Can I have a Cheat Sheet?

Source: http://callasbr.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/exam-f-grade1.jpg

Test

Elementary. Middle School. High School. And even College.

What do they all have in common other than teachers, students, and horrible food?

Tests!

It feels like almost half our life (depending on when you decide to end your school career) is spent with our brains being probed and prodded for the correct answer with exams. But, it’s a fact of life – assessment is needed to see you progress throughout school and I’ve come to terms with it.

You eventually complete school and move onto your career, family, retirement etc. Life moves on from tests, and I couldn’t be happier about that fact.

So imagine my surprise (and annoyance) when every single practicing Muslim I tell that I’m gay is telling me that I’m being tested by God. Here’s how the scenario usually plays out:

Me: So and so, I need to tell you something. You might already know, but I’m gay. I like guys.

Them: Estaqfor’Allah (God forbid)! Well, have you prayed to God to help you?

Me: I did when I was younger. I prayed almost every day, but in time I’ve come to terms that He created me this way.

Them: Well, then He is testing you. We all have tests that we’re given. Yours is homosexuality, another person might be a pathological liar, another person might like to steal and so on. Keep on praying to him and Insha’Allah (God willing) He’ll help you get through this.

So let me get this straight. We all are tested by God – some have to control their impulses to steal, others impulses to lie, and I…I not only have to NOT fall in LOVE, but also LIE to a woman for the rest of my life about my who I really am, FORCE myself to have sex with her to procreate, and then SUPPRESS my urges to cheat on her on top of it because I am so UNHAPPY.

What kind of a FUCKED UP test is this?!

How come I get the short end of the stick? At least in school everyone’s test is the same or standardized! Anything in Islam which can harm your body or mind is forbidden (e.g. alcohol), so how is it that now God, all of a sudden, wants me to lie, suppress my feelings, not fall in love, and force myself to have sex with a person whom I don’t love or am even attracted to. That is not healthy! That is HARMING your body and mind!

So to all the Muslims out there (or even Christian, Jews, Agnostics, Hindus etc!) who support this mentality, use the most precious gift that God gave you on this earth. Use your mind!

No loving and just God would want someone to suffer like this. No just God would be so unfair as to give gay people such a difficult test and others a comparably laughable one. If so, He’d at least give us a cheat sheet!

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YingYang

He’s dark haired, has a constant 5 o’clock shadow that tickles my neck when he kisses it. Although he has fair skin, his arm hair and hairy legs make him seem a bit more dark. He loves spontaneity, cracks an expected smile when you compliment him (because he knows he’s good looking), and his eyes beam mischief. He’s also a total flirt, doesn’t bother to keep promises and plans if they don’t strike his mood, and it’d be a really good day if he complimented you back.

He’s blonde, face smooth as a baby’s bottom which doesn’t do much for me when he kisses my neck. His light hair goes well with his Bradley Cooper blue eyes and fair skin, but he chooses to tan which make his appearance seem unnatural. He makes me smile by giving me unhesitant and heartfelt compliments. He goes out of his way to get my attention and tries to reach me with small selfless gestures. He holds me tightly as we dance as if I’ll fade away, all the meanwhile, I’m too busy noticing the dark mischievous prick across the room.

They are my Ying Yang, one light, kind, and true, the other dark, mischievous, and oozing with sex appeal. And here I am stuck in between, not wanting to give up my little ray of sunshine, nor commit to it, leaving behind the sensual appeal of the dark. At the end of the day, neither of them makes me happy.

I know that the blonde blue eyed sweetheart is who’s good for me, who will boost my spirits and come home to me and only me at night. But as I try to cling onto the light, physics takes control, for the dark absorbs all and any light…and let’s be quite clear, there is nothing more physically appealing than the call of physics.

It’s hard to balance both Ying and Yang, perhaps that’s why the Far East has written so many poems and stories revolving around the two forces in our world.

And the struggle is, needless to say, endless.

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Rumi

Kissing Dervish

Should I look for spiritual love, or material, or physical?

Don’t ask yourself this question.

Discrimination leads to discrimination.

Love doesn’t need any name, category or definition.

Love is a world itself.

Either you are in, at the center.

Either you are out, yearning

– Shams Tabrizi

This poem, is not truly by “Shams Tabrizi.”

If you don’t know of Rumi, the famous Persian poet, you should.

In Persian, he’s known by his first name, Mowlana, but by the world audience he’s known as Rumi.

Rumi is well known for his prose about wine and love – and their relations to God and coming closer to God. He is known as the father of Sufism, a branch of Islam more focused on meditation and spirituality rather than the traditional hard drawn lines of the religion.

What’s most intriguing about Rumi, to a gay man like myself, is his devotion to his “friend” and mentor, Shams of Tabriz. Rumi studied spirituality and religion under Shams in what is today Konya, Turkey. It is said that they spent a secluded 40 days together before he fled to Damascus in fear of persecution.

