Monday, October 24, 2011

Open Letter: It Gets Better

Dear Person;

Because that’s what you are. A person. You’re not a “faggot” or a “dyke” or a loser. A faggot is traditional food served in the UK. It is also a word used to describe a bundle of sticks and twigs. A dyke (or dike) is the same as a structure used for avoiding flooding. And as far as being a loser, that adjective is only applicable really when you’re playing a game, and I assure you, life isn’t a game.

Right now, things are tough. Times are tough. It seems like there isn’t really a place for you to fit in and call home. You feel like you’re the only one out there, going through what you’re going through, and that no-one can possibly understand how hard it is.

It isn’t easy, growing up in this culture of manicured perfection, and ‘reality’ television pandering a certain image. Stereotypes are all around us, and the pressure to conform to them or break the mold can be overwhelming. Everyone around you seems like they have their stuff together, and yet, you feel like an awkward mess, wondering why you can’t look like them. But the truth is, they walk around like they’re on eggshells, hoping you don’t notice their shortcomings. They laugh and point at you to deflect from their own awkwardness. But to laugh at them is to become them. And while that may seem appealing, it will leave you empty. You have to do that hardest thing in your life to this point, and take the high ground. It isn’t easy, and it will take a strength you didn’t know you had. Giving up is easy. Giving in is easy.

So forge your own trail! Do the possible and prove them wrong. And talk about it. You aren’t as alone as you may think. Those crazy old people that you know? The ones you call “Mom and Dad” or the ones at the school? They aren’t as disconnected as you may think. Times have changed, but over the years, bullies haven’t. Same old story, just told in a different generation. The hot button topics are a bit different, but those Old People CAN help.

It does get better! Find someone you trust and tell them who and what is bothering you. Give yourself permission to be angry about it. Give yourself permission to cry about it. You CAN scream that it isn’t fair. Because it isn’t fair. You never asked to be tall/short/thin/fat/gay/lesbian/minority and for someone to single you out because of it? That is SERIOUSLY unfair that someone should use what makes you UNIQUE and twist it to make it seem ugly.

Hang in there. You can do it. You’ve made it this far. Just take your next step. Take your next breath. And just keep doing it.

All my love and support to you.


It Gets Better...Not Always Easier.

It gets better!
But it doesn’t always get easier.
Confused? Welcome to life.

With more and more media coverage extending to those who have committed suicide as a result of being bullied, every day the message is being extended. “It gets better!” And you know what? It does. It does get better. But it doesn’t get easier.  I’m living proof. It gets better.

I volunteer my time (when I’m able) with a LGBT Youth Group, and I want them to know this. It does and will get better. But it isn’t easy. It’s tiring. It’s emotionally exhausting and draining. But the reward is worth it. The reward for enduring it all is a simple one. You get to live. But really, life is what you make of it. My life is beautiful, and elegant in its complex simplicity. And I enjoy every minute of it, whether they are moments where I am laughing from the bottom of my heart, or crying from the depths of my soul.

And while I’ve never been suicidal, that doesn’t mean I was never bullied. Lord almighty how I was bullied. I was picked on for the friends I had, or didn’t have. The clothes I wore, or didn’t (make that WOULDN’T) wear. I was picked on because I’m gay, and you know what…that shit still happens. We’ve made great strides in equality, but there are still some very negative opinions out there surrounding my orientation. I was picked on for my choice of extracurricular activities, for where I worked, for the courses I took in school. I was even picked on for where my parents worked.

Yes, I am serious. I was picked on for where my parents worked…as if I had any choice in the matter. But I’ll get back to that in a bit.

And it was stressful. By the gods it was, and there were times I would have such a stress headache, and feel so sick to my stomach about it, and the exhaustion I felt. Yet I never felt the need to harm myself. Because if I did, then that would be me, letting “Them” win. So day after day, I would square my shoulders and harden my gaze. I would walk through my little high school, and listen to the taunts and roll my eyes at the repetition. I would look at the source of these taunts, the snide remarks, and the cruel words, and think, “How small you must be, if you have to attack me, to feel better about yourself.”

Yes. I pitied them. Because, well, let’s face it. I’m fucking fantastic, and anyone who would argue, well. That’s your opinion and you are welcome to it. I sleep well every night knowing I am exactly who I am because of the people who would put me down. It isn’t easy, and I still get overwhelmed sometimes. But I have my support structure I can fall back to, and if I have to fall apart for a little bit to pull myself together, then I know I’m surrounded by those who would protect me.

But who am I that came up in a small town, with some small people, and survived the barbs, slings and arrows thrown and cast in my direction? What was my secret? How did I do it? Sure, it’s easy for me who is surrounded by friends and family who supported me to say it gets better, but where am I coming from.

Well, alright then. I guess it’s exposé time.

My name is Robert Dakin. I was born October 2, 1982 to Robert and Patricia. I have one older sibling named Jean. I have a dozen or so cousins, and a handful of Aunts and Uncles. I am married to a wonderful man named Matthew. I have two sisters-in-law, Irene and Alyson. I have a handful of very close friends, and am surrounded with a good many people whom I love and trust.

But it wasn’t always like this.

When it was the worst of the worst for me, I was a teenager. I had my mother, father, and sister. I had even fewer friends, but a good number of trust issues, and nothing but contempt for the bulk and majority of the people I went to school with. I felt like I was the only person going through…well…all of it. But again. I was a teenager. I look back on those days where my wardrobe consisted of black cords, black cable knits sweaters and…SHOCK…black shoes.

And yet…I was involved in the high school musical theatre, the town theatre, I volunteered my time at the local swimming pool until I got hired there, and would pitch a hand at my church when the occasion called for it. I would help in the chemistry lab when I was in my senior years in high school, and I lifeguarded at camp and for the school board as well. I managed honour roll grades (for the most part. I missed a couple at mid terms, but pulled it up at the end of the year.) and I did all this because it gave me something to do.

The grades were also part of an agreement with my parents. They wouldn’t ‘restrict’ my activities as long as I kept my grades up in the realm of respectable. I did it all. I was busy as sin, and involved to a degree that some people get tired just hearing about my average week when I was in school.

And yet, for all of this, I was often treated like an outsider, because. Well. Let’s face it. It was a small town. My parents both moved there around the time my sister was born and the only prior connection we had to that place was the fact that, as my memory serves, my great grandparents got married there. Who then ended up in Winnipeg. We weren’t one of “THE” families there, so it wouldn’t matter how involved in things we were, the kids who grew up knowing they were from some of the “original” families in the town just never quite got along with us. Well. Never quite accepted us would probably be more accurate. Not all of them mind you. I’m generalizing here. But what really pissed them off was the fact that we REALLY didn’t care.

It was tough, I think on all of us. But there’s something that my Dad told me once. Well. More than once. But I remember the first time he sat down and talked to me about this sort of thing. I was about 6 or so years old. It summarized down to the fact that everything we did in that town, and every impact we made, was because we did it ourselves. We didn’t have to fall back on the family name. Which is also one of the reasons he and Mom were ADAMENT that I was NOT “Bob Jr.” (Though that became a nickname I never quite shook). They were determine for my sister and I to feel a sense of accomplishment because we EARNED it…not because our parents pulled strings for us. Our victories were to be our own, and Mom and Dad’s victory came from knowing that they taught us the skills to stand on our own and earn our own places in the world. It was harder than some of my peers could imagine. Carving out a niche in a town like Fort Frances. But we did it…kicking and screaming with more than a few clashes…but we did it.

The lessons of my parents will follow me forever, and I hope they are lessons I can share with my own children, or at the very least my nieces and nephews. Mom and Dad would let me trip and fall and bloody my nose. It wasn’t easy for them to see me, or my sister do that. I know it wasn’t. But it also gave them a sense of pride watching us pull ourselves up and dust ourselves off. With this lesson also came the wisdom of knowing when to ask for help, because sometimes, we need that hand up.

See Mom? Dad? I was paying attention.

But with all of this, there was always only limited assistance they could give us when dealing with bullying. Some battles, you have to fight on your own. They’re there as a support, but at the end of the day, only you can slay your demons.

There are never any perfect answers. No one answer fits every situation and circumstance. The answer that worked for me may not work for everyone, which is why I find myself so reluctant to offer advice on some details. I’m going to give it a shot though. I think “Open Letter” form may be easiest.

“Dear Person;

Because that’s what you are. A person. You’re not a “faggot” or a “dyke” or a loser. A faggot is traditional food served in the UK. It is also a word used to describe a bundle of sticks and twigs. A dyke (or dike) is the same as a structure used for avoiding flooding. And as far as being a loser, that adjective is only applicable really when you’re playing a game, and I assure you, life isn’t a game.

Right now, things are tough. Times are tough. It seems like there isn’t really a place for you to fit in and call home. You feel like you’re the only one out there, going through what you’re going through, and that no-one can possibly understand how hard it is.

