Tag Archives: homosexuality

66. Dr. James’ Diagnosis: The Trouble With Love Is

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Dating is hard blah blah blah. I talk about it a LOT. But then again, so does EVERYBODY. Everyone talks about how hard dating is. Everyone. Everyone talks about how fed up they are. And everyone is like, “Why can’t I find someone?” Ok. So then if everyone here and everyone there and everyone everywhere is frustrated, you’d think that we’d all be ready to cut the bullshit and get serious about dating. Right? WRONG, BISH. Because it takes work and we don’t fecking WANNA.

In NYC, the dating pool is HUGE with a population of almost 8.5 million people. That is a FUCKLOAD of daddies #daddiesgalore. Knowing that there are so many single, eligible hotties, we feel like the world is our oyster. We go on a date with someone who seemingly fits the profile of what we’re looking for except for that ONE thing. “Oh man, he would be PERFECT if he didn’t drink.” And then we meet someone who doesn’t drink so we drop Guy #1 for Guy #2 who happens to be PERFECT if only he didn’t live in Brooklyn! But then we meet someone who lives in our actual neighborhood so we can just skip home after a night of blowjobbing so we drop Guy #2 for Guy #3 who seems to be PERFECT except he happens to paint his fingernails. But then we meet a masc bro who crushes beer on his forehead so we move on to them and so on and so on and SO ON. We’re told “NEVER SETTLE” so we don’t! We live in a city where we can have Thai food WHENEVER the fuck we want it. “It’s 2 AM and I fegging NEED panang curry with imitation duck. I’MA GIT IT.” You can literally have whatever you want whenever you want it. They even fucking deliver alcohol. You can pay someone else to do your laundry and fold it and then DELIVER it to your front door. You can order your groceries online. OR you can go to the grocery store, buy all your groceries and then LEAVE THEM THERE and they’ll deliver them to your house later after you recover from a day of adulting. You can go out to a restaurant here and tell the server exactly how to cook your food and what sauce to put on the side and you can sub your kale salad for a quinoa parfait while the chef in the kitchen slams his head in the fridge door repeatedly out of utter frustration for your lack of class. We’re conditioned to believe we can have exactly what we want. We believe perfection exists. So we search for it in the people we date. Everyone does it. Tinder is no longer to blame, Assholes. It’s us. It’s our fault. Let’s own up to it. We write people off for a variety of reasons. “Oh, he’s too femme. BYE.” “Oh he’s a bad speller. What a fucking idiot. BYE.”Oh, he’s too eager. He wants this too bad. Desperate? BYE.”

And you know what, I am fucking eager. And that’s what makes me undateable by NYC standards.

There’s all these fucking weird rules to dating, and I don’t get it. Basically, it sums up to being “COOL” ALL the time, which I fail MISERABLY at. I go down in a blazing ball of glitter when I attempt to Keep It Cool.

Here are the rules to being cool:

HOW TO BE COOL:
1) First of all, your Tinder should only be flattering pictures of yourself looking SO Cool.
2) On Instagram, you need to delete any picture that doesn’t get a sufficient amount of likes. (Sufficient amount of likes= Enough likes that it stops listing the individual people who liked the picture and instead lists the number of likes.)
3) Never make the first move. If they’re interested in you THEY will talk to YOU. Because being Cool gives you the right to also be entitled.
4) NEVER send more than one text in a row to a boy you like. NEVER. It must be a volley of texts back and forth, and sometimes it’s fair to respond with just a stupid emoji. And remember if the conversation dies, LET IT. If they want you, they’ll keep talking to you, even if you respond with monosyllabic, noncommital texts like “K,” or “Cool,” or “Yeah.” Be entitled. It’s like, you could actually die in real life and they should keep being like, “You okay?” for like DAYS, even as your body rots. They should stick around. Because your’e Cool. And Cool people deserve that kind of deranged commitment without any reciprocation. #Coolpeoplerights
5) Keep conversation light. Cool people don’t experience difficult emotions, and they DEFINITELY don’t talk about them. You may discuss breezy topics like: the weather, celebrities, TV shows that aren’t too femme, your favorite places to throw up, etc.
6) You may creep through their Instagram/Facebook but don’t you DARE like any of their pictures/posts. Being Cool means remaining disinterested and aloof.
7) Do not dole out specific compliments. You may say things like, “You’re attractive.” But you’re NOT allowed to say something like, “God, your smile is dreamy.” That is not something Cool people do. Don’t show them your whole hand. Stay in control. Keep a sense of mystery. They should always be wondering, ‘God, does this person actually like me or are they just killing time by sending me inconsequential emojis and making meteorological observations?’ Mystery is the MOST Cool.
7) Most importantly, at the exact moment that the hottie starts to show clear, obvious interest in you, you MUST drop him. Because being eager makes him UNCOOL. And Cool people can only date other Cool people.

I fail at being Cool. I send five texts in a row. I tell men exactly why I think they’re hot. I resurrect dying conversations by asking questions like, “If you could slap anyone in the world right now, who would it be?” Or “What Britney lyric most describes your life right now?” I post pictures of me looking absoLUTEly foul. (See below.) I tell them that I crept through their Instagram. I am honest about what I’m looking for in a relationship when people ask. I check in with them throughout the week to see how they’re doing. I show interest. I make an effort. I put myself out there. I BREAK the quintessential rule of being cool: I’m eager.

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My sexiest Instagram post, by far.

Yes, I’m eager. I know that I have my shit together. I feel very comfortable with where I am artistically/personally/financially, and I’m ready to bring in a significant other. I want a relationship. But is that a bad thing? Is it wrong to be honest and openly state that I’m looking for something serious? Am I supposed to pretend I don’t want it? Am I supposed to stop looking for it and then it’ll come? IS THAT AN ACTUAL THING IT’S NOT STOP SAYING IT. No one ever got something they really wanted by not pursuing it. That’s stupid logic. No one tells you, “Oh, you want a job? Just stop looking for a job! Then you’ll get one. Someone will recognize that you’re unemployed by your sharty clothing and they’ll offer you a job. But when they offer you a job, PRETEND YOU DON’T NEED IT THAT BAD. Because wanting something is WRONG.” No. No bitch. No. It’s not like that. It’s like this:

I’m ready, and I’m realistic. I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist. I recognize that no one will have ALL of the qualities that I want. When someone asks what my Perfect Guy looks like I just laugh. Because to me, that doesn’t matter. Yes, ideally I would date someone my height. But if the guy is shorter than me, I’m still gonna give him a chance because PERSONALITY, Y’ALL. I don’t care if you’re tall; I care that you call me back. I don’t care if you’re skinny; I care that you are real with me if you lose interest. I don’t care if you’re younger than me; I care that you are emotionally available. Because I hope that someone would do the same for me. I know that I will never the most anything; there will always be someone out there who has a better body than me, someone who is smarter than me, someone with better skin, someone who is funnier than me, someone who is cooler than me. That’s fine with me. But no one is my combination of things.

And I think I deserve a chance, God damnit.

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

“And my hopes, they are high, I must keep them small. Though I try to resist I still want it all.”
~”Fools” by Troye Sivan

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My attempt at a 420 look at the ripe old age of WHAT AM I WEARING, MOTHER?!

 

 

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64. James’ Defense For Not Knowing What the Fuck You’re Doing

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“A Bitch and His Hoe” or “How To Hook A Man In 3 Seconds” or “How To Make A Man Blow His Load With One Look”

Lemme give you a brief history of James-Up-To-This-Point:

When I was little, I would watch Ace Ventura when I wasn’t feeling well. I thought Jim Carrey was the funniest bitch there ever was.

Then in middle school, I did this weird play, but it was super fun because all of my friends were in it. I had a blast. I got to see my friends every day, and we got to be freaks on stage.

Then I saw Moulin Rouge, and I thought, ‘This is the worst piece of shit I have ever seen. WHY won’t they stop singing?! STOP SINGING AND DIE, SATINE!’

Then I realized that I actually really liked singing. My best friend Dalila and I used to listen to my cassette tape of “My Heart Will Go On” on REPEAT. I would go over to boombox, press play, lay down on the ground next to Dalila and we would SCREAM along with Celine Dion. And when the song was over, I would get up, rewind the tape, and do it ALL over again. I’m sure my babysitter was somewhere in the house begging God to please explode my boombox.

Then in intermediate school I was throw into the school musical where I got the leftover parts. Well the JOKES ON YOU, because the leftover part was Buzz Lightyear, and I got to sing, “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” with a complete fucking stranger. This was my real first foray into acting as I pretended to be able to care about anyone but myself and Kit-Kat’s.

