‘Tonight, we lipsync for their lives.’

I’m frustrated, terrified, and overwhelmed by the tragedy which struck on Sunday, June 12th in Orlando, FL at Pulse, a small nightclub.

For those of you who may not know, a man walked into the club with an arsenal and began firing. At the end of the chaos, when he was brought down by a SWAT team after taking hostages, 49 ended up dead and 50+ injured.

Stories across the media came out showing videos from SnapChat and various social media by the nightclub patrons and victims. We’ve learned the names, ages, and ethnicities of everyone involved. ISIL claimed responsibility. Theories about the attacker’s sexuality and homophobia were raised. Rumors of more than one shooter or that some of the victims were shot by the infiltrating SWAT spread.

Debates began less than 24 hours: Islamaphobia, gun control, LGBTQIA rights, religious extremism, blood donation bans against gays, and so forth. Allies and enemies of LGBTQIA peoples became lost in the typical whirlwind that comes post-tragedy. Already, people forgot to mourn the dead and affected.

In Oklahoma, I came to work hearing people argue about frivolous matters. I suddenly felt unsafe. When someone mentioned a gun, my shoulders tensed and I became agitated. My supervisor mentioned “this incident” proved that the next President of the United States needed to eliminate ISIL, leaving me disgusted. I found it hard to remain professional.

I emailed HR.

Then, I remembered, as a gay man, I am not protected from being fired due to being homosexual. What if this email was used against me to fire me? Keep me from receiving a raise? Or a promotion? A different kind of anger brewed inside me.

The fight isn’t over.

Thankfully, my place of employment handled it quite well. They provided documentation reminding everyone how to conduct themselves after times of tragedy, including pamphlets on how to manage stress. I wasn’t fired. One less thing for me to worry about. In fact, my HR manager asked me to keep her informed should someone disregard the email.

I had to stop going onto Facebook. Religious friends, conservative family, allies, and the ignorant all had something to say. Articles upon news articles shared. Pastors and religious leaders thankful the incident happened. Miscellaneous information bombarded me. So, I switched it off, ignored the hatred, shared only things about the victims and reactions of love.

LGBTQIA people are scared. My generation has never had to see such an act of violence. We’re too young to fully comprehend what happened to Matthew Shepherd or the 80s AIDS epidemic when LGBTQIA brothers and sisters had to bury their brethren. It took vast amounts of protests before our government listened and passed legislation which helped protect our community.

Some want to go back in the closet our of fear. We cannot do it, no matter how scared we may be. Even if we see a gun in our faces. I know that sounds easier said than done. But we can’t let these people win. What kind of life is worth living in the shadows? No, Batman doesn’t count. We have to be the leaders and protectors of future generations. I beg that you please reconsider before you make your decision.

I’ll never forget seeing the mother on the news begging to know if her son lived or died, or the text messages another mother received from her son who hid in the bathroom as he heard his killer approaching, or the mother who shielded her son from being shot thus allowing him to survive. I don’t want to put that burden on my mother, but I also don’t want any other mother to have to go through what these women went through Sunday. I cannot, and will not, go back into the closet because I’m needed.

Men and women from early 20s to 50-years-of-age, black, white, and Latinx died. Let us mourn yet never forget them.

Everything else? The random chaos which comes before the storm?

Leave it for now.


The Way the World Works Sucks


I hate the way the world works. I have ever since I was a child.

I grew up different because I was overweight. People pointed, laughed, teased, and physically hurt me for being fat. I used to hate hearing that word: FAT. They’d use it as an insult instead of a descriptor. I wasn’t anything else in their eyes except a fat blob with no personality and/or no feelings.

This mostly all happened in school. Some teachers and school staff stood up for me. Others ignored the taunts and tried to refocus the class without saying anything. A few placed blame on me: “They wouldn’t treat you so bad if you’d lose a little weight.”

Instead of working on why we segregate ourselves from people who are different, we blame the victim for looking/being different.

As an adult, this type of behavior continues.

Instead of accepting these differences, I’m told the world works a certain way and either I work with it to succeed or I accept I cannot/will not be successful. People claim it’s easier for us to be a cog in the machine rather than recreate the machine to work for us.

Recently, I’ve been questioning my position at my work place. I worry we aren’t working towards the greater good when dealing with certain clients. Are we doing this to help our clients or to make money? The typical answer from most people is “both”. My biggest issue being that we focus more on making money via scummy sales tactics and company policies rather than assisting a client with our product and receiving money for our exceptional services.

