Ink of Geek

by Bevianna Bones

It’s been a while readers, and while it saddens me that I was unable to bring you an epically awful horror movie to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or President’s day with, the reason for my absence is now to be unveiled to you, the geeky world.

For sometime, pretty much for as long as I could hold a pencil, I have been perusing my artistic endeavors. It’s all that I’ve ever really wanted to do with my life. Unfortunately, in the course of my life, there have been circumstances that have kept me from making that passion a reality…such as an unforgiving career in retail management and having to pay the nasty, nasty billsies. With a career change late in 2015, I was able to open up my time to persue the things that I’ve been wanting to do.

I am happy to say, that with a newly renewed drive to make this life what I want to be, as of January 31, I have opened an Etsy store to sell my art prints of all things geeky.  There isn’t a huge variety on there currently, but I am committed to adding more every week.  The ultimate goal of this is to be able to make and sale art full time, through not only the interwebs, but traveling to many of the annual Comic Cons and other geek conventions. 

I invite you to take a look at my shop page on Etsy at http://etsy.com/shop/InkofGeek
And to like Ink of Geek on Facebook and on follow me @jade_3101 on Twitter. 

I leave you now with some of my favorites of  the prints available so far. 

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It’s Tom Servo!…and he’s huge!!!

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Gizmo has had enough shit and it’s time to take it all back!

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‘Murica!!!

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Holy na-na-na-na na-na-na Batman!!!

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Oswald Cobblepot…I bet he gives great flipper.

If there are any ideas of characters you’d like to see, leave a comment on the blog, or on the Ink of Geek Facebook page.

Till next time!

BB

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Pride Post – Balls to Cancer

  
By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans. It’s been a while since I’ve done a more personal piece, and almost nothing is more personal than today’s subject matter. I’m here today to talk about that bulge in our pants; specifically, our low hangers. Unless it’s cold, we’ve been in the pool, are nervous, scared, there’s a breeze, or any other number of things that cause them to retract. That’s right, I’m gonna talk about my balls, and I encourage you to do the same. Either about mine, or your own. Up to you. The goal is education, entertainment, and to get the conversation started. Fair warning, there will be more “adult” level pictures than I usually post. 

  

Now, unless they haven’t dropped yet, and if that’s the case what are you doing reading my inappropriate posts, odds are that you’ve touched and played with yourself at least once. I’m betting that you all have, as penises are one of nature’s greatest gifts, and should be appreciated often. How often is up to you, your access to lotion/lubricant, and your threshold for chaffing. That being said, we all touch ourselves for pleasure and release. That’s just the basic biology of male plumbing. If you don’t release your scrotum’s contents on your own, your body will do it for you, most likely at night. Whether you sleep in jammies or not, either way you’ll have a mess to clean up. Back to touching yourself. No, don’t click for some porn and stop reading! I’m not done yet. That sounds dirtier than intended. Eh, what else is new. 

  

There’s an issue that can affect any of us, and is easily preventable, well, treatable may be more accurate, but is hardly ever talked about in conversations. I get it, talking about your boys is intimate, and if there’s a potential problem, it can be scary as well. It is difficult admitting that our prized equipment could have a problem, especially if that problem could be testicular cancer. The key factor here is early detection and treatment. As I stated earlier, and probably will again, we all touch ourselves on a regular basis. It’s time to add another level to that. No, I’m not talking cockrings. It’s time to start fondling your sack for more than just fun. It’s easiest when your nethers are warm, and your scrotum is loose. During or after a warm to hot shower is good, as is virtually any summer day. Winter causes shrinkage, but with the miracle of modern heating devices, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. 

  

Now for the technicalities. Cup your balls in your hand. You’ve had them for life, you already know how they hang. Get a sense of the weight, and how they normally feel on their own. They have space to move around in there, so you’ll want to focus on one at a time. Roll each testicle between your thumb and fingers. It’s normal to feel the epididymis and vas deferens, they are what cause there to be sperm in your cum. What you’re looking for, well, checking to make sure isn’t there, are any lumps or irregularities than what you’re used to feeling down there. Anything that may be on the testicle itself, could be cause for concern, but you’d want to check with your doctor, or healthcare provider. There was a clip I saw online, thanks to a link I found from the charity, Balls to Cancer / @ballstocancer that really is one of the best I’ve seen on the subject, and I’m including it here for you to watch. 