It isn’t easy, growing up in this culture of manicured perfection, and ‘reality’ television pandering a certain image. Stereotypes are all around us, and the pressure to conform to them or break the mold can be overwhelming. Everyone around you seems like they have their stuff together, and yet, you feel like an awkward mess, wondering why you can’t look like them. But the truth is, they walk around like they’re on eggshells, hoping you don’t notice their shortcomings. They laugh and point at you to deflect from their own awkwardness. But to laugh at them is to become them. And while that may seem appealing, it will leave you empty. You have to do that hardest thing in your life to this point, and take the high ground. It isn’t easy, and it will take a strength you didn’t know you had. Giving up is easy. Giving in is easy.

So forge your own trail! Do the possible and prove them wrong. And talk about it. You aren’t as alone as you may think. Those crazy old people that you know? The ones you call “Mom and Dad” or the ones at the school? They aren’t as disconnected as you may think. Times have changed, but over the years, bullies haven’t. Same old story, just told in a different generation. The hot button topics are a bit different, but those Old People CAN help.

It does get better! Find someone you trust and tell them who and what is bothering you. Give yourself permission to be angry about it. Give yourself permission to cry about it. You CAN scream that it isn’t fair. Because it isn’t fair. You never asked to be tall/short/thin/fat/gay/lesbian/minority and for someone to single you out because of it? That is SERIOUSLY unfair that someone should use what makes you UNIQUE and twist it to make it seem ugly.

Hang in there. You can do it. You’ve made it this far. Just take your next step. Take your next breath. And just keep doing it.

All my love and support to you.


Well. It was an honest effort. Probably not as eloquent as it could have been, but I’m not one for re-writes unless I totally mess up the message and so far, things are looking pretty good.

Then again, I may to a repost of the letter just on it’s own and submit it…somewhere. Don’t know. We’ll see.

Now. For the other half of this.

It doesn’t always get easier.

I’m a living and breathing example that things do indeed get better if you move past your torments of youth. Sadly, being an adult is far from glamorous. Work sucks. Your boss sucks. You work too many hours for not nearly enough pay. You have house bills, utility bills, student loan bills. You try and sock away a little extra, then your car craps out, and let’s not even get into the cost of preventative maintenance, replacement tires, or having to come up with a down payment for a new vehicle altogether. Vacations become a thing of the past, and your idea of time off is somehow getting a three day weekend at work.

Okay. Maybe I’m over dramatizing things a little bit. It’s also the freedom to stay up late, ignore the nay-sayers, indulge in the occasional unhealthy meal of beer and potato chips while watching trash movies, and saving up and buying that ridiculously expensive pair of jeans that you know you don’t need, but look fantastic on you.

The point is, there will always be someone out there that just grates on your nerves. There will always be people who instantly decide they’re better than you (for those of us who work retail, we call them ‘customers’) and that you’re worth barely a speck of their time. And the truth is, they’re doing you a favour. These are the hollow people who you do not need in your life. These are the fools who, at most deserve your pity, and at the least, deserve not one iota of your attention. The favour I mentioned? You don’t have to waste your time figuring out what they are or should be to you.

But the benefits far out weigh anything else. Friends you can laugh with until you’re sick. Dining out, or dining in, with enough of everything that no matter how low you were when you met up, you end up bouncing on your way. Drinking responsibly and knowing your limit if you are so inclined, and finding the simple joys of sitting around a dining room table, and telling stories that are ribald, or heartwarming…or if you are particularly talented…a blend of the two. Growing at home with yourself, and realizing that your parents weren’t just talking out of their ass. These are the things that define you as an adult. When it all comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter what you wore to school, or what you did. Most of the people you knew in high school, if you move on and away, you lose touch with in the first year you’re gone. Those who survive are the ones who are true friends. The ones you can go long periods of time without talking to, and they understand because life gets in the way? Those are the ones with whom it was meant to be. Those types of friends are the ones who were on the fringes, like you were once upon a time.

Believe me. I know. I still have a small handful of friends from those days.

My friends from those days were just as much on the outside as I was. We were united against the assholes who would shit on us back then, and we learned from each other. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for them I don’t think. They helped me become the person I am today. We watched out for each other, and sometimes we fought, but what’s important is that we made up, and patched up, and to this day are still friends. And if you remember what the argument is, please keep it to yourself. I chose to forget. J

 And to get back to one last thing.

I mentioned much earlier that one of the things that bullies loved to pick on was where my parents worked.

Here’s the thing. My Father worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources. He was, among (many) other things, a Forrester. My Mom? First she was an unwed-mother/para-teen counselor. Then she was, well actually she still is, a substitute teacher. Neither job was as lucrative as some of the jobs in the paper mill that dominated the town’s skyline…okay that’s a stretch. Fort Frances doesn’t really have a skyline per se. But it was DEFINITELY the defining landmark. Anyway. Dad worked in a relatively small office, and Mom bounced around to wherever the work was, as one would assume an on call teacher would do. But the thing that really helped me not feel bad about this? I was incredibly proud of both my parents. Mom and Dad worked their jobs day in, day out to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and clothes on our backs. They endured verbally abusive co-workers, bosses who make my stapler look like a Rhode Scholar, long hours, missed holidays, and crappy pay all in the name of the family. We weren’t financially rich. That’s not something we could ever be described as. But we were a Family. They lead by an example that I WILL impart on anyone I can. Sacrifices have to be made sometimes. We have to work jobs we hate sometimes. Because sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether we like what we’re doing or now. There are people who count on us. Depend on us. Directly or indirectly. Lead by example, always. Remember. There is no job that is ever beneath your dignity. Everything has to be done by someone. And the shittier the job…well…the more respect that person should receive because unless you’re willing to trade places with that person immediately? You have no right to comment on them at all.

Not that you ever have the right to come down on anyone.

And now, I leave you all. I’m not sure where I was going with this to be quite honest, but I feel better for having written it. It has been far too long since I’ve sat down to let the words flow out. And as always, feel free to leave a comment. Constructive comments welcomed! Destructive comments deleted!

Just over 3000 words too. Man I wish it was that easy when I was in high school.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Delicious Vanity...Thy Name is Rob

It is SO EASY to tear yourself down. It’s almost effortless these days to pick yourself apart and put yourself into piles of worthless, horrid and horrible crap. The messages the media are selling us, that you have to be thin enough, but not too thin…fit enough, but not too fit…pretty enough…handsome enough…smart enough…but not too smart. Be perfect, but not too perfect. Be what society tells you to be…but be yourself, and be unique but not too unique to stand out and be a freak. But don’t be too self confident because then you’re arrogant and cocky, and no one will ever love you because you’re unattainable, frigid, vain, or simply just a bitch.

But here’s a thought.

How ‘bout not?

I issued a challenge to myself the other day. Look in a mirror and count to five. In those five seconds my challenge was to identify a few things I not only liked about myself, but loved. My challenge was to be utterly, completely and totally vain. But I gave myself a further challenge. I had to justify, or at least explain why I loved what I saw. Justified vanity, even if I’m the only person who could see it in myself. Nothing like throwing it back in society’s face, that I refuse to be put down, or put myself down just so THEY (whoever THEY are) don’t feel threatened by me.

So. For your viewing pleasure, this is my way of meeting my challenge.

1. Eyes

Looking in the mirror, I have a very unique eye colour. I’ve never actually seen this shade of green on another living being, without them being coloured contact lenses. But, these are the ones I was born with, and they’ve drawn a few compliments about how unique they are. But further than that, with these eyes, I see the world around me. When it looks like I’m not paying attention, I see everything. I look beyond the surface, and see what’s at the heart of the matter. It’s these skills in observation that I’ve come to rely on, to keep myself sane, and to provide insight to my friends when they need (and ask) for it.

It’s said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and I can somewhat understand that. Over the years I’ve worked at keeping my face utterly blank if I’m in an extreme emotional state. I’ve met with some degrees of success. But one look in my eyes, and you can see if I’m sad, or angry or deliriously happy. There is something reassuring that I can, in some ways, be so totally hidden and not allow my face to betray what I’m thinking. But in others, my unique eyes can show in a flash exactly how I’m feeling. Giddy or defiant, happy or sad, my eyes see and allow me to be seen. How could I not love them?

2. Nose

Neither large nor small, it sits there in the centre of my face not really doing anything aside from smelling my environment and assisting in that rather vital function of breathing. I’m really quite fond of breathing. Means I’m something slightly other than dead.

Scent memory would also play into this. I have a very vivid memory to begin with. Couple it with scents, and I can close my eyes and remember…just…remember. For example. I don’t have very many memories of my Grandfather Dakin. Due to geography, I did not see him too frequently before he passed away. But, the smell of tobacco smoke from a pipe, and I can remember him…just glimpses…just memories…but I can remember my “Poppa” and his laugh. I don’t remember his voice. But I can remember his laugh, all because of pipe tobacco smoke.

Cinnamon buns remind me of Gramma Manning. Spice cake reminds me of Granny Dakin. Burning wood and wood stoves remind me of winters growing up in Fort Frances, or cool rainy days out at the cabin at Twin Lakes Manitoba. I love my nose, because it helps me remember simpler times, with people who love me and who I love.

