Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Review: The Less-Dead

The Less-Dead by April Lurie

Noah is 16 and is the son of the Bible Answer Guy, a local evangelical Christian radio personality. Noah has pretty much rejected most of his father's beliefs, although he still goes to church and is in love with the pastor's daughter.  Noah meets Will, another student at his school for troubled kids who shares Noah's interest in music and poetry. Will and Noah quickly become friends even though Will is gay and Noah is straight.

Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose and is targeting gay teens.  Noah believes that the killer has been a caller on his dad's program.  After Will becomes the third victim and Noah finds clues written by the killer in Will's journal, Noah decides to investigate and is in danger of becoming a victim himself.

This book is like other books that address homosexuality and religion, such as The God Box by Alex Sanchez (highly recommended) but is different in that it's a murder mystery with a gay character in a supporting role.  Some of the plot elements were pretty far-fetched and the end wasn't too much of a surprise, but the characters were likeable and well-developed.  I finished the book in a few days, and that is usually an indication that I liked it.

I didn't really identify with any of the characters, but I think the book gave a realistic picture of how things are nowadays between straight and gay kids.  We hear alot about bullying, but most kids don't care one way or the other about their friends' sexual preferences.  Noah is a little bit weirded out when he learns Will is gay, and things get awkward when he finds out that Will kind of likes him. Noah regrets that his last interaction with Will was pushing him away.  I like how other characters interact with Will and deal with homosexuality as well.  Noah's conservative dad is a little nervous about Will at first but has a good discussion with him over dinner.  Most of the kids in the church don't care that Will is gay, and the pastor's daughter is instrumental in getting her dad to stop affiliating with a group that tries to change gay people to straight.  The church's youth pastor is also gay-affirming.  This isn't the deepest book in the world, but the characters confront a number of important questions such as what it means to be a Christian, how to confront hate, the nature of faith, and the difference between saying you are gay-friendly and actually having gay friends.

Not as good as Sanchez's The God Box, but a good read nonetheless. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I have alot of thoughts bouncing around in my head and I'm not quite sure how to write them down in an organized fashion. So I guess I'll just write and see where things go. 

This week was my birthday. It was pretty much just a regular day like any other, and I deliberately didn't set my expectations too high so that I wouldn't end up disappointed (like other birthdays).  Lots of people wished my happy birthday on facebook, a few called or did it in person or sent a personal text, and a couple of people invited me out to celebrate.

This weekend was good, though. It doesn't take too much to make me happy, and meeting a friend for lunch and shopping, and then hanging out with my roomies and going to see a movie was enough to put me in a good mood.  It's great living with other introverts...I can say "I'm going to take a break and be antisocial for a little while" and they'll know exactly what I mean. Usually I just keep to myself at home, but lately I think we've gotten closer as roommates and we enjoy being together.

The friend I had lunch with...I always enjoy spending time with him.  Unrequited love sucks though.  From what I can see, I have three options:  cut him off, be depressed and jealous, or love him as a best friend and brother and be happy for him. I've half-heartedly tried the first option and it isn't what I want. The second option is what I've been choosing, but it's getting old. So I'm trying for the third option.  I want to be happy that he's happy with his boyfriend. I want to be excited for him, even when he does things with his boyfriend that I wish it was me doing with him...going on a roadtrip, meeting his parents, etc. I'm honestly not to that point yet, but hopefully I'll get there. At least I know he cares about me as a friend.

I've been pretty down and depressed lately. I'm about due for another round of depression anyway, and the cold weather and the holidays are always hard for me.  My symptoms aren't as bad as they have been on other occasions, but I'm more irritible than usual, I'm sleeping a bit more than usual, I cry for no reason, I occasionally lock myself in the bathroom (for some reason that's my "safe place" when I feel too overwhelmed), I have a negative outlook on the future, and checking out permanently is always at the back of my mind (although it's not a realistic option at this point).  I've been reading up on how certain vitamins help the brain absorp antidepressants better, so I've started taking some to see if I can get them to work better. So far I'm having fewer mood swings...I don't know if it's just a placebo effect or if it's really working. We'll see what happens.

I'm going to try to get into the habit of praying more, especially when I'm feeling down.  I tried it tonight, asking for comfort from my lonliness, and it popped into my head that Heavenly Father doesn't want me to feel that way. It makes sense...he loves me and I'm sure it makes him sad to see me suffering. I guess that's my small contribution to the "it gets better" theme. So far it really hasn't for me, but if I could tell something to a young person that is suffering, it's that God doesn't hate you, he loves you with all his heart and it makes him sad that you're struggling so much. He is there with you even in your darkest moments.

