All posts by TheDarkHorse

Why Pride is Still Needed

pride

So, I’m writing this because of all the backlash that pride month is getting this year. For some reason, straight people are feeling the need to create “straight pride parades”, ban gay pride parades, and harass LGBT people and their allies on social media.

I’m going to write about my experiences to hopefully show why Pride is still important, and how LGBTQ people are not treated equally or given “special treatment” like some suggest. I’m also writing knowing that this IS NOT worst that the LGBTQ community goes through. I’m in no way trying to say I’ve had it the worst. Quite the opposite actually – I’m trying to show how everyday homophobia still exists. Homophobia is more than just a gay person being murdered.  LGBTQ people can be treated like shit on various levels in all aspects of life, and while nothing is as tragic as a murder, the “smaller” things add up when a community has to deal with it regularly.

Here are some things I’ve had to go through…

Harassment 
Growing up in Ohio, I was called faggot daily at school, my health teacher in high school told me that I since I was gay, I was going to die of AIDS, and people refused to be my friend. Even if they weren’t homophobic themselves, their association with me would ruin their social lives, and potentially lead to them getting called faggot as well. So, to be safe, those who didn’t hate me kept their distance out of fear.

Pride is important because, like me, those who come from areas where nobody accepted them feel alone and hopeless. Pride events show them that they are not alone.

Neglect
Neglect is normal for LGBTQ people. I didn’t know how my parents would react to me being gay, so I didn’t tell them until I moved out. My German teacher in high school was particularly homophobic and while I had books thrown at me, had my backpack stolen, and threats of being beaten up, she causally looked the other way, ignoring everything.

Pride is important because because, like me, those who have never had anyone stand up for them feel unsafe and scared of the world. Pride events show them that they are allowed to walk this earth without fear.

Employment
Finding employment, retaining employment, and having a happy and healthy worklife is difficult for LGBTQ people. Let me use my experience as an example. I was hired at Outback Steakhouse. Soon after, the manager who hired me transferred to another store. The new manager, a ridiculously stereotypical straight man, hated me from the day he walked through the door.
Obviously, it’s impossible to prove that it was homophobia. AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. In this country, with our laws, anyone can simply say they didn’t like an employee or coworker because of their performance, or their attitude, or some similar complaint, and then the LGBTQ person is helpless in fighting for their rights.
For my example, the manager soon hired his granddaughter. Like me, she was one of the hosts, so we worked together regularly. She pestered me about my sexuality endlessly, until one day I got fed up and finally told her I was gay to shut her up.
She then paraded around the restaurant, loudly telling everyone that I was gay, and how weird that was. When she got back up to the host stand, I said, “You know, I know this job seems like nothing to you, because you were hired simply because your grandfather owns the place, but for some of us, this money is important.”
Guess which one of us got fired for “harassing another employee…”
Exactly.

Pride is important because, like me, many LGBTQ people have experienced real inequality that isn’t fair and isn’t right. Pride events give them a space to tell stories and discuss experiences with others in a safe space.

Depression, Anxiety, Anger, and Fear
Rates of depression and anxiety run high in the LGBTQ community. And anger about the past, the fear for the future linger for us all. For example, my current roommate in New York City, one of America’s most liberal cities, is a Trump supporter.
I have to hear him talk to all of his friends in our living room about how annoying gay people are and how “they’re always looking for attention.” He also said he supports the idea of companies being able to refuse service to LGBTQ people. He even told his friends how he thinks it’s gross and wrong when guys “act too gay.”
Now, listen to me…I never would have moved into this place had I known this beforehand. But when I visited the apartment before I moved in, the questions of “Who did you vote for in 2016” or “Do you find gay people gross?” never came up. This NYC for fuck sakes! I didn’t think I had to ask questions like that. But guess what, unfortunately when you’re LGBTQ, you do. Even in 2019.
We don’t get to blindly trust our peers the way straight people do. We don’t get to walk into situations assuming that people won’t hate us. We don’t even get to hold hands in public without the entire world staring us down.

AND THAT IS WHY PRIDE IS SO IMPORTANT. Because the LGBTQ community does not yet have equality.
We don’t yet have safety.
We don’t yet have peaceful lives.
PRIDE is to help us stay sane. It’s for us to feel worthwhile, to feel accepted, and to feel a part of something.

Thank you for reading.