Then in my middle school choir we sang “My Heart Will Go On”, and I auditioned for the solos because CELINE FUCKING DION GOD DAMNIT. I don’t remember if I got it, but I’m positive that I sounded like a fucking superstar in my audition. A gay-ass, prepubescent, definitely gay, someone-please-love-me superstar. God, I was a fierce fucking alto. #neverchange

Then my friend (read: friends, plentiful and bountiful, for I was super popular at all points in my life) and I would sing the high soprano part at the end of the song “Phantom of the Opera”, and I used to be able to screlt those high notes (note: “screlt” is a portmanteau of “scream” and “belt”, which is a word for “to sing as high as Jesus”). I would screlt those notes ALLLLLL the time. Again, I think this was another point in my life where my mother begged God to please send a chupacabra to ravage my voice box.

When I was 14, I started dating people over the internet, because I was gay in my head but not out loud and I needed to talk to SOMEONE about it so I did the logical thing: I turned to complete strangers. I used to go to gay chat rooms and talk to other people like me. Sometimes we would become boyfriends, and that was pretty cool. But one day spikyblueeyes88 stopped logging on to AIM, and that was the first time that I had ever been ghosted. I’m sure I handled it appropriately: opening my journal, picking up a pen, calmly pushing my bangs out of my face, and then SCREAMING into my journal until the pain went away/ I fell asleep out of utter exhaustion from having so many feelings come out of the hole in my face. My heart said, “Rest, you weary son-of-a-bitch. It won’t get better, but someday you’ll have a blog to put ALLLLL your emotions in!” (Yeah, I end sentences with prepositions, because I’m a boss-ass bitch (with).

Anyway, back to internet dating. So I was 14 years-old, and my prospective internet boyfriend was 17 or 18. I had to woo him to be my One True Love. We were chatting, and it came up that he was a singer.’I’m a singer, too!’ I thought to myself. ‘I scream along to EVERYTHING I hear on the radio. I love singing; I’m a singer, god damnit!’ Well, Prospective Internet Boyfriend wanted to hear me sing. So he called my home phone and I picked it up on the first ring. He had a hot, sexy adult voice. I had a closeted, insecure 14 year-old boy voice. He sang first:  “Amazing Grace”. It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. He was a professionally-trained angel, and he was going to take me to the Promised Land. “It’s your turn,” he said. Well, I had to pick a song I knew all the words to. At the time, I was SUPER into Evanescence. I knew every god damn word to every song, and it was my favorite music to cry to. So I decided to sing “Going Under“. If you don’t know it, go listen to it. It’s tragic. It starts with her growling these super depressing lyrics. I gave my Future Boyfriend my best Amy Lee:

“Now I will tell you what I’ve done for you
Fifty-thousand tears I’ve cried
Screaming, deceiving and bleeding for you-”
*CLICK*
“….Hello? ….Hello? Are you there? ….”

Yes, he hung up on me. And I didn’t even get to sing the chorus which is the best part and the part that really shows off my vocal ability! I sat there blinking, clutching the phone to my ear for a few minutes, and then I calmly replaced the phone on the charging dock.

‘He hung up on me because of my singing voice…’

So I recorded myself singing, and then I played it back to myself. I was DISGUSTED with myself. ‘JESUS CHRIST, JAMES, YOU SOUND AWFUL! I WOULD’VE HUNG UP ON YOU, TOO! YOU SOUND TERRIBLE! NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU SINGING LIKE THAT, YOU GAY IDIOT BITCH.’

Then I realized that I even hated my speaking voice. I was hitting the “s” consonant too hard, and THAT’S how everyone at school knew to call me a “faggot” and throw batteries at me! Eureka! Mystery solved! Also, I kept finding myself walking around with limp wrists. ‘HIDE YOUR SECRETS, YOU GAY T-REX!’ So I trained myself to walk with my arms glued to my sides as if they were stapled there. ‘Ha, now they’ll NEVER know!’ Then I spent HOURS recording myself talking and trying to adjust my voice to sound less gay. I dedicated so much time towards trying to figure out where to place the consonants in my mouth to sound less gay. Recording my voice, playing it back to myself, banging my head on the desk hoping my tongue would fall out so I would never have to say “s” again, and then doing it all over again. Funny enough, I feel like my “gay speech” calmed down after I came out of the closet. Alright, Jesus… I see you.

Also, after this experience, I saw Evanescence in concert FIVE times. I would go to their concerts and jump up and down with the biggest smile on my face screaming, “I WANNA DIE, TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Also, this story about the “Amazing Grace” guy hanging up on me singing “Going Under” is Kelley’s favorite story, and if we are EVER on the phone and I start singing she will ALWAYS hang up. She’s REALLY funny….

Also when I was 14, I auditioned for a production of Seussical the Musical. I was cast as a panther, and I was surrounded by so many talented people and that was the moment I decided I wanted to pursue musical theater.

So I went HARD. During Seussical, I met Miss Sara, and she started an all-men’s beginner tap class. I started tapping with her when I was 15, and I’ve been tapping ever since. I started auditioning like a motherfucker. I would go to the library and check out every CD for every musical they had and I would INHALE THEM. I knew every lyric to every song. I would do all the school shows, and I would audition for musicals in the community as well. I started taking voice lessons with Wendy when I was 15, and she changed my LIFE. (More on her later.) By my senior year, my schedule was jam-packed. I joined the Madison Youth Choirs, I played bassoon in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, I took voice lessons, I took tap class, I took an acting class through UW-Madison, I worked at a bakery, I worked at the movie theater, and I performed in shows. There was a point where this was my schedule: School 8:15-3:25, School musical rehearsal 4:00-6:30, Madison community theater musical rehearsal 7:00-10:00. I was eating, breathing, sleeping musical theater. I felt like I was finally doing something I really cared about with people who really understood me.

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Word of advice: don’t every try to out-do Katie in a selfie. Just be blessed to be in her presence and do your fucking best.

When I was auditioning for colleges, I went all in once again. I auditioned at NYU, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and UW-Stevens Point. While I was auditioning, I was so scared and I felt suddenly inadequate. I was having a breakdown in one of my voice lessons, and Wendy listened to doubt myself and cry. When I was done, she had the best fucking response ever. She started singing Evanescence to me: “Fear is only in our mind, taking over all the time. Fear is only in ours minds, but it’s taking over all the time.”

*MIC DROP* BY WENDY. Did I MENTION that she’s the coolest ever?!

So I went to UW- Stevens Point, and I STILL went hard AF. I took the maximum credits allowed. I took some of my pre-requisites over the summer at a community college so I would have more room during the year to take theater and dance classes. I took every class I could get my hands on. I weaseled my way into modern dance, jazz dance and tap dance classes usually reserved only for dance majors. I auditioned for everything, even the dance shows that I felt underqualified for. And in the summer, I would do summerstock theater. I worked my ass off.

I graduated college in May 2011. I lived at home for the summer and performed in a musical while waiting tables. Then I hosted a benefit concert to help me raise money to move to NYC, and I moved here in September 2011.

When I first got here, I went to every damn audition. There was one time where I went to five auditions in the same day. I hustled like a motherfucker. It took me a while, but I finally started getting cast. I’ve been here for  four years now.

Now here’s the one event I can’t quite pinpoint. There was a moment where I didn’t want to eat/sleep/breathe musical theatre anymore. I started putting on Eminem instead of Sweeney Todd. I wanted to talk about music and comedy instead of my favorite Elphaba riff or which role I could play in Wicked. I wanted a life outside of musical theatre. To be frank, I didn’t want what I had always wanted. I didn’t want to do the things that I should do anymore. I didn’t wanna take ballet class or acting class or classes with casting directors, and I didn’t want to go to auditions for shows that I wasn’t right for just so I could get seen by a prominent casting director. I didn’t want to hang out with actors anymore. I didn’t want to sit in a holding room anymore. I didn’t want to do any of the “shoulds” anymore.

Last week, I was on a bus to Boston and since no one was around me, I started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack again in private. I listened to “Wait For It” three times in a row, and I started crying to myself. I thought to myself, ‘What happened to the Old James? Where did he go? Why don’t I love musical theater as much as I used to? Why is it no longer my life source? It used to be my EVERYTHING. I was on this path with my nose to the pavement for the past 12 years; what am I supposed to do with myself? What am I supposed to do when I wake up one day and realize that I don’t love this thing like I used to. I don’t want to spend my time and money on things I don’t love. I don’t wanna network for something that doesn’t fulfill me. I don’t want to know the lyric to every Broadway show. I don’t care to know every actor in every musical. I don’t care to know the career paths of musical theater stars. But why?! Where did Old James go? GIVE HIM BACK TO ME. I NEED HIM.’

