Monday, June 29, 2009

In Honesty

Molten Sunset

There are some things that I need to say, thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head. I don’t like to reflect on them too much, for they make me uneasy, but my experience has been that confronting head-on what frightens you the most often yields the best result.

Here it is:

*I worry that I am wasting my time in college. I’m about to enter my fourth year at university, and I am more confused than ever about what I’m going to do when I get out. Though I know college students change their minds frequently with regard to careers, I want to at least be qualified to do something when I graduate.

*In the last three years of my higher education, I feel that I have learned literally nothing in the classroom. From an academic perspective, high school taught me much more.

*In the last three years of my higher education, I feel I have learned an enormous amount about myself and life in general. And I still feel that it isn’t enough.

*I usually shower in the dark. Seeing myself scares and saddens me.

*I feel that I have accomplished nothing for my age.

*Sometimes when I see a sunset, or rolling green hills, I want to cry.

*There are times when I look out upon the land or up into the sky and experience a sense of longing I do not understand.

*I have felt for my entire life as if I did not belong here, that I was supposed to be somewhere else, and I have never been able to identify where that might be.

*I wish I could disappear into the stories I write.

*I fear mundanity above almost all else. One of my biggest reservations about becoming a teacher is that I will fall into a prescribed niche, calcified into a hole as an underpaid, overworked member of America’s middle class.

*The other reason I fear teaching is because I worry that in becoming an authority figure myself, I will cease to be a kid.

*I am probably the most insecure person I know, and in that I ruin everything. I cannot believe in my own talent, my own worth, my own beauty, unless someone else tells me, and oftentimes when they do I don’t believe them.

*I am very lonely.

*My sadness commingles with abundant reserves of bitterness and hatred. I know how ugly these things are.

*I wonder if I will ever love.

*I sometimes fantasize about the perfect boy. I then feel that if he were out there, he would not want me.

*I simultaneously despise myself and despise others for disliking me.

*I am weak.

*I feel very disconnected.

*I can’t shake the thought that I am missing something.

*I have sometimes thought about simply running away, but I don’t know what I would do when I got there or how it would be any better.

*I recognize that the “real world” is one construct among many. I could in theory wander off into the forest one day and leave all of this behind. I am well aware that most of what binds me is artificial.

*I am afraid to venture off on my own.

*I worry that my sloth and cowardice will ruin my life.

*I like to believe that there is someone out there who is like me, but stronger. If he exists, I want to find him.

*I’m not completely sure I’m gay.

*I wonder why it is acceptable for other people to be the way I am, shy, literate, reserved, and unusual, but in my case it invites criticism? Why is it that they are unique but I am weird?

*I want to know why God saw fit to make me this way. What is the reward for all this pain? Is it just pain for pain’s sake? Did I commit some crime? Why would He do this?

*I am so scared of disappointing those around me.

*I don’t know what to do.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I've returned from my grandmother's funeral in Decaying State, an event too filled with pandemonium, revelation, and significance to detail tonight.

Save to say that, despite some early troubles, the ceremony was carried off nicely in a way that I believe my grandmother would have found deeply satisfying.

I spent tonight not with Bisexual Boy, but with Gay Boy, a twenty-year-old college student who is a friend of Sacagawea's. Before your tongues start wagging, I'll tell you that we did nothing remotely sexual, but had a fun time nonetheless.

I work all weekend, but I'll have a full post off soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Emergency Absence

Grand Ma Weird Family, about whom many of you read several months ago, died this morning and I will be driving up to Decaying State today to meet with my family and attend her viewing and funeral.

Because I will not risk checking this site while in Anne's Town, there will be blog silence for the time I am there, which could be as long as a week.

Anne and I never properly celebrated my 21st birthday, so she wants me to stay a bit after my grandmother's funeral so we can spend time together.

I'll see everyone when I get back.

Hair Update

So my newer readers understand what's going on here, I've been growing my hair out since October of 2006 and this March I began posting monthly updates on my progress, showing how long it gets from month to month.

