Dear Self,

Sometimes I feel as though I am behind in accomplishing what I want to accomplish with my life. Reflecting on what my sisters have done by 25, I have not done near as much as them. Both of my sisters have had their schooling done by 24, and families started by 28. Both are married, and have children with their husbands.

I’m over here sitting, thinking, dang I can barely even get a text back from a guy.. Now I don’t know if it’s the ‘lifestyle’ that I have that is causing this delay. Or if it’s just a matter of people not wanting to date, etc. I’ve talked about this many times, and yet this still bothers me. Why is it so hard to find someone who’s goal oriented, smart, respectful, motivated, etc. Maybe I have too high of standards? NO! I will not allow myself to lower this high expectation for a partner. I will, eventually, be in a good place career wise, and I expect the same from a partner. (I will most likely talk about this more in depth in a later post).

But for now, Tylen, you need to just breath and let things work themselves out. There is someone out there for you, you just haven’t ran into him yet. You have already accomplished a lot, once you think about it. You already have 1 bachelors degree in Non-For-Profit Management, and are finishing up another one in May. You’ve been accepted into Grad School already, and are only 2 years away from a Masters.

Relax.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

49

I am a vegetarian, and there’s a 100% chance that I have told someone about it in the last minutes. In a more serious note, I have been for 13 years, and it’s a great life style. I know that this is a controversial topic, so I will not try and push it on you that hard *wink wink* All of my friends eat meat, and even though this is a lifestyle I have chosen, I be sure to not try and push my views on them. I respect the fact that you like your chicken nuggets, and I don’t try and convince them to change. BUT Below is 49 reasons as to be a vegetarian, and you can determine if it’s something you too wish to try. Please feel free to comment on your views if you feel so inclined!

The Environment

  1. Conservation of Fossil fuel. It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of beef protein; 35 calories for 1 calorie of pork; 22 calories for 1 of poultry; but just 1 calorie of fossil fuel for 1 calorie of soybeans. By eating plant foods instead of animal foods, I help conserve our non-renewable sources of energy.
  2. Water Conservation. It takes 3 to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein. As a vegetarian I contribute to water conservation.
  3. Efficient use of grains. It takes up to 16 pounds of soybeans and grains to produce 1 lb. of beef and 3 to 6 lbs. to produce 1 lb of turkey & egg. By eating grain foods directly, I make the food supply more efficient & that contributes to the environment.
  4. Soil conservation. When grains & legumes are used more efficiently, our precious topsoil is automatically made more efficient in its use. We use less agricultural resources to provide for the same number of people.
  5. Saving our forests. Tropical forests in Brazil and other tropic regions are destroyed daily, in part, to create more acreage to raise livestock. By not supporting the meat industry, I directly reduce the demand to pillage these irreplaceable treasures of nature. Since the forest land “filters” our air supply and contains botanical sources for new medicines, this destruction is irreversable.
  6. Asthetics. Decaying animal parts, whether in a freezer case or served in restaurants, can never be as asthetically pleasing to the senses as the same foods made from wholesome vegetable sources. Only habit can allow one not to perceive this: a change in diet makes this self evident.

