Only me.

I got a $68 parking ticket while leaving the Welfare office. Because I didn’t have the $5 for their PAID parking lot. Swift little business they’re running, do you see what I mean? LA itself is a business. It gets exhausting. The meter maid had the nerve to pull up and yell at me to move my car AS I was sitting in it reading my ticket that I’d only JUST gotten. I said, “Yeah thanks I got the memo. I only just came back from the welfare office. This is like a quarter of what I’ll make for the month. Have a nice day.” I know the meter reader is just doing his job but damn.

Also, and this is a perfect example of your tax dollars at work. The REASON welfare is putting me through the ringer is because I told THE TRUTH on my forms and said I was receiving help from Kristyn. They actually said, in a letter to me, that I was being cut off of aid BECAUSE MY BILLS ARE LARGER THAN WHAT THEY ARE GIVING ME. Naturally there is a “good reason” that is supposed to make that sentence make sense. *sigh*

I sure hope you guys aren’t judging me because I am putting myself way out there for you. I want you to see what this is really like. LA is a beautiful and tough place to live. I am so inspired here but goddamn these weird rules. You never know you’re crossing a line until it’s crossed. EVERYTHING has a learning curve and I am sure all places are (so don’t get all “correcty” on me). I’m making up words now. Okay gotta go hop in the shower to make it to my SECOND welfare appointment of the day. My back is killing me, blerg.

I’m okay…

Just so you guys know. I apologize for getting so heated earlier, I just can’t stand this constant up and down. I wish we had some security. It’s like as soon as things start to seem up, we’re slapped by something else that comes in the form of a big fat “NO”. This week I’d gotten the foodstamps and GR and then that Desperate Housewives thing came my way (more on that later I swear). Kristyn made decent money in her paycheck and then got paid for writing and then got a little extra for Christmas from work. I got a bunch of job interviews. We got to pay off some bills that we’d been worrying about. We were finally feeling like we were getting back on our feet so we did some laundry (a big deal for us), we grocery shopped, we even went out for potato tacos at this cheap place around the corner (something we never do). And Kristyn FINALLY was able to get a haircut. It’s been almost a year. It seemed like we had some breathing room to enjoy ourselves and maybe a little bit of financial security. And then a big chunk of it is just ripped right out from underneath us. We are going to lose $178 from each month AND the government wants to take the GR money they paid me away too. It’s just too much and maybe not worth the hassle. I feel like saying, “You know what? Just take the money. You win.” Just walk away free and clear. Go home. Shiver in the cold weather. Hug my Grandmas. Start over. IDK. We’ll be okay no matter what happens because we have plans here and we have plans there but we didn’t want to have to go out like this. All is not lost here yet but I might be at the end of my rope with my tolerance of how much more disappointment I can stand out here. But then I think of everything it would take to undo this life and I get angry and forward-moving again. BUT how can we stay here if our families feel responsible for us? We can’t. There’s no way to do this where we feel good about what we are doing. There just are no easy answers. Whatever. I have more writing to do for some other projects. I just wanted to take a second to whine. Maybe I should have a meal. It is 11:34pm and my last meal was at noon. Oh we HAVE meals I am just actually too lazy/busy to make one happen. G’nite fools.

Wait before I go, here are some pictures of yesterday.  My interview yesterday was with a company on the Sony Lot (old MGM).  I took this picture from the parking garage.  It was supposed to be of that building in the distance because it has a huge red and green light up Christmas tree on it but you can’t see it.  Those are production trailers in the foreground and Culver City in the background. 

This picture is of the Hipster Snowman that was waiting for us outside of the Trader Joe’s in our neighborhood.  They are serious with this haha.

Here is some weird gel called “Snott Gorila Gel”.  When you open it, it looks like an electric-colored jar of Gorilla Snot.  Amaze. And for the low low price of $2.49. (Yes we bought a jar for Kristyn’s hairs.)

