SeulementI've been struggling about writing on this topic that is bothering me... aside from it being a difficult topic to discuss, it glancingly involves friends who I know read this blog. But I figure they're my friends, they'll understand, and I need to get this off my chest.
A couple of weeks ago, I had this "minipiphany," one of those little moments of clarity where you realize that something's been bugging you and you can now identify what it is. It's kind of like when you finally notice something is missing or added to your surroundings after a long while of wondering why things don't seem quite right. I have these minipiphanies all the time, being a rather scatterbrained individual. Like the time I was sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee one morning and I suddenly realized my pet finch Alexander was no longer chirping... he'd been dead for several days, and I hadn't noticed, though something about the kitchen had seemed somehow wrong. Or the time that Grandmother and I were driving up the main road to our house, a road we've traveled several times a day for years and years, and we suddenly noticed that there were new stop signs at the intersections; and when we asked our neighbor if she'd noticed them, too, she told us they'd been there for over six months.
Anyway, to return to the point, I had this minipiphany a couple of weeks ago when I realized that for the first time in a long, long time, I was without a Social Escort Friend. I have always had a friend who worked less than I did and who was socially presentable and who was usually available for social occasions. In most of my 20s, it was Kevin, except when Kevin was in a relationship. Then it was Shiloh. And now Shiloh is in a new relationship, and he is no longer available to me as an escort. I went to a party alone for the first time in sober memory, though it didn't strike me at the time why I felt so strange at that party (I mean, I knew almost everyone there, so it wasn't like I was alone alone, I just arrived and left alone). It felt wrong, and it felt lonely.
More than that, for the first time in a long time I don't have a Special Friend, someone in whom I am romantically interested. Again, I'd always had Kevin, and then I had Shiloh, to fill this particular slot in my life. There were others, as well... Billy and Todd and Jason and Dalton (in that order), people I pursued as friends even though (or because) I was romantically attracted to them. For the first time in a long, long time, I am not in love or lust or even intrigue with any particular person. And it feels kind of empty.
Well, this minipiphany didn't count as a real epiphany because I didn't think much about it. I just had an "Oh, how interesting" kind of moment and I moved on. But this last weekend something happened that brought this to the foreground of my consciousness, where it has been jumping up and down and screaming and otherwise calling undue attention to itself.
On Saturday, I made plans to hang out with my two best male friends... it started off as intending to spend an evening with Dalton, and then I invited Shiloh along, neither of whom I have seen very often in the last couple of months. Along with these two, one automatically includes their boyfriends, Dean and Zach respectively, who I also like very much and am always happy to have as companions for an evening. This is not the problem... the problem is that both of these relationships are new, in the rosy honeymoon stages, where the participants in the relationship find it difficult to keep their hands off each other and impossible to go more than five minutes without gazing at each other with dire smiles and kissy little endearments. Again, this behavior in and of itself isn't problematic... it was the way this behavior made me feel: that is, intensely lonely. Excluded, even.
It took me back to high school, where by stint of my shyness and Other sexuality I was the only single in a vast circle of couples. I remember once going to the movies with a group of friends, which by happenstance was comprised of my best friend of the time, Eva, her boyfriend of the time, and two newly-conjoined boy-girl couples. The couples of course, being hot-hormoned teenagers with fresh physical discoveries to explore, spent most of the afternoon making out with each-other wherever we happened to be, while I was completely alone in this group. And it was one of the most miserable afternoons of my life.
Then there were the parties that we always had, one whole summer there was a party at someone's house every weekend, and everybody but me (and I do not exaggerate) was dancing with a Special Someone and making out in the dark corners with that Special Someone when they weren't dancing. And there would be me alone, talking to one of my many girl friends (when she wasn't dancing with or making out with her Special Someone) or dancing or eating and what-have-you with them, while everyone else was getting their groove on and romancing eachother and making stupid plans for the future. And from this I was excluded and alone and it made me miserable.
