The Butterfly Effect

They’re kind of like Twitter royalty. They have the followers and it seemed they had the good life. Not always so. Each lives, eats, sleeps and bleeds like the rest of us. Fuck, it’s so easy to look at other people and make assumptions. About how good things are for them or how lucky they are or how solid they seem. Sometimes the waves crash far out at sea and other times a lot closer – for all of us. The bad times do not discriminate. Everyone has them.

Robyn Hobson and Brent Spilkin looked back on the paths worn behind them over the past months and shared their caterpillar-to-butterfly experiences with the world. Each one, I’m sure, more sacred to them than we will ever understand. It takes good old-fashioned guts to be that honest and say Namaste to your demons.

Disillusion doesn’t have a dress code. Whether it lives for you through gender or profession – or even the lack of either – either way, it’s about a missed, overlooked or underrated connection. When I hear some of the things men have done (and not done) to women, I’m inspired by the assembled solidarity from their sisterhood. But, I’m me. A gay man with my own worn path that bears no likeness from my perspective to the misogynistic approach that so many men out there still seem to have.

I have had my own civil and human rights violated through physical actions, the spoken word and the unspoken word. Being marginalised – whether it’s for a moment, months or a lifetime – is tough. So we all deserve the very best: women, men, girls, boys, gays, straights, pre-op transsexuals, the rich and the poor. Imagine an assembled solidarity for humanity. Ergo, it’s quite something to learn to prioritise what it is that makes you, you. That’s why I quite like the idea of reincarnating yourself while you are alive.

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­We all have this crazy beautiful place where we can go when we need a little reprieve. It lives among 33 billion neurons and is called interiority. It’s safe and creative and open and magical. Understanding them may seem to be, but feelings are not neuroscience. We just need to learn to follow them more often.

I know that neither Robin nor Brent’s diaries were a request for dialogue so this isn’t meant to coerce or provoke either. To me, the lessons I got from both beautiful statements about the evolution through strife was about coming back to seeing that everything, today, is just as it should be. Always. Even if it sucked or sucks for now. Because one day the wheel will turn and you will be the person that is missed. That leaves a gaping void – to gender or profession – and then you’ll remember how it happened for you and that everything is just as it should be. Even if it has to suck for somebody else… for now.

© Dylan Balkind

Reduce until silent

Ego is a problem we arm wrestle with daily. When it wins, we lose, and in more ways than one. The trouble starts because ego is rooted in the complexity between ignorance and conviction.

Think about the noise around you everyday. There is so much of it from people willing to engage on the pettiest levels for reactions that will glorify their (anticipated) intelligence. This is not just about having an opinion – of which I have many – and I am in no way insinuating that you should silence yours… But being empowered with opinion and comfortable in that understated skin is also about respecting the empowerment in others. Their journey and how their shoes fit while they walked the distance to get where they are is so intimate to them. So looking at it from the outside will reveal many things – none of them simple.

Facing the convolution of ego means having to face its twisted-sister – tolerance. The art of defending the former is about how much of the latter you are willing to offer. Debate is having the ability to listen and even very possibly, say: okay, I was wrong and you have changed my mind.

We could have a field day about the short supply of tolerance in our country, but this is not just a localized issue. I fear that even though, through all their advancements, the average American Joe seems to be getting stupider everyday. Whether these acts of lunacy are only directly linked to the marriage-equality revolution or not, all sorts of losers seem to be allocated the forum to say utterly preposterous things.

Let me entertain you

Linda Harvey of Mission America has said that wearing pro-gay t-shirts is equivalent to bullying; she has said that gays are not people and shouldn’t enjoy human rights (as per the Fourteenth Amendment); that no one is naturally homosexual, and that the destructive effects of homosexuality should be fought the way the church fought slavery. Two of her ilk, Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner said that because of the breakdown of the family, homosexuality is set to spread over America like a flesh-eating virus.