As of this June, I've been growing my hair for two years and eight months.

Here is what it looked like when I did the update for May:

My Hair

My Ponytail

This is around the time I first started to notice it getting really long.

Below are the pictures for this month:

My Hair

My Ponytail

The photograph of my hair down doesn't look much different to me from last month's, but when I saw the picture taken of my ponytail I was genuinely surprised.

"Wow," I said to the friend behind the camera. "That's really long."

It's still not as long as it was before I cut it three Octobers ago, but now it's shorter by a more reachable margin, not one that will take me years to close.

I'm really happy with it and can't wait to see how long it is by the end of the summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Crush

The Crush

He was walking along the side of the road on a warm summer afternoon, heading the same place I was.

Driving past in my blue Oldsmobile, I honked the horn and did my best attempt at a cavalier wave, though the coolness of this gesture was somewhat dampened when I drifted into the lefthand lane and had to swerve sharply right.

I raced to my house, dropped off what I needed to, and then bounded out the door and ran all the way to Sacagawea's house, crossing a farmer's yard and jumping two fences in the process. When I got to my friend's home, I realized she was out, meaning that the guy and I would be the only ones there.

I caught my breath and tried to act as if I hadn't just sprinted from my house to hers. I ambled about in the front yard as casually as I could, calling up a random person so I could appear to be talking to someone when he reached me.

I kept the conversation going until he had gotten to within several yards, and then I told the person on the phone I had to go.

He looked over at me after I hung up.

"She's not here," I informed him, but he started up to Sacagawea's door anyway. "I don't get it. They were supposed to be here at five."

I had been invited, along with my nineteen-year-old brother Powell, to attend a meeting of the Mountain Town High School Gay-Straight Alliance, or GSA, being held at Sacagawea's house. Sacagawea graduated last year, but her sixteen-year-old sister Pocahontas is active in the organization. Public schools here have dismissed for the summer, and the club members wanted to assemble so they could discuss possible summer activities.

One of those members was Bisexual Boy, a seventeen-year-old who will be a Senior next year. On the afternoon of the scheduled meeting, he and I sat next to one another on Sacagawea's porch, me in awkward silence because I didn't know what to say.

Despite the difference in our ages, I've had a crush on him since I came out, quite possibly because he's one of only two other gay guys I know in this conservative rural community. The other guy is Sacagawea's close friend Gay Boy, a twenty-year-old with a great deal more experience than me where it comes to men.

Bisexual Boy has had a few boyfriends, but, like me, is a virgin. I've always said that I'd like to date a virgin, because at least then neither one of us would know how clueless the other was.

"Do you think it's weird that he's seventeen and I'm twenty-one?" I asked Pocahontas while discussing my crush.

"Not really," Pocahontas said. "That's only four years. Gay Boy is five months younger than you and he and Bisexual Boy dated."

"That's true," I said. "When did that happen?" I asked.

"Last year," she said.

"So he would have been a Sophomore in college and Bisexual Boy would have been a Sophomore in high school," I said. "Yeah, I guess he and I aren't that bad then."

It would be hard not to be attracted to Bisexual Boy given my peculiar situation. He's one of two gay young men I know in a small town, a handsome, charismatic boy with whom I share a score of mutual friends.

I find him so charming, though he isn't sophisticated at all.

Bisexual Boy is a few inches shorter than I am, with long, sinewy arms; sleek calves; a slim waist; chiseled facial features; and beautiful, shining dark brown hair that he wears short but looks amazing long. His eyes are a vivid shade of light blue.

His personality is great, too. Like me he's often loud and boisterous, cracking jokes that have the entire room laughing. He's just all around really appealing, and so I was a bit anxious when I found myself alone with him, unsure what I should say.

"So," he began. "I heard about you..."

"Oh," I said, laughing at a wildly-inappropriate moment. "Yeah."

I looked down at the floorboards of Sacagawea's deck.

"Yeah, I'm gay..." I said.

I asked him when he came out, and he told me it was in ninth grade.