3. Mouth

If I consider my eyes to be highly expressive, then I’d have to say my mouth takes a close second. I have never been, nor will I ever be and excessively smiley person. But in recent years I’ve at least developed a quirk in the corner of my lips to indicate at the very least a tiny grin. I have very nice lips, I like to think. When I smile, it’s always broad, and it’s always genuine. I am not afraid to split out in a full laugh, or when the need arises, to twist it and curse invective at the situation that needs it.

I have never been afraid of voicing my opinion, and when it isn’t a written opinion piece, my mouth is the mode of delivery. People tend to underestimate me. What I have going on in my head is quite different from the façade I choose to portray. People don’t give me the credit they would give if I weren’t such a ham or a joker, but I am an exercise in “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I joke. I poke fun. I’m quick witted, and I’m observant. All these come out in my word choice, and I am very deliberate in my word choices. I can be quiet at times, or seem reserved, but in those moments when I choose to speak, I make myself heard. I make myself understood. I can say more in a handful of sentences, than others can say in entire speeches. My mouth…my simple, expressive mouth, can make all eyes on me, and I will be heard.

4. Wrinkles in the corners of my eyes.

There is no doubt that they are starting to form. Right now, they are only easily seen if I’ve been smiling or laughing. A lot. They are an inevitable fact of life unless you botox them away. Contrary to any jokes I may make, I would never get rid of them for all the money in the world. The wrinkles are a sign that I’ve been around. I’ve seen and done things that, in this case, have made me smile, and made me laugh. No greater testament to a live well lived than a few lines of imperfection borne from laughing too much, and smiling until your cheeks hurt. Some people see wrinkles. I see trophies.

I have some scars on my skin. Catching a Frisbee just under the eye when I was working at camp is one of them. Scars on my forehead are others. While not gouged or pitted, my skin is normal. I don’t look like I’m made of porcelain. I’m approachable. I’m real. I’m flawed and I’m human.

And more’s the point…I am wonderfully vain. At least, that’s what others would have me believe. I like to think I’m self confident. Self assured. I don’t need external validation of what I already know. This makes me a bit odd in a world where we’re expected to depend on other people’s opinions of ourselves.

What can I say. I’m an odd duck.

Monday, April 11, 2011


And as I said it to the person giving me attitude today, I think I’ll start off this post very much the same way.

“Bitch. I’m so damn fabulous, I practically shit glitter.”

Okay. I will admit. No matter what the circumstances are I could have definitely handled it better, and I’m aware of that. But I’m sorry. There are just those moments when my attitude shows it’s less tactful side and whatever it is that goes through my mind, ends up coming flying out of my mouth. And apparently today I chose to regurgitate the most stereotypical gay thing I could possibly think of. Not something I make a habit of, but uncensoring myself from time to time is good for the soul.

Anyway. Having re-read my last post, I realized that it was kind of a downer post, which is something I do habitually make a habit of trying to avoid. There are ups and downs in everyone’s life, and I’m no different, and sometimes it’s a good idea to give a voice to it so it can’t eat away from within. And such was the case with the last posting I did. Let it out so I can breathe, and boy oh boy did it feel good.

So good in fact that the last couple days have been FANTASTIC! Yes, it helps I also had the last couple days off, but still. I’ve had some days off that were absolutely horrid. Those kinds where you stand back and say, “Huh. I would rather have been at work getting screamed at by ignorant backwater rejects than have a day off like today.” These last two? Definitely NOT those sorts of days.

Yesterday I was able to veg out on the couch, read with Ally curled up beside me, and Rocky curled under my feet, watch TV and munch on a cucumber. I watched a little TV, tossed in a couple movies and laughed until I had to rewind some of the movie because I missed some pieces, which in turn made me almost pee myself. I ordered pizza and went totally random with the toppings. It had crispy crust, light on the cheese, barbeque sauce (instead of marinara) and grilled chicken. Let me tell you…it was delicious. Coupled by a beer and some relaxing music, I was in my own little corner of personal heaven. While I could go on and on saying, “Oh I wish Matt was here…” and so on and so forth, I maintain that as glorious as being in a relationship is, and as happy as he makes me, if you can’t make time for you, and love yourself (mind out of the gutter pervs), then it doesn’t matter who loves you, because you’ll never be happy. If you aren’t happy with yourself, then there is nothing that can change it. And right now…I’m very happy with myself and where I am in my life. Would it have been nice to have Matt here? Yes. No doubt. Did I enjoy myself just as well on my own? Yes. Again, I say, no doubt.

I crawled into bed early, grabbed a book, and read while I listened to the rumble of the thunder. I opened my blinds and watched the flashes of lightning when it started, content to have my book in my lap, and think about everything and nothing all at the same time. I just let myself Be. I allowed myself to be as stressed or relaxed as my body dictated. It seems to have defaulted to relaxed. I was quite glad of that. It’s been far too long.

Today, my day started out with a very cuddly puppy curled up in the small of my back, making it decisively difficult to wake up. Though a mention of “food” and “outside” was enough to get her up and moving, for which I was quite grateful. Feeding the dogs, letting them out, and getting myself up and going to head over to Liz and Mark’s after a Timmie’s run. Mark, bless him, offered to change my tires from winter to my all seasons. This did lead to the mention that I should probably replace the tires (I had a feeling, but it’s good to have it confirmed), but that’s okay. Fast forward an hour, and he had told me which ones to go for (I don’t know the first thing about them) and fast forward another 15 minutes and I was down paying for them (which again, Mark was able to work out something for me pricewise. I owe that guy a case of beer I’m thinking. LOL. And yes Mark, if you read this, you ARE getting a case, and I know what you drink.). Come Wednesday they will be installed, and I won’t have to worry about my summer tires. I blew off the cleaning I really didn’t want to do (nothing critical), and I went to get my ear re-pierced. In there I also got gas for the car, and a carwash. Interesting when the power goes out at that car wash AFTER the tricoloured foam was applied. Luckily it started back up…but only AFTER I had to drive out, dripping foam, and getting a replacement wash ticket. Could I have been annoyed? Sure. I could have been. Or I could have laughed at the fact it looked like multicoloured marshmallow peeps blew up on my car and chuckle at the absurdity of my green car looking like a massacre of Easter candy happened.

Oh boy did I laugh.

So eventually I made it home, and parked it at my computer and threw on a soundtrack, and a few other songs in the mix. I have chatted with a really good friend on MSN in ways we haven’t done for far too long. I am chair dancing along to some good tunes and I have both cats curled up on my desk, and the dogs on either side of me looking at me as though I’ve lost my ever loving mind. Maybe I have…but I’m having fun so the hell with it.

Life comes in balance, I think it’s important to note. Saturday was a shit day for me. Work was okay, but when I got home it was a bit of a shit day. Sunday was the start of things turning around. Today was fantastic. Tomorrow? Who knows. All I know is that with the shit comes the sun. If tomorrow is bad, then I know that there will be a good day following shortly there after. If tomorrow is good, then that’s great. I won’t focus on if/when the next shitty day strikes. I take the good and the bad in stride, because as bad as things can sometimes feel, I have strength in knowing that I’m so much better than the bad days.

Which probably is where my uncouth statement of, “I’m so fabulous, I practically shit glitter,” came from today.

But hey. Uncouth though it may have been, honestly…am I wrong?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I want...

I am going to try a different sort of entry tonight. I envision it will be rather short. A form of free writing I guess…if you can describe the writing style like that. I have a lot of pressure in my mind right now, and beyond the obvious, I don’t understand why. There’s a bottle neck of words between my mind and my hands, and the competing thoughts are at war, each seeking domination and expression. I can’t focus on one or the other, so I’m going to step back and focus on all of them and none of them at the same time.

I want…

…my friends to be happy.
…my friends to know they are loved.
…my family to know that not a day goes by where I don’t think of them.
…my family to know that I talk about them with pride.
…my sister to know that she is and has always been my best friend.
…my sister to know that I am proud of her.
…my husband to know that he has inspired me to be a better person.
…my husband home to sit with me while I write this.
…a hug.
…to cry.
…to laugh.
…to be in Winnipeg at the Toad in the Hole with my theatre friends again.
…to have the discipline to write a novel, and have it published.
…to publish anything.
…to own a piano and play again.
…to learn another musical instrument because it’s there.
…to not feel so damn alone all the time right now.
…to sing.
…another tattoo.
…to get my ears pierced again.
…to square away my debt.
…to go back to school.
…to be an uncle
…to be a father.
…to expand my library.
…to learn how to paint.
…to develop an art skill beyond writing and music.
…to stop crying.
…to explain to people, well, how important they are to me.
…to be strong more often than not.
…to understand “why?”
…to build a DVD shelf for my GLBT movies.
…to finish my collection of said movies. (14 and counting.)

I don’t really know what else to add, believe it or not. Sometimes I guess there is truth to the saying, “less is more.” Writer’s block is a bitch, and tonight it seems to reign supreme.

