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.

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.

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.

L

I’m staring at blue. A blue of swirling memories of yesteryears, when you were still here. My legs in short shorts, your laughter across the room, drunkenly driving you home without a license in somebody else’s car. You loved me, didn’t you? And I loved you. Dialysis machines and chilling air conditioners, slices of smoked beef on wheat with chili and mayo, the sheets of flowing green silk you fitted on me. For a blink of eternity’s eye we had a spot in space and time. Not quite an us, not quite apart. Audrey Hepburn’s unforgettable face, Bette Davis’ cigarette smoke, Almodovar’s quirky movies. You didn’t care that I was different. And yes, you were different, too. Arby’s gooey melted cheese, Silverbirds waiting in the front lawn, insistently calling me Spikey even when my hair got curly. “No one’s ever done that for me,” you whispered after glasses of chardonnay. Years later you confessed that no one ever did again. Nights of foosball, of salsa music, of endless conversations and punchlines and wishes and dreams.

And now you’re gone. And there is only memory.

And this is for now, a goodbye.

Nobody Else but Me

I’ve been called a lot of things. The latest were ‘delusional’, ‘misguided’, and my personal favourite, ‘idiotic’. It’s always interesting to hear people’s review of yourself, especially since opinions often carry even more information about the people who hold them than the subject matter concerned. Which is why as much as I’ll keep listening to what people say about me, I’ve learned that to swallow them whole and let them completely define me would never bring much good.

I’ve chosen how I live my life. It may not fulfill the expectations or approval of others, nor be up to their standards, nor even be to their liking. But guess what? It’s my choice. Just as it is your choice to live yours. It doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to judge me, though. Of course you are. Hell, I judge you, too. We all can’t help judging one another. But when you expect me to change into something or someone else when I don’t ever ask you to, who exactly is the deluded and misguided idiot here? You don’t know what’s best for me. Even I don’t know what’s best for me. We all just live whichever way we can and see what happens anyway.

So when you say that you’re worried about me, what exactly are you worried about? It’s not like you’ve been around me or helped me when I’m down and out or even ‘been there for me’. And please chill, I know that the world isn’t made of candy canes and cotton candy and that people are people instead of angels and that oftentimes in order to see beauty it takes not only willingness but a whole lot of effort. I know that. But hell, why should it be anyone’s concern if I want to believe otherwise? As if people don’t rely on their denials and justifications and delusions to live through each day. And if you think you don’t, well sweetie baby honey, that’s your own delusional misguided idiocy talking.

And… Scene

Drama, drama, and oh look.. more drama.

O boy.

I’m guilty of being a voyeur of other people’s interactions and relationships, observing and analyzing them in an attempt to better understand how others, the world in general, and myself operate and function in regard to one another. I don’t always like, approve of, or condone what I see but I still have to see it.

And what I’m seeing at the moment, is a whole lot of playacting. To say the right things at the right times at the right places in the right ways to the right people for the right reasons. It’s basically premeditated, predetermined interactions in order to fulfill a certain agenda. God forbid we should ever be who we really are or say what we really feel and think. And here lies the temptation: How much of ourselves are we willing to compromise or sacrifice for the sake of the limelight, the attention, and applause? Just how much of ourselves will we modify, alter, discard, and forget?

It’s drama, drama, and yes.. more drama. Performance rather than substance. And not much else.

Barenaked Me

Have been plagued with general thoughts and feelings of ‘being the only one’ lately. You know, that profound disconnectedness from the rest of the world that’s often tricky to shake off. Not that I’m special, which would make me cool. Unfortunately I’m just weird, which totally pushes me in the opposite direction. No, not hot. Just uncool. And while it’s true that I’ve long ago accepted that being an outsider -even among other outsiders- is just a natural fact that I have to live with, I still wonder about its recent prominent resurfacing.

I suppose that it mostly has to do with my inability or unwillingness to adapt to the direction and pace of modern life around me. People have this need to feel like they’re going somewhere and they pursue it with gusto, whether it’s their career or relationship or interest or passion or hobby or any particular purpose, whether imaginary or factual, whether profound or temporary. And they do it at such breakneck speed. I have to have it and I have to have it now. Well the thing is, I don’t.

So, where does that leave me?

As it seems, much behind. And very much alone. And I get it. It’s not so much that those close to me don’t want me in their lives, it’s just difficult to find the space and time to fit me in their hectic and often crazy schedules. Which is why this is not so much a complaint as it is an observation. A simple is as opposed to a demanding should be.

