Tingle

Alex stepped off the train and onto the platform of the station. As he walked briskly among the crowd towards the exit, he hummed a tune to himself, feeling a little giddy. He probably shouldn’t be cutting work like this. Yet when he got up this morning and looked out at the brightening sky outside his window, he felt an odd tingle and the idea of having to go to the office and sit in his cubicle and stare at endless pages of files suddenly seemed unbearable. So he showered, pulled on a light t-shirt and jeans and put on a pair of sneakers. No starched shirt and stuffy tie and pressed pants and shiny oxfords today. The tingle in his chest promised him that something was going to happen today and he meant to find out what it was. After a quick breakfast, he went straight to the train station on a whim, bought a ticket for the first train leaving and several hours later, here he was.

He kept on humming as he strolled down the pavement with no specific destination in mind, just enjoying the fresh air and warm morning sun. But as he walked and started to sweat, he felt his steps beginning to falter and his humming stopped. What exactly am I doing here, he wondered. He eyed other people on their way to work in their suits and with their briefcases and all of a sudden his casual outfit didn’t feel so light anymore. His mind flashed to the pile of documents waiting to be read and inspected and his mood slipped even further. What the hell am I doing, acting like some hormonal teenager following a goddamn tingle? He felt ridiculous and his springy steps became slow and pensive.

Reaching the end of the street, the flapping wings of a pair of birds distracted his darkening thoughts. They flew overhead and perched on the branch of a nearby tree. He stopped and watched them for a while, listening to them cooing to each other. He thought they were turtle doves but he wasn’t sure. Turtle doves mate for life, his memory supplied, unrelated though it was to the proper identification of the species. Huh, he mused, wonder where that bit of information came from. He absently shook his head and continued walking, seriously contemplating catching a train back and going to the office to salvage the rest of his day. As he turned the corner, he took a glance back at the birds and crashed right into someone.

“Oh shit.” He blurted. “I mean, sorry.” Then he looked at the guy and just stared, feeling a second tingle in his chest that morning. Huh, his mind said, cute.

“Um… Are you okay?” the guy asked.

Alex blinked at that. “Huh? Oh, yeah I’m okay.”

The guy crouched down and started collecting the books that fell and scattered on the pavement. “Oh hey, let me help you with that.” Alex followed suit and started picking up books as well, handing them to the guy when they stood back up.

“Thanks.” He said, throwing Alex a grin. Again, Alex just stared at him, feeling foolish but couldn’t help himself.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” the guy queried. “I didn’t hit you that hard, no?” he laughed.

Alex gave himself a mental whop upside the head. Speak, stupid. “I am. Really.” He managed to stammer.

“Well alright, then. Thanks.” The guy said as he walked away, giving Alex another toothy grin. Before he turned the corner, he glanced back and said, “Oh by the way, happy Valentine’s day.”

Alex stood there, processing what just happened. Getting tongue tied and flustered didn’t happen to him. Well, aside from the times he got called in to see his boss but that’s for a totally different reason. This was new. It was weird, but a good kind of weird, if that makes any sense. He contemplated the feeling. Might as well, he decided. Maybe he can invite the guy for coffee or something. He took a breath and jogged around the corner, determined to catch up to him. As it turned out he didn’t have far to go.

The guy was standing pretty much where Alex had stood before, looking up at the birds still cooing to each other in the tree. As Alex slowed his steps and approached, the guy looked his way. “Hey.” The guy hesitated before smiling. “You’re not here because you changed your mind and decided to sue for damages, no?”

“Uh… No.” Alex stuttered. For some reason he found that lilting ‘no’ at the end of the guy’s sentences cute, and that thought didn’t help calm his nerves down any. “Um… I didn’t reply when you said happy Valentine’s day, so… um…” The guy cocked his head and stared at him like he was trying not to laugh. He supposed he looked pretty silly spluttering about like an idiot. “Um… Happy Valentine’s day. And again, sorry.” Alex turned away and was about to go, cringing inside at the impression he was making.

“Do you know that turtle doves mate for life?” the guy suddenly uttered.

Tingle, Alex’s chest went again. “Uh what?” Alex managed to get out.

“Those birds. Turtle doves.” The guy pointed at the pair. “I think I read somewhere that they stay together until one of them dies.” Then he looked at Alex expectantly, like he was waiting for a response.

“You want to get coffee?” Alex blurted out. Fully aware that it wasn’t the appropriate response or one the guy was expecting, judging from the way he was silently raising his eyebrows.

“Uh…” He took a long breath to compose himself. “Look, I swear I’m not some psycho or anything. Please let me start over. My name’s Alex. I’m guessing I probably should’ve started with that.”

The guy shifted his books and grasped his extended hand. “Gabriel.” He had a warm hand, Alex noted. “And that’s okay.” He shot Alex an amused look. “You have an interesting approach.”

“So, now that we’ve been properly introduced, how about that coffee?” Alex continued with a smile, finally feeling more comfortable and confident. At least the guy’s not running away screaming.

Gabriel guffawed. “You’re not only interesting but persistent.” At the sound, the doves flapped away and they both looked up to follow the progress of their flight. “Sure. That sounds great.” Gabriel said, drawing Alex’s attention back to him. “I should probably get a cup of tea instead, though. Been feeling this odd tingle in my chest all morning.”

Alex’s smile brightened. Well, he conceded privately, maybe following tingles is not such a bad idea after all.

Coffee, Tea, and Empathy

“I’ve thought about it,” she said. “And from all the relationships I’ve had since RP, I never felt the way it was with him.” She stopped for a bit, contemplating. “You know, the earlier stuff. How easy it was.”

And at that moment a slow realisation hit me: Is that how people feel? No wonder they sometimes can’t let go of a person they loved in the past. And no wonder I couldn’t really understand it.

“Well,” I started haltingly, trying to formulate my thoughts into words. “For me, every time I meet someone new, it’s a different feeling.”

I lit another cigarette, took another sip of my drink, and realised that it was true.

“So I can never compare whether I love this guy or that guy more. In my memory, and when I’m experiencing it, it’s just different. I suppose there were different levels of ease and comfort but the ‘feelings of love’ were unique for each one.”

I felt as if I understood something then. Something fundamental about love, and something personal about how I love. And as soon as I tried to grasp it, it slipped through my fingers.

Another night, another lost epiphany over coffee, tea, and empathy.

Teeter

He blinked once.

His breath hitched and panic seductively lapped at the edge of his consciousness like gentle waves on a sandy beach, inviting him in. He blinked and drew another deep breath though it couldn’t quite fill his lungs, scrambling for a grip of time and space, desperately pulling away from the grey, seemingly endless expanse between sleep and waking.

Blink again. Breathe again. Focus. Why was he trembling? He gingerly tried moving his fingers, failed, breathed, tried again. When they finally decided to obey, he lifted his hand to his face, pressing the palm to his eyes, rubbing the sleep away and willing himself to inhale and exhale more steadily.

Then he remembered.