Tomorrow’s another day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Somewhere...some one...

Somewhere, someone is missing you, and they may not even realize it.

It’s a bit of a mood that hits me from time to time, whether I’m alone in the house or not. I look back over the last few years of my life, and after 18 years of standing still in one town, I find myself 10 years later, three towns since. Well. Technically three cities, but that would ruin the scene I’m trying for. 18 years in a town where my parents left me wanting for nothing. I never wanted for books, or for the knowledge they were more than happy to give. I was, by no means spoiled, let me make that very clear. Not spoiled in the traditional sense. But when it came to time and attention and parental investment? I was the envy of many and I will not doubt that for a moment. The only thing I ever wanted for were things that were not available in my hometown.

Like pretty much anything cultural at all. There wasn’t that much in Fort Frances, though I do have to give them credit for a very well appointed library. A good majority of the time, if it was a book I was interested in, it wasn’t an issue to find it.


I grew up. I moved out. I moved on. I moved to Winnipeg and began my own life, and started netting my own experiences. I grew my friendships, and grew into my own skin. I became more comfortable in myself and grew my personality. Well…let me just say my personality CONTINUED to grow. (I’m sure my parents and sister can/will confirm I’ve always had a very vocal personality). I forged friendships with people I didn’t know growing up, and with little more common ground than we were taking a few of the same courses, or that fate and a computer program put us together on the same floor in residence. These people became my foundation and my family away from home. Always quick to back me up when I needed it, and not afraid to smack me upside the head when I needed that too. I developed the confidence to truly be myself. No half truths. No evasions. Me. Just me. A me that I was honest with myself about, but a me that I shrouded in mystery to protect from those who would hate me just because I was different.

And so I became an activist. Gay marriage rally? Yes I was there. Peaceful protestor at an anti-gay marriage rally? Yes. I was there. Gay rights? Gay equality? Gay equity? I was there. I made friends who had ideals I agreed with and found a new voice in myself, to call to attention for those who wouldn’t or couldn’t. I worked to become a voice for the marginalized, the fringes, to pull them closer to centre and do what I could to give them a chance and a choice.

And so I became involved. I reached out, beyond the protests, and chose from that moment on to live my life in such a way that even if I were ignored by the majority, I would live as an example to others. I, the unassuming young man from small town Ontario, spread my own message of inclusion and understanding. Not by overt actions or loud yellings to draw attention to myself. I spoke softly. I developed friendships. I was simply me. I started turning minds, and helped them branch out. Together, we reached beyond where they thought they could grasp.

And together we moved forward. I surrounded myself with the best of the best. Intellects, and friends. Having grown to that point, I made the conscious decision. If you were going to be one of my friends, you would be the best of the best. I’m not saying only what society considers the best. I mean what I consider the best. People who were honest and true. Who I was comfortable enough around that I could laugh or cry or scream or collapse with and not be thought less of a person. I grew beyond “Rob the Gay Man” and simply became “Rob the Man.” In delight, with my elite friends I proceeded into the next chapter of my life. One I’d honestly forgotten about until it hit me square between the eyes.

I fell in love.

The man I fell in love with supports me in all things. As much now as he did back then. He attended a rally with me, and we held hands on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature, joining our voices with so many others calling for a reform to an antiquated system. He stood at my side in silence as I raged against the province and my university, and as I watched a potential future die in my eyes while I had a cigarette in a rain storm. He stood by my side as I worked to carve out a place for myself in the new world I was thrust into, and he stood by in silence as I wrestled with the decision that ultimately, more than anything, changed my life.

And so I moved to Alberta. I moved to Alberta and restarted the whole thing almost all over again. New place. New job. New chapter. New everything. And thank god for my friends and family. In the (nearly) three years we lived there, I learned more about myself, and my inner well of personal strength than I thought possible. While the people I spent my time with were wonderful, outside of that shell of people, we found ourselves in a living hell. Ignorance and bigotry, many times worse than anything I’d seen outside of a movie. Having to plumb the depths of my Self, to dredge up the ability to be the support that my husband needed, while carrying myself forward with each rickety step.

And so I saw the power of love. You can mock me all you want for that. But it’s true. What we learned and dealt with would test the foundations of any stable relationship. We grew closer to each other, because there were times when all we felt we had was each other. Of course our families were only a phone call away…but for practical purposes, we were all we had out there. From our relationship came a new development. Partnership.

And so we moved back to Ontario, and tried again. New home. New life. Old wounds and old scars healing, but still there if you know where to look. And so, here I am. And there he is. Opposite sides of the world, bound together in love. And somewhere, he misses me as much as I miss him.

But it isn’t just him that I miss. There are so many others who entered my life, and far too many to name. But a quote comes to mind, that brings a tear to my eye from time to time. I’ve used it before. I’ll use it again.

“Some I've seen, some never again, but there isn't a day my heart doesn't find them.”

So for those, who worry that they aren’t with that One Love they want to spend the rest of their lives with, the words I say, were words I told myself.

Somewhere, some one is missing you. And they may not realize it yet.

But, at the very least. I miss you. And maybe, for right now, for some…that is just enough.

My love always, in all ways.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Short Post...Small Thoughts.

People always say, “Write what you know. In order to make your reader believe and feel what you’re writing, start with what you know.” So how about I give it shot. Write what I know and what I feel, and let you be the judge. No. Not judge. No one can judge me, except me. Witness. I will write what I know and I invite you to sit as a witness, and a participant.

I am sitting the basement of my house, enjoying a Bitburger beer in a beer glass acquired in Memphis Tennessee. These two things were given to me by my husband. He brought the glass back from training, and he introduced me to the beer when we were in Frankfurt. Music is playing from my speakers, a somewhat discordant mess, due in large part to me not being focussed on the music, rather I am intent on the words appearing before me on the screen. The music soothes me, at times, and evokes emotions in me that make my throat tight and eyes prickle. With the exception of one song, this is a soundtrack to a movie I had just recently watched. “Shelter,” it was hard to find the DVD, but I did it eventually. Nearly a year I had been searching for it, and I was finally able to order it online. The music is haunting at times. Bright and airy at others. The movie made me miss Matt something fierce.

I was misty the first time I watched it.

I cried the second time I watched it.

It was a coming of age romantic comedy movie. Searching in one’s self to find his truth, while balancing things like life, family and obligation. A journey to stop denying who he was and to stand up for himself, and finally take from life what he wanted for himself, rather than handing over his life to all the people who wanted to take every aspect of his life from him. While I can’t relate to everything, the underlying message of weighing your life, and making the choice to be with someone who could (and ended up being) the love of their life…I know that feeling. The feeling of terror when making the decision that would echo throughout the rest of your life, and the reassuring grip in your hand, knowing you have their support, and that you’re making the right decision. At the end, not for them…but making the right decision for yourself. Yes. That feeling I know very well.

It’s not easy making decisions of that magnitude. It doesn’t matter what your orientation is. The decision to commit, and to be with that person, and to let that person past all your defences, is not an easy one to make. In this day, with disposable cell phones, disposable computers, and disposable friendships, offering one’s body up to the flavour of the night isn’t a difficult decision to make…the struggle comes with offering up your heart in the hope and faith that they will not abuse your trust in them. Sometimes the fairytale comes true, and they trust you with the same. Sometimes the nightmare rears its ugly head, and you find yourself picking up the pieces of your broken heart.

So you pick up. Dust off, and make the decision. To keep going. Or to give up.

Evidently I kept going, and I found my story unfolding accompanied by friend and partner to walk through the pages of life with.

It hasn’t always been easy. There have been times when we’ve been pushed around, bullied, and all but physically beaten down. But I’ve already told that story. And part of living is looking to the future, and not dwelling on the pain of the past, instead looking to the future with a hope and optimism that’s usually found in the movies.

But oh…to love and be loved in return. Nothing better in the world.

Maybe this didn’t quite end where I intended…but you know what. That’s okay. Thank you, for being my witness to this. Thoughts and comments are as always appreciated. My love to you all.

Current Soundtrack

Running Up That Hill – Placebo
Lie to Me – Shane Mack
Goin’ Home – Bill Ferguson
I Like That – Shane Mack
Take the Long Way Home – Shane Mack
More Than This – Shane Mack
Reflections – Todd Hannigan

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thoughts. Somewhat Coherant...or Not. Your Call. Jan 22, 2011

It’s been sometime since I’ve actually sat down and written anything other than a grocery list or a shipping label, that I feel I’ve been getting more than a little rusty with this sort of thing. I hope, greatly, that I write something worth reading, but all in all I’m doing this just to get out a few thoughts and my hope is to share them with the world.

Of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about strength. Not necessarily physical prowess or capability, but the other forms of strength that we don’t always acknowledge, and yet seem to be as necessary as the physical if we are to survive in this day and age. I’m thinking mental, psychological, metaphorical, metaphysical, inner, emotional, and on and on the list goes. What brought about this thought? I don’t really know. Will this necessarily have anything to do with what I was thinking of…I leave that to you to figure out. Remember, I write these without a clear end in mind, and if it’s coherent, then I consider it to be a massive win. If not, I won’t lose any sleep over it either. There is more important stuff in this world to worry about, than if a Facebook message makes any particular sense.