I did what I thought was the “grown-up thing” to do: I told my boss about my feelings. Instead of letting these problems fester and embitter me, I told my supervisor how I felt in hopes of receiving advice. She gave me advice, and I felt better. I understood now how to “accept the bad with the good.”

Then, a position opened within the department, what would be considered a promotion for me. I threw my hat into the ring believing I had learned and proved myself in a short amount of time. When I approached my supervisor about the idea, she responded: “I don’t think you’re ready.” Not completely insulted, I asked why she thought so, and she said it was “due to what we discussed the other day.”

A 5-year study found that rich people avoid one type of person: pessimists. Am I pessimistic for airing my grievances to my supervisor behind closed doors? Did I appear to have a negative attitude because I want to hold my place of business to a higher standard than a money-making machine?

No matter the answer, I feel that because I used the open-door policy of my company to help excel at my job I’m being punished.

I see a growing trend in those who are successful – other than avoiding pessimists – they’re also assholes. They care not about the well-beings for others or the repercussions of their actions that could affect others.

Politicians are a fantastic example.

Our current political system appears filled with corruption and scandal. Whether you choose between Republican or Democrat, they both work for corporations who line the pockets of representatives in order to pass legislature which allows said owners (the 1%) of staying rich, while leaving little for the middle-to-low classes. Even when we have a “fringe” candidate trying to run for office (ex: Bernie Sanders) to change the status quo, it’s incredibly hard to fight a rigged system using the system’s rules; and the moment someone highlights that fact they’re seen as whiny, lazy crybabies, which is used to discredit their argument.

So, how do you win? Do you swallow your pride and pull yourself up by the proverbial bootstraps by conforming?

Some of the most profound people refused to conform: our forefathers for example. Inventors. Philosophers. Artists. Scientists. By refusing to look through a set-up frame, these people wanted to see the bigger picture. They defied their elders, their peers, and even the law in order to explore and help build a brighter future and a better world for their descendants.

I feel less and less in-touch with society today because I’ve never been like everyone else. I am gay, overweight, feminine, rebellious, honest, upfront, kind, a team player, etc. Because of all these factors, I do not do well in typical situations. I do not conform. I stick out like a sore thumb, and people love picking at things which look out of place.

I believe this fuels my depression. My entire life I’ve felt like an outsider looking in, never really connecting or feeling connected to others. It’s a lonely journey.

Maybe I’m going through a typical life crisis for my age. Am I to continue forward on a path that everyone else treads? Or am I to take the path less traveled? Everyone eventually finds their way. I don’t know what mine may be for now, but I could be looking at it all wrong.

What if I’m not meant to tread any path? Instead, what if I’m meant for the sky?

Why I Write


Big shout out to Kourtney Heintz for inspiring this post.

I write because I enjoy telling stories. Sitting at a restaurant with my best friend or meeting new people at a bar, I enjoy not only entertaining people with funny or interesting anecdotes, but I am also intrigued by the physical/emotional/mental cues given during the interaction.

Also, as a Leo, I crave the attention.

To be honest, if I go back far enough, I admit I started writing because I enjoyed telling stories as a child. It was done out of necessity for attention. Thanks to issues of abandonment, I found I could pull people in if I had an interesting story.

Of course, it took years to master a tale. People became antsy or annoyed if I took too long or over-explained everything. It had to be believable; no jumping-the-shark moments or I ruined their suspension of disbelief. Lastly, it needed to sound like I knew what I was saying. If I just babbled on without a coherent string of thoughts, people weren’t interested in listening.

While the skill grew out of an unfortunate circumstance, it provided me a way to cope. Granted, I have used the skill for evil: what are lies if not stories? Combine my wholesome, innocent outside appearance with a believable, well-told story, I was able to weasel my way almost out of anything. Since then, I’ve learned to use my powers for good, and I have been capable of overcoming some deeply-rooted psychological inner-demons by pouring them out here on this blog or in a story.

Unlike Kourtney, who wanted to disappear by diving into her story, I wrote to be heard because I thought nobody saw me. I didn’t think I mattered, and I was scared of being forgotten. I’m sure psychologically, in my subconscious, that’s why I write now.

But I feel like I write for more than attention now.

Growing up, I couldn’t find books about stories I wanted to read. Stories set in Urban Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, or even Realistic Fiction genres filled with LGBTQIA characters, especially overweight LGBTQIA characters. I tell my story, talk about my life and experiences, by inserting tidbits into numerous tales. Hopefully, by producing work I wish I could have found growing up, people won’t have to go through feeling abandoned or unseen.

That’s my goal now.