"I've never had a boyfriend or anything," I said. "Because I'm just coming out now, like this summer."

"Wow," he replied. "That's got to suck for you."

"Yeah," I smiled. "It really does. I'm just thankful that I'm doing it now, when I'm twenty-one and with two years of school left, rather than a few years down the road."

"Or when you're forty," he added.

"I know," I said. "Can you imagine that? I can't even think of how bitter those people must be. I'm upset that I missed out on high school, but it must be terrible not to figure it out until you're in your forties."

We chatted until the others, including my brother Powell, arrived, and then we all went in.

Present were Bisexual Boy, Sacagawea, Pocahontas, Powell, Amazing Hair, Musical Girl, and me. With the exception of Sacagawea, Powell, and I, all of these people are rising Seniors in the Class of 2010.

Powell and I ran to Subway shortly after Sacagawea and Pocahontas returned home, and Bisexual Boy proceeded to tease me as I ate my six-inch.

"Oh, yeah, keep going fat-ass," he said to laughter all around. "Keep eating that sub."

"Shut up," I said. "You probably weigh like three pounds."

"Please," Bisexual Boy said, his hands on his tiny little waist. We're almost the identical body type. "What do you weigh?"

"Seriously?" I asked.

"Seriously," he said.

"Fine," I replied. "But I'll only tell you mine if you tell me yours."

"Okay, fine," he agreed.

"I weigh 127," I said.

"What!?" he exclaimed in mock horror.

"What about you?" I asked. "You're not getting out of it."

"135-140," he answered.

He's about ten pounds heavier, but you really can't tell. An alleged paunch that he's developing can only be seen when he lifts his shirt up and squeezes the flesh about his midsection, revealing a slight bump sprinkled lightly with brown hair.

Sacagawea laughed.

"You gays and your weight," she said.

It's only now occurring to me that Powell was in fact in the room when this happened, but hopefully he assumed she was just talking about Bisexual Boy. I don't care that much. In fact, I'd almost rather that he figure it out through observation than through my having to tell him.

"You need to eat!" Bisexual Boy said.

"I swear, I eat all the time!" I said. "I--"

"No!" he interrupted me. "Stop talking! Eat, right now!"

It came out a bit louder than I think he'd intended, which could be a sign that he feels even a fraction of the awkwardness around me that I feel around him.

That would be so cool.

While I gulped down the last of the sub, he expounded on my unconscionable thinness.

"Oh, my gosh," he said. "If you gained weight, I'd die. If you lost weight, you'd die."

Like I said, he has a great sense of humor.

We bantered back and forth the entire meeting and occasionally traded jokes.

At one point, and I have no memory of what occasioned this, he slapped me in the face with a stuffed beaver, whereupon I seized the toy, slapped him back, and challenged him to a duel for insulting my honor.

When we weren't talking I tried to avoid looking at him, but towards the end of the get-together I saw something that startled and thrilled me.

I'd been concentrating on something else, and I moved my head to the side so I could see Bisexual Boy.

Our eyes met, not because he noticed me and looked over, but because I turned into his gaze; I think he'd been staring at me. As soon as I saw him he looked away.

After everyone else left, I sat down on the couch with Pocahontas.

"I need to talk to you," I said.

"Okay," she said. "About what?"

I smiled, laughed, and buried my head in a cushion.

"What do you think about?" I asked. I felt shy actually bringing it up. She just looked confused, though, so finally I said, "So, Bisexual Boy's really cute."

Her eyes lit up with excitement.

"Oh, my gosh!" she said.

She agreed that she thought he'd been flirting, and now she plans to mention it to him and get his reaction. I hope that I'm not deluded, that I'm not imagining a return of the interest I feel towards him. I've never had a boyfriend before and am actually more nervous about him saying yes than saying no. What do I do if we're officially a couple? How public a venue is appropriate for a date? Where do we spend time alone?

And when we are alone, how do I act?

What if he wants to do certain things...and I'm bad at it? We're both virgins, but there's a lot short of sex that two virgins can do to have fun together, and he's still much more experienced than I am.

