Greetings From the Month of August!
Perhaps the strangest thing about this month's article is that I'm starting it well ahead of the deadline. For those of you that think I'm a deadline-oriented sort of person; I'm not. To put it bluntly, I'm lazy. But thanks to people like Jeff who understand my "condition," I've been able to be published these past few months. I ALMOST didn't make it last month, though. So instead of scaring myself again, I've decided to start this article on none other than the 4th of July.
This is the kind of thing that I like to get into: you know, the "deep" stuff. It's really rather easy to write about what my goings-on were in the past month, and as you know, I do that quite a bit, especially as of late. But this month I'd really like to talk about things with much more meaning to me. In essence, this is going to be a way for me to sort out my thoughts, as I really haven't explored some of these issues much. So here we go, and as we say in the music industry, "See ya at the double bar line!"
Issue #1: Looking for That Silver Lining
The other day, I was talking to my good friend Matt online, and we were just talking as we normally do. I was telling him about my most recent trip to the mall, and then I related a story to him about a particularly unsettling experience there. I was just walking through the mall as I normally do, when I came upon my friend, who we'll call Marcus. Well, Marcus was with a REALLY cute guy around my age, who we'll call Eric. When I saw the two walking up towards me, I said hi to Marcus, and smiled and nodded to Eric, and he did the same back to me. It was one of THOSE smiles, if you know what I mean. You know, one of those, "yep-you-found-me-out" smiles. It was nice spotting a fellow homosexual without having to be told or anything--perhaps my Gaydar isn't as broken as I thought it was.
After I spoke with my friend Marcus (Eric went off elsewhere--to the shoe store, I believe), we went our separate ways, but I couldn't help but feel a feeling that I don't feel that often: the feeling of being completely alone. When I feel this way, it's best to just stay out of the way for a few hours.
The thing about it is that in some ways, it's entirely true. Looking at it from the boyfriend perspective, I haven't had one to speak of. Sure, there was a fling that I had with a fellow music enthusiast two years back, but that really wasn't anything...or was it? I can still remember the night at his house. We had talked and stuff, and before I knew it, it was time for bed. His parents had already gone to bed so it was just us boys. We were in his room and it started out with a little snuggling, then kissing, then making out...
I don't consider what we did that night as sex. There were some definite sexual elements involved, sure, but I think the label "serious messing around" is a lot more accurate. In any case, after we finished what we were doing, it was really rather late, and so we decided to get some sleep. Earlier that night, his parents had laid out a sleeping bag for me to sleep in and everything, but after our encounter, we decided that I would sleep in his arms that night. And that's what happened.
During the few hours of sleep that we got, I woke up once or twice. Seeing the stars shine through his window and feeling him around me was perhaps one of the better experiences in my life. At that particular moment--and just for a moment--I was really content. The classes at school I was struggling in or the fight that I had with my Mom didn't mean much right then. In fact, they all seemed rather trivial. There I was, with someone that loved me (at least, at that point in time), and I was with someone who I loved (again, at that point in time--things were about to change some time afterwards). The contours of his arms seemed perfectly fit for the parts of me that they were around. It was neither too hot or too cold that night. I didn't need a single thing other than for that feeling to be sustained for as long as possible.
Looking back at the whole thing, I miss it. No, not the messing around stuff, but the fact that I could wake up at any given point in the middle of the night and there was somebody, to keep me safe and to hold me close. There is nothing in the world like that feeling. It's interesting how being denied something so fundamental like the human touch can make you want for it that much more. I'm fairly certain that there are many gay youth--perhaps some of you reading right now--that feel the same desire just to be held by someone. Not for sex by any means, just for the sake of being held.
With this incident behind me some two years later, one would have thought that I would be over it. Of course, that's not the case. When Marcus' friend Eric smiled at me, for some inexplicable reason, that yearning came back again. I wanted so badly to have someone that cared for me and that loved me as much as I loved them just to sit there with me in his arms. What made this more unbearable was that I knew that it wouldn't be Eric that would be doing it--it most likely wouldn't be anybody here in this small town. In all reality, it'll be well after my next article would be posted that I would be in a position to starting THINKING of finding a boyfriend, and that's no easy task.
There have been a few incidents over the past two years that have made me feel so hopeless and alone like this one. I've had people say to me, "How do you do it?" There really isn't an easy answer to that. If anything, I have the gift of hope. I have incredible optimism not only for myself but the world in general. Things are going to get better. This wasn't something that I bought at the Human Characteristics Shoppe; this is an entire way of living.
When the world seems so against me (and it feels like that quite often), I first have to take myself out of the situation. Putting things into perspective is crucial. This isn't a matter of trivializing things--it's a matter of looking at a situation or obstacle and looking for some hope in it. The story that I just related is a perfect example: I know that whether it'd be 1 or ten years down the road, I AM going to meet somebody and all these feelings that I've been unable to express to another human being will finally be able to be shared.
Patience is also something that people like myself must have in order to get through something like this. Like I said, I don't know if it's going to be 1 or ten years before I'm going to find a man to be with, but I just have to be content with the fact that it is going to happen someday, and all I have to do is just wait for that time to come.
