Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reason Regains Her Throne

I just came through a very dark time. I mean, I was angry that Prop 8 was on the ballot at all, I was angered by the outright lies of the Yes on 8 advertising, but I had no idea I could even be as angry as I was when it passed. The rage took up every corner of my heart and mind. The desire to punish and hurt was so strong I could barely function around it.

The thing is, I have no way of processing that kind of anger. All I know to how to do is hold it in so that I don't do anything while I'm angry which I'll later regret; I couldn't even talk about the topic, much less my feelings, without spewing hate and ugliness... I had no safe vent for the feelings, they were so horrible and destructive that to let them loose for a second would hurt somebody.

What I really needed was to be able to just curl up and hide, ride the feelings out, pray and meditate my way through the anger... unfortunately, I had to work. And at work, due to some sudden personnel changes, I've once again been spending most of my time in the Career Center with all the various customers coming and going... so many interruptions, so many sketchy personalities, so many little crises and concerns, and me doing my WASP best (which is not inconsiderable, if I do say so myself) to be pleasant and to smile and to pretend there was nothing wrong.

Which I suppose, for a normal person, would be exhausting... and it was exhausting... but I'm not a normal person: I'm a manic-depressive, so all of the above spun me into a depression so profound that suicide was my every other thought. It was probably the lowest ebb of depression I've ever experienced, even worse than before I was medicated. It was too terrible even to talk about, not to my best friend, not to my shrink, not even to you.

One of the elements making things even more miserable is that I firmly believe that Grandmother voted for Prop 8. Maybe she didn't, but I feel certain her "Christian" principles would have demanded it of her. Still, I haven't asked her, largely because I was afraid of what I might say or do if it turned into an argument... I could clearly visualize myself smacking the shit out of a ninety-year-old woman, and I couldn't let that happen. But the feeling of pain that this suspicion caused me made everything so much worse... I had to shield Grandmother from my anger, so I invented an illness so that she'd leave me alone. She thought I was coming down with a flu, and I let her believe that.

So after three workdays of this ghastliness, I finally got to Saturday... I got a lot of sleep, going to bed at six Friday evening and not getting up until ten the following morning. Then I went out with Caroline and bought some new clothes, which always makes me feel better. And then I spent the rest of the day on the couch watching inanities and taking catnaps.

Sunday, however, brought a fresh hell: church. A room full of Christians, many of whom also probably voted for Prop 8, singing about their God of Love and Peace and Whatever, their hearts full of hypocrisy, their disgusting religion hurting more people than it could possibly help (at least those were my thoughts at the time).

After the sermon, I abandoned Grandmother in Bible class, telling her I had to step out for some fresh air and taking a brisk mile-or-so walk around the neighborhood. During that walk I boiled over all of my hatred for (inspired by anger toward) the so-called Christians who worked so hard to pass this discriminatory Constitutional amendment: thinking about all of the money raised by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (some $25 million, all tolled), thinking about how many orphans that would have fed, how many homeless it would have housed, how many sick it would have comforted. What Would Jesus Do With $25 Million? I wanted to ask them.

My thoughts then turned to my relationship with Grandmother: could I forgive her, if indeed she did vote for Prop 8? And if not, what would I do? Would I give up my relationship with her, move out of the house, live in my car or go couch-surfing if I had to?

And the answer was: Yes. I could do that. But not while I'm angry. I will have to give some thought in the coming weeks about how and whether I can continue to live with a person who thinks that homosexuality is a sin... or, rather, someone who labors under the false delusion that homosexuality is more of a sin than other sins which she and others commit all the time. I just have to wait until all the anger is gone before I can talk to her about it.

Of course, by then, I will probably have lapsed back into inertia and complacency. Yes, I could leave Grandmother... but will I? It's such a lot of effort. Another topic for prayer and meditation, to be sure.

I guess what really boils down to is that I don't understand where these people get off... what is their beef with homosexuality, anyway? What difference does it make to them? Sure, OK, let's say for a moment that it's a sin, that God wants us to not indulge in homosexual behavior. Kind of an asshole-y God, if you ask me, but for the sake of argument, let's take the Bible at face value.

Even then, it's pretty minor: it's only mentioned three or four times (five or six if you stretch a point), it's not one of the Commandments, and Jesus Christ never said Word One about it (not that was recorded, anyway). Sure, those three or four mentions are pretty damning, but have you read them in context? Each one of those mentions is accompanied by admonitions against adultery, as well as a few other things. And Christ Himself said that to divorce and remarry is to commit adultery... and even my sainted Grandmother divorced her first husband and then remarried. A forty-seven year adulterous relationship? For shame!

