Oct 08 2012

Visiting the Parents

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I spent 4 days this past week at my parents house. My parents just bought a new house, and I found myself looking around it and saying if I grew up in this house and this is the house I lived in when I went to High School I would be dead. I looked around and thought I would have hung myself in the foyer. Even though I am now in a place where I am happy and no longer want to commit suicide, whenever I go into that environment it seems to come up in my mind and I start asking what if.

I know it is an absolutely terrible thing to do, but it is something I cannot stop. I believe part of the challenge is my parents and I have never had a real talk about me being gay. Not once since I came out to them 11 months ago have they asked if I had a boyfriend, but before I came out to them at least once a month I got asked about a girlfriend. Nor have I ever been able to talk to them about some of the things they did while I was growing up that has made me resent them. Things like asking me if I was gay in a very condescending way. Things like creating an atmosphere where I had no choice but to follow their religion. And many many more.

I find myself becoming depressed every time I visit. It seems so sterile. It seems like we cannot talk about the things we need to talk about. I know I just need to be myself and I try to, but my parents are not themselves. I am afraid to talk with them about the things I need to talk about with them, not because I am afraid of what the impact would be on my brothers. Honestly, at this point I want my parents to accept me, yes, but I do not care if I hurt their feelings, and am comfortable with the thought that we could still become estranged.

I think it is going to be a really big test the first time I bring a boyfriend to a holiday with me.

So now I am looking at the 3 months ahead and realizing that I am going home twice in the next 3 months and will be home for a full week both times. I am trying to figure out what it is I need to do to maintain my sanity and actually be happy when I am at home. Wish it was an easy answer.

Aug 15 2012

Life

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One thing I have never really talked about is that I have always been somewhat depressed and have very little self confidence in some areas. Prior to November of last year there was usually at least one time a month where, although not seriously, I would briefly consider suicide. I would never get serious about it, and have not ever been serious about suicide since I was in High School, but it was a thought that crossed my mind. My depression prevented me from having a real social life or even seriously looking for a partner.

I never actually sought treatment for my depression, instead I wrote this blog and gave myself wholeheartedly to work where I did not have to think about it. Last November, a lot of things changed. First I got a new job, allowing me to leave my old job where I was not happy. The culture at my new company is much more relaxed and I do not feel that I have to cover my and others asses all of the time. The other change was that I finally came out to my parents.

Since these two things happened, I started more seriously looking for a boyfriend, but not seriously enough. However, I have also been able to start tackling the cause of my lack of self confidence. I have known for years that I need to lose weight, but when I was considering suicide every month I never saw the point in actually putting forth the work. I have lost 20lbs since last November, have started exercising more, and eating better. By no means am I skinny or where I want to be, but I feel a lot better about myself which has opened me up to trying to get into the dating scene. I am much happier now, and suicide is a very rare thought.

The other thing that getting out of this depression has allowed me to do is get control of my finances. To be clear, I do not, nor have I ever had money problems. However, despite the fact that I could live comfortably and have plenty of money, I was in a fair amount of credit card debt and barely had any money saved. I am not out of credit card debt yet, nor do I have as much saved as I would like, but I am in a much better spot now than I used to be.

All of these changes in my life have resulted in one thing. I am generally happy and I am taking this opportunity to start living life rather than hiding from it. I have and will continue to get out of my house more and travel more, which may mean I don’t get around to the task of writing as often. But I am OK with that and in the place that I need to be.

Aug 06 2012

My Take on Chick-Fil-A

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Chick-fil-A has been big news lately over Dan Cathy’s comments about gay marriage. My take on the whole controversy is that the gay community lost in the short run, and in the long run it is a draw. Why?

First and most importantly a few mayors went miles too far with comments that they wanted to ban Chick-fil-A from their cities. Had they instead taken the more appropriate route of saying they disagree with Chick-fil-A and feel that their values do not match that of the city, that may have been a different story. But suggesting that they would block building permits is going way too far.

Secondly, there was not a united voice about our disapproval of Dan Cathy’s comments or even saying that we believe the mayors were going too far. Had there been this united voice and the head of the HRC very publicly saying we believe those mayors went too far with their comments, we may have come out better. But none of the major LGBT organizations took the leadership role that I believe was needed.

So we lose in the short run because it is the comments of the mayors that is what people are going to remember. However, in the long run it is a draw as more progressive areas of the country will not be favorable to Chick-fil-A, but more conservative areas of the country will give Chick-fil-A more money.

What are my opinions on Chick-fil-A? I have been boycotting them for years only eating there when I get a coupon for a free sandwich or breakfast. I like their food, and can justify getting food from them when I am for all practical purposes taking money away from them. However, I refuse to eat there any other time to the point that if my friends or family want to go there, my response is that is fine, but I will be going next door.

Jul 27 2012

Notes from COS Pride

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Last weekend was Colorado Springs Pride, and then as soon as it was over I hopped on a plane and head to California for the week for work. And of course the internet at the hotel was having problems so I could not write a post. I actually volunteered at Pride and helped man the beer garden for one of the two days.

Being a 27 year old gay guy I was definitely an oddity among the volunteers. In fact I only saw 4 gay guys in their twenties volunteering the entire duration of pride. The volunteers were by a large margin made up of lesbians of all ages, and several older gay guys in their 50s. Sadly this did not surprise me.

