Posts tagged FEELINGS
Posts tagged FEELINGS
Here’s a PERSONAL POST that will likely BE DELETED by the end of the evening, but sometimes I just LIKE TO LET IT ALL OUT because the casual catharsis is never A TERRIBLE THING. I’m still in the office and finishing up the week, writing down a GIANT TO-DO LIST because I’m going to the Bahamas on Sunday FOR WORK. It’s my first ever WORK TRIP which is exciting, and I’m mush less nervous about it once I finally got the details about the events (after waiting around for, like, a month without knowing where the hell I was staying or who was going to be there, etc.). At the same time, I’ve got to ACTUALLY RUN A WEBSITE while I’m intermittently on a boat next week, because that is my job, and I also have to write a TON OF SHIT for the next issue of the magazine BEFORE I even return to New York. I never really thought this is how my life would be? Working late nights, checking my work email obsessively on my phone, or even having the experience where checking and replying to emails was a major component of my job. So BASICALLY I am incredibly STRESSED OUT, and will be as such for, oh, the next two weeks? But, unlike other periods of my life where work was exhausting, this doesn’t feel out of my control. I feel like for the first time I’m CONTRIBUTING SOMETHING and AM PLAYING A MAJOR ROLE in something bigger as opposed to just being the person who has to deal with a lot of terrible shit all day. So instead of PANICKING and succumbing to the temptation of stomping my feet and pitching a fit and calling my mother and complaining about my life, I actually can sit here and think, “HEY. YOU CAN DO ALL OF THESE THINGS, AND YOU’RE GOING TO BE AWESOME AT THEM, AND TWO WEEKS FROM NOW YOU’LL BE SO RELIEVED THAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING.” This really is quite a life development! I feel like a real adult! For the first time in my life! And, hey, I could get a tan in the process? (LOL YEAH RIGHT I’M GONNA BURN TO A FUCKING CRISP.)
I am seeing Jeff Mangum tonight. There will be FEELINGS.
My eye felt funny when I woke up this morning, and I knew immediately that I had a stye. I get them every now and then; the frequency varies - sometimes I’ll go years without one, and sometimes I’ll have one every few months. It had been a long time since my last stye, so feeling my lower eyelid all puffy (and later seeing it slightly inflamed when I looked in the mirror) did not give me high hopes for the rest of the day.
I walked to work as usual, and I was glad that it was a little bit warmer than the day before. I even got into the office earlier than my regular time, still beating everyone else and thankful for the quiet as I settled in. I fixed my coffee and filled a glass of water, and I started to chat with Annicka online. She asked me if I had heard back about the apartment I had looked at twice the week earlier; I had not, and I was incredibly frustrated about it because I (probably foolishly) hailed it as my “dream apartment.” It was an enormous room in a two-bedroom apartment in Fort Greene, and the price was decent enough to make it a bargain. I felt a little sour when she asked me about it, and assumed that I would have to start looking for new options at some point this week.
Just three minutes after she asked me about the apartment, however, I got an email from the guy I had been talking to - the one who was moving out of the room to live with his girlfriend. He had discussed with his roommate, whom I had met over the weekend, and they wanted to offer me the room. I was ecstatic. I pounded on the keyboard, IMing Annicka with a fury of random letters and numbers to signify my excitement, and the noise was loud enough that one of my co-workers turned to me and raised an eyebrow as if to ask me what was going on. I threw my arms in the air and said, “I got it! I got that apartment!” It was all set; I just had to pass the credit check, which I was confident would happen without a hassle. I relaxed in my seat, thankful that in less than six months I managed to move to New York, find a job, and find an apartment.
