Adult homosexuals from the internet were just as eager to meet as peers I interacted more with adults, but their eagerness to meet only reinforced my Jodie Dallas induced greatest fears of being queer. Still, though, I more quickly accepted an adult’s invitation to meet than a peers’. In adult companionship, I saw a greater possibility of the exciting homosexual adventures, like those in Queer as Folk; their adventures seemed like the safe juvenile antics I should be participating in. I had wanted big city Sex & the City adventures with Mr. Big, who’d take me to theatre and art openings. What I found instead was sneaking off to the backwoods of Upstate New York and trailer parks, where their own inauthenticity funhouse mirrored my own. They were adults trapped in adolescence, attempting to stay past their prime by hanging with the freshly prime. I was an adolescent playing adult, attempting to stay out past bedtime by hanging with those without a bedtime. The very nature of my game necessitated duplicity as I navigated the two worlds that I had begun inhabiting, as I tried on various masks and identities.
I have never been a fan of the holiday season. I love the holidays individually, but instead of being filled with cheer and joy in equal measure around me, I am filled with a deep consistence question of my value; a sense that at any moment everything will be discovered to be unearned. A person becomes convinced that they have a pathetic unique ineptitude for life. There is a screaming hyper awareness of flaws and errors.
I’m sorry I’m not taller
I’m sorry I’m not kinder
I’m sorry I’m secretly needy
I’m sorry I want to do it all
I’m sorry I don’t know how to share
I’m sorry that I don’t know how to slow down
When the gears shift it is never subtle, but is more akin to slamming on the breaks. The opposite measure is less distracting because its immediate effects are the endorphins of shopping, great mood, and all around good-time making. Great stuff that gets outwardly rewarded by friends and coworkers, which mask the negative effects of spending sprees, inability to concentrate, or inflated self-esteem.
This does not come around once a year from November through January, but is a year-round cycle that only becomes heightened by The Season. The Holiday Season itself comprises these two extremes on a national level. There are those that shout proudly that they are grinches, and there are those that indulge in The Season beginning October 28. Frenzied energy produced by the baking, obligatory parties, and shopping, fuels the self-destructive thinking and hopelessness. I stay home, with hot chocolate and marshmallows, with Netflix, and quietly wait until after February.
The Basilia Phalanstère was located at 1016 Madison Ave, Central Business District, in Sidume, of Pentapolis of the Valley. It is six floors high, with a basement to make seven; and worth $32 million with taxes at about $80,000, for 93,300 square feet with elevators. The building had been zoned for commercial and residential usage. From outside the building looked elegant and stately, a large stone and brick home amidst the concrete of Sidume and its buildings. To Brian McCloud it looked like something that belonged closer to the opulence of Biell than so near the economic center of The Valley.
Blithedale built the mansion in 1862, at the foot of the ultramarine Acadian Mountains, a sprawling granite structure; the land had been bought in the early 1850s. Throughout time The Basilia was reconstructed and remodeled primarily in 1865 thru 1914, to include four fort-like towers shooting out from its sides and amongst the steel skyscrapers, like octopus tentacles around glass fish. It contains 35 apartments, 9 studios, 9 duplex penthouses, museum, business, and dining facilities; and can house up to 1620 people at any given moment. The building’s main door was large steel arches, framed by a single stone arch that read, “O to che vieni doloroso.”
The structure was composed of three major parts: a central part and two lateral wings. The central wing houses libraries, offices, meeting rooms, studies, and a ballroom. The left wing is for labor and noisy activities, such as carpentry or food preparation; as well as dorms for Erotes. The right wing is where most member penthouses were. The basement housed some of the organization’s more monetarily expensive acquisitions.
The 1914 Green-Space Initiative preserved its unique architecture, for more modernity’s sake. With the mass production of the automobile, increasing traffic, demolition of historic buildings, commercial encroachment into historic neighborhoods, and the loss of open space led to the beginning of grass roots preservation efforts. Almost immediately residents, business people, and government officials worked cooperatively to preserve, enhance, and revitalize the eastern side of Wuthering Canal; they successfully restored numerous village buildings, the establishment of a historic preservation district. Interiors and features were as modern as could be afforded.
