Happy Birthday, you can get married!

54ac8174-6ef6-432d-8fff-95f5e1976247Spoiler Alert: Dark and heavy existential crisis ahead. Go elsewhere, if this isn’t what you want right now. I’m leaving Sunday for a week in Scotland. I very much look forward to being there. I need a break from reality. If you continue reading, you might understand better why I crave escapism at the moment.

I haven’t blogged consistently for years. At first I felt I had nothing new to say: I didn’t think it worth repeating myself. When I found myself contending with familiar personal issues, I merely pondered them internally. Sometimes – rarely – I remember to go and contemplate what I already realized. Mostly, I acknowledge that growth is a continuous process, with the same ground often being retread. But I had no reason to recycle these concepts.

More recently I haven’t blogged, because I’ve been mourning the unabating series of deaths within my circle of family and friends. I couldn’t stand to talk or think about it publicly. The sheer magnitude of the dysfunction and animus within my family pushed me over the edge into burnout, and I’ve barely worked for the last few months. I feared writing/speaking more of the same into being, and I didn’t want to feed those monsters any more than I already am. Several times this year I despaired. I know in retrospect I’ve been contending with depression. I also know that my demons (many of which I’d hoped had died, or gone off to haunt someone else) have been merely sleeping.

The pendulum constantly swings. Whether it be my ups and downs, or the mood of “the people,” life proves itself full of tensions and stressors (whether they be “positive” or “negative”). Go back to 2012: You’ll find the tone of my entries bursting with optimism, joy, gratitude, etc. That was the happiest time of my life. I repeatedly said so back then.

2015 is not.

Honestly: Fuck 2015. I hate 2015. 2015 can go to hell. I say this the same day the Supreme Court of the United States legalized LGBT marriage, and the day after that same court ruled that I can continue accessing my health insurance through the Marketplace. I should be beaming with joy, joy, joy. I’m not. I acknowledge these verdicts are good and just. Whatever. I don’t feel like congratulating people for taking centuries to come to the correct conclusions.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 7.13.11 PMPart of the background context to this ongoing darkness is the fact that I’ve been reminded (yet again) that social media is a window through which random loons are able to unexpectedly swoop in and shit on my soul. The abject racism, bigotry, and hatred I’ve witnessed these last several months on Twitter and Facebook wound me to my core. To see whites tell blacks to get into ovens; to see white people say, “I’m not racist, my parents paid our black maid real good – we loved her dearly;” to see people change their pictures to the Confederate Flag in response to nine black people being murdered in church by a white supremacist terrorist; to read the “thoughts” of people who are incapable of even understanding what they don’t understand… It’s heavy shit. Really heavy. I saw a Confederate Flag on Twitter declaring itself to be “a symbol of heritage, not hate.” It then replied to each individual black person in its timeline with “Kill yourself, nigger.” #BlackLivesMatter – stop all this “White Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” bullshit. Yes, of course they do; however the conversation we are having right now deals with the dehumanizing of BLACK PEOPLE. I’ve deleted Twitter from my phone in an attempt to break the addictive, compulsive habit of constantly refreshing and replying to toxicity. I have the privilege, as a white person, to be tired of thinking about this. I get to say, “I’ve struggled with racism enough, I’ve done my part to interrupt bigotry, and now I need to rest. I’m so enlightened, conscious, and liberal! God, I’m such an empathetic cracker!!!!” Meanwhile, blacks are still black in a supremacist culture. They don’t get to rest. I don’t know how people have the strength to be black. Add female and/or LGBT to it, and I don’t know how folks can bear the weight.

Monday, June 29, I’ll turn 39. I’m not in the mood to make my annual joke about being 24 with 15 years experience. I guess I just did it anyway. It sounds trivial and stupid to me right now, especially in light of the many ways I’ve been forced to contemplate purpose, mortality, and legacy. I just don’t care about kidding about eternal youth right now.

