August 1998

My first article for Oasis, what an auspicious occasion! I'm Tim and appear to be, as far as I know, the oldest contributor to this 'zine! I'm 30 and teach in a suburban area of the Midwest. My first article may appear to be a jumble of points I want to make about me and what's on my mind. Please bear with me because I'm so excited to be here in a forum of like-minded individuals!

First of all, there are a few people who I want to thank for their encouragement to write. Whether they realize it or not, it was they who brought me to where I am right now. So, thank you Ty, for finally making me realize I am not alone. Ty has taken a lot of crap in the last few months regarding his identity and didn't deserve to be analyzed and criticized by people who should be reading his column in an accepting manner. I hope that anyone who reads my words appreciates that I write them truthfully from the heart. Agree or disagree with me if you will, but whatever opinion you have, please feel free to share it in a respectful way. I wanted to also thank contributors like Trevor, who helped me through my own feelings of loneliness and isolation by sharing their own life stories. I believe that's the real reason we all read Oasis!

If you're like me, when a new edition of this 'zine comes out, I read my favorite authors first. I jump around a lot, checking out other's profiles, I sure hope being older doesn't alienate younger readers, because we all have a story to tell.

I was one of those guys who knew since childhood that I was different. I thought, however, that my thoughts about guys was just normal curiosity and would pass as soon as I got laid by some girl. Yeah, I got laid quite a bit, but it never really diminished those feelings for guys I had had all along. I hated those feelings! I had been raised to believe that homosexuality was a terrible sin and everyone who was one went straight to hell. (Even the thought of eternal damnation didn't change my thinking!)

I eventually told my friend "Shell" because we were dating and I couldn't hurt her anymore. By pretending I was straight, I was hurting myself and my relationship with a wonderful girl. I had to tell her and when I did, I sobbed uncontrollably. I think I cried so hard because by saying "I'm gay", it was like REALLY admitting the truth about myself. It hurt! I was also a bit relieved, because Shell said she had known and did her best to support my lifestyle. It's been hard for her, too, because everyone assumes were a "couple." I am so grateful to have a friend like her!

It wasn't long after that (3 months) that I decided to try to meet someone. I did. He lived a long ways away, but we talked a lot on the net, and sometimes on the phone. He was really upset about something one day, so I got into my car and drove 900 miles to see him! (Yeah, I thought it was gutsy, too!) "James" and I got along even better than I had hoped, and after awhile, we decided to make love. It was my first time with a guy and I was really nervous. --Let's just say everything went well and I'm glad I went (ha ha)! We still talk a lot and hope to get together again soon, but it is a long ways and he is younger than me with younger "obligations." He's a great guy!

So, here I am, older than most of you who will read my story. The one thing many of us have in common is we feel so isolated. I hate that. That's why I'm here. I want to hear from you. Tell me your story. Tell me your feelings. I love e-mail and will respond to anyone who writes!



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