The rest of the morning was uneventful. I spoke to my mother about tentative plans to move my things from her house in Virginia up to Brooklyn, although it was a bit too early yet to decide on anything. I had a meeting around lunch time, and so by two o’clock I was very hungry. I walked out of my office, excited that I was able to do so without wearing a scarf and a hat, and turned at the corner to find the taco truck within close proximity. It was around that time I got a call from an editor with whom I had been playing phone-tag, so instead of getting food I spoke with him about freelancing options. I was excited as I had hoped to do a bit more writing in my free time once I got settled in an apartment, and I was glad to have another opportunity come up.
I decided that because I had spent my usual lunch-buying time talking on the phone that I’d return to work and order something for delivery. I have been fortunate enough to be living rent-free, and I thought I’d use my last days of not paying rent as an opportunity to spend a little bit of money while I had it, albeit on food that I probably wouldn’t enjoy too much. That’s when I got into the elevator that, as you may already know, stopped somewhere between floors in my office building.
After pressing the call button and not receiving any sort of response (and then calling my boss), I opened Tweetdeck on my phone. I was freaking out a little bit, and my way of remaining calm was, naturally, to blog about it. “How can I make this funny?” I thought, which really is my general reaction to any sort of awkward or humiliating thing that happens to me. That’s when I started sending furious and, frankly, insane-looking updates out onto the Internet. A couple co-workers responded, as did friends, and it caught on in a way that I found incredibly surprising, especially as my phone buzzed with each email alerting me of new followers. It is only via the Internet that someone can manage to be the center of attention for twenty minutes while sitting alone in an elevator.
After getting off the elevator and returning to the office, I felt incredibly anxious and uneasy, and I had trouble focusing. I also hadn’t eaten lunch, and at five o’clock I decided to head out for food. I had plans to meet this boy for drinks that evening before seeing a play, and I knew, given my semi-frequent tendency to attend happy hour on a mostly empty stomach, that I should definitely eat something. I walked to Soho Park, and after ordering I had a quick phone conversation with a reporter from The Observer. It amused me that “the story,” which was only interesting because of the Twitter angle, was a story at all.
After finishing the conversation, I called my mother. “I had quite an afternoon,” I said. “Yes, I saw the link on your Facebook profile,” she replied, alluding to the post on The Awl that went live sometime in that thirty-minute span during which I was trapped in the elevator. I told her about the conversation I had just had with the reporter, and she replied curtly, “I’m sure they’ll published those lovely ‘tweets’ you posted today.” I rolled my eyes and was a bit aggravated that she didn’t get it - “it” being at the time (and at the time of this writing) something I’m not sure I can define. I have heard my mother use the F-word on several occasions, but she still regards the word as indicative of vulnerability, of something so incredibly unclassy that those who use it (especially in public or - God forbid - on the Internet) ought to be ashamed.
And after I hung up, I did feel ashamed. I immediately worried about the language I had used and how it was now associated with my name. Furthermore, it was associated with my job. I have been writing about myself online for years, but I’ve always made a point to keep my work separate from my blog, or, at the very least, make my employers anonymous. For the first time I was associated with my employer’s name, and that made me uncomfortable because it opens an awkward can of worms. Even though I had never mentioned my job on my blog or in my tweets, it was clear who I worked for. I tried to push this aside as I walked into the midtown bar where I had planned to meet my date for pre-theater drinks.
I had been seeing this boy for about a little over a month. Our first date was actually a few hours after I had accepted the position at my new job, and, hilariously enough, we went to a bar in Nolita where I ran into my then-future co-worker, whom I knew before taking the job. The first few weeks of our courtship (if you choose to call it that) were fantastic; for the first time in years I was actually very excited and giddy about a boy, and we spent a lot of time together. In the last few weeks, however, I had begun to feel weary about him. We had not discussed or defined our relationship, and I started to lose interest. I knew that the mature thing would be to tell him as much, but my fears of hurting his feelings, and the terrifying concept of being so open with my own feelings with someone in real life kept me from doing so.