In homosexuality the superficiality of idolized physicality was not me – the queer geek who’s the interests, experiences, and beliefs existed on the peripheral of popular. I liked dressing in big sweatshirts and sweaters with oversized jeans; everything I wore was about disappearing my differences. The popular straight boys, who got all the attention, were pop-idols and porn stars who looked like Justin Timberlake in Abercrombie & Fitch. Not me.
Abandonment became engrained in middle school when everyone began pairing-off to experimenting with relationship dynamics, leaving me feeling alone. I couldn’t go to local gay youth groups because I wasn’t ready for an identity label, which was rooted in the denial that was needed in high school to survive. The homosexual teenagers I conversed with through the internet seemed so much braver than myself because they had found and proclaimed their inner authenticity. Their assured identity, confidence in their labels – which had already been presented to their parents – gave them the bravery to ask to meet immediately. I was incapable of reading other homosexual teenagers’ eagerness to meet as a shared isolation, and so made excuses as to why that couldn’t happen.
Life taught me early that existence was being in a state of constant heartbreak. The gay domesticity templates of Jodie Dallas, Ellen, and early representation demonstrated that life would never consist of a cozy bubble with another; only the longing for one. Jodie Dallas was perpetually single, and Ellen’s relationship was full of bickering. These examples of playing-house were a lacking perfect reflection of what I wanted, which was the bittersweet rom-com of How to Marry a Millionaire; 13 Going on 30, What’s Your Number, and Sex & the City.
In the past, I sunk under the weight of pursing others like a puppy only to not be selected. I frequently dream about my exes and crushes, wherein I omnisciently observed their typical day as they worked, then home to their husband. If it was an ex, I gave them kids or the home we had dreamt of together. A crush was bestowed the ideal life, where someone else filled the role that I had hoped to fill. In my fantasies I make other people happy in their relationships away from me. Dreaming or awake I have the believe that everyone is happy but me, who is overwhelmed with a feeling that I am incomplete.
The fictional playground that I have created is the city-state Pentapolis of the Valley, a dark urban fantasy setting combination of: my reality of Upstate New York, and my fantasy life imagined in New York City, London, and San Francisco.
The world that Pentapolis exists in is a combination of my fears and aesthetics. The social ills of Pentapolis are rooted in inequity and isolationism, dressed in Victorian and Gilded Age construction.
Pentapolis of the Valley is located on the eastern coast of the United States, in the Hudson River Valley. Pentapolis is a conglomerate of five cities, whose combined varied economic and political resources to form a powerful city-state, after an ecological disaster: The Genesis Revolution. During that time, a large monolith emerged from Uuru, disrupting the fragile electromagnetic s igniting a new apocalyptic religion
I populated Pentapolis with characters based upon friends, who were then mixed with celebrity and historical facts. I constructed the aloof Dorian Iacchus, the person I pretended to be and dreamt I could present.
In Pentapolis of the Valley, I constructed a world where scenarios and ideas can become thought exercises, followed through to their conclusion.
My bungalow is in a handsome u-shaped French Revival-style exterior face of brown brick, sandstone, and panels of terracotta details. A geometric wrought iron fence encases the backyard’s coy pond and fountain. The courtyard reaches inside flooding the loft, creating ever-changing shadows and accents. The porch is pale glazed brick, ornamental cast iron, Mexican floor tiles, and polished wood.
Overlooking the coy pond, is a small writing office with a square wooden coffee table and loveseat. Through floor to ceiling glass doors is a particularly large salon; curtains are red and gold cotton. A fireplace juts out from the brick wall, linking the porch and salon.
Inside, above the fireplace is flanked by floor to ceiling built-in shelves filled with antique books and candles. A slim HD-TV sits on a rolling table out of the way. In the center of the room is a rug, on top of which is a couch, antique Byzantine conversation couch, and two chairs huddled around a coffee table. Strewn about the coffee table are periodicals. Between the couch and the fireplace is an eight-person dining table, with two wing back black chairs at the heads of the table; the remaining six are three pairs of Edwardian chairs. The parallel wall is lined in tiers trailing many feet to the ceiling is a large art collection.
French doors to the right of the salon lead to the bedroom, whose three walls are painted different shades of cement grey, with a fourth for the trim; the fourth wall is the large bubble glass that faced the courtyard. A large Ottoman stained glass room divider obscured the bed from the glass. A curtain rod ran across the ceiling with green and watermelon sheer curtains that could be drawn. There is a Victorian fainting couch next to the French doors. In the corner is a large mirror. There are four armoires in the room: one against the wall to the side of the mirror, and the other three lined the parallel wall. The wrought iron bed, with antique white European country chairs acting as side tables, are in the center of the room, with a black rug underneath.
