Category Archives: adulthood

Embracing The Evil Within

joker

So, I have a confession for everyone, and, judge me if you must... But, during hard times, one of the things that really helps me get by is embracing my inner super villain.

That’s right. Sometimes just being straight up evil helps make me feel better.

When I get lonely, or when I see everyone else having fun without me, I sit there and go… What if a giant meteor came and slammed into Central Park right now, obliterating all these people into dust. 

dead like me

And then a smile comes across my face. And I get a little less lonely. (Also, easter egg for any fellow Dead Like Me fans out there!)

 

Oh, oh oh!!!!!!! AND MY ULTIMATE FANTASY, I want to be like Aquaman (hot blonde Aquaman, not overly buff drag queen Aquaman)

 

                                       No thanks.                                   Yes please. 

 

Anyways, so I’d be like Aquaman….but as a villain!

OH, THINK OF THE FUN I COULD HAVE! 

Ok, imagine this…. It’s spring break,

spring

Slutty hos, and douchey bros line the beaches, having their pathetic fun…

 

But…do they know that I’ve summoned a giant swarm of sharks? 

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Sure, they can try to swim away…but really, with 500 great white sharks surrounding you, where exactly do you think you’re going to go? 

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Suddenly, the attacks begin. And once everyone knows what’s going on…

It’s already too late! 

MWUAHAHAHA!

jaws

Oh, it’s so sadistic, it’s simply perfect! 

 

Think of it – First, people become afraid of the oceans. Giant swarms of shark attacks have become normal. But everyone thinks rivers and lakes are still safe, but bull sharks can live in freshwater! Suddenly, in places like the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, giant shark attacks begin to take place. The entire human population won’t go anywhere near water. The pumps that suck in water begin to clog with algae because nobody is cleaning them… the human race begins to suffer from dehydration and famine.

Then, I come forward, revealing that I control the oceans. And I demand 5 things to make the attacks stop:

1.) I want a roller coaster built. The longest roller coaster in the world. It will span across state lines, it will be an incredible 5 hours of ride time, and it can’t be wooden, because that will hurt.

2.) Obviously, I’m now emperor of the entire world and Zac Efron has to quit acting and become my personal sex slave.

3.) US airlines must remove economy seating, because it’s just fucking miserable. Business class for all!

4.) Every Friday at 9pm the entire world must shut down, and the entire population must go to the local movie theater to view classic horror films – Scream, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw, Creepshow, House of 1000 Corpses, all of them. Every Friday until the end of time. This will surely make the human race a better one.

5.) The TV show Strangers With Candy will be renewed for another 5 seasons. The Avengers will be remade, in which every character dies 5 minutes into the first film, thus sparing us from a series of atrociously boring movies. And lastly, anyone who watched Game of Thrones must personally submit a 500 page to me, declaring that the show was stupid and waste of their time and that they’re sorry to everyone for making us have to listen to them go on and on about it for almost a decade.

 

You have my demands…. the choice is yours.

~ The Dark Horse

(No, this wasn’t proofread. Emperors of the world don’t need to proofread. Oh! That’s another one of my rules. I no longer have to proofread anything ,ever!)

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Taking Time for Yourself is Important

nyc

So, I’ve been here in New York City for about a month and a half now, and it has been one hell of a whirlwind.

Working on my thesis, and interning in TV, and writing for a magazine, and editing for a literary journal – It has been non-fucking-stop. And I love it. I absolutely love how busy I am and how much fun the work I do is, and how there is potential for my future now.

It’s amazing. It’s like I’m finally getting the things I want. My hard work is paying off!

 

However, having said that…

I’m definitely also working a little too hard. I’m working 7 days a week. (I’m even feeling a little guilty for taking a few minutes to write this blog post rather than do editing for the literary journal). And that’s a problem. 

I’m starting to feel the effects of burn-out.

sleep

 

I wake up in the morning, even after a 7-ish hour sleep, and I can feel that I’m only recharged to maybe 80%. I can feel the sluggishness setting in. I can feel the bags under my eyes forming. The dreaming and yearning to go home for a little vacation where I drink grandma’s ice tea and play Minecraft and ride my bike. I can feel the wanting a break. A rest…

 

AND THEN I WAS WALKING THROUGH CENTRAL PARK ON MY WAY HOME FROM WORK ONE DAY…

CP

And in Central Park, you can dedicate park benches and write little messages to loved ones, remembrances to deceased loved ones, and all that general plaque type stuff that you see on benches around the world.

