Sunday, January 31, 2010

Prayers For Bobby And My Coming Out Story

Jim just introduced me to the most touching movie. Prayers for Bobby starring Sigourney Weaver is the true story of a boy who kills himself due to his difficulties with his sexuality and about his mother who must face her part in his death and face conflicts with her faith. It had me in tears. It was a wonderful, wonderful movie.

I suppose I forget how lucky I was coming out. Bobby killed himself in 1983, the year I was born, but I know his story isn't unique even in today's America (and I'm sure here in the UK to, thankfully, a much lesser extent). I was born into a family free of religion, if not completely of prejudice, and my coming out was a lot easier than most. I think I was harder on myself than my family.

When I was about 12 I got my hands on my first Bible and consumed it's contents eagerly, finding comfort in faith that I couldn't seem to find in friends thanks mainly to not staying in one place long enough to really make many. Then I turned 14.

It started with George Michael. My paper round meant I usually had a Sun left over each day and I was saving up Page 3 girl pictures. Why? Because I was just not finding girls attractive and was doing my best to force the process. Well one day I opened the Sun to find this picture:

It was during George Michael's trouble with the law in some toilets, and it did far more for me than Page 3 girls ever had. Being a good Christian boy (of my own making) I was mortified. I struggled so much to fight it, thinking and believing that homosexuality was wrong.

And then along came the Sixth Former. At 10.25, 26th February 1998 outside the media studies room in the Harvey Grammar School, he stole my heart in an instant. Within 5 minutes I had accepted my sexuality for the first time. And it felt good.

But my inner turmoil did not cease, it was just now my true nature was in the ascendant and my faith in Jesus was diminishing. It was about that time I became pretty suicidal and wrote a suicide note. I didn't actually attempt suicide, I'd more written it as an exercise in what exactly was making me so unhappy in life. I forgot about it but left it (and my diary) in the bottom of my wardrobe one day. And that is when my Mum found it. This came atop a letter from one of my teachers regarding a piece of coursework and his plans to put me in detention for the holidays received the very same day.

So needless to say that when I came home from school it was to find my Mum and Stepdad sat at the dining room table waiting for me. They told me it was just a phase, that it'd pass, that everything was going to be alright. Well that is what my Mum screamed between tears.

I was terrified of what my life was about to become... but after that evening that sort of talk was never mentioned again. It was like they slept on it and realised they'd overreacted. My sexuality became a non-issue, an anti-climatic end to my official family coming out at 14. My extended family was informed, of course, but that was that. When I started going to gay bars in Canterbury with Stephen, my Mum happily gave me a lift there and back without questioning me. When I brought Stephen home for the first time he was quickly adopted and forced into doing the washing up (a sure sign of acceptance in my family).  When my parents arrived home one day and I walked down the stairs with unruly hair and a black policeman, hardly an eyebrow was raised.

It wasn't a perfect coming out, but it was probably the best one for me... I have to say I thank my lucky stars for my Mum and her acceptance of who I am. It's just such a shame for all the boys and girls out there who grow up like Bobby did, living with enforced shame and hatred. One day I hope no one ever needs to come out, that who you love is no more of an issue than your favourite colour. One day...

Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son (US Amazon)

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Grand Old Blogger

One of the first pictures I ever blogged: Tom Welling

I've been blogging since 2001. I've been on Blogger since before it was bought by Google, back in the days of Pyra Labs. You, Dear Constant Reader, have seen the ups and downs of my life throughout that time.

But behind that something has changed. When I started, blogging was niche. It was about to have it's first great leap forward with 9/11 and the spike in new blogs that occurred there after. But most blogs, even after that, were still very interesting, very personal, places full of the weird and wonderful tidbits of someone else's life. Blogs about Backstreet Boys slash fiction and The Sims and college life. All at the same time. Written by a girl. Wonderful.

Of course it's easy to get nostalgic. Looking around the blogging world now I find most people are on the make. Most companies have blogs. More and more politicians are getting them. And, the worst of all, most of the good blogs have gone as their writers have moved away from the commercialisation and use their talents elsewhere. Dead blogs are everywhere.

I look at my blog list and I have to say: not one of those blogs is in anyway similar to what a blog was when I first arrived on the blogging scene. And it makes me sad.

I wasn't about for the start of the internet revolution. But I was pleased to be about for the start of the blogging revolution. It was a time of great fun. Onwards and upwards though... I'm sure soon enough we shall have another slow burning fad appear which shall be just as wonderful and great as blogs used to be.

Why the nostalgia? Because I watched the rather awesome first part of the Open University/BBC internet retrospective The Virtual Revolution. I have to say I've been watching a lot of Open University stuff recently...

