Friday, May 11, 2018

The Start

It was an uncomfortably hot day. Middle of July and I had just purchased my Prius a week earlier. I got a call asking if I wanted to join on the course for a quick round, and being recently interested although not at all serious, I agreed to go.

"I have two other friends coming just FYI", I was told to combat the nerve of my own intrinsic brain. It often forced me to take a step back from things unknown and new situations or people.

I rolled my eyes in frustration while also appreciating the front-loading preparation. I would need it.

I got my dads clubs out of the garage and wiped them down with a towel before loading the whole bag into my car. I took notice of how easy it was to fold down the seats and slide the bag in. It validated the purchase, even though I knew loading golf clubs would probably occupy less than a hundredth of a percent of activities involving my vehicle.

As I pulled into the parking lot I met with Matt, and waited for our other two friends. One, a giant of a man walked up a short time later with no clubs and wearing flip flops. I rolled my eyes at his decorum, even I, a person who has no interest in sports can recognize the respect involved in the field.

We heard a car pull up, an older SUV and a guy got out of it. He walked around to the back and pulled out his very professional looking clubs. I recognized this person from the bar that we all hung out at. He was laced with scandal and intrigue. Apparently he had dated a girl that everyone knew and fought with her constantly.

Her side was definitely more morbid, a thrilling tale of abuse and neglect that finally escalated to him punching her in the face and trying to wrestle her from leaving his car one night. We never got the full story and each side of the relationship was more than willing to hash it out and create a scene whenever available. Of course this divided a few people into groups supporting their respective sides. It wasn't until this moment that I realized that I had experienced this person on my own before. Both good and bad.

There was a night when he was at the bar with said girlfriend, and i noticed her crying. I approached her and asked her if she was ok to which she responded "yes". I received a "death stare" of sorts from him and resigned the fact that he either didn't like me because i was coming to her aid, or didn't like me because of my illusive sexuality that was laced with notoriety. It was a long time until i would have the courage to ask him about it. I discovered that it was both factors that caused his unease.

We walked to the club house, me behind the group of guys dragging my clubs along. They were heavy and uncomfortable. Looking out over the hill of the course i could see other men carrying their clubs as well. I couldn't do this for the entire day, and was really thankful that we would have a cart to help us on our journey.

We paired up, me with Matty and Justin and Danny together in their cart. Our cart had the beer though. I would have one, not wanting to indulge anymore. I usually didn't indulge in public or otherwise. The thought of not being able to control my already talkative personality scared me. It was a conundrum that still follows me to this day. Someone who is so willing and finds it quite easy to talk uncomfortable with the prospect of that conversation not following my control. It made sense to me, and none to everyone else.

As we made our way down to the first hole, i was lightly chatting to Matty and occasionaly including Danny in on that. I said nothing to Justin. My comfort level was no where near "talkitive" with him. I didn't do terrible on the first hole, although i was expecting much worse. We discussed the heat and the curviture of the course. Which clubs to use and whether or not we would be making bets.

"Well if you don't make it past the womens tee markers your next shot has to be with your pants on the ground" Justin chimed in.

I gave him a quizzical look. "So you're going to take your shot naked from the waist down? Thats really....interesting i guess?" I chirped back.

"Well yeah i bet you'd really like that right bud?" he said in that sarcastic annoying frat-dude sort of way. Its not the tone but the pattern that it follows. Its the statement, usually a clap on the shoulder,  looking around at the other people involved, and then finally finished by a "I'm just kidding bro" final statement. its the same song and dance that goes around getting a gay guy a birthday card with a hot rodeo guy or almost naked fireman on it. We get it, you are acknowledging the sexuality elephant in the room. We don't need penis candy or a unicorn horn in the shape of a dick.

I immediately turned around and realized that the next two hours were going to go by so slow.

As we progressed through the course, finally making it over the bridge which meant we had crossed the halfway point, things took an interesting turn.

"Hey, i'll take you to your ball," Justin said matter of factly. I turned to see Matty and Danny a good distance away. I glanced down at his legs which fit perfectly into his tan shorts, and slid into the cart without saying anything.

He drove forward and tried to make small talk. "Nice day today isn't it?" he asked. I found this hilarious because we had already discussed the weather but nodded anyway. If we were both uncomfortable with the short drive and he wanted to "break the ice", then who am i to deny him. At least i know now that he can put two syllable words together to form an interrogative sentence.

"I really like your shorts" I said. It wasn't specifically true, but life lessons had taught me to compliment when you were uncomfortable and didn't know what to say. Probably something also enforced in cotillion, that my mother forced me to attend when i was younger. The chance to learn classic dances, how to eat with hundreds of various forms of cutlery, the art of getting to know people at a party was the only thing keeping me from ducking and rolling out of this cart.