And for some reason, I’m walking passed this one bench, and I happened to look at it, and it said,

“If you could just learn to slow down…”

 

And then my name was written right after that.

No joke.

Not kidding. 

I stared at the bench. I’m not one to believe in secret meanings or the universe sending me messages, but something about this.  It was like exactly what I needed to hear at the exactly the right time. It was so surreal.

 

So now, It’s Sunday, and I’m going to work…but I’m also going to take breaks. I’m taking some time to write this blog post, because I love my blog and it makes me happy to write it! I’m also going to go for a little walk at some point this afternoon too.

In short, I’m just going to slow down a little bit. 

Now, I was going to add a GIF into this post about writing. Something to show that I was taking time to write or whatever… and then I found all these horrendous Bradly Cooper GIFS that are just tragic, and make me laugh.  So, for your pleasure, I think I’ll showcase some wonderfully bad Bradly Cooper typing GIFS.

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Ok, so here’s Bradly in some sort of writing rainfall.  WHAT IS THIS EVEN FROM? Is this from that movie where he plagiarizes everything from Shakespeare or something? Wasn’t he in some movie called The Words? Or something like that?

 

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FULL BLOWN LITERARY HURRICANE! 

This is the type of shit that could life Dorothy’s house right up out of Kansas.

 

Alright, enough Bradley bashing. Remember to work hard, but to also take time for yourself. Your career is only one component of your life and only one component of happiness. Remember your health and your social life are important too!

 

~ The Dark Horse

 

 

 

 

Can The City You Live In Impact Your Mental Health?

city

 

The short answer (In my opinion) is yes. And in multiple ways. Let me explain:

 

For starters, if you’re living in a city where you don’t fit in, then right off the bat, you will have problems.  For example, I’m from Ohio.

ohio

I am gay, very liberal, loves travel, and have always wanted to do something in the arts and in media, and have always wanted to somehow impact the world in a big way.

Ohio is a lot of blue collar people who don’t have passports (and who rarely even leave the state), they’re mostly republicans who fear the outside world, and life consists of going to work to make money to start a family and go to church to pray to God to let you go to heaven because you’ve spent your entire life only half-lived, because you’ve been suck in the social norms that your too afraid to ever step away from.

Ohio also has a very bad crime problem, and is part of the opiod epidemic, along with having a bad meth problem as well, but that’s a whole other story… 

ANYWAYS, the point is, someone like me just doesn’t fit in there. It just wasn’t ever going to work. My life in Ohio would always have been un-lived because there isn’t anything there for me.

And the same can be true for the other side of the spectrum as well.  If you’re a Protestant who thinks homosexuality is a sin, and loves Trump and wants him to build the wall, and you genuinely fear and hate people of a different skin color from you…  you’re probably going to have a horrible miserable life in cities line New York, LA, or San Fransisco.

And as much as I’m terrified by the idea of some Protestant with so much hate and fear inside them, part of the trick is just finding where they fit.  Just like I needed to find where I fit.

 

But there’s also more factors:  

For example, Los Angeles, is car-centered city.  When you walk out to a road, it looks like this:

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You don’t see many people out walking the streets. For America’s second largest city, you sometimes wonder if you’re in a suburb somewhere.

And don’t get me wrong. There are some very beautiful, fun, and lively parts of LA. Sunset Strip, WeHo, Santa Monica, Venice.  You’ll find busy areas.

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But if you ever live there, you’ll soon realize that this is a very small percentage of LA. Most of LA, on the street level, is a barren wasteland.

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And I used to find that emptiness absolutely crushing. I used to walk around, trying to shake off my depressive episodes by being in public, hoping to gain some energy from the outside world.  And I’d wander around and be like… Holy crap, do people actually live in this city?  So, if you’re like me and find yourself lonely a lot… find yourself in desperate need of some good company… try major cities like New York, Chicago, or even San Fransisco, where the streets will be full of pedestrians, mass transit is packed, and everything seems more alive.

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But perhaps you’re not like me. Maybe you’re not a guy in his 20’s. Maybe you’re a middle-aged woman who wants a garden. Or you’re parents who don’t want to raise their children in Manhattan (which, does have it’s problems for kids… the other day I watched a couple of 15 yr olds buy drugs…. it was insanely depressing.)

Then a big hustling city might cause you stress. Whereas it’s great for me, it might make you miserable. Then you gotta go and find where you belong!