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Visiting Home After Being Gone a While

ohio

So, I’m back in Ohio right now visiting home, and it’s been very pleasant. The memories of how people treated me here are finally fading away as I get older, and I have to admit…I think that now that I finally feel successful…whatever anyone here thinks of me no longer matters.

For example- If someone here wants to hate me for being gay, well… I get paid to travel the world and write stories about it… Tell me Mr. white trash Ohioan, what do you do? Now that I’m happy and now that I feel worthwhile, ignorant trash suddenly seems like nothing more than, well, ignorant trash.

 

Dolly Parton has a song called Home (a very good song in fact)

 

And so much of it makes sense now. There really is no place like home. For better or for worse, there is only town where you grow up (unless you move). But for most of us, there’s only one town where you experience grade school and high school, and all the crap that comes along with it. And whether your experience sucked like mine, or was great like the some prom queen, it leaves a mark inside of you that shapes who you are.

There’s always something powerful about coming back. For me, it’s two-fold. Part of it makes me remember why I ran so far away. This town just isn’t me. It never was. I always wanted the world, I wanted to devote my life to a passion. And that just isn’t how most Ohioans feel. But at the same time, I also appreciate the things here that I can’t have in Manhattan. I love all the tree-lined streets, the quiet nights, the fireflies, the large nearby parks with wandering riverbeds and deers and foxes and squirrels and frogs. I love nature. And that love of nature is a big part of what spurred my love of travel. Coming home is always nice because it refuels my natural side. The side I lose in New York.

In a few weeks I take my next trip for work. I’m off to London!

london

 

I’m very excited! But London is big and sprawling and crowded. It’s the opposite of my hometown (and that will partly make me love it) But, it’s also encouraging me to suck up as much Ohio as I can right now.

I’m going to walk the family dog, ride my bike, sleep with my windows open, and embrace everything Ohio is. Everything I left behind.  Everything I hate. And Everything I still love.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(This was… 60% proofread?)

 

 

 

Anxiety, My Dear Friend.

nyc

So, as I’ve stated before, I’m living in New York City and have somehow stumbled into the beginnings of a writing career…Something I never thought would happen.

It’s sort of like the beginning to every cheesy chick flick ever.

For real…

Chick Flicks that I know of where the lead character is a writer/works for a magazine: 13 Going on 30, The Devil Wears Prada, You’ve Got Mail, Ugly Betty, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Sex and the City, Morning Glory….. The list goes on.  Anyways, moving on….

The point is, things are…going well.  People may even think I have talent. A recent article I wrote got picked up by Newsweek, The Miami Herald, Philly Magazine, Houston Chronicle, Yahoo News, MSN, Fox News, and tons of local CBS and FOX stations…it even aired on the news, like, on TV! 

On top of that, I was sent on assignment to Mexico early this month, and have a trip to London in June.

IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? 

real?

 

If you need some context as to how crazy this is, go back and read my posts from 2013, 2014, 2015, even 2016! I was agoraphobic. I was working in retail. I felt like the ugliest failure that ever existed. I always felt like I had talent. But I also felt like nobody would ever want to hear my voice.

I felt that I was an eternal failure destined to be the outcast until I died.

Ok look…I’m still the outcast and probably always will be. BUT, I’m an outcast who is becoming successful.  And that’s worth something, right? 

jstifler

 

But, despite the growing success, I still feel anxious. And I’m starting to understand that the feelings of anxiety may never go away. I still have moments where I go “I really hope they like this article, cuz I don’t want to lose my job” or “I wonder if I’m going to lose my job someday because of the way writing careers are going…”

But, such is life in this industry.

Triumph normally requires risk. If I wanted career security, there are a lot of boring jobs I could have. I could go back to working for a phone company…cuz that was fun….(rolls eyes so hard they hurt)

 

But with accepting my anxiety, it also seems to help. Whereas I used to be convinced my life was falling apart, now I have moments where I get anxious and I feel the dread and fear that comes along with it. Then, I take a breath and remind myself that I’ve already been through hell. I’ve already felt what it’s like to have nothing. I’ve already been in a situation where I was having sex for money. I’ve already been completely alone.

I’ve already lived the life that I fear I’ll have to live if everything falls apart.

So what am I fearing?  I survived it once, I could do it again.


 

But I don’t think I’ll have to.

I have a feeling…

good

A good feeling.

