This was written in response to sever e-mails I received from homosexuals who felt I hadn't suffered enough, or trivialized the pain of a broken heart. It is what I call my teen angst piece, because, if I had gone through these same relationship problems as many heterosexual teens do, in my teens, the experience would've had an entirely different meaning for me. As it were, I survived to write about it.
Removing the Rose-colored Glasses
A Gay Opinion 3/17/00
by R.A. Melos
Recently I've become aware of the fact, when writing these articles, I may have trivialized the level of depression I went through during the past few years. After seeing some on-line news group posts and receiving some e-mails from people who are obviously in pain, I decided to clarification the level to which I sank, and from which I have only recently risen.
Everything in previous articles, while accurate, was colored rose by my own self-denials. They stand on their own, as of the time they were written, but this article is going more in-depth with the level of depression and pain to which I, and many others, are capable of sinking.
As stated in earlier articles, the man I referred to as Mr. Right shut me out of his life on Feb. 7th of 1997. I also stated how I would go to bed every night praying not to wake up the next morning. It was much worse than that. I would spend entire days, going about my business, answering phones, driving, talking to customers and clients, and not one minute of the day passed when, in the back of my mind, I wasn't begging God to let me die.
During the period between 1997 and 2000, my Aunt Mary died. I sat through her funeral, in a Russian Orthodox Church, not understanding a word the priest was saying since he was speaking in Russian anyway, ignoring the entire service, praying silently to myself for God to either bring back the man I loved, or to let me die as soon as possible. My figuring had been, since I wasn't getting any answers through pagan circles, and my own tarot readings and those others did for me all concluded with this man coming back into my life at some future date, possibly by being in a church, something I hadn't done in almost two years, God might actually answer one of my prayers.
Needless to say, my prayers remained unanswered and I was still depressed. As time went on, while people I told of my problems all replied "it'll get better," things only seemed to get worse. I didn't want to get out of bed, if I didn't have to on any given day. I was only at a semblance of peace when I was unconscious. And most of the time I contemplated suicide.
Now, mind you, I knew I wasn't going to kill myself right at that moment, but I was planning it out in my head night and day. I ruled out drugs early on in the process, since my mother was a nurse and had long ago filled my mind with the vivid images of emergency room deaths over the nightly meals, I knew common household drugs such as aspirin, Tylenol, and many prescription drugs, all of which I had access to, would eat away the lining of my stomach, equaling out to a very painful death.
Now I did want to die, but not painfully. I was still praying for God or Goddess, the Universal Power, or whatever, to just let my heart stop in the middle of the night, while I was asleep. That seemed the most painless, and of course the most desirable way to die. Since this wasn't happening, I was left with more conventional methods. None of which I tried.
I knew knives were out, since stabbing myself or slitting my wrists would again hurt. I'm not, even if I am mildly interested in BDSM, into actual lasting pain. So, this also ruled out guns. Okay, the fact I didn't have access to guns was another reason not to use them, but the thought of the pain of blowing my head off was too much.
Now through all of this, not once did I give a thought to those I would be leaving behind. In fact, I didn't care about them at all. It always amazes me how television movies show the families of a suicide all wondering how the person could have done such a thing to them. My pain was my own personal hell, and had nothing to do with my mother or other family members, none of whom I am that close to. Okay, I'm close to my mother, but again my pain was mine. I didn't give a damn how she handled it. Perhaps counselors working in the field should stop trying to guilt people out of suicide with the "think of others" crap. It's precisely the thinking of others that drives many people to do the things they do.
So, having ruled out guns, knives, and drugs, I was left with jumping off a tall building. Out. Nada. Neyt. No! I'm terrified of heights. There is no way I would be able to get higher than a third floor, and then impossible for me to get myself to a ledge since I totally freeze with fear when looking down.
The only choice left was hanging. Again, whenever hanging has been depicted on television, having never seen a real hanging I can only go by television, it is shown to be painful.
I was beginning to wonder why all this pain was associated with dying? Dying, moving on to a higher plain of existence, should, in my estimation, be a pleasant experience akin to the fun of a roller coaster ride's first big drop. None of the choices I was looking at had the feel about them. They all seemed so painful, and unpleasant.
So, instead of conventional means of suicide, I thought I would just eat really unhealthy stuff. Okay, now drinking alcohol was already out because, if it didn't kill me in one session, I hated the terrible burning sensation in my stomach the following day. Not to mention the stomach cramps, dry mouth, and headaches. Obviously I've had experiences with alcohol in the past, and even though it may have helped shorten my life span, it was just too unpleasant to go through on a recurring basis.
On the other hand, this did leave chocolate, cakes, cookies, and red meat. As dying goes, and while this may sound funny now, at the time of the deepest depression, the thought of eating myself to death, clogging my arteries with cholesterol and other fats, was a serious business. Of course, being a vanity minded Gemini, I didn't want to get fat. I was only looking to die as fast as possible so the emotional pain I was feeling would stop.
