The most pressing issue in my life right now, aside from pressing physical ailments I am dealing with, is housing and employment. Without divulging too heavily into the gossip-worthy details, I am currently hovering uncomfortably close to the indigent population popping up like weeds in any given neighborhood in Los Angeles. It is a situation that has sparked an immense spiritual exploration into my upbringing, relationships, and tenacity. I am by far my own worst critic and have sliced my own jugular quicker and deeper than any of my past lovers, Twitter enemies, or random naysayers ever could. It's a twisted defense mechanism, but whenever "pathetic, fat, faggot, decrypt, ugly, desperate nigger" is thrown my way, it's not a shock... I got those tattoos ages before they even knew me. But the onslaught of inside and outside negative reinforcement has eventually taken its toll. Like a little man trapped inside an hourglass who has always been able to flick off the few granules of sand that got in his way, I now find myself struggling not to be completely buried in self-doubt, self-deprecation, and the most arduous enemy... fear... as my time runs out.
But the clouds have been opening up with no small assistance from my family and my (true) friends, reminding me in no small order that I have never been a pathetic, fat, faggot, decrypt, ugly, desperate nigger... for not even one second of my life. And when I started to reinvestigate my "Soul Session" podcasts facilitated by the oft-misunderstood (but rarely wrong) Oprah Winfrey and she and her spiritually inclined guests continue to sing the same decade long chorus just with different intonations of, "as long as you are alive, you have purpose," I have literally been brought to my knees in tears realizing that... I have been going about this the wrong way. That... holy shit... I think I'm... good.
So after ending one of the most arduous stretches of time in my life by scraping myself off the floor and putting in an immense about of effort to work with a universe that is actually trying to work with my intentions, I found myself in need of a little release; a little fun. Let's just put a pause on this whole, spiritually aware, possibly homeless moment and just have a fucking laugh. And I did. And I appreciated every second of self-care the creator afforded me as I sauntered down Venice Beach, amazed at the sheer quantity of human life that still exists as we slowly exit our COVID induced cubby holes.
Somewhere between the saunter and the sunset, a friend mentions that her weekly virtual game night is that evening and was more than happy to invite me. Lackadaisically following the rules of CPT, I show up an hour late. I expected to be interrupting a riotous round of "Scattergories" or "Cards Against Humanity" but instead was equally as happy to integrate myself into the easy sing-song conversation of a group of grown women just enjoying each other's company on a fine Saturday night. That is until one sassy woman piped in, "Let me ask you, Breeze, are you heterosexual?" Which just struck me as someone pouring cold water over my head right when I just finished getting over a cold. The thing is, I absolutely HATE coming of the closet. Not necessarily out of any insecurity of my sexuality, but more of the nails on chalkboard "explanation" of it to someone who is about to do their own version of Mr. Furley on "Three's Company" complete with cooning wide eyes, shocked expression, and comical (?) inquiries about, "What exactly do you people do?" Trying to go with the flow, I replied, "Nope, not in this lifetime." To wit, the response was, "I was just asking because I'm realizing that the only song that heterosexual men will sing in falsetto is 'Adore' by Prince."
That's why you wanted to know if I was gay?
And what I was trying to avoid happening, happened... as whatever easy sing-song conversation that was going on beforehand was commandeered by passive-aggressive commentary about homosexuals and homosexuality for the rest of the night. Commentary that doubled down when the sole heterosexual male, also following CPT, entered into the mix an hour later. After catching up on what he missed, he went into his own Mr. Furley imitation then enthralled us with tales of when a guy once hit on him and that he once walked in on his cousin who was bleaching his asshole to, as he put it, "make sure my ass is ready honey!" When he said that a gay guy referred to him as a "grizzly," I felt compelled to give a little Gay Bear 101 lesson, but I felt awkward and weird. I just did not want to be in the position of being the auteur of everything gay to a bunch of Breeders who were slowly looking at me to be the exemplar of homosexuality. Me; the middle-aged unemployed dude trying not to sleep under a vomit-filled blanket in a tent on Skid Row.
