Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happiness is...

Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Chanukah!  Joyous Kwanzaa!  Makes no difference to me, just know that I hope you're enjoying the season, and life.

I started out the day today in a bad mood.  I can't honestly tell you why.  It was just a day, with its typical family drama, work demands, careless people, poor tasting coffee, etc.  No different than any other day, and usually I don't have a problem staying in a good mood.  You see, I learned a long time ago in my days in the service industry that happiness is, just what you make of it.

Today was a down day.  I wasn't particularly motivated to do my work or interact with people.  I'm not looking forward to going home and dealing with family issues.  I'm a well practiced procrastinator, and decided that rather than being productive, I'd spend my time catching up on some reading.  I can read on my desk, in my cubicle, without raising any suspicion.  Yes, I work in a cube, since I was downgraded from an office a few months ago.  Doesn't this economy rock! :|  Just another thing to challenge my overall good demeanor.

Anyways, I decided to catch up on my favorite blogs.  Do you know that saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"?  That's how I felt when I read two blog posts that couldn't have been better suited to my day, and my mood.  The first was Fantasy Island, where BLM explains his view on life.   "Life isn't unfortunate things that get in the way of a normally happy time. To me, it's quite the opposite: it's a normally miserable time interspersed with some happiness ".  Amen, Brother.  That's how I was feeling.

Then I read What, Me Happy?, by jasonstreet on Guys Like Me, which is his response to BLM's post.  He reminded my of my general philosophy on life.  Although absolutely nothing changed, just remembering made me feel better.  It made me happy.

Happiness is, truly, just what you make of it!

I have many reasons to be unhappy.  I am not the rock-hard stud I wish I could be, with both men and women falling over themselves to get next to me.  I am not rich, driving the my dream car, living in my dream house, working at my dream career.  My family is not perfect, and far too many of them are not with me today.  Who I am, and the choices I've made, means I live a dual life.

But I have many reasons to be happy.  I am healthy, loved, needed, and wanted.  I can afford to have fun every once in awhile.  I have a car, a house, a job.  I have a family.  I live my life more open than many others I know.

My reality is that I am happy, but only when I CHOOSE to be.  

And as it turns out, "faking" being really happy can actually have its own placebo effect.   Not that I endorse falsehood.  It just turns out that there is some psychological truth to the Depression Era song about "Smile, though your heart is breaking…" -What, Me Happy?
I didn't always choose to be happy.  Most of the time, I chose to be depressed, and the rest of the time I chose to be angry.  When I was younger I worked in what I feel is the worst possible job, fast food.  There you get the worst possible customers, crappy hours, thankless bosses, and you are literally going nowhere.  No offense to anyone currently working in fast food, but that's just how I felt.  One day I started whistling while I worked, and was amazed at the difference it made.  I had no more reason to feel happy, but I was.  Or at least I was less unhappy.

Not that I don't ever get angry, depressed, sad, complacent, you name any "negative" emotion.  I deal with all of these just like any one else.  But when someone stops me and asks, "Are you happy?", I can honestly answer "Yes, I am".  Why?  Because I choose to be happy.  I choose to remember all the reasons I have to be happy as much as, if not more, than the reason I don't.  Maybe it's a chemical reaction in my brain, with endorphins or the right neuron firing at the right time.  Maybe there's truth that we have some mental power over the world around us.  Maybe I am delusional.  

It doesn't matter what the reason, it just is.  

So I sincerely say to all of you, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays.  Be Happy!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Sexual Education

I haven't had a whole lot of luck in my life.  But I think I've been pretty lucky in at least one thing, my own sexual awakening, if that's the correct term for it.  I can't remember when I learned about sex.  I feel like I've always known.  I can't remember when I realized that I was attracted to men, or ever thinking that was odd.  Growing up, my father never really made any attempt to shield me from R rated movies.  If he knew that I regularly visited his 3 foot high stash of porn magazines, he never let on.  By the time I moved back in with my mother, that ship had long since sailed.

My father had the greatest porn stash know to man, in my humble opinion.  Even today with the internet, I don't think my collection stacks up to his.  My favorite part of his collection was Penthouse, or even better, Penthouse Letters.  I couldn't, or didn't, orgasm yet, so I'd spend hours reading those stories with a rock solid hard-on.  Stories of random hookups between a man and a women, a man and two women, a woman and two men, I loved them all.  I can still remember vividly a story between one woman and two men, where the women decided that she just wanted to sit back and watch.  With the threat of ending the activity, she forced the men to continue without her.

Later, in my early teen years, I got a chance to visit that porn stash again.  I'd already moved in with my mom at the time, so my chances were limited to summer vacations.  He kept his collection fresh, so there was always something new to find.  I remember one warm summer afternoon, I was home alone flipping through his magazines.  I came across one that was a little different.  It felt thicker, more sturdy, but it was thinner than the others.  I pulled it out to look at it.  The pages were thicker, and much glossier, than the others..  There was no text, just a lot of high quality pictures of sex.  Of sex between two men. Through pictures, it played out a story where two young jock types met up in a locker room after a game, sucked each others cocks in a 69 position on the locker room bunch.  Then one guy ultimately fucked the other from behind, pounding him into the lockers.  This magazine became my new favorite.   But I never even gave it a second thought as to why it was in my Dad's porn stash.  Maybe I just assumed it belonged to his wife?  Maybe I just didn't think that it was odd to want to look at pictures of men having sex?  I just don't know.  If he were alive today, I would definitely ask him.

Should I come out as gay?  Honestly, that was not a question that got a lot of thought.  Sure, I sometimes thought that I was gay.  The pendulum swung that way.  By the time I was in High School, I was able to freely admit to myself that I had had crushes on other boys.  But I had crushes on girls too.  I reread some old journal entries from my freshman year.  One month I talked about a good friend of mine, how much I liked her, how much I really wanted to ask her out on an actual "date", which might ultimately lead to kissing her.  In another entry not much later I wrote in great length about a boy in my class.  By this point, I knew I was different, no doubt about that.  I knew enough not to go telling other people.  I never worried what my family might think.  We were no strangers to homosexuality.  I had a couple members in my family who were gay, and they happened to be the ones that were most liked.  They had more going for themselves than most every other member of my family.  I didn't want to come out as gay, because I was still attracted to women.  Bisexual was a term I knew, but not widely accepted.

But my point is that regardless of what I wanted others to know, I never had any issues being open and honest with myself.  And because I was attracted to women, as well as men, I never felt like I was living a lie.  I never struggled with my own identity.  I never worried about being accepted.  Through my swings, I would sometimes worry about making the right choices, but I was always comforted by knowing that my choices would be supported.  My own shyness kept me from experiencing everything I wanted to experience, not shame or denial.

TwoLives wrote about the Divided Bisexual Man in his blog.  He characterizes two types of bisexuals.  Those who can love and have sex with men and women freely.  And those who love women but crave sex with men.  I am, of course, paraphrasing and probably deserve correcting.  But I'm not sure if I really fit into either of these groups.  I can enjoy sex with women and, now I know, men.  I am in love with a woman.  But have had crushes and can see myself loving a man.  That would put in the first group.  But, my attractions to men and women are not equal, but it is fluid and changes over time.  I am thankful that I seem to be able to avoid some of the pitfalls of being in the second group.