    Personal Health

  7. No deficiencies. There is no nutrient necessary for optimal human functioning which cannot be obtained from plant food.
  8. High fat plus cholesterol. Animal foods are higher in fat than most plant foods, particularly saturated fats. Plants do not contain cholesterol.
  9. “Carb” deficient. Meat is deficient in carbohydrates, particularly the starches which are so essential to proper health.
  10. Vitamin deficient. Except for the b-complex, meat is largely deficient in vitamins.
  11. Agricultural Chemicals. Being higher on the food chain, animal foods contain far higher concentrations of agricultural chemicals than plant foods, including pesticides, herbicides, etc.
  12. Exposure to livestock drugs. There are over 20,000 different drugs, including sterols, antibiotics, growth hormones and other veterinary drugs that are given to livestock animals. These drugs are consumed when animal foods are consumed. The dangers herein, in secondary consumption of antibiotics, are well documented.
  13. Pathogenic Microorganisms. There are a host of bacteria and viruses, some quite dangerous, that are common to animals. When I eat meat, I eat the organisms in the meat. Micro-organisms are present in plant foods too, but their number and danger to human health is by no means comparable to that of those in meat.
  14. Worms and other Parasites. Ditto on # 13!
  15. Shelf life differential. Plant foods last longer than animal foods. Try this experiment: Leave out a head of lettuce and a pound of hamburger for 1 day, which will make you sick?
  16. Organoleptic Indications of Pathenogens. Plant foods give tell-tale signs of “going bad”. Ever hear of someone getting sick from “bad broccoli”?
  17. Heart Disease. Meat eating increases the risk of heart disease, this country’s #1 killer. The correlation is an epidemiological fact.
  18. Cancer prevention. Of all the natural cancer prevention substances found: vitamin C, B-17, hydroquionenes, beta carotene, NDGA, – none has been found to be animal derived. Yet most meats, when cooked, produce an array of benzenes and other carcinogenic compounds. Cancer is infinitely easier to prevent than cure. Soybeans contain protease inhibitor, a powerful anticancer compound. You won’t find it in useful quantities in animal based food.
  19. Disease Inducing. The correlation between meat consumption and a wide range of degenerative diseases is well founded and includes…..
  20. Osteoporosis
  21. Kidney Stones and Gallstones
  22. Diabetes
  23. Multiple Sclerosis
  24. Arthritis
  25. Gum disease
  26. Acne. Aggravated by animal food.
  27. Obesity. Studies confirm that vegetarians tend to be thinner than meat eaters. Obesity is considered by doctors to be a disease within itself.
  28. Intestinal Toxemia. The condition of the intestinal flora is critical to overall health. Animal products putrefy the colon.
  29. Transit time. Wholesome food travels quickly through the “G.I” tract, leaving little time to spoil and incite disease within the body.
  30. Fiber deficient. Fiber absorbs unwanted, excess fats; cleans the intestines; provides bulk and aids in peristalsis. Plant food is high in fiber content; meat, poultry and dairy products have none.
  31. Body wastes. Food from animals contain their waste, including adrenaline, uric and lactic acid, etc., Before adding ketchup, the biggest contributors to the “flavor profile” of a hamburger are the leftover blood and urine.
  32. Excess protein. The average American eats 400% of the RDA for protein. This causes excess nitrogen in the blood that creates a host of long-term health problems.
  33. Longevity. To increase ones risk of getting degenerative disease means decreasing ones chance to live a naturally long healthy life. Huzas and other peoples with large centenarian populations maintain lifestyles that are relatively meat free.
  34. Well Being. I just feel better since “giving up” meat and becoming vegetarian.

    Personal Finances

  35. Health care costs. Being healthier on a vegetarian diet means spending less on health care.
  36. Food costs. Vegetarian foods tend to cost less than meat based items.

    Ethics

  37. Love of animals. I love animals as I love myself. I have no desire to kill them or cause them harm.
  38. Stance against Factory Farming.. I cannot make a statement against factory farming if I myself eat animals.
  39. Respect for Sentient Life. I show gratitude to my Creator(s?) by eating as low on the food chain as possible.
  40. “Economic Vote”. I show support of the meat industry and the way they operate when I purchase and use their products.
  41. Small sacrifice The sacrifice I make is nothing compared to the animals, its life.
  42. Natural diet. Our hands, teeth, feet, intestinal tract…even our body chemistry is that of an herbivore.
  43. Reciprocity. If I partake in the slaughter of animals, I will have to repay my contribution to that act.
  44. “Protecting the Temple”. “Whatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and soul” (E.G. White)
  45. I believe in nonviolence. Slaughter isn’t.
  46. World Peace. There can never be peace among men while men are declaring war on other highly developed life forms.
  47. Clear conscience. I know what I’m doing is right. I feel good inside about my decision to remain “meatless”
  48. Example. To live this way is to protect the underlying values of those around me.
  49. Easy substitutes. There are vegetable based substitutes for every meat product imaginable.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

You Betta’ Werk

I must first give credit where credit is due, and my title comes from the beautiful drag queen, and one of the most popular ones at that, RuPaul. Ru has been doing drag, and been in the spotlight since the early 90s.