I avoided the conversation at happy hour, and we walked together to the theater. We saw The Book of Mormon, which was fantastic. It was hilarious, crass, incredibly offensive, yet it had some heart to it as well, which I found slightly surprising. While it skewered the typical conventions of organized religion (personified, of course, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which is an almost too-easy target), it also pointed to the basic fact that specific denominations and sects are personalized avenues that head toward the same outcome.
We stopped in another bar after the show - a cocktail lounge in a hotel close to the theater. After a brief conversation about Cats (because such a conversation is bound to happen when two gay men get together after seeing a musical) and half of a glass of wine, the boy turned to me and said, “I’m sorry to be blunt, but is this going anywhere?” I took a sip of my drink and thought for a moment, realizing immediately that the time had come to lay it all out there - that I was given a quick entrance into the conversation I had been avoiding. I couldn’t figure out what to say, and I talked in circles trying not to say, “I don’t want to date you,” which is what I really need to tell him. After he expressed his disappointment with a surprising shrug, he said, “That’s the nature of dating in New York,” and I began to cry. I felt like such an asshole; I felt that I had forced him into bringing up the topic of conversation because I was too chickenshit to do it myself. And crying there in a bar as the boy I had been dating realized that I didn’t want to date him anymore made me feel worse, because suddenly I was making myself the victim when I was quite the opposite. I had almost done to him what I loathe; I wanted so badly to take the easy way out, to just stop seeing him altogether without explanation, because that method, while immature, is a lot less emotionally stressful than being an adult and telling someone to their face what you are thinking.
I dried my eyes and we laughed and I apologized and we agreed to be friends and all of that, and it made sense because there was never anything in between us that had been negative in any way, and I did (and do) enjoy his company. We got on the train and rode two stops together, and we hugged at 34th Street before I hopped off to transfer to the F. As I walked up the stairs on the corner of Allen and Houston, it didn’t feel as cold as it did earlier in the evening. I walked home, thinking about how I had suddenly felt embarrassed when I thought about typing “fuck” in all-caps on Twitter earlier in the day, and I couldn’t help but think it was funny that it had been so easy to exhibit so much bravado via the Internet and it wasn’t until I had a full understanding of its connection to my name - my identity - that it meant something entirely different. And then I considered the fact that I sheepishly broke things off with a boy just a half-hour before, and how the person sitting in that dark hotel bar wiping his eyes as he cried with embarrassment was very much different than the man who got stuck on an elevator this afternoon and, as a way to keep calm in a small enclosed space, wanted to perform, to create a character that would be entertaining to an audience that, while not entirely anonymous, is mostly invisible.
I was a block away from the apartment when I crossed Ludlow. There was a man standing on the curb in front of Pianos, and he was throwing up onto the street. I thought about the times I had done the same thing, how I made light of that horrible year in Chicago where I had a pretty regular track record of public intoxication and public embarrassment. I thought about all of the pratfalls I had experienced in my adult life, and how I had used humor and sarcasm as ways of making light of incredibly vulnerable moments in my life. And I realized that those pratfalls are not what define me as a person. My sarcasm isn’t what defines me, either. Neither does my job, nor does this blog or any piece of my “online presence.” I’m not quite sure what does, and maybe that’s the closest I’ll come to discovering a real definition at all.
You have to admit that the Westboro peeps have a point: God does hate my feelings!
I took this picture of myself on Friday and I really like it. Duh, I’m the kind of narcissist who doesn’t stop at treating the world with his thoughts. Here is a picture in which I think I look reasonably attractive! Please don’t pay attention to the ugly desk I bought from Wal-Mart during my senior year of college, but you may notice that I am sitting next to a record player and a stack of records. Aren’t I super cool and hip? Doesn’t that color combination suit me really well?