In the time that the teacher and the student had spent together, Rumi had dedicated himself so much to Shams that his next series of works were dedicated to him to the extent that he stated that Shams was the author, Rumi himself just a vessel for the pen. He cared for Shams so much that he sent his son to Damascus to look for him. Sure enough when the two met again “one could not tell who is the lover and who is the beloved.”

Then one day after a conversation with Rumi, Shams is called outside of his residence and is never to be seen again. It is speculated why Shams disappeared but most scholars agree that at least one of Rumi’s students was so jealous of the closeness of Shams and Rumi that he murdered Shams.

That leaves me thinking, and now putting into words what most Muslims would never want spoken…

When two men spend a secluded 40 days together and come out completely dedicated to one another.

Then one of the two has to flee to Damascus.

When you love another man so much that you dedicate your own work to him.

When you love another man so much that upon seeing one another you fall to your feet.

When the man you love is murdered by someone who is jealous of your love.

When you love another man so much that after his disappearance you announce that you and him were one so why seek his body when he souls are one.

How can this just be a mere friendship between two men? Heck this sounds like a chic flick or a soap opera.

Clearly, there was more to Shams and Rumi than what Islamic scholars like to admit, for it would taint Rumi’s image, taint Rumi’s poetry since clearly homosexuality is a sin in Islam and very taboo in Islamic cultures.

The only argument that Islamic scholars have for denying such claims is:

  1. But Rumi was married! He had a child!

Right…because no gay men in the Middle East are forced into marriage in fear of persecution and discrimination, especially in the 13th century.

2.  Rumi was Muslim. Clearly he knew sodomy was a sin.

Just because you are gay does not mean you have anal sex. Also, Rumi was also fond of wine and wrote many poems of being drunk. Clearly that’s another sin in Islam too.

The difference between Rumi and traditional Islamic views of God, is that Rumi focused on the Love of God, whereas most Muslims focus on the Fear of God.

Maybe more Muslims can take a lesson or two from Rumi, and not only his Love for God and God’s Love for him, but also his unscathed love and dedication to Shams.

Citations from:

Barks, Coleman. “the Essential Rumi” Harper Collins: New York 1995.

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Maybe She’s Born With it

No, I’m not talking about Maybelline makeup.

I’m talking signs, Zodiac signs. All determined by when you’re born.

I will say that I don’t believe in daily horoscopes. I deliberately followed a daily horoscope for 60 days and I can honestly say that maybe two or three days did it even pertain to my life or my day. And this was a fancy more articulate website where it asked not only for my birthday but also where I was born and where I live now.

Basic attributes of the Zodiac however, have thus far been spot on. Not only for the men I date, but also for the friends I have and how I perceive life itself.

Let me begin by saying I’m a Virgo. A very good one at that:

Analytical, critical, perfectionist, clean, planner, committed, bottles things up, likes to feel safe.

My first ex-boyfriend, a Pisces. My polar opposite.

Indeed it is true, opposites do attract. But over time they repel just as strongly.

His personality didn’t match at all with mine, for the Fish follow whichever way the tide sways them. Floating through life doesn’t sit well with a Virgo. We like to plan, to be in control, to have consistency in our thoughts and lives. All of which doesn’t seem to apply to Pisces. His opinions and views of life constantly changed, one day he was pro the next he was con. My critical views of his life were received with much strong emotion as they are generally very sensitive people. He would share everything, definitely was not a clean freak, had different ideas about commitment, and plans were just a guideline to his life.

Clearly, this combination was destructive. We loved and broke up destructively.

At the same time, my best friend in the world is an Aries, also a strong opposite of Virgos.

The difference lies, however, in the fact that friendships differ from relationships in the sense that there’s a grace period between how often you interact with your friends.

Aries are very outgoing, charge into things head on without thinking, love to explore and experience life. Virgos on the other hand are planners and proceed with caution. HOWEVER, given a grace period an Aries can bring a Virgo out of his shell. While the Virgo can guide the Aries through their emotions and actions more responsibly.

And since they’re friends if either has had enough for the day, they can walk away and interact again when both parties are ready. Through time my friend and I have made each other more well-rounded individuals. She’s brought me out of my shell and I given her more critical thinking skills with her own relationships.

Where incompatible signs go wrong in relationships is when there is no grace period. Emotions and interactions are much higher, to the point where one or both individuals feel suffocated by the other. Some signs and thus personalities, like in the case of Virgo and Pisces, are so different that they are constantly clashing on every aspect of life.

Be wary, however, that those born near the transition state between two signs can technically fall into one sign but more realistically be much closer personality wise to another. I think the breaking point for the signs are mere guidelines and there is much overlap as I have a dated a guy who was technically an Aquarius but with a birthday on February 16th he might as well have been a Pisces for he definitely acted and lived like one. Clearly, we didn’t pan out.

So do I take Zodiac signs into considerations when dating guys?

If it means deterring me from dating guys who are my polar opposites…You bet’ya! 

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F.O.R.D.

FORD….Fix Or Repair Daily…

And no I’m not talking about the motor company.

Although in the 90’s that acronym was used for the car manufacturer, now I believe it implies more to our lives.

