March 29, 2010

Anonymous Posts
(3.22.10-3.28.10)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks or hate speech. Feel free to submit your thoughts and questions :)

Hey you guys.

1) We had a ton of pre-frosh visit the Center this weekend and it was pretty much The Most Awesome. I would never have the confidence to do that in a million years, and I'm realizing that these younger generations are bold. Thanks for hanging out! Hope to see you all in the Fall.

2) Walk by Kilgo J when you can. We are making the section look like an LGBT SLG. It's legit. Let us know if you want a flag, too! We'll even hang it for you :) Apparently, someone wrote a letter to RLHS complaining about the rainbow flags, citing an obscure line in building code. This is good! We are pissing intolerant people off! That means we're doing our job.

Lots of awesome posts this week. Comment time!

#1
LOVE IT. Jane Lynch is an amazing woman. Sue Sylvester on the other hand thinks we've gotta watch out for all those "sneaky gays" out there! Check it out and get PUMPED for Glee starting again soon!!

[Ed. Note: I'm going to be honest, #1. This sort of sounds like the work of a PR person at Fox. This is very ad-like and most likely a blatant pandering to our Glee-obsessed gay community. But having said that, OMG CAN'T WAIT.]

#2
HELLO BDU. the posters you unleashed on campus today were extroardinary. YES

[Ed. Note: I know! The No Homo(phobia) campaign was incredibly successful. Everyone involved just GOT. IT. last week, and are pretty much my heros. Mason Plumlee even signed our pledge! More information about the anti-hate speech campaign here.]

#3
I want to cry. I want to lie down in my bed and cry my eyes out like a little child. It's not a problem of identifying. I know who I am. It's a problem of finding someone special for me. And I guess being a gay guy doesn't make it any easier. Everyone's already in relationships or don't want one. Or they don't want me. It's really frustrating you know? And there's nothing I can do about it. I'm always the friend, never the boyfriend. I'm always there for them no matter what, but who's there for me? I guess I'm just a helpless romantic. I've always imagined being able to call up or text my boyfriend after a long day of classes and grabbing lunch and eating in the gardens or something. But it's never happened. And I don't know what to do. Everyone tells me to be patient but for how long? I'm a very patient person but by God! I can only be patient to a certain degree. I just want someone to spend my time with. Someone to watch a movie with. Is that so much to ask for? Maybe it is. I don't know. I'd love to feel wanted for once in my life. I guess I'll just have to settle with being the friend for now. Being the best friend that secretly has a crush on you. The one that is always there for you. Always the shoulder to cry on. And then, in that moment of weakness, admit my feelings to you, hoping that something will spark in your mind. Hoping that you'll remember that it was me who was always there for you, that it's me who you really want. I know this post may not be about a pressing gay issue, but for me, I can't stop thinking about it.

[Ed. Note: I can't really do better than the "be patient" advice because that's all you can do. It's just not sensible to ever think that you've met everyone that you're ever going to meet. We are young [!] and all it takes is one person to make it all completely worth it. This sounds cliche! Pretty much The Most Cliche. You'd think I was taking Cliche 101 at Cliche University. But it's true! A LOT can change in even one night. Hang in there, #3, you'll be alright :)]

#4
When I first entered the LGBT Center for Fab Friday, I was excited, happy, thrilled, anxious. I was ready to meet all the new people and for once feel at home and welcomed. I felt like I could be myself and make new friends without being judged. I didn't know anyone there, had no previous connections, had seen some people around campus but that was it. I walked in at 4:32. I left at 5:08. 36 minutes. In those 36 minutes, all of my emotions were reversed. I was hurt, sad, depressed. Why you ask? No one talked to me. Not one person. Yeah, I come off as quiet and shy but once you get to talking to me, I kinda have trouble getting myself to shut up. But no one tried. Everyone was fractured off into their own very distinct groups. There was little correspondence between groups. For the most part, they all moved together. Being new there, I of course had no group to join so I just stood along the outside, observing everything, getting a drink and some snacks every once in a while. In what turned out to be a futile attempt, I tried to join one group, only to be ignored for the usual Fab Friday goers. Ever since then, I have not set foot in the Center again and never felt really attached to the gay community. Thankfully, I've had an awesome group of open and understanding friends that have been there to help me through my rough times. It just hurts when your own community inadvertently treats you like an exile. It took me a while to write this. I don't want to criticize the Center, I'm sure it's a great place with great people, but I just wanted to let you know that it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to pay more attention to new faces. I don't know if I'll be returning to the Center anytime soon but when or if I do, I hope my experience is better.