In all honesty, though, I am really happy to be home because I can pull out all of the clothes I left behind and look really good in them. I’ve been wearing the same suitcase-worth of clothing for the last three months and it is rather boring! I also really, really missed sitting in my room and listening to records while reading a book. A the same time, however, I am tired of snow and wish I could go somewhere. I hope the roads are clear tomorrow! I want to see a movie! I’ll probably see True Grit, but according to everyone I follow on Twitter I should also see The Fighter, which annoys the hell out of me because I’m tired of seeing movies about boxing.
This is a really long thing that I wrote last night. I tried to post it several times today as an audio post (along with Hüsker Dü’s “Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely,” but Tumblr has been rejecting my attempts to post a song. It really has nothing to do with that song until the lame joke at the end of it, so I will post it against Tumblr’s will in association with the above, even though they are unrelated. (Also, was Tumblr trying to tell me that I shouldn’t be posting it in the first place? That’s pretty passive aggressive, you guys.)
I was listening to “Christmas Wrapping” again last night (it’s turned into my favorite Christmas song in the last few years), and I was thinking about the line “Christmas by myself this year.” I’ve actually never been by myself for Christmas (I’ve always come home, obviously), but this is the third Christmas in a row in which I have been single. I found a mix CD in my mother’s car that was marked “December 2008,” which was THAT AWFUL CHRISTMAS when I had just been dumped, my dad had just died, I was unemployed, and I had a massive breakdown on Christmas Eve Eve in which I told my mother that I was convinced she resented me because I was gay (or something, I don’t really remember the circumstances other than I had broken my laptop and flipped out at everyone around me). Two days later we saw Doubt in Fredericksburg and then had an awkward dinner at Olive Garden and made up and then cried over our shitty dinner. Kooky post-Christmas fun!
I put in that CD expecting it to be awfully depressing, but it was actually super fun and full of stuff like Ladyhawke (LOL, 2008!) and other electro shit that my ex-boyfriend got me into a couple of years ago. The most “meaningful” song that I put on there was Donovan’s “Catch the Wind,” which was one of my ex’s ringtones and something I still associate with him. I also think it’s funny that I was working on the 33 1/3 proposal for Exile in Guyville over that Christmas, too, and I was listening to that album on a loop. That’s not very smart when you’ve recently been dumped! I bought that album on vinyl when I went to the Matador shows in Las Vegas, so I’ve been listening to Side 3 (“Fuck and Run,” “Girls! Girls! Girls!,” “Divorce Song,” “Shatter,” and “Flower”) repeatedly for the last few days, but it doesn’t make me sad! It makes me think about how I didn’t get that book deal, but I did hang out with Liz Phair for four hours just a month ago, so I’m not really sweating it.
Oh. Yeah. “Being single.” I’ve been a mess when it comes to dudes this year! I mean, this time last year I was developing a massive crush on a boy that I knew I could not date; I don’t think I even really wanted to date him! But still, I made myself get all fucking nuts over it, I think because I needed there to be a challenge. Then I went on five dates with a guy from OKCupid who was attractive and nice, but it took five dates for us to make out, and it was awkwardly paced and weird and then we never called each other again. And there have been other boys, too; some were nice and some were stupid (well, really only, like, two were stupid). And there’s also one that I’d really like to date for real, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve honestly wanted to pursue something with someone and that has made me a little nutty. (I’m also bad at courtship, as we have established in these pages many times over, and the self-analysis that comes with wanting to date someone is overwhelming, which is why I try my best to not get excited over anyone ever.)
I also had ex-boyfriend issues, but in a good way for once! Well, one was good: I emailed one of them and suggested we get a coffee to actually speak to each other for the first time in a year and a half, and it went well. I don’t miss dating him! I forgive him for not wanting to date me! It’s called a break-up because it’s broken! And then there is the other one (hello!), who I spent a few months sleeping with, which I don’t regret because, frankly, it was awesome on that physical level, but it probably wasn’t the best emotionally for either of us. Not that there was any big dramatic thing, but we probably could have been doing other things (or people) better worth our time.
Another thing I have learned this year(ish): Tumblr is not a dating service! I’m just saying.
