By Muhammad Hasan

A Real Consequence

You can tell me that love between men isn’t real, I know that I would never fall in love with a woman and so I wouldn’t be able to weigh the two together. Neither can you feel what loving another man is like.
How could you, anyway?

But one thing is for sure; a broken heart is a broken heart.
No matter who you love, man or woman, it’s just as painful.
Your lungs cave in just the same,
Your heart aches just the same,
Your tears stream down just the same.

Yes, maybe I have never known the love of a woman
And I probably never will. But the heartbreak is as real as ever,
And so if there is a consequence, shouldn’t there be a cause?

This Marvelous Madness

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to take me to see classical music orchestras. I was overwhelmed; by the grandeur of the auditorium and the herd of people going down the aisles and taking their seats. I’d always be told
to “keep quiet” and to sit down, cross my arms, and just “listen.” 

Listen, for a while, without talking back or commenting.
Put my mind at ease, it’s all taken care of. 
All that’s left is the delightful music surrounding me.

The orchestra will play, and it will keep on playing, whether I stop asking
questions or not. Melodies will ensue, it doesn’t matter what I think about it.
I can choose to stand up and leave, or I could choose to stay. 
Either way, the show goes on. And it is a beautiful show. 

The same is true with life, I think.
When we’re stuck in traffic during commute,
When we’re being pressured about finishing a project,
When the walls seem to cave all around us,
Maybe if we would just listen, sit down quietly and listen
to the music around us. Play it by ear, I suppose. 
Maybe it’d be one hell of a euphony.

Worries

Will my lover come back to me?
Will I be able to pay my rent?
… Will I survive death?

Being one part philosopher and two parts biologist by discipline, my first instinct on analyzing human emotions and states is to infuse a bit of science into it. So what are worries anyway?

Us humans are lucky for having imagination. You know, that ability to project ourselves into certain situations and time frames. There are only a handful of animals with enough noggin power to imagine and we’re one of them. Imagination helps our survival in a lot of ways; from tool design to action planning, we can all thank the power of imagination for our coffee brewer and air-tight peanut butter jars.

But what about the negative examples? What else does imagination do to help our survival? .. Worrying.

Worries are unpleasant states of mind that are a form of stimulation. They can stimulate us so much that we wouldn’t be able to sleep on most nights. So if millions of years of trial and error shows us that worrying is a beneficial trait to have for survival, then why are we so worried about worrying too much?

Our worries are then, in essence, only ideas in our head. If life at the present moment really is “as good as it gets,” then why should we affirm our worries? How would that benefit us in any way?

Like monsters hiding in closets and campfire horror stories, are worries are only fairytales told by our own mind.

The Nature of Obsession

When you hear the word “obsessed,” do you imagine a group of screaming teenage girls at a concert?
Or do you envision religious extremists picketing in front of a place of worship?

Obsession, when you question it’s nature, can really be either positive or negative. It can be an extreme affinity or an overwhelming hatred.

So what’s the point of the distinction?
Why should we care?

Because any form if obsession, be it affinity or the opposite, brings a positive outcome. For the object, anyways. The saying goes, “love me or hate me, you’re still thinking about me.” And that’s absolutely true. Because when your every word and your every move are put under a microscope, you have access to the inner workings of their mind. Simply put, you are able to control their perception.

When your thoughts are the fuel to their passionate fire, you can make the flame flicker with every color you wish.

Happiness and The Greater Good

"Do what makes you happy.."

That’s something we hear on a regular basis, coming from our parents, friends and professors.

But to only do what makes me happy means that I have to put happiness above all else - happiness as the greatest good. It’s a kind of hedonism; to avoid everything that is painful or makes us unhappy, unaware that sometimes the path to being happy involves pain and suffering.

Take a thief or a murderer for example.
A mentally deranged person could possibly extract joy from the act of murder or stealing, so is his action still right? After all, he is doing what makes him happy?

Happiness is important, I think that’s a point that everyone can agree on. But we can’t put happiness as the greatest and highest good, especially if you’re hurting the ones you love and yourself. For example, loving a person that’s not right for you might make you happy, but if you’re hurting yourself and everyone around you - and you put the blame on others not validating your relationship and therefore happiness, then you really have to start questioning your core values.

In Her Arms

You know what this feels like?
This feels like the last night of camp as a little boy. One part anxiety and two parts anticipation, that’s what it feels like.

Home feels so close that I can almost smell my mother’s favorite perfume and the feeling of resting my head on her lap as we drive back to the house.

Sweet, sweet familiarity.
Comfort in the highest sense.
Tomorrow, I’ll sleep in peace,
Knowing I’m home in her arms.

Take the alpine swifts. 
Notorious for their ability to stay in flight for six months at a time, it soars through the world’s skies as if not one thing one earth - not a need, not a want, weighs it down. But even after a few months of resisting gravity, it still needs to land. 

To land is not to admit defeat for the alpine swifts, it simply means that it needs to rest. Every once in a while, instead of bearing the weight of the sky, it bears it’s own weight onto the earth .

Maybe it’s my lapse in faith, or maybe it’s a fault not my own. Regardless, sometimes I feel as if I’m the sole giver and he’s the sole receiver. I know that I shouldn’t be praised by my actions but by the person I am - and that means not being calculative when it comes to doing good. But I’m not talking about appreciation - in that I am self-sustained.  I am, for once, asking for a place to perch and replenish myself. And it saddens me to say that I can find no such place in the person I hold the closest to me. 