It was a dream, wasn’t it? Yes, that’s what it was. He was standing on the broad, crowded sidewalk with motorcycles and cars and people passing by. In the midst of all the traffic and the sounds and the smells he was talking to a faceless, nameless somebody, telling a story when a conscious thought intruded; a voice of reason slipping in where it didn’t belong. He was telling the story, elaborating details when…

“But that’s another dream. It isn’t real. What you’re saying isn’t real.”

And that voice jarred him awake, staring at the grey wall as his breath caught in his chest. And for a heartbeat he was stuck in the dream and back in his room and reliving the dream-story all at the same time.

“Can’t you tell which is real and which is not anymore?”

And then the trembling had started.

He tried sitting up, failed, breathed, tried again, couldn’t and settled with turning slightly and lying on his back instead, furrowing his brows and squinting at the ceiling, torn between wanting to dwell on his thoughts and pushing them out of his mind. It felt like he was breaking out of his skin, tearing apart at the seams. The threads holding his existence together worn thin and frayed, barely containing the psychosis within.

Lips quirking at his dramatic thoughts, he contemplated the approach of early morning hysteria. How bad is it, insanity? How much of you is left after you step over that boundary and let yourself fall over the edge?

“Someday I’m not going to be here anymore, and you might not be able to turn back or you might not want to. Someday you might just find out.”

Glancing at the window, he tried figuring out what time it was from how the light made the yellow curtain glow and sighed. The blue-grey tinge told him it was early, and yet he couldn’t shake the feeling he’d woken up too late though he hadn’t the faintest idea for what exactly.

Another morning, another shot at sanity.

“My life is like, so mundane. The days come, the days go. I keep waiting, waiting, waiting, but for what? I go to work, I eat, I work out, I watch television. I’m not really depressed. Well, yes I guess I am depressed. I’m lonely. I’m easily irritated. But it’s not the kind of overwhelming depression that feels like it’s ripping me apart. It’s more of a blandness, an overall numbness, like every fiber of my being is sucked dry of any coherent reason to exist.”

Your Mother’s Butt – a one act play by Alan Ball

Next!

Get up, shake it off, and move on. Easier said than done, yes, but since it must be done, it is what I will do anyway.

Let’s go back in time to approximately three weeks ago, when I met someone online whom I proceeded to meet in person. We shall refer to him as Unibrow. As is usual with me, everything went in fast-forward: from the first handshake to the first kiss to first sex to first fight to first break-up to first get-back-together. It wasn’t love on his side, although he was absolutely convinced otherwise. The best I’d put it, what he felt was infatuation, that overwhelming -albeit temporary- emotion that disguises itself as love extremely well. And as is also usual with me, it ended.

“I can’t be who you want me to be,” came the statement one time during dinner.
I looked at him across the formica table of the restaurant and asked, “And who is that?”
He took a moment, seemingly to collect his thoughts before answering, “I can’t prioritise you. I can’t promise absolute loyalty. I’m not yet ready to commit.”
“When exactly have I asked for those things?” I fired back.
“Well, never,” he hesitated. “But those are the things that you give and I can’t give the same things in return.”
I inhaled deeply and exhaled, taking my time; lowering my gaze to the tabletop to resist the temptation of throwing my glass of water in his face. Or the ashtray. Both satisfying options but definitely too dramatic.
“You were the one who wanted this.” I said. “When I asked, you said that you don’t want me to see other men and you want this to be exclusive. But you know what? It’s fine.” I smiled, picked up my cigarette, lighter, and mobile phone from the table and got up from my seat.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
I shot him a look, “Oh sorry, didn’t you just give me a clear dismissal? I just need to be somewhere that isn’t here.”
He looked down and pulled one of his heavily practised miserable looks. “I still want you, though.”
“Oh we can still be friends.” I told him.
He tried throwing the look in my direction, “But I don’t want you just as a friend.”

Oh bother.

During the course of my life I’ve been -rightfully- accused of loving too fast, too hard, and too deep as well as warned that too much is never advisable and comes at a hefty price. I know that. I know that betting it all comes with the risk of losing it all. Therefore, when it happens and the pain inevitably comes I can’t really complain about it, can I? Can’t say I want something then bitch and moan and balk when paying time’s due because that would mean that I don’t really want it. Yet some people don’t seem to have a problem doing that. “I want it! I want it!” they’d say loudly and incessantly. That’s fine, no problem with wanting something; but can you pay the price tag attached? Don’t buy a diamond if what you can afford is cubic zirconia because that’s dumb. And you’re not dumb, are you? Emotionally retarded, perhaps, but surely not dumb? Knowing that you aren’t only unwilling but incapable of doing the necessary things to obtain and maintain me, why want me then?

I didn’t leave that night. Instead we went back to his place and he cried and I held him while he slept and we spent several days in blissful oblivion that can only come from ignorance as I worked overtime to silence or at least mute the voices in my head telling me to quickly jump this sinking ship and swim as hard as I could towards the safety and sanity of shore.

You see, for me it was love. Foolish, stupid love, perhaps, but love nevertheless. The kind of love that hopes for the best and holds the faith that everything may just work out. Though this time, it certainly didn’t.

Another night, in his room. We were sitting on opposite sides of the bed, both silent. He was looking at me, I was looking whichever way as long as it wasn’t his. The only sounds in the room provided by the TV that he, for no reason I could comprehend, insisted on keeping on most of the time.
“You’re really special,” he’d finally said. “You deserve someone better, someone who can give you everything you want, who can make you happy.”
As I drew a long breath in, lowering my eyes and looking sideways, sighing while my head shuffled my thoughts around like a deck of cards, as emotions bang against each other and knocking one another over, I thought, “So what else is new?”

That was a week ago. Every night since then I’ve received texts and calls along the lines of, “We can’t be together but I love you and miss you but I know we can’t be together but…”

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

Somebody that I Used to Know – Gotye ft. Kimbra

I’ve gotten up and shaken it off; now I’m moving on. Bring on the next heartbreak.

End to a Non-Beginning

“I can never be in a relationship with you,” he said. “I’ve never been in a relationship with another guy before and I don’t know what it’s like.”

I lit a cigarette and looked at him, slightly incredulous, slightly confused. “But you’ve been in a relationship before, yes?”

“Well, yes. But that’s different.”

“Different how, exactly?”

He was silent for a while, returned my stare for a millisecond before looking away, “Well because there’s no point, is there? Gay relationships don’t go anywhere.”

I looked away as well then; looked away yet kept him in my peripheral vision, his sitting form slightly blurred. And now, looking back, that’s how he always was: there but not quite; an unclear, uncertain, sometimes unnerving presence somewhere around the periphery.

“I love you, you know.” He’d finally said.

And I just sat there, silently blowing cigarette smoke, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Class is in Session

Welcome to Impossible Relationships 101. A class where I keep failing to learn anything from and am therefore doomed to repeat ad nauseam.