Now I have not always been keen to liking drag queens. When I had first started going out into the gay community at their bars when I was the shy age of 17 (sorry mom!), using a fake ID from a friend of mine, I not only didn’t understand it but thought it was a very weird thing to do. Who would someone who is a man want to actively dress like a woman? This concept was so hard for me to accept for my very conservative upbringing. It took me many a times attending drag shows that got me to experience the art behind it. It is in fact an art, and for almost all drag queens they have no desire to even become a woman, it’s for a show and for a fun time! I am absolutely in awe at some of the transformations that these drag queens do, going from their male persona to their female persona. Of course my love for drag grew even more after watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.

However, for most of society and sadly even in the very community in which we are a part of discrimination occurs. People do not accept something in which we do not understand, and for most (like I use to) do not understand the point of drag. Drag poses a threat. Drag queens act against the gender norm that society has created and this makes people who follow these norms feel vulnerable and threatened. Most of society feels as though men who dress as woman are committing a huge western culture taboo. The real issue that society has with drag queens is we live in a heteronormative culture where male dominance is desired.

Drag poses a threat to men in general. Men do not understand how another man could not understand his masculinity. Some even going to the extreme of being disgusted by the fact that a man at any point would want to be a woman. They do not like the fact that drag queens take away form the norm that men are tough and strong.

Drag also poses a threat to woman as well. Drag queens are embracing the gender norm of what it means to be a woman. Some are considered more feminine than people who are actually born with female organs. Some woman have even commented that drag queens set unrealistic standards when it comes to looking like a woman. They feel threatened because these males are more feminine and beautiful then they themselves are.

Sadly, drag queens also pose a threat to the gay community. Drag queens are softened associated with the symbol for indicating someone as gay. ‘Dragging’ has long been stereotyped to direct attention towards homosexual men. But it’s good to note that not every drag queen is gay.

As a whole drag has been often criticized for the way they dress and express themselves. It also may discourage a young adult who is confused with their biological sex and gender that is associated with it from seeking out their true identity.

This made me sought out after some drag queens that I know in the community here in Indianapolis, and surrounding areas. Through this interview [attached] I was able to ask them a series of questions in which to better understand their perspective. This was in no way an attack on them or their drag persona, just a better way for me to be able to understand the drag culture because I know little to nothing about it. As you’ll read, most drag queens were not interested in conforming to the gender norms, but rather identifying with their own idea of gender and who they are. The drag queen community has consistently been fighting issues such as poverty, discrimination, and stereotypes. What most people don’t realize is that drag queens do not care what the rest of society thinks of them.

In conclusion, drag queens sole purpose is not to go out and try and identify to the societal social norms. They do not do it to seek attention. They are not freaks. They do not pose any threat. They are more so searching for a gender identity that they are comfortable with. They perform to raise money, they perform to have fun and create an experience, and they do it for themselves. Please read the attached interviews I conducted with some drag queens that I know, so you can see each of their own personal views. Drag is what you make it, you can be super feminine or you can be a mix between feminine and masculine. Drag can be anything you make it to be.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

dragqueeninterviews

Social Constructionism 101

I use social construction quite a bit when talking about issues. I found the need to explain the background behind the word social constructionism, and what it means.

Im sure everyone at some time have thought “Is this real?” But the important question is, “What makes something real?” Most of the time the things we experience in this world are constructs. We have opinions about everything, and we experience the world through that lens.

Social constructionism is a theory that knowledge and many aspects of the world around us are not real in and of themselves. They only exist because we give them reality through social agreement. Things like Nations, books, and money don’t exist in the absence of human society. Nations are groups of people who happen to share a language or history. Books are a bunch of scribbles. And money is just pieces paper and metal that only have value because we assign them. The concept of the self, can be considered a social construct as well. Our identity is created by interactions, and our reactions to the expectations to society.

There are two threads of social constructionism: the weak and the strong. The weak proposes that social constructs are dependent on brute facts, which are the most basic and fundamental and don’t rely on any other facts. Brute facts are kind of difficult to understand because it is so strange to think about something that cant be explained by something else.