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Please Hold

To celebrate Australia Day: Michael Witt!

And for the rest of my blog entry I think another Australian singing will pretty much sum everything up...

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Leave All This To Yesterday

Coming to the end of the weekend, and of Under The Dome too, and I'm feeling low as low can be. Have been all week. Maybe it's the time of year, after all my great European adventure happened at the same time of year. Perhaps I have SAD. Now that would be somewhat unfortunate in that I am a cold weather person! But also so very apt.

I know, getting rid of this Black Dog would mean I'd no longer be me any more. My emotional ups and downs are as much as part of me as my height or my inherent shyness in public. It's just I hate how they affect others. I can ride them out, but can my relationship? My friendships? My job?

I don't mean to hurt or upset others when I'm like this, but I do. I know I do. I hurt my Mum more than I will probably ever be able to understand when I ran away. I hurt people still.

If angels were real, they'd absolutely look like Mario Maurer

Grr... well that's me this week. I'm sure I'll be fine again next... I've been through enough ups and downs to know neither state lasts forever which is, in itself, both a blessing and curse. So don't worry unduly Dear Constant Reader!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Too Busy!

Reading Stephen King's Under the Dome that is...

It's absolutely bloody awesome! Unless he truly screws up this ending it's going to be up there with It and The Stand as one my favourites. (thanks again Zoe!)

In other news TFI the weekend! Jesus, I can't stand work. Grr...

Erm... and that's it really. I really should start preparing to move. But there's always next weekend for that...

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'll Take One To Go

This week: the 17:50 Cannon Street service to Greenwich has been late every day. The first day the driver announced it had been late due to Southeastern insisting it needed a really good wash. The second day he said he hadn't been joking the first day. *sigh* Basically some problem stemming from Southeastern's new timetable, and when the driver is suggesting you call in to complain you know it's not good!

At work, I'm currently training a new boy who is already nearly better than me. Grr... I just hate/love that.

Zoe, Her Most Awesomest, bought me a get well gift last week when I was ill (I note you, Dear Constant Reader, did not).... Stephen King's Under the Dome. I got it on Tuesday and am already half way through this huge tome. It is bloody awesome so far, one of his best. I just pray to God he doesn't screw it up with one of his rubbish endings (hello The Cell).

Otherwise life just muddles along as always.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One Of Those Days

When I woke up this morning I came into the front room to find Jim worrying over Mr Gibbs broken vivarium light. He gave me a look and told me it was going to be one of those days. He was not wrong!

We decided to take the car up to Charlton Reptiles to get a new light and some food for Mr Gibbs. The cars front wheel looked a little deflated but we decided to go anyway and stop off at a garage to top it up. At the top of Point Hill, just behind our house, we realised it wasn't just a little deflated... it was flat.

Bobby Rossong Yoinked from Queerty

So lots of fiddling around later we managed to change the tyre... and as we attempted to turn the engine on to power our emergency tyre inflater it conked out. Much fiddling around later, and discovering not only was the car broken but the tyre inflater was too, we got the car working again and managed to get it home.

Abandoning this route we decided to see if Wickes had the light we needed. The light we needed was a bayonet, but Wickes only had screw in ones. Aha! thought Jim, I'll just buy a screw in light fitting... but all the light fittings they had were bayonet!! Joined up supply there, me thinks!!

Next plan: go to Lewisham by DLR and then walk down to Ladywell to a pet shop there. Jim doesn't have Oyster and my Oyster isn't topped up and they don't do DLR returns any more!!!! Deciding we'd rather walk then pay 4 quid for a ticket for 3 stops, we headed down into Lewisham, stopped off at Spoons for a much needed top up and finally got to the pet shop. Surprisingly they had what we needed, which was concerning in itself, and we headed back (via Spoons again). Jim suddenly had an urge for jam pudding (don't ask) so we headed to Tesco's... just after we'd crossed the road by the railway bridge and were heading passed Maggies we heard a thud and screams from behind us. Some girl had just been hit by a car that promptly drove off! The police were there in seconds so we moved on quickly...

4 hours after we set off... we returned home with a light and food for Gibbs and beer and chocolate for ourselves. Stress-o-rama!!!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Bobby Rossong Yoinked from Queerty

I've been blogging for 9 years, as of this year. Amazing really when you think about it! Last year I made over £200 from blogging, thanks mainly to some rather unobtrusive paid links (honestly you won't spot it on here!). So I spent a few days off work sick working on my blogs. Tidying them up, removing dead links, and generally preparing them for the next stage of blogging... i.e. more posts and better quality ones at that. Relax folks I'm not going to suddenly have Google Ads between every post nor add any more ads to the sidebar. Those ads work perfectly well. It's now time to actually give some content. And, anyway, this blog is already pretty damn awesome (9 years of age means it can hold it's own on Google!) so it's my other blogs I'll be focussing on.