That's it for now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It's probably a good thing that I feel too blah and unmotivated to do anything stupid. Guess I'll just keep faking it til i make it. But God, if you want to send some happiness my way, I'd sure appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Never Been Kissed

I loved this week's episode of Glee. Maybe I'm just in a sensitive/sentimental mood, but it really impacted me, especially Kurt's and Coach Bieste's storylines. The songs were awesome too. The character I identified with least but wished i could be the most was Blaine. So hot, so confident... the exact opposite of me. I'm in love! When he was singing i couldn't help but think about how much easier it is to be young and gay today than when i was in high school. It's already gotten better, ya young whippersnappers... what i wouldnt give to be an out and confident highschooler. Or even an out and nonconfident highschooler. At least you guys are out, and not stuck in the closet til it's almost too late. But back to Blaine (mmmm, yum)... if i was confident like him maybe i wouldnt have such a problem getting guys to notice/like me. Something to work on.

Lately i haven't liked Kurt very much. He's so moody and victimy... reminds me of somebody (me). Ugh, is that who i am? I would definitely like to be Kurt though now. He's gonna get the sweet sweet hotness of Blaine's.................. lips. But yeah, i guess i identify with Kurt. I know what i want but I'm not confident enough to get it, and i blame life for sucking but i don't do much to change it. So hopefully what happened to Kurt will happen to me... lucious sexiness will suddenly appear in my life (yeah right). Seriously though, what i learned from Kurt is to stop being a victim of life's suckiness. Accept it or do something to change it but dont be the whiny bitch that i am about it.

The character i identified with most, unfortunately, was Coach Bieste. Not that I'm 40 and never been kissed, but I'm abrasive and awkward and not very attractive. Like Bieste, i have a nice marshmallowy inside, but the outside scares people. She (and I) has friends that care about her, gets pity kisses, and has reasons to smile sometimes. But the two of us are pretty beat down and don't have the energy to fight it anymore. We dont have realistic prospects for love. We're cynical and resigned to life's suckiness. Yep.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Life and death

I've always figured that if I don't die suddenly in an accident or by some freak sickness, I'll probably die by suicide. Now, don't go getting all worried...I'm not depressed at the moment, and I'm not thinking of taking my life anytime in the near future.  But I've always thought that I'd rather move on to the next life instead of being sick or old, wasting precious resources and being a burden to others, or not being in control of my body or mind and being able to live a quality life.  I've been thinking more about this lately because of my grandpa.  He's in his late eighties or early nineties and recently was in the hospital because he fell and broke his hip in a couple of places.  He can't get around very well on his own, is going blind and deaf, and has a hard time remembering who people are.  At first they weren't sure if he was going to make it, since a hip injury in people that age can be pretty serious, but he recovered enough to get out of the hospital. My grandma decided that she would need to put him in a nursing home until he gets better since she wouldn't be able to manage his needs.  This was a very hard decision, and she knew that he wouldn't want to be there.  I can't speak for my grandpa, but if it were me in that situation I would probably rather move on to the next phase of existence rather than be in a nursing home.  Apparently he is lonely and depressed and angry.  I would be too.

This might sound pretty callous, but in a way, it's not really my grandpa that's in the nursing home.  It's a broken, weak shell of a body that doesn't work very well anymore, and a mind that is only there part-time. It's the remains of a man that has lived a long, fulfilling life. It's not the World War II veteran who spent time in a Japanese prison camp. It's not the caring father who raised 6 daughters and 1 son.  It's not the architect that designed and built his own house. It's not the grandpa that would play with me when I was a child, letting me run the controls of his model train set or look at his coin collection that he hid in a secret compartment in a wall.  That man is long gone. Or if not gone, imprisoned in a physical body that will only continue to deteriorate.

I'm glad I don't have to make decisions about what to do about my grandpa. I dread having to make decisions in the future about my own parents. But for me, I know that I don't want to get to the point of others having to make decisions. When I get to the point of not being able to make my own decisions, I don't want to be around any more.  I'd rather end my life on my own terms and move on while I still have the capacity to say goodbye.  That might seem selfish -- I would be leaving behind people that care about me and probably don't mind taking care of my needs. But at the same time, wouldn't it selfish of others to keep me around in my pain and suffering, just because they don't want to let me go? Especially if who I am is pretty much already gone, and it's just my shell hanging on to life? Wouldn't it be more compassionate to let me move on to whatever comes next before it gets to that point?

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