A feeling that things are working out. I think maybe it’s a mixture of hope and confidence…two things I’ve lacked in the past. The more stuff I get published, the more people want my writing, and the more people want my writing, the more secure I feel in my writing, which makes my writing better, which makes more people want it, which…

you get what I’m saying. It’s a positive feedback loop. 

 

So, I guess the point is this – I felt that I was a failure FOR YEARS.

Again, go ahead and read this blog if you don’t believe me. I spent way too much time hating myself. I spent way too much time believing others that I was worthless. I spent too much of my life not living my life.

And while I still feel anxious at times, I’m not letting it control me. Anxiety is a fucking joke – it’s a cunt that will try everything it can to fuck you over. Don’t listen to that bitch.

If you need help because you’re feeling depressed, anxious, have PTSD, or any other issue – call your local lifeline (here is a list of all the crisis lines around the world)

And whatever you do.  Don’t give up. You’re better than that.

Rock this shit out y’all! 

nick

(Who is this? Is this Nickleback or something?  Hoobastank perhaps? Good lord…)

 

~ The Dark Horse

(No this wasn’t proofread. #SozBro!)

 

 

 

SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE

sum

Holy fuckbills on a stick people, Summer is finally almost here! It’s so close, so. damn. close!

The warmth. The sun. The adventure! For real, anyone else out there with depression and anxiety – how do you feel about summer? I know that back when I was younger and overweight I used to hate summer. Summer was a time for wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts. AKA: It was a time for my pasty fat to be shown to the world. And I hated it immensely.

But now that I’ve gotten in shape, I’m the opposite. Now I love summer. I love getting some sun. I love the heat, the warmth. I feel like I have so much more energy in the summer and my depression seems to not be as bad. All the cloudy, short, cold winter days take it out of me. An the summer weather seems to charge me like a battery.

sum2

But I fully understand that it’s all relative.

How did I go from hating the summer, to loving the summer?

And not just that, but winter seriously takes it out of me.

I used to long for those sweaters that I could hide under, for the idea of “I’m not sitting around the house because I have no life…I’m sitting around the house because it’s winter. duh!” It felt like such a great excuse to myself.

But now it’s almost like I’m revolting against the old me.

Now, when I’m trapped inside on cold winter days, memories of my past come back with a fury. The sadness of not just bleak the winter days, but also my bleak past, all live inside me all winter long.

But summer, Oh man! It makes me just want to run amok around the world. Finding adventure wherever I can.

 

So, if you’re like the old me and hate summer – here are some things to be excited about:

1.) New season of Stranger Things

strange

I could watch Winona Ryder freak out all day long.  Plus, did you see that amazing trailer playing The Who?  uuuuggghhhh…..SSSSUUUUUMMMMMMEEEERRRRRR

 

2.) Getting outside more

JP

Nothing makes you feel better than a good walk in the park, am I right? You could even go for a run if you wanted to.  Even if I’m completely alone, something about being outside in the warmth just makes me feel so much better.

 

3.) Summer Travel!

flight

Summer is a time for adventure and a time for traversing this great planet of ours! Don’t fear the worst! get out there, hop in a plane, and go somewhere!

 

4.) The New Godzilla movie

godzilla

If the world is just too depressing, and you feel like it’s all falling apart, then stay inside a nice cozy movie theater and watch the world get destroyed in the new Godzilla movie! Anytime a giant creature destroys mankind I am a happy man!

 

5.) Summer music!

blind.gif

Summer is a time for the hottest songs of the year to get released….BUT SERIOUSLY, FUCK MODERN MUSIC. Instead, I fill my summers with the summer hits of the 90’s. Blast Blind Melon, Alanis Morissette, Hole, Lauryn Hill, Smashing Pumpkins, Robyn (old Robyn, not new Robyn), and Fiona Apple.  That’s right. Teach these stupid cunts what real music sounds like!

 

Enjoy your summer everyone!

~ The Dark Horse

My Roommate is a Trump Supporter Part 2

trump

So, the other week I made a post about my roommate being a Trump supporter and all the horrible and stupid shit he says.  Well, with the release of the Mueller Report, he’s gone balls to the wall, fucking batshit nuts.

Which is ridiculous. I’m a very liberal person. However, I fully understand that Trump will win in 2020 because Democrats can’t get their shit together and nobody in the country has the balls to hold the Republican party accountable for anything.

So, why he’s mad, I’m not sure…..

