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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Props to my Brother

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Me and Patrick at Priscilla Queen of the Desert in NYC

Typically my blogs have been centered around my thoughts and considerations, feelings and reactions to things. Today I thought of writing about something different. Something important and personal to me. My Brother Patrick.

Those who know him are aware of how smart he is. This is true and I admire that. But what’s more than that, I admire him for the manner in which he shows his intellect. He doesn’t use it to make others feel bad, nor does he talk down to you if you don’t know something. What I have seen is that he regards learning as something to participate in, something that doesn’t have limits. You can tell him he’s a genius and he will not concede the same. He may be aware of it, but he keeps his mind open, and never pretends to know it all. For that reason I see him as a inspiring teacher.

When we were little, we were sometimes forced to play outside together. I wasn’t the best at making new friends, and thanks to him, had someone who I could be around and not feel scared. To a child this can mean the world, and so it did to me. I am not sure if I ever told him how much I appreciated his being there. He was there for me when I was alone and scared. Because of this, I consider him a loving protector.

He has had his share of troubles in his life, and has pushed through despite the challenges. A bright intellect doesn’t necessarily make dealing with life on life’s terms easier. In fact, sometimes, it seems, it can make things a whole lot more challenging to handle. I have seen Patrick deal with some rough things in his life and he keeps facing them head on. Facing his fears and judgement and inescapable monsters, he never gives up. For that, I consider him a brave warrior.

And in my life, when I am stressed out. Patrick is there to provide an understanding ear. When I make a mistake and fear the world is against me, he reassures me that everything will be alright. And when I feel stupid and foolish for things I’ve done, he talks to me as an equal and makes me feel like a king. And when no one is around, he is there for me, through thick and thin. When I came out as gay, he showed me unconditional support and understanding. For these reasons, I consider him dear friend.

There are few men as great as my brother, and I am grateful to have him in my life. I admire him for being the inspiring “grade-A” teacher, loving protector, brave warrior, a dear friend that he is.

Thank you for being you, bro!

Love,

Jon Jeremy (Your brother)

 

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Idea for a holiday – Reconnect/Disconnect Day

ImageSo the idea is to create my own holiday. I must say that I really like this topic. At first I thought, maybe something having to do with giving and gratitude and blah blah blah. Ok it’s been done. Even if we don’t truly take advantage of the spirit of Thanksgiving, or other holidays, that doesn’t necessarily mean there should be another. If there is to be a new holiday, it should be something different. In thinking along those lines, I wanted something that incorporated spontaneity, good food, intimate non-sexual human interaction (well ok sex for some, if you really absolutely need it), music, and poetry. This may not be hugely different than every single holiday out there, but oh well. Critics be damned. I came up with the following:

The idea is called Reconnect/Disconnect day. A day without phones or internet. A communing with one’s environment and one’s inner soul. From morning to night, sunrise to sunset, a total disconnect with the world, aside from personal interaction. in a desperate attempt to tap into your creative side and shut down all judgement centers of the brain. A reconnect with one’s child-like sense of wonder, and disconnecting from one’s learned harsh criticisms of adulthood. In addition to the turning off and logging off of network-based devices, certain traditions would also be followed. This would include not going to work (no matter what day of the week Reconnect/Disconnect Day fell on), creating an elaborate meal for one, and find someone to share it with – showing up unannounced at someone’s house if need be. Afterwards, because there was only food for one, you would both go to the store and pick up you favorite snacks to share.

After finding a suitable location, you would then proceed to play music which holds meaning to either person and proceed to explain to any memories associated with the song. At the close of the day, you would write a poem dedicated to long lost pets, and go out to eat at a restaurant you have always wanted to try. At dessert, you read your poem to whomever was with you, or, if alone, the waiter, waitress, or cashier. You would then go home, watch a sappy movie (where someone dies or a dog runs away, or some kid gets into college or lands a scholarship or something…), drink a lot of chamomile tea, cry as much as possible, and go to bed early. The following morning, you rise early, turn on your phone, drink a lot of coffee and get your ass to the gym. You must then spend the rest of the day drinking only diet coke and returning all the texts from people who didn’t celebrate the holiday the day before.

Happy holidays,

That’s all I got.

Thanks for reading.

