Growing up in a desolate, rural area of the stuck-in-the-past middle Tennessee hills, did not exclude myself nor many others from being the victims of relentless bullies, not even while at home. There, what little time my father and I happened to be in the same place or even in sight of one another, I was subjected to verbal abuse. Instead of teaching me how to do something, he would belittle and criticize how I was doing whatever it was then berate me with how I would never amount to anything and would always be useless, then walk away. I was lucky to have only received the verbal abuse. I’m still haunted by the memories of hearing and seeing my father beat my older brother practically daily. My mother and father physically fought often. With this becoming routine early in my life, I developed quite the talent for being invisible. My only escape was with my Grandmother, Mother and my oldest sister. I grew to believe this was how all men were. I was determined to be different. My seclusion led to a vast imagination, which over the years, continued to grow more and more vast. In elementary school, I was the poster child for “Tears of a Clown.” None of my classmates ever knew what I lived through outside of that school. With the women of my life showing me how to care, I grew very big hearted toward girls. I listened to them, consoled them, was a shoulder for them to cry on. I had many more female friends than males. As puberty kicked in, this apparently was a problem for all the other guys. They had their urges toward the girls and were, in most cases, rejected by them. With my being constantly surrounded by girls, I became the target of the rejected guys’ aggressions. I was called every name you could imagine and at times, became their punching bags. But growing up in the home in which I did, this simply felt normal… routine… expected. I never let this dampen my desire to “be there” for my friends. None of my friends ever cried alone and even in their most trying times, I could always seem to make them laugh. Now that I’m much older, I look back and see things for what they really were. Back then I took the blame, now I realize I was just an outlet. The guys all needed someone to blame for their inadequacies; their inability to remember a girl’s birthday, a girl’s favorite color, a girl’s favorite flower… etc. I was the one the girl would come to when having relationship problems. I wasn’t big or strong enough to go the guy and try to solve the problem, but I always seemed to convince the girl SHE was not the problem… it wasn’t HER fault. I was someone the girls could talk to about anything and the guys viewed me as a threat. They say “bullies always pick on the weak” but I know the bullies are the weak. The victims of bullies are the strong ones. Some of us get stronger as time goes on, while some get to a point they can’t take it anymore. Most victims keep so much inside – never telling anyone how much they hurt. Never mentioning how many days they go home to their rooms and cry. Always feeling like they are alone in a crowd, feeling so insignificant most never even knew they were there. I wish I could start a support group for victims of daily bullying, but most victims are too embarrassed or afraid to come forward out of fear they would be announcing to the world their vulnerability. They feel it would make them an open target… inviting all bullies to “bring it on.” If I could get a message to these victims, I would tell them to hold on for one more day. Take each day one at a time. The first 18 years of your life is just a trial or test. Once you get past that, the world is yours. At that point, you get to sit back and watch karma in action. It is a very bittersweet experience, but at least you are still with us to experience it. You are never alone. Never.
This post is for parents, or soon to be parents.
Have you ever thought, “What would I do if my child turned out to be gay?” I want to help answer that question.
First of all; parents, you love your children unconditionally, correct? Then, no matter what, you are still going to love them. Supporting them and their lifestyle may be difficult. We will get to that in a moment. The main piece of advice I want to offer is this; never, under any circumstances should you express prejudice in front of your children. Especially if you have any suspicion that a child of yours may be gay.
The next piece of advice is this; always encourage your children to come speak to you no matter what. that is why not to express prejudice in front of your children. If you speak badly about gays or lesbians, what is the likelihood that your child will come speak to you if they know how you really feel about gays and lesbians? Do not expect your children to come to you first, and under no circumstances confront them about any suspicions about their sexuality. They will come to you their own way, as long as they are comfortable talking to you about it.
Lets come back to the support factor if your child “comes out”. Depending on your own beliefs, being there for your children, supporting them, could be difficult for you. Always remember these are your children no matter what. Also remember being gay is hard enough, don’t make it worse. If you have a hard time with your children’s lifestyle, it is not their problem, it is your problem. If you are having an issue with a child being gay, I strongly recommend you find a support group, if none are available, find a friend you trust to speak to about it.
Being gay is difficult in itself, I can’t stress this enough. Having to stress about how our own parents feel about us should never be an issue.
There are two main lessons that I want to convey. First, do not expose your children to prejudice, that will leave you more open and trustworthy source for your children to come to, that goes for any situation, not just the gay issue. Second, and finally, support your children emotionally, and remember your problems are just that, your own problems. Find help if you need it.
My contact page is now open. I welcome anyone to contact me. If you need advice, or just someone to listen, I am here.