  

http://www.newnownext.com/important-lesson-on-checking-for-cancer-from-rugby-player/10/2013/

Let me share a little or two story of my own. Like any gay man, I watch Queer as Folk. In fact, I remember when it was brand spanking new. Now, even though it’s been off the air for a decade, I’m still gonna call spoilers. There’s a arc in a later season where Brian is getting a BJ in the back room of Babylon. Afterwards, the guy says he wants Brian to see him again. Brian says no. The guy explains that he’s a doctor, and he felt a lump on Brian’s testicle. Brian goes in, discovers he does have cancer, and begins treatment. Not the way you want an anonymous blowjob to end, but still, good thing he found out when he did. After watching that season a few years ago, I decided I needed to be more diligent, and checked myself after a shower. A discovered a rather significant lump, that was definitely not one of my testicles. I wrote a short story on it, but in order to detach myself from the emotion of it, I told it in a third person perspective. I know it happened to me, but I didn’t want to own and re-live what I went through during that period. I’ll include the story at the bottom of this post so that you can read it on your own. Second spoiler alert, I’m fine. Your Joshie will be around as long as he can to share the twisted contents of his head. Dunno why I did that one as third person too. Maybe I’m a tad too disconnected from things. That’s an issue for a later day. 

  
The second story I’m going to share is a recent one. A friend of mine had been complaining about a pain in his sac. He said it felt like he’d been kicked in the balls, but he knew he hadn’t been. He knew about the scare I’d had, and that I try to stay educated on such matters. He said he might have me check, but he wasn’t ready to face the potential reality. A couple days later, I asked if he still wanted me to check things out for him. He said sure, stood, and lowered his pants enough to expose his equipment. He isolated the one he wanted me to check. I sat on a chair, and took his ball in my hand. It sounds like the start of some kind of male nurse porn fantasy, but trust me, when you’re on the receiving end of such a fondling, there’s nothing sexy about it. I relaxed my eyes, and relied on my fingertips to relay what information I needed. Sure enough, there was a small, hard, lump on the testicle. I asked if that’s that he’s been feeling, and he said yes. I had him feel mine as well, so he had a comparison. As it stands now, he’s waiting to go in to see his doctor, and find out what it is. 

  
I know that I’m usually here strictly in an entertainment capacity, but this is a subject I feel very strongly about. It wouldn’t matter if me or my friend had been straight; if anyone needed me to check and confirm something in their danglers, I’d do it. Obviously I’m no medical professional, but I’ve got a good idea of what should feel normal down there. Male anatomy is a subject I’ve been interested in since I first explored mine. Yes, for sexy purposes, but it’s also good to check the manual on something you’d like to stay in working order for years to come. Do your research. Talk to friends or family. Just get the conversation started. In short, fellas, check your fellas. A minute a month could save your life. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep fondling! 

  
As promised, here is the detailed story of my experience. 

He’d found it while he was in the shower, and when he did, his heart stopped. There was no mistaking it, it was a lump. His right seemed fine, his left was another matter. A cautious man by nature, after toweling off, he took to the internet to see what it could mean. Sadly, the websites all said virtually the same thing; if there was a lump in that area, it was most likely cancer

His mind raced as several possible futures ran through it. He tried to tell himself that he would be fine, but even he didn’t believe it. That night, he tried to sleep, but it didn’t come. He sat in the darkness, and once again researched what could happen. Worst case scenario, lefty would have to be removed. As the man pondered what that would mean to his sex life, the website stated that there would be little to no impact. It provided little comfort. As 4 a.m. approach, he looked up the number for his physician. He would call first thing in the morning, which was only a few hours away.

When he called the office to set the appointment, the person on the other end asked what it was for. “I believe that I found a lump.” he explained. The man was given an appointment for the end of the day, and was told that they would call if there was a cancelation earlier in the day. Now all the man had to do was get through work.