Yet after all is said and done, it still feels strange sometimes.

What’s God Got to Do With It?

I need to believe in something. For the sake of my sanity, I need to believe that there is something bigger than me that keeps life from merely being a series of random accidents and coincidences. Something from which I came and will come back to again. Something that encompasses yet is part of everything. For lack of a better term, I call it God. It may differ from how other people see God or maybe they don’t even believe in the existence of any kind of God but it does not matter to me. I believe in what I believe and it’s up to others to believe what they will, and that’s alright.

Or at least in a perfect world, it would be.

But we know that the world is not perfect; and in the midst of this imperfection, accepting or even tolerating differences is much easier said than done.

Reminiscing back to my elementary school subjects, we were taught that Indonesia is not a secular country nor is it a religious country. It’s a ‘Pancasila‘ country, believing in one God but not one particular religion. It’s easy to discern the good intentions of the leaders who formulated this in the first place but as we all know, intentions and actual practice don’t always walk hand in hand or even see eye to eye. Indonesia’s days has always been and still is filled with religious conflicts and as socially unaware as I wish to be, somehow I just can’t seem to not care.

The way I see it, religion is a way for people to get closer to God. It’s a personal relationship between you and whatever notion you have of God and, therefore, is ultimately a very personal choice. Yet human beings are social creatures and, people being people, most of us need others to share and support our beliefs. This is where organized religion comes in, institutionalizing this faith as a collective to strengthen each other and work together for certain goals. Again, a noble concept of good intentions; but how exactly is the practice?

The world isn’t perfect, and as much as we would like to believe otherwise, neither is any one human being. Hence even the noblest of our intentions are often tainted by personal agenda, egotistical desires, and impure motives. And you know what? Religious leaders, no matter how hailed or touted, are people too. We make mistakes and bad decisions, cast judgments and prejudices, and so do they. Most of us think they shouldn’t; but where exactly does ‘should’ stand in life? Which is why religious teachings, which in essence teaches love – of self, of others, and of the Almighty referred to as God – can and are easily diverted or manipulated whether on purpose or otherwise. Especially in matters of faith, where right or wrong can only be endlessly debated without ever reaching a logically definitive conclusion yet ultimately decided by whatever dogma we happen to believe in, it’s too easy to forget our conscience and follow the lead of a charismatic, influential, or persuasive voice.

I don’t see the point in religious conflict because I don’t believe that any religion is better than others, just as I don’t believe that any particular lifestyle or belief system or personality is better. More suitable, perhaps; but not better. There’s no benefit that can be gained here from the old method of compare and contrast. And what and who exactly are we defending? Our faith? Our way of life? Our ego and how we think people and the world should be? It’s a pointless battle where nobody really wins at the end. As far as religion is concerned, it’s time to put God back into the equation and stop using the same God as an excuse.

I’d rather follow a clear conscience than any reward of heaven or threat of hell.

Life, or Something Like It

My bronchitis has been acting up lately. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, usually getting attacked by the ‘wretched wheezes’ anytime I overexerted myself whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically. It’s been pleasantly dormant for quite some years now and hence I was very surprised when it sneaked up on me on a much unwelcome surprise visit a couple of weeks ago. As it was mostly a lingering memory at the back of my head, I forgot how unpleasant it actually is. Only being able to draw extremely short breaths of air and having to quickly exhale and then repeating the process without getting any relief is so tiresome than I sometimes find myself actually holding my breath because breathing has become such a bother. Of course, having a physical body and all that means that’s not the wisest thing to do. Sure enough, instincts take over and I start gasping for oxygen even worse than before.

At times like that, I sometimes wonder if one day this is what it’ll be like when I die. Will I be struggling for survival then? What would it take for me to override my instinctual grasp on life and just let go?

Now, this is not a melodramatic cry for help nor is it a pathetic suicidal attempt announcement. Melodrama is overrated and suicide is just a tad too selfish. Not too mention distastefully unsightly. This is just a healthy curiosity towards death. After all, death isn’t something I’m afraid of. If anything, I’m much more intimidated by pain. The way I see it death is just the beginning of another adventure which at the same time serves as an ending to an increasingly predictable one anyway.