Being an ex service member in the Navy in the late 90s puts a new spin on just growing up in a rural county in North Carolina. It was very hard being in the service and not being able to be who you are.
I read an article today that just warmed my heart. This picture/article went viral, but in a good way. It warmed my heart so much, that I went and found the facebook page that was referenced in the article, just so I could be one of the 40,000 people that liked this picture, and one of the 10,000 that commented on the picture. Please read the article here Gay Marine. To see a man be able to embrace and kiss his lover, welcoming him home, on a military installation is something I never thought I would live to see.
When I was in the Navy in 1998, I lived in fear of someone finding out that I was gay and being discharged from service. The only ones that knew were my close friends; the ones I knew I could trust. Not being able to be who you truly are causes many conflicts that can be mentally damaging.
I wish to take the liberty to invite anyone that would like, please visit the Gay Marines facebook page here: Gay Marine Facebook and comment on this awesome display of love and devotion.
The biggest debate going on across the country is wether or not being gay is a chioce. This is a large debate in the southern states. Between companies having their employees sign anti gay agreements, to “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” being revoked. Politicians try to tell their supporters how being gay is a choice for gays and lesbians. This shows a complete lack of empathy. Anyone that attempts to tell people how they think and feel do not need to hold leadership roles. Have you ever heard a gay or lesbian tell their parents or anyone else for that matter, that being heterosexual is a choice?
Thanks to “that chick from ‘Sex in the City’”, this battle hasn’t gotten any better. She goes on national TV, and states that for her, being gay is a choice. This went wild in the gay community, because the years of progress lost.
Being gay or lesbian is NOT a choice! I knew when I was less than five years old, when I looked at TV programs differently. Of course I didn’t even know what gay meant at that age. I didn’t officially come out until I was 19, which was in 1999. I started noticing boys in 9th grade, of course there was nothing I could do about it back then in rural North Carolina. I had no interest seeing girls, I did try. I was just not interested in girls romantically, I don’t see that as my fault, and doesn’t appear that I had a choice.
I am trying to educate from the first person perspective. The debate over choice is not the only debate going on. I invite anyone that reads my blog to go to my facebook page here The Dragon Writer I welcome any questions or comments at all. I want to be a voice in our community.
I started this blog for something to do, and to try my hand at blogging. Even though I never wanted to write a blog completely about me; because honestly, I am a very boring person. So I am trying something a bit different. I am a gay man that has grown up in the south all of my life. I may not have seen or done many things before in my life, but I feel I have opinions to be valued. I feel a change coming; more like a movement similar to the civil rights movement of the 60′s. I want the world to know what it is like growing up and living in the south as a gay man. So stay tuned; this could get interesting.
I certainly hope that everyone remembers April 27th, 2011. This day I have come to call “Day of the Deadly Twisters”. I know, by any stretch of the imagination, that I am not the only EF-5 tornado survivor in the world, United States, or even in the North Alabama region. Mine isn’t a unique story with a twist (no pun intended), or any other literary cliffhangers. However, it isn’t everyday that your home, sense of security, or your safe haven is ripped from you in a matter of seconds. My family and myself are lucky, luckier than most you could say. Since that fateful day in April, we have not been homeless, hungry, or abandoned. We have had a roof over our heads, in not just one place, but two. Our “survival mode” is still engaged, and most likely will be until the day we move back into our home that is in process of being rebuilt from the ground up. I say we are lucky; lucky to be alive. Someone asked me once, why I am rebuilding my home in the same place. That is the easiest question to answer, no where else is home. In the Carter’s Gin community, where I lived, and will live again showed me the meaning of community. Not only were we fed by our neighbors, our neighbors actually came and assisted in the salvage process. Neighbors helped our friends and family put our salvaged items boxes that were sorted in the front yard, strong guys come through the house asking if they could help move heavy stuff outside. Neighbors drove through the streets giving ice, and water, some even brought totes full of supplies that we may need. Others drove by and told us to come to their houses to get food they were cooking on grills. Though the last few months have been a struggle, still having to balance work, health, family, and manage the rebuilding of a home is not easy. So many times I have been asked, “How do you keep yourself together?”. Here is the answer to that statement; I don’t. I have my moments, I fight and I fight really hard, and keep telling myself that it will all be over soon, everything will get back to normal. That is why I keep fighting, because I know it is the truth. There is one major thing that I have noticed, everyone always asks the same questions, in the same order. Somehow in every conversation I have with someone new, it is always asked in some manner, “How were you affected by the storms in April?” I have come to grips with reality and I don’t try to sugar coat anything, and I state, sometimes quite matter of factly “My home was destroyed.” The reaction is always the same, jaws drop to the floor. Sometimes, I am unsure if it was what I said or how I said it. The next question is always the same, “Were you at home?” Yes, we were at home with the tornado come through our neighborhood. The last question is always the same, “Is everyone alright?” Yes, everyone is alright, no injuries at all. Again, I state, we were lucky. Enough time has passed that I am able to talk about the majority of the experience without my eyes filling up with tears. I was interviewed by WHNT about the exprience while doing some cleanup, and I promised myself I was not going to be one of those people that you hear on the news after a tornado talking about how it sounds like a frieght train with the most southern accent they could muster. So WHNT played my interview, and I kept the promise to myself. For the record, when you are inside your home when it is being destroyed by a tornado the only thing you are thinking, is not how loud it is, but if you are going to walk away. People I know, and people that haven’t seen me in a while, always tell me that they saw me on the news, and ask how the rebuild is coming, I very politely respond, most of the time I just state, “not fast enough”.