On my way home from the interview I was FASCINATED by how much the back of this car looks like a smiley face.  When things are going good I see smiley faces in everything.  Kristyn used to laugh at me when we lived in NJ because there was a section of street lights that formed a smiley face on the horizon from a certain spot in our town.  I always pointed it out because it was so cute to me. 

And this flier was in Rudy’s, the haircutting place Kristyn went to.  This “Bearracuda” NYE party is basically in our neighborhood.  It’s being held at the same place that I went to see He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister.  JD Samson of Le Tigre and Men DJ’d there last night too.  See THIS is why we love LA!  There’s no Bearracuda NYE party in Kearny!!!

Bits of this, bits of that

Sunset Boulevard this morning on my way to a job interview. It's not a great pic but the sky was cool.

I went on another job interview today for a really cool company.  They do post-production but the position is REALLY entry-level.  I’d like that though because honestly I have been out of the “real work” game for a while that I feel kind of unsteady on my feet.  It would be really nice to start at the bottom and work my way up.  At my last paying job I always felt like I came in at the middle.  It wasn’t an entry level job so there were times that people who had a technically “lower position” knew more than I did about the way things ran.  I mean it was fine because I wasn’t responsible for DOING that work but it sucked because I was responsible for know HOW to do it.  In retrospect, it probably would have been better for me to start at that rank and move up but so it goes.

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Belligerent Chucklehead: The Life and Times of an Idiot

Okay can I just first start off by saying that I NEED, no I REQUIRE the above calendar to live my life in 2011? If someone doesn’t supply me with that calendar for Christmas I am going to spend the entirety of 2011 with my eyes shut. If I can’t have that calendar, I don’t even want to SEE one minute of what 2011 looks like. Yeah I’m not above making threats that hurt nobody but myself over this. Well, it’s clear that that logic doesn’t pan out but STILL. I will do it. (Or just, you know, buy it for myself but that’s nowhere near as dramatic and/or in the “Christmas Spirit” so I stand by the above nonsense ON ALL COUNTS.)

And yes, I’ve imbibed a devastating amount of coffee again today only TODAY I am not filled with homicidal rage but rather something akin to “giddiness”. Maybe getting four hours of sleep and then spending all day filling out paperwork with a state funded job agency for people unable to secure work on their own really agrees with me. *shrug*

Got off the horn with my Momma before and Nana is doing a lot better. She’s walking with a cane (and not a walker) now and sometimes barely even that! She made her famous meatballs the other day and watched some football. She shredded all of her junkmail today and decorated for Thanksgiving. She reminded my mother six thousand times that they need to start defrosting the turkey on Saturday. Yep, Nana’s feeling better and up to her old tricks haha. Thank god!

As for us, I’ve been slowly but surely gathering all of our Thanksgiving foods together. We can’t eat together on Thursday because Kristyn has work so we’re going to have our meal on Friday. We’re gonna stop by a friend’s house on Tuesday after Kristyn gets out of her internship (the friend is one of Kristyn’s coworkers at her main job and so nice for inviting us)…I have barely worked on my Harry Potter/Thanksgiving themed blanket at all because I’ve been furiously job hunting and dealing with stuff around the house.

Also I started applying to some schools for next fall. I want to be able to go to school around work. I know it seems foolish to be focusing on that when we have so much going on but what happens if I STILL don’t have a job by then? I know plenty of people who’ve been out of work for way more than a year. I just don’t want to waste any time. If I get a job and then get into a good school that DOESN’T allow me to do both then I will have a beautiful choice to make. If I get a job and get into a school that allows me to do both, I’ll work it out somehow. If I don’t get a job but get into a school, I can throw myself into school, probably get grants and continue to live meagerly while furthering my education. If I don’t apply to school and THEN don’t get a job? Well then I’d naturally have to throw myself off a bridge. (So you know, I’d never do that but the status of my frustration would be the same.) I’d rather have a few irons in the fire than no irons in the fire, no?