Loss of clarity is horrifying. It’s scary. I don’t want to think, ‘Well I’ve spent 12 years becoming someone I don’t wanna be anymore; what now?’ I don’t want that. I want my certainty back. I want my fire back.

But I can’t have certainty, because it doesn’t exist. Certainty exists in the same imaginary world as control. But I don’t want to wander aimlessly. I don’t want to be lost. But then I looked around at my friends. One of my friends knows exactly how I feel: went to school for something completely different than what she’s currently pursuing. Another one of my friends worked at a job she fucking hated, and now she’s doing something she loves. One of my friends studied psychology, and now she works in finance. So. Okay, James. You’re not alone. Actually, you’re in the perfect company to be lost. But if “lost” terrifies you too much to be included in your vocabulary, then choose something else: curious, wandering, interested, well-rounded.

I’m letting go of the “shoulds”. I started taking tap class regularly, because it makes me happy. I only audition for projects I want to be a part of. I let myself listen to whatever music I want, and now I have a music soulmate at work and we could talk about FKA Twigs and Rihanna and Jai Paul for hours, and it’s some of the most fulfilling conversations I’ve ever had, because I don’t feel so alone. I’ve accepted that I’m good at hospitality, but that doesn’t mean I need to be a Career Server. I’ve looked into classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. I bought a guitar so I can start learning to play Evanescence/Celine Dion mash-ups. I went to a Zedd concert, because I felt like it. I spent a week in San Diego by myself. I stopped auditioning for an entire summer, and let myself have a life outside of theater. And the most exciting thing? I’ve started writing a comedic web-series with a friend. We meet about once a week and we sit and we write and laugh so loud that people stare. And when we don’t want to write our web-series, we write comedic sketches. I feel like I’m finally doing something I love. Oh. And I write my blog. Because I love writing.

I’m letting myself be who I am, and I’m not trying to make myself fit into whatever the Successful Musical Theatre Professional mold is. I’m letting myself exist, and it’s terrifying and liberating and I’m so proud of myself.

My baby sister recently told me she was jealous of me, because I knew exactly what I wanted and I’m finding success in doing exactly what I wanted to do. Leah, I would like to apologize to you for fooling you so fabulously. I wrote this blog to set the record straight. Some people dabble in different things, looking for something they care about and freaking out that they don’t have some fiery passion that “everyone else” has. And some people are me, and you’ve been working your tits off for 12 years for your passion only to realize that maybe you don’t want it anymore. Both are horrifying. But both are okay. Just do things you fucking like to do. Work at a job that either fulfills you or pays you enough that you can do things you enjoy doing. And don’t judge yourself for the things that you like. There is value in doing things for pure enjoyment. I promise you. Don’t judge yourself for listening to Fetty Wap twice a day, everyday, for two weeks. It’s okay. It’s okay to take a hip-hop class once a week even if it doesn’t further your career. You are more fun to be around when you’re having fun.

Now excuse me, Trap Queen is calling.

“Baby girl you’re so damn fine though. I’m tryna know if I can hit it from behind though.”
~”679″ by Fetty Wap

you’re okay.

JAMES

P.S. After posting this blog on Facebook my mother commented: “Clearly I didn’t know all this. But I’m relieved to know that when I suspected you were surfing porn sites in your teens, you were only attempting to find a boy friend.”

NOTHING’S CHANGED MA. STILL SURFIN’ THE WEB LOOKING FOR THAT WIFEY DICK.

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Her only goal every day is “Be 7 years-old” and she’s doing just fine. #selfieinception

A Sense of Humor While Telling An Incredibly Sad Story

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Lemme start with some trigger warnings.

TRIGGER WARNINGS:
1) Self-Harm
2) Sexual Abuse

If either of those things are gonna put you in a bad, bad place. Please stop reading. Otherwise, you can’t say I haven’t warned you.

I was having a conversation with some friends about my blog, because some of them haven’t read it. They asked me what it was about. That’s a question that I always struggle with; sometime’s it’s funny and I write about cleaning out your butthole, but sometimes it’s sad and I write about boys who don’t want to date me. But I tried to describe it nonetheless: “Well it’s a comedic blog-” and that’s where my friend Bumpy Cakes cut me off. “No, it’s not. You just have a sense of humor while telling incredibly sad stories.”

Alright. So here’s an incredibly sad story told with a sense of humor:

I used to want to be a model. I thought I would be good at it, because everyone told me that I was pretty. ‘Surely modeling can’t require more than being gay and skinny!’ I thought to myself. When I lived in Wisconsin, I once got paid stupid money to eat ice cream and smile without drooling. I NAILED IT. Then I did an ad for a major soft drink company. All I had to do was drink from my bottle without covering the label and look like I was REALLY enjoying myself. I nailed that, too. Except that they had to repeatedly replace my bottle, because I kept chugging it. “Oh, sorry! It’s not my fault that this drink is DELICIOUS and LOW IN CALORIES and ESSENTIAL TO MY LIFESTYLE. Also WHERE’S MY MONEYYYYYY?!”

Then I moved to NYC. Ten-out-of-eleven cows in Wisconsin thought I was really pretty, so HOW could people in NYC disagree? I somehow got into a party with some hot-ass working male models. I went up and started conversation with them and told them I wanted to get into modeling. They approved of my height, my age, and my workout regiment. Then I showed them my abs and they winced. “Oh,” they said regretfully, as if they were looking at a puppy that was too old to get adopted because it’ll probably just die soon and no one wants to love something that’s not gonna live forever. Well, after that experience, I just KNEW that I was gonna be the next Tyra. NOT the next top model; I WOULD BE TYRA. Because I have such amazing abs that I made professional male models CRY. Lez GO!!!!!

So about two years ago, I decided to really pursue this modeling thing. I wanted to go to go-see’s or whatever the fuck models do to get paid to pretend to eat things that aren’t including in their diet. But I needed to build up a portfolio of pictures. My friend Reeves helped me take some amazing modeling shots. He’s the sweetest, hottest man to ever exist. He told me to look at the camera like it was something I wanted. Now I know most men would look at the camera and think, ‘Mmmmmm, sex. I want sex. I’m gonna stare down that camera like I wanna stick my dick in it! *THWACK*’ No, not me. I looked at the camera and thought, ‘CHICKEN TENDERS NUM NUM NUM!!!!! WATERMELON! HONEY MUSTARD SAUCEEEEE!!!!’ That’s when I really started to nail my shots. I was serving STRAIGHT UP SMOLDER. And then Reeves photoshopped out my drool and the insane glimmer in my eye and I was ready!

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This is one of the amazing pictures taken by Reeves. I’m looking at the camera like I wanna cut a bitch because I thought about someone revoking my Chicken Tender Rights. Oh SHIT, that got me worked up!

But I wanted to keep building up my portfolio to show modeling agencies that I was an seasoned professional with a whopping two months of experience. So I used a modeling site to find more photographers. I found a guy who said he would take some good modeling shots for me as long as I did him a favor. He said he was working on an artsy piece on the intersection of masculinity and femininity. He would take discrete and tasteful pictures of me naked while wearing heels and panty hose. Oh and my dick would be painted in glitter.

‘Cool,’ I thought. ‘I’m down. I’m all about challenging the traditional definition of masculinity. Let’s fucking do this.’

So I go to this photographer’s apartment with all the clothes I’ve ever bought, because I couldn’t fucking decide; I look fucking amazing in EVERYTHING. Guess we’ll just have to photograph EVERY OUTFIT. Oh well! #beautifulAF

After I walk in and get settled, I ask him about possible outfit choices. He kinda pointed at something nonchalantly and I put it on immediately, instantly inspired by his great amount of enthusiasm for my modeling shots. Then he asked what music I wanted on. I told him I was really into Miley Cyrus, but he didn’t want to listen to that. Instead he put on something slow and moody like an indie banjo cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, ya know, some real panty-dropping bangers. I kind of expected music that I could do cocaine to, because that’s what it’s like in all the movies. But whatever, I could still serve some fierce fucking Watermelon Face to his depressing-ass hipster music. BECAUSE I’M A GOD DAMN MODEL.

We took a few shots, and then he made me put on a fugly baseball jacket. So put it on and served some straight-up bro face. And then he made me unzip the top of my pants. ‘Hm…That’s weird, but he’s the photographer, and I trust him!’ I was giving angles and shadows and hunger, but I could tell he wasn’t really interested. He was just doing this, because I needed it.