At one point, he jokingly said, "I'm sorry, but all gay men are just nasty!" To wit, Sassy hilariously added, "I got to agree! My cousin told me all about what gay men do in bathrooms! Eeew!" And it felt like all eyes were on me to add additional commentary, but I felt like my presence alone had already sucked the air out of the night. Not my words, just my presence. Kind of like the only Black family in a White neighborhood, and those neighbors throw eggs and dirt on the family's house every day then complain that they're bringing down property values because their property is filthy with eggs and dirt. Somehow I had changed the energy of Game Night by being gay, but I didn't really didn't do anything; this trash was just being thrown in my direction, and I was to blame for just being there.
And I couldn't help but push that metaphor even further, imagining this particular group of African Americans being individually invited to individual virtual Game Nights populated by Caucasians, and one sassy participant would ask, "So you're Black, huh?" They would say, "Yeah? So?" Then White Sassy would reply, "Well, I'm realizing that there are White people in Africa, so if they move here, that means there are White African-Americans. They're more African-American than you." And while they're shaking their heads in confusion, some dude will comedically pipe in, "I'm sorry, but all Black people are thieves!" To wit, White Sassy hilariously will add, "I got to agree! My Black cousin told me all about the looting that he and his Black friends did during the last riot! Shame!"
Would they yell? Would they become indignant? Would they do the ever tiresome repetitive SPEECH OF THE MINORITY of "...you're insulting my people, I have rights too, I'm just like you, when I bleed my blood is red like yours, God loves us all, blah, blah, blah... [insert Hitler reference]." Would they have just left the game night altogether and explained it to their friend later... like I should have done... BUT DIDN'T. I think I was still holding out for this happy ending where the gameplay would start, and we would all bond on some politically incorrect common ground where we realize that gays are indeed actually very disgusting, but only because we're trying to keep up with the horrifyingly deviant sexual habits of our heterosexual counterparts. We can debate if gay men giving random blow jobs to strangers in bathrooms is as wicked as groups of unprotected Breeders plowing random strangers in rogue sex parties across the nation in the middle of a pandemic, but can we at least agree that they're going to be showing RuPaul's Drag's Race AND Monday Night Football in hell?
But alas, that common ground never came... we never got around to any gameplay. After more awkward commentary about homosexuality was spewed, long stretches of silence occurred where instead of being the "Black Gay Hope" and explaining their wrongdoings, I decided to silently edit websites while they continued to throw eggs and dirt. The night dragged on; people got bored; in regards to her commentary all night, Sassy eventually said, "You know Breeze, I'm sorry. Not sorry," which seemed to suck the rest of the air out of the night and one by one the participants yawned and sheepishly moaned, "Ooooh, I'm so tired... I think I'm going to go..." then promptly signed off.
One of Sade's lesser-known songs is called "Immigrant." From what I understand, it was inspired by her father and his experience with racism. The song reflects the thoughts of this man who didn't realize he was "other" until he moved away from home and that "others" are bad. The chorus asks, isn't life in itself; just being human, it's that hard enough to deal with than to have to add all this extra prejudice shit? It's Sade, so the vibe is subtle, the beat sultry, her delivery soft and buttery. But those lyrics have always got me. And while I ashamedly roll my eyes at the SPEECH OF THE MINORITY, I tip my hat to this, the defacto SONG OF THE MINORITY. That there is this whole life that exists outside of that "other" moniker. It's the tip of the iceberg. That all you're seeing is this human space and throwing it into some political or sociological category to either further your agenda, gain votes, or appear funny and... sassy. And you're not realizing the spiritual being that is lightyears big underneath, struggling, transforming, developing.
In the not too distant future, I'll be making my 50th hurdle around the sun, with all of the wins, losses, and scars we humans have, who have been so blessed to make it this far. All the wars, the violence, the diseases. The marriages, the divorces, the births, the deaths. None of us are immune to that, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. And as I am convinced of what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to be true that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience, I break out of that hourglass; the negativity falls away like sand.
And I go to a game night. And I feel those flakes start to fall on my forehead again. And while I'm aware of the compulsion to start this list of self-deprecation and fear all over again, comfortable in the misery of my current disposition because that "habit of victimhood" is so addictive, the voices of my family, my (real) friends, and Oprah are just too loud nowadays. I'm too aware of that iceberg underneath. I've got way too much going on in my life right now to just be your gay or explain why I'm not. Sorry. Not sorry. I'm good.