Speaking of dating services, I deactivated my OKCupid account last week. I mean, whatever, I might go back, but at this point it was kind of pointless as I was ignoring every email I received. I think last year one of my resolutions was to make an attempt to meet guys IRL, which is how people did it before the Internet? And that means that I’d also like to meet them without incorporating Facebook, too. I mean, resolutions are generally bullshit anyway, and I should start setting goals for myself all of the time rather than at the beginning of a calendar period. I’m not saying I’m going to do that, or that I’m going to follow through on anything I say here. But, you know, hopes and dreams, et shitera.
You know what will happen in 2011? I will get a job. I’ve been fairly stress-free in that department for the last few weeks, especially since it’s the holidays and no one is looking for anyone to do anything anyway. But I was telling everyone this week (because everyone is asking) that when I was unemployed twice in Chicago in the autumn I didn’t find a job until the beginning of February. The fact that I’ve been freelancing is a great achievement, because it’s something I wanted to do in Chicago but never actually pursued. The fact that I’m getting published more regularly is something in itself. (One of my goals for this year was to write something for The Awl, which I did two weeks later. Then I wrote a few other things for them that people - including myself! - liked!) I was about to start grad school last Christmas; I had no anticipation that I would change so much about myself and my life. Now, twelve months later, I live in New York, and it’s everything I expected and wanted and I don’t regret it at all.
And, hey! Maybe nothing too insane will happen in the upcoming year, and next Christmas I’ll write a post describing how 2011 was the year I really got “into” Hüsker Dü.
While I’m here, writing about stuff (and it’s OK if you stopped reading by now, really), I could talk about this other thing that happened today. I recently came back into contact with my childhood best friend, a guy that I have known since we were born and whom I considered to be my best friend until we graduated high school. We grew apart as people do, and we spent a few years not really talking. He wasn’t on Facebook and I never made an effort to get in touch with him, chalking it up to the fact that we weren’t really friends anymore.
He joined Facebook over the summer and we had a twenty-minute conversation on there right before I moved to New York, and it was nice to see that we could still find things to talk about like adult people. I sent him a message a few days before I came home for Christmas asking if he was doing the same, and we agreed to get in touch and try to get together. He came over this evening on the way to another high school friend’s house, and he visited for a good hour with us while my brother and mother put together a puzzle in the living room. We talked about very superficial things - how I like to New York, what his sisters are up to, him going back to finish his undergrad. It was nice, however, to not feel like there was something blocking all of that from happening (and if there was it was most likely on my part, as I tend to hold grudges based on nothing).
Anyway. If there’s anything I’ve learned this year is that I should probably not write people off completely. I was going down a Facebook rabbit hole the other night, browing the profiles of some guys I knew (and didn’t particularly like) in Chicago. I remember when I decided to move to New York that I had a revelation about a week later in which I realized that there was a whole group of people that I would never have to see again - guys I would run into at bars and parties and with whom I had varied levels of “history.” I don’t miss that at all; it was my least favorite thing about living in Chicago. I’m lucky enough to have made a lot of strong friendships and relationships with people in the last few years, and I’m finding that I am able to build on those that I started years before. Every time I come home I am reminded that I don’t have a lot in common with the people I grew up around, but that’s OK, too! I think it’s an important part of growing up - the knowledge that you can make your own friends without them being forced upon you.
I don’t know where I am going with any of this (shocker!), but I do know that it’s been a heavy year, one that has allowed for more than the usual introspection. (Perhaps my real goal for 2011 is to come up with a way to not waste it on the Internet.)
Le Tigre - “Get Off The Internet”
When you don’t really want to see someone again in real life, it’s pretty easy to avoid them. You don’t go to the places they hang out, you don’t see the people they are friends with. This is especially true when the person in question isn’t someone within your immediate social circle. Real life is easy!