 

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Maybe you need a place like Burlington, VT? A good school system, some large corporations, but also the quaint, small, safety of a little New England City?  We all need different things.  And we all need to be where we feel comfortable and happy. Because that is the first step to good mental health. 

 

Speaking of good mental health… perhaps you’re like me and you need sunshine.  Avoid Places like Chicago and Boston, which sit at the easterly end of their time zones, and the sun sets early. Word of advice from someone who has lived in both of these cities. In the winter, it will be completely dark before you’re out of work. You will spend a few months in eternal darkness.

ohio8

 

But time zones are the only thing to worry about. Locations like Portland and Seattle are covered by clouds most of the year. And how far North you are will also have a huge impact on sunshine….So, you can rule out Alaska.

 

Obviously, there are huge factors that make a lot of this not possible. For example, if you’re a surgeon, you probably couldn’t go live in Manning, North Dakota. No matter how desperately you want to live in a rural village, close to the great outdoors… you just won’t find employment there.

ohio9

Or if you have kids who are in school. Or if you have sick parents that need caring for. Or allergies, or skin conditions, and the list goes on and on.

 

Being able to move is a luxury that I have because I’m young, and have no spouse, or children. I understand that. And I understand that not everyone can go and try and find where they fit. But still, where you live has a huge impact on your mental health. So, if you’re in a position where it’s possible (and Im not just talking about fear… don’t ever let fear be the thing keeping you stuck where you are.)  A dying parent, sure. Then you have a srepbsobilty to someone and are needed. And you’re stuck. sadly.

But don’t hide behind excuses either.  Yes, moving away may put you further from your family, and from what’s familiar. But don’t ever let fearing the unknown keep you somewhere. Don’t hide behind the excuses of “Oh but what if one day my parents happen to get sick…” or “How will my friend group go on without me…” That’s just you hiding behind excuses because you’re afraid. If you’re truly unhappy somewhere, and you have the ability to take the leap… then honey, you gotta’ go full-blown Thelma and Louise and just gun it!

 

ohio10

 

~ The Dark Horse

Was this proofread?  I’ll say this. It wasn’t not proofread. But it also wasn’t “proofread” per-se. Does that make any sense?

 

AIDS IS HELL

crisis

 

This is the last week of school before Christmas break. And for Tuesday’s class, we’ve been tasked with reading Paul Monette’s Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. And this is the strangest feeling ever.

Im so excited for Christmas break. No school. No homework. Just relaxation and the joys of Christmas – The lights, the music, the snow, the food. the presents!  And yet, that joy is mixed with a feeling of nausea. Reading this book is probably one of the hardest I’ve had to read, along with our books on the Holocaust last month. Ever page weighs on my chest.

crisis1

AIDS crept into the gay community like a stalker in the night. The virus itself is actually brilliant. It’s smart. It knows how to survive. It can sit dormant for long periods of time, infecting more and more of your body before any dire symptoms arise. By the time the worlds realized that there was a “Gay disease” it was too late. Enough men were infected with the virus (and were also asymptomatic) that it was hopeless. Men were having sex because they felt fine, unknowingly spreading the virus that caused what was then called “gay-related immune deficiency” or GRID.

There were tons of misinformation in the beginning. The disease was prevalent among Haitians, leading researchers to believe that was the origin of the disease. Also, since it was mainly gay men having with the disease, it was assumed it was a gay problem. And with America being both racist and homophobic, GRID wasn’t seen as a problem, because really, who cared about faggots and poor foreigners anyways? was the common thought.

The disease spread, originally being seen as something that only big-city slutty gays would get. It was believed that exposure took time, and related sexual intercouse. New York and San Fransisco were the hotbeds of the disease for America, with LA leading on their tail.

crisis3

 

The Reagan administration was completely homophobic, passing no LGBT legislation, and Reagan was openly against homosexuality. Along with that, many religions refused to to take part in what was now known as HIV (Human immunodieffeinrcy virus) education. The church refused to take a stance, saying only condoms were against God and that refraining from sex was the only answer for gays.

Gay men were dropping like flies. The death-toll rose daily. HIV cases began sprouting up around the world in countries like Australia, Canada, Brazil, and had been in Africa for quite some time (It is now believed that HIV originated in Kinshasa, DRC, and was transferred to humans from the primate disease SIV).

The gay community sat and wondered wonder if they would survive, or if they were simply waiting for their turn to die.

crisis4

A slew of early-stage HIV medication was used, like AZT, with little success. And protests began, begging the world to take the disease seriously and stop the genocide of the gay community.