First thing he told his boss when he got in was that he had to leave early. She asked what for, and for the second time in an hour, he said it aloud. This time was more real somehow. It was as if once a person that he knew was let in on it, there was no way to take it back. Once approval was granted, time slowed to a halt. As much as he wanted answers, he dreaded them at the same time. It didn’t take long for the man to worry himself sick.

Finally the end of the work day arrived. Music was little help on the drive to the doctor’s office. With only one other patient, he didn’t spend too much time in the waiting room, and was finally was called back. The nurse was polite and friendly. Under normal circumstances, the man would have been more sociable. As it was, he was tired and a little light headed. He hadn’t really eaten during the entire day.

Twenty nerve wracking minutes later, the doctor arrived. The man had the brief thought that he was cute, but it quickly went away. The doctor asked if there was a history of cancer in the man’s family. The man shook his head. There was none that he was aware of, but then again, he’d only known his father for the past four years, and this sort of thing just hadn’t come up. The doctor put on his gloves, and asked the man to remove his pants. He joked that this would be more uncomfortable for the man than it would be for him, since he did this sort of thing all the time. If the man hadn’t been as afraid as he was, he’d have remarked that he wasn’t that unfamiliar with being touched by men. In spite of the cute doctor touching and rubbing his lower regions, the man didn’t get any pleasure from it. The websites had said that an erection wasn’t uncommon, and not to be embarrassed. With as preoccupied as the man was, he didn’t get beyond half mast. Fear had overridden his body’s natural reactions. 

Gloves came off, and pants came up. The doctor felt certain that what he’d felt wasn’t cancer. Still, he wanted an ultrasound, just to be sure. An appointment was made for the next morning. The man was assured that as soon as the doctor had the results, that he would be contacted. The doctor told the man to try and not lose any more sleep over it. The man nodded in agreement, but knew that it would still be another restless night.

When he got to his car, the man called his father. He asked about a possible family history of the disease. His father said no, and asked the reason for the inquiry. The man explained what had happened, and where he’d just been. His father told him that he had something similar on his own lefty, and asked that he be told when the man had his results, in case he needed to get his own looked at. On his drive home, the skies opened up, and rain poured angrily down on the earth. It was as if the heavens themselves were venting the man’s feelings, since he was still too numb to do it himself. He managed to get to sleep by 2 a.m., but knowing that a call would be coming in the morning, it was anything but peaceful 

The nurse called and let him know when he would be able to come in. Unfortunately for the man, it was in the middle of his work day, not before as he had hoped. The man made it to work nearly an hour early, so that he could discuss the possibly of having a few hours off during his shift. Luckily for the man, there was time available in the schedule, and he didn’t have to decide between his job and his health. He managed to eat a small muffin, but still didn’t have much of an appetite.

It was a beautiful day outside, but the man wasn’t able to enjoy it. As he drove, his mind was still filled with thoughts of the impending exam, and its potential impact on his life. The doctor had told him it that the results would be given the same day as the exam. The man saw good and bad things in that. At least he would know. Whatever the outcome, he would at least have the answer.

The technician called him back, and took him to a small room. She instructed him to strip from the waist down except for socks, she joked, and then to lie down on the table and cover himself with the provided sheet. For the second time in as many days, some strange person was going to be touching him. This time is was a woman. The man laughed slightly in his head. The last time a girl had seen what was in his pants, he had still been a child. The man waited anxiously for her to return. The nerves of being naked on a table with only a sheet protecting him would have been a turn on under normal circumstances. His body started to react to the thought, but the technician entered, and his fear came with her. This was it. 

She explained what she was going to be doing, as she pulled back the sheet, taking care to only expose the pair that she needed to exam, but not the rest of him. The man expected the gel to be cold, which wouldn’t help the area she was going to be working on, but it was room temperature. There was a giant monitor on the wall in the man’s field of vision. Seconds later he was seeing inside himself. The technician was friendly, but professional. She explained what she was seeing, and why she was checking from the angles that she was. The man found the whole experience to be surreal. Naked and exposed, he was having a conversation with a woman as her instrument was making pass after pass over his dangly bits. Even with the activity in that area, the bit that was covered didn’t stir at all. It was as if it too, was concerned about the fate of its companions.

