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Josh Puetz

December 1996


Itís not a choice I tried to make
Itís not a thought I couldnít take
Something told me it was time
To give you yours
And leave me mine

óLuscious Jackson, Naked Eye

Once again, thank you to everyone who has sent me email. Each month Iím surprised and delighted to find Iím not the only one out there with questions. Sure, I havenít written a lot of you back, but thatís what you get for writting me such long and thoughtful letters.

Whew, where can I possibly start? This past month has been just crazy for me. Iíve had lots of long conversations with my friends regarding my sexuality; which is something of a surprise to me. A few months ago, I had said that I was going to make a little more of an effort to step out of the closet. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

It all started a few weeks ago when I came out to another long time friend of mine on somewhat the spur of the moment. I knew that she would accept things well, and she did. It was actually pretty touching, she told me that she felt honored that I trusted and valued our friendship enough to tell her that I was gay.

I also came out to my roommate, who took it as well as I thought he would. I think that our friendship is even better now than ever, since I donít have to hide the important issues in my life from him anymore. In the past year, I felt like there was a barrier between us in our conversations; something lurking just below the surface that told him I was holding something back. Now, I know that I have another friend I can talk to about anything without having to hide my thoughts. Even if Iím talking to my roommate about a topic that doesnít involve homosexuality at all, itís a nice feeling to have


It snowed here in Eau Claire last night. When I went to sleep, these big puffy flakes were floating down from the sky, reflecting the amber glow of the streetlights outside my window. This morning, I woke up to find a good five inches of snow covering everything: cars, trees, houses, bike racks, garbage cans.

Thatís kind of the way I feel inside. I think I might have reached a turning point in my life. Now, in retrospect, I suppose most of us could find points in our lives where we thought things had fundamentally changed. I myself have had days where I swore to myself that everything was going to change, but this time is different.

What has changed? Well, for one thing, I realized the other day that Iíve been keeping two lists of the people in my life: those who know Iím gay and those who donít. For the first time, the list of those who know is *much* longer than the list of those who donít. Sure, Iím not out to everybody yet. However, among my good friends, everyone now knows the truth. I donít have to watch what I say in a room full of people anymore. I donít have to make sure I donít stare too long when thereís a guy without his shirt on the T.V.

Even my own doubts and fears are starting to fade away. Sure, Iím still dreadfully afraid of ending up alone, but itís more of a distant concern now. I have been getting closer to a man who is new in my life. While things are far from serious (hell, I donít want to jinx anything by having expectations), it is a pleasant surprise to find out I am capable of getting close to a man.

I think itís been snowing inside my head. All of the fear, doubt, and remorse I felt before is gone. Everything is new, everything is fresh. Iím smiling a lot more, just for no reason other than I can. Iím at the part of the movie where the happy music gets louder, the credits are about to roll, and the hero knows somehow everything is going to be all right.

Madonna, I know exactly where you're coming from. There was an MTV news special about Madonna and her new baby the other day. I just caught the tail end of it, where they were discussing the reasons Madonna chose to have a baby. Somebody remarked that her biological clock had been ticking, and she had an instinctive need to have children.

I have recently been feeling a similar sensation, but not the need for children. I am sorely feeling in need of a relationship. I wish a really nice and sweet man would just bump into me some day and sweep me off my feet. That's not very realistic, but I can always dream. In the meantime, I know all the pressure is on me to go out and find myself a man.

I'm not one for excuses, but there are a few factors at work in my life that are completely out of my control. For one, I am under 21. That makes getting into gay bars difficult at best (especially since I look pretty young). More importantly, Eau Claire, Wisconsin is for most intents and purposes a very small town. This city has a population of over 55,000, but I sure seems a lot smaller.

When I first got to college last year, I expected my life to change profoundly. I expected college to be a time for me to discover other people like me. A little over a year later, I am more realistic. Sure, my personality has changed a lot, but as far as my sexual personality goes, I'm still pretty much the same person I have always been. I came to college looking for other gay men and women to bond with; I'm realizing Eau Claire was a poor choice for what I wanted.

Something I read the other day stuck in my mind. I can't remember who the author is or what the title of the book is, but I read it in my human wellness class. The author was talking about life, and how we always seem to put off doing things. We use the same excuses time after time. I'll start having a life after high school. I'll start having a life as soon as I'm done with college. I'll have time to have a life as soon as this big project is done. Eventually, people realize those things are life: high school, college, careers. You can't put off having a life; if you do, you'll never have time for one. As I get farther into the semester and deeper into my own pit of homework, I have to remember to get out and live. You should too.

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