There are so many places I need to go with this, but only one place to really start. I first met Austin when he
was working at a sunglasses stall in the mall. I knew he was gay from the first second I met him. I thought he
was one of those snobby gay guys that never really looks anybody in the eye because he somehow thought he was better.
This was not the case. Austin wrote to me online a few days after my friend had bought a pair of sunglasses from him.
He was completely in the closet. He wasn't even sure if he was gay or not. He was extremely shy. I later
found out that he has a bad social anxiety disorder and has a terribly difficult time meeting new people at all. At
this time, I was working for The Home Depot as a part time job, and the University of Vermont full time.
He came over the first time, and I honestly didn't expect anything beyond us ordering a pizza and watching a movie.
He told me that he had never even kissed another guy before. We never got to the movie. He made all the first
moves. I, over and over again, made sure that he was comfortable with whatever. I never ever wanted him to feel
pressured to do anything he didn't feel ready for. I even double checked to make sure that he would never do anything
he couldn't take back later or that he may feel he would regret down the road. With his reassurance in hand, we started
fooling around. After that first night, I didn't know if I would ever hear from him again. Then he came over again.
Then again a few days later. And I could see him falling for me... and I wasn't sure I wanted that. He was so
nice, but I thought it was way too much too fast, and I wanted us to be realistic. He had been talking about moving
to San Diego with his cousin the first time we met. He already had plans with her. He was going. He had
never been anywhere before. I felt it would be an awesome experience, something he really needed to do. We fought
a few times because I was so confused. I didn't want a relationship with him. He was so good looking... so nice...
so honest and hard working. But he was also very naive and immature about a lot of things. The problem was, which
I hadn't expected, is that I started to value his innocence, his optimism, and his lack of experience as a perspective I no
longer had. I started to understand and remember how I used to think in a very similar way. We spent most of our
free time together. He also worked two jobs, and so I started picking him up at his apartment as soon as I would finish
work. He stayed at my apartment more than he ever stayed at his own, during those last two months. And I won't
lie, even in the early stages, the sex was amazing. He felt the same way. I mean, obviously there was some initial
training involved, but the kid was a rock star. But he was also terribly closeted. We fought about that more than
anything. I hated how, when we were driving in the car, if people on the street were too close, he would pull his hand
away. He wouldn't hold my hand in the movie theater. I didn't think this was something I could deal with.
I started to pull away emotionally, and that's when he told me he loved me. I said he was an idiot and didn't know what
love was. That night he dropped it. But then another night he got really drunk and kept saying it over and over
again, so much that I got really mad, rolled over and told him that if he didn't stop, I would go sleep on the couch.
The problem was that I had started to feel really strongly toward him, too. It's impossible to spend that much time
with someone and not feel something strong toward them. By the end of the first month or so, I broke down crying one
night and told him that I loved him too, but it didn't matter because he was leaving in a few weeks for California.
He said he didn't have to go, and I said that he did. That even if we stayed together, I could never really be happy
with him because he simply didn't have the life experience. I switched to another position at UVM. It was a full
time with full benefits. Things were working out. Then the car broke down and my brother, Curt, bought one from
his friend that I still owe several hundred dollars for. And the bills got out of control. I was stressing day
and night about money. There was never enough, no matter how much tuna and couscous I ate. Then Alex came to visit
the day before Austin was going to leave. I didn't want them to meet. There were several reasons, but the first
is that I simply didn't think they would hit it off. I thought, if anything, they would probably get in a fight.
They were just such opposites. And beyond that, honestly, I was jealous. Austin has amazing looks and purity,
and Alex has lost more weight than I have and has a great successful business. My body is still gross and I'm broke.
Both of them were going to be living in San Diego, and I would still be stuck in Buttfuck, Vermont; Population: Me.