Also, today I went to a job recruitment center that is funded by the state. It’s actually pretty cool because they have a LOT of resources available including job training for specific jobs (like banking, office work, green jobs, etc). They also give you full use of their computers, printers, fax machines and the internet for job seeking. They will pair you with your own counselor and train you how to tweak your resume, do pretend interviews with you and give you feedback on what you’re doing right/wrong AND they even have Rosetta Stone so you can learn another language to make yourself a more valuable candidate! I wish I’d done all of this six months ago seriously. I mean, I know that the word “Welfare” is extremely loaded with negative connotations but guys, it’s a seriously handy resource. Most people’s view of welfare is just lazy people receiving checks while lazing around at home watching Maury. There are posters up all over the welfare center depicting people who have attempted fraud. IT SHOWS THEIR ACTUAL PICTURE, WHAT THEY DID AND HOW MUCH TIME THEY ARE CURRENTLY SERVING IN PRISON. You’d have to be crazy or desperate to do something like that. There are just a lot of nifty systems in place to help people who are going through rough times. And because the economy is so bad, Obama has put a lot more programs in place to help people like me NOT become homeless. Thanks Obama! *HUG!*

And this is gonna sound weird but this experience TOTALLY appeals to my inherent nosiness. I am a person who needs to know about EVERYTHING. I want to know how everything works and what the experience of everything is so to me, this is kind of like undercover investigative work haha. I pity the fool who mutters a bad word about welfare in front of me. You KNOW how I can go on and NOW I have a first hand leg to stand on. Watch out!

So that’s that, a day in the life of a moron. I am going to go pester Kristyn to pay attention to me so we can watch “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”. Also I know that if I don’t DRAG her away from her work, she won’t enjoy one second of her only day off. She needs to be FORCED to have fun. Drill Sargeant Coleen says, “Drop and give me giggles!” (That was a stretch, I know. Sue me. I TOLD you I’m all hopped up on caffeinated goofballs.)

And I present the following to you (found at that mall on Pico) without comment (and trust me that is DIFFICULT because I had about a 100 Newark jokes going). (Goddammit I commented didn’t I?):

 

P.S. I want to say that “belligerent” has always been one of my favorite words BECAUSE the word “warlike” always pops up in definitions for it.  The word “belligerent” is rarely used in that context and is moreso just used as a dramatic word to definine someone who doesn’t quit.  And this is the word nerd in me speaking but for some reason whenever I use the word “belligerent” I can’t help but think of “warlike” and then I giggle.  Always.  It’s the little things in life I tell you.

Gary: Landlord of the Flies

Okay, I just found a blog that actually makes my sweetheart of a landlady look like a tall drink of water. I was reading Hyperbole and a Half (which you should only read if you like smiling and laughing at clever things) when I found this gem of a blog on her sidebar. It is called Gary: Landlord of the Flies and/or Stranger than Eviction.

In this Tumblr blog, Gabe outlines his MONTH living in a sublet in Chicago and all the things his drunken landlord/housemate puts him through. There are trips to the hospital, a felony case, police officers, harrassing emails and phone calls, emoticons, a series of court cases and even Dr. Phil gets involved. It’s incredible. I think it’s true because I haven’t found anything online to dispute the fact and the author (Gabe) has brought the landlord (Gary) to court so it is apparently publicly recorded but I have somewhere to be and don’t feel like verifying that. (Also I have a case of the sniffles due to a really sweet attempt by Kristyn to gussy my morning coffee up with some Soy Pumpkin Nog. Neither of us ever seem to remember the correlation between my ingestion of Soy Pumpkin Nog and the allergy attack that follows UNTIL I’m in the throes of said attack. And it’s not like she did it without asking.  She offered and I accepted.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.)

My favorite part of these entries are the names that Gary calls Gabe, namely that the word “squirrely” comes into play so often. In reality, I have something of a “Gary” in my own life (not my landlord) which makes this all the more hilarious. If you happen to be the “Gary” in my life that is reading this, THIS is what you sound like. Remember Gary. Keep him in your head as a reference. Pleeeeease.

