There is something to be said for comfort food. I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog criticizing certain YouTubers, along with various films and other pop cultural artifacts that I feel portray the LGBT experience in a sanitized light. My churchgoing, progressive Catholic mother really liked Dallas Buyers Club, a film that takes an important story about AIDS and prejudice and filters it through the perspective of a straight character whose real-life counterpart was almost certainly bisexual. She also liked Shelter, one of those sweet coming-of-age dramas that makes coming out seem like simultaneously the most important thing a gay person can do and not that big of a deal. I suppose in a sense it is. But that doesn’t make the film any more true-to-life. Would that all of our coming out experiences could be spurred by meeting a handsome, slightly-older gentleman who is already out and inexplicably attracted to us. Thing is, it’s all I can do not to watch that movie over and over.
You can’t really convince people that they’re wrong. All you can convince them is of is that whatever they want from you, they’re not getting. Sometimes that’s enough. Alec Guinness said that people should strive to be useful rather than happy, as true happiness is the sort of thing that you’ll experience no more than a handful of times in your life. I agree with that sentiment. I’m not very good at being happy-go-lucky, nor am I any good at convincing people. But I am good at work. And I have a lot of it to do.
I find that blogging is useful for tying together the disparate strands of my thinking. In that sense, it’s therapeutic. I don’t have very much to distract myself. When I was in grad school, I hung out with a grand total of two friends over the course of a five-week winter break. That’s a pretty long time to be all on your own, even if you’re seeing family in there, too. My mother worries that I’m spending too much time alone. She doesn’t seem to realize that I’m only doing that because I don’t have any other options. And it’s not like time spent with her and Dad is an improvement. But you can’t make people who are intent on seeing you one way see you the other way. People won’t learn. Unless you make them.
I used to hate myself for needing to check my FB and email constantly. These days, I’m starting to realize that it isn’t my fault. What the hell else am I supposed to fill the gap with, exactly? I’m not usually proud of myself for not doing things, but I am proud of myself for not owning a smartphone. My father has offered to buy me one multiple times and when I went to buy a new cell phone after stupidly allowing my old one to go through the wash last year, the salesman told me that even his grandmother has a smartphone. I’m so glad I don’t. I’m also glad that there are no nude photos of me, although I am not for a minute judging people who take nude selfies. Sometimes I leave my phone behind when I go out. Technology is fine, but mostly from a distance.
There is a YouTuber I’ve been following for a while now who baffles me. He’s a gay marine who, about a year ago, broke off his engagement upon finding out that his fiancé was cheating, took down all the videos that they had done together, and disappeared from YouTube for several months. A few months after returning, he had a new boyfriend and was making videos with him. When that ended, he swore he wouldn’t let that get him down. Back in April, he posted a FB status saying that he was going to focus on himself for a while and let his love life take care of itself. Not three months later, he had moved in with his new boyfriend. We all know someone like this, don’t we?
I’m starting to think that there are differences between Red Staters and Blue Staters that run deeper than mere politics. Russ is a liberal atheist, but he’s a kid from rural Indiana (I think), and as such, there is something parochial about his thinking that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully wrap my head around. I roll my eyes when I hear people say that they don’t have a problem with the gays but don’t trust Obama and his socialized medicine. It’s the 21st century, guys. Get with it.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to make myself into, but I’m very convinced that it’s different from what I am and what people believe me to be. Somebody will have to trust me, not just support me. But whether they do or don’t, I’m not going to change.
That probably sounded like a conclusion, but it wasn’t. I have one more thing to say: I can’t remember where I first heard that when you catch up with old friends, the years just melt away. Turns out that’s true. When I saw a bunch of my high school friends recently, it was amazing how quickly we fell into our old rhythms. I’m really not a theater person anymore, but any good cast, as the cliché goes, will eventually develop a sense of family. And you can’t ever completely outgrow that. I haven’t seen a show at my high school since everybody I knew there graduated. I have no intention of returning anytime soon. If they want to give me an award for being a distinguished alum someday, maybe, but that’s about it. Right now, I’m trying to get better at being idle. Even then, I’m still fairly productive.