"Thanks man (that word again)", he said with an amplitude in his inflection. "they're actually kind of a board shorts material so they dry really fast".

i didn't care. Other than the fact that his legs and ass looked good in them, this guy nor his choice in clothing was any interest to me. I decided to push the boundary a little.

"So if they're boardshorts you don't wear underwear with them do you?" I asked. Before he had time to process what i was asking, or implying i had reached over and grabbed the leg of them and ran the fabric through my fingers.

"Woah woah woah!" he exclaimed as he was still driving the cart. We swerved a little bit but he quickly regained control. I chuckled lightly accepting my victory at making him flinch. I let that idea travel in my mind to him thinking we are all diseased, or he was going to magically turn gay by the simple act of me reaching out and touching him.

"We're in public dude" He said with a scowl. I turned and looked him, not expecting that answer at all. I turned and got out of the cart, which he had stopped an annoying distance from my ball. I walked the twenty or thirty feet and lined up my swing. It was a pretty good hit, and the ball was flown to the green. I turned around and had a chance to look at him.

For someone who had the notoriety, he didn't feel notorious. I know that seems silly. But looking at him sitting there in the cart, one leg up on the cupholder watching me intently, or maybe watching my swing, seemed disarming. I tried to take as much of him in as i could in the short walk, and by the time i got to the cart i realized that he was watching me watching him.

Embarrassed, i sat down and looked at my feet.

He gave me another annoying, stupid, and totally unwelcome pat on the shoulder and said "good shot bud!" with a smile.

While we drove up to his ball, which was substantially further than mine, he made more small talk.

"how long have you been playing the game?" he asked.

"Huh?" i responded, not realizing that i was playing out what i thought would happen in my head. He would get back to the parking lot and tell matty that he didn't want to play with me again, and we would go our separate ways. I'd see him at the bar and we'd give each other "the nod", but to him i would always be that weird gay guy who he played golf with once because we had a mutual friend. I'd probably be the punchline to a joke he told at some frat party later.

"How long have you been playing golf?" he asked a little more sternly. I think he thought I couldn't hear him over the soft hum of the breeze blowing by us on the cart.

"Oh, not very long", I said shyly. "Matty was teaching me how to play and what the rules were. Its a pretty fun game. I've probably been playing for a couple months"

"Oh cool! I've been playing since i was about 12 so if you ever need any help let me know" he said before swinging himself out of the cart at his ball. I would have been annoyed that his ball was maybe six feet from the cart, but i was to caught up in the noise that was the conversation in my head.

Did he really just say that i could ask him for help if i needed it? I'm sure he did, but maybe he meant it in one of those ways where he doesn't expect me to ask, so he was just trying to be nice.

Once we got to the next hole and everyone finished their putting, i got into matty's cart and danny went back with Justin.

"So....what do you think of Justin?" Matty asked curiously. "He's pretty good and he's always down to play, so if we ever need another person we can always ask him.", he said while watching me.

"Yeah, he seems nice" I said while rolling my eyes.

"I told him I liked his shorts and then grabbed them, he didn't seem to like that" I cawed out in my gay-est voice.

Matty laughed and looked over at me. "He's not like us! you can't do that to him" he said jokingly, but serious.

"Oh like us?" I said curiously. I put my finger up to my mouth and gave him a stare, before looking down and laughing with him.

"You know what I mean Bro (FUCK THAT WORD)", he said serious again. "He's not as sarcastic and doesn't joke the way that we do" he finished while waiting for me to swing.

"Yeah Yeah Yeah" i slithered under my breath. I knew what he meant, but it was laced with a tone of unacceptance of me. My people. I knew that gay people weren't fully involved in everyones life, but come on. My patience on this matter was waning thin.

We finished the course and headed back to trade the carts in for our normal cars. Danny was trashed at this point. Me and Justin we're probably the most sober.

We walked around and loaded our clubs. Danny was joking around, talking about all the shots he sliced and laughing at his own jokes. I hugged matty and thanked him for the invite. I was tired and sweaty and ready to leave. I grabbed danny who wrapped me in a huge bear hug. The smell of sweat and beer almost knocked me down.

I turned to Justin and with enough provocation to let him know I was joking, but still serious i said
"I give hugs, so come here!"

He smiled and we embraced.

"Hey man, i'll see you later thanks for joining us today!" he said happily. I looked at his eyes. they were the most awesome mix of brown green I had ever seen. I got lost in them temporarily and had to find my way back.

"No thank you for joining US", i responded, trying to shake the nerve that had been exposed. I threw in a smile at the end to let him know that I wasn't being a dick.

We briefly talked about our plans for the rest of the day, realizing that we were standing in a blistering parking lot on a hot day. Before turning and going back to our cars we hugged again.