If the average life is about 80 years long, then I’ve arrived at the final day of summer. What distresses me is that I was supposed to be a choreographer. I was supposed to be a dancer. That is what so many people (including me) invested time, energy, and money in. I was supposed to be an artist. I was supposed to be an intellectual force and social activist to be reckoned with. I was born with exceptional talent. I was fierce. Damn, I was GOOD! It’s too late now. That’s a fact. I was trapped by a fraud debt that derailed the course of my life, and now that I have finally re-established the stability I’d need to pursue art, I’m too old and cynical to bother. Dancers retire at this time of life. They transition to teaching. They don’t start auditioning for parts. They hold auditions for young people to fill parts. In my defense, I lived more in my first 30 years than most people do in 60. But this feels, right now, like a lost decade. It’s time to transition slowly to a new career. It has to be done gradually, but I’ve begun that process. I don’t regret what I’ve done in these last nine years – I regret what was done to me – but when I officially step into autumn next year, it has to be as a seasoned adult who creatively tempers experience into success. Does knowing oneself to be wise negate one’s wisdom? Probably. I wonder if that concept is at all related to not knowing oneself to be insane?

imgresSo, I can get married anywhere in the United States now. I don’t give a shit. ENDA was more important, to be frank. But whatever. I never imagined when I came out 25 years ago that I’d ever have to worry about getting married. I think I yearned for it as a teen, and was bitter in my 20’s that it was a dream that would finally be realized after I was dead. In my 30’s it quickly became plausible and suddenly possible. But it was never part of my life plan, and I’m certainly glad institutionalized homophobia prevented me from marrying Randy, Michael, or Scott. I shudder to think what would’ve happened if my silly and romantic younger self could’ve stumbled into legal matrimony with those bastards. I think I’m supposed to jump and cry and scream out “YAY YAY YAY!!!” All I can muster right now is, “Don’t get divorced.” Meh. I don’t understand why LGBT people want to tie themselves to a cultural institution that works only half the time for the people it was invented for. I don’t see why I should run happily into the arms of heteronormativity. But at least others can do so now, if that’s their wish.

In the meantime, my escorting ad will be online for a while yet. Remember this: Monogamy is an illusion. If you don’t expect/demand it, you won’t be disappointed. Be open and honest with your partner, allow the relationship and its parameters to evolve, and you’ll be more likely to remain happy. I speak from the position of being the one sitting there watching your significant other tell you with a straight face and level voice that he’s at the grocery store.

P.S.
Go download “No Sleeep” by Janet Jackson. Also, RIP MJ. Yesterday was six years, and I’m still bulldozed at the idea that you’re gone.

Author: Devon Hunter

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5 Comments

  1. I get the impression that you are pretty introspective and aware of your state of mind. You’ve identified that you are probably suffering from symptoms of depression. There are no quick fixes, many possible strategies and everybody in this situation is different. However working on the very small things often helps, it did for me.
    You’ve identified one of the causes of your unhappiness: social media and external negativity. Why not ruthlessly prune the people you follow on Twitter to only those who give you a little bit of joy on a daily basis? Or just create a Twitter list with them and read only that; nobody will know! There is a huge reservoir of hate and ignorance in the world, and unfortunately little you can do to change things on an individual level. Block it out, step away from the torrent for a while and focus on yourself.
    Feeling better on a day-to-day basis by taking care of yourself through small actions can help you to tackle the larger and harder problems. In this area also you seem to have a better grip on things than most people, having put thought into the next stages of your career and your life.

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  2. Thank you, Greg. You’re right. I was diagnosed Bipolar II many years ago, and after years without symptoms I didn’t recognize months ago when I should have sought therapy options. I have to do the work of re-establishing normality.

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  3. Hey Devon, yes it can creep up on you. What I find frustrating is how difficult it is to fight off feelings of despair even when you are highly rational and aware of your state of mind. At least you have some pointers if you were diagnosed, and a multi-pronged strategy can help. Looking forward to you getting back to your inspirational best, as chronicled on your blog over the years!

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  4. Enjoy Scotland!
    Thanks for sharing this. I love your blog and your writing.
    be well.
    Max

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  5. Wow, man. Wow. You’re so honest. So smart.

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