[oasis] [columns]

Michael Ditto

October 1996

This month has been a real doozey, let me tell you. As I am writing this, it is so far past the deadline that I feel ashamed even submitting it at all. Given what has happened in my life this month, however, I just have to write a few vignettes about it, even if just for my own sanity. I hope you can glean something from my ramblings...

AIDS Walk Colorado

This event occurred September 8th, and was somewhat traumatic for me... Walking through the park and going past Number one Cheeseman Towers, I suddenly flashed back to those early days of my coming out. I'll never forget November of 1992, sitting in the middle of a group of people hearing about the Forum, next to a nice looking, very thin man named Terry, with a yellow nametag... I was struck at how soft-spoken he was, yet was shocked at how easily he talked to me about being gay, what it was like for him, about his deceased lover and about his own condition with AIDS. Terry was a fighter and an inspiration, and I will always love him.

Heartbreak and self-delusion

The dating scene has been a major thrust in my life recently, as I find living on my own again to be very lonesome. This month I began pursuing a boy who I thought was exactly my type, and perhaps he is, but he seems more interested in somebody else right now and wants to just be friends. I took this like a major failure on my part, and like the drama queen that I can be, I decided to be very depressive and drink lots of alcohol to get away from the pain...

Bashing at my own home

Last Monday night, after I got home from the coffee shop (where I always go with a group of friends on Monday nights), while chatting on IRC, I watched out my living room picture window as three well-dressed suburban white teenagers bashed out the windows on my brand new car. I chased them down the street, but couldn't catch them. After I picked my car up from the auto glass shop, they told me they had cleaned the words "Die fucking faggot" from my driver's door. It had been written in black marker. I am glad I didn't notice it. My car is dark purple so it was easy to miss. I would have been heartbroken, but the window glass people were nice enough to polish it out for me so I never had to see it.

Seeing the light

Something I noticed about this whole dating situation kind of jogged my brain last night. I distinguished the whole source of angst in my life surrounding dating and relationships, something which has somehow snuck its way into my way of being unnoticed. Since I decided to rejoin the dating scene, I have been plagued with feelings of ugliness, stupidity and worthlessness. I have often felt these things through my life, but they have never stopped me until recently. What has changed? Last night I figured it out. It all lies in my motivations. For some reason I had made the decision that in order for people to like me I would have to impress them. I remember, before coming out, before the whole relationship thing started, I had a "who gives a damn what you think" attitude. I wasn't out to impress, I wasn't out to prove anything. Once again, I have chosen to buy in to what is going on around me. I made that realization last night before I went out.

When I got to the dance club last night, I met my friend (who I could fall in love with at the drop of a hat). He amazed me, as he has done several times. He's not out to prove anything, he doesn't care about impressing anybody, but people (including me) are falling all over him. He just cares about people, treats them with respect, and has an honorable personality. Way to go, what a concept. I feel years younger all of a sudden.

Life happens in a circle

As I get older I notice how I repeat certain things, over and over. It's funny too, as I notice they happen at almost the same time every year. For instance, I always get very spiritual in the fall and through the winter. Then I get restless in the Spring, and usually end up quitting my job around June or so (You'll remember that I got my new job at Quark in June). I reach my creative peak in January or February. I learn my biggest lessons in winter. I am closest to my family during the holidays. There are many annual events like this, and I'm just beginning to notice how annual they are... Perhaps in my quest for deeper inner awareness I can glean something from this realization...

Common Sense isn't so common

One of the pitfalls of coming out is the "kid in the candy store" syndrome. You know the feeling (or maybe you soon will), when you come out of the closet it is like a giant weight being lifted from your shoulders. If frees you up in every area of life. Something which can also happen however, is that it frees up your judgment ability as well, and can cause you to make poor choices. Many people go through a very sexually active period immediately after coming out, and that is normal. It is not something that I ever experienced, but several of my friends are going through that right now. It is vitally important in this period not to lose sight of who you are, what you stand for, and the people who love you. Sometimes we can throw everything we once knew away just to get our rocks off with as many people as possible. Take it from the master, this is wholly unfulfilling and leads to a life of utter loneliness.

Alcohol doesn't work for me

This week I managed to get myself drunk three times, which makes the third, fourth and fifth times ever in my whole life. I have decided that it did not produce the desired effect, did not produce the escape I was looking for (in fact it just deepened the feelings of depression) so I will never get drunk again. It is not worth the money, the time, or the damage to my body.

Epilogue - what this column has done for me

Journaling is something I have always done to keep my life in perspective. I journal in letters to my friends, I journal on IRC, and I journal when I write for Oasis. I have been journaling on Oasis for about six months now, and I am seeing a lot of feedback from the people who read my column. The nice thing is that it forces me to write, at least once a month. But when readers contact me with their input, views and opinions, I am given the opportunity to write some more in my correspondence with them. I respond to every bit of e-mail I get, so keep it coming please.

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