Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm Mol, and I'm a street medic

Yep, I've been trained.
Well, okay, I've been trained again. I've been trained up and down and sideways; by the Red Cross, by Gavin & Skyzombie, by life (good old OJT - you learn a few things after watching friends get shot and stabbed and beaten half to death, after being with them through cancer and AIDS and diabetic emergencies.)

This weekend it was good to refresh myself - remember what I'd forgotten (it has been, after all, over a year since I last ran - J20 was the last time I ran as a medic) and learn a few new things.

Though I was rather sad that we didn't get to cover how to treat zombie-related injuries (and, of course, how to care for any zombies that might potentially be injured, too!)

I think one of the coolest things about the weekend was that we fed two dozen people, and had a ton of food left over at the end - without spending a cent. Seriously, we dumpstered so much stuff. Vegetables, pies, donuts, bagels (curse the sesame seeds) - even, strangely, a few dozen wheels of Brie cheese. It kind of makes me sad, though, at the wastefulness of our society.

Just remember...

Dumpster Diving is Love.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

another speaking engagement

Street Medic training this weekend - that should be good. It's always good to get a chance to brush up on those skills. And always good to get to meet other radicals from the area! I'm really looking forward to it. I just am crossing my fingers and praying it will be drama-free.

I have no way to pay rent next month or any of my bills. I'm getting paid quite a bit, in late March, but until then I have no way of paying anything. I'm not sure what to do about that. I've been looking for a job, but no luck yet. Meh. I'm tired of the stressed-sick feeling that comes with worrying constantly about money.

I got an offer to speak next month at Boston College, and I'm really looking forward to that. I miss the East Coast, and I love the Boston area. And there are some people in the area who I really hope can make it to see me for the evening, cuz it would be awesome to hook up with them.

Not to mention how nice it will be to get paid. Somehow, getting paid for speaking feels kind of dirty to me, still. I didn't start doing this for money. I started doing this because of Shymmer, and Paul, and Remyremy, and all the other street kids I've known who've died senseless deaths, and all the other queer kids I've known whose parents have rejected them. I started doing it because I constantly saw the world closing its eyes and pretending this wasn't happen, I got sick of hearing people saying "No! Things like that couldn't happen here!" and most of all I got sick of people who had encountered it sitting back and doing nothing.

But now, it seems, I am someone worth paying to hear. Really, I don't feel even slightly guilty for taking money from colleges. But I certainly would not ever ask for money for speaking for non-profit orgs.

I've been losing time again, falling "asleep" and waking up hours, days, weeks later. I guess my life is still going on alright, in my absence. But it never ceases to be disconcerting.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What is it with February?

First, a belated Valentine's Day picture - what happens when you give August a box of conversation hearts and put a sleeping cat in front of him:

Anyway, this period from the 11th of February until two days from now is one of those stretches that pop up occasionally through the year (the end of August is another) that is filled with rather difficult and emotional dates for me.

11 February 2005: Shymmer's death. Obviously, not a happy anniversary, and it's hard to believe it's been a year. Of all the friends I've had who have died (and between AIDS and cancer and the violence that accompanies street life and the despair that accompanies that, I have seen a lot of death), Shymmer's haunts me the most. This, I believe, is because it was the most horrible - it was so easily preventable, at so many stages. From his parents kicking him out of the house to the sickening abuse in Chicago that aggravated his eating disorder to starving himself to death to the hospitals that flat-out refused to treat him, even when he was a skeleton, too weak to stand on his own and had to be carried through their doors.

14 February 2005: My first speech, at Equality Maryland's Valentine's Day rally. This ties in a lot with Shymmer, too, because he had died three days before and it was him, more than anyone else, that has set the tone for me of my activism in the past year. It was what I saw happening to him and so many like him (Remy? Paul? Their stories were similarly horrifying) that prompted me to try and do something about it - to try and make sure that people wouldn't continue to just overlook these things. But the 14th is important, because it was the first really public thing I did, and it got me started down this whole crazy year...

17 February 2004: Zeke's death. He was only 16, but still, it was fairly peaceful. He'd had cancer for a while, and after a life spent in darkness (he had a genetic disorder that prevented him from going out in the sun) I was glad his pain was over. I remember thinking, after I got off the phone with Matty, his partner, that it was a gorgeous sunny day and for the first time ever, he would be able to enjoy the sun with me. Zeke's death was also inadvertently responsible for my relationship with my now-ex girlfriend; I was in India at the time, and talking to Matty, I asked him if there was anything at all I could do to make things easier for him. There were a list of people he had who had been Zeke's friends and needed to be informed of his death, but Matty didn't know them too well or at all and he wasn't feeling emotionally up to calling a list of near-strangers and repeating over and over that his partner had died. Bria was on that list, so it ended up being me who called to tell her - a strange beginning to a strange relationship. So, inadvertently, Zeke was responsible for our meeting - I have him to thank, or to blame, depending on my mood.