He’s literally guaranteed Trump until 2024 (vomits)

But what makes me so sad is that he’s dug himself into this little hole. He listens only to male country singers. He watches only Fox News. He reads only Alt-Right websites. He has no friends in New York and never leaves the apartment because he feels the people here are mean to him, and judge him for being a Trump supporter….

trump1

WHICH IS SO FUNNY TO ME, BECAUSE AS A GAY GUY WHO GREW UP IN OHIO, I WAS CONSTANTLY TOLD BY PEOPLE LIKE HIM THAT I SHOULD JUST LEAVE OHIO AND GO RUN AWAY TO SOME BIG LIBERAL CITY WHERE I WOULDN’T BOTHER “REAL AMERICANS” SO MUCH. 

SO TO MY ROOMMATE, I’D SAY THE SAME – YOU CAN’T BE IN NEW YORK…THE CITY WHERE ALL OF US FROM THE MIDWEST HAVE TO RUN AWAY TO BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU… AND THEN BE MAD THAT NONE OF US WANT YOU HERE. 

YOUR PEOPLE CONSTANTLY TOLD ME TO GET OUT MY ENTIRE LIFE.

SO NOW I SAY THE SAME. 

GO BACK TO KENTUCKY WHERE YOU BELONG. 

bye

 

What was really terrifying though was the “stand-up comedy” he blasted from the living room the other day.  I have stand-up in quotes because I saw no comedy here. There weren’t even jokes.  I swear to you people, this is verbatim what was said —–

Comedian: You know who I really hate? Bernie Sanders! 

(Audience claps)

Comedian: What a fucking piece of shit right? 

(Audience bursts out laughing and cheering)

Comedian: Someone really needs to walk up to that motherfucker and just punch him in the fucking face! 

(Audience laughing uproariously)

Comedian:  Seriously, like, he wants to steal our money???? If he ever tries to steal my money I’m going beat the shit out of him!

(Audience going completely fucking nuts)

Comedian: I think Bernie doesn’t get that we’re powerful. If he ever comes for us, we’re gonna’ take him down! 

(Audience going so crazy I’m surprised the theater didn’t collapse)

 

People… this shit was scary.

Republicans went nuts when Samantha Bee called Ivanka a feckless cunt, and yet they have no problem with someone saying they’re going to beat Bernie Sanders to death?

trump4

 

Ya’ll, we are fucked. These people are terrifying. Can we please get our act together for 2020?  Please? 

 

The Dark Horse

TRAVEL>>> There Really is Nothing Better

mig

Next month I’m being flown to Mexico to write an article.  This is going to be the first time I’ve been paid to do travel writing. It feels like a complete dream come true!

I honestly don’t have words – what is there to stay that could possibly capture how accomplished I feel?  Growing up, watching the Travel Channel, dreaming of escaping my hometown in Ohio… and now, I somehow have one of those jobs that everyone going up told me wasn’t real.

I’m from trash-bucket Ohio. Once manufacturing died, so did my hometown. The mentality of my hometown isn’t “Work hard, you’ll go places!” Instead it’s, “The world will eat you alive! Ohio isn’t that bad! Do you know what your chances are of actually being successful? You’re just going to wind up back here with your tail between your legs!”

Like they say, misery loves company. 

mex1

 

And let me make this very clear —–> If you’re the kind of person who enjoys coming home from work everyday and sitting in your Lay-Z-Boy to watch Real Housewives….THAT IS TOTALLY OK! I have nothing against you! The problems arise because most people who live their lives like are also the types to who hate the idea of others doing something else. That hatred is the problem. 

help

It almost seems like they are trying to keep others down. Like they don’t want to watch others do more with their life. That is what I hate. You should never have to be surrounded by people who clearly don’t want to see you succeed.

Mex2

 

Ah, but bitches, let me tell you….

Once you escape that cycle, life can get good. It can take a while, and it can be hard (well, it will be hard, unfortunately) After years upon years of having people shit on you, change doesn’t come overnight. The journey to happiness is surely an uphill battle.

 

But it’s totally worth it.

Trust me.

IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

 

mex4

 

Ah Mexico… on someone else’s dime.  Me, writing the night away.

Oh , god it’s almost orgasmic…

mex5

 

 

I may be pushing 30…but I’m finally starting to feel like my life is starting. My life is 1/3 over…and just beginning. But, better late than never, right?

Plus, I remember Steve Carell has that line in Little Miss Sunshine, where he says something like, “Your struggles are what end up making you good writer.”

So hopefully I have lucrative writing career ahead!

Hi ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ho