So yea, back to death, or more exactly, dying. While most people are preoccupied with what happens after, I’m more interested in what’ll happen right before and at the exact time of. Will I know that I’m about to die? What kinds of thoughts will run through my head? Will they be profound or inconsequential? Precisely a nanosecond before my heart beats for the very last time, how will I feel? Do I have any control over any of these? Does it even matter?

And do you know the most ironic thing of all? For someone like me, who if not exactly obsessed with death is awaiting for it eagerly, it usually don’t come quickly. In fact during the course of my life I’ve randomly met three fortune tellers who all told me that I’m going to live to a ripe old age. A really ripe old age. Blah. Truthfully the thought of getting old ranks second after pain on The List of Things I’m Most Scared Of. And it just seems so unfair. For example, I have a dear friend who for years lived without a kidney, and he had to go to the hospital twice a week where they hooked him up to a hemodialysis machine for hours. I know this because I used to accompany him there. Luckily, he’s got a transplant a few years back but his doctor said there’s no absolute guarantee that it will work out. Still, he perseveres through life. Trudging on and enjoying life the best that he can. If only there’s a way for me to give him several years of my share, I would (I offered him my kidney once but he refused. I meant what I said, though. You only need one anyway, right?).

If it seems that I’m ungrateful, I don’t think I am, really. And it’s not that I’m unhappy. Sometimes it just feels like too much of a good thing. It’s like receiving a gift and returning it at the store because you know you’ll never use it. It doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the gesture, but it’s not something you want or even need. Unfortunately this is one gift you have to live with.

Literally.

The Princess and the Pauper

I never thought I would end up here.

Once upon a time, I was a very arrogant, selfish bastard with attitude to spare and Daddy’s money to throw around. Things came easy. Whatever problems I had were easily solved or at least quickly forgotten. Money may be the root of all evil but boy can it afford amusements and distractions. And now? Well, now I have to learn to support myself and work (gasp!) and scrimp and save and rely on the kindness and generosity of my sisters and friends just to make it through each day.

I really never thought I would end up here.

But you know what? I don’t mind it. Well, at least not anymore. After the initial shock, several months of depression, denial attempts, and some years of adjustment period wear off, I can even say that I’m grateful that it happened. My identity used to be very closely intertwined with my money (and my car and my jewellery and my skin and hair care and the list goes on and on), which was of course directly connected to my social status and the treatment that I was used to and expected in getting. And now, though the view from the other side is not necessarily better, it’s clearer. It’s easier now to recognize who were around me for my money or my status or whatever I offered and represented. It’s also easier to be grateful and not take things and people for granted. I guess it’s true what they say, you really don’t know what you got till it’s gone. Not that I want to get it back. It would be great if I do, but it’s not going to affect me in any way even if I don’t.

I’m just happy. Some people say too happy. Too strangely happy. Mostly because there’s no reason to it, or at least no obvious reason that people accept as a basis for happiness. It’s not born out of the achievement of a goal or fulfillment of a wish. It’s not the by-product of having fame or wealth or a relationship or any of the things that people find so essential for their happiness. It’s not even the wonderful effects of happy pills that I used to take almost everyday. This happiness just is.

I want nothing, or at least as little as I can possibly manage. I guess that’s where it comes from. Not wanting anything means never worrying if you’ll ever get it. If you don’t want something you won’t be disappointed if you don’t get it. Accepting things (and people) as they are means you can’t be let down when they don’t turn out like you want them to be.

So I go through each day, taking whatever life throws my way. I guess my lesson is that happiness isn’t in always getting what you want, but in accepting what you get, no matter what it may be.

Vive la Différence

Kermit the Frog once said, “It’s not easy being green”. Well as it turns out, it ain’t easy being gay either. Then again, I suppose it’s never easy to be part of a minority, no matter what your colour or orientation may be. It’s too easy, whether deliberately or otherwise, to misunderstand and therefore dislike or even hate something that dares to be different from what is accepted as the norm.

When I was younger, much younger, all I ever wanted was to just blend in; to be able to be excited about the same things that everyone else was excited about, to be interested in the same things that others were, to find common ground and finally just belong. Now, though, I don’t care that much anymore because as it turns out, whether you’re wrong or right, good or bad, haters will still hate. Universal popularity is practically impossible and life’s too short to live by and for someone else’s approval.

