Monthly Archives: October 2015

Masculinity and the Gay Chaos Magician.

Photo on 10-26-15 at 3.30 PMGrowing up gay for me. I wasn’t really a butch boy, I was always an art kid, a smart ass, but not really feminine.

I was drawn to Barbie dolls, not because I wanted to dress them or anything – because my action figures had explicit bolts in their movable limbs, and Barbie has a fake skin so the bolts are not visible. I wasn’t allowed to play with them much, I likely would have taken a knife to that fake skin, looking for the bolts. But I generally was jealous that my action figures didn’t merit the same attention to detail.

I did play with the EZ bake oven more than my female cousin a year older than me. I lived with that cousin when raised by my maternal grandmother from age 4 to 6 or 7 – I liked to make stuff – usually gross, like sugared breakfast cereals and egg – cooked by light-bulb.

I didn’t do sports, I really wanted to – but because I was so small and young looking I wasn’t selected for sports teams and I never developed sport skill sets. I took to skateboarding, later I found some aptitude at gymnastics.

It was around age 11 I figured out what ‘Faggot’ MEANT, and that I was a faggot. I came the realize the intense feelings I would have for some of my friends, were actually the same stuff my friends were feeling for girls.

And it was at this time I intentionally became self aware that I wasn’t perfectly masculine, and began trying to be more masculine and I developed a great fear of rejection should anyone ‘find out’. I did have a feminine flair for fashion a little , and I squashed that – but for the most part it was anxiety over a femininity that was subtle if it existed at all.

I made it through my teen years by playing at being asexual, which people in high school did ask me about, but were heterosexist enough to never imagine I am gay.

It took me till I was 23 to come out. And I did, and to my family first. I’ll not go into detail. But it was a huge deal, I was prepared to be rejected by everyone and that didn’t happen. The believing everyone in your life will reject you – that’s a common subjective reality for the closeted gay person and is WHY it’s a big deal, any gay person coming out.

After I came out, I realized I no longer needed to try to be more masculine than I am. And this introduced a rather deep question: AM i masculine?

Because I was severely conditioned by the stereotype that gay = effeminate, and I believed if I am gay I MUST be effeminate and the only reason I’m NOT effeminate is because I tried so hard NOT to be for the years I was closeted.

And this belief in a true self that isn’t the ego I’d developed already, put me in a year long existential crisis, an intense thing with weird mental effects. I lost the ability to read for a week or so – not because I forgot anything – but because I became keenly aware of the arbitrariness of letter shapes and the sounds words are meant to elicit. Like how if you repeat a word over and over and over it loses all meaning – but that process becoming instantaneous and for EVERY WORD, Every letter….

I resolved the conundrum and ended the crisis, not with the truth, but with an answer that was ‘true enough’: I do not exist at all – everything I am is made up.

And this has profoundly shaped my thinking and my life – it prepared me for the writing of DT Suzuki about Zen Buddhism, and Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘reality tunnels’, it made chaos magic’s emphasis on belief as a tool, simple and easy to grasp. It allowed me be the person I want to be, that as long as who I am is self actualized – knowing that I have a say in WHAT I actualize. Granted, my ideas of what ‘cool’ is are no less socially conditioned, but I’ve made them mine and I own them and indeed, I am them.

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