The past few weeks have been big to say the least. My heart has finally shaken off the dust, and the gears are turning once again–cranking out butterflies, rainbows, glitter, and happy faces. And here I was thinking that this cold thing in my chest was just in there to pump blood.

I’m not trying to suggest that everything is going perfectly in my life due to suddenly feeling gooey feelings, because the majority of the time I’m fighting to not get sucked into a black hole of suck-dom. Between trying to find my career and myself, and the looming date my loans’ forbearance ends, I have mastered the ‘I’m totally fine‘ facade while on the inside I’m scrambling around like Spongebob when his brain was so full that it tossed out his name.

Amidst this stew-ish time of love and happiness, and confusion and misery, my music has been all over the place. I’ll go from happy jams to Lana Del Rey in five seconds. My playlists certainly won’t make me a professional DJ, but that’s okay. I’ve got other things to create.

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // Love, Loss, and the In-Between

Gay on a Budget // The gay brother

Another day, another attempt at creativity and productivity. It always starts the same. I write a list of things I want to do for the day, grab everything I need to work, and sit down at my computer energized and ready to go. Then, as I put my fingers to the keys, I lose myself in a cloud of confusion and distraction. Before I know it the day is over and I’ve only scratched two or three things off my list.

But something was different about this morning. I felt a fire deep inside that I hadn’t felt for a long time. I couldn’t help but think of my little brother as the source of this newfound motivation.

After a few days away, I returned home to a special gift from my 10-year old brother (that’s right, 10-years old)! With a proud face he presented me with the Princess Peach amiibo (a figure for the Wii U), which, of all available and future amiibos, would be my first choice. But this was less about my love for Princess Peach and more about the fact that my 10-year old brother used some of his birthday money to buy something for his 22-year old derpy, gay brother. But even still it meant something more than that.

Gay on a Budget // The gay brother

My 10-year old brother displayed a level of humanity that greatly surpasses his adult counterparts. He does not understand the bigotry that says boys shouldn’t like princesses, or pretty and pink things, because it was never taught to him. Hate and ignorance are not inherent–they’re taught.

Every time we question a child’s decision to step outside of the norm, due to our own insecurities and worries about ‘how they’ll be judged,’ we indoctrinate them with a set of manmade rules about how to correctly act as a human being. Rules which not only limit them, but which also set them up to limit others.

Gay on a Budget // I'm so punk rock

What could be explained as me just being excited over a gift, is something much more significant. It’s progress. A signifier that times are changing. Today children love people for who they are, not what they are. My little siblings don’t see anything wrong with their uber gay brother, and wouldn’t have me any other way. One in particular even stood up to his classmates in school when they used gay in a negative way against me.

These small steps are pieces of collective proof that our future will be better. The hate and ignorance will leave this world with the older generation that keeps it alive today. They’ll continue to plant their seeds of hate, but they won’t grow the way that they used to, because we live in a country where LGBT issues are being discussed openly, a country where feminists are making the Internet a safer place for women, and a country where racial injustice will no longer be tolerated (#BlackLivesMatter).

While we still have a long journey ahead, the above statements would not be true years ago. We need to be thankful for every step of progress, because behind each small success are the failures and sacrifices of countless others. Being a writer, (an average one, I’d argue) who writes online about hot-button topics, I’ve faced my fair share of hate, bigotry, and even threats from time to time. But sometimes all it takes is the love of a child to remind me that I’m making an impact, and that change is possible–and it’s coming.

For now all we can do is keep fighting through the darkness. My own twin brother has always said he wished he didn’t have a gay brother–because he was sucked right into society’s mindset about what boys and brothers are supposed to look like. But my 10-year old brother, loves and sees me not as his gay brother, but just as his brother. He buys me Princess Peaches, doesn’t blink an eye when I ALWAYS pick girl characters in video games, and is not fazed when I talk about cute boys. Just by allowing me to exist as I truly am, he empowers me. Words can’t describe my love for him. I only hope I can help him as much as he helps me.