After I dropped into the splits for the third time, he decided it was time for that part of the photoshoot to be over. Now it was time for his artsy project. So I started to put myself into my artsy-fartsy mindset. I started thinking about that scary painting of that dude screaming and about that lady who sits in the chair in the museum and makes you cry while she stares at your face. ‘Ah, yes…Zen. I’m ready.’

He asks me to take off my pants and my underwear. And then my shirt. So I was naked, but I did nude modeling college and I didn’t fart ONCE. So I was used to this. I’m a professional. Then he got the glitter and a bottle of something else.

“I have to use lube first to make the glitter stick,” he said.

‘Ah, of COURSE,’ I thought to myself. Every time I tried to make my dick glitter and sparkle, all of my bedazzling work always went to waste because I wasn’t using LUBE! ‘SO THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE THE GLITTER STICK!!!!’ I already felt my artistic mind expanding into the horizon. ‘Namaste, god damnit. Where’s my latte with low-fat cashew milk?’

So this stranger rubbed lube on my dick while I sat there thinking about glitter. He told me my dick was pretty, and I made some comment like, “I WARSHED IT TODAY.” He went on with the lube longer than necessary, but I guess he wanted to get every nook and cranny. Then he applied the glitter. That also went on much longer than necessary.

Then he gave me panty hose to put on and my bright pink heels to match the glitter. And then he posed me in a way that I was sitting against the wall with my knees up while he photographed me. He had assured me that my face wouldn’t be in any of the pictures; that was the only reason I had even agreed to this in the first place. Then he made another comment like: “Mmmmm, I can see your butthole.” And I said something flippant like: “Well I’m glad it’s exactly where I left it! Right behind my SAGGY BALLS!”

God, I’m so good at this professional model banter.

And that’s when I started thinking: ‘…God? Are you there? It’s James. Just wondering…. What have I done to be here? Why am I here with my dick doused in glitter while an old creep stares at my unkempt grundle and comments on the state of my asshole? I went to church camp once! The youth leader me and the other boys that it was a sin to fuck animals. And I haven’t fuck an animal! Not even once! So why am I here??’

I was pulled out of my daydream conversation with God when I noticed the photographer was rubbing his crotch. (I assumed his dick had gotten tangled up, a problem that I frequently have and I have on more than one ocassion asked my male friends, “Do you ever feel like your dick is an accordion?” But they just stare at with with deep concern, so I stopped asking.) He said he was getting “excited”, and he asked if I wanted to see his penis. I was still sitting on the ground with my back against the wall and my feet on the ground but my heels were so tall that my knees were practically in my mouth. I couldn’t really breathe, I didn’t really know what to say. “Sure…”. He unzipped his pants to reveal he wasn’t wearing any god damn underwear. What the fuck, bro? And then he inched closer and asked if I wanted to taste it. “…Okay,” I said. So he put his dick in my mouth and moved it around while I sat there for a little bit. Eventually I moved my face away. He told me I could shower, and he gave me a towel. After I got all the glitter off, I came out, and he was lying on his bed naked. “Come here, and lay down,” he said. So I did. He put his hand on my penis, and he took my hand and put it on his weird floppy dick. This went on for about 30 seconds until something inside me exploded. I felt sick. I sat straight up and said, “I gotta go. I gotta go. I gotta go.” I was shaking. He asked if everything was okay. I just kept packing up all my clothes and I reassured him everything was fine. ONCE AGAIN: reassured him everything was fine.

I ran out his door and onto the subway. I felt myself unraveling so I reached for my sunglasses and I slipped them on my face as the tears started boiling over. I stood on the train and sobbed quietly to myself as my tears burned down my cheek.

“You’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay.”

The next thing I knew I was sitting in a Chipotle. I have no idea how I got there. I looked down and saw a burrito bowl sitting in front of me. So I ate it while I cried. How many times have I fucking cried my eyes out at a Chipotle?! And you really can’t properly taste a burrito when you’re sobbing into it. It mostly tasted like boogers which, sadly, is a taste I’ve outgrown. #puberty

I went home, and I told my close friends what had happened. Thankfully, I was also in therapy at the time. This is what they told me:

“This is not your fault. He was in a position of power, and he took advantage of you. He molested you.”

“But I didn’t stop him. It’s my fault, because I didn’t stop him,” I said.

“No, James. It’s NOT your fault. He took advantage of you. HE did this to you.”

But it’s hard for me to remember that sometimes. Sometimes I just blame myself, and I don’t want to tell people this story, because I don’t want them to judge me and call me names. When it first happened, I knew that I could only tell people that were worthy of hearing my story. I could only tell people that I trusted enough to have the appropriate response. Because the scariest question to be asked, especially by someone I love, is this:

“Why didn’t you do something?”

“Why didn’t you leave? Oh, I would’ve hit him if I were you. I would’ve bitten it right off. Oh man, if that happened to me, I really would’ve done something.”

Oh, you would? Well that’s awesome for you. Ya know, in my head, I’m a superhero, too. In my head, I have the perfect response to every insult. In my head, I beat the SHIT outta anyone who tries to rob me of my beloved iPhone. In my head, I kill anyone who ever tries to molest me. At least that’s what I thought. But then it happened, and I wasn’t a superhero. I was James. That’s it. Not a superhero who doles out justice and defeats villains. I was just a normal guy who ran away and cried.

What makes me so mad is that I’ve worked my whole life to improve a terrible self-esteem. Terrible self-esteem. When I was little, I used to tell my mother I wanted to die every night. I would cry and cry and repeat that phrase to her: “I wish I was dead.” I saw how much it hurt her for me to say that. So I stopped saying it. But I used to lie in my bed thinking of ways to kill myself that wouldn’t make a mess for my family to clean up. I just didn’t want it to be messy and a burden for my family. I just wanted to be gone. To not exist.

I was 10.

And I worked so hard to combat that part of my brain that tells me that. I’ve had two rounds of therapy. I used to cover my face and talk to myself in public to tell myself I was okay. I used workbooks and journals to reprogram that part of me that told myself I was ugly and worthless. I’ve worked hard. REALLY fucking hard. And it’s a constant battle. Some days are harder than others. And some days I can forget that I was ever so sad. I’ve let go of people from my life who weren’t fighting on my side. I’ve said goodbye to people who put me down; I’ve let go of people who told me I was unattractive and untalented, who told me I couldn’t sing, who told me I wouldn’t achieve my dreams. I’ve dismissed people who posed as loving boyfriends who were undercover gremlins whose sole mission was to demolish my self-worth. I’ve fought tooth and nail. I’ve slayed demons on my way to the top of my personal mountain Fuckerest. And then. After 14 years of fighting, one photoshoot unraveled all that. And THEN. To be asked, “How could you let that happen to you? Why didn’t you do anything?”

Well I’m fucking doing something now. I’m writing this.

It still hurts a lot. A lot a lot. I thought I was over it, but then I was at the gym and someone was staring at me, and I got uncharacteristically angry. I left the gym, and I cried outside. All this last year, people have been commenting on my darkness. Then I started to realize that it’s been affecting me ever since.

When people check me out in a bar, I wanna pluck their eyes out. When someone grabs my ass, I wanna rip their arm out of the socket. And when someone in a position of power takes advantage of my subordinance, it makes me want to fucking give up. Oh no; this is not an isolated incident. No. It’s not the only time I’ve been sexually harassed.

So I’m prickly and cold? So be it.

If you wanna be scared of me, cool. Boom roasted! Or whatever the kids say now. If I’m unapproachable, cool. How bout dem apples. Snapchat THIS. (What’s Periscope? Is that an app for peeking up boys’ shorts? I don’t know; I’m 26.) Do what you want. Telling my story isn’t brave. It doesn’t FEEL brave. I’m recounting events that happened to me. I just hope this does something for someone else who feels like no one understands them. And if you decide to quit modeling, cool. I won’t ask questions. Because sometimes your dreams don’t come true because someone shits on them and no matter how many times you wash them, they still kinda smell like shit. So maybe you don’t love the things that used to be your gospel. And I don’t want someone to take that away from me. But you don’t always have that option. Sometimes people rob you and you just watch them run away with your iPhone or your dog or your baby or something else that you really love and you’re sure gonna miss. But robbers are selfish and unkind and they don’t care about what you want. Otherwise they wouldn’t ROB YOU.