I admit it. I’m always attracted to guys who are broken. They always have some sort of flaw. Not cosmetically of course. Rather and perhaps more seriously, guys who are emotionally broken. Or as I like to call them – FORD guys.

Maybe it’s the nurturer in me who seeks to find a mate who constantly needs my attention and help. Or maybe I’m threatened by guys who have their shit together better than I. Either way, it’s a destructive attraction and it needs to stop.

By dating guys who are not emotionally steady or available, I’m setting myself up for failure. They will never amount to my expectations no matter how much I try to fix their problems. Usually guys who are emotionally closed off cannot commit and need serious therapy to get over whatever issue is clouding their emotions. And by repeatedly being disappointed by the person you care about, it takes a huge toll on your relationship. After a while you feel helpless, lost in a sea of problems with him on a raft floating further and further away from you.

What’s funny is that these FORD gentleman are so cunning at always being the victim, always having an excuse, that they make it seem like it’s you who’s being unreasonable. You’re the bad guy intruding on their comfort zone and making their lives miserable. The more you try to help the more of a scapegoat you become.  

So take it from me. Don’t ever date potential. Don’t ever date someone who seems like he’s calling out to your inner nurturer. FORD guys are more trouble than they are worth and at the end of the day they will leave YOU broken, helpless, and single.  

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Peaked

Alborz_Mountain_Damavand_Peak_Clouds

 

Peaks. They’re everywhere. Mountains have them. Waves have them. But do our lives have them?

We certainly hear it applied to our lives enough. You’ve peaked. You’re at the peak of your career. The peak age of having children. Etc etc

But what does that word even entail? It certainly seems to bear a lot of weight to it.

It insinuates that you’re at the height of your career, life, school, etc…that from this point forth nothing better will come along.

Well that’s depressing.

Do people really peak?

Is every day not another opportunity to grow? Do I, at a certain age, all of a sudden stop learning, stop adapting, stop becoming a more well-rounded person?

To insinuate that at a certain age I won’t advance at my career, I won’t be as capable of having a child, I won’t grow as a person to me is completely ridiculous. My life is not a singular wave, it’s composed of many waves, big and small, with variable peaks.

We have our good days, our bad days, our days where we’re super productive, and others where we just slouch on the couch all day. Some of us are only 23 with the maturity of a 40 year old and others 40 with the mindset of a 23 year old.

Life is dynamic and unpredictable, a true roller coaster. Nothing is static and everything dependable.

So the next time someone tells you that you’ve peaked at something, not only give them the middle finger, but also refer them to my blog so they can learn a thing or two!

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Desensitize Me

Image

Source: tainted-archive.blogspot.com

For years now Hollywood has spoon fed us images of people getting shot.

During the Cold War era, the antagonists were primarily Eastern Europeans and Russians with the market flooding with shots of the nicely accessorized American punching out and kicking some major big nosed gold toothed Eastern European thug ass.

Then since the Gulf war, began the demonization of Middle Easterners. It’s been almost two decades now that movies have shown us Middle Easterners (attired horribly) getting shot at, desensitizing the mass public to violence against anyone of tan skin and dark hair color. It’s gotten to be so much so the norm that it’d be strange NOT to have a Middle Eastern antagonist in action films e.g Body of Lies, Taken 2, and most recently the new Bond movie, Skyfall.

Now, however, a new kind of evil has emerged in Hollywood. This new foe sports better fashion than his former Middle Eastern counterpart and has wittier banter – oh and one other thing, he’s gay.

That’s right, the new ‘popular’ antagonist in Hollywood films has now become homosexuals. Deranged, awkward, and unstable ones at that – most of whom apparently like showing off bleach blonde hair.

Such antagonists now can be seen in Snow White and the Huntsmen, Tron Legacy, Lawless, and here we go again, Skyfall.

The latter I found to be the most offensive, with the antagonist “Silva” so crudely hitting on James Bond himself by caressing his chest, thighs, and knees making the scene terribly uncomfortable for straight and gay audiences as it implies gay men would actually do something so unruly, further cementing homophobic sentiments in heterosexual men who already (and hilariously) think just because someone is gay they will automatically hit on them.

By the end of the movie this character is so crazy and disgusting that even I wanted to see him shot, and that’s exactly what Hollywood was aiming for. Just as we automatically side with the Caucasion male vs the Middle Eastern man in the movie, Hollywood has now successfully desensitized us to homosexuals as well by painting them as flamboyant deranged psychotic and often disgusting men who can’t control their lust for the same sex.

Seems like the T.V. stereotype of gay men as being uber friendly, flamboyant, fashion crazy, superficial hacks is the exact counterpart to this new Hollywood trend.

How unfortunate that a normal medium can’t be reached – with the liberals enjoying this T.V. stereotype and the conservatives pushing for the deranged Hollywood version. America’s bipolarization continues…

And where does that leave homosexual Middle Eastern men like me?!

I’ve successfully become the ultimate bad guy.

Now if only I could have a Hollywood salary to go with it.

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