Education is very important in very society around the globe. Today education is more important than ever; however, I believe that our “leaders” have lost sight of the true goal of education. I have a step-daughter in the public school system, and I am so disappointed in the recent changes that have taken place. Every school system is complaining about being broke, and not have the funds to educate our children. That being said, when I found out how much payroll has spent for these “leaders” of the school system; I became utterly appalled. I recently found out that the main school system that cries the most for more money has been paying its superintendent $200,000 per year! This isn’t rocket science people! You want more money for the schools, cut the payroll of these “leaders” down to a normal salary, or better yet, make them live on what they pay the actual workers that teach our children.
On another note, we have had some issues with the teachers in my daughter’s school. You just wouldn’t believe the emails that come through from those people that are in charge of educating our children. Half of them can’t spell, and they send out emails to parents because they claim our children don’t pay attention in class, nor do their classwork. I know we can punish our children for this, but really; if you can’t control your students, or convey to them that you are an authority figure, then maybe you need to reevaluate your career path.
This is my step-daughter’s second year of high school, and I really don’t understand what has happened in the past few years. High school is not high school any more, it has regressed to an extention of middle school, or sometimes even elementary school. The faculty has stopped treating these kids like young adults, and are still treating them like children. It is about time that they realize they are not preparing those kids for the real world, so when the real world hits them, it is going to be like a ton of bricks smacking them right in the face.
I just have to share what just happened! Since my gall bladder has been removed, I have been testing the waters figuring out what I can and cannot eat lately. So, I have been on an adventure quest with trying new things. There is a Denny’s at the end of the street that I work on, and decided to go there for lunch. They are apparently having their “Let’s get cheesy” event going on. We go in and sit down, take a look at the menu after delivering our drink orders to the waitress. I find something that I like, and it comes with french fries on the side, well, I can’t have those. Down toward the bottom of the menu, it states that you can substitute mac and cheese for any side item at no additional charge, that is perfect. The waitress comes around again to take our orders, and that is what I get, my sandwich with a side of mac and cheese instead of french fries. It takes some time, but eventually our order comes out, the waitress sits down my bowl of mac and cheese, at this point, I can’t stop myself from giggling. After the waitress walks away, I burst out laughing as I am looking at this bowl of mac and cheese, in utter disbelief that this has happened. Let me clarify here that in the menu, there was a picture of mac and cheese beside the statement about substitutions that looked just like the white shells and cheddar cheese I love. Back to the bowl in front of me, I start laughing again. In this bowl is a serving of the same Kraft brand Mac and Cheese that I can make in my kitchen, straight out of the blue box. I was so appalled at this event, I could not stop giggling through the entire meal. I can understand a restaurant attempting to save a buck, but come on people, really? I was so preoccupied about this bowl of mac and cheese in front of me, it completely slipped my mind to take a picture of it to share.
This coming Saturday night, October 15th at Vieux Carre in Huntsville AL is the Disco Bloodbath costume contest. I have entered this contest, and am going to show up in my infamous zombie attire. However, this year, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve! Since this contest is being held at our Thursday night hangout, the day after my birthday, it is a great way to celebrate the big 32! I am really super excited about this and I am trying to get as many as my friends there as possible. Since my gall bladder surgery, I most likely will not be drinking, but I cannot, of course, refuse any birthday shots that may be passed my way. I certainly hope to see many, many familiar faces there, it is going to be a blast!!
The infamous gall bladder that has been causing me all sorts of problems is now a thing of the past. As soon as I get over this soreness; where it feels like the doctors brought a mule into the OR and had it kick me straight in my side, I will be raring to go again. I am sure glad of it too, with my 32nd birthday coming up, I can’t be down. My birthday is this coming Friday, and I have a Halloween costume contest to attend. I will post more about the costume contest as it gets closer. Off to the den to get some rest!