind me and who's aching or ailing among them; I assure you this is not conducive to my wellbeing. For that reason, I had never done Rolfing on a friend in the past because the type of Rolfing I'm trained in: The inventor of Rolfing, Dr. Ida Rolf, maintained her method, a type of structural reintegration, is good for two things: One is the realignment of the body for better posture and health, and the other is the unlocking and releasing of painful memories. Our muscles, Rolfers say, "remember" traumatic experiences in our past. Dr. Rolf's system allowed the purging of the physical and mental effects of painful, detrimental, traumatic experiences. Not only does it hurt, but as that memory gets "released" forever, the emotional trauma attached to the memory is fully experienced, again, by the client. If it sounds implausible or fanciful, I assure you it works. Anyway, I recently Rolfed a friend. His release of a secret memory that he carried since age 7 of the a horrid type of abuse was a very crucial experience for me. On Saturday, I massaged a holistic nutritionist who had managed to already cleanse herself of somewhat similar painful experiences. The difference between the two awakened something in me that has been keeping me late at night for days.
It's time to let go. Of the past, of the person I once believed I was, of the experiences that shaped me for the worse. It's time to cleanse, to release, to start tabula rasa.
Years ago, my then lovely 20 year old ex-girlfriend committed suicide and blamed it solely on me. The guilt made me hate myself, ruin anything good in my life, become transient, seek danger, and, worse of all, hurt the ones I loved the most. Yes, I've been healing and convalescing, rebuilding and settling down, but I never cleaned myself of this event, I never let my body let go of the hurt, the memory, the marring wound. I do so now, without Rolfing: I started typing at 5:15 AM, witnessing it in my LJ post that took less than 10 minutes to write. The experience brought me pain, but it also brought me bountiful gifts, and it's time to enjoy the latter.
I will get up, walk, eat something, and realize how light I suddenly am. This morning, and the rest of my life.
Walgreen’s, Worcester, very late at night: I saw a tattered-looking man struggling with a payphone, obviously trying to get money back without success. I approached him and offered him my phone; the man seemed prematurely old, worn down, unloved, hardened. He looked at me in utter amazement and accepted the phone from me, made the call. I went to the side and waited – didn’t want to leave the phone with this stranger. He came to me, handed me the phone and asked “why did you give me your phone?” His voice expressed genuine mystification, complete incomprehension. “Because you needed it” I said, uncomfortable. His face went through some amazing changes, contorting, then huge tears came into his eyes, he said “thanks” in an eroding voice, and turned away, fast.
As I was driving off, I had some powerful emotion that I can’t name... Rage that anyone is allowed to go so far down? Feeling sorry for a man who hasn’t received empathy? I don’t know. But I’m feeling that emotion again today, and I don’t know why...
I knelt down before the casket and looked at the man I knew so well, and said to him “you don’t mind if I don’t cross myself, do you?” because he would have loved to hear that when he was alive, which brought tears for the first time that evening. “You’ve always been kind to me” I told him, my voice eroding “I will miss you”. And I will. Nikki’s dad, who treated me like a son, dead at 59. Looking at him he seemed like he was still breathing, and I almost expected to hear his booming voice - but the formerly powerful, round body was shrunken within the now ill-fitting suit, his face artificially calm. The man who seemed to fill a room is hardly filling the casket, and there is no yield in his once perpetually-warm hand.
I can’t decide how I feel about the Christian way of filling a dead body with fluids to be put on display. Because his body was no longer contained his large soul, his eyes didn’t sparkle, his face didn’t wear the sardonic grin I knew so well. But I got to say my goodbye, his way. Did he hear me? Would he have heard me anyway?
His cat died the day he went into a coma; she knew. He was her world, and she wasted away without him. Will she greet him on the other side, and lick his face again, paw on each shoulder, as always?
7:30 PM, NYC: A glowing-eyed Rabbi is turning us into a sweaty, colorfully-clad human Menorah, one candle at a time. We’re still giddily euphoric from the Kundalini session, expectant – in a few hours 2006 will be ushered in with dancing, firefly acrobats atop their long silk ropes, and wonderful, magical people all around. We all have a dark place in us, the Rabbi says, that we cover best we can - from others and even from ourselves. Face it, regard it, acknowledge it. His words singe and blister; I will follow his advice this year.