But Alex was my friend and was only in town for one night on business before heading to Montreal, and I thought it would be
nice for Austin to have at least one contact out there in case something went wrong with his cousin. Well, against
my better judgment, we met for pizza. Alex and Austin hit if off big time. They laughed and joked and told stories
for two hours while I sat there and ended up being the butt of many of the jokes. In the end, they exchanged phone numbers
and said they would hang out sometime in California. I was really mad when we got home that night. I was so jealous,
and I'm honestly not the jealous type at all. Austin and I have both flirted with other guys before, but it was never
a big deal at all. It was almost a running joke. But this had been different. They had really connected,
and Austin wouldn't stop telling me how great he thought Alex was. On top of all that, I was also mad at Austin for
burning his body from head to toe by going to two seperate tanning beds in one day so he could have a tan on his first day
in California. I couldn't even touch him or kiss him goodnight or anything. I was so upset that he had just gone
and ruined our last night together for his vanity. We just got into bed, I decided I had to let it go or this would
be our last memory together (which it is, anyway), and we went to sleep. He woke up about six o'clock the next morning
in intense pain. He hadn't brought any of his medication for the burn with him, so I dug out a bunch of stuff in the
bathroom and put it all over his body. Then he laid back down in the bed and I pointed the fan on him and tried not
to touch him at all when I got back in. I dropped him off at his house for the last time a couple hours later.
I was crying, he was upset (though he never cries and is severely non-emotional in general), and I just told him to be careful
and if he ever needed me, I would be a phone call away. I did, however, tell him not to ever sleep with Alex.
I told him I didn't care who else in the world he was with, but just not Alex. And if he ever did, to never tell me.
I was a wreck at work that day. I tried to smile and pretend, but I couldn't all the time. At one point, I broke
down completely as some woman walked through the door. It wasn't a huge deal, but there was a student employee who told
her supervisor who told my supervisor who wrote me up over it. But true to my nature and my life experience, I bit the
proverbial bullet and got over it as fast as I could. By the next day, you would never have known there was anything
wrong with me. I've learned how to let go so quickly. After Natalie, and the weight, and my family, and all of
the jobs I've had, letting go is as natural as breathing sometimes. But then I got lonely, and I missed him... But I'm
getting ahead of myself. At pizza the night before, I had paid for everybody. So when Alex and I went for Japanese
the next night, he insisted on paying. We sat and ate and drank and talked for about two hours. We talked about
everything, like we always do. He had had gastric bypass and was also gay, but our perspectives on life are gravely
different. He said he hadn't realized how much Austin meant to me, and wanted to reassure me that he would not only
never ever touch Austin, but that he would watch over him and take care of him like a big brother for me. I didn't really
believe him, but he said that he would show me differently and that he couldn't believe I wouldn't trust him. He left.
I moved on. Austin called me a few times. He has had trouble finding jobs. His cousin also doesn't have
a job. He is stressed out and wants to come home. And from here, the story goes as such: He told me he hung
out with Alex two night ago. Alex gave him pot and alcohol. He made out with Alex. He wouldn't have sex
with Alex because his penis is too big. He knew that because he gave him head, even though he didn't really want to.
According to him, he was kind of scared and felt pressured. Alex was talking really dirty and wanted to sleep with him,
but Austin said no way. It got really awkward and Alex brought him home. Alex said not to get mad and that he
still wanted to be friends. Austin has tried to call him to be friends, but Alex blows him off and doesn't return his
calls. He says he didn't want to do anything with Alex because he wasn't nice like me, and he realized from the first
time he met me that I was special and different...
And so is the story of my life.
I quit my Home Depot job for a second job at UVM. The day that second job started, I was fired
from my primary job there. The reasons I was given were that I was too friendly with students and it was unprofessional,
and several other staff in the office had complained that I was fraternizing too personally with them. My personal take
on this situation is that the graduate assistant in the office was jealous of my popularity with the students that she could
never get (as I worked with them more and simply didn't talk down to them like they were idiots, as she did), and so she repeatedly
complained to the office supervisor. He didn't know the entire situation, so chose to believe the person who was leaving
in a week for another job across the country, because he's known her for two years. I was fired for office politics
and a rumor mill. But the most ridiculous part is that I feel like that's probably the best thing that has happened
to me in ages. I hate office work. I hate it with a passion. But I have passion for singing, languages,
helping people, working out, and living! And so those are the things I've started focusing on. In one day I regained
my proficiency in Sign Language by hanging out with seven deaf people for six hours. I have sung so much that today
I was at a point where I sang for over three hours straight, and I still never went hoarse, and was hitting higher notes than
I've hit in months. I have gotten so much exercise that my shoulders and chest are getting defined muscles, and I also
walked in the woods and across my mother's lawn and back today, without any assistance outside of my own leg strength.