***

Lesson One: “You’re bi? Oh. Bye”

The Universe’s sense of humour has apparently deemed it amusing that I, an out-and-out gay guy who finds the idea of hiding my orientation and sexuality other than the sole reason of one day cashing in on my inheritance (if any) exhausting and ridiculous, am not only bound but destined to keep on attracting bisexual men with sexual identity issues. Yay! Not.

Now, I don’t have a problem with bisexuality in general; sexual freedom and all that. I just don’t fancy the idea of having to be jealous of both genders. One is tough competition in itself, thank you very much. Who needs the extra work? And plus, it’s not like I can compete with females anyway. Hello? Differences in hardware is number one. Followed by what these differences entail: Women offer the possibility of marriage and children and what society and religion and Indonesian law deem a ‘normal, healthy, and stable future’. Three adjectives that don’t exactly come to mind when I am the subject at hand (those would be ‘tattooed, pierced, and apeshit crazy’).

Yet in my infinite hopefulness (read: innate stupidity), I keep plowing on, always with the thoughts of ‘it may just work out this time’ and over-romanticised ideas of ‘love will conquer all and last forever’. Riiight. Here is the deal: in the course of my life, I’ve lost track of how many bi and gay Indonesian men I’ve met whose sense of religious guilt as well as social and familial responsibilities clash so badly with their sexual orientation and inclination. One example was at a dinner several days ago with the Hobbit (more on him later) and his friend where a discussion of my ‘lifestyle’, as they called it, culminated with the remark, “Well, the difference between you and us is that you actually have a choice.” Such hopelessness took the wind out of my sails so much that I didn’t even voice the response that in almost every case there is always a choice, and that they just don’t want to face the consequences of making a different one.

***

Lesson Two: “If you’re taken, don’t come knockin'”

Ah, yes. Another of the Universe’s potty little pranks. As often stated in my posts, I am as obsessed with fidelity and faithfulness -whether sexual or emotional – as any avid romance-reading, love-song-listening, and rom-com-watching person is. I am also of the firm belief that if you’re capable of cheating on and leaving your current partner whom you’ve vowed to love and treasure for as long as you both shall live, whether the aforementioned vow was said in a wedding or commitment ceremony, whispered on a bed as you’re laying together staring into each other’s eyes, or screamed during the throes of an orgasm, what’s exactly stopping you from doing it to me if I ever agree to take his or her place? And no, I’m not a fan of being on ‘the down low’ or ‘kept on the side’. I prefer uppers to downers and am not an order of french fries.

Yet they do come. Yet why? Is it simply basic human nature to never be satisfied with what you have? Is the grass always greener on the other side? Are we cursed with the affliction of wanting to have it all? Have fidelity and faithfulness become obsolete in modern society? Is monogamy, in fact, dying if not dead and rotting in a forgotten, unmarked grave somewhere? An example of this would be someone I like to call the Hitter; a widower in his mid-30’s who’s been in a relationship with a guy for several years up to now, and who despite his confessions of having sexual liaisons with multiple other guys has professed a supposedly heartfelt, genuine, and sincere intention of, and I quote, “settling down and being in a serious relationship” with me.

Great. Now I’m depressed. As flattering as the attention of others is, the attention of partnered others most often leave me disheartened and pessimistic of ever finding my pot of happily ever after at the end of that rainbow flag.

***

Oh God. Give me break time already.

Heaven – Revisited

Strobe lights. Laser shows. Breakbeats. Facing the bar, dancing with my back to everyone because I didn’t want eye-contact, didn’t need the appraising looks and come-hither glances. In my own time and space, as separate from reality as I’ve always been known to be.

And then there was you.

“Alone?”

“With friends. They tend to scatter.”

“Name?”

“Micha. Name?”

“Hobbit.”

You slid your arm around my waist. I started and pulled away.

“No?”

“No.”

Or at least, not yet. Even at my most trashy I’m never quite so easy.

“I’m going home with you.” you claimed suddenly, with more certainty than most dare say to my face. And I admired that. So much, in fact, that I just stared and then nodded before realising I did so.

Which was the exact moment one of my friends chose to drunkenly teeter over and declare, “I’m taking someone home. Me, T, and him are having a threesome.”

I tore my eyes away from yours and directed them at him instead. “Um. Okay. Have fun. And you’re telling me this why?”

“We’re having it in your room.”

Laughing, I closed my eyes and let my body move free and my mind soar as the beat took me on a wild ride.

Welcome to my life.

On the Transience of Experience

You promised. You made the choice. You knew the consequences, you knew there’s always a price to pay. And as tempting as it is to succumb and surrender, you promised. Can’t preach what you don’t practice, yes? You made the choice. Face the consequences, pay the price.

When you said you don’t want to harden to the world, as much as the world would like you to, you understood that committing to leaving yourself open is to risk vulnerability. Of course some words and some actions from some people will hurt. Let them. The point is not to keep yourself from pain, it’s to live through it and remain true to who and what you choose to be. Don’t hide your reactions, bury your thoughts, or deny your feelings; let them wash over you then simply take a step back and examine their validity and observe yourself. Why build walls and raise shields and put on armour and fight back? You’ve done all that. You decided to stop. You made the promise and the choice. This is the consequence and the price. Face it and pay up. Live it and let go.

This all shall pass. And if you’re as lucky as you claim to be, not that much longer to go.

On the Existential Duality of Being

“My challenge is not to be wholly good or wholly bad but to traverse the entire length between the opposite points of extreme and find a balance that I call perfection.”

Life is a rollercoaster ride. And since I’m not one of those endowed with knowledge of previous lives, every sharp turn or sudden rise and fall, as well anticipated as they sometimes are, still comes with a jolt of surprise. From those I learn, not just the occurrence but also my reactions to each one. With it comes either conflict, which leads to change and resolution, or acceptance, which resembles ignorance but is essentially and significantly different. Ignorance is bliss, yes, but only for the blessedly ignorant. For those born with the capacity to comprehend, ignorance is denial; it’s embracing lies and setting truths aside and would only create the illusion of happiness while taking us further from the real thing, blocking our inner developments and resulting in stagnation often mistaken as inner peace, burying our demons when we need to either struggle with or embrace them in order to know ourselves better and ultimately be the version of us that we strive to be.

If it sounds like I’m preaching, I both am and am not. This is simply a perspective, born from inspiration, contemplation, and experience. It’s not Truth, never with a capital t. I broke away from the dogmatic, rebelled against teachings that labelled the thirst and quest for knowledge as the original sin. It would be ironic to then claim Truth while at the same time promote the necessity and importance of journeys initiated by questioning and a healthy dose of scepticism. If anything, this is simply an indulgence of an aspect of myself. I’m not only of the body and spirituality is a part of me. And as both a physical and spiritual being, reaching for the lofty abstracts of spiritual understanding while remaining anchored and functional in the material world, it is the point of my personal journey to find that middle ground between spirituality and materialism, to resist the gravitational pull of each and let both be equal parts of my existence. I’ve given opportunities for my body, mind, and heart. This is my soul speaking out.

