Archives for the month of: October, 2013

I have known pain, I have suffered. being a closeted gay man in a town full of macho men is not the easiest thing in the world to do. I battled anxiety, depression, hate, bigotry over the fear that I would be found out as a gay man… When ever since 7th grade they already branded me as a faggot I never had a choice to be who I was and that is where I will stop talking about me. Pain is something I have seen in my friends eyes constantly. Some are just better at hiding it than others. I know that growing up in a town filled with middle and upper class people isn’t always the worst thing. But we are given white privilege without even asking for it. We are spoon fed, what is “Right and Wrong” when lets fucking face the facts people there is no such thing as as right and wrong. We are raised to believe that skinny is pretty and that love is something you have to be a straight cisgender couple to have. Growing up like this leads my friends to do things that they aren’t proud of they are only doing it because society has told them that they are fucking ugly. When they are probably some of the most stunning people I have ever seen, so here is where I stop talk and here is where I let a dear friend someone who has done things in the name of fashion, beauty, wealth when all along she was stunning:

The first time I remember ever really feeling bad about myself was in fifth grade. I was in a one piece, orange Speedo, sitting on my Dad’s lap. He looked down at me, “Ariana, you have stretch marks,” he must have seen the look on my face because he followed with, “but don’t worry, I won’t tell Mommy.” No of course not, Miss I weighed 92 pounds when I got married could not know that her 10 year old actually had stretch mark on her thighs and was already pushing 86 pounds. I had always been different. As mentioned, I grew up with the fact that my mom weight a mere 92 pounds when she got married drilled into my head. My brother and sister both took after her, thin, almost frail looking. My mother even ate bread with butter and sugar on it, as a teenager to try and gain weight, but couldn’t. I ate a candy bar and seemed to go up a pants size. I wasn’t obese, but I wasn’t the skinniest either. I was a child; children have baby fat, just because I was different though, that didn’t make me wrong. I remember my brother jokingly calling me fat, when I told him how much I weighed I had to reassure him that most kids in my grade were around that weight. My mom always warning, “If you can pinch more than an inch” and reminding me to suck it in. I felt so alone; everyone in my family was thin. Who was I supposed to turn to about my insecurities?

         By 8th grade I was eating lettuce for lunch, I guess that should have been a warning sign that I was headed down such a horrible path. I remember one day at lunch a friend turned to me and said, “wow Ariana, you actually look skinny today.” I wasn’t the only one filling my head with “fat” thoughts; it was others too.  I have a Journal entry from February 24, 2009. I had just begun high school, was meeting all of these new people, making new friends and I was worried about my weight.

         Dear Journal,

… I hate food, I mean and the way people react when I don’t eat it. I sometimes think that they think I do it just for attention and not the fact that I am extremely self-conscious and have low self-esteem. I hate gym so much. And no one understands the real reason I don’t want to do any of the trust activities. No! It is not because I don’t want to be touched! It is because I feel very uncomfortable with people holding me I feel as though they all know my weight. In fact I basically never sit on anyone’s lap unless they are a girl that I am very close with. Otherwise I usually freak out especially if someone decides to randomly pick me up. For example this past weekend, when I was at Matt’s house and Dom decided to pick me up upside down so let’s think: My chub was flailing all over the place, he knew how much I weighed, and he was probably struggling to hold me. Also, yesterday after school when Andrew picked me up over his shoulder twice, he knew how much I weighed. And not to mention when he and Sal lifted me up and dumped me outside.

I used to tell my friends, “don’t touch the chub” I turned it into a joke. It was a defense mechanism, I figured if I made fun of it, maybe they wouldn’t want to, or I could feel better about myself. I didn’t.

By my sophomore year in high school I was eating less than 500 calories a day and had stuck a tooth brush down my throat, eventually I resorted to using my fingers, I found this was easier. People joked when I wouldn’t eat, one time at my friend Matt’s house a whole bunch of guys tied me to a chair and tried force-feeding me ramen noodles; I started to cry. I was so disgusted with myself, but I would secretly binge and purge. I was at war with myself, always comparing myself to others. I was short and stumpy, my friends had long legs, flat stomachs, boobs, butts, and all I had was an okay face.

         I didn’t even make out with a boy until the end of my sophomore year in high school. But once I did, I didn’t stop, it made me feel good about myself; like someone wanted me, when all they really wanted was a hook up and nothing more. I never really “talked” to a guy before, not until my freshman year in college, but we will talk about that later. I have a word document from May of 2010, it reads:

         Weight:

Heaviest: 115

105  

104

103 5/6/10

100 5/7/10 1:15 PM: with a tampon, earrings, bra, underwear and hair tie.

Lightest: 99 1:30 PM with tampon.

 I would weigh myself over and over again, if I ate something, went to the bathroom, worked out, whatever the case. I felt in control with my eating disorder, ironic isn’t it? So many things in life I had no control over, but I could control what went in and what came out of my body.