The stress of my emotional pain manifested itself in several forms. The first was kidney stones. Now if you've had or heard of kidney stones, you know this is not a fatal illness. If you've had the pain of them, at the time you may think it's fatal, or even wish it to be fatal, but any doctor will tell you "this too shall pass." I wanted to smack the doctor who said that to me, but the sharp pain shooting through my side and up my back to my shoulder blades prevented me from doing much more than screaming and grabbing the bed rail in the hospital ER. To top it off, my doctor wasn't a cute guy like George Colony or Noah Wily. No, my doctor was a short, fat, bald guy who looked more like a troll than a hunk.
Oh yes, I was in pain, but God was still mocking me. In the state of mind I was in, even a really hot guy wouldn't have gotten me through the emotional side of my pain. Now here is where the ignorance of society comes in to play.
Being a recently outed gay male, looking for something to ease my pain, I was confronted on an almost daily basis with helpful coworkers who still told crude gay jokes, and daily newspaper articles of gay bashing and homosexual murder. Our enlightened society, the society of which my Mr. Right so much wanted to be a part of, was a cruel reminder to me of his reason for not choosing to be with me.
In past articles I told you how Mr. Right sat in the living room of his apartment, during his separation from his first wife, where he was living with the woman he referred to as his future trophy wife, and he told me how much he cared for me, and wanted me in his life, but how society could never accept him or his feelings for me because, they were gay and, not sociably acceptable. This had torn my heart out then, and still can, if I let it.
The next infliction my stress attacked me with was migraine headaches. I'm not talking headache, I'm talking Tylenol with Codeine level headaches. These headaches felt like I could bleed from my ears if I moved. The pain was excruciating. Light hurt my eyes. Breathing hurt. Or rather, the sound of my own breathing hurt. Again, short, fat, bald doctor told me it would go away.
This was the point I began to feel the power of the Universe had abandon me much in the same manner as Mr. Right. After all, no God I worshiped could ever cause such pain and suffering, and amazingly, through all the pain, my thoughts still focused on a prayer that Mr. Right would have the courage to come out and accept his homosexuality publicly. Instead he married his trophy wife and had another little bundle of financial obligation, as he referred to his children (they had three children at the time they separated). He did make an effort to contact me. Okay, it was a threat to me, if I ever thought about outing him he would kill me.
Guess what I did?
That's right. I outed him to his trophy wife, his ex-wife, his father, and his father-in-law. The trophy-wife told me she didn't care who he slept with in the past, she had him now, and he was financially responsible for her and their child. His ex-wife told me she already knew about him and I, and didn't care. He was out of her life. His father told me he didn't care what his son did, since he had been a disappointment to him since birth. Finally his father-in-law listened to me, comforted me, and told me there was nothing he could do. His daughter had made her choice.
Well, I felt a little better, even if I did push it to the brink where Mr. Right considered me, "mouthy vermin, previous real estate employee who should be looking over his should at all times," as he stated in his AOL on-line profile.
I had no solace, still prayed to die on a daily basis, and got no help from the Kenny Kingston Psychic lines or my own tarot readings, all of which were still telling me, Mr. Right would be back in my life at some unknown future date. It amazed me how the psychics all picked up on my relationship, from only my birth date, and each one assured me this man was going to be back in my life. My own readings showed me the same thing, and I wanted it so badly to be true, but now time has taken its toll on my desires.
A few days ago I removed the rose-colored glasses and really took a look at the man I was literally praying to die for. He is sort of handsome, in a Dennis Quaid kind of way. His earlobes are unusual in they don't curve at the bottom, then angle straight down to the side of his head. His body is average, and he has a flat ass. His personality is crude, referring to all women as "c--ts, God put on Earth to make life a living hell," and constantly telling me everything he did was because it was "what society expects."
He has a habit of constantly touching himself. Not groping or anything like that, but casually brushing his hand across his crotch, or adjusting himself, like he was always checking to make sure it was still there. He chain smoked, and referred to his children as "f**king financial obligations society expects guys to pay for."
Even after he stopped speaking to me at all, he still let me know, no matter what was written in his on-line profile, he still cared, but couldn't let society know how he felt. All of this took its toll on me emotionally to the extent I've written of here.
I now saw Mr. Right as a spineless coward, incapable of loving anyone else until he learns to love and accept himself. I saw all of his faults, and, while having been able to overlook them in the past, can no longer overlook them, or his flat ass. Sorry to sound so shallow, but the next Mr. Right must have an ass worthy of dying for.