I do like him, though.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not good-looking enough, but I realize I can't say that kind of thing to myself.

"When you're flirting, you have to think you're awesome," Sacagawea told me the night I confessed my attraction to Bisexual Boy.

I can't be that bad looking; anyone who's been following me since a few posts back knows my allure is such that I can impel hot Hispanic guys to cross dance floors for the explicit purpose of sexually assaulting me.

And if Bisexual Boy is anywhere near as into me as I am into him, our combined hotness is off the charts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Captain Vanilla and the Great Adventure, Part I

The best thing about blogging and participating in online communities is all of the wonderful, interesting people you're able to meet.

I recently informed a friend of mine from Flickr, whose name is Vanilla, that I had an idea for a story and would like him to illustrate it. He agreed, and the collaboration began.

I am posting Part I of that story here now. Part II has already been written, and once it is illustrated I will post it as well.

A link on Vanilla's photostream directs his viewers, who have been following the series, to my blog. I hope that new visitors and regular readers alike enjoy
Captain Vanilla and the Great Adventure.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 1

Early afternoon sunlight poured in through the classroom windows, illuminating the copper hair of a young female instructor who stared with an anxious look at an orange-haired boy.

"Vanilla, I think you should stay."

He paused, then looked toward the door, from which he could hear the echoes of laughter as the other students left for the end of the semester.

He turned back to his professor.

"No, I don't think so," he replied, brushing a long lock away from his freckled face. "I don't think I can."

"Vanilla," she said, her brown eyes looking into his bright green ones. "I know it's been hard. I know it's been difficult. But the first year is trying for many people."

The boy turned away and did not answer.

His professor had worried about him all this year, concerned for the quiet student who spoke little and seemed to drift into a different world from the others.Often, during tests or while giving lecture, she'd circled the room to find him doodling in the margins of his notebook, fantastic images of flying ships and huge lizard birds.

For all his brightness, though, she sensed in him a loneliness she didn't know how to alleviate. It was improper at the university level for her to inquire into her pupils' personal lives, but still, she wondered.

"I miss my family," he said finally. His eyes moved to the floor as he said it. "And my friends, from before. This place is not for me. It doesn't make me happy."

"But Vanilla, what will you do outside of here?" she asked. "You're an intelligent young man, someone I know could go far. You're nineteen years old. Where else would you be?"

"Anywhere," he answered immediately, his pretty face turning into a sad smile. "I'm sorry, Professor. I have to go now."

He swung his green backpack over his shoulder and hurried from the room, leaving her standing alone, as worried as before.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 2

He dashed through the gardens outside, fighting the urge to cry.

"Vani!" a girl's voice called.

He turned around to see Stacy, a smiling brunette from his music class.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"Home," he said, and ran off.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 3

During the bus ride back to his apartment, he stared out the window.

Paris was such a beautiful city in the summertime.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 4

When he arrived home, he sat at the kitchen table munching on a candy cane.

The apartment was his alone, a luxurious, wood-paneled affair complete with a chef who came every other day, a gift from wealthy parents.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 5

The sun dipped lower beneath the horizon as he ate and read, until one moment he looked up and the slihouettes of the city's tallest buildings were laid out on his living room floor.

He called his sister, who was studying far away, and reached her voice mail.

"Hey, sis," he whispered into the receiver. He wasn't sure what he wanted to say or why he wanted to talk to her. "I miss you. Call me."

Captain Vanilla, Picture 6

After the sky had darkened to black, he turned on the shower. He'd meant to get in and out, wash his hair and be done with it, but the shower was his thinking spot, where he went when something was bothering him, and subconsciously he'd been drawn there that night.

Why was he like this?

It was something he wondered often.

He'd just made a major life decision, the decision to drop out of college after one year, and he didn't even know why. Was it something to do with everyone else, the way their interests seemed to diverge from his so sharply, the way they spent all of their free time in nightclubs when all he longed for was a field filled with daisies?

