Saturday, January 16, 2010


When I was in the 7th grade, Keith Brooks walked up to me and said "You know, according to Cosmopolitan, due to your mixed're socially unacceptable to 75% of America."

My reply was simply, "That's ok. You're socially unacceptable to 100% of America."

The fact that 3 years later while at an all boys Catholic School, Keith came out of the closet, not only made the Cosmo thing a lot more clear but also on some level made his comments to me strangely ironic (ironic in the way Gay people, especially at this time, were portrayed and commented on in the media, and not ironic in a way that gives any credence to this Cosmo poll in any fashion in how people are "socially acceptable").

There was some ooh and ahhing after I replied with this retort and I still fashion it as the finest comeback I will ever have in my life.

But it's stuck with me. My own mother, bless her heart, would sometimes put thoughts in my head (a direct result of the hatred and bigotry she experienced in her relationship with my father, I'm sure) where when a girl would break up with me it could possibly be related to my racial heritage.

It's a joke I've sometimes brushed off, and while it's been far from the strongest of my insecurities about who I am, where I come from, and my battles with relationships with girls over the years, it's still always sort of stuck there. Like a piece of stick in a shoe that's not hurting you, but may cause a blister if its there for too much longer.

Lots of people assumed when Obama was elected that "I must be REALLY happy about that."

Which I was, it's true. I never thought I would see anything like that in my lifetime. But what became clear to me while watching all the hub bub about racial issues in the country and things of that like is that, while he is the first and only bi-racial president our country has had, it's still not the same. The arguments that were had over his hertiage where overshadowed by me by the fact that to me, in appearance, while his family was comprised similarly of mine (white mother raised, black father who left at an early age) appearance ais everything. And while I wanted to identify with Obama, I couldn't because at the end of the day, I saw him as he appeared, as a black man.

While I've tended to identify myself as Black my entire life, I haven't always been 100% certain that that's what my "classification" should be or that I have ever fully identified myself in this way.

In the classic film Soul Man, towards the end of the movie, James Earl Jone's character says to C. Thomas Howell something to the effetc that "Now you know what it's like to be black." C. Thomas Howell replies with something like, "No I don't. I could always change back." For all the controversy caused when this movie came out, it's m,essage can be distilled down to this simple though, and one I wish people would really understand and realize when trying to "know how it feels".

A couple of years ago, Vertigo released an Original Graphic Novel called "Incognegro" by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece. In it, a man is of a bi-racial background and as such "passes" for white to help to infiltrate and dismantle the KKK and white supremacy movements that arose in the south by his job as a journalist. It's probably the first and only thing in my years on this earth that has spoken to, about and with me as deeply as it did. Meeting Mat Johnson at the NYCC a few months later was one of the treasures of my life, because unlike Obama, Mr. Johnson wrote and talked about things that I had expereinced and thought my whole life.

My suburban upbringing did not leave much for others to be able to identify about how I felt. And even visting my Dad, there was still a half of me he wouldn't and couldn't understand (depsite his mariages to Caucasian women) just like there was a side to me my mother could never really understand or idnetify with me, depsite the hatred and bigotry she expereinced growing up in the 70's and 80's in a bi-racial relationship and having a bi-racial child.

I've read articles of people like myself, who can't understand the "political correctness" of calling yourself half-something. But realy, that's because they can easily pass, or identify, through their physical characteristics, with people who are one race or another. I've always felt split down the middle. My hair, not tight and curly enough to be "black" but straight enough, especially short, to pass as any number of races. (As my high school prom dates grandmother would itinmate when describing me as a nice Italian Boy ..most lkely due to my short straight hair and my olive comlexion).

My skin, not dark enough to be black, just tan enough to be confused for Hispanic (no matter how many people who walk up to me thinking I speak Spanish fluently only to be shocked....really shocke...when I say I'm not even hispanic_) and certainly not close to white enough to be confused for Caucasian.) Tell me someone who has been mistaken for Greek, Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and Smaoan, but has not history of any of those in his lineage wouldn't go through life thinking, "People don't understand."