Here are some kind notes that Gary leaves for Gabe in the (MONTH!) time that he lives there:

Unsanitary Living Conditions

For the past few days we have been up to our eyballs in bullshit (literally and figuratively). As some of you know, the plumbing in our apartment is crap and has been since the minute we got here. Always plumbers in and out of this place probably more than ten times and we’ve only been here for a year and two months. Do the math, that’s a LOT. What’s going on is that sewage (as in human waste) is backing up into our bath tub. I’ll just let you settle on that for a minute. Yes I have pictures. No I won’t post them here because I am not abusive.

The long and the short of what happened yesterday is that sewage keeps coming up in our tub and our landlady keeps blaming it on us, saying that we are causing the damage. Recently she said she was going to go after us for all the money she’s “lost because of us”. (Mind you every plumber who’s come through here has told us that the pipes are made of clay, are cracked and old and have roots growing into them. There will keep being backups until she actually fixes the system rather than just doing a patch job and snaking it out).

So when it happened again mid-last week and then all day Monday and yesterday, we finally wisened up and called the city. Kristyn’s parents have been urging us to stand up for ourselves forever but we naively “didn’t want to make trouble for her”. Stupid. We finally called the city and they cited her for a number of things (some that we didn’t even point out and turned out were health violations). So she came here ranting and screaming and telling us karma boomerangs right back at you. Yeah blahblahblah lady, had you fixed this the first time, we wouldn’t have been harrassed by this and you screaming at us for the past year. Seriously every time this happens she screams at us to the point that we are scared to even call her. And she blows off any other repairs but this because in LA (and probably everywhere) a non-working bathroom renders the apartment uninhabitable. So she sends someone out but makes sure to make our life miserable over it going so far as to tell us we can’t use toilet paper in the toilet.

The bottom line is that we are within our rights to call the city and if she had nothing to worry about then why is she yelling at us? We fell on SERIOUS hard times last month for the first time since we’ve been here and went to her for advice. We were honest with her and wanted to sit down and talk it over with her to find out what happens next and what our options are. Instead she served us with an eviction notice and then said, “Coleen this is a business. The people on the corner are moving out this month and I have to get my money from somewhere so I am going to go after you.” So, let me get this straight. We’ve always paid our rent, kept the unit clean, never had a party, don’t make any noise, don’t complain about our neightbors, never enforce that you fix things that are broken and put up with your broken plumbing month after month without reporting you to the city but we come to you with a problem and the FIRST thing you do is try to take us to court? And it gets funny because yesterday she had the balls to say to me, “Coleen we are supposed to work together. You called the city on me and that was unneccessary. I fix it when you call me. Karma will come back to you.” I said, “Well we weren’t talking karma and working together when you went for the throat last month. Then it was a business. You had no problem going after us in court or putting us on the street.” And she said, “Well I am going through financial difficulties…” and I just cut her off right there. I said, “Listen, I’ve done enough crying for your financial difficulties which is why we tried to handle this between me and you. From where I stand you’re not doing so bad if you own these five apartments, your own house, a restaurant and a surf resort while I’m struggling to pay bills and am on welfare.” Guess who didn’t have a “poor me” retort then?

So yeah IDK. I don’t want her money, I don’t even want to look at her. She told us we “just want to stay here so that we can make trouble” for her. She knows we would LOVE to move. We are DYING to move. We just can’t afford it. And so she is just going to have to keep this place clean, keep the plumbing working, accept our rent and we will give her proper notice when we do go. I’m not going through her anymore. She tried to tell me that the tree roots are the city’s problem. I said, “So then how about this? You argue with the city about YOUR property and as the tenant I will keep paying my rent like I always do. I cannot see how that 50 year old tree is a problem that falls on our shoulders at ALL.”

I seriously hate renting. I am not built for urban dwelling. I have never wanted to own a house before in my LIFE. I don’t like the idea of “settling” anywhere and for some reason I have it in my head that once you buy a house you have to live in that house forever. And I’ve never found a place to live where I can say that I never want to live anywhere else, not even here.