With all that being said, having someone in your life isn't everything. Just the other day, I took a song that already existed, messed with the chords a little bit, and before I knew it, I had completely reharmonized the song. Playing it back through the keyboard, I felt and extreme sense of satisfaction. A few weeks prior, I got the chance to see some of the most beautiful wilderness I've ever seen--that was truly awe inspiring. Over the past few months, I've been able to develop a friendship with a straight couple that I wouldn't trade for the world. I've had the chance to play some really good, good music with a symphony that has changed me as a person and musician. This is just the tip of the iceberg: how about the movie I saw last week or the jam session I had with a musician friend of mine or the busy day that we had at work and the paycheck that I see at the end of the week as a result of my work? There's SO much in this life that can reward you. Companionship is an extremely rewarding thing and I hope that all of you will experience it to its fullest and then some, but it's not everything to this life.
With so many little joys in life, there's something that we can be happy about everyday. Listening to one of my favorite songs, "Happiness," it looks at happiness through the eyes of a child. Learning to tie your shoe, having lots of Crayons to choose from, singing with friends at school; these are things that children enjoy doing. Somehow along the way, as we all get older, we lose that sense of joy and contentment with everyday life. I'm sure if I asked my little 6-year-old cousin if she would like to live on Sesame Street, she'd absolutely love that! But I could also ask that same cousin if she wanted to go for a ride in Grandpa's pickup, she'd love that, as well.
I think there's a lot we can learn from those children. Sure, playing dodgeball may not excite us as it would younger children, but how about sitting outside on the porch and listening to nature or wasting the day away talking with friends on the phone, or whatever small pleasures that you may have? There's a lot to be happy about, and before I start feeling sorry for myself about all the things I don't have, I try to, "Look for the Silver Lining, and try to find the sunny side of life," and enjoy what I do have.
Issue #2: Keeping Hope Alive
I'm not sure about the rest of you, but out of the 2 "boyfriends" that I've had, the relationships with them have been less-than-ideal. The first one was a sort of, "Oh, you're gay? So am I! Let's have a relationship," deal. Not good. It lasted something like two weeks. The thing that really made it worse was the fact that we were about 6 hours apart. We had met at a music camp and things just went from there. I told myself that I would never subject myself to a long-distance relationship again, and I haven't since.
My second "boyfriend" was the one that I described paragraphs before. It was a similar situation of how we got together, and since we were in the same zip code, things were a bit more manageable. For a little while. To make a long story short, we ended up hating each other for a little bit (ok, a LONG bit).
So that puts me at 0-2 as far as relationships go. Great. How about that for a track record? I've had some of my friends ask how I could approach prospective boyfriends with such openness and hope. The answer isn't quite as simple as the question put forth, however.
Primarily, I don't think it would be fair to this person that I'm courting to bring all this baggage from other "relationships" into the mix. Nor do I think it's very fair to have reservations about opening up to a person based upon prior experiences. Learning from past mistakes is one thing, but holding back because of it is stupid. Everybody deserves a fair chance to be with you; that's how I've always felt.
For those of you who have been following my writings for the past few months know about "B." In my case with "B," I hope that I've made it clear to people that I'm not looking for sex nor am I looking for a boyfriend necessarily. All I'm looking for is a friend who understands. When I finally come out to him at the beginning of the next month, I run the risk of losing a very good friend of mine. Nothing would please me more than to just have him as a lifelong companion, but as we've discussed in the past few months' articles, that probably won't happen due to certain circumstances. Nevertheless, I'm still optimistic about things 'working out' (whatever that entails), and I treat our friendship not with the attitude of that it may end soon, but with the attitude of that it's going to last a lifetime.
The reason is simple, though. I simply want to get the most out of the friendship as I possibly can, and I can't do that if I have these silly inhibitions. Sure, in the end, should things turn out not-so-good, I'll be hurt, most definitely, but at least I can say to myself that I was open and honest with "B", and I can live with that no matter what happens.
I can't stress how much hope is important to everything in life. That is what fuels our dreams and desires--indeed, it's one of the key elements of our very existence. If we didn't have hope, there'd be no reason to live because we have nothing that we're working towards other than sustaining a very boring life.
How the Time Gets Away from Us!
My goodness! As of the last paragraph, I have almost 3000 words according to my Microsoft Word word counter thingy. That's probably pushing it for a single article, so that means next article, we'll be discussing Issues 3 and 4 which are getting the message through to the masses that we aren't a bad group of people (some of the methods may tick some of you off) and why shows like Will & Grace really irk me (please, no hate mail until you read what I have to say). Both of these will tie into each other quite nicely, if all goes well. Until then, I want to thank you all for reading.
Feedback, Feedback, Feedback
Let me know what you all thought about this month's article. I worked a long time on it and I hope that you've taken something from it that you can use in your lives. This is the kind of stuff that I really like to write about, and I hope that shows in this article. Your feedback is essential though, because like I've always maintained, this is as much for YOU as it is for me. I want to be entertaining in some fashion, and I can do that in a variety of different ways, but it's up to you, the reader, to tell me what you'd like to see. So please utilize the E-Mail address that appears at the end of the column and sound off!
Until Next Time
I'm really excited about next month's article because it's going to be controversial. But I'm not into arguing or anything like that--this is a sort of persuasive essay. Hopefully people will be able to at least appreciate where I'm coming from. I hope you all have a fabulous month, and remember to enjoy the little things that make life worth living.
Mike is an 18 year old, semi-closeted individual living with his mom and stepdad. He is interested in music, computers, music, reading, music, writing, writing music, listening to music, composing music, arranging music, and other music related things. Mike enjoys feedback and would like to hear from you, and can be reached via ICQ: #56413145 or by E-Mail: Mike_17@gay.com