So miserable, in fact, that I started dating a girl, just to be included. I mean, I knew I was gay, and she knew I was gay, and everyone in the world (except my Grandmother with her amazing powers of denial) knew I was gay... but I was so tired of being excluded from the Hetero Mating Dance that I allowed friendly flirtations with Eva (who was between boyfriends at the time) to turn into a Publicly Recognized Relationship. We made out at parties, we made out on group hikes in the parks, we sat together and danced together and went to the Prom together. This went on for about a year, I think. And what ended it was that Eva wanted to take our relationship to the next physical level, and I wasn't able to do so... and it also occurred to me (as I was running scared from her house the afternoon she went for my fly) that I was being terribly unfair to her, keeping her in a sterile social coupledom rather than letting her roam and be free to explore with a nice straight boy who would appreciate her physical charms (which were many).
It was after this that I focussed solely and intently on boys as romantic objects, but again I was miserably unsuccessful. I wanted to be part of a couple, and they boys I knew and found attractive only wanted sex and exploration. But eventually I met someone who seemed interested in a Relationship, and on that rather flimsy pretext I built my life around him. He was an awful person, a mean soul with a tiny penis and a nasal voice, but I moved in with him and defended his arrogance to my friends and basically tried to make a life with him, just because he would allow me to so do. That only lasted a few months, but when you're 20 a few months is long enough. I finally broke up with him because 1 all of my friends and several of my enemies loathed him violently, 2 he didn't have any furniture in his apartment (he'd had to move out of the place we lived together, since the roommates whose house it was hated him) and 3 he hung up on me when I refused to argue with him (nobody hangs up on me and gets away with it). He thought it was because he'd cheated on me, but really the only thing about that was that he'd managed to sleep with someone I found very attractive and I was a trifle jealous.
Throughout the rest of my 20s, and partway into my 30s, it was my deepest desire to have a boyfriend, not for the sex or the love, but rather for the social aspects. And when I discovered that this was the case (I'd thought it was for sex and love and affection), I made a decision to remain single for the foreseeable future. I still believe that this was the right decision, for how can I build a relationship with a man when all I want is someone to dote on and trot out to parties? I don't even want to have sex with anybody right now... I just want a man on my arm, someone with whom to hold hands and make kissy faces and (this is key) to prove my worth as a person in society.
And I was fine with this. I have come to understand, during this period of purposed celibacy, that some people aren't emotionally capable of carrying on a romantic relationship, and I was one of those people. I don't know if it's something that I am going to have to accept as permanent, or if it's something I will eventually grow out of, but I feel that either way I cannot pursue romance at this stage in my life. I mean, aside from my sexual hangups (which are many), there is my Grandmother-dominated lifestyle. I don't have the time to give to a man, much less the attention or even the sleeping accommodations. For me to maintain a romantic relationship, I would have to learn to be much more giving, both emotionally and sexually; and on the other side of the equation, to bother with rocking the boat of my life, the man has to be pretty damned special... and someone that special deserves more than I right now have to give, with my trust issues and my physical touch issues and my many other issues.
So logic dictates that this period of my life is one of growth and of learning to be alone with myself. And I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it until I was walking along with two couples who can't keep their paws off of each other. Like I said, I know these people read this blog, so I want to stress that it is not the public displays of affection in general that bother me, and I do not want anybody to change their behavior for me.
I guess the thing is that I discovered, from the intensity and suddenness of that isolated and excluded feeling, that perhaps I haven't grown as much as I'd thought and hoped I had. That wholeness of person that I wish to become, before I can offer myself to another, is still over the horizon. And in the meantime I feel a little lonely, a little sad, and a little horny too. I want something in my life to feel passionate about, a person or a thing or anything. I miss having passion... and the bracelets and books and sweaters aren't quite enough to make me feel passion. And I miss having single friends with whom to hang out. The only people I spend time with alone are Grandmother and Caroline. And as much fun as I have with them, it's not the same as gay male friends.
So my Seventh Year Change... is this it? Is it learning to be alone? Or is it learning that I am not meant to be alone? I don't know. But I'm glad I got to talk about it, get it off my chest. Now I absolutely must dash, I have to get all the way to Pleasanton, in rush hour traffic, to get my computer repaired at the Gateway Store. I hope they can fix it right away. I'd hate to have to return the damned thing, I really do like it despite my disappointment over its not working.
Thanks again for listening! Big smooshy hugs!