-Jon

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Swallowed up whole…

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Here’s a poem I wrote. I hope you like it –

The Fates it seems are cold and blindImage

Give love up front, leave pain behind

When it seems a glimmer to peek

My soul is mute, too scared to speak

Leviathan covets me and I covet him so

I’m truly fucked with nowhere to go

Until a storm above me takes

Away the fear and trembling quakes

I know that illusion doth a bastard make,

I do not cImageare – a sweeter medicine to take

An elixir born from love and hate

Eros can both destroy and so create

In delirium I do so quietly remain

And now my only solace hath become my deadliest bane.

I must admit it quite a joy

This love, this interest, this pleasant boy

Romance owns the heart and not the head

Thus the book of love is always felt, never read.

And if I could do it all again…

I’d always fall for the affection of a man

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Making peace with my inner child…

CSB Crest – Minds, Hearts, Hands and Voices

When I was in Kindergarten I attended a private all-boys school in San Francisco called Cathedral School for Boys. Although many of my classmates were pretty well-off (living in Pacific Heights, Marin, or Tiburon) I myself found myself in a pretty middle class family. I felt a bit different than the other kids in my class and in the school for that matter. Little did I realize, the differences would continue to surface as the years went by. My father was a teacher in the school so it stands to reason that I would enjoy a few perks, and also a bit of derision. That, however didn’t seem to ever be the case. My problems stemmed from other issues. I would also like to say that I took solace in the fact that my brother was also attending the school and was only two grades above me. But again, this didn’t seem to be the case. Although we were close in age, we were very much fighting Irish twins. Well, maybe not fighting – more like me annoying him and him getting mad at me and chasing me around. Yes, I was a brat. I was the youngest of us two. It seemed like I was always sort of lagging behind scholastically and barely able to make a mark of my own. So acting out seemed to be my “thing.”

Me and Billy C. circa 1995
I wish I bothered to straighten my tie… lol

I envied my brother for his dedication to learning; not necessarily in school, but learning for the sake of learning. THAT is what was so cool about him. It seemed like school was merely something to get through, and that he had better things to learn about than the stuff they made us study in class. And as cool as he was, we were still very much children, and didn’t have the sense to actually commiserate. Yes, school was challenging. The classes themselves seemed to be ahead of most public schools at the same level, and at a K-8 school, the learning kept at a steady pace until right before high school.

When I was in Kindergarten, I didn’t have much worry. I pretty much just had a FEELING that I was different. I knew that other kids had parties and took fancy vacations. It wasn’t that our family didn’t take vacations, it was just that ours were more like road trips. Still enjoyable, just, different. And being as young as I was, differences in school always felt like a bad thing. Oh the age of innocence! The time when things that are oh so inconsequential in the grand scheme of life seem to be ever so important. Wait – that wasn’t just adolescence, that’s my whole life! Haha…

Ok, so back to the early years. I never really thought I was that popular in school. I guess I just wanted everyone to like me so much that it got in the way of my own self-esteem. Actually, it turns out that early on in school, I was kind of a brat. I may not have been rich but I definitely felt sheltered. I didn’t know much about the real world except was what on TV and what was taught to me in school. I didn’t read at all (except as forced by my teachers) and even then, I rarely actually read the books. I can’t tell you how many book reports I pulled out of my ass because I had no interest whatsoever in actually reading the material. It wasn’t that the Great Depression and the Holocaust didn’t interest me, because what pre-teen kid WOULDN’T want to read about such things? Well, I certainly didn’t. I hated reading. I hated having to read. I hated people who actually liked books. I thought,’ those rich bastards, with their fancy books and snobby parents’. Screw them! I didn’t want to read anyway. So what did I do in my spare time? Oh, read on… After all, children are known for having incredible imaginations. I was no different. Yes, I hated to read, so what else was there? Of course! Start a business and make some money! Haha… Well there was one thing those rich kids didn’t have, parents who shopped at Costco! (back before it was chic of course.)

Today’s special – Jawbreakers… 😀

Costco lent itself to bulk amounts of candy, and I had gone into the candy pushing business. Some sour worms here and some jawbreakers there, I was the Candy kid, and loving it. Ok, so I didn’t amass a huge fortune from it, but I must say that the other kids with their soy milk and organic wheat bread sure produced some sugar-craving kids. Later I diversified into Otter Pops and other products. I thought I had found my place. But alas, no so. I was still a loner. This was even more pronounced in my later years in school as the other boys started to be interested in girls. Well again, that wasn’t for me. Another thing to set me apart was just what I needed. If I was an outcast then, I was even more so afterwards. I didn’t really see what was going on that made the other kids not want to hang around me. Well, maybe because I had yet to discover Deodorant. lol… But even an odor-blocker couldn’t block the fear and insecurity I was feeling every day. Something told me that whatever edge I had before, whatever “thing” gave me strength and clout, was soon to be entirely gone. So I did what any kid going through this insecure time would do.

