Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could go back in time and tell the younger version of yourself some pearls of wisdom about your future?
Dear Young Nathan
Sorry this letter is late, you know how bad you are about procrastinating sometimes. But better late than never, I suppose. There are some things I need you to hear.
First of all, a belated congratulations on your graduation from high school. I know it has been the most unbearable journey, full of hard times and self-doubt. But you made it! You really made it. You didnâ€™t give up the fight, you didnâ€™t drop out or runaway. I know you wanted to, but now itâ€™s all behind you. And next time you are in school (well college), you will be â€œpopularâ€â€¦I know you wanted to be. You will also be appreciated for your intelligence, and accepted as a gay man. So keep smiling, the best is yet to come.
Itâ€™s 5 years later now, and if a voice inside could have told you the future, Iâ€™m sure you would have liked to know a little about it. I canâ€™t go back in time and prepare you for what comes next, but at least I can talk about it now.
Second of all, fuck all the people who brought you down. At the time, it may have seemed like they were on top, and I know you felt like an outcast. Big deal. You have always stuck to your own beliefs and morals. Youâ€™ve believed in your creative visions, youâ€™ve avoided drugs, and youâ€™ve tried to be an honest, genuine person. I know thatâ€™s hard when liars, backstabbers, and wannabes surround you.
In the large scope of life, acceptance from your high school peers meant nothing. When you come back to your hometown to visit, the people who brought you down will be suffering for their mistakes. Some of the biggest bullies will still be living with their parents, have no direction in life, and will wonder where they went wrong. They will be stuck in the same small town with nothing to show for all their years of arrogance.
You, on the other hand, will have a strong marriage, a successful career, and a great amount of respect and self-confidence. And best of all, you will have gained these things without compromising your character. So just remember that you took the high road.
Donâ€™t misunderstand what Iâ€™m saying though. Life is always filled with ups and downs. You will suffer the effects of an unstable economy. People you love will die without any warning, and your heart will be broken. Relationships will fall apart when you thought they would last forever, and everything you think you know now will be turned upside down.
It will all workout, somehow. You will become stronger after each dramatic surprise or loss.
Third, and finally, please appreciate those who are still with you. Over time, you will get much better about this. A lot of friends will come and go. So far, your friend Winso is the only one who will stick around. But I only know the future as of today, so maybe there will be others.
And another friend will become your new love. I canâ€™t elaborate on that too much because you think Dennis is the one right now. Well enjoy it while it lasts. Heâ€™s certainly â€œthe oneâ€ for you right now. Youâ€™re 18, just starting out on your own, so just enjoy the times while you can.
In many ways, life just gets harder. But it does get better too. New lives will form, new loves will bloom, and new memories will take place.
Take care, young Nathan.
I have to confess I can’t stop thinking about the new reality TV show “Being Bobby Brown” on Bravo.
First of all, if you don’t know what it is — basically it’s cameras following around Whitney Houston in her daily displays of madness & confusion. I don’t care if the show is supposed to be about Bobby, you know damn well it’s about Whitney.
It’s difficult to watch 2 mins. of the show without thinking “this is ridiculous, why I am I watching this?”. It really is crazy. But there is always this day-after effect that I get. I start hearing Whitney in my head yelling “Bobby! Bobby!”. She does it all the time. She stumbles around, strung out on drugs, and is always searching for Bobby…who is usually drunk in some corner, mumbling to the camera about how much he loves his wife and kids.
My favorite example is when they were in London shopping, and she was just walking around in the mall saying “Bobby! Bobby?” and she’d just ask random people “Have you seen my husband?”.
Then there are the random references to “The Bodyguard”, which came out 13 years ago! Whitney will sing part of “I’m Every Woman” or Bobby will say that Whitney looks like she did in the movie. C’mon…it’s been 13 years! I guess her fans aren’t the only ones who think Whitney was better in the 90’s.
And the final thing I love is when Whitney will stop what she’s been doing, and say “Whew.” Like she’s exhausted from walking up some steps, and she just has to say “Whew” in that singing voice…like it’s part of a song, and she’ll tilt her head and say it. And she also throws in this crazy fake laugh sometimes. It’s very thick, I don’t know where it comes from, but it doesn’t even sound like her.
So I hate this show, but have to confess I love some of the crazy things that stick with me afterward.
“Bobby!! Bobby… Where is my husband?…crazy laugh…Whew….”
