Month: August 2009

Intellectual inadequacy

I’ve recently started doubting my writing skills. Well, let me clarify this – I know I can write, I know I can spin a reasonably good yarn, sometimes make a person chuckle, but do I actually have anything intelligent to say? I was recently told that my post informing all on why it’s hell to be gay was “as shallow” as this person could handle, and teen-mag without really delving into the issues.

My response was that it was meant to be teen-mag, shallow and slightly on the Marian Keyes-side of writing.

I’m not offended by the person’s comments – we each have our own taste, and some people love debate – grappling with the difficult to resolve issues in what they read. I like it too, and I suppose some of the gay Christian discussion has been fodder for those wanting intellectual stimulation and challenge. But, on the whole, is my writing shallow?

I went to a debate recently. It was a pre-discussion to whet our appetites for the upcoming World Arts Summit happening in Johannesburg. The debate was about cultural diversity – is it the answer to world peace or is it the root of all evil?

Seriously.

Two intellectual types took to the stage and offered opinions on cultural diversity in the arts and then we got to bounce this thrilling discussion around the audience and see what everyone else felt about cultural diversity.

I felt like I was back at varsity. Asking those life-changing questions – does art imitate life? Will protest theatre die when apartheid does? Will men ever watch dance again? It was stimulating, and part of me missed that.

And then I felt inadequate. Here are all these people who write theses analysing the world as we live it, while I write the 10 best reasons to be gay.

So I have decided. Have rethought. Have read prolifically. And decided that I will be more intellectual. Will dig deeper below the surface and talk about the real issues. I’ll analyse what Michelle Obama says, rather than being more interested in what she’s wearing. I will inform you all of the latest and deepest yearnings of the great minds, and join them as I share my wealth of knowledge with you.

I will use words like vacuous, and attempt to not appear vacuous.

What other words shall I use?

But you will be dazzled…

How does that sound people?

Or I could just give you the top 10 songs Madonna has sung in her career…

10. Holiday
9. Rain
8. Secret
7. Ray of Light
6. Live to tell
5. Papa don’t preach
4. Hung up
3. Express yourself
2. Like a prayer
1. Vogue

I know Like a Virgin started it all, but I think the song is vacuous.

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Why it’s good to be gay!

A few weeks ago I posted why it’s hell being gay. I think its only fair that we follow it up with looking at why it’s good to be gay…

You never have to remember anyone’s name
You can walk into a room and just yell “hello daaaahling” and you’ll be fine. No need to memorise the names around the table. Turn to the lady in blue and say: “Darling, please pass the salt”, and she’ll think you’re fabulously forward and join you at the club after the meal. You can even say it to the straight guy at the table, and he’ll think you’re wonderfully theatrical or never look at you again, so you won’t have to know his name anyway.

Once a year you can dress in a frock and walk through the streets yelling about how good it is to be gay….
It’s called pride, and you can show it. With feathers. And signs. And loud music. If feathers aren’t your thing, you can just take your shirt off. Nothing says I love being gay more than half-naked men.

You always smell good
You have to. It’s in the guidebook you get when you are converted by the other gays. You know, the ones that were at your school teaching you maths and subliminally telling you to be attracted to the same sex.

You get great use out of your camera phone
Uploading a topless photo shot of your torso, taken by you while flexing in the mirror, is an essential facebook accessory. If you are on other sites with the word “gay”, “dar” and “hunt” in them, you can also shoot other parts of your body for others to admire. The camera phone has made going to clubs, or dark alleys in some countries, unnecessary.

You always have something to sing at karaoke
Because you know all the words to Madonna, Britney, Kylie, Celine and, ahem, Miley. If you are over 40, then replace those with Madonna, Barbra, Bette, Celine and, ahem, Miley. If you are over 60, the replace those with Madonna, Judy, Barbra, Marilyn and, ahem, Marlene Dietrich. If you are lesbian, then replace those with Melissa Etheridge.

You are royalty
You are called a queen. Not the queen because she already exists – and has a lawyer, a manager, an agent and a chef, three nannies, an assistant and a driver and a jet, a trainer and a butler and a bodyguard or five, a gardener and a stylist – do you think she’s satisfied?

You can shop
In fact, your money is called pink, but isn’t. That would be silly. It’s the same colour as everyone else’s but you’re a target market all on your own. Holidays are shaped around you, festivals are formed in normally conservative towns so pink money flocks there and changes back to a “normal” colour, and some brands even advertise especially to you – by placing topless people in their ads. The really clever ones put David Beckham in his undies. That ensures gay interest.

You are controversial
Gay politics is all the rage. Should gays get married? Should gays be allowed to be in church? Should gays be priests? Are all male hairdressers gay?

You have a gaydar
It’s an internal alarm that goes off when others of your kind walk past. It doesn’t just go off when the other person has plucked eyebrows, but even if they might have a girlfriend. That’s a very clever gaydar.

You can say “faaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous”
Isn’t that faaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous?

Rambling… again…

I’m not sure where to begin… I feel so out of touch with the world and life, and my blog, that starting a post has become more and more daunting. So I thought, stuff it – just write. So here am I, writing and not so sure where this will lead, so lets just go along with that shall we?

Reading other people’s blogs I’ve been amazed at how open they’ve been about their lives and what’s going on in their hearts. This writing thing can be cathartic. So after reading blogs like Shayne’s (about the death of her daughter’s grandma), Allie’s battle with inadequacy, and Poppit’s very brave blog on her lack of sex life, I sit here grateful for the blogging community, and for the safe space we have to share our thoughts, our hearts, our opinions and what we find amusing.

Much of my life I’ve spent waiting for the next page in the book. Sitting back, waiting to see what will happen next – never feeling like I was the lead character, or the author of my life. So much of my life has depended on the choices of others – will they hire me, will they cast me, will they befriend me, will they love me? I have felt so passive about my life.

Even my relationship with God, was in some ways, an attempt to take control of mine. I was able to pray for what I wanted, have faith (in someone other than me) that my hopes and dreams could be attained, and be assured of love and community with others who shared my hopes and dreams in God. In some respects, it allowed me to be passive too. If things happened in my life I was able to shift the “blame” – I could claim that it wasn’t God’s will, or say that when one door closed another opened because I had faith.

In some respects, I think this is why some are attracted to a relationship with God. It gives fathering to the fatherless. A guard at the door, so you aren’t fully in control, aren’t fully responsible and aren’t fully to blame.

But more and more, I find myself questioning whether this is what a relationship with God is meant to be. We are responsible for our own choices. We are responsible for the way we respond to things. And we are responsible for moving forward, for fulfilling our dreams, and for growing in our relationships.

I’m not saying that there is no need for a relationship with God, but I’m not so sure God wants to be in the driver’s seat. And I’m not so sure he’s a backseat driver either, telling us where to go and why we should be where we are. I think God is the car, the fuel, the tyres and the maintenance. There every step of the way, going where we choose – no matter what we choose.

So much is said in the name of God, that I think we need to rethink giving Him all the glory. Sometimes life happens because we and others make choices. No need to sit waiting for God to make the next move. It’s your move. You make it, you take responsibility for it and you face the consequences of it.

So why am I saying ll this… because so much has happened recently to make me realise that my life is no longer worth watching. But rather, I’ve managed to start writing some of the pages, not worrying what other people make think or waiting to see if it’s right. Maybe it’s all Jung’s midlife crisis theory, maybe it’s growing up – I don’t know. But I’ve seen myself emerge more confident, and happy than I think I’ve ever been.

I started this blog to find my voice, and have grown as a writer, and a human being, by reflecting, reading and being a part of this blog community. A life not reflected is a life wasted, someone once said. Blogging forces you to do that – reflect, form opinions, discuss, argue and generally be in community, albeit a virtual one.

So thanks for reading. Thanks for being part of this journey. And thanks for sharing yours with me.