Probably the fact that right now I’m facing something that I knew would happen…but somewhere very deep within, I hoped it wouldn’t. I am talking, of course, about being separated from my husband for upwards of six or more months, with minimal contact, and all the realities of what he is facing, and what I in turn get to deal with. There is no comparison to what he’s dealing with versus what I’m dealing with, so I wouldn’t dare be so presumptuous to try.

I’d forgotten what it was like, being the sole inhabitant of a space. The vast quiet filling every empty room. There is something in knowing that everything here falls to my hands to be dealt with. It is both a liberating feeling, and oppressive. It is liberating in that I know that I have reached the stage in my development in a psycho-social aspect to be considered by and large, to be able to deal with such things as home ownership and maintenance to be able to take care of entirely on my own. It is oppressive in the fact that this is something that managed well in a partnership between people, and while he is gone, it is up to me to maintain this all to the best of my abilities, and hope that I don’t fuck it up. I didn’t really understand very much why it was that I refer to Matthew as my husband though he usually refers to me as his partner. I took no offense; they are to me a way of describing the same thing.

Only they aren’t the same sort of thing at all. Partner is probably the better way of describing our lives, because with his absence, the realization of exactly what he does for the house (besides work of course) is made quite evident. A partner…a TRUE partner, helps you shoulder the burden and shares in the duties that come with it. That isn’t to say that I collapse under the weight of everything when he leaves and that I’m unable to keep going without the presence of my husband. I am not, after all, a pathetic shell of a human being who needs to have another person to take care of me. I can take care of myself, and anyone else who comes along thank you very much. But the weight of the duty of taking care of the house, the property, the two dogs and the two cats, as well as food, bills, and the million of other things that are easily taken for granted in any given day becomes more and more apparent with each passing day. Believe when I say I can handle it.

But I do miss him. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. There are those days, or even those moments where I step back, body just vibrating in exhaustion, looking at everything I have to do, and wondering where the hell I’ll find the time to take care of. Angry at the fact that I’m doing all of this, and so very annoyed that Matt is gone again to work. Those moments don’t last very long, seeing as I’m not ignorant to the fact that he’s gone overseas for work to someplace you couldn’t pay me enough to go to. He does his duty, by doing his job over there. I do my duty, in many ways the silent partner, by taking care of things over here. People as me, a lot lately, how it is I deal with Matt being gone. If it drives me crazy, or how I’m handling things with him gone. When I tell them how I’m feeling or how I’m dealing…and their universal reaction is, “I don’t know how you do it.” Or, “I’d be a complete and total wreck.”

To be really quite honest, I sometimes wonder myself how it is I find the energy to put one foot in front of the other when I’ve run myself ragged. I work, pretty near to full time; I have the house and the animals to take care of; daily cleaning, and the “extras” that the dogs sometimes find for me. (To which I again say they are lucky I love them.) In all of that, add in the fact I serve, daily, as a “warm and fuzzy sounding board” to a half dozen or so people, and I do it all with a smile on my face…well…maybe calling it a smile is an overstatement. Perhaps it is somewhat less of a grimace. Or at the very least it can be described as a less scowley scowl.

ANYWAY…I do all this, day in day out simply because I can. It’s what I do, some of it is what I have to do, and some of it is because it is what I choose to do. I survive the days were I just want to throw my hands up and say, “Fuck it, I’m playing videogames until my eyes bleed,” by having a group of supportive friends and family who let me rage out and vent when I need to. I get up everyday because I know I could have it worse. I carry the weight of my responsibilities with as much grace as I can muster, and to top it all off, I gladly help carry the weight of, and for other people, when they need a friend.

People look at me, and underestimate the kind of person I am. The assumption, I’m sure, is that I’m soft, or weak, or easily fold under pressure. But, I am my parents’ son. I am my own person. I am one half of a wonderful partnership with another man who brings out the best of me. I am me, and my feet are solid on the ground. My eyes are open and I am almost depressingly realistic, but I let my head float in the clouds from time to time, because there’s still that spark in me I refuse to let go out. I am tiny, and unassuming, because deep inside, I’m a powder keg, and you do not want to set me off.

So, as he does his duty for Queen and Country, and serves in Afghanistan until he ships home, so too do I do my duty, and be the silent partner from overseas. I carry myself forward with each step, keeping our lives going here, while all the times standing by as silent support for him while he’s over there. I stand strong, and proud, and lend my support when, where, and how I can, for my Partner overseas, and for my friends back here, at home.

To end:

I had a dream the other night, where I was looking within myself, but some how looking at myself, and found a deep pit within me. Standing at the edge of it, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was within me that I was lacking, where I would develop such a void in my Self. As I looked down into the chasm, a voice…my own voice that is, answered the thought I didn’t put to words.

“There are two ways to look at this, like there are often two ways to look at many other things. You can see this oddity as a hole…but what else can be dug deep in the ground?”

Did I mention dream me is a bit of an ass? I took the moment or two, and the thought finally came to me.

“A well.”

The difference between a pit and well? Both are deep holes, drilled, sometimes at random. In to one, many things can fall. But from the other, much can be drawn out. So the choice is this.

If you see something much like that in yourself, will you let it be a pit, or a well?

A Thought...February 14, 2010

I sit here in my quiet house, a song filtered in the back ground, played from the top most floor of my home, reaching me sitting in the basement. The crescendo, a surge of the multilayered track of piano on piano, drum beats, a staccato in the back ground, the guitar providing an accent track for specific chords. A perfectly matched voice to these instruments, it is like an instrument itself. I close my eyes, and let the music fill me up, and over flow. My brain drifts to the images this song provokes. Are there tears? Maybe yes, maybe no. Only I know, and I’m not telling you. Is there happiness? Yes. Oh yes. Bittersweet, I will admit. But that’s okay. I’m where I need to be.

17 days ago I was fired from a job that I loved. I won’t go into details. The details aren’t important. Not for this moment in time. What’s important is that I’m okay now. I’m stressed, of course, but oddly enough, I don’t feel the tension in my shoulders or my brow that I did. My eyes aren’t puffy from the lack of sleep, and my skin doesn’t feel waxy from exhaustion. That isn’t to say that it was all bad. The people, more than anything kept me going back day in and day out. I was good at what I did, because I wouldn’t be anything else.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I go where I go, to learn and grow. To triumph and overcome. To fall, and pull myself up and not give in. To look through tears, and see there is the light. And the light I see through the tears, is the rainbow I follow to reach my pot of gold. For too long there have been too many people trying to keep me down, trying to shake to my core my self worth and the knowledge of who I am, so I will in turn fall in line. I don’t let them. I stand on my own two feet, and breathe deeply through the toxic fumes they spew at me. It’s taken a few knock downs to learn this, and every so often I find myself experiencing another one to remind me of where I came from and where I need to be heading.

So instead of looking back on my previous job with anger for how it ended, I instead choose to turn my face to the future, and see this ending as a new beginning. I take what I have learned, both personally and professionally, and embrace my new future. I take those I met, and hold them to me, and invite them to be parts of my continuing being. I mourn only the lost opportunity, but not too long. What’s lost in the past stays there, and there are reasons it’s lost. Instead, I form my world for me, and promise to myself to look after myself better than I had in the past.

I have found things that are truly yours are only taken from you if you let them be. Pride. Self worth. Self esteem. Others may bruise them, but only you can let people take them from you. These traits I still retain. I’d forgotten them for a while, instead letting my walls break down, and allowed what was bottled up to wash away the debris. I’ve given myself a rebirth. Of thought, of consciousness, and of self.

So I sit here now, listening to my music, letting it fill me, move through me, and move me. Songs conjure images. Images conjure my thoughts. My thoughts revive my emotions, and I can look back and smile. Or cry. Or laugh. Or rage. Or rant. Or scream. Or all of these. Or none of these. Sometimes, more than one. It doesn’t matter what the combination, what matters is that I do it. What matters is that I have the choice and the option to do it. What matters is that this is me.

And so I continue on, and regret nothing. I am where I need to be, and perhaps. For now. I need to be where I am.

I Won't Worry My Life Away...January 18, 2010

"The remedy is the experience.
This is a dangerous liaison
I say the comedy is that it's serious.
This is a strange enough new play on words
I say the tragedy is how you're gonna spend
The rest of your nights with the light on
So shine the light on all of your friends
When it all amounts to nothing in the end."

It's rare enough that I start these things off with quotes from others, however I find it a bit amusing that I have chosen once again to quote Jason Mraz when sitting down to write. Perhaps in a few days when I compile one of my playlists entitled "The Soundtrack of my Life" I'll likely lean heavily on Mr. Mraz, and revel in the thought provoking variations in his performances, and juxtapose it with something that allows me to revel in the thoughtless noise I find myself occassionally drawn to. And no, I didn't have to look up the word 'juxtapose'. Despite the ditzy exterior I'm actually smart.

