Greetings to all readers of Oasis! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brandon Foltz and I live in the Greater Cincinnati Area (actually in Northern Kentucky). I am gay, 22 years old, and attend Northern Kentucky University. I am majoring in Middle Grades Education Mathematics and Science. I have been pondering the articles here at Oasis for almost a year and a half. I have always meant to sit down and write an article, but since I am one the world's worst procrastinators, I haven't until now.
Something very traumatic happened in my life and I wish to share it with all of you. Someone once said that sometimes love just isn't enough. Until recently I never believed that. Being the hopeless romantic I am, to me the bond of love was the most sacred and precious feeling in the universe. I had faith that love alone would rise above all other superficial feelings and events. But I was wrong.
The guy I had been dating on and off of over seven months (who I will call Joe), told me he had met someone else. Over the seven months, Joe and I fell deeply in love with each other. The kind that comes along only a few times in a lifetime. We had truly built that third entity called "us," to which we both contributed.
In a note, Joe told me that he loved both of us. This confused me, since we had been together for seven months and he had known this new guy for four weeks before he took off overseas for a year. Joe wanted to keep both of us in his life. I was to be the "best friend" who would always take care of him, be there for him, help him solve his problems, reassure him, and help him realize his dreams. The new guy was to be his boyfriend that was 4000 miles away.
This decision (or lack thereof) forced me to make a tough choice. One that would alter my life from here on. Some of you may have been through this similar situation. If not, it is still something we can all learn from. Regardless, this is the response I gave to Joe in reference to his note:
I have just read your note in the magazine for the fourth time. I truly understand where you are coming from, because I too know what it is like to have your life all turned upside down and backwards. I went through that period of craziness and confusion, not knowing quite what I wanted, none the less when I wanted it. But I will tell you how I got through it. From that weak, jumbled mess of ideas and emotions rose the powerful and sturdy young man that I am today. I got through it by making choices and preparing myself for the possible consequences, but all along knowing that the struggle was well worth it in the long run. I guess that point came when I was tired of running and hiding. Running all the time seems to keep you from your troubles, but it also keeps you from facing the problems and surmounting them. Plus it is hard to recognize love when you run, because everything goes past you so fast. I realized that hiding was probably killing me the most. The fact that I was gay was not the only thing I was hiding, but I was also hiding all of the joy and wonder that I possessed.
Once I stopped running, the world went by at a much slower rate. I could actually feel the warm sun nestle against my skin, see the clouds waltzing across the sky, hear the birds singing their beautiful music, smell the rain coming from the west, and taste the sweet honey that dripped from the fountain of life. And once I stopped hiding, all of these wonderful qualities that I never knew I had blossomed like the spring flowers and at last I was free to let my star shine as it was meant to shine. But those were hard choices to make. Now, in retrospect, I wish I had made them sooner. I feel that I have missed out on so much life has to offer. I wish I would have met someone three or four years ago and still be with them now. But I cannot go back and undo that part of my life. I can only attempt to remedy it in the future.
After Prom, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to hear from you again, and had accepted the fact that I probably would not. This was very difficult seeing that of all the people I have ever had the honor of loving in my life, you were (are) without a doubt, the one I have loved the deepest. It was very difficult to forgive you, but once I knew that I had totally forgiven you, I truly realized the extent and depth of what I felt for you. Everyone makes mistakes, because like you said, we are all human. But I am so grateful to be human. I think you underestimate your potential to love. You do not have a small heart. A small heart limits what you can place in it. I know that you have a HUGE heart. I have heard you talk from it, I have seen you cry from it, I have witnessed you performing from it, and most of all, I have felt it beating next to mine. Your heart is so big, I am standing in it right now.