"Thanks again I really had a good time" he said. It was sincere and honest, and almost low enough to be just for me.

"yea of course, see you around!" I said as i pulled out of his embrace

"yes you will!" he chimed back before opening his door and getting in.

I turned and walked towards my car wondering what the fuck had just happened and if i was reading to much into it. I mean i still had no desire to be around him or be friends with him, but even with that in my head he completely and totally disarmed me. I was not expecting that at all.

"oh OK bye!" i heard in a sarcastic tone behind me. I turned around to see matty standing there with his hand on his hip.

I quickly turned and ran back to him, gave him a huge hug with a million thank you's, and kissed him on the cheek.

"Thats better", he said jokingly. "I'll see you later....bud" he said with a smile.

I of course threw up my middle finger while walking away. He knew why.

After i got into my car and quickly blasted the air conditioning, I began to drive towards the bar. I would have to tell Jordan about this. I would have to break it down with her piece by piece and examine every fact before i knew how i felt. Thats what jordan and I did. She was my rock and the person i could talk to anything about.

Fifteen minutes later i pulled into the parking lot of the bar. Its where we met, and we were glad it was our own personal cheers station. I walked in and said hi to a couple of the people that i knew. Before i knew it i heard a familiar voice.

"hey bud! long time no see! Come sit down" it called. I looked up and saw a pair of Green-Brown eyes staring at me.

"Of course this would happen" i muttered under my breath with a smile. I walked over and sat down next to him in one of the makeshift booths.

I looked down at him, and with a smile said, "Wow I really like those shorts!"

He smiled.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

There's Always A Reason

When the bad is bad, its...Bad. And sometimes it seems like the good doesn't outweigh it. But it does. It has to. Reasons can be hard to come by. They can flow out like a geyser. But reasons have to be important. They have to matter. They have to ring true. Reasons can't be excuses. They can't be void of accountability. They have to ring true.

Taking a reason and applying it to an action or an inaction is probably one of the most difficult things we can do as human beings. Your best friend missed your Birthday lunch? Oh their family member was taken to the hospital. Good Reason. Missed the lunch because they forgot? Probably not so good.

Taking these reasons and processing them, weighing them, appreciating them, and then finally applying them can make or break anything. They can build or destroy. 

In this instance, the reasons are all good. Some apply more than others; But the main fact is, they work for the purpose of keeping me going. Of reminding me. Of blowing the clouds out of the way of the sun.

It's been 1 year, 3 months and 5 days since I tried to end it all. I will never forget the date, the feeling, the determination. I will never forget the surprised and panicked soul that told me that it was going to be alright and to not go this route. And I remember the sense of hysteria I had when I realized what I was about to do. And I remember the days after when I brought myself to the point of thinking about the reasons. Reasons why I shouldn't.

Make a list. Challenge yourself. I dare you. Look at the list and appreciate all the reasons. 
Look at the list and hold yourself accountable
Feel the list, and accept it as the truth

Un-Do The You

I've found that thinking about what I want for myself doesn't work for me.

In all honesty, it might not work for a lot of people, and we just don't know it. 

Instead, I've tried to compile a list of things I don't want. I've tried to make that list as detailed, but also as vague as possible. 

Why? Because leaving it vague means its an idea that can take shape into a broader spectrum. 
It can develop into a more encompassing thing. 
It can be the change that is tangible while also being seen through eyes like mine 
Eyes that don't always appreciate things relating to themselves. 

So I call this the Un-Do list. 

  • Thinking My Past Makes Me A Broken Person 
  • Judging Others 
  • Thinking That I Always Need To Be The Strongest Person I Can Be, Not Being Able To Admit That I Need Help, And Seeing Therapy As A Weakness
  • Thinking That I Have To Paint Myself In A Better Light In Order To Get People To Like Me
  • Making Jokes That Have The Potential To Hurt Someones Feelings
  • Worrying To The Point Of Not Eating, Having Anxiety About Things That Are Out Of My Control Or Haven't Happened Yet. 
  • Wasting My Time On People Who Don't Deserve It. 

After The Truth, What Now?

Questions. Questions tend to come and go. Fly and Flee.

But after the truth, my questions revert inward and never falter in their undying strength to knock me back.

After the truth was revealed to me, I asked many questions. The funny thing is, when you're knocked to the ground things look different from that perspective. They take on new shapes.

Some Questions 

Am I worthy of Gods love? 
What does God think of me? 
Why do I exist? 
Does God ever feel like I pester him, bother him or annoy him when I lament? 

Of course, some of these questions stem from reflection, some of them stem from hurt. Some of them stem from the sheer fact that sometimes I want to know if I'm looked down on in the eyes of my creator. 

Sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes it doesn't at all. 

Questions are good.