A dark mass appeared on the screen, and after having looked at what should be normal, the man knew that it was something out of the ordinary. He felt his heart rate elevate. The technician looked him in the eye as she explained that it was most likely fluid, and not to worry about anything. Easy for her to say, he thought to himself. She moved to the right, since that was the one he had said was normal. After a minute or two there was another dark mass, this one significantly smaller than the one that had been found on the left. She explained that it was a small cyst, and not to be concerned, as they were fairly common in men of his age. She took another pass over both of them, and showed the man how it appeared that he just had a bit of fluid, but that the radiologist would need to look at everything to be sure.

The technician told him that he was alright to wipe off the gel, and to get dressed. Alone, with the door closed, he removed the sheet. Again, the inappropriate thought of anyone being able to walk in on him before he was dressed gave the man a brief thought of excitement. He shook it off, and continued to put his clothes on. He wasn’t out of the woods yet, and wasn’t able to entertain any other thoughts until he knew what the radiologist thought of what he’d seen.

The man was shown to a small waiting area, and was told that he could watch TV while the radiologist examined his file. He left it turned off. He was so close to answers, that he couldn’t allow himself any level of distraction. Whatever was going to happen in the next few moments was going to impact his life. The man remembered that it is always better to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. In his mind, he tried to imagine having an actual surgery. He couldn’t do it. That was one thought that was too intense to think of without a diagnosis to back it up. He could hear the radiologist and the technician talking, but couldn’t make out what was said. A few minutes later, she joined him in the waiting area. She was smiling. The man took it as a good sign. The technician confirmed that it had been an epididymal cyst on the left. It was non-lethal, and didn’t need to be removed, unless it grew and started to crowd the area’s natural inhabitant, or caused pain. There was no trace of cancer, and the man was going to be fine. The man had to ask her to repeat it, as it had not been the answer he was expecting. He wanted to hear it again, before he would be relieved. She gave him the good news once more, and told him he was free to go.

The man wasn’t as excited as he thought he would be, and he wasn’t sure why. Perhaps he had spent too much time in his own head, rather than relaxing and waiting for evidence before stressing himself out. Either way, he was looking forward to calling his father and giving him the good news. A bright future loomed on the horizon, and he was going to be a part of it.

To end on a humorous note, here’s a pic I did on #FumbleFriday for @BallstoCancer
  

Pride Post – App-lication of Manners 

  

By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! Sorry for the trickle of posts for the past few weeks. It’s a busy time of year. It’s also a stressful time of year, one that can make even the strongest person depressed. Today I’m here to talk about what I’ve observed in our communities hookup culture, and what it can do to a person. Let the geeks begin! 

There are many sites and apps available nowadays for people to put a profile on and try to get what they are after. Some are looking just to chat, and make friends. Others are hoping for dates or a potential relationship. I don’t think anyone actually uses apps for networking, but it’s on there to make us feel less superficial. Then there’s the most popular selection, for right now, aka all I want is sex. I get it, we’re gay men. We all get horny, and we all want it to be taken care of by more than just our own hand. Whether you’re on an app daily trying to get off, or you go in maybe once a month, there is nothing wrong with that. You’re allowed to express and indulge your sex drive as frequently as it suits you.

  

That being said, because this is all done online, with no face to face interaction, cause let’s face it, the majority of profiles are headless torsos, it’s created a disconnect that’s already so common in our modern age. The main thing about any online interaction is that it’s with a screen, so we feel we can say whatever we want, because we don’t have to see the person’s reaction. That’s all very well and good for fighting with religious nutbags, sanctimommies, internet trolls, and republicans, but within our own community we need to show more respect. You don’t see as much coverage as a few years ago, but suicide in the LGBT community is still prevalent. While I doubt a lack of a Friday night handjob is leading to it, the lack of basic decency in our interactions could be a contributing factor. Every single one of us is trying to connect with someone on some level. Since it’s so easy to try and get laid without leaving the house, it’s more important than ever that we give people the respect they deserve as human beings. 

