Self doubt

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self doubt

I had a conversation yesterday about self doubt.  When I was a kid and we were living in Bakersfield, around Christmas time, my sister accidentally knocked down and broke a lamp.  It was completely by accident.  As soon as it happened I looked at her and she had her hands over her mouth with a look of horror on her face, which is a typical reaction when you accidentally break something.  But then she had a different look on her face, a more devious look.  She looked me directly in my eyes and with a smirk on her face she yelled “MOOOOOOOM!  MICHEL BROKE THE LAMP!”  I couldn’t believe she ratted me out like that.

My sister was trying to avoid trouble for herself, but what she didn’t realize is that by throwing me under the bus like that, she was setting me up for failure for the rest of my life.  I would have defended her because I knew it was an accident, but I don’t think she would have cared because she is a sociopath, yes even as a teenager she was a sociopath.  This is the same person who would chase me with knives when I was 8 or 9 years old when she was babysitting me.  She was supposed to protect me, but she did the opposite.

From that day when she threw me under the bus with the lamp, she started breaking things on purpose and blaming me.  My parents believed her because she was older and I guess they believed that a girl would never lie and boys always lie, so I became a liar.  My mother even gave me the nickname “Liar.”  She would ask me about something and as I was trying to explain what happened, she would interrupt me with “LIAR!”

Whenever I would tell someone what I heard someone say, or what someone said to me about someone or something, even if I wasn’t trying to get them in trouble, they would ask that person about it and they would lie and say they never said it.  Because they refused to cop up to what they said, that made me doubt myself.  Next time it would happen they would say “Are you sure that’s what you heard?”  I would start to doubt myself again.  Yes, that is absolutely what they said to me, then they would lie and naturally I was the asshole because now everyone thought I was lying about what people said to me.

I have been doubting myself my whole life because of people doing that to me.  When I wrote Diary of a Gay Nerd, I was so confident in everything that I wrote that I knew that everything I wrote was absolutely what happened and absolutely what people said.  I have no doubt in my mind.  Naturally, my sister had someone do her dirty work and write a negative review calling me a liar on Amazon, saying that not only did I lie about everything I said in my book, but I wasn’t abused, I was the abuser.  I couldn’t help but laugh when I read that.  I didn’t doubt myself because I knew I was telling the truth.

The reason this came up in conversation is because I believe nearly everything people say.  The reason I believe everything people say is because I know what it’s like to be called a liar constantly and for people to never believe what I say.  I like to see the good in people.  I like to think that I can tell when someone is telling me the truth, because why would someone make up being abused, sexually, mentally or physically?  It’s natural for someone to say they didn’t abuse someone because they know it’s wrong, so naturally I wouldn’t believe them because my parents lied about my abuse.

If someone is going, or has gone through what I just described, just know that you are not alone.  I am sure this goes on everywhere.  If you know you are right, then that is all that matters.  You have to stop letting people get in your head and allow you to doubt yourself because that can negatively affect you for the rest of your life.  You will have low self-esteem and you will probably end up with suicidal thoughts like me.  Don’t succumb to that negativity.

I believe in karma.  What goes around comes around.  If you do negative things, it comes back to you x10 and if you do positive things, it comes back to you x10.  As long as you know you are a good person and you are doing the right things, you don’t have to worry.  If you know someone is acting negatively, then you can count on it coming back to them, so don’t get mad, just know that karma will take care of things for you.  Karma is the best revenge that I can think of.

My Live Hangout with The Huffington Post – Salvation Army

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I participated in a live web conversation on the Huffington Post website about my experiences with the Salvation Army as a child and as a teenager.  Check it out.

http://embed.live.huffingtonpost.com/HPLEmbedPlayer/?segmentId=50b409bcfe344457cb000096

Rights advocates are calling for shoppers to skip the Red Kettle donation buckets due to the organization’s view on homosexuality. Will this hurt the homeless?