Take example in the computer screen that you are looking at: the screen works because of changing voltages and bits metal which can be explained by movements of sub-atomic particles which are made from quarks so on and so forth (Thank you Google *wink wink*). None of those are brute facts. The brute fact is what explains quarks, or what explains the explanation of quarks. Those brute facts are separate from institutional facts – which are created social conventions and do rely on other facts. For example money depends on paper that we have given value.

Strong social constructionism on the other hand states that “the whole of reality is dependent on language and social habits – that all knowledge is a social construct, and there are no brute facts.” So it would say that we created the idea of quarks, and everything that we use to explain it. There are no facts that just exist.

The main criticism to social constructionism is that it does not consider the affect of the national phenomenon on social society. And at least for strong social constructionism it even has difficulty explaining those phenomenon because they don’t depend on human speech or action. Strong social constructionism only explains reality through the thoughts of humans not by using fundamental brute facts.

For example: We as society view people who are taller as having more confidence. We as employers go to the extreme of hiring someone who is equally as qualified but taller than another candidate. They should be equal right? Wrong, we have socially constructed the idea that taller people are more successful and do better work than shorter people – even though it is not necessarily true. This is social constructionism.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

The Slippery Snake Crawling up my Back

I have anxiety. It comes in ways of biting my nails, tapping my feet, playing with my septum ring, and keeping myself busy. It’s a constant voice in my head saying things like, “You’re not good enough”, “You’re needy”, “Your boyfriend is out to hurt you”, “Your friends don’t even like you”, “why meet someone new when they most likely won’t like you”, etc. I feel a constant need to be perfect, present myself as perfect, and not fail at anything. Schooling wise this was an amazing thing because it made me study hard, learn hard, and succeed. I have always had a perfect 4.0 GPA (and still do). I love school because I feel it’s the one thing in my life that I can succeed at every time. My anxiety is by far the worst part of me. I hate it, I struggle with it, I’ve been struggling with it, each day it’s different, it makes me dislike myself.

It affects not only my personal life, but drives a wedge between the people that mean the most to me. It’s a juxtaposition between wanting to love others, but facing a fear of rejection. My anxiety has caused so many problems for me in my relationships. Far too often it pushes the ones I love most away.

This was a huge problem in my longest relationship I had with a guy (of about 3 years). I always thought he was out to hurt me, always doing something that was going to hurt me, it made me compare myself to everyone that he had contact with – including his best friend (I could go on, but won’t). I never felt good enough for him, and even believe that anyone else was better than me; why would he chose me when I am not good enough. I honestly convinced myself that he was cheating on me. Why was he 30 minutes late from getting back to work? Was he with someone else, ‘hanging out?’. My constant questioning him about it made him actually go out, and talk to other guys behind my back. I was the issue, he was’t. He had much patience for me, which I greatly appreciate immensely. But enough was enough, and he dind’t want to constantly assure me that nothing was going on. I pushed an amazing guy away, and it was all because of me.

Eventually we called it quits, and it felt as though my life had took a whole 360. My anxiety soared even higher. I told myself “see you aren’t good enough, you never were.” I thought I was never going to be able to find someone else. My anxiety was so bad that I went to work, and went through the motions as though I was an emotionless shell. I would come back to my best friends place (because I couldn’t at the time afford to live out on my own), and would go right to sleep. I barely ate, I barely talked to anyone. I didn’t even go home for the Holidays. I stayed by myself, and made me hate myself even more. I was caught, and was stuck. I was not going anywhere but backwards.

It took until my best friend ‘smacked me in the face’, and said that I need to get out of this dark place. I needed to wake the fuck up, and put back together the pieces of myself. This was a process, and let me tell you it took me a long time. I was by no means completely better, but at least I was able to get my personality back.

I had lost almost all of my friends because I surrounded myself with friends that were his, and neglected mine through the process. It wasn’t until after the fact that I had done some serious damage to my own friends. I did, however, thankfully had my 2 best friends who I could fall back on for support. I had to get out and meet new people, but what was my problem – I was scared to death to meet new people. My social anxiety made me a nervous wreck to even go to a bar and talk to a new face. BUT you know what I did, I made new friends. My friends that are now my main friend group were starting to take shape. I was able to build an amazing friendship with them, and met even more people through the process.