I know I’m not alone in this struggle, but sometimes I wish I was. I would rather be alone in this suffering. I would rather that no one else has to go through that. I used to turn up the shower as hot as I could handle it and stand there. Once I grabbed the loofa and scrubbed my skin as hard as I could handle. But I can’t make it go away. All I can do is own my story, and realize that this story doesn’t define me. It’s part of my narrative, but I am more than that.

About a week later, I went to his Facebook page just to make sure he hadn’t posted any of the pictures. But I couldn’t get to his profile, because he had deleted me as a friend…. He deleted me. Cool cool cool.

I’m not a superhero with a superhero response. But if I was, this is what I would say now, after the fact:

I do not belong to you. You are not entitled to any piece of me. Just because I am baring skin it does not give you the right to say inappropriate things to me. You do not get to touch me. EVEN IF you employ, I owe you nothing. Nothing.

Part of me thinks that maybe I should search my heart for empathy for you, you who stuck a screwdriver in the garbage disposal of my life and turned it on. But I can’t. I don’t have the energy. In another universe perhaps I could muster up the energy to analyze what events transpired in your life to royally fuck up mine. But in this universe, I don’t fuckin wanna. I used all my energy to get from there to here. Let someone else feel bad for you. Because I don’t.

Lastly, I wanna say something to anyone who still asks, “Why did you let that happen to you??” If this hasn’t happened to you, it’s not because you’re smarter than me. Or more wary than I. It’s because you’re lucky. That’s it. We’re the same. Except I was unlucky.

It took me a long time to write this. I know haven’t written a lot lately; I only blogged 6 times last year. But at the end of the day, I don’t wanna confront this. And I’m not sure people want to read this. I feel like people go to my blog when they wanna giggle about the new way that I’ve shit my pants in my twenties. (It’s been three times so far.) But at this point, I don’t know that reading this blog is so much about desire as it is necessity. I need to write this. And you need to read it. Not because of the quality of the writing or my ego, but because of its content. The simple facts.

It’s not a comedic blog.

“You just have a sense of humor while telling incredibly sad stories.”

God if I didn’t have my sense of humor, I don’t know how the fuck else I deal with the assloads of fuckery that bitch-fuckers dump into my life of glamour and ecstasy.

DON’T GIVE UP

JUST GET THROUGH

JAMES

“You’re funny, James. You should write more.”
~My super nice friends who deserve to eat gallons of cookies without ever gaining weight.

 

57. James is the Glue

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The first thing I ever wanted to be was a comedian. Well, the very first thing I wanted to be was a magician, because I used to be obsessed with Harry Houdini. But then I learned that even with his powers of sorcery, he was felled by a punch in the stomach. ‘Fuck that,’ the 8-year-old James exclaimed! Well, then I wanted to be a firefighter, but then I realized that I was terrified of fire; I just wanted to look like the firemen that I saw on TV. Finally, I decided I wanted to be a comedian…with the body of a firefighter. Even as a small, prepubescent pervert, I wanted to be making people laugh so hard it hurt while my body… made them so hard it hurt.

Ah yes, readers, let the fuckery commence…

But let me start at the beginning. Let me start at a time when I had a more innocent sense a humor, a time before I laughed incessantly at the thought of a “dick fart”. Yes, readers, let start with the first person who taught me the meaning of comedy: my grandfather. (Just for the record, while my grandfather is mentioned in the cultivation of my comedic talents, this blog does not in any way reflect his personal endorsement or his condemnation of my disgusting fucking sense of humor. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…)

Flashback to my early teen years: I was having an angsty time in high school just like every other teenager tossing and turning on the tumultuous, cum-stained waves of puberty. I distinctly remember a specific time during which I thought everyone hated me; I’m pretty sure I was having a disagreement with every single one of my friends. I also struggled heavily with depression when I was younger. In middle school, I frequently cried hysterically to my mother and said, “I wish I were dead.” Once, she burst into tears after I said that to her. She asked me to stop saying it, so I did but I didn’t necessarily stop feeling it.

In a nutshell, the struggle was REAL for this lanky gay in his early, early teens. So my mother suggested I spend a weekend at my grandparents’. I remember feeling a combination of absolute nothingness and utter desperation to get away from everything. This was the first time I fell in love with my tried-and-true method of problem-solving: running the fuck away. So my mother dropped me off at my grandparents’ house, and I stayed with them for about a week. I spent my days playing with my Neopets on the computer, biking to the local swimming pool and being rendered breathless by my grandfather’s flawless sense of humor. For example…

One day, I was sitting on the computer checking on my Neopets, wondering if anyone would ever need me as much as these digital monsters, and all of a sudden I heard a quiet chanting coming from the living room. This was also the time in my life when I was really into the TV show Charmed so I’m pretty sure I had come to the conclusion that the mysterious chanting was coming from a demon that had come to take my life. I bowed my head, I solemnly bid my beloved Neopets goodbye with a lengthy, inexperienced tongue-kiss to the computer screen and walked towards the living room, resolved to die at the hands of this inevitably sexy demon. As I reached the living room, I raised my eyes to make full eye contact with the demon, but instead I saw my grandpa standing the middle of the room, arms extended halfway in front of his body, palms to Jesus, eyes closed, chanting in Latin. He must have felt my presence, because he slowly opened his eyes and smiled at me. I smiled back knowingly; he was up to some type of fuckery.

“What are you doing, Opa?”

My grandpa replied back without a single hesitation, “Oh, I’m just sacrificing this baby lamb to Jesus.” And with a twinkle in his eye, he resumed his Latin incantation to Jesus as he offered up the nonexistent baby lamb while I LAUGHED MY FUCKING ASS OFF.

This memory has stuck with me for at least a decade now, and I think it’s because it was one of my first lessons in comedy:

  • Don’t hesitate. Just go. When I asked him what he was doing, he just said the first fucking thing that came to his mind. He didn’t judge his thoughts and think to himself, ‘Is this funny?’ He just trusted his inner comedian and succumbed to a violent, hilarious case of word vomit. I know that even if the first thing that had come out of his mouth wasn’t initially funny, he would’ve worked his way into it. Cuz he’s a fucking pro and shit.
  • Commit, god damnit. My grandpa fucking went for it. He stood in the middle of the living room, chanting in Latin for fucks sake, over an imaginary lamb carcass. Does my grandpa even know Latin??! I don’t fucking know, but I believed it! And he wasn’t giving a half-ass performance of his “Latin” incantation; he was giving all he had! And he went on for a considerable amount of time in Latin/Gibberish. (Let the record show that it is highly probable that my grandfather actually knows Latin. Among the many things he studied in college, I know he took a few classes in Theology.)

Luckily, he gave me subsequent lessons in being absolutely ridiculous:

It was a sunny day in Horicon, Wisconsin as we rode down the highway. He was driving while I stared lackadaisically out the passenger-side window. The lady driving in front of us was cruising at a speed much slower than that which my grandpa desired. Honestly, it is very likely that this woman was driving the legal speed limit, but my grandpa just wanted to go faster. Or he just wanted to make me smile. Either way, we just road along behind her for a bit. But I guess the forlorn look on my face was too much for my grandpa to handle, because he looked over at me and said, “Hold on.” Then he slowly rolled down his window, calmly reached out his head and yelled, “DRIVE FASTER, YOU OLD BITCH!” I remember laughing so hard I cried, while my grandpa put on his shit-eating grin, rolled up his window and continued driving. This was Lesson #2:

  • Make fun of yourself. More specifically, be aware of which groups you belong to, and feel free to make fun of them all the time. Quite frankly, my grandfather also could have been classified as an “old bitch”. Therefore, he had a right to make fun of other old people. He had the right to “berate” this old woman for “driving slow” when she was surely driving the speed limit.
  • Do the unexpected. My grandpa is a super well-mannered man. He studied like a million things in college, including a P.H.D. in “How to Be a Gentleman”. He never raises his voice and he never swears. So he knew that it would be fucking hilarious for him to scream profanities out his window at this woman. Also, just so the whole world knows, this woman absolutely did NOT hear him yell at her. Her window was rolled up, the wind was roaring, she was an old bitch, etc.
  • Know your audience. He looked at me and thought, ‘Here’s a teenager who gets scolded if he ever swears in front on his parents. Hell, his mother won’t even let him say the word “fart”! I know that watching an old man swear will really make him laugh.’ And he was right!
  • Go all the fucking way. He didn’t pretend to yell; he yelled at the top of his voice. You have to give it 110%! I apply this to my life by abusing the literary device “hyperbole” every time I tell a god damn story. Everything is funnier when it’s bigger, especially an “accurate retelling” of any “historical” event.
  • Comedy is the best medicine. This might have been the most important lesson that I’ve taken away from all of my grandpa’s jokes. Comedy can literally fix anything. If I am ever sad, I trust that my grandpa still knows how to make me laugh, even though my sense of humor has devolved into a disgusting rompery of foulness. For example: my roommates are currently singing a Christmas carol where they replace random words with “ass-queefs”, and I can’t help but randomly bursting out in laughter. Despite my current extremely sophisticated sense of humor, I know that my grandpa can still have me rolling on the floor laughing. #partridgeinanassqueef

I’ve taken all my lessons, and I’ve fully integrated comedy into my daily life. I use comedy every fucking day. Comedy is the adhesive that binds the book of my life, and I find myself constantly using comedy as a heavy-duty sandpaper, aggressively (read: effortlessly) smoothing over all the rough patches that I encounter in life. I do it now without thinking. I find it to be my innate duty, necessary but exhausting.