The Internet, though, gets blurry. Take Tumblr for example: there are people on here with whom I interact with every day, but I don’t really know them very well. But it seems like I do. We’re Facebook friends! We talk on GChat! We share stories about families, significant others, coworkers. We know about each others problems and feel like we know each other enough that we can open up about the things that frustrate us. I don’t think this is especially weird or unhealthy; I know people who do think that way, but they aren’t on Tumblr. (That says something else about them, and it’s not really a bad thing.)
The problem that arises is that things get tricky when you blur the Internet and IRL. You can’t really cut someone out like you can in person, can you? There’s evidence of them everywhere. Other people know them, are friends with them, reblog them, etc. And you can’t help it: you don’t own the friends you have on the Internet, you can’t say “I was first!” because, really, you weren’t. And, duh, things get more confusing when you cross the boundary between Internet-friends and IRL-friends.
It’s beginning to make me crazy. That’s the short version of the story.
Anyway, I’m exhausted from a long day of sitting in the office in front of my computer (and iPhone) re-evaluating how I interact with the Internet and how it has been driving me a little batty. Should I worry how a few people would view me if I attempt to block other people from showing up on my Internet? Should I even be blogging about it at all, or just sit here silently stewing about the things that make me angry and upset, or should I feel fine with expressing the way I feel. Should I just say “fuck it!” and do what will make me feel a little bit more normal?
It’s not like I’m going to quit the Internet, but I can quit responding to the stuff that annoys me. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m about fifty pages into Faggots, and I wanted to post a bit from a page-long monologue that I read this afternoon but realized I couldn’t just POST it without providing some context in which I explain that I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with the sentiment (because things aren’t that easy) but that it’s something to think about, especially since we’re on the cusp of the gay pride parade in Chicago. This is spoken by a character named Jack Humpstone (even faggots have their Gossip Girl-style names?), nicknamed Laverne:
“No!” he said again. “We don’t have anything together. And, as an elite, a minority privileged to count among its large, if indistinct membership, many of the world’s greatest minds and talents and potentialities - though in undershirts and jeans on the dance floors of Balalaika and Capriccio at five in the morning very few of us are exactly capable of thought - as this true elite we should have more of our collective acts, and scenes, together. We have the ultimate in freedom - we have absolutely no responsibilities! - and we’re abusing it. My sister-in-law does not speak to me, not because I’m a faggot, to which news she is now adjusted, as am I, but because she says I’m a coward, I’m not in there pitching to make this world a better place, I’m running away, I’m not relating to anyone successfully, I’m not proving to the world or to myself that I know what to do with this freedom…while she is chained to a mobile home in Mobile, Alabama. If I could do that, then I’d be listened to, respected, not scorned, mocked, feared as something unfit to teach children. But when I look around me, all I see is fucking. All we do is fuck. With dildos and gallows and in the bushes and on the streets. My sister-in-law doesn’t fuck on the streets.”
Now, I don’t want to be the kind of person who is like, “the pride parade is too sexual!” because it’s ultimately a public embrace of sexuality. And, sure, it’s become a political event in which our representatives show up and the people who want our business have floats and even our local news reporters tell us that they’re proud of us so we’ll feel sort of warm and fuzzy when we watch them in the mornings and late afternoons, but it’s still an overtly sexual event, and that’s what the people who hate us see. I don’t want to suggest we should clean it up for those people, because fuck those people, they are idiot assholes.
But, you know, it’s difficult to think about how that behavior can be so self-destructive, yet we still participate in it and flaunt it with the idea that if we throw out condoms to the crowd it’s all OK, and we want people to think we’re responsible adults who should have the same rights as any other bigoted American idiot. It makes me THINK and leaves me CONFUSED about what I feel!