Fast forward to a more recent time where I have met yet another amazing guy. I immediately clicked with him, and a spark for him started right after I had met him. We had great conversations, and talked about everything. I told myself I got this, how lucky am I that I found such an amazing guy! Well no it changed, I got caught up in my mind again, and pushed him away. All it took was ask him multiple times to be sure that he wasn’t talking to other people, or sending ‘pictures’ on Snapchat to others, etc. Here I was again back to accusing him of doing things when he was not. Even though he says it was not my anxiety that caused the breakup, deep down I know it was the case. I understood, and I get it. Dating someone with anxiety is not easy. We are going to have our moments when we just think anything that can go wrong, will and are going on. I regret everyday that I even brought it up, and questioned him about things because who knows where we could be at this moment.

I wish I could say what I need to do to fix it, but I do not have any idea. Sometimes I can talk myself out of the inner mental struggle, but I am most times than not, always strong.  I drove him out, just like the others, and I dislike myself for it. I refuse to be on medication and be that person who takes a pill every morning for breakfast. Yes it might help me, but I refuse to do something that could have side affects on me. I’m not going to dive in on the use of medication to ‘treat’ people (might possibly talk about this in a future post).

For anyone who dates someone with anxiety, I know it is not easy. It will not always go well, and there will be times of doubts. I know that you can be strong, and it’s up to the both of you to just keep an open communication about the issue with one another. We will need your reassurance, often, and it might frustrate you. But what you don’t want to do it just run away from it because we honestly cannot help it. You can do it, you can help us be strong and keep grounded. We need it, we need you to tell us that everything is okay – even though we may ask often.

For anyone who has anxiety, you are more than your mental illness. Even though I hate using mental illness because it makes it seem bad, it is in fact a mental disorder. But you can get past it, you can succeed. It is okay to fail, it is okay to have doubts, it is okay to be fearful. What you don’t want to do is hold it in, and not talk about things because it will build up – talking from personal experience. You are everything that you say that you are not. YOU CAN GET PAST IT! It is a part of you, but it does not have to define who you are.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

 

Drowning in our own Ambiguities

He hasn’t called you in a week, and the longest 15 minutes of your life was spent waiting on a text back from him. He bailed on you twice, two Fridays ago, and you’re thinking, perhaps, third times a charm?

He goes by the name of Derek. He’s built with that flawless, Tatum-meets-Gosling contour and he’s undoubtingly high-in-demand. He says all the right things. Although your eyes should roll with every smooth line he throws at you, you eat it up anyway. He’s all wrong for you, but you want him, nonetheless.

But did you notice Paul called you twice today, and you dodged both rings? Did you realize that your inbox fills up with enthralling text messages from him, on a regular basis? Don’t forget the flowers he brought you on your second date. Yeah, that guy. Oh, that’s right; he was never an option.

In the complex world of relationships, guys like Paul don’t stand a chance. The truth is, nice guys don’t offer a challenge. They are boring, agreeable and easily attained. Men like Paul do not offer the chase.

They lack the hard-to-get appeal and are always there, wrapped around a your finger. Yes, it’s true: we want the chase, we ache for the struggle and we thirst for the wonder.

So men, make you cry; ignore them. Douse them with your sadistic MOs, and you will find them hanging onto your every word, at your convenience. Apparently, if you’re the nice guy, your existence won’t even appear in the radar.

This seems to be the desire of the Gen-Y, yet, we often hear them say, “I just want a nice guy.” Sounds pretty hypocritical, eh? We are wired to follow complexities.

A nice guy waltzes into a person’s life and we immediately leads him into the friend zone, no questions asked.

We as society are full of paradoxes. We are drowning in our own ambiguities; it’s in our nature. We may say one thing, yet mean another. We have been living in a dimension where “I’m fine,” means “nothing is fine,” and the obvious answer is “do whatever you want to do.” We religiously use this shield of passive aggressiveness as a defense mechanism.

With that being said, we will continue to grow and learn about themselves after dating different people. Yes, this means we will outgrow the jerks. They will exhaust themselves from men buying them drinks at clubs and instead, pursue dreams of settling down and buying a house.

They will long for security and a nice guy to love them unconditionally, rather than one who leaves them tirelessly piecing together suspicious alibis. The lies will get old and so will the waiting.

