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Don't call me a racist. [Aug. 1st, 2017|11:59 am]
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If ever there was a blog post that would cause me to become beloved by all...this is not it.

Recently, I read a blog post by someone that claimed anyone who stated they are 'not generally attracted to ____ people' or they 'are generally attracted to only ____ people' (insert a race, any race) is racist. Oddly enough, though, he feels it's completely appropriate for people of a minority to 'only be attracted to' their minority...because that is NOT racist, according to him. (By the way, this guy is the personification of reverse racism.)

I have so many questions and problems with this. First and foremost, when did the world decide we need to baby-proof everything? I'm not being facetious, I'm legitimately asking. I'm not sure when this shift occurred, but things have gotten out of hand. It's ridiculous, at least to me, that I cannot state an opinion any more without being labeled or called out for my white privilege, my racism, my ageism (is that even a thing?), or my 'culturally insensitive remark.' Allow me to provide two examples; one will be an appropriately labeled "ageist" remark, and one will be an opinion. Both have come out of my mouth, and both have been labeled as me being 'ageist."

Example 1: Scene: Me, in a parking lot, stopped behind someone who is backing out of a parking spot ridiculously slow, pulls back in slightly, then pulls back out, and almost hits a car, then has to do a 27-point turn in order to get out... "Ugh why is this person taking 10 years to move their car? It must be--YEP. It's an OLD PERSON. WHY DO OLD PEOPLE EVEN HAVE A LICENSE?" <- Appropriately labeled as 'ageist.'
Example 2: Scene: Me, on a dating site, being messaged by a 53 year old man... "Hi, thanks for the compliments :) I'm sorry, but I don't really date guys that are 10+ years older than me--just not my thing. But thank you again, have a good day!" <- Inappropriately labeled as 'ageist.'

The second example can be used for race, weight, height, gender, religion, hair color, eye color, penis size, type of car driven, lifestyle choices, etc. Pick a card, any card. The opinion of ME on who *I* decide to date does not make me a racist, an ageist, or any other sort of 'ist.' I am entitled to be attracted to, or not attracted to, anyone I want. And trust me, I am not tooting my own horn here. I am not some grand prize to be won, and I'm certainly not beating people away with a bat. I'm a chubby gay guy in a conservative small town in the Pacific North West. I have been shot down 1,000,000 times by people for being 'too big', 'too hairy' (bears ftw!), 'too short', 'white', 'too feminine', 'not feminine enough', 'too old', 'too young', 'white', etc. and yet, I have not ONCE called someone racist, prejudice, or any other sort of awful term.

In a world where we now give trophies to kids for just participating because we don't want to hurt their fragile little feelings, we have created a society in which having an opinion or preference or 'type', somehow makes you a bad person. We have also created a society where winning first place feels less exclusive and exciting...because everyone else got a prize. Why reach for being recognized when everyone who just bothered to show up is getting a prize? It takes the point of 'winning' away. It makes kids feel like they're entitled to things for simply being present.

I belong to an online community on LiveJournal where, on a daily basis, I see the comments from the other members praising ANYTHING a person of color does. Literally anything. "Oh I love her SO MUCH." "SHE IS FLAWLESS, QUEEN." "OMG YAAAAS!" "THIS IS MY JAM!" "LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS SHE IS." And then the second a white man does something, it's "Well, of course he did. He's white. And a man. He can do anything he wants because WHITE PRIVILEGE." The second a white girl does something? "Ugh. I can't with this basic bitch." "Whatever, tacky." "Must be nice to be rich..." "...in news no one asked for..."

If you ask me, the problem has now become reverse racism. (Yes, that's a thing. No, you can't argue it.)
Yes, I am 100% aware of white privilege. Yes, I am fully aware racism still exists, that oppression is real, and that people of color have to work twice as hard as me to get treated the same. It's unfair, and it's wrong. I do acknowledge and even share in the frustration that we don't see more people of color in lead roles, and that we don't see more ethnic backgrounds in less stereotypical roles.
However, I do believe that people (especially online) have let the pendulum swing SO FAR to the left, that it's almost comical how quickly people just blatantly attack anyone over anything.

You're white, and you have an opinion?
You're a white man?
You're a man?
Your opinion doesn't match mine?

I'm not interested in bickering with people back and forth, but the society we now live in is one where opinions and preferences now make you a racist, sexist, ageist, prejudice, or some other terrible thing--and it's wrong. It's absolutely wrong.