I also got my mother to start keeping a journal today. My parents are battling out their lives in divorce that is turning
my mother into ruin, and I think she can start to save herself if she can only somehow see herself. I know my journal
has changed my life in so many ways, so I figured it couldn't hurt if I could convince her to give it a shot. So I did.
I'm also going to be very well paid in the fall to do work that I will feel fulfilled doing, and that I can do half of it
from home! And though I may be going against the grain, throwing my caution and "great employee benefits" to the wind,
there is no benefit as great as living my life this week has felt. I have control over my emotions now. I have
control over my intent. I am very upset about what happened with Austin. Alex took advantage of someone very important
to me, who he knew had little to no experience in being able to make a rational choice, and I'm done with him. Austin
will probably be home within weeks, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I love the kid, but I also love the new
me. I love this life that I'm starting to create. And I don't know that I want to include him completely in that,
or not. There are other people quite interested in me, as well, but I am also interested in me. I enjoy this time
I'm devoting to my life. I feel so alive again! I feel like purpose and meaning are something I can create for
myself for a change. I don't have to sit here waiting for it to just accidentally happen to me. It may be cliche,
but I can create my own destiny to an extent. I don't even want to know how it will go. If I did, that would be
so boring. But I made a commitment to myself today, and I plan to stick to that: I will live every day with passion.
And that is what I thoroughly intend to do. No matter what happens, no matter what obstacles are in my way, no matter
what negative vibes influence my view and associations, I will deal with it all with the most passion and drive and intensity
I have in me. I will live extraordinarily, and I will love it. I am.
June 15, 2007
I’m lying in my bed.It’s
I’m naked.And my life is extraordinary.Something clicked.I don’t know how it happened, but it did.The pieces
fit together somehow.Everyday since my termination from the office job at the
University of Vermont, my life has been simply amazing.I wake up about the same time everyday as I did before, but now I’m not tired.I’m excited about all the things I’m going to do during the day.I can’t, and don’t even want to explain it.I’m
still working my amazing part time job for UVM, training so that I’ll be a transcriber of class lectures for deaf college
students in the fall. It’s fulfilling and meaningful.I’m going to be helping people.I’m going to get
to interact with them.I’ll actually be doing something besides pushing
paper.I’ll be around people who are my own age.But I’m getting off track. (Surprise there!)It’s a change inside of myself that is probably the most obvious.My spark came back and I’m so happy for it.I truly feel alive for
the first time in years.I’ve been working out nearly everyday, I get outside
in the sunshine, I get lots of exercise and talk to interesting people I meet.It’s
so funny.Random people just stop me on the sidewalk to talk about random things.I love it!I have been singing all the
time.I let the money issue go.I’ve
decided that I’m just going to be poor until the fall, and that has been so liberating.I don’t even care.This week I’ve been so poor that I’ve
been eating tuna fish and a giant pot of spaghetti I made, nearly every meal. Sure,
it’s boring, but it’s freedom at the same time.I don’t even
think about having anything else because it’s not an option, and I love it.Somehow
everything got simplified, and I smile for no reason.And other people feed off
of that.Others instantly smile when they see me now, feel me glowing.I have so much fun everyday.I go to the gym and I dance and
lip sync while I’m lifting weights.My body is starting to somehow take
shape in a way I am happy with, but even my perspective on that has changed. Sure,
I still have my wants as far as looks go, but I’ve started to think about my body as a matter of function.I’m getting physically stronger.Last weekend, I went
to my brother’s place up in the woods.He bought some land from his fiancée’s
father and is putting a trailer on it.The ground is so soft and mossy up there,
the wheelchair wasn’t practical, so I didn’t use it.I walked all
over without the aide of anything.Because it was so soft, my ankles didn’t
jam and hurt, and my back didn’t have as much stress, so it was actually pretty easy to just walk around.This made me realize that I really could walk all the time without a brace or cane or walker, if I only
put my mind and body to the task.I’ve been following the Body for Life program, and the exercise techniques in it are simply outstanding.It’s only been about a week and a half, and already I have lost nine pounds that I had gained, and my muscles
are getting bigger and stronger than they’ve ever been.And it feels so
good!I’ve also taken up spinning fire.It’s kind of like ropes made out of dog leashes with wicks attached at the end.I haven’t actually lit one yet, as I’ve just started, but it’s so much fun and really grounding.When you are watching someone spin fire, you are watching relaxation and focus, drive