Originally aired on December 18, 2012

Hosted by: 

GUESTS:

  • Karel Bouley (Long Beach, CA) Entertainer and Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host @thekarelshow
  • Major George Hood Community Relations & Development Secretary, The Salvation Army @SalvationArmyUS
  • Michel McDonald (Bakersfield, CA) Author, Diary of A Gay Nerd @DiaryOfAGayNerd
  • Brad Dacus (Los Angeles, CA) President, Pacific Justice Institute @PacificJustice
  • Susan Sheehan (Glendale, AZ) Former Girlfriend Refused Helped From Salvation Army @LGBTQFFI

Anti-Gay/Anti-Religious Bigotry on Facebook

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Photo taken from Facebook page “I bet this turkey can get more fans than NOM”

I have been asked a lot lately from Christians why I post so many anti-religious images on Facebook, not just my book page, but also my own personal Facebook page.  The answer is not that I am anti-religion, it’s that I am fighting in a war brought on by right-wing fundamentalist born again Christians who are trying to take away my and every other gay persons rights across the country and even the world.

Just about every day I browse the Facebook “Home” page and see images from such pages as “I bet this turkey can get more fans than NOM“, “Have a Gay Day” and “Wipe out homophobia” just to name a few.  I see pictures of the fundamentalists like the famous Westboro Baptist Church with signs that say “God Hates Fags” among other hateful things.  Then I see pro-gay images like this:

So when people see me posting images like this, they think that I am an anti-religious bigot.  I have been hearing homophobic bible scriptures since I was a teenager, such as Leviticus 18:22 saying “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  But what they don’t realize is that this was written by a person, not by God.  Whoever wrote that was obviously homophobic.  I believe that if God does exist, he made gay people for a reason.  We aren’t flaws or mistakes and we didn’t choose to be gay or to be abnormal, we were made exactly the way we were supposed to be made.

There are many messed up things in the bible.  In fact, Leviticus says some pretty stupid things like Leviticus 19:27 “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”  How many religious people do you know who cut their hair and shave their face?  I don’t go around telling them how sinful they are, so why are they telling me how I’m going to hell for being gay?

And right next to that in Leviticus 19:28 it says “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”  How many right-wing fundamentalist born again Christians do you see walking around with a tattoo on their body?  Cause I see a lot of them.  When I bring it up they tell me “Oh I did that a long time ago when I was a sinner before I found Jesus so it doesn’t count.”  Uh, I’m pretty sure it counts even if you say that Jesus wiped away all of your past sins.  I’m sorry but if it’s still on your body, it still counts to me.

I don’t have anything against religious people, it’s the religious people who preach to me that I am going to hell for being gay, that is where I have an issue.  I used to go to church every Sunday when I was living in Bakersfield in 1981/83.  I even went to church band camp.  I wasn’t really hard-core, I was just a regular christian just like everyone else who didn’t push my religion down people’s throats.  I was even a Mormon when I was 14 and went to the Mormon church and even went to the Mormon teen dances.  When I was 16 years old and worked at McDonald’s a customer started yelling at me because I asked if it was for “here or to-go” and he started cursing “the lord’s name in vain” and I got so upset that I almost started crying.  Not because he yelled, but because of what he said.  It really hurt my heart that he said what he said.

I stopped being religious when I came out of the closet and people started beating the bible into me.  My first boyfriend’s (who I call “William” in my book) mother used to preach Leviticus to me every time I saw her, she is who preached my religion out of me.  She is who made me the activist that I am today, well she and my sister who used to preach that I was going to hell for being gay (who later apologized to me for that).

Here is a great example of why I am so angry with the fundamentalist right-wing born again Christians.

Then there is this video.  Fischer: “It Is Altogether Right To Discriminate Against Homosexual Behavior” – YouTube

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v_PjOYGZ0o&feature=player_embedded

This is what we (the LGBTQIA community) are fighting against.  The right-wing fundamentalist born again Christians say that we are anti-religious bigots, but they started a war against gay people.  We aren’t anti-religion, we are just anti-those people.

All gay people want is to live their lives in peace without any controversy, but we have these evil Christians who have waged a war against us and all we are doing is fighting back, that’s all.  We don’t care who Christians worship, we just don’t want to be told that we are going to hell or that you don’t accept our lifestyle (as if we asked for permission).  If the right-wing fundamentalist born again Christians will stop threatening, bullying, beating and killing gay people, then we will be cool.  We just want to live normal lives, that’s all.

So the next time you see me posting something like this on Facebook or anywhere else, now you know why.