We all danced blindfolded, then took the blindfold off to see the striking people with whom we frolicked; we massaged each other and cuddled and talked and kissed and shared, over 100 of us. And of course we danced. 9 magical hours, new friends, new memories. I was clad in some artistically-composed paint, a tiny miniskirt, and nothing else; my freshly-shaven legs deliciously sensitive to the touch of another’s skin. How many people can YOU fit in a (hula) hoop?
This year will see much change. This year will see growth. This year will bring more magic, more openness, more stability More friends. I love you all. Happy New Year :)
Fact to know: I’ve been a vegetarian since July of last year.
Caitlin left this bag of yummy chocolate-covered espresso beans by a window yesterday. They melted a bit and became a malformed heap of chocolate with crunchy beans embedded within it, and I spent some cheerful time disintegrating the sweet stuff with my teeth and consuming it blissfully. Suddenly, a tiny movement on the surface of the chocolate catches my eye. It was half an ant. Looking closely, I could see dozens of its belligerent sisters where the chocolate sat. So I broke my meat-free diet.
Or did I?
Ah, these ambiguous ethical, nay – epistemological questions.
Saturday, Ogunquit beach, Maine, 2 AM The sand is impossibly soft and silky, the ocean unruffled save for tiny wavelets that wash ashore. After the busy, happy streets full of tourist families, the sparkly little shops and galleries, the noisy restaurant and the raunchy night club, it’s a blessed stillness, a needed tranquility, a time when we can speak of things that really matter. Wading into the shockingly cold, clean water, I can wash away the chaos and hubbub of the disorganized day, and open up my heart. The conversation is so real... Talking frankly, openly, heartfully. Sometimes conversations like this are better than any adventure. Tuesday, Castle in the Clouds, New Hampshire, 4:30 PM We drive up a mountain to see the castle, built by an eccentric millionaire long ago, and decide to stop and hike to the waterfall. As we park, sheets of water, rivers of water, a deluge that obscures everything in sight, suddenly fills the air. We get drenched the second we step outside the car, and run, laughing, not able to find our way, not able to see, but not caring. We find the swollen waterfall. We’re the only ones there. The mossy walls protect us from the impossibly loud lightening. A maintenance supervisor finds us, lets us know we’re the only ones on the mountain, gives us our money back. I would have paid all I own for that rainy experience, but I still accept the money and leave. We get into a tiny, single-engine plane and fly above the rain-cleaned world of vast mountains and crystal lakes. It is one of the most stunning sights I’ve ever seen! Clouds don’t have a silver lining, they have a gold lining, and it is a thing of beauty. Yesterday, Rockport, MA, midnight Once again I’m in the cold, clean ocean, gaping at a red moon, which looks like something Dali would paint. A silvery line bifurcates the water from the lighthouse across Gull Cove. I’m very grateful for the tiny crabs who scuttle onto my foot; to me, they’re accepting me as a part of their environment, as one belonging to their element. You’re a water sign, they tell me with their tiny claws. A moon child. We accept you. I gently kick them off. I’ll be leaving to a place that you won’t like, I tell them, a place where you don’t belong. They don’t believe me, they keep climbing on me. Seaweed wraps itself around my thigh; more of it clings to my back asking for a piggyback. Today My mind is still filled with ( magicCollapse ). Still feel like I haven’t come down.
I had to get up and declare this, at 3:30AM. I’m shaved, not a hair below the neck, and the clean sheets are approving, caressing, engulfing, enfolding me in their gentle linen hug. Gliding in my warm cottony cocoon, the sensual rain - knock of tiny hands against my window, staccato, legato, staccato… Newly sinuous, smoothly moving, feeling sleek, softly reaching – but finding no one…
I want to cuddle. I don’t want sex; I want the yielding warmth of skin, the trust of another, the acceptance and affection and holding, protecting, shielding, sharing, hugging, skin on skin, silky fingers – mine, another’s. The placid sound of a heartbeat, a gentle inhalation. I want to share this wonderful gift that is human touch, feel someone’s breath, energy, moving muscle under skin, engirthing, sharing. A hug is totality.
