A Short Guide on Long Distance Relationships

ldr

Being Queer also means being alone; or, at least, this is what it means for many of us who were born in rural areas and lacked access to diverse peers. One way we managed to surmount this loneliness was through long distance relationships—we found a nice guy online and took things from there, substituting communication for physical presence.

The issue which came, however, was the difficulty in maintaining these relationships. Many people find that these relationships eventually break down. Why? For several reasons, reasons which I will talk about while giving my own thoughts and experiences; although I am far from an expert in this area, I have had my own long distance relationships and have had substantial time to muse on them. So I share my musings with you in the hope that you will take something out of it.

 

~

 

Jealousy and Romance

                A long distance relationship is essentially a compact, an agreement between two people outlining their desire to be with one another despite vast distances. However, part of this agreement is the human factor: eventually, one person or the other may meet another person whom they see a romantic future. One of the first details hammered out when discussing the details of the long distance relationship with your partner should be how dating is handled, whether the long distance relationship is a de facto relationship and all newcomers are shunned, or if the long distance relationship is more of a ‘forcing,’ something which acts as a substitute until either the two of you meet, or you find a local guy.

Sex is much the same way; early on fidelity should be established. Meaning, whether it is okay for each member in the partnership to have sexual encounters in the flesh: is your long distance relationship going to be comprised of emotional and sexual monogamy where hookups with strangers is not allowed—i.e., considered cheating—or is the relationships one which allows for hookups with the understanding that as long as an emotional factor doesn’t develop, it is an acceptable substitute for sexual activity with your partner?

In this sense, time plays an important role because even the fiercest romances can burn their selves out if left at the long distance angle. I would strongly advise planning a meet up during the trial period of being together; you should discuss with your partner how and when you two will meet and perhaps even consider calling the long distance relationship off if you find that you two are repeatedly unable to meet (since this would mean that something is likely profoundly wrong with the relationship). How the dynamics of breaking up or remaining together are to be handled is of paramount importance.

Trust and Suspicion

                I am going to be direct here: unless you and your long distance partner trust one another, it is just not going to work out. If one of you is constantly looking over your shoulder and suspecting the other of cheating on you with somebody local to them, or filtering online, or what-have-you, the entire relationship is just not going to work out. Being suspicious of the other is going to produce drama and conflicts which do not need to exist; it is going to rip you two apart (hence the need for there to be a frank discussion on what is acceptable and what it not acceptable when it comes to sexual activities). Each of you should be more than ready to have a frank discussion on limitations but more than even that, be prepared to trust that the affection which exists between you two and trust in what you have; after all, there is no use in fretting over your partner cheating on you if you have no way of either controlling him/her or even knowing—assume he is loyal and if everything works out, then the mutually trust built by each of you will persevere.

Sexual Activity

                Obviously, you and your partner cannot physically get together for romance. However, there are one or two widely known ways to stimulate that erotic appetite. One manner is sexting—both with pictures of genitals as well as with sexual instant messages being sent back and forth between you and your partner (usually these messages describe a fantasy scenario which you and your partner build, but can also directly pertain to sexual intercourse). The second option you have is to go onto Skype, or a similar webcam mode of communication, and, well, sexually stimulate yourself on camera for one another. I’ve done both in my time with my own long-distance partners and each session was, from what I remembered, always the highlight of the day. With proper communication, long distance loving can be a decent substitute for the real deal.

Communication

                Talking, when and how often, is going to be extremely important in a long distance relationship; it will be up to you and your partner to figure out how much you need to communicate and through what medium. For instance, it should be delineated when, and if, texting, Skype, Facebook, calling, or other social networking is a mode of communication; do you want a form of communication which resembles a ‘string,’ where you each simply respond to messages when you have the time and there is a constant stream of information to chat about, or would you prefer several protracted periods of communication where several times during the week you call one another on the phone, while during those space of time which are not reserved for communication, you have to yourself without the expectation of communicating? Figuring out and maintaining, and adjusting as needed, how and when you communicate is going to be the cornerstone of your relationship.

When to Break it Off

                A vital component of any long distance relationship is knowing when you need to break it off. As I said earlier, defining the parameters of your relationship will be vital for a healthy long distance bond, but part of this understanding also means knowing when ending the relationship is better for you then continuing to participate. As a general rule of thumb, I would say that prime examples of when to break it off are when either (1) your partner has been repeatedly, and without care, breaking the established rules of your relationship, and appears to have little interest in altering his/her behavior, or (2) when you find yourself apathetic to the relationship itself, and feel that the relationship simply isn’t going anywhere, like you two will never meet despite being together for a long time, or when you find yourself presented with new possibilities for personal relationships and simply feel that it would be better for you to explore in order to fully realize yourself. You should talk with your partner about these feelings and your relationship. A long distance romance, emotional, sexual, or otherwise, is a hard effort to keep together. You can be rest assured that if one of you is suffering then it will not endure; at the end of the day, it is better to be happy then it is to remain in a loveless bond with someone whom who only share shadows with.

 

(Okay, that is all I have for the moment; if you have your own experiences with long distance relationships, then please share– I may edit this post to better reflect the actual experiences of those and where mistakes could interrupt the flow of love, so if you want to share your own time in these relationships, feel free to post below. You never know if your engagements will help!)

Beating Back the Demons: Some Tips on Living with Depression

depresmap

Depression fucking sucks. No need to moderate our language here: it sucks big old donkey balls. There you are, minding your own business, when BAM, it hits—a wave of lethargy and emptiness draining the color from your world and motivation to get up in the morning, making your world one of ‘going through the motions’.