[Ed. Note: I'm really happy this was posted here. I think you offer a great perspective on how coming to The Center can feel for those who aren't regulars. This entry embodies one of the major goals of the blog - to educate the out community at Duke. We can't lose sight of what it's like to be shy, closeted, new, etc. here. I promise to go up to new people at Fab Friday, #4, including you when you come back this week and give us another try :)]

#5
[Ed. Note: This is a sweet video put together by The Center about Coming Out Day at Duke. Really well done, and a good idea of what this awesome event is like. See you in 2010!]

#6
Shit is hitting the fan right now.

In a good way, I think.

Things are changing faster than expected. I was in for so so so so long. And now I’m out. Yeah, there are still people who I need to tell, and people who I don’t want to tell, but for the most part, I am now officially a not-straight-woman (not positive on what lingo I want to go with). It’s weird because I never really was a straight woman...well, except for always. Should I hold a press conference or something? I guess that would be a little formal. A party? Too over-the-top. Maybe I’ll just tell people next time I see them. Or a mass text. Yes. No?

Anyways, it seems as though a huge, long era of my life is coming to an end. And I’m glad it is, in general, but I’m just not used to it being over. I’m not used to being able to tell people about my sexuality without having to rehearse it 15 [bajilion] times in my head first. I’m not used to saying out loud, “Wow, she’s gorgeous,” or not having to say “Yeah, I definitely think he’s cute.” I’m not used to being ready to face my future or to stop thinking about my depressive, suicidal past. But it’s time for me to move on. I definitely didn’t foresee any trouble in letting go of these things that I absolutely hated about my closeted life, but they are things that I strangely want to hold on to. They are emotions and experiences that I definitely don’t want to forget, but that I am also not sure I want to stop experiencing. It’s just weird- coming out seems to be losing its thrill, in a way. I loved coming out and then telling my story and answering questions, but now that I’m not wrestling with things I used to be wrestling with, telling my story seems extraneous. It’s weird and definitely unexpected that when I come out to someone and they just say “cool!” it’s kind of a let-down. Am I super twisted for feeling this way? It is very much possible that I am- and it won’t hurt my feelings if I get 15 [bajillion] comments saying “Yes, you should be straight up ecstatic that the response is ‘cool!’” I’m just wondering.

Anyways, I also wanted to thank you all for sharing your stories because I wouldn’t have understood mine (let alone started to share it) without you. I would also like to strongly encourage others who may have been in for so so so so long to come join me outside. It seems like it’ll be fun. And I selfishly want to have more people to play with! The more, the merrier, as they say. Girls/women (depending on which you prefer), I’m waiting for you, especially......now that I’m being honest and all :).

Ok, I’m signing this anonymously as I’m not quite ready yet to have people know who I don’t know know. Ya feel? If you read it slowly, I think that might make sense.

Also please comment on my post. Otherwise I will continue to post painfully long anonymous posts until I get 15 [bajilion] comments each. Seriously, I really want to hear what you have to say- anything at all.

Happy to have finally gotten together the guts to hit the "Done" button, and sad to be returning to my homework,
Anonymous from Bostock

[Ed. Note: You're my girl #6! I'm really glad you're moving ahead like this :) As for missing parts of your past, I'd say that there are many different ways to recreate that excitement. Personally, working on this blog and reading as people come out to themselves and others is just as thrilling as if I were going through it myself. Controversy's also fun - maybe you'd be interested in protesting with me and Aliza sometime. I'm sure we could find some people who wouldn't respond with "cool" haha. What you said about when you were depressed - that there are parts of this you don't want to forget - really resonates with me. There are many awful, awful episodes I've gone through in my life, but to be honest I think I'd do them all over again. Masochistic? Maybe. I just don't think I'd be the same person without those experiences. They've also given me first-hand knowledge on a lot of issues that I wouldn't otherwise have. (I'm holding you to your promise of painfully long anonymous posts, by the way :) )]

#7
I miss my LGBTA Dukies! I love the blog and enjoy seeing the great things you all are doing :-)

[Ed. Note: Awesome! It's pretty cool to see how this site finds people. Come back and visit, #7!]

