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A.J.

August 1998

Next month, I will finish my 13th Oasis column. It's sort of scary to think about everything that has happened to my life in the last year. In many ways I miss my life before I started writing; after all I wouldn't have to worry about feeling guilty that my article was coming in late, or if it wasn't really worth reading. Writing for Oasis has helped me to get a grip on my own life, if only by the internal control: "If I do this, what will my readers think?" Sounds silly right? But it helps to keep me from doing stuff that I would disapprove of when I'm more rational. In any case, this is column 12.

Being Home:

Being in Houston is great. I have met a lot of new people and have renewed old friendships. Being home has its own pitfalls however, specifically that of my family. The longer I am home, the more clearly I realize that I really don't want to be around them. It's nothing personal to them, just I am not the same person they raised. I am used to having my rights respected and not having people give me crap for stupid stuff. Basically, I'm not willing to take the crap they throw at me anymore. I suppose a lot of the decay in our relationship hails from Spring Break (see last month's column), but they treat me more strictly than either of my YOUNGER brothers!

In the middle of last month (July) my parents kicked me out of the house for a week. Alison (best friend) and I went to hang out with Ranger (see next section) the day he came back into town (ibid.). She and I then went to see Armageddon and then hung out at IHOP talking about the movie. When I got home, it was half an hour past my curfew, so when my mom came to talk to me I assumed that was why. Unfortunately it wasn't. My mother and my brother had gone through my computer and found all sorts of interesting messages and pictures. Mom basically told me that I was gonna have to stay somewhere else.

Basically, moving out was something that I've been thinking about doing for a long time now. I don't like living with my parents, but I like Houston. A car, or rather my lack of one, was/is a major aspect of my difficulty. In Houston, there is really no reasonable way of getting around without a car. The mass transit system is so bad it is almost funny. So, moving out wasn't a feasible option until I got a job and a car. A few days before this happened however, I was offered a job with a computer repair firm.

I ended up staying a week with my friend. I was hoping that things would work out with the computer firm, but they are so disorganized that even though they need me to fill their current requirements, the guy in charge wants to hire someone to fill their prospective requirements. I couldn't impose on my friend any longer than absolutely necessary, and without a job, and no significant prospects to find one, I got my parents to let me come back home.

There is always the option of going back to Chicago, and I wholeheartedly confess that Ranger and other new friends are a part of the reason I'm not really that keen on going back to Chicago right now. Another major motivation that compels me to stay is my best friend, who I missed very much while I was gone. But more than anything, I don't want to go back yet because I don't want to feel like I'm bailing on a situation that needs some attention. I don't want to run away from a bad situation, I'd rather work to fix it.

I also don't know where I'm going to school next year. Right now my parents tell me they want me to go back to the University of Chicago, but given their erratic behavior and threats, I am skeptical. They are right now claiming that the decision hinges on the financial aid package. Basically, I don't know what the heck is going on in terms of my education.

Ranger:

LOL, okay, I'm not even gonna bother explaining the reference, but Ranger (short for White <power> Ranger) is a really sweet guy I've met since coming down here. Most endearingly of all, he's a really good friend, he is always there for his friends. We met at Rich's (18+ dance club) and things sort of "worked." I was really taken by him there, but even though I had his phone number, I never called because we hadn't really talked. Then a few days later we ran into each other at a bookstore called Crossroads (I really ought to be getting something for advertising like this), and we started talking. He and some friends of his were meeting, and he asked me to come along. As it ended up we were at his friends place bleary, blood-shot eyes and all after watching 5 movies, and sleeping in each other's arms. It was really awesome. We went out, but it was his last day in town (he was heading off to camp... oh yeah, he's an Eagle too...) and it was one of the stranger dates I've been on. Since he got back (it was a 10-day trip) we've been seeing each other.

True to the natural trend in my life, my general confusion extends to Ranger too. I really feel like I'm on a roller coaster, because I really like Ranger and I don't know what to do about it. We are dating, which means that we are seeing each other without prejudice towards seeing other people simultaneously. I really want to date him exclusively, but I don't feel right asking him to be my boyfriend with my entire life up in the air like this. It would be extremely selfish of me to make a commitment when I couldn't be an equal partner in it. Moreover, not having a car makes meeting him a problem because we live on opposite sides of a very sprawled city. I've seen other people while dating Ranger, but there has always been an understanding that I was not entirely on the market. I really don't even have the right to get into any remotely serious relationship right now ... as much as I want to.

Right now he's also seeing this other guy, whom I met (although I didn't realize that they too were dating) at the dance club last night (July 24). Frankly, I wasn't impressed; he quite cute, but he was also pretty rude and unfriendly (although its entirely possible that that was more because he probably viewed me as competition than his natural personality). I came away with that impression before knowing about him and Ranger, so I think it's a relatively unbiased opinion. I don't mind that he's seeing other people, I do however regret not being in a situation where I could ask him to change that. Bottom line: I really like Ranger, and because of that I hope that he does what's going to make him happiest.

Karma? Love?:

Basically, now I'm going to just drone on... I know it sounds like the rest of my articles, but right now I don't even have any idea of what I'm going to write about here. I just want to talk. I feel like my entire world is in limbo. I have no idea of where things are going or how little stuff is going to affect me in the future. The only pillar of strength for me has been Alison, and it's hardly fair that I rely on her to keep me sane. The more I've been thinking lately though, the more I'm realizing why things are happening the way they are.