We are who we are, and our features shouldn't define us, but in a way they do. Because impression is definiton to a certain extent. I don't know my fathers side of the family really, I do know my mothers, and for years I had no idea what I was really (beyond myself).

So back the those seeds of doubt and insecurity planted in my head all those years ago. You know, the scratching? I know many of my exes, I know what I am had nothing to do with the ending of any of our relationships, I'm sure many of mine and their insecurities led to that.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I have to wonder if to a certain extent I'm not comfortable about the core of who I am and where I come from at times, how can anybody else be.

So to all the bi-racial kids, who can pass and never thought about what they are, or how to identify themselves, consider yourselves lucky. Genetics where kind to you.

For me, now and always, I've got no problem being half anything.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Fairy Tales."

There are no fairy tales.

There are no happily ever afters.

Not really.

Pessimistic, I'm aware. But it seems looking forward and looking back (I know I promised myself no more looking back, but what we can learn about ours and other peoples past decisions are invaluable in determining where we go "from here.")


What it seems there is however, is good timing and bad timing.

Bad timing for some people is like bad luck. (They are mutually exclusive. And besides, I don't even believe in luck anyways.)

You can take a personally inventory every few months, and while feeling like you've moved ahead in your goals for what you want, there's just a little feeling of despair that your not quite as far as you want to be.

Like that white picket fence is just oput of reach. (This concept being purely metaphorically, of course. The white picket fence in my mind is where I'm happy and comfortable, surrounded by people and friends I care about, and happy about where I've taken my life.)

It seems any goal you look to, even after past accomplishments that at some point may have seemed unachievable, is still always and eternally somewhat unattainable until its completed.

Maybe part of the problem is recently I look and wonder if what I thought I wanted to do is in fact what I really want to do. )And I'm not getting any younger. No one is ever getting any younger.)

Maybe the key is to settle and be comfortable. (But I'll never settle. Maybe it's the spark of defiance in me, the rebel part of me that just feels at my core that it's wrong at any level to submit.)

I feel like sometimes I destroy things because I feel like comfort is settling. I never want to settle. (I never want anyone else to settle either.)

But i'm not even sure what settling means.

Back to fairy tales. Originally, the Grimm Fairy Tales where these gory, horror stories that acted as sort of morality tales to keep children in check. They were the first Stephen King short stories, really.

Somewhere along the way Hollywood, Disney, the Media, has transformed and re-crafted these tales into the perfect ideal of the human dream. We end up doing the perfect job, with the person erson as our mate, with the perfect home and family and we never need to take chances because our lives are perfect the way they are.

It's kind creepy, the lull, the Matrix-like world we are supposed to have for ourselves.

What if this perfect world is just being in flux.

Crisis of future?

I feel like we never know what we want to do until we've done what we don't want to do.

Sometimes, I look at life, at relationships and situations and circumstances and wonder why everything seems to have to be so complicated. Why we have to dance around these notions of things that may or may not be bad ideas. (So simply stated, because people even unto themselves are constantly changing and evolving...well we hope...the fact is some people don't...but pretending that most people do this in any case..) not two situations that we are presented in in life can possibly turn out the same because people are different. People live their lives based on past expereinces and as thse experiences are always different, there can be no two identical situations.

Even in the disaster minefield of relationships in my life, no two relationships are the same, have ended the same, or are surrounded by the exact same circumstances. Sure the build up and destruction may have felt the same or similar, but these have always been uniquely different and taught me something a little different about myself.

There are no fairy tales. There's only what we experiences and do for our selves.

There are no picket fences. Only what we use to figure out what we are going to do next.

There are no happy endings. No one ends until they die. There is just life that you live.

If your timing is right, the timing of events in life means your a little happier then the next person.

If not, you keep trying to be happy.

There are no fairy tales.

But there is everything else.

Friday, January 08, 2010

"Everyone (Or No One Or Just One)"


How's it going?

Is that even how people start these things?

I don't know.