Was it that his chosen field, architecture, didn't really inspire him but that he didn't know how to quantify what did?

How do you tell the world that the things you love the most are blue skies and bright flowers, and chocolates and sugar cubes and warm blankets on cold days?

What did any of that mean?

Captain Vanilla, Picture 7

He got out of the shower and pulled on some underwear.

Before he went to bed, he wiped the fog off of the bathroom mirror and stared at himself in the glass. Who was he, anyway? Who was this person with tiny shoulders and long orange hair and a smooth face that had never known a razor? It was almost like he'd been trapped in a child's body, never to grow up.

It would have bothered him if it weren't such a lovely thought.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 8

As he walked into his room, he stared at the stuffed pink rabbit that sat on his dresser.

"What are we going to do now, Lapin?" he asked.

The bunny didn't answer.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 9

He climbed into bed and fell asleep straightaway.

His dreams were always magical, but that night they were truly marvelous.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 10

He was flying upward through a green sky, passing through fluffy clouds that were so realistic he could feel the cool moisture coming off of them. Next to him, soaring in the air, was a black-haired boy about his own age who waved over at him.

The boy yelled something, but Vanilla couldn't make out what it was.

"I can't hear you!" he shouted back.

The boy cupped his hand to his ear and shrugged. For some reason, it made both of them laugh.

Captain Vanilla, Picture 11

Vanilla's head smacked against something hard, and his vision went black.

He was in bed again, his sleep disturbed by the sounds of morning. Birds chirped in the gray predawn light, and tree branches blew back and forth in the wind. The noises were oddly loud, though. Had he left a window open before turning in?

Without warning, a draft of freezing water doused his face, waking him as he gasped and sputtered.

He jumped out of bed, and his bare foot came down on a wet wooden board.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Days

Getting Ready to Get in the Pool

I love summer and I love having a pool.

After the disheartening subject of my last post, I decided it was time to recount the good aspects of summer that I've been enjoying for the last month. Has it really been a month already since school let out? Goodness it flies.

Last week, my mother went to the gym with Italian-American Woman, and I watched Pie and Italian-American Woman's son, Italian-American Boy.

Pie on the Side of the Pool

Italian-American Boy and Pie in the Pool

Pie and her friend hopped into the cold water and managed to fenagle Thomas and me into going with them. Several minutes after plunging into the 76-degree pool, the four of us retreated shivering to my deck, where we lay on our backs and basked in the heat trapped by the house's siding.

Pie was sprawled out on her stomach, and I told her to turn around. When she did, the two of us stared into the sky.

The Summer Sky

Without a single cloud, there was nothing to distract us from the immensity of the blue.

"Where's Heaven?" she asked me.

"I'm not sure," I said.

"Can you see it?"

"Not from here, sweetie."

Mom and Italian-American Woman

My mother and Italian-American Woman returned from their workout shortly thereafter and took a moment by the pool to breathe.

The next day, with my parents safely at work, I invited Peruvian Girl and Hispanic Guy to come over and partake in a swim. My mother generally dislikes when we have friends visit for this purpose, and she'd have a fit to learn one of us had had people in the hot tub, but what are these facilities for if not for enjoyment? Does she think the people I hang out with would be dirty?

Seeing Hispanic Guy was a special treat, because he lives in the Goldlands, the same region where Major University is located, and had never before made the long trek to our out-of-the-way town. This community is so isolated that many people in the neighboring municipality, about thirty minutes away, aren't aware we're here.

For Hispanic Guy, leaving the urbane sophistication of the Goldlands for our mountain hamlet was an unusual experience, but as Peruvian Girl and I both told him, there are advantages to Mountain Town. Things are quieter here, slower, and nature surrounds us. In many ways, it is freer. Our homes are surrounded by trees and fields, into which anyone can wander at whim.

After we'd gotten into the pool and hot tub, I was famished and asked Peruvian Girl, "Do you want to go to Mario's?"

"Yeah," she said. "We could get subs."

"Oh, I've never had their subs before," I said. "Do you want to go, Hispanic Guy?"

