Verve (5/15-5/19)

I crave and have been longing for something, anything, new to create and build upon.  In looking to the past I have hoped to forge new-ness.  By editing and revising my story, crystalizing events into formative moments allows for the creation of sound foundations to go forward.  Part of creating the foundation involves sharing alleviating of secrets because secrets form a warm comfortability; particularly after being kept for so long.  Growing up I could not actively be authentic, developing into chronic shame.

For myself, chronic shame came from the best of intentions of my parents when raising two children.  And they were good at it, striving to create balance for two radically different kids.  When they didn’t live up to expectations they privately, and I’m sure to this day, scolded themselves; they failed less times than they believe they did.  The majority of their concern was aimed at my sister and her uncontrollable outbursts.  My sister’s (then undiagnosed bipolar) behavior drew my parents’ attention, exhausting them, resulting in an often chaotic home life.  My parents did what they could at the time, as an adult and child I understood that, so I crafted a compliant personality designed to make life far simpler.  This allowed me to get attention when my parents sought respite from my sister.

Compliance also allowed me to go unseen, with my homosexuality never being addressed.  This self-imposed inability to say out loud that I was gay.  I had seen modelled on TV even how the most progressive of parents reacted, which was with tears of worry.  I was not going to add more concerns to their already full plate.  I vowed to be the straw that broke any one’s back.

A Political Discussion I Had Recently

ME: In today’s job market and society we have produced too many people with degrees that there is no longer a blue-collar work force, which is a factor in the shrinking middle class.

THEM: If the middle class and blue collar contingent disappears, who will be left to vote republican? Bible thumpers and assholes?

ME: Plenty of Bible thumpers and assholes vote Democrat. To believe that “the opposite” political party is made up of “deplorables” minimizes the needs of a large group of Americans – further pushing the polarized state of the country. Middle class and blue collar are often voting for, what can be loosely described, as “family values.” If you are attempting to refer to the large electoral college vote that Trump received, then it might be best to try and think “What has the country not done to support them?” The states that Trump won were “no collar” states, the miners and farmers, and those without college degrees and trade-skills, who – more than likely – saw a country that was increasingly looking beyond its borders and supporting foreign interests. Those that voter for Trump were more than likely attempting to vote for themselves, their families, and their neighbors, by voting for localized economic resurgence. What they saw was how others are getting more and more rights for very specific demographics, while their own was being maligned as “ignorant” or “racist,” which was largely probably not the case. Your statement also ignores recent NYT, LA Times, and Politico articles that are finding, in young America, a 2 party system no longer is viable. As well, there were the Bernie-die-hards that abstained from voting because Hillary wasn’t Bernie, which also cost her the election, and perhaps a more progressive government. Continue reading “A Political Discussion I Had Recently”

Playground Inauthenticity as Survival

Playground Inauthenticity as SurvivalOn the playground we are taught, as evolutionary survival, that it is important to be like everyone else, to find acceptance into the group dynamic.  From pre-historic to ancient-times, and beyond, avoiding being ostracized meant avoiding death.  This evolutionary hold-over is what pushes queer youth to hide our authenticity from others, keeping our interests, past-times, and loves from friends and families. Doing so stagnates the formation of a queer identity, rooted in beliefs, attitudes, and values.

I grew up in a suburbia that wasn’t ticky-tacky little boxes, but a nostalgic Mayberry: students walked to school, left campus to eat lunch in the village, and formed cliques based upon clothing labels; there was a dairy to buy milk fresh from the cow and boutiques that were hobbies for doctor wives.  The school district heavily focused on academic success and rigor, not grit or character; children were taught to be students and not to interact with educators.  We were academically prepared but street smarts were not taught between Great Expectations and chemistry.  The few gay boys that were known easily fit the mainstream suburbia of backyard pools, in ways I never could.  I sabotaged acceptance by defensively rejecting the labels and tokenism they appeared to willingly accept.  I deliberately kept to myself, denying myself a confidante, by refusing anyone I could divulge to because I was scared that if anyone knew my real fears, secrets, and thoughts, they’d not like me. I was different and I knew it, but didn’t wish to be separated from the herd.  By exaggerating what didn’t fit homogeneity I created a smokescreen of descriptors against isolation, hoping no one would the gay.  I allowed peers to silence my identity and interests – a little for all but not everything to one; and no one to me.