And though my soul is content enough within itself, witnessing the irresponsible words and actions of people claiming their interpretation of ‘God’s words’ as the one and only irrevocable and unquestionable Truth and the blind faith with which people swallow and follow makes it writhe and squirm in discomfort. Neither religion nor religious leaders is God. Unfortunately most seem to be unable to make the distinction or even unaware of it altogether. And the way people twist and manipulate these facts as means for attaining powers and benefits as well as financial and political gain is disheartening to say the least. And that people let it happen and continue is disappointing and just plain sad.

Blind faith, which is the death of the inquisitive mind, leads to dismissive narrow-mindedness, self-righteous and subjective prejudices, rigid preconceptions and inflexible values which bring about divisiveness and separation and, more often than not, animosity as a result of deliberate misunderstanding. The way I see it, there are two ways to understand something: to make it fit into your standards and expectations and general idea of how the thing ‘should’ be or to expand the extent of your comprehension in order to encompass what the thing is. Sure, it’s necessary to have a stance and take a stand for what you believe in; but to force that belief on others, especially regarding matters of faith where right or wrong is always an open subject for debate and supporting evidences are questionable and inconclusive, is a different matter entirely. It’s mental bullying, in most cases. A practice in argumentative skills and verbal combat, ending only when one party is subdued by and surrenders to the intellectual and mental prowess of the other. A very rarely constructive process, this, because it takes away the focus from the subject at hand and shifts it to the abilities of the sparring individuals.

So what if perspectives don’t agree? Diversity is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. It splashes life in various shades of colour instead of one bland hue. And it’s not the enemy of unity – or more exactly, it doesn’t need to be. We don’t all have to be the same to get along. That’s what tolerance and acceptance are for. Absolute uniformity in absolutely everything is boring and destroys any sense of personal identity. According to my beliefs of unity and oneness, we are all one and the same because we all came from and will return to the same source but that is in essence. We, as everything else in existence, whether material or ethereal, are simply energy taking form. And as conscious and animate forms of energy, I acknowledge the need for identifying individual expressions and characteristics. We are all both physical and spiritual beings. And no matter how different we may be in the physical world, it doesn’t matter because we’re spiritually the same. So what do the differences matter since they’re superficial anyway? Or is the superficial more important than the essential? Live and let live, it’s said. Be and let be, I say. A certain Wiccan creed comes to mind: “If it harm none, do what ye will.” And isn’t that enough?

I suppose what I wish for is the collective awakening of the cosmic consciousness. For us not to assimilate but to peacefully coexist in a society which strives for the good and development of all while maintaining unique personal values and characteristics, where individual rights are upheld and obligations fulfilled, where compromise isn’t compromising and acceptance is sincere. If it sounds Utopian, I suppose it is. But hey, what’s wrong with dreaming a little dream?

Say Goodnight and…

“It’s easy to lose yourself in the sounds and noises of the city, in a place to forget and be forgotten. Simple enough to find your voice replaced by someone else’s, that your thoughts and feelings are no longer quite your own. If you let it, then why are you so surprised?”

Dim your light. Stand aside. Keep quiet. Be considerate. Play nice. Don’t push back. And never, ever outshine. Please, go ahead, really, I don’t mind.

And you know what? I really don’t.

I’m lucky enough to not be a martyr. You know what I’m talking about, yea? The ones that go, “It’s alright that I give/obey/sacrifice/etc. as long as you’re happy” yet eventually bitch and moan and whine and complain about not getting whatever their deluded sense of self-entitlement makes them feel they’re due. And because I’m not a martyr, I don’t derive any twisted sense of satisfaction or pleasure from doing things for people that I don’t really want to do. If I do it, I make myself want it. Otherwise, I will tolerate it, I can allow it, and I may be lenient; but I can only be edged on for so long and so far before I either stand my ground, fight back, or simply walk away.

And here I am. Again.

Learning Curves and Resolutions

“Reality is defined and limited by possibility; therefore personal reality is defined and limited by what is possible for you.”

People say impossible a lot. Granted, we are endowed with sufficient logically deductive capabilities to ascertain the possibility or impossibility of a circumstantial occurrence based on the underlying determining factors and set precedence.

Which is really just an obnoxious way of saying that we learn from experience. And I wonder, how many disappointments have people had, how many crushed dreams and dashed hopes and empty wishes does it take to finally resign them to permanent residency in the realm of impossibility? Because if that’s the conclusive result of a learning experience, then damn, I sure as hell am one slow learner.

“The disappointment you experience is in direct proportion to the hope you have.”

And that’s just the way it is, no? And I hate it. No, not the fact; though feeling disappointed as a risk of having hope is something that intimidates the hell out of me, I’ve accepted it. What I hate is how the fear of disappointment pushes people to say things like, “See, that’s why I don’t hope at all” or “Why hope if you’re going to be disappointed anyway?”

Yes, disappointment sucks. I detest how easily it builds up and festers into bitterness, resentment, and jadedness. Not very appealing personality trait options. But doesn’t ‘to not hope at all’ mean you’re bitter, resentful, and jaded already and simply trying to not become more?

A couple of blog entries ago, during my last episode of severe mental break – and extreme melt – down, I posted such a sentiment. That was made even more tragic by the words “Faith. Hope. Love” I had permanently tattooed across the insides of my left forearm. Luckily, after a highly melodramatic phase of seclusion and soul searching, I bounced back. Things haven’t exactly reached a favourable conclusion and they sure are taking their sweet time but as I’ve said again and again, if you can’t change the way things are, alter the way you react to them. So that’s what I do.

I consider the absence of hope a bleak and depressing state to be in. I’ve tried it, didn’t work out, and didn’t take. But maybe it’s working wonders for you, in which case I say congratulations, carry on, and best of luck. To each his own. Whatever makes you happy. For me personally, no matter how huge the disappointment lurking and waiting for me at the end, I’m still going to pour all probable hope into it despite the impossibility. I’ve attempted it, lived through it, and managed to stay myself. Failure hurts but it only kills if you let it. And if I crumble, I’ll just pick up the pieces and start rebuilding until I’m whole again. The knowledge that I’ve tried, and that I’ve tried my damnedest with no qualms or reservations, will carry me along and let me see yet another day.

“I can do what you do; but then I’d be you, which would totally suck for me because at the end of the day, through it all, I’d much rather be me.”

And if I forget, I’ll just stare at these three words tattooed down my arm until I remember again.

What’s Wrong with a Little Common?

One of the hottest topics right now in Indonesia is the rise of gasoline price; headlining newspapers, covered by TV talkshows and expert discussions, and even provoking an organised public protest held yesterday in the nation’s capital (I’m guessing somewhere around the National Monument and the Presidential Palace) which went on reasonably peacefully.

No one likes a price increase – except of course, sellers – especially looking back at how a rise in the price of gasoline affected prices of everything else, including basic needs like foodstuffs or housing. So the public reaction is understandable, particularly from the financially lower class who will take the hardest hit. Interestingly (or in my case, annoyingly), I’ve observed some complaints from those belonging to the middle class; those who have online access and Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as smartphones such as Blackberries, whining about how they’re going to afford gasoline for their cars and the inevitable rise of taxi fares.

Seriously?

Let’s get real for a minute here, shall we? I know, oh I know how hard it is to let go of the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to, simply because I’ve been there. When I hit a rough patch a while back and my car became more of a liability than an asset, I sold it without hesitation. When I was flat-out-on-my-ass broke, I pawned off my diamond rings and never looked back (well there was a little looking back, I loved those rings, dammit). My point is, holding on to certain comforts and status symbols when you no longer have the means or any conceivable way to maintain them is ludicrous. And while we’re on the subject of private cars, it baffles me that the same people who complain about gridlocks and bad traffic are often the same people who personally own cars and never even thought of carpooling. Here’s the deal: the fact that you’re riding in your car alone along with so many others riding their cars alone is the reason there are too many goddamn cars in this city, causing the traffic jams and the elevating levels of pollution that you keep complaining about. And yes, I’m fully aware that the infrastructure is poorly planned, executed, and maintained and yes, I know Jakarta public transport is dubious and considered unsafe but those are governmental issues. Somehow I don’t foresee any relevant government officials reading this anytime soon. And if I have trouble making you, the reader, a regular citizen, to see my point, how much success would I, another regular citizen, have in influencing the governmental body? Now, I’ve always been a firm believer that if you cannot exact change on a situation, change yourself to adapt to it, until the time when you finally can. So unless you can rub the government like a magical lamp and get the president as your personal genie who considers your wishes as his commands, quit your bitching and moaning because things ain’t gonna change if you don’t start to. Here, I’ll walk you through it:

Q: Want to keep the car but can’t afford the rising cost of gas?
A: Don’t go out as much.

Q: Have to go out a lot?
A: Leave the car at home and brave the wilderness adventure that is Jakarta public transport.

Q: Afraid for or worried about your safety and comfort in public buses and trains?
A: Sell the car for several months worth of taxi fares.

Q: Don’t want to sell the car?
A: Well you can’t afford keeping and running the damn thing anyway, can you?

See where I’m going with this?

Now let’s talk about the protests. Honestly speaking, I’ve never had much faith in the effectiveness of public demonstrations. Too many have been done yet few (if any) ever produced the desired results. For example, in 1998 there was a national incident: Asian countries including Indonesia were in a prolonged monetary crisis. People demanded that the president at the time, Soeharto, to either find a way to end it or step down from office. There were continual protests and marches and he finally did the latter; but only after a string of endless demonstrations, after the violent clash between protesters and the police which resulted in the death of University students, after the class riots when cars were turned over and burned, houses and stores were broken into and looted, and after the ethnic Chinese inexplicably became the target of social envy, resulting in rape, beatings, and other types of violence. Currency exchange rates reached record highs (and have never really came back down), prices skyrocketed even more than before, and the country was in such unrest and chaos that he had no other choice. That was claimed as the ‘successful attempt at the show of power of the people’. Yes, it successfully ended Soeharto’s 30-something year long reign along with his New Order regime and began what’s known as the Reformation Era, but at what price?

Can we survive another 98? I doubt it. And for those that say “common sacrifices have to be made to achieve a common purpose”, would that entail the well-being and/or lives of innocents? Easy to pay the price when you’re not the one doing the paying, huh.

Making matters worse, I’ve noticed some people writing, posting, and spreading emotionally provocative and socially divisive statements on Facebook or Twitter or Blackberry Messenger status and broadcast messages over the whole gas price raise and demonstrations. Are you kidding me with this? I believe that having opinions is a good thing; it means that you’re not completely brain dead and your intellectual capacities are capable of digesting and processing information. Yet I also believe that not every opinion need to be verbally expressed; just because you can, doesn’t automatically mean you should. There are moments that you have to stand up and speak your mind and others to just sit your ass down and shut the fuck up; particularly when what you have to say contributes nothing to the resolution of a situation, worsens it, or creates new, distracting problems that you’re not going to be any help in solving.

A friend once (well, more than once; and more than one friend) said that my ideas are often too Utopian; that I expect the best in people and forget the less ‘sunshine-and-rainbow-and-butterflies’ aspects of human nature. But hell, I’m human and that means I have all those aspects, too. And here we start the rapid fire questions portion of the blogpost:

Don’t aspects simply influence and not determine? Doesn’t it all come down to choice? With common sense being not so common and all that, would it be too much to ask when the common good is at stake? Wouldn’t speaking and acting wisely and responsibly for the common good of ourselves and others be a personal interest since it ultimately benefits each person anyway? Should the government pass the decision and raise the price of gasoline and we are unable to stop that from happening, why not focus on the things we can do? Rather than ‘power of the people’ why not ‘power of the person’?

Keep it simple and personal and actual, unless of course you have Gandhi or Jesus tendencies in which I congratulate you and wish you the best of luck. And if we’re out of things to do and ideas start rolling in our heads of what to say, for God’s sake filter them. And if they have no redeeming positive or mutually beneficial value whatsoever, well…

I said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s time to park that ass down and I’m telling you this in the nicest possible way, just shut the fuck up.

Ready, Set, Gay!

Having been dragged and pushed into many activities since I was very young, I developed a competitive streak. I got used to winning and knowing that I was the best at something, whether it was getting chosen for a solo at choir or representing the school at competitions for any school subject (except math. I was never picked because I horribly sucked at it. Still do). General praise and admiration and even the envious bitching of my peers got addictive and it carried over well into my teens, which consisted of running for class president (I ended up as Vice, which was what I wanted. In my year the President got snubbed by his subordinates yet carried all the responsibilities. No, thanks), speech and story-telling contests, and becoming a full-fledged gay boy living a socially and sexually active life in the gay community. And that was when I was introduced to what I refer to as ‘the gay games’.

Gays compete, and from what I see it’s a blend of the female form of and the male approach to competition. The most common observable point of contest is the somewhat feminine one of desirability based on physical appearance and characteristics: how many guys have you had, how many want you, how often do you get approached, and so on. And this is performed and discussed in the same way that straight men do sports or whatever it is that straight men compete on: with aggressiveness and gusto. Now, I’m not quite sure if this stems from the testosterone overload of an environment filled with only men (and yes, even the most feminine of gays get competitive. And even bitchier about it. Those things dangling between their legs mean they’re men, too you know) or the insatiable need to constantly prove our worth due to multiple insecurities of an inflated yet bruised ego as a result of years of conflicted struggle growing up. All I know is that as far as the gay games go, at first it was interesting, then it became exciting, then it got really, really boring.

And presently, it’s just exhausting.

Sometimes I wonder if instead of getting me hooked on it, all those early years of being competitive made me see competition as juvenile and ultimately pointless. Or maybe it’s the distaste for the underhanded and sneaky tactics which competition seems to arouse in some people. Or maybe it just has no place in my current pursuit of a laid-back and peaceful existence. Yet still, just because I grew out of it or got sick of it or consider it irrelevant and unimportant, I’m still exposed to it or even pulled back into it and at times I find myself all tangled up in it. As a friend used to say, “No point in running. You inspire competition. For some reason you just make people want to compete with you.” Great. And people question and judge me on not having that many gay friends. Honestly though, I often feel that it’s less about me and more about them. Judging myself objectively, I’m sooo not the cutest, most lovable, biggest dicked, greatest bodied, most sought after gay guy out there and therefore I seriously think that it has nothing to do with my desirability and everything with their uncontrollable need to attain a sense of superiority or power, no matter how superficial it may be, in order to keep feeding their bottomless egos craving for constant approval and recognition.

A couple of nights ago I was staring at a twinkling star (well, at its twinkle some long time ago depending on distance) and I was struck by how we humans are so obsessed by our consequence when in the grand scheme of things our hallowed being and glorified existence are just a speck of inconsequential microdust. In regards to being desired by others, what does it matter? Could your sexual conquests alter the fate of the world? Would your last thought on your death bed be, “Ah yes. I had plowed/been plowed/taken turns plowing and being plowed by a gazillion men. I will now die in peace.” right before you close your eyes for the last time and bid goodbye to your slutty existence? Is that ever a benchmark for a life well-and-fully lived? Granted, I comprehend that it’s nice to be wanted and desired and adored and all those other snacks our egos need to devour to not shrivel and rot away but I also understand that continuously measuring your worth and self-esteem by the fickle standards and shallow opinions of others is a goddamn waste. I’m not one of those who measure people by their achievements or accomplishments, especially if they consist of how many penises have been inside you or how many bodies your penis has penetrated, unless you’re either a professional porn star or a professional whore. So which one are you?

There is one particular reason why competition gets me riled up and annoyed: all that hyped up but basically hollow bullshit has ruined and ended plenty of my already scant gay friendships. From desirability to time in the limelight to petty warfare over who gets to be the Queen Bee, I have gone from irritated to frustrated to unbearably fed up; and at the end I always chose to walk away. Staying on would’ve meant playing the game or deliberately losing just to end the stupid thing or weathering the baits and challenges thrown my way; none of which particularly appealing to me or fitting into my idea of what a friendship entails: mutual love and respect as well as understanding and acceptance.

To participate in a meaningless contest to win a pointless prize is only for witless people. So what does it say about you to keep doing it over and over again? Seriously, when does it end? And really, ain’t you tired yet?

Honesty is a Bitch with a Capital B

We all deny. We all justify. They’re both great and frightening traits of being human. We need to do them, sometimes simply just to keep living with ourselves; sometimes we take them too far and actually buy into our own press and lose sight of how we and how others and how things really are. It’s a tippy balance as well as a slippery slope downhill and a long and often winding way up. Do you know yourself and are you staying true to it while still striving and working to become the person you wish to be or are you simply getting lost among your own illusions and delusions and fears and hopes and buried remorse and unspoken wish? Is the line still there and can you still see it? And are you honest enough, including to yourself, to tell the truth when you don’t? Would you give yourself a slap in the face and get a grip when you finally admit to yourself that somewhere down the road you lost the way or is it more convenient to pile on and keep on paving the road to hell with good intentions? Can you face the is and fuck the could be? Will you choose the want or the should and handle whatever consequences or swallow whatever regrets that come later?

We deny. We justify. And eventually what we do becomes who we are.

I had a friend once, who gave me a 2-year silent treatment for being ‘boastful’. Something about me always asking around about other people’s grades and comparing mine with theirs after tests and stuff (this was when I still went to University, which I eventually abandoned. And yes when I was that kind of student, I was that kind of student) or maybe something about being a family-supported brat and having a car and chauffeur and money and being matter-of-fact about it. Mind you, this is the same person who once publicly shared, “I completely believe in the power of faith. Like the other day, I was thinking how cool and fancy a Mercedes would be and the next day, lo and behold (okay, okay I’m paraphrasing) my father brought home this huge cool and fancy Mercedes. Oh happy day (yes, still paraphrasing)!” Of course, being caught up in intense rapture, the person missed the slight eye-rolls and exchanged looks in the audience that day. Apparently it’s only ‘boasting’ when someone else does it; when you do it, it’s called ‘sharing’. And boy, isn’t it oh-so-nice to share?

And a couple of years later, upon discussing a celebrity gossip about a saucy Hollywood starlet, this same person made the similarly public statement of, “She’s such a bitch. Stealing someone else’s husband like that. That’s why I’ve never liked her.” A statement that would’ve been much less ironic and invoked considerably less stunned silence and awkward topic change if the person saying it was not, in fact, committing an affair with someone who was originally someone else’s husband. When others commit, it’s sin and trespass; when we commit, it’s human nature and perfectly acceptable. As much beauty and intelligence this person possesses, self-knowledge is not one of the more well-known attributes.

I no longer talk to this person. Disregard the fact that I was the witness and confidant from the beginning of the affair to the heat of it to the marriage. Never mind that a couple of weeks before the wedding, the person came crying to me because it might be cancelled because of the person’s my-Dad-was-horrible-so-I-don’t-trust-men issues. Let’s forget the time spent in discussion, working over the person’s sexual inhibitions and handicaps together. I was dropped just like that after my having an altercation with another friend. The person for reasons unknown, without once asking my side of the story, decided that it was my fault and began yet another silent treatment. No, no this is not an attempt to make amends. I did that once and not about to make that mistake again. What I’d like to say is that through the years, I saw the person clearly. I knew the person. Still I accepted the person being who the person was. Yet extending a courtesy doesn’t always mean receiving the same in return, yes? Especially from someone who though I knew, did not know themselves well enough.

Denials. Justifications. To live in the comfortable shade of our carefully maintained ignorance or the unforgiving glare of self-awareness is a choice we all make for ourselves. I can’t make others see themselves for who and what they are but, as far as whoever and whatever I am is concerned, I can make damn sure that I do. I know my faults and virtues, my altruistic actions and darker desires. And as I look back at that particular episode of my life spent walking through it with that particular someone who was once a friend, I thank all that’s happened that taught me a little better about myself and others. And as I write this, I wave goodbye contentedly and am smilingly at peace.

Micha, speaking up and signing off.

Friends, Anyone?

“Hello. You look fun. May I be your friend? Do you have a Blackberry PIN or phone number?”

To which, being hopelessly hopeful and often wilfully oblivious though cheerfully and consistently cynical, I promptly replied, “Sure. 25F89181. Yay a new friend!”

It got weird.

First, for someone who checked out my profile and sent me a message, would the question “Are you top or bottom?” when my profile clearly says ‘versatile bottom’ be something you ask? Which means either you didn’t or can’t read that well. And which, if your intention truly is being friends, begs the question why my preference between 1. getting fucked by someone while moaning and writhing seductively until I can’t take it anymore or 2. fucking someone with abandon while growling and occasionally biting and dirty-talking be something that really matters anyway. Make up your mind. And learn to read while you’re at it, maybe some basic skimming and scanning because no matter how pretty you may be or think you are, whether it be for friendship or casual bedroom (or car or kitchen or public places; anything, really. I’m very experimental) fun, stupidity is a turn-off.

Second, when I reply to your message and proceed to give you my contact information, it’s very rarely because I’m instantly attracted and helplessly in love or in lust with your profile picture on sight. At the beginning it’s courtesy, and in some cases charity, and most of the time it’s simply because I feel bad about refusing. So after we begin talking, in which you initiated the conversation anyway, to suddenly be acting all cool and aloof and lahdi-fucking-da is frankly.. sad. It’s so sad it makes me want to cry. No, not from sadness or offence. Out of shame. For you. And your lack of manners. And apparent lack of good-breeding in whatever Godforsaken hovel you were born, bred, raised in, and sprung from. Whatever happened to being civil and hospitable, friendly and polite? When did the gays of the world hold a convention and signed a treaty that said, “I solemnly swear to act like an utter asshole because ohmyGod I’m so awesome that every other gay guy, dead or alive, and some straight guys and gals to boot, all want me. Meeeeee!” Dangerously delusional douche. Why not try being nice and genuine and sincere? And please spare me the bitchy repartee if you get snippy and offended when it’s time for my comeback. Only dish it when you can take it. And just remember that even if you believe you’re THE queen bitch, you’re just A queen bitch in a gay world filled to the brim with bitchier queen bitches. So take the tiara off and yourself down a few notches before someone does it for you.

So why this rant? Well, this comes from my excessive and yes, maybe a little dramatic but (in my own subjective opinion) honestly justifiable exhaustion from attempt after failed attempt of making new friends. Most gay guys come with the offer of either sex or relationship and I wonder, are those the only options?

Some say that I look in the wrong places, that websites like Manjam or PlanetRomeo and IRC chatrooms like #gim and GPS-based applications like Grindr are all means for people who are only looking to hook up anyway. To which I ask, and yes I will write this in capitals, “WHERE EXACTLY ARE GAYS NOT LOOKING TO HOOK UP?” I’m not a gym member, but stories from my gym member friends consist of checking out other gym members and their dangling members in locker rooms and the occasional tug-and-suck sauna and steam room action (double-sweaty sex? Eurgh). And lounges and bars and clubs? Yea, right. Last night at another Revel event at Musro, I stood watching from a blessed haze of alcohol-and-microdot induced intoxication as a close-to-50 year old man approached a dubious looking twink standing alone, bought him a glass of (generic brand, frothy looking) beer, and proceeded to put his arm around the younger guy’s waist and run his hand up and down his back while club-whispering to one another (“My, my what great body you have”. “The better to spend your money with, Daddy”. Blah).

So, where are the guys looking to make friends and where are the places to find them, really? I’m getting so desperate that I actually said to Tara this morning on the phone, “Yo, you know those guys you slept with and immediately lost interest in after, can I try and be friends with them?” He said he’ll think about it and (assuming he gets over his possessiveness about guys he no longer is interested in anyway and his competitiveness as far as I’m concerned out of the way) he’ll let me know. And yes, Tara. I’m writing this on purpose for you to read. So call me up.

Oh and just when I’m writing this, a Whatsapp message appeared from someone called ‘Hendra’ who claimed that we met in Stadium. Hah. As if I’d exchange numbers with anyone at that place. And even if I did, I wouldn’t give just anyone this particular number. He insisted that I did; pressed me about where I am and whether we can meet; and when I asked him what for, he said “Because I miss you and I want to have sex with you.”

Seriously? Seriously?!?

I politely refused and told him I’m going to block his number and just did.

-insert long sigh-

Case temporarily closed. Blog entry ended.

2012 So Far. And It’s Only February

From full-swing random social encounters, outings, and experiments to substance tests and trials to full-fledged depression as well as a trip to the edge of my sanity to finding my way back to forays of exploring the abuse of legal substances to finally be getting to know my neighbours right before becoming somewhat homeless to yet another lengthy episode of mood swings and annoyances to obsessive-compulsive salsa making and eating to even more lessons on the questionably inhumane side of human nature to beauty and schemes and grace and breakdowns and letdowns and forgiveness and acceptance and the greatest motivation that drives us which is love whether for ourselves or for others or for anything substantial or abstract. And here I am again, still breathing and simply waiting for what comes next.

Bring it on, life.

The Joke

Chain-smoking in a departure transit lounge, having another meltdown because Dad just told me that I’d have to move in with him. Another forgotten deal. Another broken promise. Nothing new there. It surprises me that I’m still surprised. “Don’t hope.” my sisters told me about the matter. Over and over again. And yet I still did. Because that hope kept me going. Because that hope was the only thing I had. And they were right. And I’m wrong. And those three words tattooed down my left arm is now simply a reminder of the three biggest jokes of human existence.

And I’m just the biggest joker for ever believing otherwise.

-

January 9, 2012 03:13

Alone in a darkened, quiet hotel room. Deep thumps of heartbeat stop me from going to sleep. Conflicting emotions and feelings raging a feverish war. The perfect depressingly sombre scene for my deeply melodramatic self.

This is what you’ve been given. The path you’ve finally accepted. Too foolish for too long, to think that you can somehow be something you were never meant to be. Unwanted as a child, moved here and there, an excess baggage much too bothersome to keep, to continually take care of, and definitely not worth the time and effort to love. How did you imagine it would turn out any different? Oh silly, silly boy. Gay, strange, contradictory, insecure, different, tainted. Who would desire such a useless, broken thing. A disappointment can’t be a treasure, no matter how much or how long or how hard you try to fight against the odds; your vapid smile and lame submission, your sickly sweetness and delusional understanding, your laughable attempts at giving compassion and nurture that no one even wants.

Now can you finally hear their whispers behind your back? Your laziness, your incompetence, your selfishness, your fake qualities, your insanity, your cowardice, your dramatics, your illusions and delusions, your incapability. A failure of a son, a brother, a friend, a lover, a student, an employee, a person, a human being. A nothing who wished and believed he was a something. See now how they see you. And accept. This is who you are. Everything that you touched turned to shit and you would still delude yourself into believing they’re gold? Oh you stupid, stupid gay, strange, contradictory, insecure, different, tainted little boy. The naivete you mistake for your wisdom, the craziness you thought was your genius, the blindness you took as your philosophy.

If you had any integrity or bravery or decency, you’d kill yourself right now. You’d jump off that balcony and let your ugly head hit the asphalt. But no, you’re still alive. You’re just staring at it and thinking about it but you’d never do it. Because you’re just a scared little bitch boy who talked oh-so-much more than he could do. Disappear, end, and be forgotten. Oh the weight that would lift from everybody’s shoulders. And what now? Are you going to cry? Is the pathetic little gay boy going to start crying now? Having a pity party, are we? Dry your eyes and stop whimpering, slut. It’s disgusting. It’s not sensitivity, it’s weakness. It’s never vulnerability, it’s YOUR FUCKING EGO LYING TO ITSELF.

