Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And the App is Done!

As of today, all of the required materials have been submitted to the grad school I'm applying to. Both of the folks I asked for letters of recommendation have mailed in the letters. That leaves only an interview to schedule. It's seems weird that I'm actually applying for grad school. It wasn't very long ago that grad school seemed like a far off goal. If I don't get in, it of course could remain a far off goal, but hopefully that won't be the case.

Work continues to be busier than I ever could have imagined. But, I'd rather be busy than sitting around wondering what I should do next. And given the current economy, I'll consider myself damn lucky to be working somewhere that's busy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Calculating Risk...

But first a little history...
A little over two years ago I came out to my immediate (and some extended) family as well as all of my good friends. Over a period of months, I gradually came out on my campus. Overall, with very rare exception, I found folks to be extremely accepting and to be happy for me. I found a boyfriend and was in many ways living the life I had long thought was impossible.

After graduation last year, I moved back to the town I grew up in. I currently have my own apartment in that town. The big problem? I'm not out to anyone here except my family. One of the reasons for this is my volunteer work as an EMT. The police/fire/EMS community is like a frat or a football team in many ways. And to be honest, neither frats nor football teams are groups high on my list of those I'd like to have to come out to. Homophobic language is something I face on a daily basis. The word "gay" is the most frequent "insult" used by these groups.

So on to calculating risk...
One of my interests aside from actual emergency response as an EMT is emergency management and planning. I've been finding myself, for better or worse, applying principles from this field to the significantly more personal matter of coming out. One of the interesting topics in planning for disasters is that of probabilistic versus possibilistic planning. Probabilistic planning is planning for those things most statistically likely to occur. Given where I live in the northeast, preparing for thunderstorms, snow events, and hurricanes off the coast makes good sense statistically. Preparing for tornadoes and earthquakes would not. Possibilistic planning involves, to the extent that one is able, preparing in such a way that you can respond to any kind of event and realizing that relying on a handful of specific scenarios is not the safest bet. I personally advocate for using both. It makes good sense to prepare for the events most likely to occur but to have a plan that can be adapted for the things you never could have thought of or wouldn't expect.

So that's enough of that. Applying that to my current situation. I have, and continue to, toy with the idea of coming out here. The probabilistic part of my brain tells me that this will likely be OK. It went well for me at school. Most people I know will react well. The probability is that I will survive and will likely be better off for it in the future. Then the possibilistic part of my brain jumps in and starts coming up with horrible potentialities. My life could become hell as an EMT. People might stop respecting me as a lieutenant. People might verbally harass me. People could physically harass me. I might suddenly stop getting promotions or not be recommended for renewal of my current officer position. All of these things are possibilities.

So I don't know what the answer is. I do have a question for both both my gay and straight readers. Part of what scares me is that a lot of the people I associate with on a regular basis make frequent comments in which they call others gay, or fags, and any other number of things that aren't particularly pleasant for me to listen to. Do people do this out of ignorance or because they actually intend it to be mean to a certain population? I've always hated phrases like, "That's so gay" or "That's retarded." I have a hunch that these things aren't necessarily intended by most folks who use them to be anything more than expressions they've adopted. But still, I'm never quite sure. What do you folks think? If you're someone who has come out, did you have folks around you who would (or continue) to say things like that? What has your experience been?
If you're a straight individual, do you use phrases like that? What do you actually mean by them?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hello Again

So an interesting thing has happened. In the last few weeks, the number of folks visiting this blog has skyrocketed, as has the number of comments received. I have absolutely no good explanation for it, but it has motivated me to post here for the first time in awhile. I kind of let the blog go as I sort of felt like I had said much of what I needed to and as I became increasingly busy with work and EMTing.

But due to popular demand, here I am.

So, some updates on life.

The job is going very well. It's very crazy and busy, but I like what I'm doing. While I'm always tired at the end of the day, it's usually a rewarding tired.

I'm still single and still in the closet to most folks here. I miss being out the way I was at college, though I haven't quite decided how or if to come out here.

I'm applying to graduate school in the field that I'm currently working in. I have several friends graduating college this year who are panicking about what they're going to do. I've been trying to tell them that if you know exactly what you want to do when you're in high school or even college, you might be selling yourself short. You haven't had real time to explore. I didn't discover the field I'm in currently until after I graduated and started working and now I'm in the middle of applying to graduate school in the field. I feel very very fortunate that things have worked out the way they have.

I'm still renting my own apartment. It's so nice to go home to your own place at the end of the day.

I'm still EMTing and am now a lieutenant (in case I hadn't already sold my soul to the EMS gods and the gods of never being allowed to sleep).

I also remain active with the church I've been attending. I've taken up singing in one of the choirs. The music background helps, as does singing with folks who are way better than me and who I can really learn from.

I'm going to do my best to stay motivated to post here. The comments that have come in have had a lot to do with me coming back, so if I see that folks are continuing to read, I'll try to continue to post.

Thank you to all who have commented. It's much appreciated. Due to a reader who rather correctly pointed out that the text is blending in with Zac, I have attempted to change the text to a better color, but after several tries, I can't seem to find anything that works real well.