I think perhaps I will not wax poetic as I did last night. At least not for the duration. But then again that is so often the intention, and so seldom the reality. Let us commence with this journey, and see where we end up this evening. Afraid? Don't be. I can at times surprise you, just keep an open mind...those are far more fun to play with.

I find myself drawn to thoughts on people and perceptions. How we behave, interact, and observe each other. The perceptions others have of me, and the fact that I am in reality so far opposite of what they believe me to be, that the looks of shock and awe on their face when they get a peek beneath the surface are truly interesting to behold. Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm quite intelligent. Humble to the extent that I don't draw attention to it, but also sly enough to let people think what they want. If someone wants to be of the rather mistaken impression that I am stupid, or unobservant, so much the better. For me.

When people believe you aren't or don't pay attention, or that you don't or can't remember anything about what they say around you, they pretty well treat you like you're a prop in the background. People have made the mistake of thinking I'm just standing in for a shrub before and it's royally bitten them in the ass. These people I came to realize are the people you have to watch out for every day of your life, because they are the ones who believe that they are the only important on in any given scenario. So, you're probably sitting there wondering where this is going? Having started with a nice quote from an artist I respect and I launch into a tirade, you must be wondering where I'm going with this. I told you. Keep your mind open. You know by now if you've read enough of my works that I always find my way to my point. "It isn't the destination that matters. It's the journey." I take my time, but don't worry. I won't abuse the faith you show me when you read this start to finish.

Things I've observed when people don't think I'm watching are revelations that make me see a different side to everyone I surround myself with. Social situations, or one on one. I see much. I observe all. And I sometimes smile to myself, or I feel my heart break just that little bit, over things that if I were asked about them, I would make some excuse. My observations of people in these circumstances, I treat as though they were treasured secrets they themselves have told me. I would never betray a friend's confidence regarding a deep secret. Or even someone I don't like...I would keep their secrets because of the faith they show me in unwittingly allowing me to see beyond their facade.

I have learned that the most confident person among us can appear to be more vulnerable when the spotlight isn't on them. That not all is as it seems under the veneer of happiness, and that as hard as others try to mask it, I can see their hearts breaking, or hardening from the pain. That the quietest among us are often lost to their thoughts, and the least confident are waiting for that sign that tells them "You too can be strong." The loudest amongst us are trying to hide something about themselves, to distract from the reality of themselves, and those not careful enough to avoid the redirect will go right along with it. (For the record, I'm one of the loud ones. I know it. I accept it. And when it bites me in the ass, I know I have only myself to blame.) The duality of our natures is what makes us each unique. Good/Bad. Light/Dark. Whatever your flavour, there are two brands. Sometimes we induldge in both. Sometimes we don't. But whether we know it or not, or accept it or not, we're each made up of opposites.

A favourite process of mine is sifting through the opposites, and seeing how they make up people. And no, this isn't a deconstruction of my friends and family for an objective third party psychoanalysis. This is my way of getting to know them better, and to know them completely. People have mentioned they have a hard time keeping secrets from me, because I either know what they're trying to hide, or when they try to surprise me, it ends in failure, because I'm expecting it. I apologize for this frustration, but take it as a sign that I actually care. It's true. I'm not easily surprised. Nor am I easily shocked. And for as vapid as I seem...I'm always thinking. My mind is always active. Thoughts range from music, to movies, to art, to friends, to family, to myself, to the future and to the past. To the good that I am, and the evil I could be.

To the experience.

To the future that fills me with no fear of what lurks in the dark corners of the experiences that I will endure and over come. I will face the darkness, and I'll be damned if I'm the one who blinks first. My friends are why I hold no fear. My light is my own, but those I choose to surround myself with are reflections of my light, and hold a light of their own. In my core, I am my own strength. I am not filled with such hubris that I know I can hold the line on my own against the future bullshit...nor am I naive enough to believe there will be no bullshit in the future. I'm not a stupid fellow. But I look to my friends for support, and I hold trust in them that when the moment comes and I need to lean on them, I will not find myself alone. That when I need a reminder on why I'm doing something, they will be there. And that when they think they are all alone, I hope they know that I am never far.

So once again, the thought train has reached it's destination. A bit more erratic I think, but that tends to happen more and more when I find myself able to write more frequently. More thoughts jumble up than I can express in one sitting and they all fight for dominance. In good time, I will expose my brain pan to the light of day again. So until that day when we see what spills out, and what happens when I give the contents a swirl, I leave you to think on yourselves. Your duality. Revel in it. Enjoy it. Know that you are made of distinctions, and that they are wonderous.

I'm A Free Bitch Baby...January 17, 2010

I love watching the world. Seeing, watching, witnessing, enjoying, cringing, loving, hating, living and breathing this world. The way we reach and stretch ourselves. Looking deep in ourselves, finding ourselves, losing ourselves, loving ourselves and hating ourselves. Looking in the mirror and wondering, what the hell was I thinking? Laughing through the tears, and crying through the joy. Living, loving and losing ourselves to the cacaphony that is truly LIVING in our own skin. Laughing at others, while secretly jealous that they are free to express themselves, all the while not realizing that we are just as free as they are. Strength is what it takes, and those we attack are the ones we envy because they live the way we wish we were brave enough to live.

I sit here now, probably well past when I should have gone to bed. I sit here, watching the words fill the page, not entirely conscious of where they are coming from. I just listen, and wait, and watch, and listen. I feel the pull to write, and so I do. I write and I will write until this mood passes. If there is a point, then so much the better. If not, then I write to sate the deep desire to make words appear. Rolling this language around my mouth, getting a taste for the words, and sharing them. Giving in to myself, and writing my words. Giving in to my ID I guess. Except this has little to do with food, sleep, and most certainly has nothing to do with sex. So having said that, if one of my primal urges is to write, what does that say of my nature? You're welcome to make a comment or two about what you think.

More and more as our culture spirals deeper into the 21st century, I find it amusing the way that each generation tries to separate itself from the preceeding generation, but aiming to "shock and awe" our elders, all the while being baffled by the following generations behaviours. It wasn't so very long ago that we were youths, doing our best to separate ourselves from the expectations of "art" and "culture" that were imposed on us by our parents generation. And now, the following generation is doing the same to ours. Punks and preps had given way to goth, which begat emo, which begat hordes of joking, and people wearing skinny jeans that should really reconsider that fashion statement. We've made a disposable culture, where everything can be purchased, used and thrown away. Our "Celebrities", our music, our films, our commerce, our "must haves" and "really wants", our phones, our sex, our friends and even ourselves. Many are content to go with the flow. To move with the herd. Right to the proverbial abatoir. We scorn those who show true talent for the dime a dozen pop acts that look, smell, taste and act the same. We see anything that deviates from "the norm" as bad, because it isn't what we're used to. And as open minded as we all claim to be, everyone has their limits. Even if you don't know them yet...everyone has their limits.

I look at the music scene today. Some in part because it's my job, staying up to date with what's our there, but also because I've always enjoyed music. What may shock some people is that, while I wasn't able to complete my education in the field, I'm actually a classically trained pianist. I studied, and logged many hours of practise learning to play Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and so on and so forth. I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkle, The Doors, The Beatles, Cyndi Lauper, Chubby Checker, The Monkeys, Frank Sinatra, and on and on my musical education went. If you were to ask me who out of all of that is my favourite, I couldn't tell you. For me, music is not something to favour. It's something to immerse yourself in. Like a warm blanket, a hot bath, or a nice cup of coffee. Or whatever your preference. I surround myself with preferred songs, and hold them dear because they show a bit of who I am. Everything tells a story. Some of the stories are easier to hear than others. But what really saddens me is that the most popular stuff that's out there, is mass produced, and cookie cutter. It's "safe". I will admit, I enjoy some of it too. I love the beat. But in 20 years time, when music that hit it big when I was in high school, I shudder to think that the youth of those days will consider them "Classic Oldies." In as much as I guiltily love listening to Britney Spears "3"...I still shudder to think of the days when those are the classic oldies. I'm beginning to understand the dread my grandparents generation felt about my parents music.

But at least the stuff that was coming out back then wasn't a mass produced spectacle. I truly hope that artists...TRUE artists...not the puppets that "sing" (warble) the words handed to them, played by the music "made" for them...start showing up. There's already one out there who isn't afraid to be different. To go against the grain, while still doing the smart thing of making herself marketable. Being true to herself, writing her own stuff, performing it, and actually being able to play and instrument while looking totally at home with it. We are long over due for a musical revelution. It's time for the drek to dry up, and make room for people who have the talent to back themselves up.