Oh and by the way, even though I am not a Christian anymore, I still believe in the positive teachings of Jesus Christ.  My favorite bible scripture is of him saying Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'” 44 “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” 45 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  I personally believe that Jesus was a good person because he fed the poor and hungry and he healed the sick and gave sight to the blind, or so I have heard.  At any rate, I don’t hate Jesus, because Jesus was a good person.  I also love the Facebook page Jesus Loves Gays because I believe that he does.

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Stepping off my soapbox for now.

Some advice for a fan of my Facebook page

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I got an email today that literally broke my heart.  I was asked for some advice and I’m not sure if I gave the best advice, but it was the only thing I could think of that I would have done.  So here is the question.  His name and image have been concealed to protect him. I am calling him “D” because he wants to remain anonymous.

That is really horrible. I am so sorry.

You are still living at home right? Is it because you are a teenager?

I don’t know if my advice is appropriate for your situation but this is what I would do if I were you. I would build the highest brick wall (metaphorically of course). I wouldn’t tell my parents anything that I was doing or who I was with or you know, anything. I would just keep my mouth closed whenever I am around them and not even look at them. When they see how upset you are, they will start to feel bad and try to cheer you up and possibly even apologize to you for the things they have done. It is possible that they won’t, but keep the wall up for as long as you can until you are stable enough to leave, then head for the hills and don’t look back.

Just because your parents are your parents doesn’t mean anything. I haven’t spoken to my step-father or my baby sister in 10 years and my older sister, well we have barely spoken in those same amount of years, but thanks to my book she isn’t speaking to me now. At first I was upset about it because I really didn’t want to lose her, but then I realized that she tortured me throughout my childhood. I was only hanging onto her for the sake of my mother who passed away 19 years ago. She was never really my friend so I don’t have any bad feelings about losing her.

You can start a new life with your boyfriend. Just go with him somewhere else and leave those monsters behind. I don’t mean to speak ill about your parents by calling them monsters but anyone who rapes their child is a monster, and anyone who blames their child for being raped is also a monster. My cousins daughter was raped by her uncle and when he was put in jail for it, she was blamed and told that she was going to be killed for putting an innocent man in prison. She was the one who was innocent, not him. You cannot take the blame for something that you had no control over.

You are a good person, you have to believe that. They are the bad people no matter how they try to spin it. You don’t have to put up with them anymore.

I hope this helps.

Mike McDonald

If anyone else out there has some good advice for “D” please chime in because he needs all the support he can get.

Homeless Man “You think you’re better than me?”

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Whenever I go to the grocery store I see a homeless person sitting on the bench in front of the store and/or walking around the parking lot.  They always ask me if I can spare some change and sometimes they have a speech that they have said so many times that they repeat it over and over again verbatim.

This one time I went to the store, as I was coming out a homeless man came up to me and asked me for change and I used my same excuse that I use every time “I’m sorry, I used a debit card for my groceries” which is actually true, so it’s not just an excuse.  Well, that pissed him off so much that he started yelling at me and saying that I thought I was better than he was.  Well, that made me feel bad, but at the same time I didn’t have any money to give him so his guilt wasn’t going to do him any good.

I walked over to him and I looked him in the face and I told him that I don’t think that I am better than he is.  I told him that I knew what he was going through because I was homeless when I was a teenager.  If anyone has ever walked a mile in anyone’s shoes it’s me because I went through the same exact thing.  He apologized to me and we stood there talking for a few minutes about what he had said to me.

I wanted to make it clear to him that I don’t think that I am better than he is because I am also poor.  Yes I have a roof over my head, but every dime that I get every month goes to keeping that roof over my head and it also pays for groceries.  I told him that I don’t think that anyone is better than anyone else because we are all the same.  Some are more privileged than others because they were born with money while others were born in a poor family, yet the two are still the same.  They all bleed the same, they all put their pants on one leg at a time, they are all born the same and they all die the same.  We are all but specks in the big picture so who am I to say that I am better than he is just because I have a bag for groceries and he doesn’t have anywhere to sleep?

We talked about the homeless shelter and he told me that it’s usually full.  I told him that there has to be some system for him to get back on his feet, perhaps a place where he can shower and shave and get some clean clothes so he can apply for a job, but he told me he didn’t want to work.  Well, then that’s his problem.