There are different forms of depression: mild, moderate severe, Bi-polar… but each have something in common: they make life difficult. Some people lose the battle and take their own lives. Others live with it in an uneasy truce. I struggle with depression and so I understand the feeling of never-ending strife. Like there is no end to the war and you will always be either dependent on pharmaceutical aid, drugs, or alcohol. It is not a happy situation to be in.

This guide doesn’t exist with the presumption that it is a superior guide to the plethora of other such guides on self-treating depression out there. However, it does hope to do two things: (1) give a down to earth perspective on treatments and various self-help methods, and (2) provide a platform where others can share their experiences of depression, treatments, medication, and the like. The points contained in this guide are, one the one hand, provisional: they are but my own experiences, while on the other hand, they are open to criticism and input from other persons struggling with depression.

This guide is meant to be interactive—please leave a comment below; feel free to discuss your general feelings, struggle, and experiences about any aspect of living with depression: to how medication makes you feel, to how your cope without medication (if you take medication at all), and what you think triggers a particularly severe episode; feel free to even pontificate on the philosophical ramifications of depression. I figure since this “guide” will be me running my mouth, it is the least I can do in return to you, dear reader, for taking the time to devour the lines.

So without further ado, let’s begin!

 

  1. Some Tips for Living with Depression

Take-up a physical activity.

                As has been said in many guides over the internet, and by many commentators in the mental health complex, physical activity helps release serotonin (the so-called ‘happiness’ hormone): this in turn wards off some depressive thoughts and moods and feelings. To get the full benefits of this release you have to, what in traditional parlance, is known as “working up a sweat”. Only when you have gotten a real physical work-out will your body produce serotonin.

Now for the real question: does this actually work?

Yes and no. Yes for the fact that working out or walking will produce serotonin which will, in turn, take the edge off of a depressive episode; but that is the devil in the details—at best it can only lessen the impact of a depressive episode or temporarily lift you up for a little while. It will not have a real (lasting) impact.

In my experience, when handling a major depressive episode, rigorous activity only blunted the emotional deluge while numbing my body. During such harsh moments the work-out did help but only minimally. Outside of depressive episodes, where I handle the everyday effects of depression, my work-out activity (fast-paced walking), though helping when done on a regular basis, lost its edge if I didn’t consistently perform said activity; additionally, much like an addict, every once in a while I found that I had to increase (sometime dramatically) the amount of walking I did to receive the benefits.

Now, it should be mentioned that I enjoyed walking even before I found out that it released serotonin. So that helped to a degree as well: of course one is going to be happy engaged in an activity one enjoys. I would sometimes walk as many as fifteen miles a day (that certainly helped with the serotonin!)! While I do not do so much walking anymore, not with academic work eating up so much time, one has to consider that though an effective activity, physical activity will only ever be a crutch in a hard time and at best can only serve as a distraction. One shouldn’t expect it to have a significant impact one living with depression; this being said, I would still recommend taking up such a physical activity since it will help at least some, in addition to keeping you in the health zone.

Music and Art and Hobbies

I have found that art and having some kind of diversion helps. With me, it is music and theory. Mostly music, though. I enjoy listening to the track and finding its emotional and psychological resonance; when I do so I feel as though I am connected to something a bit greater (though not in a spiritual or religious sense). The same can be said in terms of theory (both academic and philosophical): when I read and study texts and investigate society and how it might be changed, I extend myself to new horizons and make my voice be known—I contribute to knowledge and the discussion pertaining to that knowledge and so make myself greater than I am alone. These things give me meaning in an otherwise un-meaningful world. They augment my personage and give me a kind of closure which, although not chemical, does help me through those instances which try and strip me of my voice. Capitalist society is superb at alienating us from each other, even as social media connects us more than ever; this, of course, exacerbates depression and causes us to feel isolated when, in reality, there are others… they are just difficult to find. Understanding how you work in relation to the arts, crafts, and intellectual traditions of the world, and then finding your place, should you desire, in those traditions, may be a useful way to find some deeper meaning to an otherwise blank existence.

  1. My Nuance of Living with Depression

Do I take Medication?

Many people living with depression take medication. Some are forced to take it, others do some voluntarily; some find it helpful while others don’t. Whether or not to take medication is a question everyone living with depression has to grapple with at one time or another. So any long-time reader of this blog may be wondering if I, as a Queer Liberationist, take medication.

The answer is no, I do not. The reason can be boiled down to simply the fact that I do not want to become dependent on it; I don’t want my body to barely function should I run out of doses and have a day lost to mental dysfunction. Additionally, being a creative person, I find that while depression is no walk in the park, it does influence my academic and creative outlooks: my disposition allows me access to perspectives normally closed off to the medicated or non-depressed.

I am not saying that because of this depression is a gift, or even a “blessing in disguise”, but that I value the methodology of my mind as it currently exists and wouldn’t want to jeopardize that ability because the negative aspects are intensifying. I prefer to be able and find coping mechanisms which eschew pharmaceutical help. This isn’t because I loathe “Big Pharma’s” business practices (they are much like any other large corporation with a monopoly) or because I hold incorrect conspiratorial views on vaccinations or New Age homeopathy medicine. No. Although I view medication as being highly valuable in many situations to many people, the flip side of this ease is—as I said before—dependency. I simply enjoy creating my own methods of survival instead of finding one in a pill, one which alters my brain chemistry.