Last night I watched Kathy Griffin’s new TV show on Bravo, Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List. It was hilarious! I love Kathy Griffin, and I’m glad she’s got her own TV show. I also saw her new stand-up special, Kathy Griffin is Not Nicole Kidman, and it was equally funny… especially her material on Clay Aiken (“Gayken” as she calls him). I used to live in Raleigh, where Clay is from.
If you haven’t seen Kathy’s new show or stand-up special, I highly recommend them both. Find out more info at: http://www.bravotv.com/Kathy_Griffin/
I just read a quick article on Yahoo! about Melissa Etheridge, with an update on her recovery from cancer.
“I would say I’m 97 percent back now,” Etheridge told AP Radio in an interview. “It is very hard. … Chemotherapy is so hard on a person. And I would say I’m fully recovered, yeah.”
I was just listening to Melissa’s “Lucky” CD this morning. It’s such a great CD. Due to her cancer, I know she wasn’t able to promote this album nearly as much as it deserved. But it is a phenominal CD filled with compelling and insightful songs.
Good for you, Melissa. I’m so glad you’ve made it.
I really have a habit of starting out posts with song titles. I guess it helps summarize what I feel. “Feeling Good” is a song by Michael Buble. I love that song, it makes me feel empowered. I listened to it a lot on the way to work. Rodney likes it too. And we also like his song “Home”, though it is heart wrenching because it reminds us of Grandma.
But I am feeling pretty good. I’ve fallen off the wagon, just as I said I would. I didn’t post anything here yesterday, after posting every day last week. And I didn’t post over the weekend, but I probably never will so I’m not counting that.
This past weekend was filled with a high amount of drama (there’s usually always some amount in my life). But I’m optimistic. Things almost always work out in my life, one way or another. Which leads me to this new goal I have, though I have no idea if I will act on it.
In another news, I’ve thrown around the idea, and wonder about writing a book about my life, focused on the “coming out” years. Most gay people have a story about coming out. And I know heteros would probably just roll your eyes and say ‘what’s the big deal?” I can see why it’s hard to understand, but really it’s an amazing thing to come out. There is so much deeply embedded hate and tension in this world about being gay. When you take that bold step and say “I am not afraid to be me”, there is so much courage and strength required.
And many stories have gone unheard. I do feel like a survivor, I feel like I’ve made it through a lot of rough stuff and turned out to be a very strong and successful person. I want to share my story with others, in hopes it would inspire at least one gay person. Because when I was going through it all, I needed somebody to tell me his story. (Ellen Degeneres was my somebody, by the way. She gave me inspiration when she came out in 1997.)
When I look at my blog, I see rambling pages full of untamed emotion and thoughts. It isn’t very organized, but it’s hard to organize the heart and mind. So it’s okay.
But it would be nice to get my story out, revise and re-organize it in a book format, and try to get it published. We’ll see. The bottom line of the book would be “I am undefeated”. The people who hurt me and tried to bring me down in the past…they have not kept me from living my life. And I want them to see it. And I want others to know they can come out on top too.
If there was a theme song for the book, it would undoubtedly be “Feeling Good”.
As sung by the brave and talented Melissa Etheridge.
Today it’s been one year since I found out my Grandma passed away. I was eating lunch with my co-workers in Raleigh at a restaurant, when my mother called me on my cell phone and told me that she had been found in her home by my aunt. The news was heartbreaking and shocking, as I completely lost it there in that restaurant.
I went across the street to the hotel where Rodney was working, and had him come outside. I burst into tears as he held me and I let all the pain out. We traveled to Illinois for the funeral, those were the darkest days of my life. I have never cried so much.
In the back of my mind, I always had thoughts of moving closer to the family to be there in good times and in bad. This tragic event caused me to move full force with plans to move to Nashville, 3 hours from our family. I spent the following months researching, reviewing, and planning how to go about this big move.
Obviously it was a risk. We had stable jobs and a set lifestyle there in Raleigh. Moving would mean sacrificing job security, home security, and leaving behind some great friends. But I decided we needed to be closer to our family, and Rodney eventually agreed.
1 year later, we are now here in Nashville. We have stable jobs, we have a home, it looks like we really made it. I’m just sorry we couldn’t be here in your last days Grandma. But how could we ever know you would pass so suddenly?
