Well... Happy October, although I'm writing this in the middle of September. This will be my fourth Oasis column, but it's the first time I've had trouble thinking of something to write.
Part of the problem is that this last month has been incredibly busy. So busy that most of the time I was able to pretty much forget the fact that I'm gay, and that I'm going to have to deal with a lot of crap as a result of being gay. I haven't been thinking much about "gay" stuff. It's kind of nice in a way, but I'm only delaying the inevitable. I really don't want to wake up and find myself 30 years old, completely unhappy and alone. I need to figure out a way to "make progress," whatever that may be.
I received some very encouraging responses to my last column, which was about my faith in God and my religious justification for existing as a gay man. Several people discussed how hard it was to accept themselves as gay because of their strong religious backgrounds. I give them a great deal of credit for placing their faith at the forefront of their lives, and wanting their desire for a relationship with God to be the most important thing in their life. I am also dismayed by the hostility they feel from their fellow church members. I wish I had some brilliant words to explain it all, but just remember: they are sinners too. Focus on God, not on church.
I saw the movie "The Game" last weekend. The idea behind the movie is very interesting, but the movie itself was too unrealistic for my taste. Basically, Michael Douglas's character is a millionaire businessman/workaholic. His brother enrolls him in a game as a birthday gift; the game is a massively contrived series of events that seek to strip Douglas' life of everything that he thinks is important, and make him realize what really matters. I don't want to say more and spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, but that's essentially what happens.
After watching the movie, I was thinking that I'd like to enroll several of my friends in this game. I've always bought into the idea that "It's not the material things that matter, it's your relationships with other people." I try to live by this philosophy, but I'm sick of being burned by people who don't care as much about me as I do about them. I can think of three close friends over the last few years (one from high school, two from college) who are great friends, but refuse to cross that threshold from being friends to being "best" friends or soulmates. I was always willing. For various reasons, they weren't. Other things were more important, or other people were closer, and I just wasn't needed in the same capacity as I felt I needed them. Of course, wanting to put them through The Game is enormously selfish: I'm basically saying I want to make them realize the most important thing in their life is me.
It's a nice, selfish little daydream, but over the last few months I've been working on accepting the fact that none of these people will ever feel the same about me as I do about them. All three are now off to grad school in far away places. I value the experiences we do share, but I'm learning to stop depending on them or on any human relationship for my security and well being. Humans by their very nature will always fail each other at some point. Not usually deliberately, but it will happen, even in the best of relationships. In my experience, the only person who won't fail me is God (and no, I didn't intend to turn this column into another religious lesson: it was a natural progression!). It's difficult to place my security in a non-physical presence-- how does that help me when I'm sitting around alone on a Saturday night? But it IS working! I am less jealous, less insecure, and less greedy in my relationships than I was before. I can enjoy people for who they are and for as long as I am with them, without feeling slighted every time they prefer someone else or choose not to open up to me.
All of this is not to say I don't need relationships with other people. I do. Man is a social animal. But my expectations are a little different now. I have low expectations for what I think I can create on my own (i.e. making people like me, etc.). I have great expectations for what God can and will do when He places people in my life and our relationship grows with His presence and guidance. The hard part, now, is to struggle patiently and remember this when I feel so alone.
What do you think? Write me a firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS. I have a cold right now. I'm sick of getting colds. Would it help if I got my tonsils taken out? Does anyone know?