Do I Self-Medicate (illegal drugs, alcohol)?

If I am honest I must say that I do, on occasion, self-medicate. When depression has hit hard and I feel paralyzed, as though I can’t or don’t want to do anything, I have been known to either take a few prescription strength painkillers or to down some glasses of high-purity liquor. However, I rush to add that self-medication comes along with the same guide as medication: dependence. Whenever I self-medicate I am careful to ensure that my usage doesn’t evolve into an addiction. Because of this I only self-medicate on occasion, and not every time a depressive spell hits.

Would I recommend self-medication?

Painkillers and alcohol run with increased risks of medical consequences which are otherwise absent from prescription based medication. Alcohol dependency is both an expensive and cancer causing cause of death worldwide. People react differently to alcohol and it has a tendency to overwhelm someone’s life and destroy relationships. Much is the same with painkillers or any mind-altering or numbing substances. Due to these risks I would say that only use self-medicating techniques when recourse to other forms of help are not available. Do not utilize self-medication as a cure all miracle every time you suffer a bout of whatever ails you. If you do drink yourself into a stupor or swallow a few pills every time an episode hits then expect to become an addict in a short while. Only self-medicate as a last resort and sparingly. Be aware of the dangers which come with using drugs and alcohol. The negative effects will sneak up on you, so don’t think you are somehow immune. Be smart about how and when you self-medicate and don’t think you are above the chemical hardwiring such substances have been known to induce.

Views on professional help

Personally, I am conflicted about mental health professionals; not because I feel their career is irrelevant, but rather because of their tight connection to the state and the pharmaceutical industry. Although I did enjoy those times when I was able to discuss my issues with another, qualified individual, such sessions never got very far since I refused to take medication—if you refuse to take medication, then you will find yourself at a dead-end fairly quickly since you are, to the professional, refusing part of your treatment plan. Additionally, with professional help comes the attached legalism: you have a record, essentially, under surveillance via your consumption of medication and usage of mental health professionals. It is easy for assumptions to be made and for your history to be used against you (or it is to me, at least). I would prefer to avoid this baggage. Why pay the funds to receive, at best, if any, treatment, especially when said treatment will give you that background which may, or may not, hinder your future? I would not go as far to say I see all such professional services as pointless; on the contrary, they are capable of helping immensely for many people, but that for me personally, I see such services as more of a trap than anything else. If you find yourself at the end of your rope, then perhaps said services are worth looking into as they could help you greatly… but perhaps not.

  1. Alienation and Connectivity

I am an introvert. Social interaction does not come easy to me. And yet, here the contradiction lies, for humanity is a social animal, and though everyone, bar those with mental disease, has their own toleration when it comes to interaction, everyone does need interaction—to a degree.

This does not mean any interaction but rather very specific interaction, interaction which completes you as a person. Now, ‘completes’ is a strong word. So perhaps it is better to say ‘adds depth.’ The point is, you need more than the cold nothingness of the void. And, as I said, here is the contradiction: capitalist society is an expert at tearing us apart and alienating us through the mode of accumulation; our social interaction becomes devalued, as a means to an end—profit, while everything else is pushed to the wayside. This is doubly so for Queer people, who experience alienation not merely as the alienation of their labor, but their identity as well; add in mental illness, something which is strongly regulated and scapegoated (think of a mass-shooting, now remember the inevitable ‘blame the mentally ill individual the media pundits play), and you have a third layer of alienation.

If you are stuck, if you are caught between a rock and a hard place and don’t know how to get out, think of the following: why? What role does alienation play in keeping you glued to this abyss? More than you think; to overcome alienation is a difficult task because we are alienated everyday through not only our surplus-value being appropriated by the capitalists, but by our class position: when you lack transportation, when you are dependent on others, when you lack funds to ‘move up in the world,’ when you can’t do what you love, when you don’t have access to those individuals who may help you cope… what can you do?

Very little alone. You need others. But, as was just mentioned, how do you find others, especially when you lack so much? The big picture is to participate in a mass-revolutionary movement which seeks to violently overthrow alienation—however, we are focused only on the small picture, and that is to find your muse, that noun—person, place, or thing—but let’s say person, who identifies with you more than merely a friend.

Your muse is not merely a friend, though. It can be a combination of people, support groups, online communities, hobbies and art, and emotional and psychological fulcrums and the like. But primarily, it is people: people who perhaps you don’t consider well enough to be buddies but individuals who don’t run away from you when you begin discussing suicide (as a concept or personal contemplation), people who not only listen to your stories of daily struggle, but maybe share their own as well; muses become an integral part of your life because they are part of the same assemblage you are a part of—struggle under alienation. Muses are other introverts (for me, anyways), people who feel the sting of capitalism more acutely than those individuals who have privilege within the system—muses are not merely friends because friends do not always understand your struggle; muses are ‘friends+1,’ fellow travelers on the road to a better life.

I will give a simple example from my own life.

One day, while in the university cafeteria, a woman sat down across from me; she asked if she could sit with me (something she would repeat every time we eat together). The funny thing was that I did not remember her… yet, she knew my name and asked to sit with me; perhaps we had a course together. IF I thought hard enough I seem to maybe recall that class, but perhaps it is merely false memories. Regardless, she was a kind woman and as we conversed together; as we conversed, and told her of my research with Queer Marxist theory, and she told me of her ambition to be a filmmaker, I got this fuzzy feeling in my head. Thankfully, it was a nice fuzzy feeling.