         The summer going into my freshman year in college I got really into working out, afraid of gaining the FRESHMAN FIFTEEN. My mom had just competed in a figure competition and only weighed 103 pounds on the day of her show. My mom weighed less than me, could fit into my jeans better than me, and could rock a bathing suit without feeling self-conscious. My mom was 50 and I was 18. I had my brother train me, I was losing weight and getting in shape, I was happy. I continued his workout regiment in college, only it wasn’t enough, I was making myself throw up more often than usual, I would hide it by saying things like “yeah I worked out too hard at the gym” I would even start to “feel sick” on the walk home from the gym so that when I threw up it wouldn’t seem so out of the blue. I was good at hiding it; I had already been hiding it for so long.

Then I met a boy, the first guy to actually talk to me, and eventually my first boyfriend. I came clean to him about my eating disorder, he told me if I wanted to be with him I would have to stop, and I did. He’d lay with me in bed one day, and I pointed out everything I hated about myself, and he told me how beautiful I was, how I had nothing to hate. And I believed him. He was the first person to ever get through to me, the first person to truly make me feel beautiful, and have me believe it. All of the things he said to me though, all of the confidence he gave me, evaporated. He ended things with me, cheated on me, and told me that he never loved me, and he had been using me the whole time. I meant nothing to him, and that every time he was with me, he was thinking of her. The night I found out he cheated on me was the last time I ever made myself throw up, August 9th.  I figured, I must be this disgustingly ugly and fat person if no one wants me, even someone who claimed to love me, was just using me for a hookup like everyone else. Why didn’t anyone want me? It made me question every time he told me I was beautiful, if our relationship was a lie, wasn’t everything he said to me a lie too? After that day, I realized I didn’t want anyone else to be in control of how I felt about myself, screw society. I am beautiful and I am strong. I would like to thank him for putting me in such a low place, and forcing me to be the only person who could take myself out of that mindset for good. The hurt made me realize how much I could accomplish on my own, that I am invincible, beautiful, intelligent, and brave. After 6 years of mutilation, it has been 76 days since I have starved myself, made myself throw up, and hated myself. In that time I have overcome so much, I have learned to love myself, my body, I wake up each morning and tell myself that I am beautiful. If I am having a rough day, I give myself a pep talk about how awesome I am. If my heart is hurting, I remind myself that not everything is meant to be, and that is okay because now I am one step closer to finding my own happy ever after. And I’ll be healthy and alive to see it happen, I won’t let this disease consume me any longer. I am brave and beautiful. I am Ariana Evans and I am a survivor.

We all have our own stories. Feel free to share yours here, on your blog, with your journal, with the public. You are in control, you are loved and you are beautiful!

Do not forget it

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Do not throw me in your bed without asking and telling me a few important details first:

1. My name

2. My HIV Status/Your HIV Status

3. Do I have an STI/STD’s?

4. Do you have a condom?/I have condoms

I think those are simple enough questions to ask someone before taking me home? I mean I could be wrong but I think I deserve a least a little respect after all I am a human being and deserve the same amount of respect you give to others in your everyday life. If you see me out in public and then message me on a dating site I am on saying something like I see you. Don’t bother just come up to me and strike up a conversation. I am a human being. I do not bite. Unless I really want to. Also No does truly mean No. If I don’t want it I will tell you and you better respect my decision I am no piece of meat. 

That is all.

-S

http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2013/10/edison_teen_who_caused_triple_fatal_crash_left_suicide_note_on_his_arm_official_says.html#incart_river

Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Bullying is never okay. This should be addressed more heavily at schools. It is not. It should be. 

 It is a shame that someone who was bullied had to think of a permanent solution for a temporary problem, and whether intentionally killing those other 2 or not. I think when someone is so desperate for death they obviously aren’t thinking clearly and not thinking of other options to end their lives. I am saddened to say that this is the new normal. Suicide is I believe the 11th cause of death in America, and I foresee that number growing because kids in school aren’t taught not to bully, and they learn it at home from watching parents discuss those who are different. I would like to think that schools now have a better anti-bullying program or better systems in place but I find it disgusting that some teachers see bullying happen and say nothing and do nothing. And then wonder why schools are being shot up and the number of kids (especially LGBTQ) are killing themselves at alarming rates. And when I do get my mental health degree that is something I would love to be a part of, changing the social divide on what is moral and what people can over look. Seeing people kill themselves because they believe no one will love them, I feel like we have taken one step back towards the closet when we should be taking steps further away from that door. 

Do not put me in a box. I am a complex multi-functional machine with different buttons, switches, cogs, and the like.   I have been noticing a lot lately that especially in the gay community there is always someone asking how I identify in the “Gay Farm?” Yeah lets call it that. Not everyone has an animal name but the two main animals are Bears and Otters. Then you have Daddy, Geek, Jock, Leather, Poz, Rugged, Twink, and Trans AMONG many other names. My appearance does not define who I am as a person nor does my sexual identity. I am a hard worker, I am a friend, a brother, a son.  I spend a good majority of my life moving and traveling.  Because if you stay in one place too long then you get potted and you leave roots in the people you meet. That is not a bad thing but it is nothing something I see myself doing for a long time. But back to labels.  I am all of these things and A LOT more. I am a lot more complex than most people take me for and that is at no fault of their own. They see me as one thing and I am forever type-cast as it in my own life. I refuse to be type-cast, I have dared to break the mold and try new things, leaving my town and the ones I love behind and maybe it isn’t for ever but it is for now. And all we have is now so why waste it being something just to appease those around you.  Fuck that.