I just wanted you to know the reason...the reason we haven't talked?

It's not because I don't think you're interesting. Or because you haven't got anything to say. Because when I imagine our conversations, they go on until the end of time. I almost can't keep up with what you want to talk about it.

At least how I imagine it.

Really, you're kind of intimidating. Not you specifically actually but the aura of you. (Whatever that means. I think I half made it up) I don't know how to approach it. So I try to play it cool (almost standoffish it seems of recollection) and pretend like I'm just like any one else and could handle it if we got in a situation where words would actually have to come out of my mind.

You're pretty. In that natural way. In the way you don't have to work for. It's a natural beauty that I respect on so many levels. It's something I noticed when I first saw you. Maybe you've heard it before, but it's not a line. I don't do "lines". And if you haven't heard it, you certainly should have.

And you're intriguing. The lack of conversation doesn't really give me a whole lot to go on except in what my imagination lets me think. The french cal it "that certain something".."that certain I don't know what.. je ne sais qua.

Sometimes I like think you were a secret agent and all the rest of this is just cover. I can't imagine information you wouldn't be able to get with just a glimpse of that smile. That Mona Lisa smile. Maybe a little fantastic...maybe a little silly..but you is what it is...

I believe you can believe that comfort can be found in a the fact that people can be comfortable. I could see myself being comfortable with you. Isn't that important?

And it's difficult to get past this whole awkward beginning stages mostly because I'm scared my imagination has run too wild.

I mean, what would you say, if some stranger just walked up to you and tried to start talking to you?


I could have all the confidence in the world, but one false move and...well...first impressions are everything.

Better to not have any impression at all.

Become a wallflower. Blend into the back as just another of the tons of people you walk by every day.

Just know this...I haven't said hello, not because I'm rude, or because I don't want to, but I feel like I'll say it the wrong way.

How the hell do you say"hello" the wrong way, anyways?

I don't know...but in my mind I've done it.

First impressions being what they are.

Yeah, I think too much. I know.

Some people know me...I'm an introverted extrovert. Around people I know...people I'm comfortable of the party.

Other than that,

Hopefully, the other day, you didn't take that whole thing as an affront. Because I was just scared and couldn't imagine placing myself in a situation that fell in my lap.

Nope. Maybe if it fell in my lap, things would have been different. But to place myself there...nope. Not yet.

I'm a little gun shy since that last whole debacle.

But I won't bore you what that whole story.



How are you?

That seems so much harder in my head than it was.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


One of the chief (conceits? ironies? fears?) within the concept of true love soul mates and anything else you want to define people who are fated to be together forever blah blah blah is a notion that the person your with isn't necessarily the "one". This concept of the "one" is romanticized on film and in the page, in song and verse, in every type of media.

Why then do we feel more about in the dramatic re-interpretations of our feelings that exposuuse loss and what almost was than in those stories about serendipity?

Don't get me wrong. I do believe some people are lucky enough, even if it takes them three or four tries to find that perfect person for them.


This is not always reciprocated.

Meaning one persons perfect person is not always the others.

Or something.


I think the notion of being romantic sometimes get us caught up in the other characteristics of what we want. Like to notion of being the great romantic person starts to overshadow the realistic and earthbound realities of what a relationship between two people actually is or at least how it should be.

Sometimes its a simple as saying hello. But what if you want to know more? HOw do you show interest in getting to know someone who potentially could be the "one" without it getting all messy and...whatever.

There is no "one" really. IT just people at stages in similar mindsets.

Maybe that's what being the "one" is though.

It's hard to balance the romantic "nice guy" with what the perception of what a girl wants is. "The Bad boy" the "guy who need to be fixed" the "intense and brooding guy".

What if you just want to be yourself?

It's not a race, it's not a competition. You can get there.

There's lust, there's infatuation.

But what is "love"? (it almost sounds as if a robot asking his creator how to quantify human emotion...)

Million dollar question.

Close your eyes. What you thought it was? That's what it is.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

"Peter Pan."