The feeling is complex because it was built over time: she did not forget me and I did not forget her, despite my bad memory. Unlike with other students, who if they talked to me, it was never more than for a fleeting while and for but a day, this interaction, innocuous in the extreme, and built on truth, was based on difference, I think she was rather conservative, and yet respect; we listened to each other with manners and allowed one another to speak. Our banter was not juvenile diatribes (unlike a lot of what you see on university campuses).

One day, as we were discussing things, specifically, how interpersonal friendships, she told me something fairly personal: I won’t repeat here what that activity was but let’s just say it was something which society at large would view as ‘deviant.’ I replied to her that I didn’t feel it odd at all, because you never know when others will leave you. Upon my saying that, she got this smile on her face; it wasn’t grandiose or sentimental, but peaceful and sincere, it was a smile which said, ‘someone who understands.’ I was honest in my remark since I have plenty of ‘deviant’ habits myself and just because the wider society looks down on certain behaviors, does not mean they are wrong.

I remember this moment and speak of it now in relation to muses, because when I had these brief luncheons with this woman, I felt my despondent mood lifted. Here was another individual who was not like the others: she was courteous, polite, not obtuse, and she had her quirks which others would frown upon if they knew. We had a link.

We were only ever acquaintances. We never hung out. Honestly, I never even learned her name. But I can honestly say that I enjoyed her company far more than any other student. She was a muse for me. Someone who, though not a close associate or someone who I would call if my life was falling to pieces, she was a person who made me feel less alone—we glimpsed at each other’s deviances and found them refreshing.

Muses can take many forms but they all share a single frame, to help you. They help you pierce the alienation, if only momentarily. These people are difficult to find, yes, and more often than not they are only people you stumble onto, but that is the point: you stumble onto them during your everyday routine. They require you to have that minimal level of interaction which is needed, however painful it may be, to help you help yourself (and while doing so, helping another).

 

~

 

Well, this is the end of my guide. As I said at the start, I am not saying this is the ‘end all’ guide or your one-stop shop for dispelling depression, or that these tips and stories will even help, just that these are the things I have experienced as a young man living with depression, and they have brought me both help along with a degree of comfort. So feel free to share your own thoughts and to help me make this guide better or to just add your experiences. Per the norm, I hope this helped you to some degree, made the darkness seem less monster filled, or just gave you a smile for a second. Till next time.

Obsession Reprise: The Dialectic of Desire

graphe-complete

A few years ago I posted an entry on “overcoming obsession: outgrowing infatuation with straight peers” and it received a warm reception. As some of the commentators noted, this piece was written from the heart from first-hand experience. I enjoyed writing it because it was, in many ways, a soothing experience after the maelstrom of unrequited, non-returned interpersonal affection. However, nothing in this world lasts and lately I have found that this peace and tranquility has been shattered by a new obsession.

 
Much in the same manner previously, what shattered this peace was a boy. An asexual boy (a fun divergence from heterosexual), as I would later discover. First meeting as freshmen during our university’s summer bonding event, it was one of those ‘at first sight’ affairs; one of those moments where you can just tell from their looks, how they conduct their selves, and the information you have on them, that if only given the chance, you could make them happy. Speculation aside, I followed my instinct into the rabbit hole, wishing the best.

 
By now, you are likely guessing that the rabbit hole ended in a snake-pit of some kind; you would be correct: relations between the boy and I… ended poorly. I do not wish to bore you with the intimate details, especially since I find them too personal to share online with you kind strangers, but suffice it to say, I discovered parts of myself which I did not previously know existed and these parts caused some havoc on our friendship. I admit I did wrong, I maintain that he did wrong likewise; now we are suspended in a field in which we have mutually rejected one-another, and yet, tension exists between the two of us, tension which I do not know how will play out, tension which as much as I wished it dispelled, also want it resolved… perhaps a futile desire.

 
And yet, I am still stricken by the idea of this boy and confused on how I want this tension resolved. I feel that on some level that it is irresolvable, that I can do nothing, and that he must be the one to initiate contact (since I feel I squandered my ability to maintain healthy communication; for more on this aspect, and how I self-learned to communicate more effectively, see here); yet I feel he will not do that, though he sometimes glares at me should we notice each other on campus. I am confused. But should he send an email, what would I say, assuming it requires a response? How do I want things to end between us? Is anything possible? It seems like a shame to leave things as they are and let disease fester or scars fade until but a shadow of a remainder is left. Some things are funny that way… some things cannot be resolved while others you cannot force. What needs to happen will happen regardless of hope or desire, wish or ability; it is part of the void which is our existence.

 
But, what did I expect? This is a serious question. What did I expect would happen, that we would become partners and ride away into the sunset? That is what I hoped would happen, but it wasn’t what I was expecting; no, I was expecting friendship, and yet, why? That is ephemeral; even had we become close buddies, what could happen with graduation looming? One must remember that university is not like the propaganda videos… those ‘life-long’ friendships the cronies yap on about exist for but a tiny minority. So the question is—how long would we remain in contact post-graduation, should we have been friends throughout our time attending? A year, two… five? Sooner or later we would drift out of communication, as inevitably happens with people you never physically meet. So, in a sense, would this not have been more painful to lose a genuine friend to time, then overcome the generalized Angst resplendent from missteps? It seems likely. Though still, it never feels like so at the time, with the wounds still fresh. I have to learn, however, learn that this is a facet of my life and it is not going to go away. I need to master my own inadequacies and remember that life is rarely as intense as it appears.