9 comments:

  1. #4. Usually, after reading the posts on this blog, I just go back to my work (facebook) and silently reflect on each of the perspectives and/or lessons that each one offers. However, something about your post really hits me hard and I can't just be silent. This is a terribly sad post for me to read, because I feel that the LGBT Center advertises itself as an accepting and friendly community, and it sucks to read about people that don't get that experience. It sucks to read about people that don't see the Center like I do.
    First of all, I'd like to apologize. Even though I'm not sure if I'm directly responsible (if I was a part of the group you spoke to or even if I was there for that Fab Friday), I can't say for sure that I wasn't.
    Second, I'd really REALLY encourage you to come back. Give it a second chance. Remember as you look around the room, that every single person in that room had his/her FIRST Fab Friday as well, and no doubt felt just as awkward as you did on the first day. I'm lucky that I had a friend of mine drag me to an LGBT Center event, and so I always had someone to go back to when I felt awkward-ed out.
    Third, I’ve realized that I also need to step out of my comfort zone. I have never been good at making friends and therefore always make the WORST first impressions. It's really hard for me to step out of my comfort zone and try to meet new people and I can understand how hard that must have been for you. When I see a new person in the center, it’s hard for me to approach them just as it’s difficult for me to approach most people that I don’t know. However, I feel that I have that responsibility as someone that could possibly represent the center to some people. I will, from now on, make a conscious effort to approach new people and do my best to make them feel comfortable.
    I’m looking forward to meeting you, if (when) you come back to the center.
    Thanks for your courage!

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  2. #4 - I'd completely agree that Fab Friday is awkward, and may seem uninviting at first, because I think this was comparable to my first Fab Friday. However, I noticed that when I came back the 2nd time-it was completely different. The people at the Center are some of the nicest people I've met at Duke! A lot of them were friendly to me, for what seemed like, absolutely no good reason. =) So what I'm trying to say is, come back. I think people are cautious with new people at Fab Friday at first maybe because of their own insecurities. (New people sometimes = scary people.) It has nothing to do with you, so I hope you know that.

    I might also suggest...that you get a friend to come along with you! I don't know you but I'd certainly be willing to help you out (which is why I'm writing my first/last name on here). That's what I did my first few times, and I know I totally appreciated my wingwoman. =) (thanks aliza!)

    #6 - I feel like I could have written this. Rock on! More Women! I hope you feel comfortable stopping by the Center. Don’t forget that we need you just as much as you may need us-probably more so.

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  3. okay, so I feel like #s 3 and 4 are especially poignant for me and definitely hit home. and i don't think i'm really going to offer anything positive or inspiring to say, but i'm glad at least that you two have awakened something within me to finally get off of my chest as well.

    first, to #3, i totally absolutely 100% completely feel you. in terms of finding relationships, this campus sucks. i have found that there are basically two (maybe three) types of gay men on campus. the ones who are out and sleep with pretty much anything with a pulse (well, except for me), or the closeted ones who only look for other discreet closeted gay guys like them, because they are too insecure to be seen with someone who could be considered to be "obvious". (and the third, as you mentioned, are the ones already in relationships). i'm not sure what exactly you are looking for, but for me, finding a meaningful relationship has been exceedingly difficult, if only because i don't want to be with someone who has slept with a lot of people i know (as a sidebar, i just find that awkward). so, if you're looking for a relationship, i wish you well. but i wouldn't be surprised if like me, you have to wait until graduation to find people mature enough who are willing to be serious for a change. so i guess, likewise, i say be patient. and trust me, i've been sitting by for 4 years hoping something would change, and it hasn't. and that sucks. but please don't discount the love from your friends. while it may not be exactly what you're looking for, they care about you a lot. don't forget that. and i'm sure you are an absolutely wonderful person, worth much more than the pain and loneliness you are going through right now.