I used to call myself “the glue”. The first time I called myself that was my senior year of high school. I was really worried about going away to college, because I felt like the glue of my family (which is comprised of me, my two parents and my three sisters). I remember crying to my dad and saying, “You guys are gonna fall apart without me! I’M THE GLUE!!!!!”(Cue EVERY crying emoji.) Okay… So first of all, yes, I have been dramatic for a long time. But second, I wasn’t being a pompous ass thinking that my family needed me. When I left, who was gonna smooth things over with a joke? When I lived at home, if my sisters were fighting with my parents I would easily diffuse the situation by firing a well-timed joke. The gunfire would cease, everyone would laugh and immediately the tensions would disperse. What were they gonna do without me?? My father looked at me with compassion in his eyes and chuckled, “We’re not going to fall apart.” I went away to college, and my family didn’t blast itself into smithereens without my tactful, diplomatic jokes. Life went on, but I kept comedy in my back pocket as my reliable Secret Weapon.

Now I work in a restaurant. Every shift starts with a brief meeting, and sometimes the morale of my coworkers is kind of negative. Hospitality is hard, and customers can be assholes. Unfortunately, this negativity can spread like poison in the bloodstream. But I take it upon myself to be the antidote, and I try to lighten the mood by making a joke. For example, there was once a competition in one of the preshift meetings about who could tell their most embarrassing story. I gladly told one of the many stories of me shitting myself. I think people were more horrified than anything, but I know that, even if for only a moment, they forgot about their shitty days as they thought to themselves, ‘Wow, I’m so glad I’m not half as nasty as James!” But my job doesn’t end there! When we all go downstairs to start serving guests as they give complicated martini orders as if I’m a fucking Starbucks barista, it’s easy to succumb to the general soul-sucking energy that the customers bring with them. So even then, I continue to make jokes in an effort to keep the mood light and easy as I trip theatrically on a chair in the dining room and suggest that we put some orange cones and caution tape around it. Or how about the one time when I was reaching across a table to grab some empty plates and the guest turned her head and got a face-full of my crotch, and I asked my manager if I should charge her extra for that. Most people just think I’m fucking weird, but I don’t really care as long as someone is laughing (…most of the time that “someone” is just me).

Meeting people is a pretty vulnerable situation, but I use the same gameplan every time: make them laugh. That’s it. Step One: make them laugh. Everything else comes after that. Once I can make someone laugh, I can figure out how to navigate the rest. Later in the conversation, I can make another joke by referencing back to my initial joke or use a piece of information that they revealed to me earlier. For example, if when we met they told me they were a professional goblin hunter, later in the conversation I will ask them to clarify: “I’m sorry. Now when you said ‘goblin hunter’… Is that a real thing or was that your way of telling me that you murder ugly people?” That way, I continue to make them feel more comfortable by making them laugh, and I’m showing them that I care to get to know them because I’m listening to the things they’re telling me. Once I make someone laugh, I know how to win them over. Eventually if this relationship grows into a friendship, I will know how to diffuse an argument between us in the future. When someone is mad at me, if I can make them laugh it’s gonna make it real hard for them to stay angry. And no matter how upset they are with me, once they laugh they’ll remember what it is they love about me (besides my devilish charm). And if they’re sad about something else, it’s even easier for me to make them laugh. I just give them two pieces of good advice and then my third piece of advice is something silly. For example: “You know what you need to do? You need to be brave, tell him how you feel and then eat all the fucking ice cream.” Tada! The rule of threes! It also helps to deliver a joke in the midst of a serious moment. For example, a friend is opening up to you, crying and wondering if someone will ever love them. And then you look them straight in the eye, wipe away their singular tear and say, “Hey. Now you listen to me. You are the filthiest fucking person I know, but I love you, you nasty fucking bitch.” Bingo bango! Sentiment with humor! Never fails. And if it does fail, you slap them in the face and give them a cookie; after that, at least one of you is bound to feel better.

Comedy is my foolproof lubricant in vulnerable situations. I have a bad habit of using comedy in my moments of uncomfortable vulnerability. For example, if I text someone and say something like, “Hey, I really miss you,” but they don’t respond right away, I am bound to then text something like, “Oh, man, sorry, that text was meant for my mom… and the dick pic I meant to send to you accidentally went to my mom. Fuck! Oh man. I hope she likes it? No, that’s fucked up. I hope she hates it! Wow, but I hope she doesn’t tell me that she hates it; that would really hurt my feelings. Does it turn you on when I use a semi-colon in a text? Maybe my mom won’t recognize my penis, and she won’t know it’s mine. I’ll tell her my iPhone was hacked by North Korea. That’s a thing, right? Also, do you love me?” And then I would insert a slew of emojis, starting with the crystal ball emoji and ending with the poopie emoji. I know in my heart that I should just sit patiently in my vulnerable moment, but sometimes I just can’t HELP but scramble to use comedy as my emergency parachute, uncertain if anyone is waiting to catch me as I careen towards unknown terrain in the Land of Vulnerability. That way, I’m safe either way. If the feeling is mutual, they’ll return the sentiment and my joke will just make them laugh. But if the feeling isn’t mutual, my joke serves as a landing cushion for me and it distracts them from my moment of vulnerability, like that super bright white light that the Men In Black use to erase people’s memories. Their conscience will be scot-free and unburdened while over in my apartment I’ll be sobbing wildly facefirst in my Stitch stuffed animal.

This leads to me the lesson of comedy that I appreciate the most: comedy is an excellent way to deliver a sincere message. You get people to like you and make themselves vulnerable to you by making them laugh, and then you sock ‘em where it counts.

Comedy is my lifeline. It’s my signature and I scribble it on everything. But it does get a little tiresome, being the social lubricant all the time. I feel like people look to me to save the day sometimes… “Oh, I’m sad… James will fix everything! Make it all better, James! Do that thing where you tell a disgusting story, and I forget about everything!” Whether this pressure exists in the physical world or only in my head, I frequently feel it’s my responsibility to be some sort of superhero of comedy, like it’s my duty to heal the hurt with my jokes. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than to make someone explode with laughter and know that it was me that did that. But sometimes, I just wanna sit back and be the one made to laugh. Sometimes I don’t wanna be the superhero; I wanna be the damsel in distress who desperately needs to laughs until she sharts. Sometimes, I wish I was 15 again, sitting in my grandpa’s Buick while he screams out the window at an old woman to drive faster. I just wanna be sitting in that passenger seat, breathless with laughter while my grandpa smirks to himself, secretly satisfied that he made me smile while pretending he didn’t do anything remotely out of the ordinary. If only. But I can’t go back. I can only go forward when my eyes are open. So. In that case, I fully intend to soldier onward, carrying the blazing torch of comedy handed down to me by my grandfather and ignite the world with shart-inducing laugther.

Game on, Life. Here comes the giggles, you fucks.

“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? If I’m alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?
~”Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down

#dontgiveup

Love,

James / The Glue

This is what I looked like when my grandpa started teaching me to be funny. If only he would have taught me how inappropriate it is to wear a tye-dye shirt in front of a tye-dye background. Also. I'm posing with my stuffed animal. How can anyone be cooler than me?

This is what I looked like when my grandpa started teaching me to be funny. If only he would have taught me how inappropriate it is to wear a tye-dye shirt in front of a tye-dye background. Also. I’m posing with my stuffed animal. How can anyone be cooler than me?

49. James and His Dad / The Old Bitch and the C

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My dad and I share the same birthday. Every year we call each other and take turns wishing each other happy birthdays. I once wrote a blog about how much I love my mommy. Now let me tell you how much I love my daddy (my actual dad, not “daddy” as in “oooo yeah daddy” like in the sexual way).