 
In a way I feel burned. Though I do not know if it is connected to the ordeal I struggled through in regards to this boy, there was a point last year that I simply lost the desire to find a partner; this desire (mostly) continues to this day. Something in me simply snapped; I would see the various Breeders holding hands and ruminate on romantic entanglements and find myself musing, “Why would I want that? That which interferes with my studies and complicates my future? Why would I want to risk becoming side-tracked on a possibly futile romance?” Was this me being a realist, an attitude born from my failure to secure what I had hoped to be a viable partner? Maybe. Maybe not. I simply do not know. But I do know that I still feel little, if any, desire to find a partner at my current stage of life.

 
Nonetheless, this is a part of life. It is a part of my life. It comes in waves; I resolved the previous wave only to be confronted by a new one in a different form, one which demands different tactics and more nuanced navigation. The best we can do is learn from each wave. Study the past to learn the future; analyze our mistakes so as to not make the same ones again; compose and conduct ourselves in a manner befitting our station as a human while understanding that language will only ever represent us, our desire as well as our personage, to an uncomfortable degree. For people like us, Queer people and youth especially, bouts of obsession act as a fulcrum to our everyday lives—it latches onto the event horizon of a possible future and sees potential held within; what we see in these special people is our life, that other who shares our otherness and assuages the demons within that feed on the struggle to acclimate to a heteronormative world. The sad truth, though, as you know, is that this other only occasionally responds with gusto, and rarely in the manner had we hoped. So the trick is to learn to overcome, to watch our behavior and modulate our feelings, becoming, in a way, affect scientists, in order to meek out a living in a cold, violent world, occasionally blessed by those walking refrains which catch our eye.

Queer Fascism: Why White Nationalists Are Trying to Drop Homophobia

Anti-Fascist News

The National Policy Institute’s conference for 2015 just wrapped up, one of the most popular intellectual events for the white nationalist movement in the United States.  NPI is run by youngish nationalist Richard Spencer, who encourages the movement to be hip and young.  Out of the almost 175 attendees, a huge portion of them were millennials as they were given significant discounts off of the expensive ticket price.  One person that was disinvited, according to associate Scott Terry and even Spencer himself, was the Traditionalist Youth Network’s Matthew Heimbach.  Matt, who helped to found the Townson University White Student Union before forming Trad Youth, has made statements publicly about queer people infecting others with AIDs purposefully and that they need to be put in “re-education” camps to cure their “mental illness.”  Because of these statements, Spencer decided that he should be banned from the NPI conference.

Matthew Heimbach Matthew Heimbach

In…

View original post 1,173 more words

A Guide to Effective Communication

comminucation2

There are a lot of online guides to effective communication. Most recycle content which your elementary school guidance consoler could have told you. So right off the bat I am going to say this: the following guide is not for everybody; this communication guide is for the unusual, the different, the Queer.

When I say ‘queer’ I mean individuals who are shy, introverted, intellectually gifted but prosaically stunted, and people who just don’t like spending time with others who don’t ‘tickle their fancy’. Accordingly, however, I am not merely playing word games as I do intend for my audience to be Queer people (Homosexual, Bisexual, Transgender, etc.); non-Queer people will still find it relevant but with the understanding that the content matter addresses people of a non-heteronormative nature.

I decided to write this guide because the last year for me has been, in many ways, a crash-course in effective communication; this is to say that in not applying effective communication techniques, or simply refusing to apply them, I have garnered a hefty amount of psychological bruises. The good news is though that I have learned from my failures and feel the need to preach the good news (of effective communication) from my own observations.

This being said the guide is highly volatile. Some people may find it useless, others indispensable. How effective the advice is will depend on you as a person. As such, do not hesitate to leave a comment explicating how the advice worked for you or what you would change or suggest yourself. This blog is an interactive platform for the exploited and oppressed, so don’t fret about feeling ‘out of it’, because you are very well ‘in it’!

Anyways, on to the guide!

~             ~             ~

#1: Email (or letter writing, or poetry, or short stories) is key!

                I have a hard time expressing myself in person. Often times I would not be able to express half of what I would be able to express were it not for email or some other form of impersonal communication. When I came out to my best friend, for instance, I wrote him a letter; if I needed to repair a relationship with someone and express why I made a mistake that I did or ask them why they made the mistake they made, I am able to be far more emotive than were I in person.

A strong suit of such forms of impersonal communication is time. When you are sending an email or writing a letter no one can interrupt you; people can’t cut you off mid-sentence while you bravely attempt and explain why it was you cried like a baby when you get drunk or become violent when someone makes an ill-referenced joke. You have all the time you need plus the courage of being able to write what you want and worry about the consequences later—whether it is coming out to a friend or making a heartfelt apology, you have the ability to pour your heart and soul into your form of writing and carefully craft your communique.

#2: Make it lively!

                Are you often called ‘funny’ or a ‘funny guy/girl’? Don’t think it is too informal to add in some jokes where appropriate. Even with more formal contacts, such as professors, you would be surprised how well a well-intoned joke or remark will travel. Obviously you shouldn’t abuse this talent by adding in too many humorous bits, but more often than not, adding in something personal about yourself (humor, references—puns, and a display of your knowledge—concerning your trade, or just a flowing sense of kindness and respect, who you are in real life) will get you far. With contacts of a non-professional nature, friends and family, add in the personality bits fast and thick since there is a lot to gain from doing so and little to lose.