 

Finally, in the late-90’s and into the 2000’s, after the gay community suffered in fear and mourning for almost 20 years, AIDS research took a turn for the better with more funding and more dedicated research being given to the disease. And all of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the grassroots non-profits and the protests from groups like ACT UP.

Now, in 2018, we have Prep, which is a daily pill that can help reduce your chances of HIV infection with an almost 100% success rate. And we have PEP which is a series of pills that can be taken within 72 hours of exposure to the virus, and can prevent it from infecting you.

We also have our strongest set of weapons:  Knowledge. 

We know that condoms can save lives. We know that HIV is everywhere, not just the gay community. We know that being smart about sex, and being smart about who you have sex with, can also save lives.

 

Being a gay guy in 2018, I have to say that I am so fortunate and so privileged to benefit from the actions of the gay community of the 80s, 90s, and 00s. I’m so relieved that I never had to go through the crisis period, where they spent everyday finding out another friend was infected or had died, or worse still, finding out that they themselves had the disease.

crisis5

 

 

I remember the famous Newsweek cover about Saving Private Ryan that said “War Is Hell”

crisis6

 

Well, after reading this book I’ve also learned that HIV/AIDS is also hell. And the gay community were the grunts on the frontlines. The ones who died so that the world could come away with knowledge of the disease, and medication, and a future of potential hope.

 

And to all my fellow gays, here in 2018, I ask that we be smart. Viruses are much better at their jobs than we are. They evolve and adapt so much faster than human medication. And I know a lot of younger gays see Prep and PEP and the savior we’ve been waiting for. The “end of AIDS”, but viruses don’t work that way. If not used properly, the virus can form a resistance to the drug, thus creating a second epidemic that will take countless lives. And also, I know a lot of gays these days see Prep as such an all-all-encompassing cure, that they feel there is no longer a need for condoms.

To that I say, READ THIS BOOK. Read about how slow and agonizing a death from AIDS is. Read about wasting. Read about the constant weakness, the constant pain, and the knowledge that there is no cure. You want to see hell? I would imagine that dying slowly, knowing there is no way out of it, knowing that if you would have just used a condom all of this could have been prevented…. That’s hell. I can’t imagine a worse hell.

Because at the end of the day, HIV isn’t a disease for sluts or whores. It takes 1 time.

1 time.

 

1 single encounter.

 

That’s all. So always use a condom. 

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This Christmas, remember we are so fortunate to live in the time we live in. And because of that, we need to respect our past and those who died for us. And we also need to respect future generations. Do we want to pass HIV on to the next generation? FUCK NO.

So, this holiday season:

Get to know your sexual partner first,

Wear a motherfucking condom,

Volunteer at an HIV nonprofit, take part in and AIDS walk, or donate to a charity, like this one here: AIDS UNITED

Or, go to the next step, and help out at your local LGBTQ youth center. Help educate the new generation. Help inspire young runaways. Help in any way you can, because it’s our fucking duty as gays. Our community has been to hell and back, and let’s not go there again.

Can I get an Oorah!, please?

oorah

 

 

~ The Dark Horse

I Long To Be The Younger Me Again

Feb 2010 Campus Scenes

 

Does anyone else out there look back on their past and wish they were young again?  I mean, I didn’t even like being young.  My life has been a raging shitshow since about age 10

But at the same time, there was the spark back then.  This magic all around me. 

I believed that everything was going to work out.  I thought that one day I’d fly away and be surrounded by people who loved and cared for me.  When I was 20, I was so much more jaded than any other 20 year-old around me, but now, at 27, I’m even more bitter and jaded than I thought humanly possible.

 

This one memory has been popping back into my head for about a month now.

It’s the memory of being twenty years old and being back in undergrad.  Back at a school called Loyola Marymount University.

LMU1

Loyola Marymount is located in sunny Los Angeles and it’s campus is beautiful and pristine.  Being from working class Ohio, I always felt completely out of place surrounded by all the kids from the OC and the Bay who drove their BMWs and Range Rovers around campus.

Back then I hated that school.  I had no friends.  I didn’t connect with the coke-snorting millionaires from Laguna Beach who partied in WeHo rather than did homework like me.   It was so isolating and lonely.  I remember it was so bad that I moved to Westwood to live with UCLA kids.   Then I had about a 2 hour bus commute every day there and back on the Santa Monica 3 bus line.

 

lmu3

 

And yet, these days, I look back and miss those days.  I miss being in undergrad. I miss being that young.  I miss looking out my classroom windows and seeing palm trees and the LA skyline.

