Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tricks From The Crypt!

In morbid self-discovery news: I equate breaking-up with dying.

After reading Joan Didion’s heartbreaking self-portrait, A Year of Magical Thinking, I decided that losing a husband is the same as being dumped by someone you love. Because I’m a drama queen slash douchebag. The author would describe her reactions to stumbling upon some of her husband’s old clothes or losing herself in a memory and I would think, “Joan…I’ve been where you are. It gets better.” I’d catch myself relating to the author and shake my head at the absurdity. These people had been married for several decades, whereas I consider three weeks with the same person “hanging in there.” And although I was completely aware of the disconnect between Miss Didion and myself, I found myself clutching my heart and letting single tears purposefully fall onto the pages.

The truth is, I’ve never really known anyone that has died. Well actually, my former Black History professor passed away two summers ago. By the grace of God, Mr. Orchid’s death is the closest that the concept of mortality has touched me. I’m very grateful to have spent 23 years on Earth without having a close family member or friend pass on. But it’s no wonder that a severe break-up or totaled car would be my emotional cataclysm.

Exboyfriends and the impressions they leave behind are my ghosts. Last night I was sifting through my hard drive, making space for new music, and I came across an mp3 that I’d never seen before. The song was a cover of that praise and worship song “I Can Only Imagine,” sung by a guy from Baton Rouge that I’d slept with only twice. I can honestly admit that I had never heard this song before, nor could I recall how I’d obtained the mp3. But as my former trick’s voice floated through my earbuds, I’d found myself smiling and thinking about the few times we spent together. But to me, he was dead now. A spirit of my early twenties.

There are three events that occur in the wake of losing someone you love:
1. Finding the body / The break-up
2. The funeral / The awkward closure conversation
3. The grieving period / The month you spend sleeping with strangers and dancing on top of things

But since I am myself, this process is expedited to a hasty degree. I value a clean break, and believe that tears are for Virgin Mary statues and gays reading Joan Didion memoirs. If I spent all my time smelling an exboyfriend’s t-shirt or writing letters that I’ll never send, how could I ever find out what’s next?

A resilient heart is more powerful than a tactful mind. And even though I’m haunted by my heart’s investments, I still find new life more attractive than old souls.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Just Need To Dance

One time I broke-up with a guy because I wanted to paint more. Which is a lie.

Honestly, I ended things because I felt smothered and I didn't know how to gingerly break someone's heart yet. So I told him that I needed to find myself. My journey required that I go back to doing the things that I was passionate about. I told him that I didn't feel alive anymore and that I craved inspiration. I sat with him on the couch in the first post-dorm house and did my best to let him down easy. He and I had been dating for several months across the Texas-Louisiana border, and days after he moved back to his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, I wanted out. But I didn't know how to tell him. So I told him that I wanted to read, write, travel, paint, escape student activities, and invest more time in my family. I assured him that he had been an exceptional boyfriend and that my issue was with my lackluster soul. And as the words fell out of my mouth, I began to believe them.

The hardest part was when he asked why he couldn't be with me to do all of those things. And I looked away in my best impression of  Mischa Barton's character in The OC and said, "I have to do this alone."  

The saddest part is that I spent the next three days partying my ass off and making out with strangers in bars. And then on the fourth day after our break-up, I met a guy and dated him for the next two years.

I guess I'll start that painting now.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Best Supporting Queer in a Relationship Goes To...

Included in my plethora of insane dating idiosyncrasies is my need to slap labels on everyone and everything.

Example: I can look back at certain romantic relationships and fit each into a genre of film. My relationship with my only exgirlfriend, Muffin, was a coming-of-age love story that unquestionably resembled The Wonder Years…or maybe Let The Right One In. After that, I was cast opposite my first boyfriend, Ferriday, in a tragedy worthy of a Nicholas Sparks novel. He stopped taking his antidepressants and forgot why he was dating me in the first place. It was like The Notebook if everyone were chain-smoking and making out with random trade in the bathroom stall at Splash. After that, The Dean and I co-starred in our own quirky romantic comedy about maturity and the male gender. And no one bought tickets. Following that, McBougie and I gave Oscar-worthy performances in our own adaptation of Revolutionary Road; self-administered abortion included. Finally, I took a turn against my typecasting when I accepted a character opposite Wit’s End in a Coen Brothers-esk East Texas meets South Louisiana drama where the credits finally role and everyone looks at one another and wonders aloud, “What the fuck just happened!?” Most recently, I wrapped shooting on my latest project: an animated short with a guy from Lake Charles that I will henceforth refer to as “Geronimo.” Trailer release date TBA.

Apart from the expected comedy and drama performances, I’ve also done sci-fi and the occasional supernatural thriller. Meet a trick out in some trailer park in Cade, Louisiana, and you will understand what it feels like to be in a Lars von Trier movie. The fear will immerse you.

In addition to film parallels, I’ve also developed a cataloguing system based on recording artist credits. Norah Jones released an album a few years ago called “…Featuring Norah Jones,” in which every track credited Jones as either the primary artist or the featured artist. Inspired by this format, I decided that at the end of each committed relationship, I would look back and declare myself deserving of majority credit, or the doom of living between parenthesis. In the interest of full disclosure, I offer this statement:

As selfish and self-centered as I can be, I’m even more of an attention whore. I’ve accepted the fact that I am an embarrassingly shameless gay stereotype, and my peace is with God.

Translation: I don’t like being some slampiece’s fucking sidekick. Look, I understand that every relationship is a partnership, but frankly, I have enough anxiety than to deal with without the baggage of closure. Let me decide if I’m T-Pain or John Mayer. I sleep better at night knowing that Geronimo carried most of the weight of our short relationship while I simply paid for drinks and dinner.

The bottom line: My brain is too saturated in pop culture to not create my reality with its influence. Sometimes it makes more sense to frame certain events as movies I’ve seen; people become synonymous with certain songs I’ve heard. Life — and dating more specifically — can overwhelm. But remembering someone as Young Jezzy can make it a little more bearable.