Gay Shame 🌈 🌧

I keep having the same dream over and over again. I’m with a man in bed, half asleep. He rolls over and holds me from behind, his stubble brushing against the back of my neck. He puts his arm around me, elbow nestling into my waist, hand pressed just between my breasts. He gets half-hard in his briefs and I turn around and drape my leg over the gentle part of his hips.

I move as though I’ve slept with him a thousand times before, but in the dream I know it’s the first time we’ve been intimate. He looks at me hurt while I run the back of my fingers down the side of his face, along his cheekbone, then he closes his eyes as if it’ll stop what he’s feeling. I move to kiss him and I wake up.

I went on This Machine Kills podcast recently; we spoke about my time in the Bay Area and how bad I felt for many of my clients who worked in tech. I think I’m more optimistic than my hosts about the potential for technology to benefit everyone, but I have serious concerns about the motivations of the largest tech companies. You can listen here.

Of course immediately after I sent out my last essay I got my appetite back. The fat is coming back to my breasts and my cheeks and I’m finally liking the photos I take of myself again.

I think I’ve spent time with a new person every day the past few weeks. Karaoke, dancing at Bossa, smoking weed under the Manhattan bridge, pilates, shopping, omakase, brunch. It’s wonderful in so many ways, but it’s also overwhelming. It reminds me of falling very much in love.

I actually detest falling hard in love. The experience is nearly unbearable. I want to be around my object of affection all the time, spend a month in bed talking and fucking nonstop. But of course, we need to eat, we need to sleep, we need to go to work and do whatever life requires of us. I’ve only fallen so hard twice in my life. I do everything I can to avoid it.

I’m glad I’ve never been so desperately in love with someone who didn’t love me back. I’ve never found myself lovesick in bed over someone who didn’t care. In some ways it’s exhilarating, very much like a drug, the two of us inseparable, or if we must separate, taking every moment we can to text about what we’ll be doing next. I can’t imagine how painful it would be to be lovesick without reciprocation.

Now I’m a little lovesick for all of my friends, high whenever I’m with them or even just in a crowd of people. Sometimes I get so depressed upon coming home that I start to cry. I just want to be around everyone, holding them, hearing them, laughing together. I want every party to last for a month, fall asleep in a dog pile. It’s so hard to adjust to being around people. I’m anxious about talking too much, touching too much, blowing up everyone’s phone, thirsty to see them. Like everyone is a brand new crush. I’m glad it’s similar to something I’ve felt before, because I know these highs and lows will gradually begin to mellow.

I’ve been thinking about why I like writing and I think it’s because reading saved me when I was a kid, made me feel less alone even when I was going through hell. So I want to write something that little me could have read, something that would make me feel better and feel seen and okay. So much of what I loved reading was confessional writing by women, hysterical and queer and messy. Luckily, I’m an exhibitionist, so I’m happy to walk around and humiliate myself if it means it might make anyone feel better, or make any one laugh, or help anyone get off.

But you may have noticed I don’t write much about my actual day to day, mainly things that happened years ago. And even those I fictionalize, layer with a veneer of plausible deniability for anyone involved, unless I’ve specifically talked with them about sharing their story. Even then I worry. It’s one thing to parade my own disgusting thoughts and feelings around, another to reveal too much and accidentally hurt someone else.

But these days I have plenty of grotesque thoughts. It’s “Pride” month and I don’t feel particularly proud. The word itself feels repulsive to me; whenever I hear someone talking about pride, I hear the voice of my mother telling my brother when he was acting cocky: Pride comes before the fall.

I was raised to believe that I was evil. My mother, lecturing us kids on the way to church: You were born sinful and deserving to go to hell. The only way you make it into heaven is by the grace of God. So whenever someone says something negative about me, my first instinct is to believe them. Of course I’m bad. My own mother told me so.

I am wearing this impulse down, slowly smoothing it out, building up my love for myself. But during Pride, when everyone is so preoccupied with talking about their joyful coming out stories, it’s hard not to marinade in self hatred. I remember asking my mother about the biblical story of Abraham trying to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to God.

“Would you kill me if God told you to?” I asked.

“Of course,” she told me, not hesitating a moment.

If your own mother would kill you so easily, how can you feel you deserve to live?

I don’t remember a specific moment where I realized I was gay. It feels like something I always felt; but it was also something I always knew I needed to conceal. When I was growing up other kids around me were beginning to come out and they were fine. I think everyone around me could tell I was gay, would tease me about it, and wouldn’t understand why I would flip out at the accusation.

I was scared of being rejected or being homeless, or sent off to a conversion therapy camp like other queer kids I knew who were raised super Christian. If I ran away, who would take me in? Where could I find a home? I just knew I needed to make a way for myself in the world as fast as possible, so I could stop being reliant on anyone and start to live who I was in the open.

Hearing debates about whether or not there should be nudity or sex at the Pride parade just feels like we’re bringing that old tired Christian morality to bear on each other. I’ve never even been to the parade. It sounds overwhelming. I don’t think I’d be able to connect. Imagining myself watching the floats pass by, I still don’t feel pride; I feel a powerful sense of shame.

Anyways, I’ve been moody lately so I made a little playlist to cry to! If you’ve been moody lately maybe you’ll like it too.