YouTube-inspired ruminations

I’m quite certain it’s nothing out of the ordinary for an individual late at night to be overtaken by the desire to express themselves as a result of the melancholy that is a result of their sleep-deprived state. I suppose it’s as good an excuse as any to write a first entry for the blog that I’ve been meaning to start.

It’s a funny thing about melancholy: You never really want to get out of it. That is, I suppose, why I’m listening to Leonard Cohen, not Regina Spektor. It’s quite late, and maybe you have to get up early again in the morning, and you know perfectly well that lack of sleep probably is what got you into it in the first place, but the last thing you want is to go to bed. My theory is, it has to do with a lack of energy; melancholy is a very low-key state of mind that you can keep up for quite a while even late at night. Perhaps it’s even why you get into the state to begin with, rather than for any external reasons: you simply haven’t enough vigor left for anything else.

Regardless of the reasons for it, this is where I’m at, so I might as well go with it and find an outlet for this communicative need. So let’s get to it. Much of what I want to say can be buttressed by a small array of YouTube videos.

I like YouTube. It’s the modern person’s agora, I suppose you might say. I probably spend too much time there, but at least it’s time spent learning, participating in discussions, and catching a glimpse of the lives of others. And, okay, yes, occasionally watching compilations of people falling over in embarrassing ways. But take, for example, the account of Vi Hart, which I discovered just yesterday. Her videos are math-related and have already inspired me to achieve sometimes startling realizations, sometimes utter confusion, several times. They also reminded me yet again that my hands really are good for nothing but typing, when I spent a good fifteen minutes struggling to copy her movements in crafting a hexaflexagon, ending up with nothing but a desk full of scraps of paper and crumpled up bits of tape.

Another great video I recently watched was one about human sexuality. It divides the concept into various sub-concepts, like biological sex, gender identity, sexual attraction, sexual/romantic behavior, etc. I like this way of looking at it, as it allows for so many more varieties to be identified; you really don’t have to stick to straight/gay, maybe adding bisexual in for good measure. I particularly liked the addition of the romantic orientation as opposed to sexual orientation, a distinction I have always made for myself. Another thing I like is that Hank (the creator of the video) also stresses that each of the partial identities he classifies are not dichotomies; they are spectra.

To be fair, I was mildly puzzled by the hypothetical example of the biologically female male with relationships with females feeling more comfortable in female gender roles. That is to say, I’m not sure if I would in fact say as he does that the gender identity and the feel-comfortable-in-gender-role one are entirely independent, and this seemed like an odd match for the hypothetical person. (Of course, it’s entirely possible that I’m missing something here. I hope I’m not inadvertently being a bigot.) Then again, I had initially interpreted this ‘gender role’ classification he makes not as the societal gender role in which the person feels more comfortable, but one in which they are actually placed by society, in which case it shows no overlap with any of the others. I think I would like it better that way.

Since I’m on the topic of human sexuality and gender identity, I might as well bring up another YouTube channel, namely that of TheRealJazzBertie. This is the channel of a FTM transsexual guy named Alex, who often posts videos talking about the particular issues a person in his situation gets to deal with (and who reminds me of my brother for some reason). Today, I discovered an adorable video of him and Kye, another FTM transsexual with whom he has fallen in love, that depicts the two of them first meeting and spending time together. It’s a bit alien to me that someone would share something intimate like that in public, but I suppose personalities differ in that regard, and they display just enough signs of self-consciousness to make me not be too bothered by it. (Self-consciousness toward the viewer, that is. It might be hard to pinpoint amid the much more apparent self-consciousness toward each other.)

Now, what interests me in this is that he mentions (in this another video) people asking him if the fact that he’s in love with a guy means that he’s gay, and he says, “No, I’m not gay. I’m straight, but in love with a dude.” There was a time in the past where this would have given me pause. It’s not that I was hung up on the concept of it even then, but perhaps a little strict about the labels. A guy in love with another guy? That must mean gay, or bisexual. The guy might never again fall in love with another guy again, at which point you might wonder if the label of “bisexual” really is meaningful anymore, but technically I would have thought it to still be true.

I no longer necessarily believe this. Never mind the fact that I now believe it to be (never thought I’d say this) entirely reasonable to throw ‘logic’ out the window and just accept whatever a person says is how they see themselves, even if that superficially seems to be a mismatch with the labels they use as they are traditionally defined; even if this means they consider themselves a male lesbian, as in the case of Lisa from The L Word – this, after all, is inherently valuable, since it’s their personal, preferred identity.

Even aside from that, why shouldn’t it be possible to fall in love with a guy, and still be a lesbian female, or a straight male? I myself have always felt sex really shouldn’t, and often doesn’t, factor into it all that much. Sure, people have tendencies based on sex, but sometimes, can’t a person just fall in love with another person? I’m not saying this just to be idealistic, I mean realistically. And I’m not exactly talking about falling in love with personality as opposed to appearance, either. I guess I have a hard time putting my finger on it. Perhaps all that’s necessary, really, is to have someone say “No, I’m not gay. I’m straight, but in love with a dude”, and to nod and move on. (Although I suppose that just gets us back to the point I made in the previous paragraph. Regardless, I will just give up for now. It’s getting to be too late, anyway.)

Let me bring some of this back to myself. I’ve been telling people for a while now that I tend not to care much for a person’s physical appearance (which again is not just an idealistic thing), but if you forced me to give a description of what I consider to be physically attractive, the keyword would be “androgyny”. I like girly boys and boyish girls. I like people where you can’t even really tell if they’re a boy or a girl. And then, I particularly like it if they turn out to be a boy, for some reason, although it seems usually they don’t. I think this is partly because there’s more of a stigma on guys being ‘feminine’ than on girls being ‘masculine’, and I like to see this stigma challenged.

I have similar preferences when it comes to someone’s personality. The same is true for my own personality, actually. Sometimes I wish I was more ‘feminine’, perhaps in the sense of having more grace and softness of character. And not just because I like to genderfuck. I realize now that this explains the feel-comfortable-in-gender-role classification that Hank posited as being separate of gender identity. I suppose I would say, then, that I feel comfortable when I’m not ascribed any gender role at all, even though I may have ‘masculine’ characteristics such as liking hard sciences, gaming, and not being very open about my emotions, and some ‘feminine’ characteristics that I find less straightforward to point out, but that are definitely present. “Neutrois” would be fine.

As it happens, I realized another thing. I think the melancholy might have in part been caused by a feeling of jealousy, from various sources. One of these sources I already covered: The video of Alex and Kye, happily in love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m don’t begrudge them their happiness, but I can’t deny that there was some envy. It’s been so long. The other main source is yet another YouTube video, that I won’t go into further here, now. If you’re interested, you’ll have to look for yourself. I will say, though, that I don’t envy the envy, in this second case, and I feel kind of bad about it for being envious, but what can you do.

I’m no longer feeling melancholy, by the way. Maybe I’ll listen to some Regina Spektor before laying myself down to sleep (which I actually feel like doing now! Hurrah!).

Good night.

Vincent

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