When I was homeless I lived in a shelter and I was damn lucky that they had a shelter for me to live in.  I also had a job so that I could save the money to get a place to live, unfortunately my boyfriend at the time was saving it for me, but he was really spending it as I was giving it to him so that didn’t work out, but I did eventually get out of the homeless shelter and got back on my feet.  If it weren’t for that drive to not want to be homeless, I’d probably still be homeless to this day.

I am very thankful for what I have and I will never in my life think that I am better than anyone else.

My Interpretation of Hold On by Wilson Phillips

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httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIbXvaE39wM&ob=av2e

I just watched the movie Bridesmaids on HBO On Demand and at the end of the movie Wilson Phillips came out to sing the song Hold On.  I remember hearing that song when I was a teenager and thinking about how powerful a message it was because I was ready to give up and kill myself many times, but this song would give me another day to “hold on” to see what tomorrow brings.  That isn’t hyperbole either.

I’m sure nobody needs to have this song broken down and interpreted, but indulge me for a few minutes because I want to explain how I take and interpret the lyrics of this song for myself.

“I know this pain.  Why do lock yourself up in these chains?  No one can change your life except for you.  Don’t ever let anyone step all over you.  Just open your heart and your mind.  Is it really fair to feel this way inside?”

Now, this is the beginning of the song, it starts out with “I know this pain” and I immediately think of Carny Wilson because of the discrimination she had to deal with during this period of her life.  During shooting of their videos, she was pushed in the back so people couldn’t see her weight, which is totally unfair because no matter how skinny or overweight she was, she was a gorgeous woman inside and out and she was part of the group, not a backup singer.  I know the song isn’t about that, I know it’s about relationships.

“Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?”  To me that means that you are (the victim of any abuse) shutting down to the world.  You are punishing yourself for what is happening to you.  You don’t deserve to imprison yourself for what someone else is doing to you.

“No one can change your life except for you.  Don’t let anyone step all over you.”  This is true.  Just like in my book I said that it won’t get better until you stop letting people rule you. Not in those words, but that was the message.

“Just open your heart and your mind, is it really fair to feel this way inside?”  This is also true.  You (the victim) have closed your heart and your mind because you know things aren’t going to change and you don’t want to let anyone in because you are so afraid of being disappointed.  That isn’t fair to you.  You have to give everyone a chance and act as if you are starting over from scratch with every new person you meet as if you had never been abused in the first place.  Let your life start over with that new person.

“Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry?  Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way if you hold on for one more day.  Can you hold on for one more day?  Things’ll go your way  Hold on for one more day”

The chorus always gets me.  That’s where the tears just start flowing.  This is telling me that some day my step father and my sisters are going to force me to say goodbye, to basically burn my bridge with them.  Until then (baby) am I going to let them hold me down and make me cry means that I need to stay strong until that day finally comes when I can just tell them that I can’t take their abuse anymore and I’m done with it all, that I never want to see them again.  Don’t you know things will change if you hold on for one more day, things will go my way (to me) means that I just need to be patient because it will get better eventually.  See what tomorrow brings, perhaps it might be better.

Last one I promise.

“You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?  You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness.  You got yourself into your own mess.  Lettin’ your worries pass you by.  Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?”

“You could sustain, or are you comfortable with the pain?”  That to me was kind of confusing at first because who is comfortable with the pain?  But then it occurred to me that perhaps you are comfortable with it because that is all you know.  Like for example, I grew up with daily smacks to the face and the head, being yelled at constantly and being punished for just having a pulse.  I got so used to it that I didn’t even know it was bad.

Ok this one I had an issue with at first.  “You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness. You got yourself into your own mess.  Lettin’ your worries pass you by.  Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?”  I know this part isn’t meant for a child abuse victim, it is meant for a woman who is in a bad relationship.  She got herself into this mess because she refuses to leave her no good wife beating husband or boyfriend.

I know this song wasn’t written for everyone, but we can all interpret it to our own situation if that is what we need to do.  A woman who is in a bad relationship can interpret it for her situation, a gay child can interpret it to their situation and a child abuse victim can interpret it to their situation as well.  Everyone can use this song to pick themselves up off the ground because it has a good message.  Basically, hang in there, don’t let what other people (bullies, asshole boyfriends/husbands, abusive parents) do to you to keep you from living your life the way you should live it.  Once you are away from that person, you will learn that your life will get a whole lot better, and isn’t that worth holding on for one more day?  Things WILL go your way.