Back in my youth, god that makes me sound older than I am, I would go to the club every weekend. It was the highlight of my week. It allowed me to get out and dance off the stress from the work week, as well as look at all the hot guys grinding around on the floor. When I was a baby gay, I went out without friends. I was on my own in unfamiliar territory. As time passed, I got to know more people, and the experience wasn’t as scary. Granted, the scariest experience of the bunch, was actually getting up the nerve to talk to someone you thought was attractive. Your heart races, you get clamy hands, and your mouth is dry. But, you work yourself up, and go introduce yourself. Maybe you get shot down, maybe you get a dance, pity or genuine, maybe they politely say they’re taken, which is code for not interested, while still being polite. There is the key. When you’re in a face to face environment, your basic upbringing causes you to use manners, rather than just devastating a person cause you don’t think they’re hot enough.

  

This brings me to my point, we’ve lost that in our culture. We forget there’s a person on the other side of the screen. We only care about getting our dick sucked, and finding the hottest person in the room, so to speak, to do it. If we treated interactions on these apps and sites as if they were standing in front of us, the results would be different. A person standing in front of you who said “Hi”, or paid you a compliment wouldn’t be greeted with silence. There would at least be some kind of acknowledgement that you’d been spoken too, even if you followed it up with a simple, “thank you, but I’m not interested”. It isn’t that difficult, and doesn’t take a world of time out of your day. I get it, you’re so hot, and so many people talk to you that it’s exhausting. However, some of us aren’t hitting on everything in the room hoping for a reply. You may have been the only one they reached out to, and it took them effort to do so. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else. 

I had a recent interaction I’m going to share with you. I’d been talking to a guy for about a day or so. Nothing major, the usual, what are you into, can I see your goods, sorta thing. The next time we chatted, he’d mentioned he was having a bad day, and just felt like shoving everyone away. Knowing that when you feel that, all you really want it someone to try and make it better, I sent pics to try and cheer him up. And no, it wasn’t dick pics, I sent humorous memes, in an effort to help. His reaction was interesting. He asked why I was bothering, since most people only care about sex. I told him there was nothing wrong with being a good person. He didn’t know what to make of that. In the no pic = no chat world, most people don’t give two shits how the person on the other end is doing, unless it’s going to effect them getting off. It makes me feel sad for our community to see it reduced to that. When a kind gesture is met with questioning suspicion, there’s a problem. I doubt this post will make too much of an impact, but I honestly hope it does. If nothing else, we need to remember our basic humanity, and treat people with a little respect. Your beautiful face or body may get you laid, but if you aren’t pretty on the inside, you’ll never be truly happy. 

    

Love and light to you and yours. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

Pride Post – Coming Out

   

By Joshie Jaxon 

I’m coming out! I want the world to know! Got to let it show! I am beyond overjoyed that we live in the world we live in. People are able to be their authentic selves, and don’t have to hide for fear of what society may think of them. That isn’t to say that we still don’t still have quite a ways to go, but I know that this forward momentum isn’t going to stop. We’re all going to be celebrated, rather than shunned. I sincerely hope that in my lifetime I’ll see it reach a point where no one has to come out, and that people won’t bat at an eye at sexuality. That wasn’t always the case. In honor of National Coming Out Day, allow me to share my story with you. 

Born and raised in Utah, the religious right pretty much has it’s hand in all things that take place in my state. Growing up, I always knew that I was different, but I didn’t know it had a name. Before the onset of puberty, I’d had a friend that I used to experiment with. It would be considered sexual in nature, but as neither of us had reached sexual maturity, it was more playtime than anything else. I knew that my penis got hard, and that touching it while it was like that felt good. Nothing ever came of it though. Pun intended. As I grew up and hit middle school, at least in some part of my mind I knew I was attracted to guys. In gym class I had caught a glimpse of peen through the opening in a guys boxer shorts, and the image burned into my brain. I also knew not to stare, or anything beyond the glance I had. Perhaps it was a built in sense of self preservation. Maybe it was manners about being told it’s impolite to stare. Either way, one thing was clear, I’d liked what I’d seen. 