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Firstly Linda, don’t name your company Mission America if it is not the mission of the whole of America that you represent. And secondly, don’t get your knickers in a twist about what gay men do with what they have between their legs just because it’s been a lifetime since you’ve had something between yours. Just like White Parties, the yo-yo phase or the spiral perm, homosexuality has absolutely no bearing on you should you choose not to embrace it. Don’t get the perm. Just move on.

These groups are classified as hate groups. Why is a group that is defined by hate even allowed to exist? Sure, I suppose disbanding them would infringe on their rights, but if what binds the group together infringes on others’ rights, then… well… vicious circle, yes?

There are so many battles going on that needn’t be. These two New York men were left looking like this because – well you have a shot at it:

a)     They go to White Parties
b)     They were playing with their yo-yo’s
c)     They each got a spiral perm

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Confused? I know. It’s ridic – no matter what.

Clearly the kind of behaviour that got the caveman a date is making a comeback to contemporary culture. You simply bash your intended’s head in. A date must be just what these neanderthals were going for – they just had a funny way of showing it (in front of their friends).

Ego is a problem we arm wrestle with daily. When it wins, we lose, and in more ways than one. Debate is having the ability to listen and even very possibly, say: okay, I was wrong and you have changed my mind. We can do that. It doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human. Because we are so much bigger than the traffic-heavy routes we take to work everyday, the lost loves or the pettiness that may go on in the office around you. Think about listening. Because when you start listening to it, you can change the world.

© Dylan Balkind

No on can know

It can be fun to obsess about something that sails your soul between pre-teen east and a pubescent west. Simpler. Safer. Sound-senility. When you fussed over things that made you feel the magic explode from the core of a happy chakra…

No one could know then…

…and things are not so different now.

Getting older often means missing the web of light rush across your fingertips and through your veins. Sparkly. Shiny. Satin-like. Why the rush? Why the constant push? Who said getting old was about getting there first? Head bowed, we say nothing about our secrets and press on…

Because no one could know then…

…and things are not so different now.

You deserve what you find in the peaks and valleys on the journey across your fingerprint. You should celebrate the essence that you sentence to the rhythm of the underground-flow. It’s been fun to obsess about something that made me feel that tuned-in again…

But no one can know…

…so things are not so different now.

Secret

© Dylan Balkind

 

We are. I am.

The Psychology major made notes on paper that would go inside her file. She asked when I was happiest and I’ve just realised that what I felt back then about that happiness-time is that it had the same smell as things do now. It’s visceral yet blindly naïve and full of courage. The smell of affection is like the smell of the coming rain. It lives like a tangible synapse because of how tightly it is tied to the wings of the butterflies that dance in your stomach.

When you were young, being excited about boys or girls lived in that mild-melee of innocent mischief. It was celebrated by you and your best friend in those very sacred spaces where no parents were allowed.  Letters were written, kissed with lipstick or sprayed with deodorant and then passed through the pre-teen postal service of four friends and their friends-of-friends who knew the loved one and promised to deliver it to his Space Case pencil box. The smell of that impending love was like the smell of buttered popcorn popping, living like a tangible synapse because of how tightly it was tied to the wings of the butterflies that danced in your stomach.

What hope is there when the word ‘crush’ means the same as ‘squash’ or ‘defeat’? And does this mean it always has to end this way? What’s to be said for that moment where something innocent begins and something sincere follows? And if something begins where something ends, why are there beginnings where we didn’t want endings?

Getting older involves having learned lessons that leave you overly cautious and stupidly hesitant with your heart. You climb, laboured between trees of sadness and shock before you ascend to pleasure and a view of understanding what defines happiness for you… Where the smell of fascination is like the smell of a man freshly dressed. And still, it lives like a tangible synapse because of how tightly it is tied to the wings of the butterflies that can still be felt dancing in your stomach.

It is the butterflies that remind us that we are alive. We are. I am.

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© Dylan Balkind

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