Magic Cards – Like crack to a pre-teen geek.

I submerged myself in the world of fantasy – Magic: The Gathering. I began to collect cards, and play card games all the time. I also started watching shows on UPN to get out of my head. Shows like “Star Trek: TNG”, “Xena,” and Babylon 5. These shows made me feel safe. Yes, they didn’t help me deal with reality, but they gave me an escape into another reality. One in which people either got along or they fought. It was clear cut and simple. It made sense. I could pretend to be strong. I was no longer bait. I was the shark.

I was often teased in school. I’m not sure if there was a particular reason. I was a bit… off. I mean I was gay, so I couldn’t pretend to care about girls, I didn’t know much about sports nor was I athletic, so I didn’t know much about working as a team, or talking about guy stuff. Ok, so that leaves academics. Well, I pretty average when it came to most of my classes. I didn’t read or write. Mostly I watched TV, and liked to eat. Occasionally I would do art. Yes, that did allow me to get outside of myself. It again gave me some sense of control in a world that seemed so unfair.

Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys –
I wish I had an actual photo of me in the cassock and surplus… Well the style hasn’t changed much so you get the picture..

From fourth grade until eighth grade, I was in the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. I actually really enjoyed this. I thought I was even pretty good at it. We would practice almost every morning before school started, and would perform at the Church services on Thursday night (Evensong) and Sunday (Mass). I really liked the music and found comfort in song. But even though I really loved it, I still never felt good enough. I never received any accolades like my classmates. I was too scared to go after solos and always shied away from standing out in the crowd. I so desperately wanted some encouragement. I wanted to be good, but I was so scared. I never really felt like my classmates had my back. Some were nice to me, but most were kinda mean. Had I some self-confidence, maybe I would have advocated for myself and did what I wanted to. Why didn’t I? Still to this day, I carry with me the fear of standing out. My instinct cries out for retreat to safer locales. But as I was just a child, I didn’t know about self-esteem. I had no concept of life-goals, and facing fears. All I knew was fear. Well, in everything except for music and science fiction. Two things that have never judged me. I blamed my instructors for not encouraging me and for contributing to my fear and lack of confidence. Looking back I realize that something else was going on. Although a child doesn’t choose to suffer, I felt that had I judged a little less, and participated a little more I could have had more of the life I wanted. Yes, it would have been nice to have been encouraged and told that I could do anything I set my heart to, but I didn’t. And even if there was (which I’m sure there must have been) I may not have heard it loud enough. If I could, I would go back to that little kid, sit him down, and tell him that I love him, and to try, to set his sights high, to dream, and that it would be OK, because I’d be here for him if he falls.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Dream a little dream of me

Dream a little dream of me

Nothing to see here folks…

As he snuggled in his somewhat warm bed, he is only but a bit awake. He smiles just a bit, with eyes still closed. He realizes that the muscles in his face have contracted to express his inner joy, but he has little idea why he is so happy. Happy may not be the right word for it. Satisfied may be more like it. He has definitely had a nice dream, and it is unfortunate that he can’t remember what it was about. This has happened before, and he could usually rouse his memory eventually, but only after careful introspection. Although he has only a couple clues to go off of, he uses what he can to piece things together. It comforts him to remind himself that he is capable of doing this. As if a memory, as precious as gold and as elusive as a fabled creature (a unicorn, elf, angel, etc.), would hold deep meaning. Not just in an educational “oh that’s cool” sort of way, but in a “this is something personal to me – something sacred and therefore important.”

So yes, it should comfort him to know that he can do this. Well, mildly comforting, as he has yet to use this knowledge to conquer the world, or cure Cancer. So what good is this sacred knowledge? Will it get him laid? Will it get him into Yale? Yes, and no. Yes as much as any self-knowledge can lead one to gain insight into the future. And no insomuchas one can easily dismiss such wisdom as mere hedonistic voyeurism or plain old nonsense.

The Schizophrenic brain – A “Split” mind

Sometimes it can be hard to see the real meaning in a dream. What one sees in the past and present could potentially help in the future, but as for this dream, his dream, who is to say? Having a good old-fashioned sex dream about someone you adore may not hold the key to immortality, but it certainly makes for a good morning. And that is good enough for today. But he still can’t be sure what he can barely recall. What the hell was that?