I am not a racist. We all have preferences. We all have opinions. You have every right to like me, not like me, want to date me, or want to date someone else. You also have every right to practice exactly what I described above, and call me 'racist', call me out for my 'white privilege', or leave me a comment in which you attempt to rip me to shreds over my 'skewed view.' But trust me, I've heard it all. I am a human being with feelings, thoughts, opinions, and preferences for who I want to date. I am an imperfect person, but I am not a racist.
And before anyone tries to come for me, here is the FULL definition of racism:

prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
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Gratitude. [Feb. 8th, 2015|10:59 pm]
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The focus of today's entry will be gratitude.
I suppose I should preface this entry with a smidge background information. My name is Ryan. Hello, and welcome to my blog.
I am 27 years old and I currently live in a small town you've never heard of, in Southern Oregon. How did I, a born-and-raised-self-proclaimed-SoCal-lifer end up here? Well, let me give you the shortened version.
I was unceremoniously kicked out of my own life (more on this later) in mid-2012. I spent four months feeling sorry for myself, scraping by alone in Southern California before admitting defeat, and moving (against my will) to Oregon, where my family had relocated 4 months prior.
(It's later) After having spent 3 years in an unhappy relationship, it was discovered I'd been less-than-honest, and less-than-loyal to my (in)significant other. (Sorrynotsorry.) Now, after being 'single and loving it' for nearly 2 1/2 years and pretending to 'have my shit together,' I have officially taken action to truly get said 'shit' together.
This is the part where I explain the focus of this blog; gratitude. Here we go. Pay attention.

I am grateful.
I am 27 years old.
I have a beautiful niece.
I have a handsome nephew.
I have amazing parents.
I have amazing siblings.
I have the best friend anyone could ever ask for.
I have my own apartment.
I do not rely on anyone for my income other than myself.
I have worked hard to attain my belongings, and I did it myself.
I have a car.
I have a television.
I have a warm, comfortable bed to sleep in every night.
I have people in my life who love me.
I have co-workers who appreciate me.
I have a boss that I actually enjoy working with.
I work for an organization that makes a HUGE difference in the world.
I am in a situation where I can work on furthering my education.
I have a 3-5 year plan that is actually doable, and currently in motion.
I have food in my fridge.
I have money in my bank account.
I can go on.

I am grateful for all of these things, but especially the last one. The fact that I can go on, and on, and on. In a world where some people wonder where their next meal is coming from, I am actually worried that what I'm eating might be too much. In a world where some people are fighting to keep their home, or their car, or get food in their fridge, I wake up Monday through Friday to not only work, but to work in a place that I absolutely love.

I am 27 years old. I am in a happy place in my life. I am single, and truly enjoying my freedom to be selfish. I currently have the luxury of focusing on work, exercising and reaching my health goals, and getting my degree. I can pick up and move, or stay put, or go on vacation, or go on a shopping spree, or spend the night at a friend's house...all without asking permission. It blows my mind when people ask me or mention things to me like:
"Aren't you lonely?"
"When are you going to settle down?"
"You should let me introduce you to this friend of mine."
"You should go on a date with me."
"Why are you single?"
"How have you been single for so long?"

To some of these questions, I have to bite my tongue due to my automatic response.

"Why are you in this relationship that you complain nonstop about?"
"Why are you NOT single?"
"You're in a relationship--why are you NOT happy?"
"Why can't you STAY single?"
"Why do you need to be with someone to be happy?"
"Why can't you understand that I don't need a boyfriend to be happy?"

The fact that I can now ask people these questions and honestly not know the answers is something to be grateful for. The simple fact that I am not drawn to a relationship for the sole purpose of companionship.

And so, the focus of this blog is gratitude. Gratitude for my new eyes. Gratitude for my new personality. Gratitude for being humbled by many things. Gratitude for being stabbed in the back by someone I thought was my 'bestie.' Gratitude for my newfound motivation to get the life I know I deserve.

Moving to Oregon started out feeling a lot like being exiled. I truly felt that I had been cast out by my home state--that I'd been doomed to my own version of hell, due to my indiscretions and bad choices. A phone call with a close friend recently has changed that.
Oregon was not meant to be an exile. Oregon was and continues to be a new chapter in my life. By reframing the way that I view Oregon, I have come to appreciate every little thing, simply as it is. I find the beauty and usefulness in everything. I look around, and I see this town I do not connect with. I see these people that I do not feel connected to...but now, I feel nothing but gratitude for the lessons this chapter has taught me. I have met some amazing people here. I have come to adore several of them as very close friends. I have been burned by some of them. These lessons I have learned here are invaluable to me.

I am beyond grateful for everything in my life.

Here, at the end of this entry, I invite you to sit back and really assess your life.

Not happy in your relationship? Change it or get out.
Not happy in your job/career? Change it. Go to school. Apply for another job.
Not happy with your body? Work out. Eat better. Do better.

I am 27 years old. I am so, so very grateful that I have come to these conclusions now, as opposed to waiting until I'm in my 40's, wondering why I never did what I wanted to do.

And you will be too.

Now, go be grateful for something.
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