Back to bed now, where I will embrace each And everyone Of you.
I got cross-eyed from looking at apartments, so I decided to purge some of my clothes ahead of the move. When I lived with Nikki, she stormed through my wardrobe like the indomitable lesbian that she is, ruthlessly throwing away treasured items like my lime green MC Hammer pants. My feeble protests were met with a determined Final Written Warning to my testicles, and the diminution and winnowing continued unabated. Needless to say it was a Good Thing; for the first time, I started getting complimented on my clothes. I learned something, or so I thought. So now I tried to implement said Learned Something, but can only make myself part with 5 dress shirts. I have enough clothes to start a small shopping center in India, but I can’t seem to amicably part ways with even one of my 33 pairs of pants. Help, somebody!!!!!!!!
edited to add: To answer a question: Yes, Nikki DID actually say "your balls are on Final Written Warning", on more than one occasion, and meant it; lesbians are not inclined to aggrandizing male parts, no matter what brain washing they get. Alas.
I just came back from a Halloween party - yes, it’s 8:50 AM. After the Dresden Dolls, Melissa and I went to - get this – a decrepit lesbian bar, very ghetto, and then went to Rise, an after-hours club. I shaved my goatee for the first time in over a year, and it feels... weird! So used to having a bit of hair on my chin that I can play with! I became a caped, silvered, shiny thing with dual-colored hair, and decided that I LOVE being silvered: My body looks SO much better,, and my silvered self seemed much more attractive to both sexes - especially at Rise, where EVERYONE looked beautiful and gorgeous. Yes, I resolved to silver myself more often, even if it ISN’T Halloween! This, I concluded, is wonderful to my ego! Then I came home after all the dancing, and had to wash the crap off... It took the better part of an hour, and involved much profanity, grinding of teeth, bulging eyes, a messy bathroom... I think I’ll leave that evil, vile, glutinous, putrid silver SH*T for another Halloween, in the very distant future.
In other news:
For a bit under a year, mold spores matured blissfully upon my bathroom ceiling, secure in the knowledge that this is a BACHELOR apartment, and that neither Gregg nor I are likely to notice those tiny, tiny black spots. A few nights ago Gregg swiftly descended upon them, and in the ensuing mêlée obliterated them pitilessly - a day that will live in infamy in spore and mold history. In sheer gratitude for the Herculean task, I took Gregg out on Wednesday to a nice restaurant.
Friday night, around 11 PM. “I want it to look like a vulva” she said, holding up miles and miles of Spandex. I nodded; I understood her vision and loved it! After moving all the junk away from the tunnel, its transformation into a vulva was in my hands, and I put her vision to work with nails, staples and tape; it became a nice gateway to the Mars Room (a darkly-lit room with a cushioned floor and plenty of pillows where only “naked feet” were allowed).
Saturday was the party.
Physical heaven meet Geek heaven! It was for people involved, to various degrees, with Burning Man, and I can’t think of a better group of people to have a party with. Between the poi spinners, drumming circles, firefly acrobats (tried that for the first time), musicians, artists, and others, I engaged in conversations ranging anywhere from the Aquatic Ape Theory to Sir Francis Drake to the nature of Reality (my take: “an ongoing hypothesis in constant revision based on incoming sensoria”). People were dancing and just letting go, completely, and I was no exception. The unsurpassed spot, for me, was the Mars Room, where I massaged anything that had a pulse; we also had Cuddle Piles and Hamster Piles and massage circles – lounging on top of one another and talking, or doing Yoga (to which I believe I shall become addicted), or just looking in each other’s eyes (my idea). Small personal breakthrough: Those who know me personally can attest to the degree I love massaging people, but I actually enjoyed BEING massaged, and for the first time ever didn’t feel I was missing something by not DOING the massaging. I felt very wanted, by both sexes, much more so than usual; but I wasn’t looking for anything like that. I believe endoftheearth is right – you attract people a LOT more when rolling (yes, it’s been a long while, but it was there, and…); my reluctance to do anything overly sexual seemed to arouse people more. Go figure. The costumes were awesome, and some were hilarious: I found myself next to a girl who took great pleasure at the fact that I was wearing a flimsy white skirt and a fishnet top, my legs shaved, while her unshaved legs were adorned with Rambo shorts and construction gear. It was wonderful to see the masks people wear on a daily basis come off, the honest talk without fear of looking ludicrous, the soul-to-soul connection. mica_mirrors – you would have loved it!
