Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jealousy and the Greener Grass

Originally posted in the Monthly Breeze

I was talking with a really good, head strong friend of mine recently who was describing his feelings towards a mutual associate. He felt he couldn’t truly verbalize the full gamut of his emotions towards this individual but in the very least he knew that what he felt was not warm or fraternal. I suggested that maybe he’s a little envious to wit he replied,

“I don’t know, other people have told me about that but I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been jealous of anything in my entire life.”

Which struck me a little odd.

Every once in awhile the subject of jealousy will come up and he will constantly say, “I don’t like to use that word”.

Which is just fucking funny to me... jealousy as profanity. But it did get me to thinking about its place in my own life. As much as it is profane in my friend’s household, it is quite the adornment in my own.

As I get older, I’m becoming more skilled at the art of emotional responsibility, regardless of the emotion. Jealousy has been one of the bigger ones I’ve had to rein in. The simple truth of the matter is, however ashamed I am to admit it, I have envied. I have seen these hot young guys with twenty eight inch waists with the big booties and the looks they get from other folks in the club, in the bar, on the street and I have honestly felt angst towards them because they have what I do not. Same goes for authors, screenwriters, filmmakers and the like who fall into the same demography that I do that have excelled in spite of the challenges that lie ahead for members of our shared class system.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, I am, a playa hata. In my defense, however, I do have to say that I know this, and I am working through it. For me, it’s a not the knee jerk response that it used to be where, let’s say, I would see a gay, black author make it to the "big time" and I would spend an ornate amount of time degrading them. Nowadays I recognize early on that I’m being a dick wipe, acknowledge it within myself, process the reasons why, then outwardly try my best to display some sense of decorum and modesty so no one can grasp a hold of the dick wipe that I truly am.

I’ve realized that it all comes down to self esteem really, self esteem and contentment. One of my life’s goals is to get to a place of civility best explained by SinĂ©ad O’Connor’s “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.” Just imagine the freedom in that; to not want anything you do not have. To be happy and satisfied, being who you are right now, with what you have at this very moment, who you know yourself to be today; to be utterly grateful.

My problem is, I am grateful, I just want more or in the very least I feel as if I could do more, and when I see someone else doing more, I immediately kick myself in the ass then make a B-Line to destroy the ingenious motherfucker that actually put in an effort to succeed and not wallow in excuses and derision like me, with me.

And being in Los Angeles doesn’t help. In a city who’s preoccupied with emulating the greenest grass, you’re bound to harbor a little resentment if you consistently have weeds.

I remember back in the day when I was invited to the Los Angeles screening of Logo network's “Noah’s Arc”, television’s first stab at portraying the lives of African American homosexuals. I was supposed to be accompanied by friends but they succumbed to a little known fact about Los Angelinos, a psychological allergen to precipitation. It rains here and people just lose their fucking minds; cars crash, people jump off of buildings, Mac is converted to Windows, it’s like the seventh sign of the apocalypse over here.

So I sat solo at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center that was scattered with the few Angelinos that dared to brave outdoor moisture and partake of the show and the free drinks and hor’dourves afterwards.

I remember feeling pretty ambivalent towards the whole scene until the show started... that’s when I knew, just from the first couple of lines uttered, that this was going to be another emulation of the greenest grass, just with gay black people. Really, really, REALLY gay Black people (the lead was prone to wear sassy 'guy on the go' bandannas around his neck).

The thing is, I thought the show was okay but there was just not a single character or situation that I could relate to in it. This realization was the first wave jealously inspired anxiety. When the show was over, the director Patrick-Ian Polk came out and introduced the cast which included a bevy of fabulously thin(er) and beautiful black men. This was the second wave. Afterwards, the smoozing began in the foyer area. It was like high school all over again, the cliques, the snickering, the showboating. I have always reasoned that if I were ever to repeat high school that I would excel so much further than the first go around considering that I have blossomed into quite the social butterfly and can now slip into any passing conversation easily. I was sadly disappointed to realize that, if given the right circumstance, I’m the same schmuck I’ve always been. This was that circumstance as I stood idly by, dumpy, dressed in all black, sucking down Hptnotiq’s and shrimpy, seafood thingees. I imagined deals being made around me, other ambitious writers and screenwriters cornering Mr. Polk or the Director of Development at Logo and picking their brains for inspiration or in the very least simply introducing themselves as someone that they need to know. Wave four. I could feel myself getting disgruntled but in lightening fast speed it occurred to me that, despite the fact that the show might have been about wispy, bourgeoisie, gay Black people and it might have played to an audience of wispy, bourgeoisie, gay Black people… the worst part about the night was that I allowed myself to be intimidated by them. I then realized that my anxiety had nothing to do with Mr. Polk, Noah, or his sassy guy-on-the-go scarves. It was about my own skin and how uncomfortable I felt in it.

Without my crew with me to make these dissertations to, I decided to hightail it out of there. I figured it was a safe assumption that none of the people in attendance were even remotely going through the existential angst I was. This was a party after all, a get together for these people; not the psychological romp through the id that I was experiencing. I was clearly not ready to sit at the grown up table. Even if someone did approach me I think my response would have been something on the level of yelling, “I deserve to be here! I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

I came back home to my lowly cold water flat off of Sunset, roaches and water damage and all, put on some Tori Amos and laid flat on my carpet while admiring the program given to me at the show; the glossy pictures of the glossy gay Black men that, in certain ways, I’ll admit I want to be. I imagined the shows, the movies, the books that I want to create for and about African American homosexuals and I was awestruck at the appreciation I felt towards these, my peers, my pioneers.

I remember calling my boyfriend at the time and apologizing for not inviting him along. The whole excursion would have went down easier with him around and I felt extremely regretful because I ashamedly set this situation up to show how greener my grass was... because I got invited and he didn’t.

“I’m really sorry dude. I have no excuse. I’m just horribly flawed.” I pleaded.

To wit he replied, “Aren’t we all?”

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