Ok, so this is the process. Think of ONE thing that brings up a strong emotion. Scan your brain for anything that mildly or remotely resonates with emotional harmony or discord.

Hmm… so… is there a person involved? Can’t recall. Was there a place? Well… somewhere… barren. A desert? No… yes! But a cold desert. It was nighttime… Ok… this is a good start. Who was there? Hmm… Still no one comes to mind.

And suddenly it hits him. Death! What?! He thinks to himself, and almost shows his outright shock by uttering a “wha…!” This was supposed to be a good dream, right? So what the hell is death doing playing a part? And then it struck him again, almost like a shock or jolt of electricity.

Death! That was the person I saw, or moreover, Death is who was present.

But it wasn’t a scary death. It was a comforting one. Death, usually a suspect of terror and source of fear and pain, was no longer playing the part of malice, but rather of comfort. This was a dream after all. These things are not meant to be taken literally, right? What the fuck does he know of dream interpretation anyway?

He took some courses in Cognition in College, and learned some interesting theories on how the mind works. He didn’t, however, learn any absolute meanings here. Theories. Just theories. Plus, the Freudian school of thought seemed like a lot of bullshit anyway. He always preferred the most logical explanation. So what was it? Ok, so with very little to go on, let’s continue the fact finding search, shall we?

Ok, Death. Death was there, in the desert. The cold, night desert. And I’m happy. Why? Why am I happy? Am I actually happy? Am I just relieved? Could be…

It has been a hard week, and certainly the idea of getting away from it all does pose a certain amount of comfort on his weary mind. Or should I say heart.

What else was present?

More information usually lent itself to deeper analysis and subsequent understanding. So he picked his brain for more. He was still pretty drowsy and with milky sight still masking his vision, he looked around his room to check for additional emotional triggers.

The TV, nothing. The dream catcher above his bed? Nothing. His desk, pen, computer – nothing. His trash. N.. wait. Something. What? Did I lose something? he thought. Was that the emotional trigger? Yes, I lost something very valuable, and then I found it. What was it?

As his alarm clock sounded with the automatic playlist programmed on his ipod, the sounds of Amy Winehouse roused him from his contemplative state.

It was… Damn! It was…

And then he saw it. What he was missing. It was the key. Literally. A key.

This struck him as if he had just came across the solution to a complex algebraic equation he had been struggling with for a long time. He had no idea what this meant. A key? Surely his keys were not that important to him. But, despite knowing that in his mind, he knew, really knew, and believed, that if he lost the “key” he would be in serious trouble. He turned off his alarm before Amy got to the chorus of “Valerie” and forced himself out of bed. He would get no more sleep this morning.

 

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School Ties…

School Ties…
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I dunno… C? B? Pi? Shit… I’m trying to study!

The grand libraries with velvet upholstered chairs, accomplished teachers with of renown, late-night study sessions with classmates, and subsisting on a diet of coffee and heavy literature. It has been 7 years since I’ve been in school, and every year I yearn to return to the land of academia. When I attended UC Berkeley, I was truly honored to be among such learned people. Honestly, I felt like I was challenged constantly. Coming from a community college, I felt like a king. I was in the honor society and excelled in extra-curricular activities. At “Cal” I was one among many. I didn’t feel as special. And what’s worse, I let myself believe that. What is closer to the truth is that I was special, I AM special. I compared myself to those who never voiced their opinions in class, I told myself that I shouldn’t ask questions, I shouldn’t be curious and think outside the box. I should digest, and memorize, memorize, memorize. What a bunch of bullshit! That is not what I signed up for and certainly not what I should have been doing at a school known for radical thought. But nevertheless, I told myself to fall in line, before I fall behind. So scurrying my early 20-something ass to study session, lab, and lecture, I tried my hardest to get through some of the most challenging classes of my life. Having survived seemingly unscathed, I counted myself lucky for managing to finish and get that effing degree. Go Bears!

But despite this accomplishment, I failed to recognize the potential ahead of me. One should never

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A tie from my first Alma Mater…

simply rest on their laurels, and me and my ass, then 20 lbs more than when I started school, was sitting pretty comfy. When I was telling myself “good job,” I forgot to tell myself “this is just the beginning. Hold on, and get ready. The best is yet to come.”

So cut to me 7 years later. You know, years seem to go back a lot faster after college. I’m not sure that is a scientific fact, but I’d bet 10 packets of Top Ramen on it. I’m chomping at the bit as they say and I want to go for gold

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5 more minutes, I swear. Give me 5 more minutes.