 

-S

Growing up in a semi-traditional way parts of my life always confused me. I was raised to be a strong heterosexual cisgendered male, and well that did not work out like my father intended. My mother was and is a supportive mother, always accepted me for what I was even before I knew what I was. I could always tell that from a young age my father favored my brothers and that is not a bad thing at all I hold no malice by telling all this.  I was something new; something he never had come across a gay man. And if he did he was raised in a strict off the boat Italian family so there weren’t many options to having gay friends or family members for that matter. I do not believe on my father’s side of the family there are any openly gay men or women. And for many fathers when they realize they have a gay son it is a lot for them to handle.  Let alone a son that shares the same first and last name as his.  Like I said there is no bad blood between my father and I, we just don’t have a close relationship like my brothers and him have.  He isn’t to blame nor am I. I did shut myself off from him because I thought that would have been easier.  My father has come a long way from when I was younger, he was close minded and in some ways he still is but it is a generational gap.  He voted for Obama in his second election which is something very surprising for me when I heard this and he has opened up his mind to many other things as well, he tells my mother that he is struggling accepting the fact that I am a gay man, but he still loves me unconditionally and that is all I really need from him. Life is a growing game and we all have a lot of growing to do.  Growing up the oldest of 3 brothers was also quite different. I was never into sports nor was I good at them. My younger brothers particularly the middle brother was great at sports. I tried my hand at basketball once and I was never any good. Nick he could pick up any sport and be great at it, it is just something he was always good at. Give me a paint brush and we are in business that was what I did. I painted, drew, you name it. My brain always worked in a unique way. I was always into very unique things growing up. I remember buying books on witchcraft and palm reading (Which is now a great party trick and a good ice breaker), I always was more into artwork and learning then I was into sports and working out. I don’t think that has anything to do with being gay, I think it just has a lot to do with me being lazy.  Now for my mother’s side, they are also old fashioned but not my mother, she prides herself on being a supporter of LGBTQ, Women’s rights, etc. She is always supportive of me and who I leave even if I have yet to tell her about (They all already know, so why disclose any further).  My moms parents are also pretty old fashioned. They may not agree with gay marriage but I know they love me and my other gay relatives unconditionally. It is a change for them too coming from a generation where being gay was a mental illness and was never talked about to living in a world where being gay is something people are proud of and it is more accepted.  We are still fighting for basic fundamental human rights, like love. I believe politics should stay out of the bedroom and while we are here I believe politicians should also stay out of the bedroom and not reproduce, well the stupid ones at least (Yes, Chris Christie and Rick Santorum I am looking at you oh and there are too many more to write so ill just pick on you both for now).  We have bigger fish to fry then worrying about preventing the happiness of others. But back on track to my family life: My grandparent’s will support me in whatever I decide to do, and I know they will because they have always supported everyone in our family and who I love should not and will not be a barrier for them.  Like I said earlier Life is a growing game and we are all playing it. I have not always been this open about who I am because I was still growing and learning how to live in a skin that at the time felt foreign to me. I didn’t have time to figure out who I was in high school because before I could decide I was bullied into believing I was a faggot. I was told this from 7th to 12th grade. Things got so bad that I had to threaten the aggressors that I would take legal action.  Most people who know me knew I was a fighter. I never let anyone bring me down because why should I? I was stronger than them and I knew it. I am more a man than those people who tried to bring me down.  I also did not come out in high school because why the fuck should I? No one said I had too, I was still figuring out this skin I was born into.  I never was subtle about being a supporter of LGBTQ rights, posting articles on Facebook, etc. I always had openly gay friends and no one ever questioned it and there is nothing abnormal about having gay friends when you are straight. My best friends are all straight back home and they love me no less and no more than they love any of their other friends.  It was not easy coming out to my straight friends. I came out to my best friend Shaun about 2 years ago before I left for college and I cried telling him thinking the worst, his response was, “So? Oh do you like my new watch I just got?” And that was that. I then came out to Andy and John about 6 months ago at a bar when we were all drunk visiting John at Marist. Their reactions were also as just very normal. Both of them just validated that they wanted me to be happy and we moved on. I now can openly discuss who I am seeing (if I am seeing anyone).  I remember we were going to a frat party and I didn’t have 5$ to get into the party and one of the frat guys was like, “Here man I got you covered.” *Super macho voice* They all turned to me when I got in and just laughed and called me a slut and we just laughed and moved on.  I have never felt more normal in my life. I am free to be who I am now. I now live in one of the best cities in the world, Chicago. Where I am more open than I have ever been.  So I guess this is my officially unofficial way of coming out to those who didn’t already know? I hope that you enjoyed this and I hope someone somewhere reads this and finds some sort of acceptance for themselves and they know they are not alone.

-S