I used to be afraid of my dad in the way that I think all gay boys fear their fathers. So naturally I came out to my mother first sometime after my freshman year of high school. It took me another year-and-a-half or so to tell my father. I kept putting it off, but my mom finally told me that I really needed to tell my dad. So I mustered up the strength to come out to my father… after sobbing into my bass clarinet, of course.

So at this point in my life I am a junior in high school. It’s winter. My dad is picking me up from friend’s house in Middleton and driving us back to Waunakee. I figure I have about 15 minutes to tell him. So I spend the first five minutes of the car ride trying not to vomit and shart myself at the same time (a skill that I am grateful for today). And then I start sweating a lot and turning red. I figure my dad either thinks I’m holding in explosive diaRhianna or I just did a lot of ecstasy. Then I feel like I have a boulder growing in my stomach and that I’m slowing sinking into the passenger seat. Then I realize I probably couldn’t feel any worse, and I should probably just say the god damn words before I burst into a million pieces of rainbow confetti. I’m pretty sure I just blurted it out… and by blurted it out I surely mean I mumbled it in a way that made me sound like I had just thrown a handful of pebbles into my mouth as I was crashing HARD from my imaginary ecstasy high. After the words tumbled out of my mouth with the grace of someone freewheeling down five flights of stairs, my dad said, “Does your mother know?” And I said, “Yeah, I told her a while ago.” And he said, “Well, why did you take so long to tell me?” I thought about my response for a few moments and then eked out, “Because I was scared of you.” I know these words hit my father harder than I expected, and it took him a few moments to gain his composure. But when he finally spoke his voice cracked as he said, “Well, I don’t know what I did to make you afraid of me, but I’m sorry. And I still love you, James. You know that, right?” And everything inside me at that moment shattered into thousands of pieces and healed itself completely all at the same time. And even though I had suffered immensely by keeping this huge secret from my father, I would have willingly suffered a million years more if I could have taken away my dad’s pain upon me telling him I was afraid of him. A million billion years.

But I did notice a huge change in my father from that day onward. I mean, I don’t know if it was because of me but he voted democratic in the next election. Haha. 😉 But there were other changes, too. I wasn’t scared of him anymore. I’m not sure if the change happened within me or my father but it was significant. My dad made an even bigger effort to tell me loved me all the time. Even now when I come home from NYC, my dad will come up behind me while I’m on my computer writing a blog about some sort of slutty activity and he’ll kiss me on the head and say, “I’m so glad you’re home. Have I told you today that I love you?” Or he’ll say, “Have I told you recently how proud I am of you? Cuz I am. I’m so proud of you.” And I’ll respond with something self-deprecating like, “But what for? I haven’t done anything for you to be proud of yet.” And he’ll pause for a few seconds and he’ll calmly resolve, “Well, James, I’m still proud of you.”

My mom once told me that she really wanted our house to be a hub where us kids and our friends all hung out. Reality definitly surpassed my mother’s wish. Most of my friends just walk into the house without knocking and some of my friends even think of my mom and dad as their second set of parents. My parents have willingly taken on this role. When my friend Jian Li is in town she’ll stop in to say hello to “Mr. Marvin and Melissa”. My friend Stacy is not only welcome to all family affairs but she is asked after when she doesn’t attend a family gathering. Before Stacy made her big, big move to NYC a couple weeks ago, my parents took her out for coffee. When my friend Edward was looking for a place to live for a little bit, my parents offered up my bedroom. My parents drove two hours to my friend Maribeth’s wedding, and then drove two hours back at the end of the night.

My maternal grandmother passed away this past winter, and my dad really stepped up to the plate to be there for my mom. I was 1500 miles away but my dad gave me daily updates about how my mother was doing.

But let me tell you the most amazing thing about my father. Sometimes I get really down about auditioning, and I get really tired. I think to myself, ‘Yes, this is my dream but when will I catch a break?’ Well my dad’s dream job is to be an engineer. When he was in college, it took him seven years to earn his engineering degree because he was paying for it all on his own. And for at least the past four years, my father has been interviewing every week for engineering jobs while also working 40 hours a week at Home Depot so he can support his family. And when I get discouraged working 35-40 hours a week waiting tables while auditioning during the day, I call my dad and he says, “Well, don’t give up, bud.” I don’t think my dad is trying to be anyone that’s insanely inspirational but I am left speechless by his gumption and determination.

My dad is a stand-up guy. If I run out of the shower in just my towel, my dad will whistle at me. If you are a friend of mine at my house and you are bending over, my dad will smack your ass. And if you ever need a hug, my dad will give it to you.

I feel like I’ve spent most of my life taking my balanced upbringing for granted, and then one day I opened my eyes and realized how lucky I had it. And I thank Whomever every day for my mom and my dad.

So happy belated birthday, Dad (and Mom). Dad, I know you think the internet exists somewhere in the ether between Limbo and Nirvana but I’ll ask mom to guide you to this specific webpage. Also, Dad, when you feel like you’ve read the whole blog remember to scroll down; sometimes there’s more than fits on the screen. Also, a computer isn’t like a book so don’t try turning the page. Also, if the screen suddenly goes black make sure the computer is plugged in. And make sure the cord is plugged into not only the computer but also the wall. Also, if you want to tell me what a smart-ass I am, feel free to call me. 🙂

I love you. You’re old as F.

Love,
James the C
(Also “C” is a bad word that rhymes with…chrunt…)

“I pooped my pants, and I liked it.”
~My father’s favorite alternate lyrics to “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

46. James Loves His Mom

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I would like to tell a story of a young fairy named James. He was about 15 years old. He was still as gigantic as he is today, but his face was a little bit more busted. Acne was a bitch and so was he.

The young fairy is me. If that wasn’t clear.

I decided to join a group called “Madison Youth Choirs”. It was an all-men’s choir. I auditioned, and I was accepted! YAY! But every year of MYC started with a camp where we went to learn all the music; I was going a camp full of boys I’ve never met before; EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!

My mom was driving me to this camp in the middle of nowhere. I remember sitting in the passenger seat feeling like I would explode and praying that I would. You see, I had decided that I would tell my mother during this car-ride that I was gay. I figured the worst-case scenario would be: she was NOT a fan of the gayrods but she would have the time while I was at camp to come to terms. So I’m sitting in the passenger seat feeling EXACTLY like Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls; I was CONVINCED my stomach was seconds from falling out my butt. I felt like I had a fever and as if I had swallowed a bowling ball that was slowly expanding inside me. It took me a while to muster up the courage and even longer to make my tongue speak but I told her, “Mom, I have something to tell you… I’m gay.” And she said, “….I know,” with a kind, omniscient smile on her face.

Cue the record screech: “ERRRRRRRRRRR”.
Um…. way to steal my thunder, hoe! (I was gonna write “bitch” but I can’t imagine calling my mother that. But her immense sluttiness more easily lends her to the word “hoe”.)

And in that breathless moment, I remember wondering, ‘How the hell did she know?!!? How long has she known? Did I come out out the womb winking at the male doctor? Did I have a penchant for phallic nookies?’

But now I know: No, it was none of those things. It was mothers’ instinct… and also the fact that she had two functioning eyeballs in her head. And it’s the fact that moms really do know everything. I remember when I was in second grade my mother was helping me with my homework (because even at the ripe age of seven I couldn’t be bothered to do homework on my own). My mom gave me an answer to one of the questions, and I asked her, “How do you know that?!” My mother answered, “Because moms know everything.” Well, that was enough reason for me! The next day I went to school, and we were reviewing the answers for the homework. Finally we arrived at the question which my mother helped me with, and I was extremely eager to answer the question since I was absolutely POSITIVE that my answer was correct. My hand shot into the air, and my teacher called on me. I gave her my answer with a proud smile on my face. She replied with, “And how do you know?” I smugly answered, “Because my mom told me, and mom’s know everything.” I distinctly remember her breaking out into laughter, but she, too, was satisfied with the reasoning.

There’s nothing I would change about this memory…. well except for one thing. I wish I could go back and tell my SUPER GAY 7-year-old self to remember this: moms really do know everything. So then when I was older and I was blatantly aware of how gay I was that I wouldn’t try so hard to hide it from my mom. Because she knew.

What were the signs?

Let’s revisit them, shall we?

