October 21, 2010

Grinds My Gears: Food Edition

You know what really Grinds My Gears? Not enough condiments on my sandwich. I get an Italian hoagie from the same spot every week with no mayo, instead I get mustard. And every week I get the thinnest layer of mustard known to man. SERIOUSLY?!?! Usually take out places are more than liberal with the mayo; cured meats practically swimming in the oily mixture, but when it comes to any other condiment all of a sudden it seems as if there's a world shortage. Last I checked there was no horrible famine that ravaged mustard seed crops, or tomato fields for that matter. Sure my sandwich is tasty, but dammit if it isn't dry! If anyone reading this works at a take out place, cut us mayo-haters some slack and make our sandwiches go down a bit easier by giving more than a baby teaspoon size of ketchup and mustard.

Give a Damn because It Gets Better

Last night I had the privilege of sitting on a panel for an event focusing on LGBTQ life at Rutgers University. 7 panelist discussed how being a member of the LGBTQ community affected their lives as Latinos, students and Greeks. We sat there, most of us wearing purple, discussing our stories and answering questions from audience members.
I had to admit I was nervous about being on the panel. Being "out" isn't as easy as it looks. There I was, fully owning and admitting who I was and having an open dialogue about it in a room of proverbial strangers. The program was cathartic in many ways and allowed me to really examine how far our community has come. Its wasn't that long ago that I went to my first National Coming Out Day, Gay Pride Parade, or had my first serious same-sex relationship, but there I was telling pieces of my not-so-rosey coming out story. I was surprised (and a little jealous) that most of the young panelist had not had such a hard road to tow. So much spotlight has been focused on our community for decades, but I think the HIV/AIDS scare of the late 70s early 80s really put everything on Front street. Since then more dialogue has occurred, educating outside communities about what it's like to be LGBTQ. Sure some myths still exist like "don't most STDs come from the gay community?" and "does bisexuality really exist?", but there has been great strides to bring about awareness and dispell many rumors.
Many of the student panelist gushed about how much they loved being a part of the LGBTQ community at Rutgers because of how open people were and how they all looked out for each other. It made me a little sad because I wished Tyler Clementi (whom the program was in honor of) had been able to fight through his pain for a few weeks so he could attend the program, meet the panelist and find his place, his safe haven in our community. No matter how bleak things may seem, we all have to give a damn because it does and will get better. We still have a way to go in this country when determining equal rights for all, but at least there is a national dialogue on how to make things better. Hopefully much was gained from last night and more people start to Give A Damn:

October 18, 2010

Friends, How many of us have them?

Its been just about a month since I last blogged. To be honest I felt there was "nothing" to blog about. Usually people like to discuss all that's going "wrong" in life, what's disappointing us. I guess I was fortunately not blogging because things were going quite swimmingly. What's prompting this blog? Recent disappointment.

The anatomy of a friendship can be quite complex. If you're like me,  your friends constantly come to you with their issues with other friends asking "should I be upset that they did/said/acted this way?" Usually my first response is "what exactly is your relationship with them?" Whether we're conscious of it or not we have "tiers of friends". There are those that comprise our innermost circles, they are our family outside of our bloodline. Then there are tiers for close friends, associates, friends of friends, work friends, school friends, etc... Depending on how close your relationship is with someone will dictate their tier.

Recently I've had the misfortune of picking and choosing my top tier friends over one another. The main issue with this is that I must sacrifice one friend's needs over another because let's face it, we can't be in two places at the same time (unfortunately). Its a crazy situation when the friends in your top tier don't necessarily like each other because in someone's eyes--if even for a moment--you're the bad guy. I hate being the bad guy. I wish that friends would understand the dynamics of the relationships that their friends have with others. Taking a step back and looking at a situation from outside of yourself can give you a better look at the bigger picture. I think what disappoints friends most is the level of expectation. We expect (in some cases demand) so much from our tiers; or top tier carrying most of the burden. Granted this tier knows us the best and holds our most important secrets, hopes and dreams. So it's difficult to understand why they can't or won't deliver when we want them to. Example, I recently had a friend who was stood up on her birthday by a top tier friend with no good excuse. A heart breaking situation indeed. Actions like that are what can make or break a friendship. Top tier friends can fall to the bottom so fast, some with no hope of cracking the next caste up at any point.

When it comes to your friendships, be the best person you can be, especially if you're in someone's top tier. That fall from grace can penetrate through other friendships with mutual people. You can never expect any one person, or groups of people to always be around every single time you need them, no matter what, but as friends we can all try our best. In the end, we all want someone who isn't going to judge us, and be the shoulder to cry on when we need it most, or share in life changing experiences to enhance the bond. Never forget that friendship, like any relationship, is a two-way street. We're all bound to mess up at one point of another but if it really means something to you, fight for it. Good friends are hard to find.