#3: Don’t be a drama-queen!

There is a difference between conveying emotion and being needlessly dramatic; the former and latter are often divided by necessity. Do you really need to link to a melodramatic alternative-rock ballad to illustrate how you feel? If the answer is ‘no’ then do not link the song in your email or reference in conversation. While there is plenty of situations, even emotional ones, where linking to depressing or sad music is appropriate, it will—more often than not—only off-put people, perhaps pushing them away from you, if you overburden your communique with over-the-top statements, dramatic evaluations of your failures or sorrow, and volcano-like eruptions of anger where you swear like a sailor.

If something has happened recently which has made you very upset, not overburdening your message can be difficult. I know the sensation all too well of dealing with an unfortunate event by sending a hastily written message to someone—it counteracts the isolation and allows (hopefully) another person to feel some of what you are experiencing. But this almost never helps things. It makes you look like a child, immature, as though you do not know how to deal with your problems in a grown-up way.

In my time, I have dealt with overriding anger and bouts of intense depression. Previously, I have handled the anger by sending furious, boiling mad messages ‘chewing out’ the object of my frustrations; likewise, with my dips into the trenches of depression, I had made threats which I never intended to carry out. Each of my actions had a consequence. Each of your actions will have a consequence—remember that ripping into someone could result in an irreversible relationship/friendship tear or that a melodramatic email chronicling your hopelessness could result in hospitalization.

Before sending an emotive message, you have to ask yourself the following: what do you hope to gain from sending such a message? What is your objective?

If your objective is to assert that a friend has not actually been your friend, that they are a fake friend, then instead of slathering your email or letter with a plethora of curses and poetic turns-of-phrases which could make Queer Liberationist manifesto shriek with indignant glee, tone it down: remove every instance of accusation, moderate your language to the point of it seeming absurd to send such a message (because it doesn’t convey your present emotional state), and be sure to de-link any emotional music, videos, or thinly veiled threats. Express yourself in an overly polite, formal manner. The expression “you’ll catch more flies with honey” has poignant new meaning here.

Consider the long-term impact of your message as compared to what it is you really want to achieve. Do you truly want to end a friendship or merely make it known you feel like a pity-party with legs, someone who is not appreciated as much as your appreciation is for them? Do you really want to kill yourself, or is it that you want to express your loneliness and frustration with the object of your desire? Essentially it boils down to this: don’t say things you do not mean; it is counter-productive. Communicate your feelings while taking the other person’s feelings into consideration and the end-result will be far more productive. It will ensure you maintain a calm and collected composure (something naturally reflected by your age and presumed maturity) while actuality having a chance at getting to the heart of the matter and repairing the ills which have so plagued you.

To truly illustrate this view I have provided an example below: the first message is one of a person expressing their fury over another person’s perceived hypocrisy in the realm of friendship, while the message following is the revised draft of how one should conduct one’s self via written communiques. Carefully compare the two and take note of the dysfunctions of the first and the strengths of the second.

Dysfunctional email:

I apologize for being so straightforward but what is your problem? You said that you wanted to spend more time with me, but all that I have seen is the opposite—you prance around with other people while brushing me off like I am a pity party with legs; if you don’t want to spend time with me outside of school/work, then you don’t have to pretend like we are friends when clearly you are scorning me. It makes me feel like shit and I don’t fucking appreciate the pretense. Just say you don’t want to associate with me rather than dragging me along like a goddamn loser. So just cut the shit!”

That email is dysfunctional: it is loaded with melodramatic language (“loser, prance, pity party”), has several swear words over the course of a very concentrated block of text, and is singed with accusatory statements, that this other person is purposely leading along his friend when the reality maybe simply a delusion on the part who sent the email. This email assumes instead of asks. It demands instead of requests. Additionally, the tone is hostile when it should be welcoming. A proper email shouldn’t display any of these negative traits. Below is an example of a proper email.

Proper, constructive email:

Dear friend. Lately, I have had some concerns about our friendship. While I merely may be mistaken, it appears from my vantage point that the goodwill between us may be based in something other than concrete; meaning, I fear that you are forcing yourself to spend what little time we have had together due to a desire to see me placated. I don’t say this to be hostile but rather simply because lately I have not been very emotionally stable concerning my perception of our relation, and so feel as though my concerns ought to be expressed. I would highly value your input on this matter; whether it is to dispel of fears or confirm them, I would duly appreciative of a thoughtful response from you. Thank you for your time.”

This second email is far better. It is more constructive and proactive. It lacks the hostile, incendiary tone of the previous. There is no cursing, as you will notice. The syntax is one of mutual respect: the user sending it has modestly expressed his thoughts and view on where he stands in relation to a friendship while politely inquiring on whether such notions are true. They have given the other party a chance to explain how they see the friendship instead of blatantly lambasting. Nothing is assumed. A position is expressed, but it is not already codified in a presupposition of reality; a viewpoint has been expressed with the express intent on having another give some input.

Such an atmosphere should be a given in any interpersonal communications, especially if you are feeling as though you’ve been slighted, cheated, mislead, or screwed over. One must remember that emails are forever. The transcript, the date, and code, of each and every email you send will be able to be accessed by anyone with a savory enough understanding of electronics. Just because you have “permanently deleted” something doesn’t mean it is gone. The other party still retains a copy in addition to the traces of it which remain on both of your accounts.