Maybe this is just a lapse in faith I’m experiencing. After all, why else would I depend so much on him when I know that spirit is attainable? Am I just putting too many of my needs on to one person? Or is he just incapable of such a gesture? 

Maybe, but for the moment, I can’t agree with that.

He just recently moved to a new and better paying job. And it’s been changing him for the worse. When asked, “why do you work so hard?” he foolishly answers, “cause we need our daily bread, of course.” Little does he know that man cannot survive on bread and bread alone. Man needs to wonder in awe at the sea of stars above his head and the carpet of flowers beneath his feet. Yes, he needs food, but he also needs to live. That’s the truth that eluded him.

Take the alpine swifts.
Notorious for their ability to stay in flight for six months at a time, it soars through the world’s skies as if not one thing one earth - not a need, not a want, weighs it down. But even after a few months of resisting gravity, it still needs to land.

To land is not to admit defeat for the alpine swifts, it simply means that it needs to rest. Every once in a while, instead of bearing the weight of the sky, it bears it’s own weight onto the earth .

Maybe it’s my lapse in faith, or maybe it’s a fault not my own. Regardless, sometimes I feel as if I’m the sole giver and he’s the sole receiver. I know that I shouldn’t be praised by my actions but by the person I am - and that means not being calculative when it comes to doing good. But I’m not talking about appreciation - in that I am self-sustained. I am, for once, asking for a place to perch and replenish myself. And it saddens me to say that I can find no such place in the person I hold the closest to me.

Maybe this is just a lapse in faith I’m experiencing. After all, why else would I depend so much on him when I know that spirit is attainable? Am I just putting too many of my needs on to one person? Or is he just incapable of such a gesture?

Maybe, but for the moment, I can’t agree with that.

He just recently moved to a new and better paying job. And it’s been changing him for the worse. When asked, “why do you work so hard?” he foolishly answers, “cause we need our daily bread, of course.” Little does he know that man cannot survive on bread and bread alone. Man needs to wonder in awe at the sea of stars above his head and the carpet of flowers beneath his feet. Yes, he needs food, but he also needs to live. That’s the truth that eluded him.

Solitude Shared

When you feel as if love’s tempestuous billows bring nothing but agony, you withdraw to solitude.

In solitude you learn to be emotionally self-sustaining, to be mindful of your thoughts and emotions, and to see through life’s mirages. It doesn’t necessarily mean retracting oneself completely from society, it’s being able to be alone with one’s thoughts.

But those who commit such a crime of the mind have yet to understand that solitude too will hurt you with it’s yearning for another. There is no escape for pain, we can only pick the pains we deem worthy.

Junkies Nonetheless

We are the pioneers of good taste, the epitome of fashion and style, the most successful executives, and the hyper-masculine ideal. Whether it’s in the art gallery, the gym or in the meeting room, we strive to do better than the best.

We are validation-junkies.
We live off praise and admiration - it’s the fuel that rockets us to be the best at whatever we choose to do. You don’t see a lot of us working normal, tedious, average jobs. We fear mediocrity more than anything; we fear failure, resentment and most of all, invalidation.

Why is that?
Why are we so persistent in proving ourselves?

Is it because we are the oppressed?
Being told we are lesser than them, we live to prove that we are are just as worthy. We let hatred and resentment direct our lives, and we wonder why some of us turned to drugs and sex for an escape.

Lies, Promises and Happiness

When agony wells up inside, it swells your knuckles and bends your crooked fingers - commanding them to write. I’m struggling, trying to put my feelings and reflections into words. Painstakingly stitching arguments and counterarguments - one after the other - so that they would, in hope, appeal to reason. This is my novice attempt at putting the abstract working of the agony-ridden mind into words. 

Most, if not every gay man knows what it feels like to live in secrecy; to live a double life, to lie every single day for the sake of their own happiness. Trading your sense for moral value for the pleasure and duty of being true to yourself - placing honesty to self above honesty to others. When I lived that life, I neither felt happy or just. I felt like everyone who were close to me weren’t really close to me since I’m constantly veiling a significant portion of myself from them. I felt alone and unhappy. 

When I decided to come out of the closet, It was ecstasy. To be true to everyone else and yourself, I never felt more loved by Him. Not a friend was lost in the process, my sexuality was accepted if not embraced by the people I surround myself with. I was hooked - addicted to the ecstasy of being wholly connected with the people I love. I promised myself never to go back to the closet again. 

My beau, on the other hand, haven’t had the experience of coming out. He hides his sexuality not out of necessity, but out of fear. Fear of rejection and fear of judgement. I can’t tell you how many times I had to sit silently in the corner and make like a ghost while he answers a call from a close friend or family. How many times I had to endure the self-inflicted pain of having to “act naturally” against my nature. How many times I had to choose anguish over ecstasy. I’m here, I’m a part of his life, and for him to exclude me from this whole other side of his life, it leaves me thinking that I don’t actually know him. 

It seems like I’m now left with a choice. 
Break the promise I made to myself and hold on tight ‘till dawn comes, or honor my own word and continue my pursuit of happiness?