High school came, and my social life dwindled. I was a game and comic nerd, and never had friends over. I was active in the church, and thanks to their oh so enlightened teachings, I spent most of those years feeling guilty for touching myself, and praying that the things I was feeling would go away. I was miserable through high school, and just wanted it over. That pseudo-societal structure isn’t a nurturing place for anyone that’s different. As much as I enjoyed some of my classes and friends, high school is a place I would never want to revisit. I’d had jobs through high school, and on my very first one when I was only 15, I’d been asked if I was gay. When I said no, I was told I should work on my mannerisms. At the job I had as a senior, I was called mariposa, and also told that the translation of my name into Tongan, I later found out, was the equivalent of faggot. Graduation was a happy occasion, as it meant I didn’t have to go through that daily torture. 

At 18, I knew who I was, but I wasn’t ready to accept it yet. Despite having looked at gay porn online, I couldn’t bring myself to admit who I was. It was especially fun when my mom had discovered my browser history, and point blank asked me if I was gay. Naturally, I told her no. She asked if I were if I would tell her. I said yes. My mom and I were always close, still are, but I didn’t have my dad or brothers in my life at that point, and didn’t really have a male figure I felt comfortable discussing such things with. As my 19th birthday drew near, I knew I had to accept myself, as I could no longer deny who I was and who I was attracted to. There was an out gay man at a job I started, and I would talk to him on occasion. I’m sure he didn’t want to hold my hand through the coming out process, but he was at least polite. I began writing in a notebook, trying to capture my feelings in a way I could articulate them. I’m much better on paper than I am a speaker. Most people who talk to me think I’m an asshole. Those who write with me think I’m a sweetheart. I’m both, but that’s neither here or there. 

  

Those of you not in Utah, or are non-LDS, may not know that when guys turn 19, they are expected to go serve a mission. It amounts to living with several other men, away from home, and trying to convert people over to the church. The living with guys part sounded fun, but there was no way I could serve a god whose teachings I no longer believed in, as they conflicted with who I was as a person. I decided to use the time most were using to prepare for a mission, to prepare to come out. I started with my high school girlfriend, as she had always called me a closet case even when we were dating. We went to dinner and a movie, and I told her she’d been right. Her reaction was an excited, “I knew it!”. Before I could tell mom, I told my sister. I needed a family member on my side in case things got bad. She was thrilled, and said we could look for guys together. The way I told my mom, was that I had her read some of the things I’d been writing. She cried, as I think most moms do, and was a little offended that I’d thought she would throw me out. Better to plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Despite what all the books said, it wasn’t turning into a negative experience. 

That is, of course, until my bishop wanted to meet with me. I asked my mom why, and she said because of my age he probably wanted to talk about my potential mission. I figured there was no harm in letting him talk, and we went out for ice cream. The talk was casual, and unrelated to anything at all. It was just a friendly outing. When he dropped me off, he said, “so, your mom tells me you think you’re gay”. I cursed her name in my head, and told him no, I was gay. I then had to endure roughly half an hour of religious nonsense, most of which I tuned out. When I went into the house, I told my mother to never do that to me again. She knew full well I was going into an ambush, and didn’t give me the heads up. We’ve since resolved things, and no one in my immediate family is a member of the church, so it all worked out. My aunts, and grandma were far more openly accepting, and have been for all these years. 

Next month will mark 15 years that I’ve been out of the closet, and while it feels like a lifetime ago, it also seems like it just blinked by. I’m proud of the person I’ve come, and look forward to seeing the person I’ll be. I encourage everyone to live their truth, whatever it may be, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Do right by you. You have to take care of yourself. As I’ve stated in prior Pride Posts, you are beautiful and deserve to have a place in this world. I hope that my journey may help you on yours, and that you have the love and support that every person deserves. Life is made up of moments, and they should be spent being the incredible person that you are. Accept yourself. Love yourself. It gets better when you do. All my love to you, whoever you are, and however you identify. Until next time, stay strong, and keep gabbing. 
  