Around 8 AM we made our way out into a raw drizzle, owlishly blinking at the grey skies and stinging wind. Somehow, no one seemed to mind.
You probably do NOT want to read this because this is going to be as coherent as a GWB speech: I’m taking some meds for pain. It’s all good, they’ll give me a tuneup and new spark plugs at the oral surgeon’s on Wednesday, but in the interim, I walk like Dracula’s Renfield (my hump keeps switching sides, too!), talk in a manner only understood by a few Swedes, gaze myopically at a simple clock trying to decipher what it is, and have the conviction I’m about to turn into a cricket. Also, a few rather interesting things happened. 1. I can’t drive! I was supposed to see David Amram today, and if you don’t know who he is, educate thyself! But my windshield was doing a fair attempt at dancing the Merengue, the steering wheel felt a lot like the dishwater that I’ve been avoiding for 2 days, and Mark Twain was sitting on my left shoulder giving me the wrong driving directions on purpose. Bastard! I was supposed to meet finding_rowan, and when the poor girl called I sounded like the adults on Charlie Brown. Wa waaaa wa wa wa waaaa. Very coherent! (I owe you one!) 2. The Metronidazole makes anything I eat feel as light and as frothy as a pound of lead, which makes me feel like the floor would collapse under my weight; and I have no parachute! 3. This is the worse one: I decided to give myself a haircut. Now, normally, this would be a very easy procedure, which takes about 5 minutes: I slip the proper Length Adapter on my Remington, buzz the back, switch adaptors and buzz the top. Even a mental giant such as Brittney Spears should be able to handle this, right? So I clip, and clip, and when I look at the clipper, I discover it has no adapter on it. That’s right; I just shaved the back of my head, completely… So I shaved the rest. For your viewing pleasure, here is the ( gruesome result Collapse ) note that there is NO hair on the sides of my head, and an irregular patch on the top, making me look like a demented Marine who swallowed a football. Lesson of the day, kids: - Do not cut your own hair when on pain medication. - Wear sunscreen. No, wait. That’s Kurt Vonnegut. - Never listen to Mark Twain when he gives you driving directions. /lesson
Yesterday was a beautiful late afternoon in Gloucester ("America's oldest seaport", the sign says), on the rocks by the water. Some maniacal, mischievous sprite compelled me to start rock-hopping, and I gleefully succumbed. I ran as fast as I can, skipping from rock to steep rock, curveting and bouncing, rebounding and recoiling with the thunder of the surf applauding my performance. A few open-mouthed tourists watched me in bewilderment as I flew by them, onto the higher rocks, and some joined the ocean in clapping (a very serendipitous moment). I went to the higher rocks, and fancied myself weightless as I flew over crags and fissures Until All of a sudden The bottom was distressingly remote... And when I hit bottom I struck my chin against my knee very hard, and felt some pain. Short story? Well, 2 broken teeth and a possible hairline fracture in my jaw. Went to the dentist today, will need to see an oral surgeon. I can atone for my own stupidity this Yom Kippur...
edited to add: The broken teeth are in the back (wisdom tooth and its unhappy neighbor) and can be replaced; experience cannot. Mostly, I'm laughing at myself now: "Hahaha... OUCH... hahaha"...
