photo by Dennis Stock
USA. New York City. 1955.
Eartha Kitt & James Dean.
In English we say “I love you” but in gay we say “masc 4 masc” which actually translates to “I am incapable of love” and I just think that’s so neat
This is me in San Francisco.
1. Take up space. Take up space like it’s your divine right—because it is—take up space as an ontological function. Dominate meetings with your voice, dominate meetings with your silence. Let both your words and your silence become hammers that force people to consider your mood. Communicate in glances.
2. Be ceaselessly present. Notice things other people don’t notice, recall the conversation verbatim, never come in at anything less than 90%. If you can’t that day call in sick.
3. The first time someone disregards your opinion without considering it for its merit, make a note. Do not challenge them, do not call them out, just make a note. When you are right—because you will be right—make them an example. Be clear about the example you’re setting.
4. Understand that being good at your job is not enough. Understand that minor mistakes will be lethal for you. Do not complain about it being unfair—we all know it’s unfair. Just get better. Put in the overtime. Study. No really, study. Read books, read newspapers (plural), read blogs, read poetry, read theory. Make being right about things your immutable goal. Understand that you will be wrong no matter how much information you consume. When you’re wrong, be wrong gracefully and make a note. Don’t be wrong again.
5. Learn self-sufficiency. Do not take a confidant. No matter the situation, no matter the person, learn to control your interiority. Keep secrets. If you need a friend call one of the oldest, the ones who’ve seen you in low places, who’ve seen you when he hit you, have seen you when you had the pill problem, have seen you with the blood in your mouth and didn’t tell anybody. I’m sorry, didn’t tell nobody. These people are the only people you tell your secrets to. And you don’t tell them everything.
6. Keep an ace. Never get caught without a response. Never struggle for words and never let yourself get cornered without a last option. This is a Cold War and you need a nuclear option. If all else fails use it. I repeat: use it.
7. Be nimble. Situations change, be able to change with them. Never let yourself become outmoded or dated. The instant you look stale you’ll be discarded.
8. Keep a five year plan. It doesn’t matter if it changes. Keep one. Know what your next step is and the one after that. Having a clear vision beyond what you’re doing now will keep you walking when you get the wind knocked out of you. And you will get the wind knocked out of you.
9. Get a pet. Seriously, get a pet. You’ll need something that loves you unconditionally. Spouses and lovers do not count. That love is conditional, and you know that.
10. Understand that this will not be enough to protect you. You will still be taken apart by a thousand things over the course of any given day. You will still worry about mistakes you’ve made. You will still get asked questions that are fundamentally inappropriate. Someone, I’m sure, will try to touch your hair. Someone will ask you about your surgery. Someone will ask you when you knew. Understand that the reason you are strong enough to shoulder all of this is that you are a trailblazer. You are going to make this place safe for the next person to follow in your footsteps. You are more than you. And you will endure.
It is one of life’s laws that as soon as one door closes another opens. But the tragedy is we look at the closed door and disregard the open one.
Storm on the Sea at Night by Ivan Aivazovsky