Psychoanalyze My Head

A whole medical team works on on my offbeat brain. Nourishing, reassuring, and medicating paranoia, anxiety and depression, my team has quite a voyage into the ultimate neurosis. Proudly, my mental ailments are viewed with great humor. As the old cliché goes, (most) arty types have a couple of screws loose. In my glittery brain, there are more screws than normal.

Finding a therapist in New York City is an obstacle course, similar to dating or apartment hunting. Everyone is always booked. The good therapists are not covered by insurance.

In the insistence of my father, I decided to go for a gay therapist. He could understand the woes and diva drama that goes along with being as gay as a Palm Springs pool party. I found my gay therapist.

Finding my him didn’t come cheap, but agreed to meet. Every week, I’d bring my neurosis to the table. Each session included breathing exercises, where I would complain. “I hate this hippy dippy breathing exercises.” He wouldn’t let me talk. Therapy is my soap box, where no topics were off limits.

Detecting frustration from his end, he would constantly ask, “are we going anywhere with these sessions?” Nodding, yes, we continued our sessions. Every time I mentioned a different neurosis (i.e. fear of bugs or body fluids), he suggested, “hey, there’s a specialist for you on that topic. I don’t quite specialize on it.”

Logging into my email, he had sent a slew of phobia specialists in Manhattan. Obviously, this guy was trying to get rid of me. Naively, I continued to see him, bi-weekly. Not being able to afford weekly, since his sessions were not covered by insurance. He researched lower cost therapists in the area. Later, he claimed that his brand of therapy was only effective weekly.

Every time, I laughed at one of my crazy antics. Fury roared from his face, “I don’t think what you did was very funny.” Judgmental, I am paying this guy so and so amount of money, and I am getting judged. It was the equivalent to being in a romantic relationship with the world’s most uptight gay man.

After missing a couple of sessions, Mr. “Psycho” therapist called.” I have a patient, who wants to see me weekly.” With those insensitive words, we ended our psychological relationship. Animosity impacted me greatly.

The conversation made me feel crazy and unwanted. It made me question my sanity. If he really did want to help me, Mr. “Psycho” therapist would’ve lowered his costs. “Fuck you, Mr. Therapist.” I moved on.

Holding a grudge was a given. Instead, I spent my therapy money on brunches, books, and vinyl records. Often times, an afternoon out with gal pals was better for mental health than some quack calling you an “idiot.” My eccentricities are worn like a fine badge of honor. A big “fuck you” to whoever doesn’t like appreciate them.

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Gay-ve (the gay man cave)

My gay-ve, the dream of nerdy bookworms around the world. Envisioning a lavish library, cool vinyl record collection, espresso machine, art and a lovable Cocker Spaniel, the gay-ve was every nerdy gay boy’s wet dream, an alternative to the testosterone fueled man cave.

The gay-ve would serve as a creative hub. I would spend countless hours dreaming up stories, poetry, and outlines for novels. Of course, my graduate school acceptance letter should arrive at any second. Gushing over my short essays, they would shower me with adulation.

On a quiet evening in Harlem, yours truly sat with a brick of a book and glass of wine. Rarely do I stare at my cell phone, especially on a wine & books night.

Into the middle of wine glass #2, a buzz rumbled. The blue glow of a cell phone illuminated within my pocket. Picking up the phone, it showed ” new email message.” Surprisingly, it came from the university. “We regret to inform you, that you were not accepted into the Masters of Fine Art’s program.”

Trembling with shock, I called everyone to reveal the dire news. Gulping more wine, I returned to my apartment. Like any good warrior, defeat didn’t cripple any ambitions (for the time being). The next day was spent, spread eagle in bed, eating a breakfast burrito and watching silly YouTube Videos.

Feeling crushed, I licked my wounds and nursed a ginormous hangover of disappointment. Calling my dad, he suggested emailing the school and finding out why I received rejection letter. Too scared to call, I found solace in the most holy of places.

Strolling with my man purse to the local coffee shop, Lenox Coffee, I attempted to drink away disappointment. Reading a book and sipping coffee served as a quick distraction. Unfortunately, the pangs of misery wouldn’t let up.

Returning to my apartment and hiding under the covers, depression lingered. Curiosity led yours truly to emailing the university. Still feeling like a failure, they (surprisingly) emailed back, quickly. (here’s the abridged version)”Thank you, sir, we’re sorry you didn’t get into the program. We only accept 3% of applicants into our program. Best of luck with your graduate school hunt.”

Having a better chance of getting run over by a big rig, than getting into the MFA program was liberating. 97% of applicants were as equally devestated. If only there was a support group for artistic rejects.

