December 1999

This is my twelfth column. I've been writing for Oasis every month for a year now. When I started I had just turned 13, was in 7th grade, and was scared to death to send what I wrote in. Now I am just turned 14, in 8th grade, student body president at my school, and have received a lot of e-mail and some IMs from guys who liked what I wrote over the last year. I have written about my friends, my school, my parents, coming out, not coming out, and about attitudes and emotions.

One column I wrote was about strength. I wrote of the strength I saw in my friends. And I asked what would happen if I ever had to show how strong I am? I wasn't happy with what I saw when I had to find out. I learned things about myself. And most important, about how important friends are.

I had this friend online. He was more than a friend. We connected in ways I never thought could happen. He was over a year younger than me but we didn't care. From the first time we met in a chat room we knew there was something special between us. And in the almost two years I knew him it got even more special. We found that our souls touched. That our minds were often one. We lived 3500 miles and three time zones apart, yet we often knew what the other one was thinking before anything was even said. We called each other Betazoids. We read books together and talked about them, and in one, Songmaster, we both fell in love with the book and the main character. We became each other's Song Birds. Our love was so deep that we both knew it could only go on forever.

Then a month ago I got an e-mail. He was in big trouble. Major trouble. He didn't know what was going to happen other than he was off-line. Maybe for good. I was crushed. It was like my best friend had just died. Like something was ripped out of my heart. It was the first time in my life I ever lost anything so precious and special. And now I guess the test would be, how would I handle this. How strong was I?

The answer was, not very. I went to a party that night. With my friend Trevor. And got drunk. Very drunk. Made an ass out of myself. I couldn't log on without missing the screen name of my friend. On Sunday's we often had our best talks. My buddy list was very empty on Sunday, even with all my other fiends on it. I didn't care to talk to them. They told me how much they loved me and cared for me. I didn't listen. I wanted just one name on there, and waited with an empty heart.

He sent me e-mails through a Hotmail account. It was almost worse than him being gone. I decided to quit being online. I couldn't stand the emptiness. And when I was gone, I realized I was lonely. And that even being alive wasn't important. And I became very selfish. I wanted to end everything. It wasn't just losing my friend. It was that on top of one other thing that was bothering me, and had been when I lost my friend.

I suddenly realized how I was really truly gay. That I wasn't maybe messing around and thinking I was. That I was. That I was attracted to guys. Totally. That it was the way I was going to be. And suddenly I wasn't sure if I liked that. Did this mean I would never have a family or live a life like my parents lived? Would people who thought I was a good person not like me if they found out I was gay? Between that and my friend I got hit with emotions that confused me and depressed me. I made more decisions that probably weren't "right", but seemed like they were right for me right then. I still am and they still do.

But you see, one thing came through all that. I thought about what I had. I thought about the online friends I still had. And about my real friends around me. And I remembered they loved me. And that if I had friends like that maybe things weren't all bad. Maybe I was blessed more than I thought.

So where is all this going? It goes back to where does strength come from. I mentioned once my friend online whose best friend died. And how he found strength inside himself. I saw that. I couldn't find it in me when I started having problems. But I did find it in my friends. And they all know who they are. I have thanked each one of them. And what their love meant. And why friends are the most important thing a person canoes them. They are all older. They have learned things I haven't. I feel like I right now I need to find things out inside me. And that I really don't have things to say right now. I will write again. But right now I don't feel like I can every month. For all of you who read my year's worth, thanks for reading each one. I hope to be back sometime. When I'm not quite so lost and confused and feel like I have something to say.

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