I wrote more but I don’t want to add it here so I will put it in another post. I don’t want that information and this information touching. This post was for “ANGER!” while the other one is for “Dreaming…ahh…” Haha.

Beauty School Dropout

Gooseberries!

I went to my work counselor today. I am on something called the “REP” Program which is a program for people who are ready, willing and able to work. It’s a bit of a longer program than most but one of the benefits are that it’s more hands-off. They don’t hover over you. I have to go four times a week to job hunt and check in with my counselor. And I think together we work out what the problems might be in my resume, my interviewing skills and my approach to finding a job. Hey I’m all for it. I’m trying everything and it’s not working. If they have ideas and their job is to find people jobs, have at it, I am all ears. For this I get a small (very small) cash benefit to put toward bills and interviewing clothes, etc. Things to keep me afloat and get a job. The job program lasts six weeks and the benefits are only for nine months. If I am on the program for longer than that I think there is a three month penalty and then I can go back on it. I HOPE I don’t have to go back on it.

One of the things that I discussed with my counselor today is that I really think my appearance is holding me back. Before you chide, here is my thinking: I know I’m smart, friendly, experienced, articulate, CLEAN and qualified. I don’t have my Bachelor’s Degree (yet) but I’m working on that. Regardless I have no problem getting called for interviews. But then I go on the interview, hit it off with the interviewer and don’t get the position. If this were another industry, I might say that my “style” being considered as a factor is silly but this is Hollywood. People want you to look young and hip. And although I’m only 31, I’m older than the average applicant for the entry-level jobs I’m trying to get. And I can’t interview at the level I was working at in publishing because there is no lateral move. And in Entertainment, everyone starts at the bottom, no ifs ands or buts. So I am a noob and therefore even though I can do a lot of things, I have to be herded in with the 22 year old fresh-out-of-college-ites who have minimal job experience and maximum college debt. And the hiring managers don’t want someone who is clearly capable of doing the job and then some. They want you to have a little room to grow into the position. If I can publish three monthly medical journals simultaneously from submission to print and online copy dealing with hundreds of cranky authors and a bunch of spread-too-thin copyeditors, proofreaders and printers, I can certainly pick up your phones and empty the wastebaskets. But what if I start to get pushy and worm my way into things? What if I find a better job and leave? It’s safer and less hassle to NOT hire me. I can understand that but momma needs a j-o-b. I’m not saying I’m perfect but I just know my strengths and weaknesses at this point.  I have to look at it from an objective angle or I will continue to fail.

Where my weaknesses DEFINITELY lie is my appearance. I have no interest in my appearance anymore and that is the God’s honest truth. As I’ve gotten older and put on weight I just kind of said, “Oh screw this. You like me for the inside or you take a hike.” And that is a very Grandma thing to say but I do not hide my Grandmasity. I am nothing if not an eighty year old woman trapped in a 31 year old body. And you can’t shame me otherwise. So don’t try it unless you want me to crochet a dress made of granny squares and wear it to your birthday party so you look like a rube for having such embarrassing friends.

SO today I had to fill out a simple worksheet outlining what things I want to happen, what goals I have, what specific goal I want to focus on the most and the steps I’m going to take to achieve that goal. I chose my appearance. I’ve been telling Kristyn that I think my appearance is holding me back and bless her heart she’s been all, “SHUT THE FUNK UP YOU’RE FINE!” No really she’s been, “Duh you’re pretty. And shut up we don’t have any money to gussy you up. Maybe once you get a job.” Haha. So now the doctor has ordered a makeover. The counselor agreed that in the entertainment industry it is important for you to look a certain way and if I want it bad enough, I should work towards that goal.  And don’t worry she also said that if I didn’t want to I didn’t have to.  She wasn’t being a jerk she was was just giving me honest advice based on my own goal which I appreciated a LOT.  Most people when I tell them this they start with the, “Oh no no you’re fine you’re crazy you’re beautiful that’s crazy!” stuff.  And while that is just so goddamn nice it’s not true.  The reality is that I am holding my own self back and putting us in financial danger BY not making this a priority when I KNOW it to be an unpleasant truth. I honestly think it’s something I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and do. I can’t drop a ton of weight overnight and I am COMPLETELY UNWILLING AND UNINTERESTED in becoming anorexic haha. But I CAN accessorize and throw on some goddamn earrings once in a while.  If I wanted to be a nurse I’d have to wear scrubs to garner the respect I’d need to do my job right?  It’s not so different.  And I’ve come this far right?  So that’s what we’re gonna do and honestly it’s going to take research. I have some ideas of what I want the end product (moi) to look like but I’m not going to tell you, just show you when I’ve pulled my shit together.