"Sure," he answered.

"The weather is so nice," I noted, looking out at a green yard bathed in 85-degree heat. "Do you want to just walk?"

"Okay," Peruvian Girl said.

Out for a Walk

We changed back into our clothes (managing to get into and out of both the pool and the hot tub before my mother arrived home) and then took a road onto a dirt trail that would lead us into town. It was a simple act that wouldn't have been the same in the Goldlands.

We were undisturbed as we passed beneath a beautiful canopy of trees, walking alongside the field where in the winter of 2006 our group of friends had made two fire-pits and held regular get-togethers.

Mountain Town Street

Mountain Town is beautiful in many ways. As we approached Main Street we clowned around on the wall of a bank parking lot, snapping pictures that they believed were destined for nowhere but a non-existent "Faceless Photos" group on Flickr, since I officially don't have a blog anymore.

Climbing the Wall

Me and Peruvian Girl

Then it was off to Mario's, where I had what I can truly say was one of the most delicious subs I've ever enjoyed. I've long been a fan of this restaurant's authentic Italian pizza (revered here in Mountain Town), but I had no idea that their other fare would be even more scrumptious.

I ordered a twelve-inch bacon, steak, and cheese and ate the entire thing, along with a healthy portion of spicy fries that the three of us collectively dominated.

Eating at the Pizzeria

Reaching in for Another Fry

There are many things I could say about the pleasure of spending unplanned time with good friends, but the one word that encapsulates it best is "loveliness." It is just a lovely way to live, a lovely thing to experience, and I am so tremendously fortunate that I've had countless other days like it this summer.

Earlier this week Sacagawea and I went out to buy ice-cream from the grocery store at ten o'clock p.m. and then enjoyed the rest of the night until one-thirty eating it as we watched Disney movies and made fun of The 700 Club.

When the host announced that a viewer from Florida had been miraculously cured of her incontinence after seeing the program, Sacagawea and I burst into laughter and I began a reenactment of what I imagined to be the woman's prayer.

"Lord," I said in the best Southern accent I could manage. "Please let me stop shittin' myself in public."

My one gripe is that I do very little in the way of being productive, i.e., working on the novel that I'm allegedly writing. That will be my resolution for tomorrow.

I adore these warm days.

Our New Pool

Monday, June 8, 2009


I'm not going to rage at you
You don't deserve that much
I won't expend the effort for
The tears and words and such

You no longer claim my hate
And merit not my scorn
I'll barely give you my contempt
For all the wounds you've torn

I feared you once but now I see
A man who is so small
The harshest I could say is true
I don't love you at all

The Truth

I realized something very scary tonight.

I don't think I love my father.

You see, I know what love feels like. I know the pleasure you feel when you see someone you love, the way you know you'd be destroyed if something ever happened to them, the way their extistence creates a need in you that only they can fill.

He does not meet those criteria.

This evening we had a stormy argument, as we have many times before.

So much anger toward him and my mother simmers up through my soul all the time, and it doesn't take much to ignite it.

Last week, it was because my mother claimed I'd eaten too much spaghetti. Tonight, it centered on my prospective employment.

My father recently founded his own company, selling luxury decks and environmentally-friendly lights, and he promised to allow Powell and me to go to work with him as a way of making, potentially, a great amount of money; salesmen under him bring in ten percent commission on jobs that can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Tonight, however, he told me that if I wanted to work with him, I'd have to cut my hair to look more professional.

He wants me, for a trial run at a job I would hold for three months at most, to cut the hair I've been growing for the last two and a half years.

My response was a foregone conclusion.

"Dad," I said. "If you really think that people are going to see a salesman with long hair and then think, 'Oh, I couldn't possibly buy this product,' then you're wrong."

This led him to declare that I knew nothing about the business world or people's standards.

"Really, Dad?" I asked. "Because you used to tell me all of the same stuff when I was a kid, and I believed you until I'd had a few jobs."

"A few jobs?" he asked. "You've had like what, three in your life?"