After receiving closure, I focused on the back-up plans, teaching credentials and moving to California. Weeks later, I shipped vinyl records and books to my father’s house. The literary and musical gold would adorn the future gay-ve. The gay-ve, which will host to new memories and career path. Grad school, I will be applying to you next year.

 

The Dream of the 90s is alive in Riverside???

(yes, this is a Portlandia reference)

Riverside in the 90’s a mystical land. An unsettling amount of isolation paired with hillbillies and grungy gen x-ers turned the unassuming suburb into a slightly eclectic mix, Gen-x rebels and nuclear families

Standing above the hills of masterful, Mt. Rubidoux, the rest of the world seemed more interesting, more cool, and more artistic. Many teenagers yearned to leave their track homes for New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.

I plotted to live in New York. Imagining a life filled with art, breaking into random song on the sidewalk, and plenty of gay guys attributed to high aspirations.

The 2000’s happened, I ended up moving to New York. I struggled for years, cleaning kitchens and washing dishes. Eventually I worked the quintessential admin job with a health insurance plan and my own apt in Harlem.

By my thirties, New York didn’t have the seem appeal. There was a boredom in the air. In fact, many big cities suffered the same plight. High rents, Whole Foods and fancy gyms were turning campy paradises into the suburban conformity we attempted to escape from.

While the major cities of the world were being taken over by 1%centers and their offspring, I plotted to leave Manhattan. But where could I go? Sure, the dream of the 90’s was alive in Portland, but I wanted something a bit off the beaten path.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I strolled around downtown Riverside. It smelled like the 90’s, when I was a teenager heading from coffee shop to an indie flick festival at the Fox theatre.

Nostalgia built, as high winds blew rare objects into my eyes. My tootsies touched the fine cobble stone pavement. I walked toward Back to the Grind, the local indie coffee shop.

A blue grass band joyfully played for coffee drinkers. The music mesmerized, as did the artsy air. Enough with high rents and fashionable haunts, I am a child of the 90’s and Riverside. I liked my sidewalks like my men, grungy.

With cheap rents, and a sizable artistic community, I decided the dream of the 90’s was really alive in Riverside, possibly. How would I magically move back? I had a life established, New York City.

On the plane back to New York, I imagined a life of reading books and writing. I need to get paid for this grand fete. Grad school? Yes, grad school for MFA in creative writing. I shall converse with scholarly minds, while making a career out of reading books, writing, and teaching others about literature’s grandeur.

“Professor Anthony,” the gushy feeling overcame me, as the plane flew over Midwestern corn fields. Landing at Kennedy, I felt a bit more optimistic about life than pre-vacation.

Two weeks later, I returned to Riverside for the Christmas holiday. Writing samples, a thesis, statement of purposes, letters of recommendation, where due a few days after New Years.

Grabbing my lap top, I headed for Augie’s coffee shop. Gulping down a lavender latte, I prepared my portfolio. My brain went from 1980’s East Village to the Sultan Sea’s desolation. I couldn’t write or focus.

Everything distracted me. The barista’s hip t-shirt. Foam rising from my cappuccino, curiosity about the book being read at an adjacent table. I didn’t cry from frustration, just banged my head against the blond wood table.

My weeks at home were spent frantically organizing my portfolio. The blank canvass effect stressed and alluded me on certain days. Other days, I oozed inspiration, and was quite productive.

The deadline loomed, I wanted to have everything done before heading back to New York. Then distraction, lots of distraction continually dared to detour academic ambitions.

The new Star Wars flick, dinner with friends and cozy evenings by the fireplace, helped lift creative brain cells into oblivion. Relentlessly, I did everything I could to finish my college applications and writing portfolio.

On unseasonably cold morning, I had to fly back to New York. My portfolio was finished. Polishing my personal and purpose statements became grealy important.

After a full day day of travel, distraction once again became an enemy. Returning to Manhattan, I had mere hours to finish my portfolio. Pressed on time, I opened the empty doors to darkened apartment. Dashing toward the fridge, I only had whisky to hold me over.

Unrelenting, I switched on the lap top. Terribly hungry, I could only think of pizza. How I missed pizza. Rather than working on college application madness, I ended up stuffing my face with brick oven pizza and white wine.

The wine made me quite sleepy, but I still had to finish the entirety of my portfolio and application. Nearly falling asleep, I imagined an existence of sunshine, books, coffee shops, and my own car to ride around in. Motivation quickly returned.

Lifting myself from bed, I did not surrender to the wall of sleep. Everything was sent to the university. Happily, I passed out in bed. Dozing off, I would soon learn the answer to the following question. “Is the dream of the 90’s really alive in Riverside?”

  • Special thanks to everyone who sent recommendation letters, proofread and encouraged me along the way.