So there’s more I wanted to say but nevermind.  I deleted that shit.  It really was an overshare.  Shame, I know you’d have really liked it.  Haha.

Thank You

Also, I just wanted to say that you guys turned out in record numbers for my little dog and pony show today. Thank you for reading the blog I posted earlier about the teen suicides. It’s an important issue that needs to be discussed honestly. I like to keep things light around here because I like to keep my life as light as possible. (Heavy things tend to worm their way in regardless of constant vigilance, so why add to it?) BUT I was reading about the teen suicides last night in a kind of detached way. I’d read about them the day before but kind of wouldn’t allow myself to become involved I guess because it’s too close. But when that dude started going off on my sister’s FB defending that kids’ bullies and decrying hate crime legislation, I kind of snapped out of it and realized I had something to say. My words won’t save the world but a lot of voices will. I am in a position where I possibly help someone just by being transparent about my own experience. I have a lot of younger cousins and relatives. I don’t know that they need my help or even want it. But today straight off the top without even trying I thought of at least 30 people I know who have had a gay experience or feeling. I’d say that out of those 30, only about 5-10 ended up coming out and the rest decided it wasn’t for them or never came to terms with it. Either way, that’s a lot of potential gay anxiety. And I’m sure all of those people would have been happy to find someone receptive to talk to. So I can’t say that I have all or any of the answers but I’m here if you need me to be even if you’re not a teen.

So all of my personal malarcky aside, I thought it was so fascinating to see the Internet light up about this issue today. If nothing else, these teens’ deaths are opening up a serious discussion on how to treat each other better. I just wish it didn’t have to be in such negative circumstances.

Gawker wrote a great article called:

What It’s Like to be a Gay Teen

Please read it. It’s spot on.

Okay now I’m really going to bed now. This has been a long, long, long, long day.

It Gets Better

As you might already know, there have been five gay teenagers who have committed suicide in the last three weeks. The most prominently reported is below:

CNN

As you know, I am bisexual. As I’ve discussed before, it was incredibly difficult for me to come to terms with this fact. I dealt with a lot of childish bullying at the time. A lot of people who, up until that point, had been my friends suddenly had a different view of me. They’ll say it was my attitude or that I somehow misrepresented myself or that I hurt their feelings in some way. I’m sure in some cases, those statements would be true. But I will also say that a lot of the bullying came from immaturity. It came from being scared of something you don’t know anything about. It came from people trying to make sense of something they don’t have experience with. It also, I’m sure, came from the sophomoric impulse to take someone else down a peg. (By the way, many people don’t grow out of this impulse.) I don’t have any ill will towards any of these people at all, we were all still learning.

Those were, however, some of the darkest days of my life. Any kid has a number of stressors on them: job, school, family, friends, identity. I had all of those problems and then some. But those problems don’t take a backseat when you are struggling with your sexuality. They are just as front and center as anyone else’s problems are combined with a crushing feeling of loneliness. If you have no one to talk to or to support you, I can see how that loneliness and “otherness” could translate into suicidal thoughts.

I’ve never seriously considered suicide. I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted everything to stop. I catch myself mumbling about wanting to kill myself all day long but that’s honestly my dramatic nature. If I were ever to have committed suicide though, it would surely have been during those days. I hope I never know that kind of low again in my life.

