Guitar Hero is officially kicking my ass right now. I'm currently on the "advanced" level, and all was going well. The other day I used my gig money to purchase Slash and then opted to use him as my lead guitarist. Then, tonight, I wind up in a guitar battle against Slash! I battled Slash versus Slash for like half an hour non-stop. Worked up a huge sweat in the process of all the jumping and hand-shifting fury, and even started flipping Other Slash off. Apparently, Slash can't beat Slash in this game. When I pick up my guitar next I'll have to take on a new character's persona and see if that works. Honestly. One week from tomorrow, I'll be heading back home for a couple of weeks. I'm very excited for a number of reasons, and dreading it for one very specific reason. Most importantly, I can't wait to see my partner, whom I last got to see in March, when we had the most amazing spring break of all time. I've also been missing Albuquerque itself. LA is an adventurous place, and there's all sorts of things to see and people to meet, but Albuquerque will always be home, and it's calling me.

The one element I'm dreading about the trip is visiting my folks. We spoke briefly this evening and once earlier this week. It's become clear that when I do see them, they're probably going to try to stage some form of "intervention" because I called them out on their homophobia. What makes it hard is that they're not outright homophobic: verbally, they're extremely supportive, and they make sure to tell me so. Actions speak louder than words, however, and they've shown me that what they say and what they mean are two very different things. Call me crazy, but telling your friends to tone it down on the gay-bashing jokes when your gay brother is around is not exactly love and support. And telling your gay son that the best way to make it as a gay man in a straight world is to bring a girl to social functions, and to make sure to keep separate bedrooms if he ever has a partner, is a far cry from challenging others who feel that us gay ones should not be allowed to marry the person of our choosing.

On the one hand, they didn't disown me and remove me from their lives. On the other hand, they play psychological games that deign caring when it's convenient, but it's expected that I not appear gay in any way when I'm around. And the second I'm out of earshot (usually out the door and running away in tears), there's a collective sigh of relief on their end because they can go back to being afraid that if they find out a guy is gay, he'll immediately start coming onto them despite not previously doing so. You know, when they thought he was straight.

It is in this one area of my life that I am currently uncertain. I've learned, however, to trust my instincts and that feelings are there for a reason. Love is something felt much more than it is something spoken. What I am certain of is that there is love in my life, and that without it I'm not sure I'd be able to face much of what awaits me when I return. But how I've changed over the years! I will no longer be brushed aside as I once was. I will no longer mold myself to fit others' narrow ideas. I no longer feel that sense of self-hatred that I once did. I have no idea what this will mean for me when I do make the obligatory family visit. I just hope I'm strong enough to face that music when it greets me.