When I was in the 4th grade, I started a dalliance with being a thespian first sparked by my role of Bob Crachit in our holiday performance of A Christmas Carol. Productions put on by 4th grade auteur and English teacher, Mr. Cassidy. (Actually, this isn't entirely accurate. My first introduction to acting actually came in the form of playing a one Mr. Jack Rabbit in the second grade, a role and name that would be unearthed once I got to college and would stick with me through my entire college radio career...but I digress...that is a story for antoher day...)To contrast my role as one of the touchstones of Victorian literature symbols of fatherhood, in the annual sprig production at AES (which up until that year has always been The Wizard Of Oz), I was cast as one of the Lost Boys a role with lines that were specially created for me. Was it some kind of conscious effort to expand my range as an actor by the venerable Mr. Cassidy? Probably not. But the irony of playing a father providing what little he can for his family into a boy who is quite literally "lost" and will never grow up is not lost to me today.

Sure, I'm probably over-thinking things that happened in the 4th grade, but we look for meaning in life where we can find it, whether it was intentional or not. There's something very deliberate, for instance, that in the role of Peter Pan, Mr. Cassidy cast in much the Broadway-Mary martin- wheelhouse, a girl in the role of Peter Pan. Despite what you think, there's something blissfully anarchic to me in casting a girl in the role of a boy who will never grow up, especially in 1986.

Anyways, I digress. Again.

For all the Freudian nightmare analyzation you can do with Peter Pan, maybe the most important part of the play, or at least the part that has stuck with me all these years later, has nothing to do with the concept of the man-child, but in the concept of believing. You see , the death and resurrection of Tinkerbell exists as an almost pre-modern, "The Secret. It's the PMA HR always talked about with Bad Brains. Sure it sounds like New Age bullshit on some level, but it's not. Maybe it's the fact that it' surrounded in the context of a children's story, a Victorian fairy tale. Maybe it's that there's something much simpler to it when we look at it in the context of the story of Peter Pan, and Peter Pan asking us to believe in faeries. Simple caveat to that though would be sometimes it's not enough to think. Sometimes actions have to follow thinking, wishing, wanting, whatever contextual action word you want to put on that whole thing.

Sometimes wishers, dreamers, thinkers...sometimes they are left behind.

Anybody whose accomplished anything in life has enacted on their thoughts and dreams and wishes. No one can sit in their living room and simply will things to happen. Even Peter seemed to give some kinetic energy, some of his "magic" so that Tinkerbell could live.

Anythiong can change for you at any time. I followed up my thespian aspirations a few years later, acting in a one MR. Gorey's adapatation/musical (I don't remember if there wa smusic in this one although I think there was) of The Gift Of the Magi, the old O'Henry story about two people who meet the ultimate irony at Christmas when trying to think about each other. Then I got cast as King Arthur in the school production of Camelot, a grueling 4 months where the whole play was put on the shoulders of a 7th grader who was after school every day and in almost every scene. I retired after that mostly because I felt like I was terrible, no matter what everyone said to me. (Of particular interest was Opening night where I completely froze up and lost entire parts of dialogue on stage. After lambasting me and yelling at me to get it together, I lost it and Mr. Gorey related a story about how Richard Burton has once pissed his pants on stage so anything I did couldn't be that bad. That story always stuck with me...kind of like when your told to imagine people in their underwear if your nervous. Through all the bands I've been in and performances I've done since, I've never had stage fright, despite my need to retire from acting when I found it really interesting at the time.)

Point being. Do. You need to do. It's all you have.

I think one of the things I want to do this year is fail. Because failing is not the negative I've put on it my whole life. The negative is never to try. Trying,is the same as wishing is the same as hoping, is the same as what Peter Pan asked us all to do way back in the 4th grade. I've always had this implicit fear of failure that I've incorrectly always just made synonymous with rejection. Failure and rejection are mutually exclusive.

When Peter Pan asks us to believe in faeries, he's asking us to believe in ourselves. He's asking us to chance failure, for the chance of something better.

I've got no problem believing in faeries.