So, where does this leave me? How did I get to that rant from where I started? Simple. I just followed my traing of thought. It jumped tracks, and I hung tight. It was a hell of a lot of fun too. And that's the thing. No one has fun any more. We're all so busy taking ourselves too seriously when we don't need to, but not taking ourselves seriously when we really should. It's an attitude I see more and more every day. Rampant immaturity, and when people are called on it, they snap like overstretched elastic bands. Have fun, but act your age. Be responsible and own up to your shit, grow a fucking pair, and relax. Confused? Don't be. It's how I live my life. I love my life. I love me. I stress out when I don't need to, but I'm working on that. I have fun, because life is too short not to. I take myself seriously, because I know not everyone does. People don't seem to realize there's more to me than they see. I just keep Me very close to my chest.

I encourage everyone who reads this, and everyone who doesn't, to go out and create something. It doesn't have to make sense from start to finish. Nothing ever does. I've yet to read about someone's life from start to finish and say, "Hmm. Well. That was all very straightforward. Yes. Very well done. Pip pip." Because apparently when I read biographies I'm British. Who knew. Go out and do something...ANYTHING. But do it because you want to. Do it because you can. And in the end, do it for yourself because it's something you want to do for yourself. Not because I encourage you do to it.

And now, I find myself scraping the bottom of the well. And you know what...I'm not rereading my writing this time. Spelling errors happen. Mistakes happen. It's not the end of the world.

So good night all. Feedback is as always appreciated. Negative feedback will of course be read, and depending on severity of ignorance, it will either prompt me to write one of these in response to your ignorance, or I'll delete your comment after milking it for every drop of inspiration I can.

Because, let's face it, I'm a bitch that way.

Details...October 1, 2009

"Hold Your Own. Know Your Name. And Go Your Own Way..."

I sit here on the eve of my 27th birthday, listening, in enjoyable silence, to Jason Mraz. As I write this, the song "Details in the Fabric" is playing. I'm relaxed. Contented. Sitting with a buzz that usually comes from a few drinks with good friends. I am, however, stone cold sober, with that lazy feeling of heaviness in my limbs. I am reflecting on the last 27 years, the same way a dear friend of mine recently reflected on the last 30 years of his own life, and I have come to realize that...Damn. I've done a fair bit already.

How the hell did that happen?

I count my blessings, among them are friends and family. A job I love. Coworkers, and managers who are awesome. A beautiful husband who, despite my flaws, loves me for who I am. Friends with whom I can entrust myself when I'm at the point I can't see past my glasses, and can feel no further than the tip of my nose. Family who I can lean on, and know that they aren't a crutch, but instead another of the support pillars I am truly blessed to have.

And my writing of notes that may or may not hold cohesive thoughts. The gift and ability to be able to sit and write these. And the bravery to post them, regardless of what I have to say. They are my words. My thoughts. No one elses. And if people like them, then that's wonderful. If they don't? That too is wonderful, because at least they know their own minds enough to know what they like or not.

I know I have seen and done much. I've been through shit that no living soul should have to deal with. I face down my personal demons, and make it emphatically clear to them that they are my bitch, not the other way around. I know things that make me the envy of those who are older than me, and I look at those who know things I don't with a mix of curiosity and pride. What a wonderful thing it is to possess a knowledge others are only vague about. And what a great thing it is, to be able to impart a bit of wisdom without hubris. I won't stop learning. I refuse. It's fun. Keeps y'sharp. "An enlightened man knows that he truly knows little." There is more knowledge in the world than I'll ever learn. But that's fine. As a human race, collectively...we know it all. We just need to learn to work together on it all.

"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. " Lao Tzu. I don't think I've ever heard a more fitting statement for where I am right now in my life. At times, in the tempest that is my life, I feel overwhelmed. Stretched thin. Pushed to a breaking point. I can feel the pin prick tears behind my eyes, and the shortness of breath. But then I take a deep breath. I close my eyes. I feel my world spinning around me. But the ground beneath my feet is solid. Still. Anchoring me where I need to be. I look deep in myself, and I see Me. Battered? Yes. Bruised? Definitely. Broken? Never. It will take more than anything in this world to break me. Because I know who I am. I know what I am. I know where I am going with my life, and woe be to the one who tries and stops me.

"Listen to the music of the moment people, dance and sing. We're just one big family. And it's our God-forsaken right to be loved..." Feeling the warmth and strength of hands on my shoulders, or the kind words from can I feel anything but loved? With the different kinds of love that are out there...I know I am blessed. And my gods, my heart is full. My husband. My family. My friends. Each one has a piece of my heart. And in different ways, I love them all. And too many people get hung up on that word. It is a powerful emotion, but we can thank society for creating the hang ups. That is one thing we can never have enough of.

So I look back on the last 27 years, and prepare to face my 28th with enthusiasm. I know who I am, which is more than what most can say. I am at peace with myself. As turbulent as that may be. I am strong. Stonger than people may think I am. I am content. I am, at present, alone. But I'm not lonely. There are too many people who surround me, either in body, or in spirit. Love. I love and am in love. And I am loved. I protect my friends, as best as I can, and I am there for them. Always, and all ways. No matter how dark things can get for me, I can see rays of light, and I let them warm me. My legs may shake with effort as I take each step, carrying the weight of my world on my shoulders. But I take each step, on shaking legs, knowing that I have the strength to carry myself, and any others who need my support. I can be ugly, but through that, I find something in myself that is beautiful. I am wise, because I will never be anything less than that.

And I am Robert Dakin. Living my life. Loving every minute of it.

As I started this note, I shall finish it as well. With a quote from a song.

"Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?

Are the things that make you blow
Hell, no reason, go on and scream
If you're shocked it's just the fault
Of faulty manufacturing."

And remember. Everything, will be fine. Have faith. Be strong. And when you find you can't keep going...I will always be here. No matter who. No matter why.

Love you

Open Letter to Love...June 22, 2009

Dear Love;

I am writing you today in an effort to understand the past animosity between us. While it may seem a bit cloy and trite to say this, but for the first two decades of my life, it seemed that you had a mad on for me, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why.

I know that you are not an easy thing to get along with. At times, you have almost caused my heart to break, you've made me an emotional mess and, oh yes, let's not forget that pesky anxiety attack that you will on occassion have come and visit. I know that's MY favourity house guest. Yes. I was being sarcastic.

But as I move more and more into my adult life, I have to look back and wonder why I fought so hard against welcoming you into my life. I have come to know you more and more these last few years, and you've brought along a couple of your other siblings. Though why your parents names you all love is beyond me, the fact is, they too have set up house with me, and instead of feeling overwhelmed, life's feeling more and more complete. Happier. Safer.

And it hasn't just been yourself you've brought to my life. Through you coming to stay, I've met my Husband. A person whom I care about moreso than I actually thought possible. And through your siblings, I've met the Other Two. Combined, the fact that I now have The Three in my life, all thanks to you, makes for a debt that I will never be able to repay. I know. There are all those other people out there that I care about, and they are all in my life in ways, shapes or forms that make them important to me. But outside of Family (in Laws count)...the fact that there are three people whom I love, and care about in the unique ways that I do...if you'd have asked me a number of years ago if I ever thought I'd reach this point I'd have laughed.

So, through you I now turn the attention outward. Bringing in the younger siblings, such as "Care", "Friendship", and the like. If you're reading this and I miss your name, do not feel slighted. You all should know I have a crappy memory, or am easily distracted. Also, I'm intentionally leaving family off this list because, my gods, I don't think I have enough time to write that all out. LOL.


Matt: You are my husband. The one whom I have chosen to spend my life with. Through thick or thin, good or bad, bitchy or not. We have gone through Hell Fire together. We've been tested, and we've been pushed. We still are. I love you, more than I can ever put into words. You are one of my best friends, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without you in it.

Heather: Who knew what started out as a few random comments at a Drag Show and at Group would develop into what we have? I sure as shit didn't. You've worked your way so seamlessly into my heart and into my life, it's as though I've known you forever. Your help, not only around the house when you lived here, but in my life after Matt left for his course...I will never be able to thank you enough for all you've done. Doesn't mean I won't try.

Luke: I can hardly remember what it was like not having you around. You have helped me bring a balance in my life, and have helped me keep my head when I was starting to worry about losing it. You've given me refuge to fall apart if I need to, and while I was never able to, completely, like I've felt I've needed to, you also gave me something more precious than gold. Acceptance. Understanding. Refuge. Solace. You are a one in a million friend. Though friend and family no longer cover it. Whatever you call it...I am grateful.


To all the others out there. Kyle, Jamal, Randi, Shawn, and on and on the list will go. While I am no firm believer in God, or Fate, or anything like that, you people help me see that maybe, just maybe, there is a reason behind everything. I can't say I don't believe I've met you all, and become as close to you all as I have, if there wasn't some reasoning behind it. For the different aspects you all add to my life, I am proud to know you all.

So now, Dear Love, as I sign off this letter, I just have one last thing to say.

Thank you. You help make my long days bearable, my life enjoyable, and have brought me to those who have helped make my world complete.

Signing off

Rambling...April 27, 2009

Every now and again, I get the time to sit down and write. Just...let the mental babble out on "paper" and debate whether I let other people read it or not. I think, fairly obviously, if this is being read then yes. I've decided to let people read it.