and passion.There is no room for a serious mistake when you have fire speeding
around your body, and while I’m sitting there watching these amazing acts, it reminds me of the basics of what it is
to be human.It’s such a simple thing, but it takes so much of human capability
to do it.Seeing the face of someone in the act is breathtaking.Nothing else exists, only the person and the fire.It’s
beautiful.Beyond that, I’ve been trying to do things to help others out.I think I’ve found a way to help my mother with her depression that she has
from the divorce my parents are going through. It seems so obvious now, but I
encouraged her to start journaling. It may not have changed her life in a grandiose
way, but she is feeling validated in her emotions for the first time ever, I think.She has been mailing them to me, and I am so thankful that she trusts me with her emotions.I really want her to find happiness, and I’m hoping that in some way, writing can help her to someday
look back and see herself from an outside perspective, as it has helped me.The
paper can’t argue back.The ink won’t tell her that she shouldn’t
feel a certain way.That’s what she’s needed that no one has been
able to give her, and she is giving it to herself.I love her so much, and it
has been hurting me immensely to see her in constant pain and misery.Hopefully
this will be a guiding light for her, because she’s been in a dark place of loneliness and sadness for a while now.As for me, I’m also going to be volunteering at a gay outreach center in downtown
Burlington. They need people to help, and I have
free time, and really want to get more involved in helping others, as I used to do before I moved here.For me, it’s not about pushing my own agenda.People
can disagree and have their own personal beliefs. It is human nature and our
right as people on this earth.But in my mind, if I can somehow give back and
help someone who is struggling to simply accept himself and is being oppressed by others who refuse to give the compassion
they would request themselves, then that small act is worth more than any amount of money or wishing.Being gay is a lot like being overweight.People automatically
judge you and expect you to act a certain way, to want certain things, to be a certain person.That’s not how it is.We are all different.Our differences are what make us so interesting.Our struggles
are what make us stronger. And a hand up is so much better than a hand out.Lawd knows that I’ve had my fair share of hands up.I’m glad to be helping others for a change.I’m
glad to be exploring what it is to be me.I’m letting go of the negative
things, acts, and people in my life.I simply won’t have it.I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.And
it causes momentum.When you smile at a stranger for no reason at all, that stranger
smiles back automatically and is happy to share that emotion with you. That same
person could have passed by without even noticing you were there.We need to
help one another.Stress is the cause of fear and ignorance, of accepting something
as fact when it is not.Every situation can change, no matter how big or small.None of us will live forever in this form, but as I see it, none of us can ever die,
either.And that is more exciting than anything because it makes you accept the
present as it is.I’m not worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow
or a week or a year or five years from now.All I really have is today.If I worried about five years from now all the time, all I would end up doing is sitting
here and worrying.That’s what I used to do, but no more.I’m still here and breathing, and that’s what matters.I’m not going to die if my credit card payment is three days late or not paid at all.I’m not going to die if I have to eat tuna fish every meal for a week.I’m not going to die if I don’t find a partner to own or be owned by (ha ha, okay, so that’s
a little of how I’ve come to view relationships).When you let everything
go and just accept life for what it is in this very moment, you can smile for no reason.You can be happy because you are alive.You can take a deep breath and
feel the life flow inside you.You can sweat and know your heart is beating strong,
wanting to keep moving forward.Bravery is essential to start the momentum.How long have I lived my life in constant fear???For years I worried about mundane and trivial things!But the fact of
the matter is that everything is mundane and trivial!It only has meaning if
I say it does in my own mind!I watch the sun go down.I notice the stars again.I feel the healing the sun brings.I sit in the park and listen to kids playing in a fountain while I’m reading
my book.But then at the same time, I hear their parents telling them how to
play, how to slow down, how to stop having so much fun because they’re not “supposed to”.Then I talk to some of the people I meet when I’m out and about.They are so happy for no reason.They sit in a circle and enjoy the moment.They don’t worry about bills.They
don’t worry about how they look.And a mother walks by with her daughter
and makes her put the tag down on the back of her shirt. And that little girl
will do the same thing to her daughter one day…I’m glad I can write
today.I’m glad I can lie here naked on my bed.I’m so glad I can smile because today is an amazing and beautiful day.I’m glad to be me.