Unfortunately, often times we don’t know what’s good for us until we’ve been exposed to what’s bad for us. We need to get our hearts broken and self-esteem perished once, twice or maybe three times to recognize what we deserve.

Thanks, jerks. Your emotionless charm and excessive lying serves to help us grow from being the naive society we once were. You have paved the way for nice guys to finally get their shot. So really, it’s true: Nice guys finish last, but they do, ahem, finish.

Perhaps, behind every jerk lies an ex who made him that way. We have all been a Derek – possibly- at once point in our lives. And we’ve all been a doormat like Paul.

It’s a learning process and the partners we meet, love and leave have all become our teachers. At the end of the day, once you have had your time of being the jerk, you’ll turn into the nice guy. You’ll be a keeper.

Nice guys finish last because they should finish last. We must first practice on a rough draft before framing a masterpiece.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

Mass Media & Teens

Many parents, politicians, religious leaders, and journalists take it for granted that mass media have powerful, largely deleterious effects on adolescents’ sexual lives. But until recently, few empirical studies attempted to assess this claim. Surveys routinely find that teenage boys and girls cite mass media as one of the top sources from which they have learned about sexuality (Harris et al., 1991; Steele, 1999; Strasburger, 1997). However, many adolescents also say that they distrust the information they obtain from the media and that they more often follow the advice of friends and family members (Treise and Gotthoffer, 2002). Nor are teens’ interpretations of media products any more monolithic than adults’. For example, Ward and colleagues (2002) found that college students’ perceptions of sexual relationships on primetime TV series were patterned by gender and preexisting beliefs about sex. Brown et al. (2006) found that sexual content in media differentially impacted white and African-American teens’ sexual behavior.

Still, many adolescents report consciously emulating some of the behaviors they see in media and assessing their own beliefs and actions in comparison. Ethnographic and interview studies by McKinley (1997), McRobbie (1994), and Christian-Smith (1990) (among others) reveal that young women consult mass media images to guide their decisions about sexual activity and other aspects of life (see also Radway, 1984). Of particular interest is Steele’s (2002) exploration of the ways a racially diverse group of adolescent men and women interpreted and used movies. Drawing on focus groups, media journals, ‘‘room tours,’’ and in-depth interviews, Steele found that although study participants’ movie preferences and the social activities surrounding movie viewing were patterned by gender and race, one film—Higher Learning (John Singleton, 1995)—struck a chord across social groups. Teens used this explosive tale of race relations and sexuality not only to reaffirm their existing beliefs about race, gender, and sexuality, but also to question those beliefs and to entertain new perspectives. On balance, mass media appear to play a reinforcing role in sexual socialization, with youth generally attending to materials that reinforce their existing beliefs and values, but sometimes using media to explore new approaches.

Longitudinal studies have linked youths’ sexual conduct to their consumption of media with sexual content. Brown et al. (2006) found that 12–14 year-old white boys and girls exposed to media diets high in sexual content—based on a measure weighting the frequency of sexual content in movies, TV shows, music albums, and magazines each teen used regularly—were significantly more likely to have had sex by ages 14–16 than white teens with media diets lower in sexual content, even after controlling for other predictors of sexual activity. The relationship was not statistically significant for black teens, possibly because (as the authors contend) black youth formed their sexual expectations earlier than white youth or because (as Milkie’s [1999] research suggests) the relative absence of people ‘‘like them’’ in most media enables black youth to dissociate themselves from media depictions of sexuality.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

Work Cited

Brown, Jane D., Kelly Ladin L’Engle, Carol J. Pardun, Guang Guo, Kristin Kenneavy, and Christine Jackson. 2006. ‘‘Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents’ Sexual Behavior,’’ Pediatrics 6: 1018–1027.

Christian-Smith, Linda K. 1990. Becoming a Woman Through Romance. New York: Routledge.

 

Harris, Mary B., Richard J. Harris, and Sally M. Davis. 1991. ‘‘Ethnic and Gender Differences in Southwestern Students’ Sources of Information About Health,’’ Health Education Research 6: 31–42.

McKinley, E. Graham. 1997. Beverly Hills, 90210: Television, Gender, and Identity. Philadelphia,PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

McRobbie, Angela. 1994. Postmodernism and Popular Culture. London: Routledge.