"Well, let's see, Dad," I said. "I mowed lawns before I was old enough to work, I worked for my teacher doing data entry, I worked at two grocery stores, I worked at a sub restaurant, I worked at the school newspaper, and I work at the movie theater now. I'm twenty-one years old and I've had eight jobs."

In all that time, the only employer who's ever discriminated against me based on my physical appearance is my own father who, true to form, is creating an issue that would not exist in the real world.

He didn't want to talk at this point, except to marvel at my immaturity and how mispaced my priorities were.

This ceaseless arguing is the only thing I associate him with any more, that and his past wrongs.

Our confrontation quickly spiraled into a wider verbal brawl in which he accused me of being manipulative and threw in some personal insults for good effect.

He has never nurtured me. He's made me question myself, made me cry, and given me the criticism I needed to hide a sexuality I first attempted to express when I was seven years old.

"I wish you weren't such a bastard," I spat at him.

He disgusts me.

After all he put me through, the least he could do would be to pay for my school. The fact that I have to go through the back door by trying to work for him in the first place is ridiculous. What can I say, though? He's a bad person.

By the end of it, I was too revolted to be interested in the outcome.

"I don't care what you decide," I said before I left the room. "But just know this: whether I work with you or not, whether you pay my tuition or not, I will get through school. When I get out, I'll get a good job, and I'll be free of you, and I won't need a single penny from you. If you ever want us to talk again after I graduate, you need to start making some changes."

I should have seen this coming years ago as the logical result of his accumulated crimes. As a teenager, I became so upset with the put-downs my parents spewed at me that I resolved to disregard their opinions wholesale, saving me from the trouble of sorting what was real from what was spite. It's made me much more secure.

So I don't think I love my father.

As I admit what has been creeping upon me since I was twelve years old, I feel some guilt but mostly relief.

It's liberating to acknowledge that I don't love him, for loving someone binds you to them and gives worth to what they say, even when those statements are hurtful and mean. The fact of that those ties don't exist means that he and his twisted views can be nothing to me. In a real sense, he's not mine anymore. We're disconnected from each other.

I like it.

When I do go from here, I'm leaving totally. I won't have anything to do with them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BB the Recording Artist

Above you'll find the link to my MySpace Music page, where you can hear my new song, "So Long."

I was reluctant to post this here because it is literally the first version we recorded, the barest rough draft of the track.

We have yet to insert the drum section (which isn't entirely agreed upon), I'll probably have to write another verse, the timing is off in some places, and my vocals aren't the greatest because I was sick the day of our session.

Still, I said I'd share it with you once I could, and now I can.

After we make more progress on it, I'll post an updated version.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Refuge Down the Street

Sacagawea's House

Sacagawea's home is the kind of place that draws people in on cold nights to sit around a kitchen table drinking warm tea and sharing personal stories.

This nineteen-year-old's parents separated when she was very young, so she and her sixteen-year-old sister Pocahontas live with their understanding and kind mother, Awesome Mom. Awesome Mom is one of the rare adults who teenagers feel as if they can open up to, a fact that has made her home a destination for young people from dysfunctional families.

Bisexual Boy, Guitarist Boy, Musical Girl, and many other friends of Awesome Mom's daughters, including Powell and I, have spent many evenings in that supportive place.

That is exactly what I did one night last week until one-thirty in the morning. Sacagawea is quickly becoming one of my closest friends, the type of person with whom I can talk easily and honestly.

In truth, the relationship we have now is more intimate, though in a different way, than the one we shared when we were dating. Last night we opened up to each other in a mutual confession that left both of us very surprised.

I told Sacagawea for the first time about what happened to me during my first two years of college, about my fight with a deep and long depression and the recurring temptations I had, last summer especially, to end my life.

During this time period I made a concerted effort to hide what was going on, to joke and be my same old self so no one could see me cracking. My concealment was effective, which is why Sacagawea was so shocked at how bad the situation had gotten. I even told her how I’d felt unwanted, by her and all the other people I’d just assumed didn’t care anymore.