You should maintain a high level of decorum in any emotionally or mentally straining situations precisely because of the rebounding consequences. The eternal nature of emails allows the content to be dug up at any time in the future, for a variety of reasons. I do not have to warn you, as a Queer, that whether it is blackmail, threats, or shaming or outing, there are a large number of reasons why consistently maintaining a respectful, non-hostile prose is beneficial to your image both in your private and public life.

#4: Be concise—don’t beat around the bush!

                Often times it is tempting to preface the poignant with the banal; to discuss random details, events, and thoughts before launching into the ‘real deal’ composing the meat of the intended conversation. While it is tempting to do so because of your mind’s tendency to think that easing into the emotionally/mentally/intellectually/existentially heavy content is better than jumping right into it, for fear out of off-putting the person(s) you are communicating with, it is almost always better to get right to the point. Why? Because after the other has read your email they are not going to remember the banal. They are going to remember the poignant. They are going to respond to the poignant and ignore the banal. Additionally, if upon first glance the receiver gleams a block of text laden with seemingly trivial details, they are likely to take a longer time to respond to it due to its apparent non-vital status; if you are in need of an immediate response then obviously it is a counterproductive move to beat around the bush instead of getting right to the heart of the matter.

#5: Show Respect

                If you are communicating with someone of authority or in a higher position than you—a boss, manager, professor or professional—really anyone who holds power or an advanced degree over you, then you should show them a decorum of respect—even if they deserve nothing but your wildest contempt. When opening up an avenue of conversation with someone for the first time you should never begin by using emoji’s, slang, text shorthand, or anything which falls outside of the respectable canon.

This is because you are not talking with one of your friends. The individual whom you’re talking with, especially if they hold an advanced degree, comes from a very different place intellectually and so they are going to expect a certain level of sophistication; this often translates into using proper grammar, having your words be spelled correctly, and not deviating from the Oxford English dictionary when it comes to definitions (this is a bit more important then you will realize). Deviation from this line allows for the possibility of you not being taken seriously or, worse yet, the other not being able to understand you in the first place.

While there is a bit of room for person with whom you share some common ground, such as if you come from a similar alternative culture or political strand, you should remember that for the most part for your conversations, you will be expected to adhere to a code of conduct. Wandering away from this code of conduct could result in dire results.

Additional: The “S” Word

(Legal Disclaimer: This section does not encourage any person(s) to commit suicide; the purpose of this section is to philosophize and consider the implications of suicide as an act in relation to communication. Persons considering suicide are encouraged to seek professional help)

Suicide is something which happens. It is part of human behavior. Without offering my opinion on suicide I can say this: as someone who has struggled—at times—with such thoughts, as well as the thoughts of others, I can say this: don’t drag others into your struggle; by this I mean that if you are preparing to commit suicide, and imminently intend to act upon your decision within minutes or hours, don’t contact people.

By this statement, I do not mean don’t leave a suicide note or don’t call a crisis line, or reach out for help to a qualified personnel. If you want help then reach out and start the process. When I say don’t contact people I mean don’t leave Facebook posts and/or messages, texts, tweets, recordings, and don’t offhandedly mention (in person) your plans to strangers or contacts. Just act upon your decision.

Why do I say this? Because attempts fail, you suddenly change your mind, you sober up. Additionally: someone you leave the message with, or someone who sees it, could call the police; while the moment may pass the repercussions may not. A failed attempt could leave your whole family knowing your personal business, thus negating your privacy. Likewise, an attempt called off—or forgotten—after you have sent messages could result in hospitalization and the altered opinions of friends, classmates, and co-workers.

It is a human need for emotional and existential connections. When we are down in the dumps and on the edge this is especially true. Besides, sometimes there is this part of ourselves who wants to be talked out of our decision, or who wants to earn some pity, or just have a friendly voice by their side near the end. And yet I have found, foregoing those persons who use suicide threats to control people, that the risks of such communication, and the emotional and moral turmoil thrust on the person you contact, rarely have a tangible pay-off. I’m not going to say that it is selfish to contact people, or that it is wrong to do so, but it does have its own socially ambiguous baggage which has the potential to be highly counter-productive.

Even so, if you do intend on contacting people, I have provided a brief list of dos and don’ts, as well as a sort of code of conduct which I hope you will find useful.

DO leave a suicide note; DON’T leave unsolicited messages/threats on social networking sites or with people.

DO (if applicable) leave a Will or intent concerning what to do with your belongings/wealth/assets.

DO inform people of your decision IF they have expressed prior interest in knowing if you plan on killing yourself (and if they have said previously they will not interfere with ways you have deemed inappropriate).

DO express your gratitude and love to your friends and family; DON’T belittle or deride, saying that it is [so and so’s] fault for your decision.

DO find a method and place of suicide which will enable the least amount of suffering for yourself as well as efficient clean-up after the fact. Tailor your attempt to your method: find a suitable place (for instance, any attempt utilizing firearms is perhaps best suited to the outdoors); DON’T spite people in an attempt by purposefully making the clean-up more arduous than it already is likely to be for them (for example, using firearms in an attempt indoors, in a frequently used room of the house or one that holds special meaning to someone).

Russian Pride Propaganda

As many readers should know, the situation in Russia (and Eastern Europe in general) has been bleak lately for our Gay brethern and sisters. Between attacks by Neo-Nazis and even the homophobia of many so-called “Leftists”, Russian Queers are in a dismyal state of occupancy with few allies willing to help in their struggle. After all, when the overwhelming sentiment on the ground is that “gay propaganda” must be “contained”, so as to not affect the children (won’t somebody think of the children?!”– re: young boys– any Queer activist knows that something must be done to counteract the hate and reactionaries.