Sorry for getting all Boys in the Band around here, but I don’t think that any of this sort of thinking is self-loathing at all, which is judgment some gays are so quick to spout out. (It’s sort of how we also make fun of closet cases, as if we forgot how difficult it was to come out ourselves. Do you remember? It was tough!) And I’ll definitely be out on Sunday, probably drinking beer on the street, definitely cheering and yelling things at people marching down the street, because I am proud and don’t feel ashamed for who I am. But, ya know, I think about this stuff sometimes and it concerns me, that’s all.
Today is the two-year anniversary of my dad’s death.
That’s such a formal way of saying that, right? I don’t know, it’s a funny sentence to type anyway, and I’m not trying to bring anyone down on this lovely Tuesday. But, you know, my dad is dead! (Sorry!)
It’s funny, though, because it feels like it’s been much longer than two years, but in the way that I’m sort of OK with it? (I feel like I have to turn that sentence into a question for some reason.) It amazes me, a little bit, how much I’ve grown up in the last two years and all of the other things I’ve experienced as an adult, and sometimes I wonder if I would have put so much weight on them if I hadn’t had such an emotionally heavy event happen in my mid-twenties.
Yesterday, for example, I had the thought that I’m “at peace” with being gay, which, what? Why did I think this? It popped in my head as I was walking into the courtyard of my apartment building for some reason, but I was like, “Yeah, you’re right! We’re all cool!”
This probably has something to do with the fact that I had dinner with a guy I used to hook-up with during my secret gay days in college, a dinner that was a lot less awkward than I expected!
We weren’t really friends in college; we just fooled around occasionally during my junior year. I hadn’t seen him in six years, and he sent me a Facebook message saying that he’d be in Chicago for a conference. (Also, he reads this, so, Hi!) It was interesting to talk to someone who was at the “same place” as I was six years ago, and who is also comfortable with how his life turned out. We both came out after college and agreed that we were just fine with that; I actually confessed to Christina last week that I was, in fact, sleeping with guys then and had kept it a secret the entire time. “Why didn’t you just come out?” she asked. I told her that it was a combination of being scared and confused about what I was.
I came out to my parents about a year and a half after I started coming out to friends, and, in my typical passive fashion, did so through email. I basically said, “Hey, here’s what’s up, it’s not even a big deal. I know you’re not going to have a problem with it because the only people who would are idiot assholes. Contrary to what you might believe, I do not think either of you are idiot assholes.” (I also included a YouTube clip of the scene in Reality Bites in which Sammy comes out. Why not?) And, duh, they weren’t shocked or terribly upset, but I was sort of wrong about it: it was a big deal, and I sort of regret never really talking to them about it in an adult way, especially since my dad died a few months later.
My dad was the more homophobic of my parents. When Ellen came out and it was the first time that sort of thing was really pushed into the mainstream in the way that people like my dad had to actually deal with it, I remember him being annoyed all of the time. I was in middle school, not yet aware of how I felt about anyone in a sexual way (I liked girls at the time), and my mom and I would argue with him about it until it turned into a big joke. If he complained about anything, from other cars on the road to groundhogs in the backyard, we’d tease him about being homophobic. “Do you hate that goose because you’re afraid it’s gay and you really hate gay people?” “I DO NOT HATE ANYONE, LEAVE ME ALONE.”
He got over it, of course, because rational people generally do. We didn’t get a chance to talk about me before he died, although we came very close once. I was home for a weekend in April, the last time I had gone home before the week in May when I went home to wait for him to die. He had just gone into hospice care and things were beginning to happen very rapidly. On Saturday night, before he and my mom went to bed, he told me that he needed to talk to me about something before I left. The next day, however, he was feeling pretty terrible and couldn’t get out of bed. I let him rest and the only thing I got to say was goodbye, and that I’d be home again soon.
This is the only thing that still really upsets me when I think about my dad - it’s the only bit of unfinished business that I had with him.
I came home again a week before he died. Hospice care had already started to give him liquid morphine, which is really the last stage of treatment, and he slipped in and out of consciousness for an entire week, seemingly refusing to let go. We had a dramatic bedside moment in the middle of that week when he came to and told my mother and I that “he needed to make a decision” and that “he was ready to go,” as if it was all up to him.