Pride Post – Suicidal Tendencies

By Joshie Jaxon
 

Suicidal tendencies is a misnomer, but it is a better title for a post. That will be my one and only joke on this. This one is vey personal for me. I’m not sure where I want to begin. There’s so much on my mind, that I want to make sure that I share it all, but that I’m also sensitive to those who may be struggling as well. To date, I am thirty-three years old, and while I’ve never actually attempted suicide, I can honestly say that it is something that has gone through my mind more than once during my time on this planet. These thoughts are not something that people are prepared for. Not to discount the ladies, but I think it is harder for men. All our lives we’re raised to be tough, manly, and unexpressive about our feelings; as such, we don’t know how to process them when they happen.

  
 

It’s especially harder on gay men, and youth. Depending on your upbringing, you may have been told nothing one way or another about homosexuals. You may have been raised to respect all people, no matter who they are, since we all have our own struggles, we don’t need to make it worse on others. The flip side of that coin, is that you may have been raised to think that being gay is a sin, evil, an abomination, and that you’re going to hell simply because of who you are, and who you love. As gay men, not only are we raised with one of these mentalities, our parents have no idea what we had to struggle through growing up. Always having to change pronouns, or not looking at someone for too long for fear they might realize that we were checking them out.

  
 

At least in my experience, there was no way to prepare to be the gay man I am today. The struggle was real, and it ate me alive more than I ever would admit out loud or even to myself in private. I just didn’t have the strength to stand up for myself against the world at the time. I still feel like that on occasion. Our hearts get broken, and it is so intense, and so painful that we just can’t process it. Some people stress eat, others cut or self harm, but we’re all just trying to bury, bleed, or avoid the pain because it is just too intense for us to comprehend that it will ever pass. Let me assure you that it does.

  
 

Late last year, a relationship formed that was so fast, and so intense, that it surprised me that such a thing could still happen to me at my age. However, the relationship ended, and I was left as heartbroken as I’d been in years. Even having gone through heartache before, I was still unprepared for such things. I’m not one to cry, and could count on one hand the number of times I have since this century began, and still have a finger left over. Crying is another thing that as boys/men, we’re taught not to do. I think it’s drilled into us that it’s a sign of weakness, and shouldn’t be done. I know in my head that isn’t true, but it’s still not something I allow myself to do. I literally don’t know how. Certain things may bring a tear to my eye, but that’s about it. We need to work on that as individuals, as well as a community.

  

When that relationship ended, it left a void in my heart, and made me question my worth. I didn’t see my place in the world, and for a brief time, I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. Since I’m here and typing this, obviously those feelings passed. Heartbreak is all encompassing when it’s fresh. Our parents/guardians know from their own experiences, but since so few of us are raised in same-sex households, there’s only so much they are able to draw from to try and get us through it. As homosexuals, we’re the target of hatred and inequality. We can get beaten up by those who think we’re inferior. That’s not something those before us had to really deal with.

  
 

As homos, when we lose someone that was once close to us, we aren’t raised with a “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” mentality. The heteros outnumber us quite a bit. As far as we’re concerned, we may never find another person to love us again. The thought of that sort of existence is depressing to say the least. Couple that with a family that may have thrown you out for being gay, and one could see where it may be easier to just end it all, rather than fighting through the world as it currently is. I’ve lost two different friends to suicide since 2001. In their obituaries, each of their families downplayed their sexuality, if it was even mentioned at all. That sort of action made me sick to my stomach. I know that no matter how I leave this world, my friends/family would make sure I wasn’t homogenized into some watered down, straight-friendly version of myself. Despite having that sort of love and support, which was forged over the years, hell, even having lost friends to suicide, it still didn’t stop the suicidal thoughts from creeping in. I don’t know for certain if there’s ever anything that truly would. Granted, they only surface after I’ve been dealt a particularly rough emotional blow. Currently all I can do is acknowledge the feeling, and focus on the positive things that I have in my life.

  
 

There are some that say that suicide is selfish, or cowardly. As someone who has had those thoughts before, and may again, I’ll agree to a point. In a sense, it is selfish, because you’re out of pain, but you’ve left a world of it behind for everyone else. People love you, and would miss you if you were gone. That, more than anything, is something that we need to remember, and repeat. PEOPLE LOVE YOU, AND WOULD MISS YOU IF YOU WERE GONE. It’s easy to look back, as a stronger person, and see how things used to be. Something that devastated you weeks/months/years ago, may not even cross your mind in the here and now. You aren’t selfish or a coward to not want to be in pain.