If I had the power to do so, I would make at least 90% of the world gay. I truly would. I sojourned to Provincetown, the gay Mecca of Massachusetts, and that point was emphasized for me not simply because I'm bisexual, it's because of a conviction that gay men are more empathetic, artistic, interesting, caring, creative, imaginative, considerate, socially conscious, loving and, of course, playfully salacious. In my experience, gay men are far less likely to commit violence, to be bellicose or aggressive, or even to be disagreeable. Few gay men I know are racists, fascists or bigots. Now, generalizations are usually quite silly and often wrong, but I’ll gladly dig up some statistics from Edge and Out to quote some (biased) sources. Those who bestow negative characteristics to gay men tend to make those characteristics the same as those generously attributed, by chauvinists, to women: Dramatic, catty, gossipy, impractical, silly, overemotional, fussy, weepy, etc. I looked at the packed streets, full of cheerful, well groomed people on a Monday evening, and felt a conviction that there would be little in the way of war, famine, and crime if the rest of the world was a bit more like the people in that blissfully teeming street. If only I had The Power…
So I stripped naked in the NH drizzle, crept onto a fallen tree above a rock-strewn, shallow river at The Flume, and mica_mirrors took pictures. One of those things I did when I was away. Been absent for a time, and my mailbox is overwhelming me. It was easier when Yahoo only permitted 4 MB’s of mail; now that they allocate 20 times as much, it just... piles up. That and y’all have been posting like mad -- I want to respond to too many posts; that won’t happen until about the 21st, which is the earliest feasible date I’ll get online; I apologize to anyone who e-mailed me - I pledge to reply – now I have 20 seconds to post this and get off the computer.
I love a parade, and I love Pride parades the most. Color, happiness, excitement, vivaciousness, energy, and, of course, exuberance are copiously abundant. I was the only guy in our group, all of us bi or gay, and we tried to add to the happiness and chirpiness in our own obnoxious, touchy-feely way: Lots of group hugs, dancing in the middle of the street, loud cheering, and so on. Ellen Wade and Maureen Brodoff, plaintiffs in the lawsuit that opened the door to gay marriage in Massachusetts, paraded in a humble VW Beetle, and waved at the crowds. People were shouting “thank you” at them, to which they replied “no, thank YOU”. They seem such normal, sweet women! I’m glad they’re getting the recognition they deserve. I didn’t watch the Brazilian float closely enough; Erica said their dancer had a MUCH better butt than myself. Regrettably, we didn’t catch it before it sped away, so I couldn’t see the butt which I must emulate and, hopefully, achieve. Couldn’t enter the block party, though, only 3 of us were over 21. Alas. But I love the gay scene! I love the lack of restrictions, the je ne sais quoi; the liveliness, the expressive gestures, the scene. While I can (and sometimes do) talk about sports or cars or other subjects other men are fond of, I find “gay” conversation to be more engaging and fun… Well, most of the time. I loved being ogled! This is one thing that is very different for men than it is for women, and I believe it’s because guys know we’re safe if ogled, while women have to worry about potential predators and general sicko’s. But that’s another category, and I’m sure I’ll rant about oglers and other creeps some other time. We went to eat in a restaurant that I knew will be free of crowds, and I’m afraid several octogenarian women were highly scandalized by our overtly physical (not sexual, mind you, but I doubt they could tell the difference) behavior, our singing and our conversation. Their expression would be appropriate for a priest who is suddenly faced with the more unsavory aspects of a Roman orgy, and I believe they expected us to strip naked right there and then and have ceremonial sex… or something. Adina winked at one of them, who turned quite pink.
But the parade made me recognize one important thing: I need to get back in shape! Erika realized she had forgotten her bike by the restaurant, and didn’t know if they were locked or not. I told her I’ll meet her there, then started sprinting. People get out of your way when you spring, I discovered. I covered the mile or so in no time at all, and… I was nearly winded!!!!!!!! Damn… I need to get some aerobic exercise. Under normal conditions, I wouldn’t even be panting from a quick sprint. So that’s my new resolution; should also help me in my quest for an improved butt. My other resolution should be to write coherently and stick to one subject, but I’m afraid I’m a hopeless case there. A bad writer I shall remain :)
It was and the four of us were there, at the CambridgeCity Hall to witness history. One rarely has the opportunity to witness history, and I wasn’t going to miss it.
I acquired gaudily sparkled roses, 3 dozens of them, to give to the prospective newlyweds; the roses were festive and colorful and cheerful, I found them fitting.
The licensing of the first gay marriage to be legally allowed in the US was about to begin.
And they came, the 250-odd couples who wanted to marry. Regular people, ones you see every day on the street.
And we cheered, and sang, and screamed our joy and love and collective triumph; and we whistled and stomped and waved banners and flung (cooked) rice.
