Ich fühle luft von anderem planeten.
Mir blassen durch das dunkel die gesichter
Die freundlich eben noch sich zu mir drehten.
I feel the air of another planet.
The friendly faces that were turned toward me
but lately, now are fading into darkness.
Stefan George, Entrückung [Transport] (trans. by Carl Engel)
There are good days when things seem to be going okay. My spirits are relatively high, I feel optimistic and hopeful about the future, I halfway like myself and other people.
Then there are days, like today, when it’s an achievement just to get out of bed, go downstairs, or leave the house, to not be entirely ruled by the nightmares of my anxiety.
It’s compounded by the further anxiety of knowing that this is all in my head, that people aren’t really thinking that, as well as knowing that I’m literally wasting the remaining years of my life by fearing all of these mental phantasms.
From the video below:
We should use the thought of death not to make us despair of life but to shake us into more committedly pursuing the life we know we need to lead. We will act when the fear of death is finally allowed to trump the fear of failure or humiliation, compromise or shame.
A few weeks ago, about a week after the attack I wrote about in the last post, I had a meltdown during a gathering of friends.
There were four of us altogether, and we’d been playing games that evening. Things were actually going well. I wasn’t feeling anxious, defensive, or threatened. Then we moved outside to the hot tub, which is when things got… well, frisky.
Here I’ll mention that all four of us are gay men: two are a couple, one a “pup” (for those unfamiliar with kink culture, go here to learn what a “pup” is), and then me, a bristling combination of Bernard Black and Malcolm Tucker.
It was mostly groping, giggling, and making out to begin with amongst the three of them, but sex was clearly on the agenda. And I was feeling very uneasy with the situation, and increasingly morose—and here is where it all goes a bit wibbly-wobbly.
As I wrote about not too long ago, sex is an emotional minefield for me these days, a reality made more uncomfortable because I do still have a sex drive. I miss it, but this whole gay, casual sex culture is, frankly, incredibly unhealthy for me.
Because: I have had plenty of casual sex, and it ultimately left me feeling more lonely and disconnected.
So I was feeling left out, not because I was being ignored (if I’d been into it they would’ve included me), but because I’m in something of a sexual exile.
Et l’arc-en-ciel est exilé
Puisqu’on exile qui l’irise
Mais un drapeau s’est envolé
Prendre ta place au vent de bise.
And now the rainbow is in exile,
as one who changes his colors must be;
but a flag flew away
to take its place in the north wind.
Guillaume Apollinaire, “La grâce exilée”
I don’t entirely remember what I said after getting out of the water… something about how I’m broken, how I’m going to die alone, and how everyone (gay guys, that is) just seem to want sex and nothing else, and it’s all bullshit.
This is because my emotional brain is wired to work a lot faster than my rational brain can keep up with it, the prize for having grown up in an environment where being hyper aware meant survival. In a matter of seconds, my thought process went something like this:
Me: Why can’t I just be in the moment and enjoy sex like these guy? Why do I have to take things so seriously?
Greek chorus of my mind: Because you’re fucked up and broken by your past.
Me: All gay men are like this, aren’t they?
Greek chorus: Yes. Except you. Remember? You’re broken. You’re not normal.
Me: Oh my god, it’s not them, it’s me. I’m the aberration. That means there’s no one right for me out there, is there? No one who will get my crazy.
Greek chorus: If the past is an indicator of the future, no, you’re never going to find a boyfriend.
Me: I’m going to die alone!!
Greek chorus: Yup. You’ll never have sex again.
That’s the concise version. It was very Eyes Wide Shut in my head, a collaboration between Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick.
After things had calmed down, I realized that this wasn’t about sex necessarily. It was about my fear of never finding a home.
That’s what is behind the surging resentment I feel when seeing gay couples, whether in pictures, video, etc. Because I’m terrified that I’m never going to have that for myself.
A sense of home, something I’ve never felt once in my life.
As I’ve written about, my home life growing up felt like anything but home: safe, secure, welcoming. My mother could be unpredictable and volatile at times, and my father was distant and unresponsive. We talked unconditional love, yet our value and worth was based on how well we conformed to the teachings of our fundamentalist Christian faith.
Then, for most of my adult life I lived and worked amongst evangelical Christians, terrified they’d find out I was gay and shun me.
Add to this the reality that, at 33, I’m woefully unskilled in the art of flirting or responding to flirting due to having had to repress all of that for most of my adult life.
Basically, I’m a gay, male Liz Lemon.
With all of that going on, being in a hot tub with three flirty, sexed-up gay guys sent me over the edge.
I’d like to know what it’s like to be loved and accepted by a guy (here I’ll clarify: single and within my seemingly quantum field of eligibles) who doesn’t run screaming at the sight of my craziness.