Oh the trouble you’ve caused, the pain you’ve brought, the regret that you are. Dirty, perverted, conceited, lying, thieving, callous being that would do the world a favour by stopping to exist. But since as a little sissy you would never grow the balls to take the graceful way out, the least you can do is be gracious and walk away. JUST LEAVE, BITCH! That was the one thing you were ever good at doing and boy, that was damn idiotic of you to ever stop.

Heed my advice little Micha: Give the fuck up.

Momma’s Boy (Happy B’day Mommy)

Today is my mother’s birthday. She’s 61 this year, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. The gift of great skin, which she blessedly passed on to her children, among other things.

When I think of my mother, I tend to be overwhelmed by a mixture of varying emotions. As a family, we’ve been through a lot, courtesy of an absent, emotionally unavailable, and promiscuous father. So my mother raised us, me and my sisters; weathering our tumultuous personalities during puberty and sometimes until now, watching as her children each chooses their own way, trying to be the best mother that she can.

Make no mistake, my mother is no saint. She is a woman, with her own emotions and sins and regrets and flaws and passions.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Sometimes she gets caught up in her own life as we, her children, get caught up in ours. Sometimes we drift apart, sometimes we fight and argue and yell at one another, sometimes we disapprove of each other’s decisions whether vocally or in silence. And yet through it all, she’s my mother still, and I love her.

I remember living with a guy once. I was 17 and rebellious and I ran away from home on the day that I met him and simply didn’t come home for several months. When I finally notified my family about how and where I was, my mother came to visit. She knew I was gay, since I came out to my mother’s side of the family as soon as I started dating, and at the time I thought she was okay with it. Turned out I was wrong.

During one of her visits, she brought over two female Jehovah witnesses, who apparently told my mother that my homosexuality is “an aberration against God and a sin and treatable”. And treat me they did. With an exorcism of sorts – hand-laying, loud praying, the works. I was stunned senseless. And I went to a place I was very comfortable and familiar with: hysteria and high-drama. We stopped talking for some time. I just couldn’t forgive her. I felt betrayed, misunderstood, and unaccepted. Suffice to say that in my teens, I was a very angry child.

Looking back at it, though, I can’t feel the same rage I used to. I guess perspective is something that living and age give you. She felt like she was losing me and sought to understand me by means that she understood. She’s a mother; not a saint, but a woman. And for that I forgave but couldn’t forget. And at that point, I stopped being so open about my orientation to her.

Several years later, something else happened. My mother met someone. I didn’t mind – none of us did. At least until we met the guy and I just couldn’t like him. I tried telling my mother but she wouldn’t listen. Maybe she was in love. Maybe she was lonely. She continued on and made some bad judgments. I can’t and won’t go into detail because this part is her story to tell, not mine. All I can say is that it was a major occurrence which residue is still felt to the present moment.

At least something good came out of it. My mother and I somehow reached a kind of agreement, an understanding, that in our lives we’re allowed to make our own decisions no matter how much the other may feel that they’re a mistake; and that however badly circumstances and conditions leave us shattered, when the dust settles we’ll always be there for each other.

I watched her sleep for several minutes tonight, and right when the clock struck twelve I woke her up, wished her happy birthday with a tight hug and kisses on her cheeks. I told her I’m sorry for not being able to give her anything yet. She just looked sleepily at me and smiled and said, “Just mention me in your prayers.”

And now I sit here thinking, remembering, recollecting. Reliving the days and the memories that we’ve shared and hoping so hard that there’ll be plenty of other memories to come, together with this wonderful woman who is not a saint, but my mother. And I love her.

At Heaven’s Gate

Last week, I was at the QFF closing party at Musro, candyflipping Saturday night away (half a Shiva, half a mysteriously unknown e that Tara stuffed between my lips) and I ended up having a helluva good time. Drugs make things and people much more bearable). Tonight, I’m at the trial reopening of Heaven at Jaya Building (“We’re not  a club anymore. We’re now a lounge-slash-bar”. Awwwriiiight). And it’s certainly an experience. According to one of the employees the place is, and I quote, “unfinished and therefore we’ve been doing a trial run for the past few days”.

Well, they have the unfinished part down, I have to say. The floor is bare concrete and sandy and the air is heavy with the smell of construction. It has a-half-abandoned-industrial-building-you-have-raves-in feel to it,  minus the abundance of LSD and/or e. The only thing missing is actual workers, although honestly about more than half of the partygoers look (and dare I say it, smell) like they can pass as construction workers, albeit better dressed to varying degrees. The AC barely existent, the air circulation terrible, and…

Oh wait, the show is starting. A drag queen in a black and silver-sequined mini is taking reign of the bar, mouthing the words to an unfamiliar sad slow RnB song. She’s doing a hell of a job at it too, slithering on the glass and sweating away. Kudos to her, though. Drag is never easy, in my opinion. And as she steps off to a smattering of polite applause, she’s replaced by another performer in a black mini, vest, and sparkly boots. I’m a little unclear as to what this one is doing, since her idea of performing seems to be walking back and forth on the bar while doing some kind of ‘coreography’. Yep. Apostrophes. Even more prominent is the ‘apostrophe’ between her legs. Sister needs to take Tuck-In 101 again. I suspect she failed the class. Miserably.

But I digress. Let’s talk about music now. I was really excited that female DJ Rya was gonna play. Not so excited when she actually does, though. It’s somewhat… disappointing. Rya (if my memory serves) used to spin these awesome mixes with a thick and seductive RnB flavour. It’s sadly gone, replaced by run-of-the-mill techno blah and even some questionably ‘dangdut-y’ remixes. The next DJ however (who by the way, is topless and has a cute face and pouty lips you just wanna ply with french kisses) does awesome! I’m a hiphopster at heart and he spins and spins and spins his music and I spin and spin and spin my hips around on the floor. DJ K3llink, his name is, as I was told. Well sir, thank you and thank you again for a slammin’ set.

Oh and if I was sober by the beginning of this post, I’m sooo not now. Heaven’s infamous Killer cocktail is back! The taste somewhat differs from the headbanging and throatburning classic that I remember, but hey, if it gets me tipsy after a couple of glasses, sign me up! Questionable price, though. IDR 150.000 for a cocktail? Well damn, that’s about Dragonfly’s price range, which to be frank is a little too upmarket for a very recently resurrected up-an-comer to stand toe-to-toe with. Not sure if it’s a smart move but we’ll see how people react to it.

Friendly staff members help make the night what it is, hospitable and reasonably chatty without being in-your-face. The gogo dancers… Well one is kinda hot in a big-thighs-biceps-pecs-gluteus maximus kind of way. The other is LOL material. Flat butts in g-strings? Hell, naw!! The man needs to be fed, like pronto. If you’re gonna be almost naked in public, better make sure you look damn good doing it.

Okay. Now I’m home. Chapped lips and sore muscles are testaments to the amount of fun I just had. Best of luck to Tino Mandagi, Heaven’s manager (not sure if he’s manager or owner); best of luck with your current venture. Thank you Heaven, thank you glasses of Killer, and thank you Tara and Robert. As I always say, a night is only as fun as the company you share it with. Kisses, darlings!

Micha, signing out.