The only reason I have never considered suicide as an option is because a good friend of mine committed suicide when I was a teenager. She had good reason to be depressed but even then it struck me how almost silly it was. Here was a vivacious girl, life of the party, all the boys wanted to date her, all of the girls wanted to be her best friend. Least likely person to do such a thing if you didn’t know what she was up against in other areas of her life. And I didn’t know. Not until recently did I find out the actual circumstances of her life and subsequent death. Only recently have I been able to make peace with this loss.

So that makes me kind of lucky in a weird way. I’m not lucky to have lost my friend but to have learned the lesson. I’d give ten years or more off of my own life to give her hers back. I love her so much and it was devastating at the time to find out that she felt like there was nothing left for her in this world. She was fifteen.

Some of you also know that I have been intimately acquainted with two other suicides. Six years ago, me, Kristyn, my sister and her friend rented an apartment together. We were there for a month and just unpacked when Labor Day came around. We went out to a bar on Friday night and had some people over afterwards. In the morning, we were woken up to find paramedics, police and detectives all over the place. Our landlord had attempted to kill himself with carbon monoxide in the garage and then succeeded by slitting his wrists. He had a last minute change of heart but it was too late. He was 45.*

In 2008, we got a call from Kristyn’s Dad (who was our landlord at the time), to rush home. The tenant above us had not showed up to work and wasn’t answering the phone or his door. His family were afraid he’d hurt himself. They called the police and Kristyn gave them the spare key we had (in case anyone got locked out). He was found hanging by his belt. He was 32.*

I tell you these horrible stories because I am forced to think about them all the time. How senseless and unnecessary. How much hurt and confusion spreads from an event like that. Hurts everyone it touches. And I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you have to endure to make that decision. This is going to sound like a put-on but whenever it is a particularly nice day or something incredible happens, I think about how much they’re missing out on and how I’ll never do that to myself. If nothing else, their deaths have made me realize how precious my own is. And THAT is what drives me to want a better life for myself and the people around me.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it gets so much better if you give life a chance. During my darkest days I could never have imagined my life as it is now. We are struggling right now with money but every day I still feel so lucky. I’m lucky to wake up. I’m lucky for my health, Kristyn, for being in LA (a lifelong dream come true), for my cats, my family, that I have good friends, that I have food, that I have shelter, that I have more cameras than exciting events to take pictures of, of being able to work in the entertainment industry with such consistently good people (another huge dream realized), that I have the ability to laugh at myself, that I know how to enjoy my life…the list goes on and on and on. He point is: It got SO much better.

Dan Savage is an out advice and sex columnist who, with his boyfriend Terry, decided to start something called the “It Gets Better Project”. The idea is for adults to make videos for teens about the bullying they’d endured, either because they are gay or considered different. The project is aimed at gay teens but can really be for anyone who has ever been bullied for any reason. They tell their stories of bullying, how it made them feel at the time and how/when their lives improved. Take a couple of minutes and watch their video, it’s sweet, funny and intelligent.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IcVyvg2Qlo&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Also, Ellen DeGeneres made a video about the suicides that should also be watched because she knows firsthand what it is to be bullied for your sexual orientation:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_B-hVWQnjjM&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

As I have stated in the past, I believe that sexuality is like a ruler. You have straight people on one end, gay on the other and all the measurements in between. There are only two small ends to a ruler and a TON of middle. This means that most everyone’s sexuality falls somewhere in between those two extremes, whether or not you acknowledge it (or have the opportunity to *wink*). I know for a fact that many people (straight AND gay) struggle with this idea because people like to put comfortable labels on things. The point is that people have come to me with questions about my sexuality or their own, either out of curiosity or bc they’re struggling. If any of you reading this have anything you want to talk about, PLEASE email me at buberellasblog@gmail.com (or at my regular email address or FB if you have it). Even contact me anonymously if you want to. Whether the questions are about me or about you (or a “friend”), I swear to God I will never repeat what you said to anyone and I will never, ever, ever judge you. As long as your questions about me don’t violate anyone else’s privacy, you will get a straight answer from me. I know how hard this can be. Just don’t EVER feel like suicide is an option. It will ALWAYS get better.