But you know, what I really miss is being surrounded by peers.  There is an experience in undergrad that you’ll never get in anything else you ever do in life for as long as you live.  Its you, being young, and being surrounded by a bunch of other young people.  There is just this feeling like a new friend could be around every corner. Maybe a potential boyfriend is sitting next to you in class.   You just always think that something good may be coming.

So that’s what I’m remembering.  I keep thinking of sitting in this history class I had.  There was this really cute straight guy who sat next to me.  I used to sneak looks at him when he wasn’t looking.  And sometimes, he’d catch my looking and I’d smile like as I was just looking around the room and happened to make eye-contact with him.  He’d give me this bro-like “sup” motion with his face.

AudreyMa_LMU_2015_1520

I’ll never have that again.   I’ll never feel like a new friend is around every corner.  I’ll never feel like I’ll fall in love ever again.   I just rot.  I just got older and more isolated and my body crumbles and fades with age.

You’re only young once.   After that it’s all over.  Now, everyone is settling down, getting married, getting fat, plopping into their 9-5 (which in America has quickly turned to the 8-6), and they wash their adulthoods away at bars on the weekends talking about life as “grown ups” as they discuss buying homes and other such bullshits.

I think I actually hate them more now.  At least back when we were 20 and they didn’t have anything in common with me, I could still have some eye candy.  But now, that glow of youth that all the hot guys used to have has been replaced with a growing belly and back hair.   I wonder how they look at themselves in the mirror everyday without wanting to commit suicide.   How far they’ve fallen.

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But despite how awful life becomes, I will still have my memories.  At nighttime as I sit in my bed unable to fall asleep, I close my eyes, and think about my past.  I replay those days at LMU on loop in my head.  My bedroom provides an escape from my present.  I’d rather be lost a delusional fantasy of what my life used to be, than sit in bed at night and dwell on how it only continues to get worse.

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Anyways, does anyone else feel that way?  Does anyone else feel like even though life was never good, it was somehow less bad when you were young?

And where do we go from here?

~ The Dark Horse

(This was…perhaps 30% proofread?)

Dear Mom and Dad (A Letter They Will Never Read)

cab

 

Dear mom and dad, Im writing this because I know you’ll never read this.    I just wanted to let you know that yesterday, after leaving you at the airport, I arrived safely in Cambridge.   I will begin school next Monday and honestly, Im so excited.

 

I know that I never ever tell you this, but I love you both so much.   You guys have done so much for me and have made so many sacrifices.    Granted, we rarely see things eye-to-eye, and I know you guys don’t get me and my dreams.   But I don’t blame you.   We’re just different types of people and thats fine.

As you both know, I move around a lot.  And Its because I’m trying to find myself.   I have this deep need to be better.  To achieve greatness.  To try and take the world by storm.    But at the same time, I’ve been deeply hurt in my life.  From people who don’t get me.  From people who don’t want watch me succeed.    And in part, I suppose I have left their words and actions affect me to much.  Furthermore,  I can tell you both that it does get lonely when you constantly restart in new locations.  And I do miss you.   And I do have times where I just want to hop on a plane and come home.

 

The reason I never mention any of that to you is because I have too much pride.  I don’t want you guys worrying about me.  Fearing for me.   I don’t want you to know that Im not superhuman.   They say that every child has that moment where they realize their parents are only human.  Merely two flawed Earthlings.   When I found that out about you guys it broke my heart, and so I never want to make you two go through that same thing.

 

 

However, there is good news too.  I have really good hopes for this!  I think my intentions of going back to school are pure.  I almost feel a sense of innocence again.  Kind of like how most kids must feel when they start undergrad.  A blind-hope.  Some kind of just pure happiness and a thought things are about to be awesome.   I think I’ll learn a lot at Harvard.  I think I’ll be challenged.  Be bettered.   I have this sense of optimism and hope.  A feeling that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now…. a feeling I haven’t had in a very long time.

 

 

One day I hope that I can make you both very proud to be my parents ( I know you already are )   But still, I don’t feel proud to be me yet… Maybe thats what Im really hoping for.  And thats something Im never able to tell you.  That I feel like a failure.   I feel like a pathetic and complete failure.   I thought I would be so much more at age 27 than what I am.

 

But again, right now I’m feeling good.  Im feeling hopeful.   Im feeling optimistic.  And I just wanted to let you both know how much you mean to me.  How much I miss you every time I leave, and how grateful I am for your love and unending support.

 

~Love your son, The Dark Horse