  
 

We as a community have suffered in silence for too long, and we need to learn how to be open and expressive about our feelings. If you don’t think that your friends or family would be able to understand, there are still resources are available. The Trevor Project is specifically set up to help with struggling LGBT youth; their number is 866-488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. Don’t let things get so bad that you want to extinguish your light. You are beautiful, and the world is, and will be, a better place because you’re in it. Pain is temporary, but death is forever, so don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling. All my love to you and yours. Stay strong! 

  

Pride Post – Tears of Joy

By Bri Bones

I woke up this morning to a half dozen texts telling me that the SCOTUS affirmed that marriage discrimination was unconstitutional. I’ve spent most of the morning trying to formulate my thoughts into a coherent whole. 

  
I can honestly say growing up, I never thought I’d see this day. Marriage was something for other people. I knew I was gay from a young age. I remember at around 8 or 9 taking the breast plate off of my He-Man action figure because I thought he looked better that way. I was the kid who was always friends with the girls, rather than the boys. 

  

When my parents would take me grocery shopping, I always would go over and hang out at the magazine rack. I’d look at the comics, the kids magazines, all the things like that. But another thing I would sometimes look at were the men’s exercise/bodybuilder magazines. They gave me tingles I didn’t understand.

It was 9th grade when I finally realized a way to put a word to my feelings. I was at the library in my home town looking at books. I found a book called “A Boys Own Story” by Edmund White. It was a biographical tale of a young mans discovery of his homosexuality. I was sitting in the corner of the library reading it and all the feelings I’d felt crystallized in my mind. This was me! This was how I felt! Certainly the final chapter where he recounted his first full sexual experience in fairly explicit detail gave me the first erection I remember distinctly.

I never really felt angst about it. I recognized this was how I felt and I was mostly ok with it. I was never suicidal about it, never anyplace dark. However, this was for me only to know. No one, and I mean NO ONE! could know. 
A year later, in high school, I got involved in theater. That’s where I met him. I’ll go ahead and call him Fred. Fred was another student. He had beautiful blue eyes and a mischievous smile. He super popular, yet he actually was friendly to me, the unpopular nerdy kid. We were cast in the same shows all through high school. Senior year, we were cast together in A Midsummers Nights Dream. I was Oberon, he was Puck. We were now working closer than we ever had. His costume in that show was just a pair of tights. He was shirtless with body glitter. Working that close to his shirtless torso, I discovered he also smelled good. 

Our teacher had had the head of the theater department at her old school come see our performance for recruitment purposes. I wanted to go there so badly. When the performance was over, she came backstage to tell us that he loved our show, and that he was going to see about offering Fred a scholarship. I wasn’t even mentioned, and was devastated inside. However I bucked up and told him congrats. A bit later we were under the stage changing. It was just the two of us. He asked what was the matter. Apparently I wasn’t doing as good a job as I thought at hiding my disappointment. I finally said I was upset because I wasn’t good enough to get a scholarship. We talked for a bit, and eventually came to the point of hugging. And we held the hug. And I felt something poking me in the leg. Then, and I will always remember this moment, Fred kissed me. And I kissed him back. 

Fred and I continued to fool around under the stage until we graduated a few months later. We went off to our separate colleges and eventually grew apart. He occasionally pops up as a “you may know” on Facebook. He’s married with kids, which is why I changed his name in this story.

  

College happened for me and I discovered other gay people who were out and happy. I began those first tentative steps out of the closet. I first told my sister, then some friends. It was Matthew Shepard’s murder that pushed me completely out. It seemed wrong for me to continue hiding when he died so horribly because of who he was. So out I went. I told my parents, coworkers, everyone, and I agree with what everyone says, it’s so much better being open and honest. 

  

Today’s ruling got me thinking a lot about that little boy in Farmington, UT. He never thought he’d be able to get married. I’m crying tears of happiness that future generations of little gay kids will grow up knowing that they are the same, and be proud of who they are.