Those of us that are younger and gay have found that invariably at pride and other events organized by the Colorado Springs Pride center (and possibly others but I do not want to generalize) have found that although not all, several older gay guys show up and make a show of quite frankly molesting the younger gays. And I definitely encountered this during Pride. You are welcome to look at me and think I am hot all you want, but I seriously do not need you to tell me to turn around so you can look at my beautiful ass. Or while I am bending over to pick something up off the ground reach down and pull out my underwear so you can see what brand I am wearing. Or rubbing my legs when I am sitting down next to you. Or trying to hug me every time I walk away. Or trying to convince me to strip down to my underwear because all of the cool kids are doing it.

I was asked last weekend why the younger crowd does not show up to Pride Center events. The answer is we do not want to hang out with a bunch of creepy old guys who are going to be all about turning you into a sex idol. Every last one of the things I mentioned happened to me at Pride. If we could go to a pride center event and not get molested or publicly told how beautiful we are by creepy old gays we might actually show up.

Jul 20 2012

Boycotts

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I added a couple companies to my boycott list today. ThinkProgress released an article with some interesting information about what companies are contributing large sums of money to get Romney and Boehner elected. Several of the companies on this list I used to buy stuff from, but now are on the boycott list.

With these additions, I thought I would tell you who I am currently boycotting.

  • Chick-fil-A – has long been on my boycott list for their rabidly anti-gay views.
  • Walmart – I just do not like them.
  • Lowe’s – no benefits for gay couples and Home Depot is very supportive.
  • Blue Bell Ice Cream – $40,000 to Boehner. Blue Bell is based in Texas, Boehner is from Ohio. Buying congressman anyone?
  • Marriott – JW Marriott $1,000,000 to Romney.
  • New Balance – CEO gives $1,000,000 to Romney.
  • Angel Soft – owned by the Koch brothers.
  • Regal Cinemas – $50,000 to Boehner.

There are several other companies on Think Progress’s report that I did not list, solely because I never shop at them in the first place. Check it out.

Jul 18 2012

Cycling and Ignorant Drivers

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I am a road cyclist, and although most of this year I have been lazy and not riding like I should, this past week I finally started riding every day again. One thing I forgot until this week, is just how ignorant many drivers are about the rules of the road. Not just in relation to bicyclists on the road, but other drivers on the road too.

When you are on a bike (when I say bike I mean that human powered vehicle on 2 wheels for all of you motorcyclists out there…), you get a completely different view of the road than when you are in a 2000 lb car. There are two reasons for this. First, you are on an 18 lb bike that is clearly not going to stand up to a collision with a vehicle. Your only safety protection is a foam helmet that is 3/4 of an inch thick. But secondly, and more importantly, you are usually going slower than the other vehicles.

I notice every driver not wearing their seat belt. I notice every driver talking on the cell phone with their kids in the car. I notice the kids who turn and stare at me. I notice the drivers cussing me out because I made their trip take 30 seconds longer. I especially notice the drivers who are in such a hurry that they would rather get in a wreck with me or another car than slow down.

But there were a couple things that really got on my nerves today. The first was the guy who thought that I am supposed to ride in the turn lane, honked at me, and buzzed me because of it. In reality it is illegal for me to ride in any but the left 1 foot of a turn lane unless you are turning. I stay out of the turn lane entirely because it is generally safer that way and you let the people turning get to the turn and make it. In Colorado Springs it is relatively rare that I come across these type of idiots. Maybe once every 3-4 weeks I ride. Of course when I do this I always yell obscenities at them and call them an idiot. I know this is the wrong thing to do and could just make the situation worse, but I want to educate them. Yes, I know I am not doing any educating by yelling at them, but it is the first thing that comes to mind.

The second thing I noticed was the driver who was pulling out of her neighborhood, and before she left the stop sign she took the extra 2 seconds to put her seat belt on. It is great that she put her seat belt on, but I just imagined if I was a cop and pulled her over because she did not have her seat belt on, she would have claimed she did nothing wrong. She would have claimed that she had just pulled out of her driveway and it is not illegal to drive without her seatbelt in her neighborhood.

I do know that there are a lot of idiot cyclists out there too who do not follow the rules of the road and give all cyclists bad names. I always stop at stop lights, I always come to really close to a stop at stop signs, and if there is another car there I do stop. Yes, I know legally I have to come to a complete stop, but it is safer to slow down to 1-2 miles an hour and roll than it is to come to a complete stop on a road bike. Most people who ride bikes a lot wear special shoes where your feet are actually attached to the pedals. It is possible to detach, but it is safer to remain attached than have to detach and re-attach. I also yell at cyclists whenever I see them running a red light, or blowing a stop sign at speed. They get just as much wrath from me as an idiot driver does.

I guess what I am saying is if you drive you should know that cyclists have the same right to the road as you. They have to follow the same traffic laws as you which includes not riding in the turn lane unless you are turning. They are a lot more vulnerable than you and are pedaling as fast as they can. They do not want to slow down your commute, but bike paths are actually more dangerous than the roads for a cyclist who is riding 10-20 miles an hour. Let the cyclist take the extra 30 seconds out of your day, slow down and pass them carefully and avoid a traffic accident that could cost you thousands. If you are a cyclist follow the rules of the road, wear bright clothes, and try to be as courteous as you can to other drivers.