I know my emotional pain, and the reason for it, may sound trivial to those who suffer from other more serious problems, but to me, my pain almost drove me to suicide. I make light of it here, but perhaps it was my sense of humor which kept me from taking the next step and swallowing a bottle of pills in a desperate moment. Perhaps it was seeing my kindergarten teacher, all those years ago, downing a bottle of Clorox bleach in front of the class and vomiting herself to death before 25 scared children in 1968, which prevented me from taking the next step.
I truthfully don't know why I didn't do it. I wasn't afraid of death itself, only the pain associated with getting there.
I believe the Universal Powers brought me through this emotional pain. I'm not saying God or Goddess is the answer for everyone, and don't think I didn't lose faith in all the powers of the Universe. I cursed God, the Universe, and everything, almost every day of the past three years. I cried, and begged the Universe to let me die. I stopped caring about people as a whole, and saw them as the individuals whom many times don't deserve my attention, charity, or respect.
Having a broken heart may not be equal to someone with AIDS, or a homeless person with more obviously pressing needs, but the emotional level of depression a broken heart can lead you to is just as devastating, and can take physical tolls equal to those of more obvious pressing issues.
The purpose of revealing all of this, of opening my life to the public to read, is more for others who are suffering depression than for my own needs. It is to show the world how fragile the human emotional can be, and how anything, even something as trivialized in today's society as love has become trivialized, can cause a level of depression so devastating it could be fatal.
Couple this pain with the suffering of the gay person living in fear, in a closet for self-protection from a society where people like Dr. Laura Schlessinger can proclaim them potential child-molesters, or someone may beat them to death just for the hell of it, or they may be shot because they expressed an interest in someone who is insulted by having a gay person attracted to them, and you've got a potential for emotional pressures that far outweigh the daily stress of the heterosexual world.
I don't trivialize the pain of heterosexuality, but in a society that doesn't even want to recognize my feelings as being valid or equal to those of heterosexuals, it's hard for me, as a gay man, to accept the same emotional pains I see in myself in someone of the heterosexual persuasion. Maybe coming out of my depression, by the grace of the Gods, has made me more aware of others like myself, who are buffeted about by the daily barrage of emotional turbulence associated with being a homosexual in today's society.
I know this sounds like teenage angst, but perhaps, again, because of the uncaring society in which we live, forcing many people to remain closeted until well beyond their teenage years, these experiences are lived out alone at ages when one should already have progressed well beyond these emotional stages.
Now it's time for those of us who are suffering from different levels of depression to grab onto a life line or some sort, a life line of hope, or anger against the intolerance shown us. It's time for us to say "I'm mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take it any more," like in the film Network. It's time for us, as a gay community, to rise up and show our true numbers to the world. Time to stop allowing heterosexual society to set the rules by which we are expected to live.
We are just as valid as heterosexuals, and deserve the same respect under the law. No matter what the reason for your depressions; broken hearts, societal rejects, self-imposed prisons of the mind, fears of all of the above, I urge you to reach out to someone, whether it is on-line, or in your own town, or a suicide prevention hotline, and voice your fears. You have to face them in order to conquer them.
I do acknowledge the limitations of the fragile human spirit, and the emotional boundaries we all face. I know some depressions are far worse than others and require medical attention. I know of these things, yet I feel if we, as a gay community, can obtain just one solid acknowledgment of our emotional struggles to be accepted by the heterosexual society as equals under the law, maybe that will lift a great deal of emotional barriers.
I know, if my emotional pain were put into terms of heterosexuality, and I had been involved in a heterosexual relationship, it would not have been something so secret, or something my ex-sex partner, formerly known as Mr. Right, would have felt compelled to keep to himself. If I had been female to his male, or vice versa, our friends would have embraced us openly, gotten us drunk and told us how much better off we were without that jerk in our lives.
Living in a closet, and not having the access to a lot of "gay comfort friends," leaves people like me, and many others, to suffer in silence with "closet caused depressions." Even once you're out, unless you uproot your life and move to an area noted for larger homosexual populations, usually in larger city areas, you are still alone.
Face it, suburban homosexuality is not a string of Tupperware parties with dildos as door prizes, or smiling heterosexuals knocking on your door to learn where you got that fashionable rainbow flag hanging off your porch. For the most part, suburban homosexuality is quiet couples usually stared at through bent window blinds or from behind opaque curtains, living in quiet neighborhoods. More often it is the single male, with his pet, who never seems to date, or occasionally has a few friends over for a picnic, who eventually moves to a city for "work reasons."
We all suffer from some level of fear and depression, and not all of us will get through it as relatively easily as I seem to have gotten through it, but we must try. If my words anger some, who feel my pain is nothing compared to theirs, tough. If my words give a pause to one person who might be considering suicide at this moment, and possibly give them the extra time to reconsider, then they have served their purpose. If they just amuse you, as to how self-absorbed I might appear, good. I'm not looking for society's approval any longer, but occasionally willing to give society my approval.
I hope this helps some people out there.