At my suggestion, dusky and Erica went to the very front to give the flowers to the affianced; I felt the two very attractive girls would make “good copy”, that is look appealing to the ubiquitous news and TV cameras; Chris and I stayed a bit further to the rear, still within full sight of the stairs leading into City Hall, into the coveted marriage certificate few dreamed would be possible.
We turned fanatical every time one of the couples made their way up the stairs; it was a most moving experience, witnessing their faces, sensing their elation.
One couple carried a sign saying “49 years together”; they carried it humbly, happily, unassumingly, and a girl behind me burst into tears as they gradually made their way up the stairs. There they stood, two older gents who have loved one another for nearly half a century, through inconceivable (to me) trials and tribulations, and spoke unpretentiously to the reporters.
But my personal highlight was a woman in her early 30’s. As she was ascending the stairs, her expression was one that I cannot describe: Serendipitous happiness… Unanticipated triumph… Joy and love and gratitude that overwhelmed her… and me… I told Chris that this expression alone is worth the night for me, and I will forever remember her and hope for her marriage to be as sweet and as happy as her face showed that moment.
I got goose bumps, deliciously standing my hair on end as this inexpressible, deep moment passed; Chris said he wished I could see the back of my neck; my hair was standing on end there, too!
The police were in full riot gear, but the only threat the newlyweds faced was being smothered by ecstatic, loving, joyous people who wished to shower them with kisses, hugs and adoration. The protesters were somewhere across the street, a forlorn bunch who carried signs which included tolerant lines such as “God hates fags”. I discovered Chris had a vigilante streak in him, as he manfully controlled his urge to show those protesters just what HE thought of them. But they were a very, very minute blot on a wonderful night, completely forgotten as supporters flooded the streets, and anything that projected slightly above the ground, such as a tree, was soon climbed upon by eager, jubilant supporters.
I’m not overly optimistic that narrow-mindedness and intolerance will disappear overnight. I’m aware of the backlash that is building right now, as I type this, that will harden the position of the religious right and strengthen them. I’m aware that it took 60 years for African Americans to gain their full rights and move from slavery.
But I also know that the moment I witnessed, the moment I cherished, is the unquestionable, recognizable event that will one day usher a greater moment: One in which all who wish to marry will be able to do so legally and happily.
Someone, usually some anti-choicer, sees one of my pins or stickers, and asks “what if she was carrying YOUR child?”
Without getting into the merits of the word “child” when it comes to a fetus, the answer is simple: It makes no difference if it’s mine or anyone else’s, it’s HER choice since it’s HER body.
If I’m the one who got her pregnant, then I have the right to talk to her about her choice, but not to have a say in her choice; and, if she chooses to have the baby, my legal and moral responsibility is the same as any father’s, which absolutely includes my fair share of the financial burden.
It’s simple: I didn’t take care to ensure that we were protected from pregnancy; I have to pay for that decision and lack of foresight.
Just because I don’t have a say in the decision of birth or abortion does not mean that I don’t have the responsibility to live with my actions.
But for some reason, few men I know see it that way. I’m still FUMING!
While getting ready to go to Washington to the March for Women’s Rights, I’ve been conversing, online and off, with fellow NOMAS members about the latest Take Back the Night initiatives, a series of rallies and educational programs in various colleges teaching men to fight rape; NOMAS participated in Harvard University’s Men Can Stop Rape training, and the Harvard TBTN rally was a huge success.
Yet, for some reason I’m feeling vaguely dissatisfied; perhaps because I feel that there is much sanctimonious hand-wringing from the guys, something slightly false about their ready agreement to EVERYTHING one articulates to them, something about the tolerant way in which they listen as Jay speaks to them passionately about THEIR responsibilities, THEIR role in stopping rape. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I feel many of them are sincere in their desire to DO something, some have known women who have been raped; some are simply concerned for girlfriends or sisters… Why am I feeling Jaded?
I couldn’t put my finger on it for days, and today I suddenly got it! From Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed:
“It seemed to him that he talked to the same people every time: well dressed, well fed, well mannered, smiling. Were they the only kind of people on Urras? “It is pain that brings men together,” Shevek said standing up before them, and they nodded and said “how true.” (1975, Avon Books, p.117)
God, I love LeGuin!