Milkie, Melissa. 1999. ‘‘Social Comparisons, Reflected Appraisals, and Mass Media: The Impact of Pervasive Beauty Images on Black and White Girls’ Self Concepts,’’ Social Psychology Quar- terly 62: 2: 190–210.

 

Steele, Jeanne R. 1999. ‘‘Teenage Sexuality and Media Practice: Factoring in the Influences of Family, Friends, and School,’’ Journal of Sex Research 36: 331–341.

Steele, Jeanne R. 2002. ‘‘Teens and Movies: Something to Do, Plenty to Learn,’’ In Jane D. Brown, Jeanne R. Steele, and Kim Walsh-Childers (eds.), Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investi- gating Media’s Influence on Adolescent Sexuality: pp. 227–252. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

Strasburger, Victor C. 1997. ‘‘‘Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘N’ Roll,’ and the Media—Are the Media Responsible for Adolescent Behavior?’’ Adolescent Medicine 8: 403–414.

Treise, Debbie, and Alyse Gotthoffer. 2002. ‘‘Stuff You Couldn’t Ask Your Parents: Teens Talk- ing About Using Magazines for Sex Information,’’ In Jane D. Brown, Jeanne R. Steele, and Kim Walsh-Childers (eds.), Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media’s Influence on Adolescent Sexuality: pp. 173–189. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ward, L. Monique, Benjamin Gorvine, and Adena Cytron-Walker. 2002. ‘‘Would that Really Happen? Adolescents’ Perceptions of Sexual Relationships According to Prime-Time Televi- sion,’’ In Jane D. Brown, Jeanne R. Steele, and Kim Walsh-Childers (eds.), Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media’s Influence on Adolescent Sexuality: pp. 95–123. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

 

Mistakes Happen

Focusing on mistakes can be difficult – especially when they’re yours. After all, most of our mistakes are painful reminders of times when we messed up. Why would I want to, say, look back on the break-up that left me curled up in a ball for a year? What good is going to come from that?

Well, because examining that break-up would tell me exactly why it all fell apart. In this case, it was because I tried to push a relationship on someone who didn’t want one. Our relationship was never going to work because it was fundamentally flawed. I was just willing to ignore those flaws until it was too late.
But I ignored those mistakes… and that proceeded to sabotage my next relationship. And the one after that.

When we let our failures and mistakes fade into the ether, we make it harder to succeed. We lose track of the factors that make the difference between succeeding and failing. We start losing critical information – what caused this to fall apart? Why were we defeated? Why’d we get rejected?

When I started getting more adept with men, I used to focus like a laser on my successes. Whatever I did the night that I got a phone number or a kiss became my methodology for weeks. It didn’t quite hit the level of having to wear my lucky pair of undies… but it wasn’t far off either. Naturally, that success would be followed by failure after failure. It drove me crazy… I was doing everything exactly the same as I did before. Why wasn’t I getting the same results?

Because I wasn’t succeeding, I was not failing, which is a very different thing entirely. The stars had aligned just right that night for me to pull off a Hail Mary and now I was trying to make the Hail Mary into my signature move. I was missing all kinds of critical information that guaranteed I was going to go down in flames.

Focusing on my mistakes, on the other hand… well, it sucked. There were a lot of them. But paying attention to those mistakes, tracking them and categorizing them? That let me start seeing the patterns. I started noticing areas that I would trip up over constantly. I could see which mistakes were critical – the ones that would kill attraction – and which were survivable. The more mistakes I paid attention to, the more there was to learn.

Of course, the more I had to learn, the more I had to be willing to go out and fail. 

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

Coming Out: I Want a Monogamous Gay Relationship

“Can two gay men really have a monogamous relationship?”