It appeared that Grandma forgot to take some of her medication, and somehow just passed in the night. She was sitting in her chair, it happened sometime the night before. It did not appear that she was in any amount of suffering or pain.
I received an e-mail from my Dad last night and an e-mail from my aunt, who found my Grandma. It’s very sad to acknowledge this anniversary. I wish we never had to die. I know that sounds child-like, but I really hate having to miss a woman I love so much.
Well Grandma, you’re in our thoughts, hearts, and prayers today and every day. And the same goes for both my Grandpa’s. I was too young to understand you both the way I understood Grandma, but I know you were wonderful men. I love each of you and we miss each one of you.
In closing, some lyrics from the Melissa Etheridge song “Breathe”, which I used to listen to in the car and completely break-down to:
“I just dream of vanishing into the crowd
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you
I’m alright, I’m alright
It only hurts when I breathe
And I can’t ask for things to be still again
No I can’t ask if I could walk through the world in your eyes
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you”
Now that we’ve lived in Nashville nearly a month, I want to point out the one thing that drives me crazy every single day – Bush bumper stickers.
Aside from my obvious hatred for Bush as a homophobe, there are countless other wrongs Bush has done in office that I can’t imagine these people have overlooked.
It is a “free” country (unless you’re gay, in which the basic rights of marriage are segregated), so obviously these people have the right to put whatever they want on their bumper. But come on, open your eyes people.
Should I mention the fact that thousands of innocent human beings are being killed overseas every day, for no reason at all? Did we overlook the announcement that there are no weapons of mass destruction? Does anybody remember that Saddam is out of power, and therefore does not pose a threat? How about the fact that Bin Laden, who coordinated Sept. 11th anyway, is rarely ever mentioned anymore? (By the way, check out the FACTS in Fahrenheit 9/11 and you’ll know why Bush will never harm the Bin Laden family).
Maybe the loss of thousands of innocent souls isn’t enough to make Bush supporters question their leader. Fine. Then how about the overall actions, personality, and presence of George W. Bush? Is that not enough to turn you away?
Hmmm… I asked my Mother her feelings about Bush. My Mother is a wonderful woman, and I value her opinion. I don’t always agree with it, considering she is a very conservative Catholic. Nonetheless, I do respect her. She’s been on this earth much longer than I have, so perhaps she had some pearls of wisdom.
Her reason for supporting Bush was because he was Anti-Abortion. REALLY???!!! That’s all? I expected so much more.
Now I’m against abortion too. I don’t believe in murdering helpless babies. But I’m not going to harp on that topic because I honestly cannot stop a woman from having an abortion. No matter what a president says, it cannot be stopped.
So this one topic, which can’t even really be regulated, is the reason my Mother supports Bush? Wow. Unbelievable. So is that one of the big reasons a lot of these people have Bush bumper stickers? Unbelievable!
He might not support killing American babies in their wombs, but he sure as hell supports killing thousands of innocent soldiers, civilians, men, women, and children in other countries. Open up your eyes people!
This man is being probed by all kinds of departments and groups. I am surprised he hasn’t been kicked out of office yet. How can people not see what Bush is doing to this world? Not only is he ruining the United States of America, he has spread his carnage all over the world. How can one administration have that much power? If I removed the name Bush, you probably would think I was speaking about terrorists, wouldn’t you?
A-HA! I’ve got you there. If I name all the terrible things Bush has done, you might think I’m talking about a terrorist group or psychotic leader of another country. But nope, I’m talking about none other than George W. Bush. And you’ve got his name all over your cars.
I know, I know… this ranting post is just one out of millions that are probably already on the web. So I’m just making my contribution, because I just can’t believe how many people blindly support this monster despite all the things he has done.
And I’m sure more rants will follow.
Day 2 of blogging, I must admit I’ve quite enjoyed this whole blog concept. In my first post, I said I had a big problem with it. But here’s the catch — I don’t plan on publishing my real full name any time soon. That’s my happy medium. I can do the blogging thing, but I don’t care to put all my personal identity info out on the net.
So let me start with the sad stuff, the stuff that really hurts. Almost a year ago, my grandmother passed away. I lived on the East Coast, she and the rest of my family were in the Midwest. It was unexpected, my aunt just walked in and found her that day.
I have come very far in terms of dealing with the loss, but as I near the anniversary of it, many feelings are re-surfacing. And since it was so unexpected, I didn’t have that window of opportunity that you might have if somebody was ill.