    as for #4, once again, i 100% understand where you are coming from. every time i have gone to "the center", it has been a pretty rough experience, which is why i stopped going all together. i get that people have found a community there, and love the people, and get along swimmingly with everyone. and i think that's great. i also understand that what works for some people doesn't have to work for me. but i do suggest that maybe you try it at least one more time. i was too shy to ever make anything happen, but there is still hope for you! and anyways, also realize you don't need to go to the weekly gay fest to meet and be friends with other gay people. i mean, i'm friends with a couple (although admittedly most of my friends are not homosexual...which by the way is perfectly fine haha), it's just that i hate karaoke and board games, so fab friday never really appealed to me that much in the first place. so i guess what i'm saying is (if you're like me) don't feel pressured to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable because you think you have to. just do what feels right. anyways, i hope that helps.

    -john

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  4. There's so much to comment on! Where to start??

    #4: My experiences EXACTLY. The first time I went, I was really excited, but then was awkward for like half an hour where no one said anything to me or even seemed to care/notice that I was there. Everyone just hung around in their circles and seemed to barely even see anyone else. I left feeling disappointed and even slighted in some sort of way. I didn't go back for like a year and half. But you really should go back. Once I decided to give it another try, I also realized that really I hadn't made much effort the first time. I'd just expected to walk in to some sort of smiling welcome (like at Walmart?) and group hug or something. But after I decided to give it another go, it got easier each time. Especially when I made the effort too.
    I'm so glad for your posting. It made me realize that I might be unknowingly creating for others the same kind of experience I had.
    And I am one of the most socially awkward people EVER (which might have been why I didn't talk to you), but I second megan's comment and would totally go with you if you wanted.

    #1: LOVE.IT! Maybe I should start watching Glee? ( Don't hate me everyone, I know I'm supposed to! :) )
    #2: Agreed! #5: Wow, what a great video! I'm sad that I won't be here for the next one!

    #6: You're great. Love your painfully long anonymous post!
    And the "that's cool"s? They throw me all off and I have no idea what to do with myself. I'm thrown by them to speechlessness! I mean, can I at least get the usual tense pause?? I don't know how to deal with "cool"! (I'm only halfway joking..)

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  5. Hey #4, as the Fab Friday Coordinator for the Center for LGBT Life I love hearing all types of feedback. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on ways to improve Fab Friday if you want to contact me anonymously or via some other means. I recognize that I need to continually strive to improve my own welcoming of everyone who enters Fab Friday as well as fostering community building in the social interactions at Fab Friday. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Jack Grote

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  6. Sometimes being a gay guy on this campus makes me consider killing myself

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  7. Why is that, anonymous? Talk to me.

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  8. So I'd regret not providing emergency contact information:

    The phone number of Counseling and Psychological Services on campus is 919-660-1000 (8AM-5PM). After 5PM and on Weekends, you can call 919-966-3820.

    The first number can be used to make appointments, too, by the way.

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  9. Hey #4,

    So i totally understand where you are coming from. Fab Friday can seem extremely intimidating at first, especially with all of the friend groups that go there. Being a freshman this year, I remember walking in on the first Fab Friday and seeing everyone mingling with their own little "group".

    Honestly, yes, there are certain "friend groups" that are stronger than others. And yes they can seem cliquish. But isn't that everywhere in life? Whether it is a class or a new job, new groups of people will always be intimidating.

    Should the people who go regularly to Fab friday go out of their way to meet and talk to new people? Yes, absolutely! But do remember that even they sometimes get scared of meeting new people. I find myself sometimes just wanting to stick near my two or three closest friends!

    Trust me, we all definitely want to meet more people and get to know them as well. I know at least I will do a better job in socializing with different people at Fab Friday!

    As Megan said, I am providing my name as well, please, ANYBODY who wants someone to go with or someone to talk to about stuff like this, definitely send me an email or Fbook message. I would never want anyone to feel excluded from an event that should be sociable and fun.

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