Wonder Woman as Queer

Wonder Woman by Nathan FoxWonder Woman is from Paradise Island, a single-sex island, where in the twenty-first century began canonical displays of romantic love towards one another.  Wonder Woman’s advocacy of queer eroticism, which began with her creation by William Marston in 1942 until Dr. Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent labeled Wonder Woman dangerous to young American girls by promoting lesbianism.  Fearing cancellation DC Comics’ writers and artists began suppressing Wonder Woman’s textual queer support, barely addressing her erotic history as subtext.  During this time Wonder Woman abandoned promoting equality between the sexes for earning Steve Trevor’s affections.  In the twenty-first century writers leaned-in to modern interpretations of Paradise Island, once again freeing Wonder Woman from heteronormativity, and regaining her role as an advocate of queerness.  Freedom from heteronormative expectations removes preconceived notions of “sex” and “gender” labels, allowing Wonder Woman to embody the idea of universal love.  Wonder Woman’s love for all extends to acceptance, such as in the 2016 (v3, #48), when she officiated over a same-sex wedding, legitimizing homosexuality as a mainstream.  Additionally, given Wonder Woman’s Amazon Princess role means that Hippolyta, queen-mother, would have performed officiations on Paradise Island, and given being royalty her participation would lend significance and validity to the ceremony.

Authentic Wants in a Mate

If “funny” or “sense of humor” is wanted, then what kind of sense of humor/funny? Sarcastic? Dry? Goofy? Everyone wants someone that’s intelligent – who wants to talk to a bag of rocks?  There are different intelligences; emotional, scientific, inter/intrapersonal, etc. Are you emotionally strong and don’t need someone to consistently ask “what’s wrong” because doing so would drive you insane? Every preference is valid and worthy, appealing to Each of those senses of humor appeal to personal preferences and a personalized way through life that would make them (and oneself) more appealing to go through life’s hardships together. A relationship is more likely to implode when personalities don’t click because one, or both, do not know what it is that makes them comfortable, happy, and synchronicity.

Knowing traits are specifically wanted in a mate, removing the broad fantasy of idealized traits, and knowing specifically what balances or engages oneself will help avoid dating or marrying someone else’s mate.  One way to do this in modernity is to think deeply and critically about the media and experiences that are engaged in.  What about that TV show or song brought the emotional response?  What memories are triggered?  Connecting pass-time enjoyments to memories enables authentic and vibrant emotional responses, that inform decisions leading to agency in life.  Critically learning the triggered responses from accumulated experiences and cultivated media-preferences, it is possible to lean on our authentic selves and not imposed idealized expectations to find fulfillment.

Wonder Woman’s Dichotomy

 

Wonder Woman by Adam Hughes
Wonder Woman by Adam Hughes

Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, with her powerful abilities, centuries of training and experienced at handling threats that range from petty crime to threats that are of a magical or supernatural nature, Diana is capable of competing with nearly any hero or villain.  She’s concurrently the fiercest and most nurturing member of the Justice League, capable of making the hard decisions.  Wonder Woman’s hard-decision making is brought from her backstory and characterization.  In comic books and the DC Universe Wonder Woman’s nickname, The Amazon Princess, makes obvious the dichotomy inherent in the premiere super-heroine.  As an Amazonian she is a trained warrior, powerful, strong-willed, and does not back-down from a battle.  The princess aspect of the character places her in the political and diplomatic spheres, pursing peace without escalating conflicts.  In both worlds Wonder Woman is a leader, who, unlike Superman and Batman, understands the ramifications globally and locally of her actions.  Throughout the character’s seventy-five-year history, and several retcons, Wonder Woman has remained consistently nurtured humanity through compassion and a strong conscience.

 

Verve (5/08-5/12)

NERDSI exist in a state of constant heartbreak, longing to be within a cozy weekend bubble with another.  In the past I sunk under the weight of pursing others like a puppy only to not be selected; my authenticity – the interests, experiences, and beliefs – has always existed on the peripheral of popular.

An element of fear of abandonment became engrained in middle school when everyone began experimenting with relationship dynamics.  Every student appeared to pair-off, leaving me feeling alone.  During this delicate time, I turned to the people around me as models of domesticity, which did not perfectly reflect what felt natural to me.  In culture role-models were Ellen DeGeneres when she came out while I was in high school, but unfortunately her breezy character became heavy, angry, and hurt  The relationship her character presented was full of drama and bickering.  Queer as Folk on Showtime presented more of the same, but this time heavy drug use was included.  I was in college by that time and finally saw healthier homosexual relationships, through Will Graham, Will & Grace, was single through the majority of the show’s run, having serious relationships after the show found success.