In the meantime, I have yet to tell anyone about starting this LiveJournal thingie of mine, and here I am writing in haste, unhappy with what I’m writing but strangely eager to hurriedly post it and get to bed. I am so weird...
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) aims to hold an emergency ministerial meeting on the Palestinian issue and Iraq on April 22, assistant secretary general Abdul Aziz Abu Ghosh said. Malaysia, which currently chairs the 57-member pan-Islamic organization, said earlier Thursday that the OIC would hold an emergency meeting on developments in the Middle East at the request of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
But this brings home to me, once again, the importance given in the Muslim world to the Arab/Israeli conflict.
If we consider only deaths in the Muslim world, the discrepancy in attention is staggering.
About 2,800 Muslims died in the Arab/Israeli conflict.
Saddam Hussein murdered nearly half a million Muslims, directly and indirectly. The National Islamic Front in Sudan has killed largely Christians and animists, but also hundreds of thousands of Muslims, especially among the Beja, Fur, Massaleit, Tama, and Nuba peoples. Its militias have also taken Muslim slaves. The Armed Islamic Group in Algeria has murdered more than 100,000 Muslims in the last decade. In Chechnya, another 100,000 people, one-10th of the population, has been killed and almost half the population is displaced. In Afghanistan, the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies killed thousands of Shia. In Mauritania, tens of thousand of Muslims are held as slaves. Tens of thousands more died in the Kashmir conflict and in the civil wars in Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone. Thousands more have died in Nigeria and Indonesia. The Burmese junta drove out more than a quarter million of its Rohingya Muslims in the early 1990s. In India last year some 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered in Gujarat, some disemboweled or burned alive while police stood by or joined in.
Yet these events are passed over in silence, even within much of the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of many of these atrocities sit in the UN condemning events in the West Bank.
It's easy to discern the cynical manipulation of the issue by authoritarian states, especially in the Arab world: these regimes use it as a safe outlet for their populations' political frustrations in order to deflect attention from their own repressive policies. Islamists are outraged because they believe that once a country has been under Islamic rule it can never be relinquished. (This is why Osama bin Laden insists he wants Spain back). Israel is a very recent example of non-Muslims governing an area once Muslim, and excites greater horror.
But why does this conflict draw multitudes of activists, who make it the defining issue of Middle Eastern, and even of world politics? Why the plethora of conferences, committees, demonstrations, boycotts, and disinvestment campaigns on a level that dwarfs any action protesting larger scale suffering?
Perhaps part of the answer is anti-Semitism, perhaps anti-Americanism. But, whatever the reason, it cannot be a primary concern for human rights since, while there is more than enough suffering in this conflict, there is much worse elsewhere.
The elevation of the Israel-Palestinian issue above all others has several deleterious effects. One is that it elevates vituperation against Israel. It also raises expectations among Palestinians that are unlikely to be met. Finally, it contributes to silence and evasion about the oppression of other Muslims as well as other people throughout the world. The net effect is that both Israel and the Muslim world suffer more.
Here goes my first entry, this new means of communicating with far friends on 4 continents, a place to rant without setting up a personal webpage. Still, I have no plan to tell anyone of this new undertaking, of this new offspring born to my latest spontaneity. Once I have some entries, I will certainly inform all the significant people in my life.
It’s 5:30 AM, and I’m wide awake, a very strange thing indeed for me, NOT your morning person; but I dreamt that I wiped out the entire human race with some strange sentient virus; I knew I should be feeling guilty, and felt VERY guilty about not feeling guilty. So here I am, unsettled and bothered, a bit afraid to go back to sleep: This is the closest I ever get to having a nightmare, and there is no one here to check under my bed or under my scalp for hidden monsters.
Instead, I invested a half hour in constructing this, my newest child, borne of the imagined decimation of my own species.
Pretentious, ain’t it?
I expected to have a small epiphany about myself while typing some random particulars as LJ requested; I anticipated unearthing some bit, some morsel, something novel and appealing about me, but alas that didn’t happen. I feel more compartmentalized, standardized, labeled, categorized, classified, pigeonholed, designated, marked, specified… I need a thesaurus; the one word I’m seeking is eluding me.
So hello to all hypothetical future readers, if any, and let’s see where this new road will lead us.