1) I LOVED SPICE GIRLS MORE THAN ANYTHING. More than I loved Johnny Bravo… which is really saying something. I always wanted to be Sporty Spice. My sisters and I would watch Spice World on REPEAT and we would dance along. Clearly, I knew all the words. Clearly, I knew NONE of the dance steps, but show me one little gay boy that NEEDS choreography to bust a move! Please, I was dropping it like it was hot all over the carpet. But that’s not it; the story gets GAYER. For my birthday, I asked my mom for platform shoes like the SPICE GIRLS. On my birthday: I opened my presents and found BLUE PLATFORM SHOES. (My mom has been pro-gay for a LONG while.)

2) I have three sisters, and I’ve always thought they were all so cool. They always got to do fun things like paint their nails. Well, I wanted to paint my nails, too, god damnit! So my mom helped me paint my toe nails one night after school. And the next morning she helped me take it off before I left for school.

3) I ran into a wall once while deep-throating a plastic tent-pole. I went to the emergency room where they ended up giving me a frozen popsicle to deep-throat. Looks like I WON that WHOLE DAY.

4) I used to lie on my bedroom floor with my best friend Dalila and SCREAM along to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”. (There was no singing; just screaming.) When the song ended I stood up, rewound the tape, pressed play, lied back down, cleared my throat and continued screaming.

5) I loved the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. I would regularly say things like, “If I was a girl, I would totally like this JC Chasez. Reeeeeeeal smooth, James.

6) I looked at gay porn on the family computer, and I’m the only boy. Cool. It also took me a while to learn how to delete the history, and I’m pretty sure my mother was certain it wasn’t my father. This was back when we had that landline internet, and once the computer called Africa… while I was trying to look at more porn. I guess I wanted to be well-rounded; I didn’t want to discriminate against African porn. My mom was pretty mad when she saw the bill. My explanation: “I was trying to play an online game…?!?!” Lying has always been one of my strengths.

7) I can’t say with 100% certainty that I didn’t scream with joy every time a Bowflex commercial came on.

8) I brought boyfriends home and they were HUUUUUGE fags. I’m totally kidding; just one of them was a huge mo. I’m totally kidding. They all loved the dicks. Alright, that’s enough.

I’ve been gay for the loooooooongest time. Forever. Of COURSE my mother knew. I was terrible at hiding it, and it was written all over my face. I started as a young fairy who dated boys, and now I’m an older fairy who runs from boys. And my mother has loved me the whole time, even when I slander her name on my blog by falsely accusing her of being a harlot.

For the record, my father is totally cool with it, too.

But this is a love letter to my mother.

I’m grateful for you, mommy, for cultivating my inner-gayness. That you for loving me so fiercely that I could grow into the skanky mess I am today. Thank you for loving me even when I blog about cleaning out my asshole. Thank you for loving me even when I don’t love myself very much.

I love you, mom.

Also let the record show that my father has this picture of my mom on his CapitalOne credit card. He is very proud of it, and he shows it off often.

Also let the record show that my father has this picture of my mom on his CapitalOne credit card. He is very proud of it, and he shows it off often.

James

37. James is Unraveling

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Hello. My name is James, and I am extremely insecure.

(*in your most convincing monotone, uninterested voice*: “Hi, James…”)

I feel like I used to have a really good handle on all of this. I felt most confident about myself my senior year of college. I was blogging every day about things that made me happy. I was spending a lot of time with people who really cared deeply for me. I was getting a lot of positive feedback on my blog. I felt like I was helping people; I felt like I was serving a purpose larger than myself. When I finished my Happiness Project 365, I felt happy, content, grateful. It made me teary-eyed how joyful I was. So that ended September 2011.

Flash forward to now. March 2013. One-and-a-half years later. I’m standing on the subway platform covering my face with my scarf, talking aloud to myself: “There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m perfectly fine the way I am. I’m beautiful. I’m sexy. I’m talented. I’m kind. I’m important. (*Repeat from the beginning with increasing speed, making me look like someone literally trying to fight off the Devil)”

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Well… “fallen” sounds too graceful. How bout “Oh, how the mighty have flown from their bikes and landed on the ground with a broken collarbone, a body full of abrasions, stained with black road rash and embedded all over with dirty rocks from the pavement.” Yes, that sounds more accurate.

I feel myself becoming someone I’m not. Someone who I don’t want to be. And it literally feels like the war of my life. Dramatic, I know. The last time I felt this bad was the beginning of my senior year where I literally felt like I was gripping to my sanity by my fingertips, reeling from the worst break-up of my life. And it wasn’t all in my head. I was remembering it aloud once with Jian Li and I said, “I literally felt like I was losing my mind.” And she said, “I know. I was there.” And I’ll never forget that conversation with her, that feeling of validation, that feeling of Wow, that was real… that was close.

And here I am again, but this time I’m not recovering from a break-up. It caught me by surprise. It’s not fun looking up from the bottom of this stupid well, mentally feeling as busted as Samara (yes, that little demon girl from The Ring). And I’m not sure how I got here. And I’m not sure how it snuck up on me so quietly. But the other day it hit me like a ton of bricks. And I realized… I feel so inadequate. Like I’m not enough. Or I’m just not right.

My chest isn’t big enough.
My arms aren’t big enough.
My abs aren’t defined enough.
My ass isn’t big enough.
I’m not masculine enough.
I’m too tall.
My feet are too big.
I’m not rich enough.
My hair isn’t thick enough.
I’m not talented enough.
I’m not brave enough.
I’m not sexy enough.

I had just read Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly and it really woke me up. I’m waiting until I have more money, a better body and constant theater work to love myself. Subconsciously, I told myself, “James, I will love you when you complete this list. I will love you then.”

When I realized that, I felt like a dementor had put their “lips” to mine and sucked all the air out of my lungs. And immediately after that feeling, I felt that sudden sink of dread in my stomach. It felt like I had eaten a bowling ball and it was starting to rot in my stomach. Because at the moment I realized: “James. We have a problem. And now you have realized it. You have addressed it. Now here is the moment where you decide: Am I going to do something about this? Or will I be content with feeling incomplete?”

It took me a while to do something about it. I didn’t want to admit that I was struggling. I’m a 23 year-old gay man who is struggling with masculinity, trying to bulk up to look more like a “man” while constantly missing my family so much it makes me cry… I wasn’t about to further undermine my masculinity by saying aloud, “I feel unpretty. *cue the Lucille Ball wail* WAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”

But I hit my lowest point two nights ago. I cracked. And it really starting eating away at me. I felt the beautiful parts of me corroding while the ugly insecurity took over. It started  to interfere with my personal relationships. And I realized it had been eating away at me for a while. It had been fucking up my relationships for a while. I had been waiting for someone else to make me feel complete. I was waiting for someone else to make me like myself. I think part of me knew that this insecurity was there all along. But I wasn’t facing it head-on. I let it throw wrenches in the gears of my friendships and I didn’t hold my insecurity accountable. I let myself take the blame. Because I was too ashamed to talk about my insecurity. I felt like, “Oh, how cliche. An insecure, gay actor. Why don’t you just go cry about your pirouettes and really seal the deal.”

But I’ve had it. In the words of the drag queen Detox: ” I’VE HAD IT. OFFICIALLY.”

Lately, I’ve felt myself unraveling. And it’s fucking terrifying. It feels like I dropped a spool of thread and it’s falling out of my heads faster than I can gather it all. But I’m not gonna sit here and take it anymore. And I have a few strategies.

STRATEGIES FOR COMBATING THAT ASSHOLE VOICE IN MY HEAD
1) Journaling. Whenever I feel myself really struggling with something, something that I really want to get to the bottom of and understand more clearly, I pull out my journal. On the subway mostly. But sometimes I can’t take it anymore. I can’t stand knowing something is deeply bothering me and not understand the root of it. This really helps me discover the little hole into which insecurity is sneaking. It helps me truly feel like I’m getting a handle of the situation.
2) Talking aloud to myself. This is maybe the most successful. It helps me shut up that asshole voice really quickly. Whenever I start to feel like I’m not good enough, I just starting talking aloud. I don’t say the awful things aloud. I only say the kind things aloud. Because those things are true. “I am important. I’m perfectly fine the way I am. I matter. I’m beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with me.”
3) Self-help books. They really help me change my perspective. They help me see myself in a different light and I start to really believe myself. I plan on getting back into this this week.

I refuse to wait for other people to make me feel good enough. On the same hand, I refuse to let other people determine my self-worth. I am good enough because I say so, god damnit.

This war starts today. I won’t win every battle, but I won’t give up.

Bring your A-Game, Asshole-Voice. Cuz I’m coming for you guns-a’blazin.

#DONTGIVEUP

I’ll need y’all more than ever:

37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 37.6 37.7 37.8 37.9 37.10 37.11 37.12 37.13

I love you.

JAMES.