And with regards to “what other people think”, I have a few opinions and I’ll bullet point them:

* It is not an LGBTQ person’s duty to inform you of their LGBTQ status just as it is not your duty to inform them of your douchebag status (to clarify straight doesn’t = douchebag, douchebag = douchebag). If an LGBTQ person doesn’t tell you, they have their own reasons like anything in life.

* Many LGBTQ people are not out at work (like me typically). Again, everyone has their own reasons. In my case, I’ve seen Kristyn get discriminated at her last two jobs in NJ bc of it.

* Bigotry is alive and well. Read any of the articles about the teen suicides and you’ll see people defending the bullies in the comments section. (Which, in a way, is also appropriate bc these bullies are just kids too. I think of boneheaded things I’ve said and done as a kid and cringe. People grow up but these kids will do it in jail and one won’t grow up at all. Something needs to be done. They need to be appropriately punished for their hand in this kids’ death and we need stiffer penalties for online and in-person bullying.) Someone just commented on my sister’s FB page that they’re against hate crime legislation because it’s not fair that those crimes are treated more seriously than other crimes. Yes. He permanently wrote those words on the Internet. Idiot.

* I’ve personally heard people talking about how disgusting “faggots” and “dykes” are. They don’t know how ignorant they sound or how hurtful those words are.

So yeah. If you are worried about what other people think, just remember that there are a lot of asshats and idiots in the world who just don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t assume they know better (like I did). Just last week, a girl I was working with thoughtlessly said the word “faggot” in front of me and a gay guy. Later on that girl said to me, “Do you think that gay guy heard me say faggot?” I said, “No I don’t think he did.” But I did.

But also the point is that, just like everything else, people don’t know something until they know it. Practice as much tolerance as you want back. Don’t tolerate bullying but realize that everyone knows a gay person but some people don’t realize it. I like letting people meet me and know me for me before telling people that I’m gay. This way, even if someone is intolerant/scared, they now have a gay friend without realizing they’d made one. And people are much less scared by what they know and therefore much more understanding.

Also, family and friends come around. Everyone has intolerant people in their lives. You know what? That’s their own business. Don’t even discuss it with them then! Why start an argument over something you can’t change? Let them come to terms with their own lack of knowledge. Live your life well and let them do their own processing. People will tell you that it’s unfair of you to not “confess” but really, everyone just wants the latest scoop on a slow day. They’ll talk whether you do or not. Let them and do you. Don’t let anyone else fit you into their box.

And I do apologize for the heavy-handedness of this post. No. Actually, nevermind I don’t.

If you or someone you know is struggling with your sexuality and/or considering suicide, talk to your friends and family (or me, even if you do it anonymously!). If you are uncomfortable doing that, please go to:

The Trevor Project

They have useful info online as well as hotlines that you can call for help or just to talk.

It gets better. How do I know?

Ten years of experience.

* For anyone who read about the above-listed suicides when they actually happened, you will probably remember me varying between anger at the person and joking about it. I have an inherited Gallow’s Humor from my RN Mom and am quick to make a joke in a crazy situation like this. My whole family is like this. It’s laugh or cry right? That doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad for them or in general. Suicide is powerful and kind of settles on everyone in it’s periphery. It was and is sad and I wanted to clarify that for anyone who got the impression that I don’t take those events seriously. I have more to say on this subject but it’s bedtime, g’night!

Awesome: WM3

wm3.org

Guys,

I’m really happy because there is not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t read the blog I posted last June about the West Memphis Three. People who google anything about the case can find my blog, a few pages back but still. It just makes me happy that in a little way, I’m helping these people just because of a blog I took a little while to write.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention it because it’s something I constantly marvel at and am thankful for. I’ve been behind on my WM3 news though, gotta stop slackin.