Saturday's Drag Show was a very interesting experience to say the least. It was awesome entertainment, and good times. Had a couple drinks, but stayed responsible, as in more than capable of driving. Took a very inebriated friend back to his house, and left him in the care of his roommates. And then I brought my little microcosm of a world back to my place where everyone either fell asleep, or passed out to varying degrees, and all was right with the world.

But what happened between the start of the evening, and the end of the evening is where it was the most interesting. See, for the last few months I've been trying to get some of my Straight Friends to come out to see one of these shows because I honestly think they'd have a blast. Some have expressed interest. Some have expressed curiosity. Some don't really get the point. All of which are valid responses, and ones I totally respect. But one of them finally decided to pull a Nike (the shoe brand, not the goddess) and "Just Do It." He came to the drag show with me and my friends, and had an absolute blast.

What's interesting though, is this was perhaps the first time the "Straight" world that I work, live and breathe in, came for a visit to the "Gay" world that I am only able to escape into every once and a while. And while I hate using labels like that so bluntly and obviously, it's the only way I can really express my thoughts. I hadn't realized it until recently, but these two sides to the world that we live in, remain pretty separate for the most part. But one brave soul kinda catapulted through the barrier and joined in on the Gay Side. Blessedly, he enjoyed his visit, got along with my friend Luke, oh how did Luke put it, "Like a House on Fire" or something like that. Anyway. Two total strangers got along like they'd known each other for years. All through the wonder (terror?) of knowing me, and me finally getting them both to come out with me for an evening's entertainments.

The real eye opening thing on this, is that it is an opposite to what most of us Gays or Lezzies deal with every day when we step out that front door. We bring a tiny pocket of the 'Mo World with us, but we are utterly and totally surrounded by a Hetero-Centric society. We've made great strides toward equality, don't get me wrong, but one look at the media, and you can still tell we have a ways to go. Anyway, my intrepid straight friend stepped into about the Gayest side of the world you can get, bringing just the tiniest pocket of Het World in with him. And through the glories of being open minded, and comfortable with himself, he joined in the fun, and had a great night out.

So, you lost yet? Bear with me. I hope I get to my point. If not, whatever. It's fun anyway. Like I said. Mental babble.

Anyway. I never really even realized what it is that I do when I walk out the door, until he walked into another one. I steal myself to the coming day, knowing full well that while I am lucky to be surrounded by people who respect who I am, I'm still moving amongst a world that doesn't understand what I am. But. I understand that world I move in, whether I like it or not. I stay true to myself, relax, let go, and just have a blast in it.

You can only make change in the world, by being the change you want to see. A paraphrase from Ghandi of course. So what change is it that I try to make in the world? Opened eyes, opened hearts, opened minds, and opened arms. I approach the world with a smile on my face, and the strength of will and character that could have only been molded with a gentle touch, and fire from passion, and heat that would rival any sun. I am held up by the pillars of my background, and I develop through every encounter with every person I meet and cross paths. I stand, whispering to the darkness, because a whisper can sometimes sound louder than a scream. And I do this, because there are people, like my friend, who are more than willing to meet me halfway, stand beside me, and try to illuminate the darkness.

Life on Shuffle...December 7, 2008

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately. It has been some very diverse music. Some would be described as depressing. Other music would be described as peppy, fast, slow, hyper, trance, techno, and on and on the list of descriptions and genres would go until you’ve covered pretty well everything except for Polka. But pulling the focus back on the stuff people would be calling depressing… Sarah McLachlan, Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch, Sarah Bareilles, and on and on that list goes too. I will admit. On the surface, some of their music is pretty sad, and depressing. But, that’s simply a matter of interpretation.

I know I tend to come back to music, but perhaps there’s a reason for that. As some people may know, I was in piano lessons for a while when I was a kid, and then a rather unfortunate incident happened which left me having to drop out of lessons. For a lot of kids, that would be a blessing, but for me, talk about a curse. While I’ll admit, I didn’t much care for my music exams, the very act and art of playing was a balm. It helped bring order to my thoughts, and helped me keep focused in school. I loved the very act and art of playing. Learning to complexities of the music, and overcoming the thought that “I’ll never be able to do that” and then nailing it. A perfect run through. Knowing that, while I may not have written the music, the music came from inside me. It was some other person’s words, but it was presented by my soul, through my hands. Me. Mine. No one else’s.

I look at my hands now, from back then. My fingers are more twisted now. The articulation is still not what it was before I nearly shattered my hand. The reflexes are not sharp enough to go back to exams, and I know enough to teach myself now. Every so often, when I’m near a keyboard, or a piano, I’ll sit or stand there, and just play. Sure, it may just be scales. Or maybe just some chords. But even the simplicity of them, I can still put my own twist. Variable time measures, emphasis, soft notes, sharp notes, discordant notes, anything that I can do to the music to make it mine, even the simplest of it. It doesn’t make me feel powerful, or in charge, or anything half assed crap like that. What does it make me feel then you might be wondering? That answer is going to sound odd, and perhaps flawed. Which is perfect, seeing as I am odd and flawed. Everyone is after all. I just take much delight in this fact. But it makes me feel creative, happy, open, honest, I feel that pump of blood that normally only comes from driving a really nice car really fast on the 401. I know, it’s odd that simply playing a few notes can give you that rush, but I’m not a normal person.

I am flawed, eccentric, happy, sad, angry, bold, strong, weak, ugly, beautiful, mild, wild, boring, interesting, but most importantly. Absolutely, and MOST importantly, I am me. There are people out there who try to distract my focus from that detail. That try and turn my head, and follow the herd. They seek to quiet my voice, or beat me down until I feel so sad or depressed that I can’t or won’t fight back. I am man enough to admit that there have been times in recent history where that’s been a danger, and it’s almost succeeded. Okay, maybe in the grand scheme of things they were nowhere near, but for me to let it get to the point where I was able to notice that their efforts were having an effect…well…that’s epic.

So, how does this bring me back to my latest musical selections? Simple. In nearly all music that is out there, there is a message inside that we can use to bolster our strength, steel our resolve, soften our hearts, or open our eyes. Sometimes, it’s just to breathe, or not settle for the next best thing. Other times, it is putting in words what we need from someone. But most importantly, it’s the sound track of our lives. Nearly ever person I’ve spoken to and asked at random, “What song can you just not be without right now.” It can change day to day, but about 85% of the people I’ve asked, have a song for me.

I’ve received some private messages from people lately with some of the blogging I’ve been doing. Seeing and making sure I’m doing well, and all that sort of thing. And in interests of answering these people, I’m just sayin’ this. Thank you, for your concern about me and my well being. But, even as sad as the tone of these may be at times, I don’t think I’ve actually been this good for years. Yes, it is true, I have been doing some soul searching lately, but every so often, that a good thing to do. Like emotional spring cleaning. Going through everything, and letting go of the stuff we don’t need. And sometimes, letting it go can hurt, and be painful. We have to let go of the bad, no matter how hard it is. It can be rough, and gut wrenching, even though we know it has to be done. That’s why I like pouring it out on paper. To release myself of it, to stand back, and look at things objectively. As much as we let things go, they still linger with us. The important thing is being able to look at our baggage, and see it, not as an insurmountable dilemma, but objectively and realize that yes, there may be this tremendous mountain of stuff sitting infront of us, but there is nothing you can’t do, if you just work at it.

How do you eat an entire elephant? One bite at a time.

So, in the tremendous shit storm that is my life from time to time, even if my notes don’t touch on the actual problem, they still serve to help me take the next bite. Just like music was for me, writing is for me now. I take the risk, and pour my heart and soul into these words, and publish them for everyone to see, to comment on. To analyze, or criticize, or compliment. And does it make me nervous? Or scared? Hell yes it does. Which is all the more reason to do it.

Now that we have reached the end of this train of thought, and taken a few interesting diversions, I ask you, what song can you just not be without right now. Feel free to post it as a comment, or send as a private message. If you want to say why, then please do. If you don’t, then no sweat.

And now, in parting, I leave you with this thought.

Every life we touch is left altered by our presence. Whether it is good, or ill, that is up to you to decide. Those who openly welcome you into their lives…move softly. You already walk within their heart. And those with whom you join over time? Feel the joy of having made a difference in their life.

So, my friends…the ball is now in your hand. What is the Soundtrack to your Life?

Recommended Listening List:

This is what I was listening to while I wrote this note. Some beautiful, some heart wrenching, and some that hold a meaning that only I’ll understand. Remember. I’ve been listening to these all with a smile, there is no sadness here.

Breathe (2 A.M.) – Anna Nalick
Strong Enough – Sheryl Crow
Fairytale – Sarah Bareilles
When I Grow Up – The Pussycat Dolls
The Game of Love – Michelle Branch and Santana
Everywhere – Michelle Branch
Near You Always – Jewel
Full of Grace – Sarah McLachlan
Blackbird – Sarah McLachlan’s cover
The Path of Thorns (Terms) – Sarah McLachlan