Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time

[Play this for vibes]

I always feel so cool when I go out to eat. Lately, it’s been hard for me to leave the house, so I take the small victories where I can. I barely step outside my room because it feels to me as though I have everything I need here. I’ve got snacks, a bed, my TV, my computer, and headphones and music. It feels safer to me than the conflict of everything outside my door. People are in pain everywhere. Racism, misogyny, homo- and transantagonism, the slaughter and abuse of animals, the suffering of people who don’t and were never intended to have an equal access or opportunity–they’re all proposed unavoidable, invincible elements of our world that people accept because they think they have to.

I can’t go a day without feeling choked by it all. I don’t mean to whine or complain. I just feel, at my core, that I’m an empath who experiences reality in ways that are different from some of the people around me. When I read stories about people facing oppression, I don’t just go on with my day afterward. I wonder how they feel. I taste the injustice when I’m in their shoes. I try to carry the weight of the injustice(s) they face and it crushes me. I don’t consider this a weakness–because I think weak is looking away from unpleasantness in the name of blissful ignorance–but I know it’s not a trait I should pride myself on either. I shouldn’t be praised for feeling bad when I see terrible things, especially if and when they aren’t happening to me. Admittedly, I hate this part of myself sometimes. People are out there getting seriously marginalized by society and I’m caught up feeling bad about it instead of doing more to help.

Thankfully, I have a partner who saves me from myself and takes me to places where we can eat vegan food and feel like, for just a second, we’re safe from our problems and far from the hate-filled world that makes me want to die sometimes.

Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time

Lately, I’ve felt like a disappointment. I don’t feel like I’m a good partner, son, brother, activist, or writer. I’m kind of trapped in a bubble that can only be popped from the inside, so no matter how much the world encourages me to try harder and do better and believe in myself, it’s ultimately up to me to break free. And I can’t. Something is holding me back, something deeper than all of this. Something I’m not in a place to understand because it’s probably so close to me that I don’t have the space to see it from the outside.

I know I’ve got greatness inside of me but I feel like the biggest tragedy of my life will be allowing my anxiety and depression to rob me of it. I worry I’ll be on my deathbed seeing mainstream hacks taking the spotlight when my stories really matter, when my intentions are beyond money and recognition. I want to make people feel less alone in the world. I want to use my life to make the world a better place in whatever way I can, which, for a panicked mess like myself, is writing.

Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time

I’m trying really hard to get better. I’m trying to keep my body moving and forcing myself to leave my room. I’ve started playing Pokémon Go–now that I have a data plan–and it helps me a bit. It gives me something to look at, some sort of direction that makes the world less terrifying to me. I’m not necessarily safe from the violent gazes of the people around me, but at least I don’t see them anymore.

Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time

My other saving grace has been my kitten, Mr. Kitty Fantastico. I just call him Kitty. I probably mentioned this before a ton of times, but I rescued him off the streets a few months ago and he’s been with me in my room 24/7. He can’t roam the house because of our elder cat, who is simply not ready to accept a new cat this late in his life.

For a long time, I feared he’d get to the point where’d he get frustrated and tired of being “trapped” in the room with me. I knew that day would have to come. I thought it would happen shortly after we got back from house sitting for my aunt–he came along–where he had the freedom to roam the house. But when we got back home, he was purring and snuggling on his bed and playing with his toys and resting at his usual spot on my desk while I worked. He’s… ok being with me and that makes me happier than I can explain.

My partner and I are saving up for own apartment and I can’t wait until we get it. Kitty will have a whole apartment to claim and I look forward to him being the king of a new castle.

Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time Gay on a Budget >> Smile, It's Almost Your Time

Things are far from perfect but I’m trying to get better and trying to think about who I am and why I feel what I feel. I’m making plans with my friends so that I get out of the house. I’m listening to new music and watching new movies and TV shows. I’m trying to exercise and eat better. I’m a mess, honestly, but I think I’m a good person.