And while I can tell you now that that week in May was probably the worst of my life (we also found out that my mother’s father had stage-four lung cancer three days before my dad died, which, of course, was also the same day that my mom discovered a receipt for a pack of cigarettes after I had successfully hidden my habit for five years), I can’t help but think the reason that I’m alright now is because I had that week to say goodbye to my father while also drinking bottles and bottles of wine with my family, all of us recalling the reasons why that man was so important to us.
My mom and I were sitting in their bedroom one afternoon. My dad was in a rented hospital bed next to my parents’ bed, and my mom and I sat there, staring at him. Then she told me that a few weeks earlier one of his aunts came over to visit. She told him that her best friend had just found out that one of her grandsons was gay, and apparently it had been a big open secret to everyone but her. My great-aunt made it seem that her friend was really upset less about that, though, and more about her grandson being gay.
When my dad told my mom all of this, my mom asked, “Well, how did you respond to that?” And my dad replied, “Well, I told her that I think people are born that way and there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Before I had time to react to that, my mom told me that my father then told her about his aunt’s reaction. “She was a little stunned for a second, and then quietly said, “I had a brother who was homosexual, too. We never really talked about it though.” Then she changed the subject.
You know, I feel very lucky to have had such a strong relationship with both of my parents, and I know that if my dad were alive today we’d still be as close as we were before, even though I had kept something that was a major part of my life secret from him and my mom. I miss my dad very much and I really wish he were around today, but I’m doing OK, too.
Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty - “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
I’m having one of those nights where I listen to Bella Donna (well, this the first time I’ve listened to it in its entirety but GO WITH IT), drink a few beers, and work up the courage to go “out.” I’ll probably stay in and read academic studies about MySpace for grad school.
The Rocking Horse Winner - “Curable”
Oh, hey, freshman year of college!
I hung out with Kristin on Friday night for the first time in a few weeks. She told me she is planning to move to New York in June rather than September. I’m really happy for her, but am also very sad and a little bit jealous. As the night went on and we drank more, I started to feel lousier about it. We both said that we wished I could pack up and move with her; I followed her here almost five years ago, and it seems logical that I’d go to New York with her, too.
I haven’t been in love with Chicago for a while now. I suppose that’s natural given it’s particularly shitty around these parts in the wintertime. I also realize that I felt the same way last year: I needed a major change in my life, and my way of dealing with it was to move to Logan Square, which feels like a totally different city sometimes. I’ve enjoyed living in this neighborhood, and I think I’ve adjusted well to living alone, but I do miss being so far from a lot of the people who have become very important to me in the last three years. I simultaneously enjoy and loathe the isolation of living in Logan, but, again, it’s the time of year in which I’m prone to existentialist dilemmas.
I want to move to New York so badly. There are a lot of reasons why, and I’m certainly planning on doing it next year after I finish my program (I’m not a quitter!). I genuinely believe that I’m not irrational when it comes to making life decisions like that, which is why I can’t just pick up everything and move now. But right now I feel so dissatisfied here for reasons I can’t completely pin down. Sometimes I think I’ve given it a very good shot here in Chicago, and it’s time that I move on to something different.
Spending a night in Madison with good friends was so much fun. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in such a short period of time. We all complained this morning that our bodies hurt from all of that giggling. I think having a change of scenery helped a great deal, and I certainly dreaded coming back to Chicago this evening and having to go back to the day-to-day bullshit of work and school and sitting on my couch and commuting on the blue line and not cleaning my room and drinking too much. I know that there’s more to my life in Chicago, but it’s very easy to reduce it to mundane things like that. I’m also aware that it’s highly likely that I’d feel the same way after living somewhere else, but the idea of being in a new place sounds so refreshing and exciting.