Logically, I can understand: you focus on a sin that you yourself are not interested in committing, and then you imagine that this sin is much worse than any sin you might commit, in order to compare it to the sins you do commit and feel better about them... comparison to someone supposedly worse than you is the easiest way to feel better about yourself.

But how can people claim that God is working in their lives when these kinds of spiritual dichotomies and lazinesses and outright hypocrisies still live in their hearts? Where exactly do they get off pointing out the splinter in my eye while ignoring the planks in their own? How can their God allow them them to be so blind?

If that God is the real true God, I'm better off without him. Such a God would be a dick, plain and simple, and not worth worshiping.

But God is not a dick. God is the controlling principle of the universe, He is all that is good... I believe that with all my heart. My jury is still out on Jesus, but I can't believe in the Bible because the God of that Book is a dick.

A lot of people defend organized religion by pointing out all of the good it does. But I truly believe that the people who do perform good works in God's name would do so without a church or a book telling them to so do... just as the assholes of the world would still be assholes without a church or book to back up their evil. People are good or evil in their own right, in their own hearts; religion is just a structure on which to lay that good or evil... it would exist without the structure just as well.

But what organized religion can and does do is to poison the hearts of good people with misinformation, and it is for that reason that I think the good it does is outweighed by the evil it does.

See, my Grandmother doesn't want to think of me as sinful, she doesn't want me to go to Hell, she doesn't want me to be punished... but she was taught by the assholes who perverted her religion that I am sinful and will be punished in Hell... and she has to believe that in order to believe everything else they told her, all about Jesus and Heaven and eternal life. It all comes of-a-piece for her, her mind formed long ago around faith-based thinking; she can no more change that than learn to think in German. Her natural goodness continues to nurture me and the rest of the family, but the poisonous hate she ingested in youth prevents her from loving me as completely as she wants.

Well, anyway, the proposition passed, and everyone has moved on to the next steps... getting it overturned being the first logical step. In the meantime, a lot of people have taken other steps, protests in front of Temples and City Halls, petitions to revoke the tax-free status of churches and to illegalize divorce, for no other reason than to show Those People what idiots they're being. They seem rather futile gestures to me, but we all have to deal with our anger and disappointment in our own ways.

I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm just glad I'm not so angry anymore. I am still angry, but it's the containable anger that I've been carrying around with me through years and years of unfairness and discrimination, the anger at the first person who called me a faggot when I was seven, the anger at the last person who made fun of me because I'm effeminate, the anger that keeps me working toward a goal of justice and liberty.


In other news, here's my Halloween costume, as previously promised, though a couple of weeks late:

This is the version I wore to work, the version with the least number of accessories and encumbrances. I won the costume contest with it... though the victory would have been somewhat more satisfactory if I hadn't also been the person who organized the contest and purchased the prize.

By the way, that black beard is not painted on... I actually dyed it black, as well as my eyebrows and my hair. My hair didn't come out so well, it was very patchy in the back, but I just packed it with product and slicked it down; the whole effect was quite delightfully sinister. And I actually look pretty good with black hair, it complements my skin tone. Of course I tried dying it back to brown afterward, but it was a disaster and my hair is now a tricolor mess.

But back to Halloween... later on, Caroline and I went out to the City to check out the revels there...

The wig and the jabot were added, which were too warm to wear to the office (hence the hair-dye), as was a full-length black cape with a rather fantastic stand-up collar which I did not get photographed. Ah, well. Caroline dressed as a 50s Showgirl:

We had a pretty good time, me ogling the other costumes (sneering at the store-bought as a good queen should) and Caroline meeting new people (cute boys and effusive girls) along the way, then hanging out at Cookie Dough's Halloween Show at the Octavia Lounge, but I had been at work all day and was incredibly tired by the time we went out, and then finding parking was even more of a nightmare than usual... we ended up parked on Geary and Divisadero, about two and a half miles from Castro. Ridiculous! But still somehow better than taking mass transit.

Anyway, a good-enough time was had.


In other other breaking news, I just came back to this post after watching Dancing With The Stars and am thrilled that my beloved Cody survived this week's elimination. This is the second week he's been in the bottom two, and though I think his improvements are stellar, I don't know what kind of a fan-base he has (outside of myself) so I couldn't be sure he'd be spared. I was so worried about him, and he looked plenty worried, too... I think he was preparing to go home. But in the end, it was Maurice Green who was voted off... I thought he had improved a lot, too, but he was still rather graceless, strangely heavy on his feet for a runner... and he isn't a big-eyed blond moppet... so I wasn't sad to see him go.

So YAY! I get to see more of Cody next week, and he's such a cutie!

And speaking of cuties...

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