While it is but a small step, a group of annoymous Russian artists have embarked on a interesting mission. Subverting the “gay propaganda” skit used by reactionaries, this collective of artists have repurposed Soviet era propoganda posters for use in the equality movement. Dubbing their creation “Pride Propaganda”, these re-worked posters take the national-chavunism held by many contemporary Russian nationalists and inverts the core idea to indicate homosexul love and acceptence.

Below are some examples:

Father, mother, the whole family!
Queer workers lead the way!
Shout it to the sky, you love of labor and yourself!
Pride extends even to the skies!
Every school boy and girl should be able to be proud of who they are in the school-place, without fear of attack from reactionaries.
A vibrant reminder that proud Queers are part of the working class as well, and must assert themselves for their right of inclusion!

Help, Advice, and Windows to Me

Obviously I have not been updating this blog frequently or even irregularly at this point. This is not to say that I have not been accurately aware of when people comment or even the general stats of the blog. I have just been very preoccupied with the typical: writing essays, theorizing, waging unending blood war against the religious and political Right, and huffing fairy dust(*) (you know, the typical young adult stuff). However, I have not forgotten about the people who view my posts. I still intend on creating original multi-media content when I am able to buy a new computer but until that magically day I am moribund with my junker. But since I will be making an effort to post a least a little more frequently, and while I whittle away on my newest advice guide for ya’ll, I wanted to just post this hold-over until I am able to post something more substantial. It is just a compendium of useful posts for the wandering teen or young adult to enjoy, posts which I believe in some way of value to anyone willing to click on a site with the word “Queer” in the title. Enjoy!

~      ~      ~     ~

Self-Help/Advice

The Gay Guide to High School: A primer (of sorts) concerning some situations which you may encounter at some time in high school. Though the post/short story itself is short, there are many additional comments left by others users and myself which expound upon the core material.

Cyber-Bullying: How to Prevent and Manage Online Harassment: Online can be fun and harmful. Predators are everywhere and though the comments section on a politically charged story often come with more than one politically incorrect surprise, with this guide you will know that you are not alone nor the only one with a bit of hesitation about the internet.

Overcoming Obsession: Outgrowing Infatuation with Straight Peers: Every gay kid knows the feeling– that moment when you realize you have fallen for someone who is totally straight; the sadness, awkward feeling and loneliness. It weighs on you night and day and doesn’t make seeing him around school any easier. Read this post to gain some helpful advice on how to handle these less-than-awesome feelings.

Queer Forward: Resisting Bigotry and Struggling for Social Change: Although this post only applies to people with a hankering for activism, and has some protocol/situational advice which is only useful in large cities, I think the general contents will be of interest to anyone wanting to help alter their community for the better.

Personal Stories: Queers Talk about “Coming Out” and Accepting Themselves

Coming Out: The Inner War: I, the blogmaster (TGU), share my coming out story. Dramatic and lovely, if you enjoy reading tales of people revealing their true selves, then you will want to give this a glance.

Pride Parades: A First Timer’s Account: TGU’s tale of attending his first gay pride parade; riveting!

Love and Support: Why they are Needed: An entry which discusses the virtues of a loving family and the support they can offer to their kids who are still struggling with their own identities.

Defending Queers: The Queering of Life

The Ex-Gay Myth: A polemic concerning the fallacies of the so-called “Ex-Gay” movement and why they are liars, hypocrites, and delusional and self-loathing persons who harm the liberation movement.

In Defense of Gay Pride: In a time when so many supposedly proud gay men and lesbian women feel the need to attack the concept of Gay Pride, due to ignorant and misplaced idealism, this posts argues decisively in favor of pride as both a tool for self-empowerment, as well as a political weapon against the right-wing.

(*) Warning: Tinker Bell is a pain in the butt to catch and much crankier when you do… proceed with caution!

What Do You Want?

So this is a content question for anyone who is a longtime reader of this blog or who just happens to stumble upon it and liked what they have read: what kind of content do you want to see in the future? There are many different approaches and with so much to choose from I thought it prudent to ask you, my loyal readers. I have made a short list below but if you have an idea which is not on the list please comment and make your voice heard.

1. More political posts regarding the Queer movement in the U.S and Internationally (such as the weekly queer project updates and theory regarding liberation).

2. More posts pertaining to youth help and empowerment (such as the gay guide to high school and the anti-cyber bullying guide).

3. More personal stories from the blog master’s childhood and adolescence (ex. “coming out: the inner war“).

4. Shared posts from other blogs accompanied by mini-commentaries on the shared post.

5. Video content (such as both shared and original Youtube videos).

6. Podcasts dealing with the issues above (specify).

7. Investigative journalism of local events (such as the various report backs from activist happenings).

8. Media reviews of a Queer nature (such as the homosexuality in Death Note post).

9. Interviews of other online based Queer oriented outlets (ex. the youth pride project interview).

The above are possibilities which could be done in the future. As I said previously, if there are other options which I have not covered please comment below.

I am planning on branching out on my content, on moving beyond merely posting articles. While this will still be the primary content on the site I am interested in doing more than merely writing. So I will be learning the ins and outs of how to do some technological things I have not done before. Hence why this post exists: to see if there is a preference to what kind of content people would like to see the most of. If I get a handle on what content is the most popular then I can devote more time to learning how to create the content people like to see.

Please vote by commenting below.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: