I awoke the next morning to the sound of someone else coughing. The TV news was replaying clips from Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony, specifically the moment when her own hacking spell temporarily delayed her statements. Radar, my roommate - disheveled from sleeping, and standing in front of the television with an unlit cigarette between his teeth - scratched his ass and made the following observation: "Hillary Clinton is like America's ex-wife. We had some fun, we made a couple kids...but now I'm just fuckin' sick of her, and I just don't want to see her anymore."
I laughed so hard, I started coughing again...
The process of "how" we make decisions was a topic covered in exhausting detail during my recent stint in rehab. There are many parallels to how alcoholics think and how normal people occasionally make bad choices...but most of those choices aren't intentional, they're the result of a flawed thinking process. A healthy person's ignorance can be just as detrimental as an addict's denial system, and both can cause decisions to be made that are more emotional than rational. And I'm not talking about big, life-changing decisions...I mean the little things, those decisions made every day without thinking - choices that reinforce each other, and become a quiet prejudice. It's like avoiding a restaurant because we heard that someone once had a bad meal there, or speaking cautiously around a conservative coworker because we're worried our lifestyle might offend them. Chuckling...I often dress like an ad for Kohls', but my humor could make Lisa Lampanelli spit out whatever black cock is in her mouth. Can't judge a book by its cover, I guess...
Just like rehab's discussion of anger, human sexuality can be broken down into categories. First, there are the general categories: straight, gay, homosexual, lesbian, and transgender; but those are just the BIG classifications. No one is 100% this way or 100% that way. Even politicians like Clinton make decisions based on a deeper body of knowledge.
My own quest for answers regarding the understanding of mental illness has taught me that no one explanation adequately covers a total issue. Here's an example: people can be depressed, but their depression is often caused by other things...like social anxiety, the denial of addiction, or real mental issues missed by ignorant phycologists. The same holds true for sexuality: no one person is 100% one way or another. Sure, they might be gay or straight, but sexuality is nuanced - like one's hereditary history. "I'm part Polish, with a hint of German and Slovak." In the case of sexual identity, the same holds true: "I'm gay, but I love the leather scene. I'm a BDSM Dom, with a list of kinks that would scare a Criminal Minds guest star. But I am what I am, and I'm pretty damn proud of it." Everyone's sexuality has an asterisk. Everyone is more inside than they seem on the surface.
To fully explain my motives and intensions, I must again return to what I learned about anger in rehab: "Anger must be identified with specifics, and not glossed over with broad strokes of emotion." I fume with anger sometimes. I get so angry, it's impossible to know where it's coming from. But anger - like sexuality - can be easily explained, once you really get down and look at it. It's a carnal human emotion that happens when our needs aren't met. Or, more specifically, when we realize we aren't living up to our potential.
I'm torn with how much I want to share in this blog. My mind is racing - something that would stop immediately if I only had a drink - but I won't do that. I can't do that. Alcohol has caused too many problems in my life. Anger blinds me to making intelligent decisions, and drinking only makes that blindness worse. And though my anger is real, what hurts even worse is the knowledge that when I act out in emotion, no one can see the real person within. It all comes down to "talking," I guess...and to being as specific as possible with what's going on in my head. But addicts are no different than normal people: we all need to talk, share. And in the case of Radar - and when he finally fessed up his true sexuality - talking to others is the best possible thing.
But the devil in the details came out with the talks I've had with both Radar & Heath - and numerous other people - since then. Radar's announcement opened a door within myself. Scratch that: it opened a goddamned bulkhead in my head, a personal transformation as intense as giving up whiskey. "Why aren't we more open with each other?" I thought. "Why do we put so much time and effort into hiding our real selves from other people?" I have no explanation for that, no brilliant AH-HAH moment (as my rehab counselor would say) that could explain everything in a single, simple sentence. "Fear" is the only word I can think of, and I see that fear in almost everyone I encounter. Fear is not only the enemy of recovery, it's the enemy of happiness - no matter who we are, inside.
Hmm...I wonder if there's a sexual sub-classification for THAT? Like Hillary's testimony, the answer would definitely require an ASTERISK ...
Cough, cough, cough..