Opposite the bubble glass is the bathroom, which is black and white art deco with subway tile, and accented with green and bamboo. The free-standing sink, toilet and claw footed bathtub, are porcelain; the rainforest shower and fixtures are nickel. There’s a small door across the bathroom entry that lead to a laundry room.
The kitchen is French rustic with plenty of work space that run along the walls, with a rolling island that allows the room to retain an open feeling. There is light filling the white and natural wood filled room from a window that is over the in-counter brass country sink. Storage and the pantry are beneath the counter space on display in glass containers. The appliances are warm red and teal, designed to appear country and antique. Eighteen inches from the ceiling runs a shelf around the kitchen that holds knick-knacks, which provide character that anchor the décor in a whimsical domestic fantasy.
Knowing the minutiae of events, the details needed to plan a day, and the trees of the forest become the goal of every day. The big picture is in the plan, but the trees are too enticing. It takes all my strength and energy to stay focused and not become distracted by gears in the clock. Too much focus on patterns, designs, clashing, and mixing loses the trail through the woods. To exist between the moment, focused on details, creates a life of managed crisis and devoid of stability. Management sustains an imprisoning homeostasis, wherein activities are missed; and then isolation ensues.
Being overwhelmed can have a physical effect on the body. It doesn’t always need to be pressure, but an overriding omnipresent emotion or anxiety from a routinely occurring event. Triggers can be wide ranging from job promotion to routinely being around negative human beings. The body and mind have reflexes driving actions towards knowable patterns – again the cycle repeats. In the instance of myself it causes extreme stomach and back pain. I begin feeling constant pain in my abdomen that doesn’t dissipate with consuming food. Knots form under my shoulder blade or at the base of my skull as pressure becomes more consuming.
When the stress’ antecedent is removed, stamina must be regrown to fully participate and engage with life. The road to mending is a slippery slope – anxiously re-entering the hamster wheel. Life is a cyclical series of work, relax, work, relax. At any moment during the early moments of recovery there is the nagging thought that the next quick cycle would be the trigger for another physical episode. Regardless of the cycle that a person endures, breaking and starting on a new path is difficult to do.
Over time I have learned that it is okay to feel comfort in drifting within day to day. I began doing this by actively choosing to go through the two boxes of print outs and read, which allowed me to see how much of my fictional cosmology has been told. I began reserving weekends to take inventory of what I have produced. I learned that days do not need to be a constant rush towards the goal line, but can be relaxed and taking inventory. It is on those days, taking stock of what has been accomplished, one can be humbled by the steps that have been taken; we can pat ourselves on our own back.
Friends and inter-personal relationships assist with driving the new path, constantly grabbing the brakes by injecting day-to-day with vulnerable relatable stories. While they are not trained cognitive therapists, friends and co-workers offer opportunities to relate anxieties, failures, and successes. They provide conversations where automatic thoughts, which distort reality, can be challenged. Then the automatic thoughts can be worked through and dispelled with a professional.
It takes a village.
Fiction is the playground where authenticity can be developed. Reading and writing fiction pushes a participant to go through the world as experienced by another. Fiction can legitimately present the inner-world of characters, letting outsiders experience the turmoil of daily interactions. Authenticity is rooted in a deep understanding of the world and the place that one holds in it, which fiction safely allows to occur.
Toni Morrison, Armistead Maupin, Carson McCullers, and Caitlin R. Kieran brought readers into their and their characters’ worlds. Each author presented the inner-life of a marginalized group; Morrison revealed the psychological scars of slavery on African-Americans; Maupin showed the normalcy of LGBTQ+ community; McCullers and Kiernan gave representation to mental illness’ isolating ability.
Fiction explores these identities to form connections to understand an increasingly diverse world. Stories expose radically different cultures, not Americanized variations, where presupposed rules can’t be applied, and are unable to change the culture. Authors create narratives that demonstrates blanket-solutions can’t be applied to every problem and expected to work. Instead, fiction demonstrates that solutions must be unique to problem and culture, requiring imagination in examine the setting’s effect on characters and interactions.