Why? Every little helps... I am determined to try to escape my current way of life however I can! Positive thinking people!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there

Back in the early days of this blog, I did something thoughtless and cruel to my family and friends. I ran away. Sure I only lasted two weeks but I think that's a pretty damn good innings for a childish, melodramatic endeavour (Part One The Journey To Rome, Part Two The Journey Home).

8 years ago today I was in the town of Menton on the Cote D'Azur (that's southern France for the uninitiated), eating chicken and tomato panini's if memory serves me correctly. Whilst the memories are rather dark and foreboding, given that I was planning to kill myself at some point on the trip, I can now look back on them fondly. I'd given up all responsibilities, ever so briefly, and there was no family, no university, no work, nothing at all to worry about. Except for that damn black dog on my shoulder.

It's refreshing to remember a time before WORK when life was a little less repetitive. I would give anything, I repeat ANYTHING, to be able to afford not to have to work anymore. To be able to choose each day what I wanted to do and know that if I did choose to do something there was always tomorrow for a rest if I wanted it.

Which reminds me once again of my oft quoted promise to a tramp at Brighton Station (which occurred 8 years and a couple of days ago!) that I'd never become part of the rat race. Sorry dearest tramp, I have failed thee! And, I suppose, myself.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Snow Up And Down

This week has been fairly simple. I've spent every single day praying for snow, peering out of windows at work and home searching for even the merest hint of a flake of snow. I blame my Mum, who is the sort of person who stares out the window in June and optimistically says "Ooo... looks like snow." Whilst others have been moaning about snow and the media coverage, I've been moaning about people moaning about snow (see here) and shouting at the television "Snow isn't BAD weather!!"

For all those like me who obsess over snow check out Will it rain today? for radar pictures updated every 15 minutes.

So with my hopes raised and dashed repeatedly it's no surprise I've caught a cold and am now playing the poorly card. Sympathy please!

Mr Gibbs has spent the last two days being frustratingly restless, jumping in and out of viv and running around the living room at amazingly high speed. He seems able to traverse the room in moments without you noticing. Disconcerting when you look at a box across from you and see a little reptilian head peering round the side watching you carefully. Gotta love the Gibbs!

Now here's something to warm us up during this cold snap... .a Singaporean life guard...

Yoinked from Asian Hunks

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Monday, January 04, 2010

Angry Commute

1) Dear Man on Platform 2 London Bridge at 17:50 today. When you decided to walk backwards into me as I stood awaiting my train, I wonder what exactly went through your mind to do it again. And again. Were you perhaps hoping I might pull your head off, boiler it clean and use the skull as a new fashionable Oyster card holder?

2) Dear Lady on Platform 2 London Bridge at 17:54 today. Some of us have the uncanny ability to know where the doors of a train are going to open. Others are too stupid to understand they open at the same place every day and instead position themselves randomly along the platform. I am the former, you are the latter. What this means is I am at the front of the queue to get on (once everyone is off of course), so what was going through your mind when you attempted to squeeze yourself (forcefully and hurriedly) into the one foot of space between me and the door thus getting in the way of those getting off and in the way of someone who has legs that are bigger than you?? Were you hoping to form a new type of graffiti made from your remains after I'd squashed you up into a pulp?

3) Dear Man on the 17:54 Greenwich bound train. You had been seated throughout the journey, whilst I had been standing. I was quite clearly standing waiting to get off. So what ever possessed you to think that when the doors opened you'd rush to push me out of the way so you could gain an extra 2 seconds lead? Did you think you'd be successful in moving me, Jae Kay The Man Mountain? Of course you failed. I trust this will serve as a lesson to you that the overwealming combination of etiquette and hugeness makes me a formidable commuting opponent whom you shall inevitably lose to should you seek to break the unwritten rules of travel.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A New Decade

Lee Min Ho

I was going to write a "resolutions" post, but have now decided against it. Why? Because putting down in words your hopes and dreams only serves to demean and belittle them. I have great hopes for the future, and I'll aim for those but I won't put a reminder of them here for that may serve only to depress a Future Jae, who stupidly decides to reread his blog (note to Future Jae, if you are reading this you are a very bad man! You know what we agreed about rereading blogs!!).

I had a lovely New Years Eve party at the local (pictures here, taken by Jim on his nice new camera) and enjoyed a second trip to the cinema yesterday to see Avatar again. That movie has rocketed to the top of my favourite movies list.

I hope you have a Happy New Year, Dear Constant Reader, and rest assured that whilst I can still type you'll hear all about mine.

If you are feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist