Grading papers. Sitting in a cafe between two tables with chatty white girls on either side of me. I’m not trying to generalize or say they were basic, but could a conversation get more bland? Even unintentionally overhearing them, I craved a little salt on my tongue.
So the girl on my left, she starts saying that maybe she’ll become a teacher, and she, like, read this article about things you don’t know about teaching until you teach, and like, “I know you get the summers off, but I don’t know if I could go three months without a paycheck.” And I was like, girl, forgive my intrusion, but let me tell you how it really is.
I have a backlog of posts waiting to be published. Many of them talk about race, and maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to share them. I’ve fallen under fear–the fear of losing social capital, the fear of saying the wrong thing, the fear of looking ignorant, the fear of admitting my own faults, the fear of alienating the people I can learn from.
Have you ever heard a joke that’s great until the punchline, and then it falls apart?
I feel opposite that: I know where I’m headed, but not how to get there–not even where to start. You see, I just spent a week in San Francisco, and seeing what the world could look like–what a more inclusive and queer-friendly world can look like–has made me realize a world where sexual orientation doesn’t matter can exist. But after seeing such high levels of inclusion, coming home feels a lot like walking back into the closet.
It’s not as funny as a joke, is it? But it does have a better punchline.
When I posted yesterday about the whirlwind of love in my life, I had not imagined it would be the first of many whirlwinds the day would blow upon me. October 10, 2014 became what Equality NC had dubbed Day One–the start of marriage equality in North Carolina. Newspaper headlines this morning read “Same-Sex Marriages OK” and “Day for History, Equality.” The pictures are of colorful, smiling couples. I doubt the Saturday morning paper has ever been this gay before.
But whereas the world celebrates, my sweetness is tempered. Whereas other couples ran off to courthouses to say “I do,” I had no such privilege–my fiance lives two thousand miles away, and before we can marry, we must overcome hurdles no couple should have to endure. History, equality, celebration–but for whom?
Summer school started today and while I aimlessly wait for textbooks to arrive in the mail and for my professors to get the course websites up and running, I decided to browse Facebook and see what’s going on in the world–or at least in the lives of twenty friends Facebook selected at random, which for today, can be my entire world.
I came across this Buzzfeed article called “30 Questions for Straight Guys” and thought it’d be a fun read. Except when I opened it, I quickly realized directing these questions only to straight guys ignores the fact that gay guys are, in fact, still guys.
To set restless minds at ease, here are 15 answers to 30 questions for straight guys.
One year ago I woke up pressed between the warm bodies of two men I didn’t know. Cane mumbled something to Jay, asking if he was working the ten or one o’clock shift today. I don’t remember what time it was, but he checked the clock and muttered something angry about needing to wake up.
Cane got out of bed and went in the bathroom to shower. Jay walked their dog. I hadn’t even realized they had a dog. The room was bright now, but all I really saw were my pants and shirt on the floor. I dressed in vague motions that felt like the fabric of dreams. I latched my belt, listened to the falling water from the bathroom, and sat on the floor.
You’ve probably heard about the Grammy’s mass wedding to the tune of “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it hasn’t stopped exploding in controversy since Sunday. If your Facebook isn’t like mine, the arguments are twofold: First, a mass wedding turns marriage into a gimmick, and second, why is a straight, cisgender white male suddenly the face of the LGBT movement?
The performance was moving, I’ll admit, but I agree with the first point: No matter the context–whether the Grammy’s or a Tel Aviv Pride Parade–I think mass, publicized weddings trivialize the significance of an individual couple being bound to each other. But I’m a romantic, what else would I think? Either way, I don’t particular mind the mass wedding–it happened, it was celebrated, and for the people there, what an amazing experience–and can you think of all the stories they now have to share!
So the real conversation is about Macklemore. About an ally of the LGBT community who, by definition of being an ally, is actually not one of us. And that’s problematic.
This morning I spent two hours proving (-1)a = -a. I tell my friends I finally figured it out and they stare at me a moment, narrow their eyes a bit, and say, “But isn’t it obvious?”
That’s the problem. It is obvious. We’ve been raised in a culture wherein elementary math education is spewed to the masses–but it’s all given in bits and bytes of data, none of which is strewn together with any understanding of the processes at work beneath them.
That’s why it took me so long to solve the problem–I kept getting stuck on claims of “This is obvious” and had to turn back to step one–to the rules that govern real numbers, the foundation upon which the world was built.
But figuring it out wasn’t the most amazing thing to happen today.
When the world didn’t end on Friday, I thought I’d post a revelatory message on Saturday. Instead, I got carried away applying for a scholarship and lost track of time. So, I figured, let’s just read the next lesson of the Pirkei Avot and post it promptly on Sunday. Well, as I decided to finish said application this evening and took something of a nap earlier in the afternoon, time has once more gotten away with me. Regardless, learning is learning no matter what time it happens at (although, arguably, midnight learning is best left for Shavuot).