The truth is that almost no one knew.

“Mine only lasted six months,” she replied when I revealed the awful duration (two years) of my nightmarish fall.

I’d been unaware that she’d been depressed, too, and asked what had touched it off. The answer she gave me couldn’t have been more unexpected; my friend’s half-year odyssey of dishonesty, loneliness, and decline, an ordeal that cost her nearly every friend she had, began with our breakup in February of 2007.

Back in December of 2006, when I was still trying to be straight, the two of us started a brief courtship that was distant, awkward, and essentially platonic. Long after the relationship was over, she confessed to me that she knew early on something wasn’t right, that the two of us weren’t as close as we ought to have been, and of course the main reason for that was my lack of real sexual attraction for her.

Dating her at all was a very selfish thing to do, something I realized on an instinctive level even at the time; she was a placeholder, the token girlfriend I could pull out to show the world my heterosexuality.

She could never have been anything more, and had the relationship somehow progressed it would have ended in horrible pain for both of us.

We separated in February on a very cordial note, but in the spring it came out that she’d been cheating on me since January with another boy.

When I found out through Powell, my already overpowering insecurities about my masculinity and sexuality, combined with severe depression, surged out of control.

I called Sacagawea to confront her not because I really cared about her feelings where I was concerned, but because I’d been publicly slighted. It was the humiliation, not the infidelity, that I couldn’t stand.

When I told her I knew she began sobbing and apologizing again and again. To me, it seemed like a spontaneous collapse brought on by guilt. What I didn’t know was that Sacagawea’s own drama had been proceeding for months.

News of her affair went public almost immediately after it began, and her friends’ reactions to her liaison with the disreputable young man caused her to start hiding her interactions with him. Eventually, she told me, she was constantly dissembling, lying about everything from her grades (which plummeted) to whether or not she was seeing the boy.

The actual relationship ended within several weeks, but the judgement of her peers, the secrecy she’d adopted, and the guilt she felt for my sake all persisted. My own brother Powell, once one of her closest intimates, joined the many who stopped talking to her. At that point it was her self-imposed isolation as much as her affair that was turning people away.

“It’s a cycle,” she said of the depression. “Once it starts it just gets worse.”

That is a truth I know all too well.

When I look back, I actually do remember hearing ominous stories about her during this period, about how she was skipping school and missing assignments and avoiding everyone. One day when she was here watching Pie, my father told me, he asked her if she was alright and she started crying.

At the time he was urging Powell to begin speaking to her again.

As all of this took place, though, I was reaching the height of my own depression, and anything outside of that pain was hard to focus on.

We both remember that phone call, both with misconceived eyes and both with ignorance of what the other was enduring. In the spring of 2007, as we held the plastic mouthpieces to our faces, we were two black storms meeting, two vortexes brushing against one another, and both clueless to that fact. We were at a simultaneous nadir.

“It’s funny how we’re the only people who might have understood what the other was going through, and neither of us knew it,” I said.

“I know,” she replied.

Learning all that was like reaching the conclusion of a mystery novel, so that with the truths uncovered the book’s plot cannot be reflected on in the same way. Every nuance takes on a new meaning, and given the context our conversation from two years ago now has entirely different implications.

I couldn’t believe how closely linked our two depressions actually were.

My homosexuality, of course, is what has allowed us to be friends again.

Though we decided that all was forgiven, it was really I alone who did any of the forgiving, for I alone had been wronged. As a straight man, I could never befriend the girl who’d betrayed my trust, not without losing my self-respect in the process. When I discovered I was gay, though, the extent of my own deception suddenly made her indiscretion seem paltry.

I was using her to bolster my own image, knowing all the while that she would almost certainly be hurt.

“In a way, I was cheating on you with every person I saw,” I said.

I came out to her this March, and I think it was that that allowed our friendship to honestly heal, and now to blossom. The knowledge that we both sinned against the other has allowed those transgressions to cancel each other out. I think that my coming out really alleviated her guilt for the first time, and for that I’m glad because she didn’t deserve the burden.