After taking a month off from being an Oasis columnist, I am back and proud to be. This place has grown so much recently, and I hope Jeff and the whole Oasis staff knows how much we appreciate all the hard work that goes into it. I'm sure we've all been in situations where you do something, and people thank you for it, but deep down in your heart you're saying to yourself, "They have NO idea how hard I've worked for this." How proud it makes you. The staff here is really making a difference, and I wish them all the best.
That being said, let's revert back to my jumbled mess of thoughts, quips and queries for the month.
Life is good. Granted, it could always be better, but I'm not complaining. My work at the newspaper is going phenomenally. School, which should be my first priority, has fallen a little behind, but I'm making the effort to bring my grades back out of the trenches. I'm dropping a class this week . . . I feel very guilty for some reason. It's the first class I've ever dropped after actually attending for a period of time, and it just doesn't feel right. I enjoy the class very much, and in fact, hope to take it again next quarter. However, for right now, I cannot handle all of the work (i.e. reading) that I have to put into it. It will push me back from 16 to 13 credit-hours, and that's another disappointing fact. I took 19 every quarter last year. How the heck did I do that?
But besides that. That just says that I am trying too hard to please everyone but myself. I'm listening to the same little voice that tried to convince me that I should pursue a degree in chemistry rather than music. Or that I should apply to Furman University rather than attend a local college, the University of Cincinnati. I constantly have to tell that voice to shut up. I have to do what feels right to me. Not what will make me feel smart and not what will make others think I'm smart.
At the end of October I attended the ACP/CMA journalism conference in Chicago, Illinois. Wow . . . what an experience that turned out to be. Sessions from 9 a.m. until about 3 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. As I leafed through the booklet of sessions and tried to choose which ones I wanted to attend, I saw "Gay Issues in the Media." My heart skipped a beat. I was ecstatic. It's too bad that I saw it as early as I did.
Time-management skills, my session immediately before the gay one, was located in the room right next to the room where the gay issues session would be held (I think that makes sense?). The time-management guy wasn't very good, so we got out a minute or two early. I walked to the room and bailed. I saw the open door and said to myself, "Oh my God . . . look at all the people around! If they see me standing here waiting for the first group to leave they'll know I'm waiting for the GAY session and they'll know I'm GAY and then they'll tell everyone they know and they'll laugh at me and . . ." I love the paranoia that comes with just being me. And then the added paranoia of being a guy who happens to be bisexual in today's society. So I walked out into the main area and stood for a minute. Then I asked myself what the hell was wrong with me. I needed to stop being afraid. To stop being a baby. And I walked back in there and walked into the session room and took a seat about 10-12 rows back. I was the first person in there.
People started to walk in, and sat closer to the front than me. My friend Natalie, who knows about me and actually considers herself "kinda-sorta" bisexual, came in and sat next to me. At the start of the session, there were probably about 20-30 students in there. When the speakers began, they were awfully quiet . . . so Nat and I got up and walked up to, like, the second or third row. I know, it doesn't sound like a big deal. But this is coming from a person who WILL NOT go to class if he's going to have to walk in ten minutes late. There's no logical reason for it, of course. That's just how I am.
So anyway, I was astounded. There were so many NORMAL people there. You must understand . . . although I know several people who are gay, I've never gone to a glbt support or social group, or any kind of a congregation where the dominant population and/or the purpose of the gathering is for alternative lifestyles. There were several really cool issues brought up. There was one guy who was a closeted bisexual, was a member of a fraternity, and the opinion editor of his newspaper. The only person who knew about him was his fiancee, a girl, who was told because, as he said matter-of-factly, "I had to tell her. How could I keep that from her?"
Why can't I know people like that around here? He really had his stuff together, and was such a nice guy. He brought with him a column written the week before from a guy who was condemning homosexuality and just being ignorant. He made the announcement that anyone who wanted a copy could give him their email address and he'd email a copy. Well, as it turned out, the session ran a little over the time allotted and as I approached him to give him my address, he gave me the copy of his newspaper he had brought with him. I just thought that was really nice of him. Wow. Needless to say, I was impressed by the whole session, and it is what has ultimately made me decide to attend at least one meeting of the campus glb group. This group, by the way, just changed its name to the Alliance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Straight People. Sheesh . . . why don't you just call it the Alliance of Everyone? (shrug)
This ends my column for December. By the time you read this I will already have eaten my turkey and put up the tree . . . probably I've also gotten a good start on Christmas shopping. Enjoy your holidays everyone . . . Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, etc... remember when it comes time to make a New Year's Resolution . . . be careful what you wish for!
I will not plug my web page this month . . . simply because I'm quite embarrassed by the fact that I haven't updated it since September 12, and I actually have no motivation to update it in the foreseeable future. But, should you wish to get in contact with me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I answer everyone, so if you don't hear from me, it's either because I haven't had the time to check it or I simply thought that I DID reply to you, but actually did not. Okay, so I get a little scatterbrained sometimes . . . you think you can forgive me? Just this once? Take care all, and remember . . . things are never as bad as they seem initially. In the words of the great Mimi Marquez and the entire cast of Rent, "forget regret, or life is yours to miss." And, as Andrea McArdle & Aileen Quinn would say, "the sun'll come out tomorrow."
Bet your bottom dollar.