I have been looking into post-bac work with my Alma Mater, and, god-willing… Grad School! I’m not getting any younger and I want to use these brain cells while they still function relatively well (as well as they ever have… lol) So it’s time to start getting things together, transcripts, recommendation letters, tuition, etc. In my head this all seems so simple, so easy. But once I start to actually think about doing these things, I get a bit overwhelmed. My nay-saying attitude is really bringing me down. Aren’t I supposed to be more mature now? I should be above self-doubt, right? Well, guess not.

Now in my 30’s I am beginning to see that “nothing changes if nothing changes.” Time doesn’t change people who don’t allow change to happen. I have been clinging to the fear and the self-doubt for as long as I can remember – hence the 7-year-gap (and counting) since my last matriculation. Part of me want the best. Ok maybe more than a part of me. If I am going to challenge myself I want to really aim high. Although I am not sure who would

support me in my goals (some consider them far too high), I would like nothing more than to get a chance to study at UCSF, Georgetown, Yale, John’s Hopkins, or Columbia. Pipe dreams? Maybe. Impossible? No. So pause here. Breath. One step at a time. What was it I reminded myself of in my last entry?

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Hmmm. Yes ok, I see… Now how the hell do you pronounce that?

Oh yeah. HUMILITY! Hmmm. But humility isn’t thinking I am less than. Nor is it thinking I am more than. It is accepting where I am, and who I am. I am Jon. I am 30 years old. I want to go back to school. I haven’t attended classes for 7 years. I want to go do a post-baccalaureate program. I want to attend a top-notch Grad school. I want to be a nurse, and get my DNP. But again, I’m fortunate for my family, and grateful I have running water. So I’m gonna take it step by step. It won’t be easy for me, so let’s just see how this goes. One question… Do people still use pencils in class?

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Education, Uncategorized

 

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A popped-collar reverie…

A popped-collar reverie…

Gettin’ ready for the big game.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be rich. Living on the upper east side in Manhattan. A driver to cart me around like a precious cargo, or important delegate of a foreign nation. Not having to worry about finding my own way, because I’d have a plan laid out for me, most likely by my parents. Will it be Yale or Brown? Hmm…

So being a wealthy legacy may not be all it’s cracked up to be, but it certainly has its advantages. Ideas to spawn, businesses to acquire, the power, the money, the sex, and debauchery. Who wouldn’t love it? Although I was always a sort-of middle class child (sometimes lower middle, sometimes upper middle) I often dreamed of having it all – having more. Or just relish the idea of being able to travel around the world on a whim. Had I the money, I would most likely do more than that. I would want to help people. I’d set up scholarships, help rebuild the torn parts of the world. I would give opportunities to those who didn’t have them. Is that so bad? Well, they say that power corrupts (where are you Lord Acton?) and that all great men are bad men, or something to that extent. So therefore I ask, must I corrupt to acquire? Even for good reasons, can one be nice on the way to the top? Certainly the Spring Breakers had it wrong because all THAT debauchery ne’er did make a star. So what’s a young man to do? How can he make it to the top? (I hear the word “humility” ringing in my head over and over… get out, get out!) It has been so ingrained in me that I shouldn’t want things, that I should always be satisfied. Yes, I see the value of being grateful for what I have. That should always be the case. But does that mean I can’t want more? Does that make me a prima donna?

I think ur a contra…

All music references aside, I again set my imagination to a cushier environment. Going out to The Hamptons for the summer, and seeing my friends (all with popped-collared polos btw). Yes the rich still do have issues, and yes they most definitely have troubles, but they also have another thing – leverage. This of course is all theory and speculation (ok, maybe outright guessing)… I wouldn’t know frankly. Does one tend to stay wealthy when one is brought up around money? There are many who have made their fortunes by their own making. What is it that makes these people tick? How do the manage it? What makes them special? Do they want it more? Do they work harder for it? Well I’ve known many hard-working people who are just barely getting by, and many talented people who are still waiting for their “big break.” So again I ask, what is the distinguishing characteristic?

God I love books…

Sorry if this whole entry sounds entirely trite and inconsequential, but therein lies my issue. I am curious. I want fame, I want success and glamour. Damn it, I want it all! The Ivy League education, and the vacations around the world. I want to work hard and play hard. I want to taste ALL the spices of the world, and by extension the spices of life. It’s not too much to ask for, I’d say. But I suppose one can always dream. Back to reality. Today I will just be grateful that my family is ok, and that I have running water. 🙂

xoxo

Tenacious Rookie (aka Jon)

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Travel, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

 

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