Your heart and the ability to love are the most precious gifts God gave you. But like everything I said above, sometimes it comes down to making the tough choices. In Economics, there is a term called "opportunity cost". It is basically the question, "What are you willing to give up, to gain something possibly more valuable?" since we cannot have everything. Having nice things usually means working long hours. Being well respected in your profession usually means years of schooling past high school. For me it was, "Do I kill myself trying to get out of school earlier, or do I wait and start teaching a year later?" "Do I miss my age-out year of corps, or do I miss out on teaching band?" "Do I stay in closet another day where it is safe, or do I open the door and begin to live my life as God intended?" "Do I accept the fact that you are who I want to share a large part of my life with, and risk that there may be someone out there that may make me happier?" All of those questions were very tough ones. But I regret none of decisions I made to answer them. I am going to start teaching a year later, I stayed home to do what I love: teach, I am true to myself and others, and I know that there is no one I would rather be with than you. But I made those choices with a lot of pain and hurt, but I knew that they were the correct choices. Now it is time for you to make a choice. I became the person I am because I follow one simple rule. I think of the type person I want to share my life and love with. I think of the qualities that I want him to have. And then...I try like hell to be him. But that isn't good enough sometimes. And lately I guess it hasn't been.
Part of me is glad you met him (my head), part of me is not (my heart). For you to know him a few weeks and then have him go 4000 miles away, for a year, is rough. But if in that short time and long distance, you truly feel that you love him above all others ... then I am happy for the both of you. If you truly feel that he is someone you can trust and rely on, if you feel that he is someone that will always be looking out for your best interest and support you in whatever decisions you make, then I am happy for the both of you. If you feel that he is someone that is always committed to you and the advancement of your relationship, then I am happy for the both of you. But something in your voice and in my heart tells me that you don't believe those things. And I get the feeling that you aren't really sure if you love him or if he loves YOU. And that is a bad feeling to have all day, everyday. I may be wrong, and in fact my head hopes I am wrong. If you truly and deeply love him, sitting and wishing you had never met him is not a good sign. But maybe you wish you had never met me either, and that is OK. I am who I am because I have made some important and tough choices. And I am about to make another one.
By reading what you wrote, I get the feeling that you want to have he and I in your life as we are currently. He is going to be your lover and I am going to be one of your best friends. I am sorry ... but I cannot do that. If he is going to be your companion, then I need to fade away. It is not that I don't want to be your friend, but I know that I cannot handle that situation emotionally and physically. I will not be able to function as your best friend anytime in the near future. The love I have for you is still way, way, way too strong and the physical desire is way, way, way too strong. Everything I say as a friend will be biased and critical of him, and that is not fair. Me trying to be your friend would most likely ruin everything that we have created together so far. You are going to lose one of us, you are right. But since you cannot make that choice, I have to. So I will, with my head high and heart low, sacrifice myself and our love, for the love that binds you two together in hopes that it may grow. I will try to keep my promise I made to you. I love you so much beyond words and I can feel my heart crumbling as I type and the tears flow down my face. I promised you that you would never walk alone and you won't. But if he is your lover, then it is his responsibility to take my place walking at your side. But should you find yourself alone, afraid, and scared, my arms will be waiting to cover you. And if I can't be there right then, walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone. I love you ... ..more than you could possibly imagine.
Truly, Genuinely, and Deeply Yours,
This is the toughest thing I have ever had to go through and one of the toughest (if not the toughest) decison I have ever had to make. But I know that in the long run, it is the best decison.
I still believe that love is the most scared and precious feeling in the universe. But sometimes love just isn't enough. And sometimes loving someone truly and deeply, means loving them enough to let them go.
I hope someone gets something from this in hopes that the world will be a much more loving place. Thanks for reading a bit of my life. Take care until next month.
Brandon C. Foltz
My name is Brandon Foltz and I live in the Greater Cincinnati Area. I am gay, 22 years old, and attend Northern Kentucky University. I am majoring in Middle Grades Education Mathematics and Science. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or for a ton of information, one can visit my website at http://www.nku.edu/~foltz.