The universe is a funny place, and I didn't realize how closed it really is until recently. I don't know how many of the people reading this column finish it, or how many have been reading me since a year ago when I started to write, or how many started in the middle and re-read all of my previous articles. So I don't know how many of you realize what sort of person I am. I am the type of person who gives everything I have to those I care about when they need it. I've stayed up all night talking to friends about their life when I've had a test in the morning. I've lent money when people needed it (and never asked for it back). I'll buy lunch for friends for whom I know money is tight. I'll give everything of myself to help those who need it. I don't know, nor do I care, why I'm like that. It isn't something that should be taken as a virtue, simply because its not sometime I really think about or have any real control over. It is also a weakness, because I end up being disproportionately self-destructive (by which I mean I often hurt myself more than I help the other person).

What I'm finding (now that I am the one who needs the help) is that people are there for me. I don't know why exactly, because I've never been able to be there for a lot of the people who are helping me. But, perhaps there is such a thing as Karma, and the good intent with which I've acted for so long is coming back to help me when I need it. I HATE it. I HATE (with a passion) asking anybody for anything. I hate having to ask Alison to stay with her for a week. I hate asking her father to help me get on my feet. I hate coming back into this house knowing that I'm not wanted, and that they would rather never see me again. I hate burdening anybody. After all, I'm the one who ought to be burdened.

I am also feeling really guilty. I've been lying to my parents incessantly. A lot of it is that they don't deserve to hear the truth, but more than anything its that I know that if they knew the truth they'd disapprove. The fact of the matter is that I don't lie. Although I might skip around being honest, I will always tell the truth as I know it. The difference between the truth and honesty is that the truth is the facts while honesty conveys meaning. So I can truthfully say that I am not gay, but that isn't being honest. To be honest I would have to clarify that being bisexual is not being gay, but it doesn't mean I'm straight. I have always been a relatively truthful person, and since last June I've tried to be impeccably truthful and as honest as possible. The exception to that rule has been my parents. For some reason though, I don't see that changing any time soon.

The more I think about myself, the more encouraged I get. I may not be Adonis, but I'm pretty good looking. I'm intelligent and people smart (in general). Moreover, I'm a good, loving person. I deserve better than I've got, but I can make what I have into more than it is. I deserve the best, but I'm happy with very little. It doesn't matter to me that I like guys, because that's as much a part of who I am as having dark eyes. I just hope that as long as I try and keep that in mind I can hold on to myself in all the turmoil my life is going through right now. After all, my situation could be so much worse than it is: I could have lost the ability to deal with my problems.

I have a lot of love to give, and I think that that is part of why I end up being happier when I'm in a relationship. That connection, being in love with Randall or Hazel, opened me up to being more than I am without that love. I don't know how much sense that makes. They individually didn't make me more than who and what I am, but the love that I had for them gave me the ability to rise higher than I would otherwise have risen. That sounds completely cliché, but <sigh> oh well.

I am reluctant to believe that there is one perfect person for somebody. I have met so many really awesome people that have made me incredibly happy just by being in their company. I could have spent the rest of my life with Randall and been happy. (Hazel probably wouldn't have worked in quite the same way, because as much as I love him, he doesn't love himself. It is very hard to see somebody you love destroy himself with self-hatred. Therefore, my love for Hazel was/is more of who he could have been (and really still could be), rather than who he was/is.) Coming right down to it, I could spend my life with Ranger. That isn't to say that I love him, or want to spend the rest of my life with him. What I am trying to say is that if there were some compelling force saying that I would have to spend the remainder of my days partnered to Ranger, I would be able to manage (and ultimately enjoy it). I am compatible with many different people, and it would not take a heroic effort to maintain a commitment provided that there was basic compatibility. My philosophy is that any relationship can work as long as you give it the freedom and nurturing it needs to work.

Ecoqueer:

I'm making up a new word. I think the main reason I'm even putting this section into this column <which is quite long enough without it> is because a lot like a relationship, the ecosystem within which we interact must be nurtured to be maintained. I think that as an aware segment of society, queers ought to give a damn about their planet. After all there isn't much point in fighting to get queer rights if there isn't going to be a generation alive to enjoy it!

Take case in point: Crossroads Market: they utilize 2 types of drinking glasses. One that is type 1 recyclable clear plastic (as are the lids and straws) and mixed material hot drink glasses. They have yet to install a way to recycle aluminum cans! I am willing to accept that it might be difficult to implement recycling for the coffee cups, but come on aluminum recycling is easy, as is the plastic recycling since they use only one type of plastic!

My gripe isn't specifically with any one place, but more the general attitude that just doesn't care. I don't think that I'm being unreasonably demanding of businesses and institutions. Nor am I asking a monumentally difficult task. After all it's our planet. Besides, some people claim that this El Nino effect is the effect of global warming... and considering this year is likely to be the hottest in history, I think maybe its time to take a step back and think. What are we giving up by not caring? My answer is the future.

In Closing:

Wow, I'm amazed anybody is still reading, but I really appreciate that you are. As always e-mail me at <soulseer@cyberdude.com> or catch me on AOL under the screen name Soulseer. I'm more than happy to chat, unless something is up. I honestly try to reply e-mails as I get them, but right now I'm 9 e-mails behind, so I might take a couple of days to get back to you. I hope everybody takes care, stays safe, and know that somebody loves you.


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