I’m skipping some parts, because mainly I want to say how much I love her, and how it’s still hard to believe she is not physically here anymore. Not only was she an incredible woman, filled with love and understanding, she was also the first family member to accept me as a gay man, and showed a genuine love for my husband Rodney. It would be nice if being gay was just as easy as being heterosexual. But thanks to society and religious hypocrites, it’s very hard being gay sometimes. So having her acceptance was a starting point for me.
Now that I’ve been out for 8 years now, I have very little need for “acceptance”. I know exactly who I am and nobody can change that or take it away from me. I don’t need approval to go on. But there was a time when I did need acceptance, and she provided it. Grandma always wanted me to be happy. And her acceptance helped give me strength.
Thank you so much Grandma, for everything you are. There is a lot to say about you, all of it positive. You have taught me so many lessons in life, just by being you.
Grandma was not demanding, she did not force or instill anything on me. When I say she taught me lessons, I mean she did it just by living. Her example set the tone for it all. And I try to live my life as an example too.
I quickly find that all my blog entries become very deep very quickly. On the surface, I can be so light and easy. But like I said yesterday, I’m highly emotional, and getting it all out stirs up the waters in me. I’m enjoying it though.
Well my hands are getting tired from typing, so I know it’s time to wrap up. More to come, though!
Everybody talks about blogging, it’s huge right now, even in the office I work in. And I get asked a lot if I have a blog. Well I didn’t, but I’m trying this out.
Why blog? I’m a tech fan, but often slow to adopt new concepts. I don’t like to jump on new trends, because many disappear overnight. If something is long-term, eventually I will become involved.
So I’m supposed to talk about ME? Feels funny. I have a lot to say, a lot that I feel, but it’s hard to imagine exposing it to anyone who might stumble upon it. To be honest, I have a *big problem* with creating my own blog.
I have always been an extremely private person. Very few people really know or understand me. I feel that a lot of people “enjoy” talking with me, but I only really expose the surface of who I am. So the mere thought of sharing my thoughts and feelings online, where anyone can read them, is jarring.
Therefore I may never put my real name on this. I may never share it with friends. This is my test phase.
I had so much to say, but now I’m just exhausted by my own thoughts and I don’t care to get them out. I usually rehearse something dozens of times in my head before I ever announce it outloud. So you can understand why just having a conversation with someone is so tiring for me. And in the end, everyone just thinks I’m a quiet, mysterious, and very internal person. This is true most of the time. But part of it is also because I think so much that by the time I decide I want to talk about it, I don’t care to share it anymore.
This isn’t going anywhere, is it? Welcome to my mind. This is every day for me. But when it does come out, it is cool, calm, and collected…. or loud, explosive, and destructive…depending on the mood.
And there is another point to expose. I am HIGHLY EMOTIONAL…more than anyone could ever imagine. But other times, I am highly detached, with no concerns, feelings, or problems. I avoid telling people that I am emotional because it is very easily misunderstood as being highly sensitive. And highly sensitive leads to being labeled “weak” or “vulnerable”.
I am neither weak, nor vulnerable. I stand strong on my beliefs, feelings, and opinions when it comes down to the heart of the matter. But I am emotional …I let it all flow through me, and I try to accept it. I am also sensitive to myself, and to others. I feel a lot for people.
It’s a river though. An ocean. It can lie dormant for days, weeks, months, or years. And that’s another problem with this blog concept. If I talk about it, if I let it all out, who knows where it will lead? There are some emotions that I would hate to stir up. They could shake up my whole foundation if I ever allowed myself to dwell or feel some of the things that I’ve felt in the past.
Because I’ve felt a lot…let me tell you. Whew, here it comes. All these lengthy paragraphs, this is exactly what I knew would happen if I started blogging. At least upfront, it would be very long. Eventually it might be a few sentences a days, like most blogs I see.
I’m not always predictable either. I can write in the same blog for 60 days straight, at the same time each day, without fail. Then suddenly it will all change. I might lag for a month, then come back. Or I might lag forever, and never return. That’s just how I am, you see. I can be the same person every day for an extended period, then something happens inside and it all changes.
Those who are really, REALLY close to me — I always return for them. Unless I am unforgivably deceived or offended, then I am the most loyal person you’ll ever know.
Okay this was actually good. I am starving for lunch, so I will go. But I’m glad I got started. We’ll see where this goes.