And as for my being gay, I’ve never really understood why it’s that big of a deal. If it’s your inclination to procreate, then please breed to your heart’s desire. Build yourself a harem and see if I care. Yet why is my loving another man such an issue? As long as romantic relationships and sexual acts are consensual, who exactly am I hurting? And if it’s my ‘immortal soul’ that you’re so concerned about, is my homosexuality a bigger sin than the heterosexual man who cheats on and beats his wife? In any case, only God can judge me. And even if your inflated ego at one point or another convinces you to be God, you’re not mine and you never will be.

And if you don’t agree with me, good for you. That’s the whole point anyway.

p.s. This rant is because yesterday I came across the Daily Express headline “Now Asylum If You’re Gay” and today I happened to see a Twitter account in Indonesian language condemning gays and transvestites. Two separate things on very different scales yet both instigate the same feelings when I read them. Hatred is hatred, whether it’s printed in a tabloid or mindlessly typed and tweeted.

A Beautiful Delusion (or Chemical Depression)

When I was much younger, I used to love merry-go-rounds. I’d choose a different coloured shiny horse every time and I’d sit on its back, listening to the endless carnival tune, watching the lights and mirrors and the world going by as I spun round and round. Then the ride would end and if I wished I could just stay where I was or sit on a different horse or just get off.

How do I get off this one, though?

Things begin and end. People come and go. Life cycles and recycles. And you’re spun round and round. Over and over and over again.

What? Did you really think you were eventually getting somewhere? What a beautiful delusion.

Bleeding Surreality

Clock’s a-ticking, things are changing, and people are moving. And yet here I am still. Still watching. And still being. Not asking as many questions as I used to, though. Maybe I think I’ve found enough answers. Maybe nothing’s that interesting anymore. Who knows? I do know that my world is somewhat more silent than it usually was, which in itself is not always a bad thing. Though sometimes I miss the blur of ricocheting logic and kaleidoscopic emotions, there’s a definite calm and contentment in the abyss of nothingness.

What more is there to ask for? What more is there to chase? Maybe happiness isn’t getting what you want but accepting what you get. I can’t be one of you who live for something. I just be. Taking each day, each hour, each minute as it comes. Observing as the river rushes by, crashes into a waterfall, runs to the open sea. And yet here I am still. Watching you. And being me.

On One Sunshiny Saturday Morning

I really need to talk to someone right now and I just had a frightening moment when I realise that there isn’t anyone. Funny. I thought I’d reconciled myself to the fact that aloneness and loneliness are twin strands that make up the my personality – and apparently my way of life. Then again, maybe it’s not so funny because I’m certainly not smiling now. Well, at least I’m not crying. After the initial fright abated, I guess I’m just.. pensive. Neither my sense of comedic-irony nor dramatic-tragedy has come into play so I’m currently stuck in emotional limbo. Don’t they say that it’s oh-so-calm in the eye of the storm?

So here I am. Alone and lonely. Calmly alone and calmly lonely. Telling myself that this need to reach out to someone, to be heard, to be understood, to be touched, to be held, to be loved, is just a temporary reaction to circumstance. That I’m fine with being alone. That I’m fine with being lonely. That it doesn’t hurt and I’m just making something out of nothing. Nothing at all. It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt. I’m fine..

Or at least I will be. Because hey, that’s what I always am, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

Psychorambles

It’s too late in the game for normalcy, ain’t it?

Or maybe it’s never too late and I just don’t want to play the game.

Here I go, rambling again. Maybe it’s sleep deprivation. Maybe it’s basic insanity. Who knows anymore?

But seriously now, let’s talk a little, in just a few broken little sentences, about this game called life. Oh sorry. I meant Life. Almost forgot the quintessential capital. Because that’s what it is, isn’t it? The capitally quintessential and quintessentially capital game of all. The only 3-D board game where you’re both the player and the token, betting it all on the throw of a dice. And as in every game, everyone’s in it to win. Because that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? Winning? Because if it ain’t the best, it’s just not good enough, is it? Because egos need stroking. And validation. Aside, of course, from approval, acceptance, and whatever semblance of that thing people call love. And even then, it quickly becomes another validation of who gets the most approval, acceptance, and well, love. Because it’s not enough to just win, is it? You have to keep winning. God forbid you should rest on your laurels. No, no. Try to be the best player out there. Never mind that at the same time you’re just a token whose fate lies at someone else’s roll of the damn dice.

And so after all is said and done, what is the moral of this raving rant?

After all is said and done, dear children, it’s always better to be lucky than good.