Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Witch With an iPhone

Nestled into the corner of her store, the psychic pulled a curtain sequestering us from the non-existent costumers. We sat at a two seat table, facing each other as the midday sun spilled onto us.

For my birthday, a friend bought me 15 minutes with one of the psychic in one of the many Wicca/mystically themed shops downtown. She's a firm believe in the idea there's more to this world - ghosts, God, and a host of other possibilities exist for her. For me, I'm cautiously skeptically but I'm willing to suspend my belief for a while.

The psychic, Amanda, began the session by saying that she wasn't going to say anything general, that she wanted to help me. Then she handed me a deck of tarot cards and told me to shuffle. It didn't matter how, I was getting my aura on the cards.

She looked at me, through bottle cap glasses and said, "oh! Let me set the alarm and then we can begin." After pulling her iPhone out of a pocket hidden in her robes, Amanda set an alarm and turned to me.

"I'm sensing a cracked aura. You're frazzled and not sure where your life is headed," that was her first general statement.

I'm sorry, I'm a 22 year-old who looks 15, sitting in a witch story midday on a Tuesday. You don't need powers to understand I'm not sure where my life is going.

She then took the deck from my hands, cut it into three piles and started flipping cards, explaining them as she went. Apparently, I'm at a crossroads in my life where I need to decide to do what I love over financial security. That my lack of faith is stopping me from moving forward and I tend to hold in my emotions instead of sharing them.

Some of that is true. I let wounds fester; I doubt if I'm worth the oxygen I use; I want to love my career, but I also want to pay rent. But I'm sure those statement could be applied to a number of people.

She asked if I had a specific question I wanted answered. I told her that my dad and I have been fighting and if there was a way to mend our relationship. A few cards later and I was told that I had to apologize and try to see it from his point. That he's a stoic man and giving an olive branch would help. She clearly passed Advise Columnist 101.

The alarm buzzed and she slid the cards together. She said if I wanted to, I could buy another 15 minutes. It felt like a poorly attempted sales pitch.

I realize that this is her business, that this is how she makes money. I also realize that my skepticism may have stopped me from committing 100% to what she was saying. But as I walked out of the store I was left thinking that I had wasted my time.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who I am

The following is a companion piece to an article to be published in the Fall 2013 Salem Statement, the alumni magazine produced by Salem State University.

I'm gay. Let me explain what that means exactly, because I can almost guarantee that you've made some kind of assumption based off those two words. The only thing being gay means is that I generally find men more attractive than women.

What it doesn't mean is that I like the color pink, have sex with strangers, that I'm sassy or that I don't like sports. I happen to not like the color pink - it's too bright. I won't have sex with anyone unless I know their favorite color and what fruit they would be. While I have my bitchy moments, it's always done with love. And hockey is my favorite sport because it toes the lie between violence and grace.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm complex and there's more to me than my sexual identity. And yet, sometimes I feel like I'm reduce to simply being "the gay guy." Last July 4, I was hanging out with friends when one friend commented that she was innocent and had angel wings. I jokingly said, "Oh you have wings alright, but they're the leathery bat kind."

Without missing a bit, a third friend commented that I had fairy wings. But I don't, I'm not that kind of guy. The image doesn't really match up with my personality - at least I think so. I bring this up because on Monday I attended the second annual LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World conference. There was a "Coming Out Late in Life" panel where four homosexual people shared their stories.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) baby boomers are often called the silent generation because at that time there was rampant homophobia and being yourself could mean being fired, disowned, beaten and possibly murdered. And while those heinous crimes still happen today in America, at least now when it happens it causes an uproar

As a society, we've made huge leaps in acceptance in the last decade alone. However, I have to wonder, if people are still being boxed into one-dimensional cut-outs just based on sexual identity how far have we come? Sure it gone from intense hatred to an all encompassing acceptance, but I just want to be treated like a person. Nothing more, nothing less.