The best of the badThe Gay Boy Next Door Thursday, April 28th, 2011
Social Chaos: The Gay Boy Next Door
Mommy dearest always told me to make the most of any situation. There’s always a silver lining or lesson to learn even in the worst possible experiences, she would say. I didn’t realize how much I took this instruction to heart until I started analyzing my own actions and correlating moods.
I began paying attention to what helped me go from hopeless to happy in the shortest amount of time, and quickly noticed a pattern. There is a simple way of transforming perspective and turning even the most frustrating moments into personal development and empowerment, and you’re looking at it right now.
My realization came while trying to figure out why I can never effectively relate my angst and darkness through writing. The problem isn’t a lack of evil or honesty in me, as I established in my last column, so fault must lie in the process of putting my darker parts on paper.
I remembered an old therapist friend who told me that writing was a fantastic therapy, “If you have a problem, take an hour to write about the issue in detail. Wait a day, and then do the exact same thing again. Repeat every day until satisfied.”
He told me that every time you write about a problem, your mind gets better at organizing the related details. Since the feeling of being upset predominantly comes from mental chaos and a lack of personal understanding and order, putting a problem into narrative form naturally eases the mind.
This is why I have such a hard time relating my dark side in writing, I realized. I can be angry when sitting down to write, but my rage always diffuses as I try to explain my situation. There is simply no way for me to do my dark side justice, because the very act of writing about it sends me back to my happy world of unicorns, rainbows and sap.
While this is a tad limiting for my personal non-fiction, it is helpful in daily life. Forming an honest perspective narrative is a rather healthy coping mechanism. At my lowest moments, I can always use writing to change the bad into good – a trick many might find useful from time to time. Actively occurring and upsetting situations in daily life are easier to handle knowing I have a method for future release and transformation.
I put my new practice to the test the other day when my roommate and I dropped by Eden to congratulate our friend Peter and the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus for another fantastic concert. As I entered, some random guy greeted me at the gate, “Well if it isn’t MMG.” Confusion gave way on my face, but I smiled as I corrected him. “It’s actually MMB, but nice to meet you,” I said. He sneered and then snapped back, “Oh I know, but we all like to call you MMG.”
I was in no mood to be passive-aggressively antagonized by someone I didn’t even know, so I continued smiling and walked past. I congratulated everyone and then headed back towards the exit, eager to resume my day.
On the way out, he stopped us again, this time to assure me that the G stood for “gorgeous.” I forced another smile and humored his contrived attempt to undo unnecessary hostility. Then I repeated my full name for good measure and shook his hand goodbye. Obviously unsatisfied by my lack of reaction, he then boldly hugged my roommate and coldly whispered, “It doesn’t stand for gorgeous,” into his ear.
Later, I burst into laughter as I suddenly recalled an encounter with another stranger who nonsensically and repeatedly called me “Ginger” when I interrupted his attempt to hit on my roommate. Colorful, I thought, proud to have solved the riddle of my nickname.
Then I sat down to write about the exchange and decided to contextualize it with stories of loneliness, isolation and all the reasons I seldom go out. But as I typed, the story transformed into what you are reading now and I couldn’t help but smile. There was no more loneliness, just another lesson.
Exercise is great for pent up negative energy and aggression, but organized communication like writing is the only way to truly release the tension of the mind. Talking is equally therapeutic for some, but I find that writing is the most controllable and effective way of changing personal perspective. Not to mention, it’s nice to be able to review and share your findings so easily.
Blogs, journals, Facebook statuses and tweets can be just as helpful in turning situations around in your head. Positive self-expression of any kind goes a long way in creating positive self-image and feelings. I still catch myself occasionally posting angst-ridden thoughts, but I do my best to tweak my writing to inspire a happier mood and way of thinking. In doing so, I not only become the man I want to be, but also attract the positive, happy people I want to be around.
After all, there are good people and good lessons in every situation. It just takes the right communication and perspective to uncover them. Writing, in particular, is a powerful form of expression that can help alleviate frustration, anger and confusion. It is a natural development of our need for human connection and can be a positive tool for life change.
But a fair warning from a loudmouth who has an old habit of getting himself into trouble: writing can be a dangerous and recordable form of communication. Write to be healthy, but always be aware of your content and all possible readers. If you insist on ruffling some feathers, at least broach your subject gingerly.
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