May 28th, 2001

hedwig (by radiocure)

and so it begins . . .

Having been introduced to this site by a friend, I think I'm going to give it a go. This first entry will be more introduction than entry. My name is Stewart. I'm finishing up my undergrad work at Central Michigan University this summer, and will start my grad work at Western Michigan in the fall. I've recently accepted a position there as a GA Hall Director that I am super excited about.

My outlook on life has changed so much over the last year. I used to think that I was really messed up, that I was so screwed up in the head that without intervention I was bound for suicide, or at least the mental hospital. Working on a crisis line for the last year, talking with people who are "really" messed up, I realize that I am not very bad off. I have bad days, but even on my worst, I have better coping skills than most of the consumers I have dealt with. This experience was kind of like finally understanding a difficult concept in class, you can't imagine what life was like before you understood, you can't not understand ever again. Everyone has bad days, the secret isn't in how NOT to have them, but in how to deal with them when they occur. Seems simplistic, but it's a new concept for me.

I have spent my whole life looking at myself like I am completely worthless, only able to focus on my weaknesses. I finally am able to say that I am a whole human being, running over with strengths and weaknesses. Where I used to see only a lazy, rude prick who couldn't finish any task that he started, I now see someone who has all of these traits but is also optimistic, highly intelligent, impassioned without being maudlin, someone who has a unique gift for understanding people. I can't wait for tomorrow, that's something completely new to me.

More general stuff about me. I love to sing musical theater, and plan on completing a music degree in the future. I am a gay man who is contemplating his mid-twenties, unsure how to proceed, feeling that the growing that he didn't do in his teens will surely come to haunt him now. But more on that later.
  • Current Music
    http://www.fynsworthalley.com/radio/TonyActress.smil
hedwig (by radiocure)

All roads lead to hate crime!?!

Hate crime has visited me today. Not personally, as, by the time I finish tonight, I will have spent twenty hours of this day behind a locked door, working at the crisis center. It's sad, but twenty hours at time-and-a-half will make me very happy come payday. I love pseudoholidays. Well, anyway, back to my topic. Hate crime. yuck. But I have been confronted with it twice today. I saw the movie Relax, It's Just Sex early this morning, and I was really bothered by the attack scene. For those who haven't seen it, two gay men get attacked in an alley, but before they are seriously hurt, their friends hear the scuffle and come around the corner to break it up. One of the men who was attacked starts to beat on one of the attackers, and then, in a seriously twisted turn, starts to rape the once attacker. My biggest problem with this scene wasn't what happened, but in my reaction to it. When the man who was attacked starts to fight back, I am overcome with bloodlust so intense that it’s quality is rarely seen outside of a hockey game. I want the ruthless fag-hater to hurt, to feel the injuries of everyone he has ever hurt, to feel the anguish of those who have to live afraid of what he represents. When the victim turned vigilante begins to rape the man, I am disgusted, both with the scene and myself. Where is the line of acceptable drawn? I obviously wasn’t having a problem with the gay man beating the basher, no matter how strong my rational belief that two wrongs do not make a right. Why does the escalation of the scene into a rape finally appear wrong in my mind? Is it because a sexual act, something beautiful, almost sacred, is used as a tool to punish? Often times, we take the tools of the oppressor and make weapons of our salvation, calling each other fag, using the rhetoric of anti-gay groups to insight activism. Is this not similar, using our own rituals against oppression? I don’t think so. I cannot justify this, and consequently cannot condone the whole situation. Something for me to chew on for awhile. My morality has been tested, let’s see where I go from here.
My other encounter with hate crime comes from a CD. As an avid musical fan, I love to listen to discs during the time in which they take place, JC Superstar on Good Friday, She Loves Me twelve days before Christmas, and so on. Which includes Parade on Memorial Day. Listening to the tale of Leo Frank, a man pardoned by the state of Georgia sixty-nine years after being lynched for a crime he didn’t commit, never fails to anger me. I realize that this is a dramatization of events that occurred, but the power of the hate in it overwhelms me. People use the phrase, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” as a joke. The cold terror that is the truth of this statement strikes at my heart. Knowing that there are people out there egging each other on to do terrible things against another group of people, knowing that I am a member of one of those terrorized groups, saddens me. Is there no happiness for me and my kind? How many people have to die before this stops? Is my reaction to the earlier-mentioned attack scene completely without basis? I guess the bite for me to chew on is bigger than I thought.
OMT (one man’s thoughts)
  • Current Music
    Parade OBC