This is a question I see far too often within the gay community. Gay men are by all means capable of having monogamous relationships. We do not “have” to have open relationships, even if that sometimes seems standard for gay relationships. There are, however, some powerful reasons why so many gay men, including those who embrace monogamy and marriage, are often pulled toward non-monogamy. If we want to have more volition in how we live, it’s essential that we understand why behaviors that may have negative consequences can seem irresistible. I believe that many of us are still seeking the validation we never really got, through our ongoing pursuit of sex. But once we’re adults, validation from others doesn’t actually have much lasting impact on our self-esteem; so one hookup leads to another as we keep seeking something or someone to help us feel good about ourselves. As a result, we can have a hard time connecting sex and emotional intimacy. That combination can be unfamiliar and even uncomfortable, so we often seek out the familiarity of anonymous hookups instead. Moreover, our early experiences can condition us to be most aroused by risk rather than by connection. All of this makes it challenging to be a monogamous gay couple, much less an emotionally or sexually healthy gay man. And I’m not even touching on the reasons why monogamy is hard for just about everyone, including, of course, heterosexuals.

This is not easy and can be lonely. Most of us grew up without a real peer group, so we aren’t eager to repeat the experience of feeling like we don’t fit in. It’s like coming out all over again. You have to decide whether it’s worth pretending to be someone you aren’t, in order not to feel alone.The good news is that if you’ve been able to come out, you actually have what it takes to choose your own path. The same skills that help a person come out—a belief in yourself, a desire to live with integrity, and a thick skin—are vital in making the decision to live your relationship by your rules.

So if you’re a gay man and want a monogamous relationship, do it! You just have to be prepared for an endurance swim against an ongoing strong current. Difficult but doable, and certainly a life journey that will help you build your resilience.

Below is a good video I have recently found on YouTube that describes in a good way both sides to this topic. Check it out! (I will most likely talk about this topic again!)

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty

Dear Grindr, We Have To Talk

I’ve been using Grindr off and on since around 2010, probably, and last week I finally deleted my account. Not just deleted the app (we’ve all done that), but deleted my whole account. Now, I know what you’re thinking — it’s pretty easy to create a new account, so I haven’t really taken as drastic a step as I’m making it out to be. And you have a point. Who hasn’t deleted Grindr for one reason or another. We all get angry, or depressed, or disillusioned with our respective local gay communities, and we delete the app thinking “This isn’t what I want. This isn’t going to get me what I want.” But, somehow, the possibility of finding what we’re looking for (or, at least the possibility of a quick fuck) always draws us back in.
But this time, I want to really try to make my decision a permanent one. I deleted Grindr, because I realized that, not only was it not getting me what I wanted (a relationship, or failing that, a reliable fuckbuddy), but it was making me feel awful about myself in the process.
Let me tell you a little bit about me. I’m a critical thinker, an over analyzer, I have anxiety, and I think mostly with my heart. I have a strong network of friends who love and care for me, and I want desperately to find someone to share my life with. I’m not what you’d describe as co-dependent, and I definitely don’t need a man. I just want one. Badly.
But Grindr, I have decided, for me personally, is not the place to find that. I found that I was checking the app with almost every spare moment I had. Sometimes I would open the app, check for new messages, close the app, and then open it right back up, as if I were on autopilot. And each time I found that I didn’t have any new messages, I felt the slightest bit worse about myself. What’s wrong with me? Yes, I don’t have sculpted abs or an ‘in shape body’, but there are plenty of guys I’m attracted to (lean, maybe athletic, maybe muscular, maybe twink, I’m sort of…eclectic, in my tastes) who are attracted to me. I know they exist because I’ve had sex with and/or dated them at one time or another. But, even though I know logically that sometimes guys you’re into just aren’t into you, and that there’s nothing wrong with that, I could not get away from the awful way that Grindr made me feel.
Every time I showed an interest in someone and he either failed to respond, or chatted me up for a few minutes before ghosting away, this little voice in the back of my head whispered, “What do you expect? You’re disgusting. You’re a fat slob. You don’t care about being active, so how can you expect an active, attractive young man to care about you?”
Now, it should be noted that I have a whole host of my own problems. Like, Grindr doesn’t make me hate myself — I do that enough on my own. Grindr just reinforces all of the awful things I think about myself. So, for me, the only decision that made sense was to delete the app completely. Along with Jack’d, and Tinder, and all of those other apps. I’d love to tell you that I suddenly feel a hundred times better about myself, but I don’t. I still dislike myself, but at least now I don’t have Grindr providing a number of reasons each day to dislike myself even more.

Enjoy, and much love;

Ty