The domesticity on Will & Grace was not perfection, but the characters created a bubble of playing house.  I wanted to emulate the relationships by running errands, sharing chores, and cooking together.  Our existence would be dictated by shared calendars and outings.  It would be teamwork and comradery.  I crafted doctored acceptable variations of myself, believing my exposed self would not be good enough.  The knowledge my authenticity granted was deferred to others in an effort to avoid insult and derision.  Receding behind partners’ goals I built up their hopes, while exploring how to play with the truth, creating chaos that would ultimately result in the relationship imploding.

Mindy Project’s Road to Authentic Expectations

The Mindy ProjectMindy Kaling and her show The Mindy Project is the Tuesday show that has kept me afloat through its 5 years; I will miss the show after it ends with the upcoming sixth season.  Mindy Kaling has crafted a model of modern dating and goal achieving for the Twenty-First Century.  Dr. Mindy Lahiri, Kaling’s character, was raised on romantic comedies with dreams of a Sex & the City life.  As Mindy experienced dating and professional life in the 21st Century was met with equal success and zany; Mindy was not the female lead that was successful at work and unlucky in love.  The Mindy Project traces Mindy’s dating adventures and mishaps and success moving away from imposed celebrity-rom-com fantasy world to realistic expectations based upon her own experiences.

Dr. Lahiri’s dating life reflected the process that many single adults must go through as they seek their ideal mate.  Throughout the course of the series Mindy begins her dating life with big eyes and rose-tinted glasses – she was Carrie searching for her Mr. Big, and nothing less would do.  As adults go through dating our list of traits wanted in another is extremely generic, stating broad character traits such as “attractive”, “funny”, “smart”.  In her unique way Mindy, also, is specific in her list-of-wants by associating each desired trait with a celebrity.  Mindy learns to create specificity in her desirable trait-list, through the boyfriends, and husband (then ex), as she travels through the show’s run.  Mindy began the show searching for her Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling-idealized, an old school alpha-male that would make the decisions in the relationship, and she ended up with Danny Castellano – who manipulated the relationship to push Mindy to abandon her work goals to be a stay at home mother.  Danny’s actions acted counter to the experiences that strengthened Mindy’s character, pushing her to remain a static character.  When she learned of Danny’s manipulations, rather than shrink and lean on her fantasies, Mindy chose to lean on herself and the goals she had developed through her experiences.  She chose to leave Danny based upon the cultivated, and critically examined, experiences she accumulated in The Mindy Project‘s acclaimed run, leading to a happier, more fulfilling and honest relationship with geeky, modern, and accepting fiancé Ben; whose personality and needs better balanced Mindy than Danny.

Why We Need To Be Unapologetically Authentic

 

Art by Malika Favre
Art by Malika Favre

Authenticity is something I struggle with, so much so that I have made it my resolution for 2017.  I realized towards the end of 2016 that I covered up, diluted, or ignored the parts of myself that I thought would alienate me from those around me.  In truth, those aspects of my identity (which I am still peeling away to discover) are what make me unique and an individual.  For years I struggled with the idea that there was something false and untrue about my place in the world, only to realize that those feelings come from the fact that I was not living with authenticity – I was going to events to celebrate people I didn’t like, putting time into covering up my true ideas, and putting myself in places that I didn’t want to be.  Exhuming personalized experiences and exposing to others my personalized allows for facades to be dropped. As masks are dropped deeper connections are formed.  As I have worked through this by analyzing my past, celebrating my interests and what they mean to me, and connecting through failures, I have deepened my relationships with friends and family, resulting in an increased quality of life.  Authenticity is being politely selfish by connecting through shared hardships and joys.

 

Check out: Why We Need To Be Unapologetically Authentic

Wonder Woman and American Ideals

 

wonder woman by iumazark-d3iekm2
By Gabriel Iumazark

Batman and Superman are aspects of the American experience in ways that Wonder Woman is not.  Superman is the immigrant experience, constantly having to be better and stronger than the ideals – truth, justice, the American Way – he embodies because if he does not than all immigrants/aliens/heroes would be viewed as untrustworthy.  Batman is the guilt wealth brings, fighting the shadows to right the wrongs upon which success is built upon.  Wonder Woman though is not born of the American Dream – she does not come from guilt due to success, nor is she an immigrant who holds ideals of a culture.  Wonder Woman, is a visitor to America; she is an emissary of foreign ideals that she hopes to impart.  By her actions and adventures Wonder Woman inspires all peoples to possess physical and mental strength, values, and ethical and moral attributes, proving that not only American values need dominate the world stage.  She is not looking to eclipse the core of American ideals, rather Wonder Woman’s goal is to symbolize that anyone can embody truth and justice.  Wonder Woman normalizes that esteem for human life is a source of strength.  This diminishes the American belief, which has vacillated through its history, that armed conflict leads to conflict resolution.