19 February 1987: Matty's birthday. Matty killed himself this past spring, on my birthday. With suicide, I always am left with a feeling, rightly or wrongly, that there was something more we could have done. But then - emotional pain can be as intense, and as incurable, as something like cancer. Matty never really recovered from losing Zeke, and combined with a lot of other pressures in his life, his choice was to end it. I can't really fault him for it. I just pray he has peace, now, and he and Zeke are together again.

So, there it is - 8 days that are filled with a lot of dates that can be painful to remember. Combined with everything else that's been going on in my life these days - rape, losing friends, breaking up with my girlfriend, financial difficulties - I've been finding it harder and harder to stay in the world, myself. I feel like maybe I should sleep through the next month.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm a Christian Anarchist!

Yeah. I guess I got only 95% for Christian anarchist because I didn't COMPLETELY agree with the question on non-violence. I believe that there are for sure times when violence is justified and necessary to prevent greater evils. There are some rapists I have known that I would have no problem castrating ^_~ And sometimes war is about the only way to deal with some wrongs. But only in extreme circumstances, as an absolute last resort.

You scored as Christian Anarchist. Christian anarchism is one of the oldest anarchist philosophies, arguably dating back to the early Christian church. Christian anarchists emphasise non-violence and oppose the state as God is the only legitimate source of authority. Key thinkers include the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.

Christian Anarchist











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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Atelophobia & Integrity

In the days since breaking up with Bria, we've had a number of - fights? Arguments? Discussions? I'm not sure which word is appropriate. During the latest, she said something to me that made me stop and think a lot; not just about our failed relationship but about how I view the world in general. She was accusing me of being too demanding, of expecting too much (honesty, apparently, being "too much"), and in the course of this she accused me of always trying to be perfect, suggesting that this was somehow a shortcoming because nobody can be perfect, so working towards that is unrealistic and a character flaw.

Later, I thought back to this remark, this accusation that it was wrong to aim for perfection. Something really bothered me about it, and after some thought, I figured it out. I did this, as I have the habit of doing, by thinking about my family (the real one, not the one that shares my blood.) I thought to myself, "That is a statement that none of them would ever have said." - and then proceeded to think about WHY none of them would ever have said something like that, because then I might have my answer.

The simple answer is that none of them would have said it because they are good people.

I'm not sure how all of you would define good; but to me, being good is basically defined by that struggle, the struggle for perfection - not in some superficial sense, but in the sense that, when it comes down to it, you try to always act and make decisions in a way that is in alignment with what you truly believe to be the right thing to do. Yes, nobody is perfect, but the fact that nobody is perfect should not stop someone from trying to be good. This attitude like, "Oh, well, I'm going to screw up anyway, and so does everyone else, so I might as well lie/cheat/be a hypocrite/etc." is, perhaps, what is wrong with most of the world - and it was just this attitude that seemed so out of place in the world.

The average person, I believe, lacks integrity. When nobody's watching, when there wouldn't be any repercussions, when nobody would find out, I doubt that the average person would choose to do what is right at the expense of what is pleasurable/convenient/easy.

When I look at the people I have chosen to get close to, all the people who I consider my closest friends, that is one thing - perhaps the only thing - that they uniformly have in common. Integrity, that strange blend of being honest, trying your hardest to have your actions conform to what you profess to believe (for in the end, isn't hypocrisy another form of lying?), and having enough self-respect to do the right thing when nobody is watching.

It's something that all those I really love have, but it is something that is in short supply in the world.

So when she accused me of having standards that were too high, of holding her to an unrealistic ideal, at first I said to her, no, I'm not! All I want, all I ever wanted and "demanded", was honesty. All I ever demanded was to be with someone I could trust - to not lie to me, to be the same person when I wasn't watching that they were when I was, to act in the way the ideals they paid lipservice to would suggest they would act.

But after further reflection, I realized that she was right. My standards were high. My Anjuls, I think, have ruined it for me - broken my bell curve, as Aldo said. (That's what I get for hanging out with anarchists and activists, eh?)

Because the average person doesn't have much integrity - not in the true sense. When it comes down to it, most people would choose convenience over conscience. Most people wouldn't strive for perfection. Most people would accept that the world is in bad shape, people are in bad shape, so screw trying to be better or fix anything, let's just do what is easier.

And that's fine - for most people. But I don't let most people into my heart, my life, my bed. Integrity is a lot to ask of someone, in that it is somewhere above what the average person has.

Sadly, though, it's one of those things that I'm discovering I can't just do without in a partner.