A few weeks ago I headed off to the beach for a few days, probably the best idea I?ve had in recent memory. Anyone reading my blog has seen witness of my bouts of depression, my slow recovery from addiction, and the added stress of continuing my therapy with Susan. To say I needed some time away from the chaos of my life to clear the darkness from my soul would be a severe understatement.
Basically I?ve been feeling like a caged animal, trapped inside myself and slowly going insane in plain view of those that really didn?t give a shit on ?whether I lived or died?. For a time, it seemed to me that as long as I showed up for work and did my job; the people around me were satisfied. It didn?t really matter that I was depressed and anti-social. I smiled at the appropriate time and made the restaurant guests feel welcomed. All other behavior was overlooked.
I couldn?t then, nor could I now, put the proper descriptive definition on the feelings roaming around my head. And yet, maybe instinctively, I knew if I couldn?t tame the animal that was lurking under the surface of my sobriety, then I would lose the better parts of myself to addiction and sink back into depression.
And this scared the shit out of me. Because maybe this time, I wouldn?t be able to escape.
And the fucked up thing about this is it wasn?t until I got away from the noise of my job, the voices of my co-workers, and the deadening silence of my apartment, that I realized just how close I was to the edge. And how drained I truly became by the events of the last few months.
I found it to be rather easy to ignore the shambles of my life when I was busy dealing with the hundreds of problems that crop up on a day to day basis of working in a hip, up-scale restaurant.
I could either focus all my energy on the problems of the restaurant, problems I knew could be solved rather quickly, OR, I could waste what little energy I had left and spend hours self analyzing and attempting to tackle the large problems that persisted in my life. What would you do? Yeah, that?s right my friends. I?d thought you say that.
BEWARE DIGRESSION ALERT
I think this is probably the deciding factor on why there are just so many workaholics in the world. Maybe I?m not the only one that has discovered this coping mechanism that seems hardwired into our primitive minds. Survival at any cost.
And while this is something we should all think about, this is not the where nor is this the when to chew the fat and make left-handed supposes on the growing trend of workaholics the world over. So I?ll return you to your regularly scheduled rant.
I didn?t do much that Friday I arrived at the beach; I was so mentally and emotionally frazzled I spent most of the whole afternoon on the front porch watching the rain fall into the ocean and losing myself in my I-Pod.
And as I sat there, the music playing randomly in my ears, my mind started drifting around to long forgotten memories. Poking around into places that I thought we had previously agreed, my mind and I, to leave forgotten and buried forever.
And as I sifted through the past, I slowly began to realize that I hadn?t been happy in a very long time. This is not to say that I didn?t experience happy moments, let?s face it, over the years I?ve had lots and lots of happy moments. You can?t be a drug addict with a constant hard-on and not have some happy moments. But I recognized and more importantly, understood the difference between ?happy moments? and a genuine feeling of happiness.
The longer I pondered this, the further back in time I delved. I knew, sometime when, there had to be a period in my life where I was truly happy. I wasn?t always an addict; I had lived for sixteen years before finding solace in the numbness of drugs. And I was determined to find that source of that happiness again.
But the further back I went, the more I remembered, and the angrier I became.
Before the age of sixteen I was pretty happy. I had loving parents, and even though they were religious bigots who brainwashed me into a life of fear and self-loathing, they were quite affectionate towards me and I loved them very much despite their beliefs.
No matter what anyone might say, the ties between families are extremely powerful. Especially between a child and its mother. Think about it, for nine months, you are an extension of your mother. You experience all her emotions, happiness, sadness, the uncertainty of the future, and I bet in some respects you feel the pain and the ecstasy of birth itself. That kind of closeness creates a bond that nothing else you ever experience could ever compare.
This bond begins as an unconditional love. It?s engrained into the human DNA; a mother?s instinct to protect its offspring. And even though my parents were strict and sometimes quite harsh, I knew/know that they loved me and only wanted the best for me. And as long as I followed the path they laid out for me, their love was unconditional.
But much to my chagrin, one night I found out that their love had more than a few conditions attached too it. It seemed that the love they gave me hinged on the belief that I was a heterosexual. Because the night my father caught me in the living room giving an older boy a blowjob was the night I lost my home and my world. After that night, unconditional love took on a whole new meaning. Matter of fact, to be completely honest, from that moment on I have always put conditions on love. So you have to excuse me if the notion of unconditional love is a bit tough to swallow.
Is it any wonder why I turned out the way I did? What was I supposed to do? I was sixteen, I had no money, no place to go, and my only possessions were the clothes on my back.
I ended up sleeping in a bus station that first night, scared out of my mind and filled with an unholy rage. I was tossed aside for some obscure religious belief, and for a god that I had began to doubt even existed. Because if god did exist, and he really hated me because I liked other boys, than my unholy attraction to other boys was a gift I received from him.
Read the fucking book, we were created in his image. And if you believe what my parents believe, then it is impossible for god to make mistakes. So?what the fuck was up with me? If it was truly wrong for me to be attracted to other boys, then god must?ve somehow fucked up when he made me in his image.
BEWARE WORLD?S LONGEST SENTENCE BELOW
Because, even before I became aware that there was a difference between girls and boys, and that other boys should only like girls, and that girls should only like boys, I was full-on, no denial, looking away wouldn?t change the fact no matter how often you arranged some ?alone time so the two can get to know each other? with the local girl, and forbid me to spend ?alone time? with my best friend, Sean, would I ever choose to hang out with a girl over the sheer pleasure of spending ?alone time? with a him.
And it didn?t have to be my best friend, Sean, either, who at the time I was completely in love with but that?s definitely another story for another time. I have been that way since before I can remember. I would rather hang out with a boy than spend a moment with a girl. It was simple, plain and true; I was/am attracted to boys.
I like the way they look, I love the way they feel, I go absolutely crazy by the way they smell. I was/is completely obsessed by just the physical sight of them. Clothed or not, the figure of a boy/man?s body drives me wild to this day. This is the only reality I ever knew, from my earliest memories all the way to the present day, it?s as natural as taking a breath. Did I make a choice? There has never been a choice for me to make. I?ve always liked boys, its simple genetics.
So when my parents, to be honest it was more my father than my mother at this time, threw me out of the house because I was gay, I immediately placed the blame on the god of my parents religion. After all, it was god?s bible after all, it was his words, and it was his hatred I felt. He was the root of my problem. He made all of humanity, and apparently he didn?t figure into account that some percentage of his creation might be attracted to a member of the same sex. And if he did take into account this ?phenomenon?, and still decreed that such love was an abomination, then I was the lowest form of scum on the planet. It didn?t matter to my parents that I was the scum that god created, because upon finding out I was gay, they had an instant hatred for me. And since god teaches that he destroys those he despised, my parents opted to destroy me. At that time, it didn?t matter if god created fags or not, because I was fucked. And by a god, that at that time, I loved almost whole heartedly. And people wonder why I?m an agnostic.
In the morning, after I spend the night in a bas station, some guy told me about this shelter that allowed young runaways to stay there on the condition that they help out around the place and attend chapel services at the church that sponsored the shelter. Not having any other option available to me, I embraced this opportunity.
Though I must admit it was rather difficult to go to the shelter. I had just been tossed out on my ass by my parents and their religion, the last thing I wanted to happen was to give someone else an excuse to exclude me based on something I couldn?t help or control. So upon arriving at the shelter, I kept my sexuality a secret and told several vague lies to disguise the real reason my parents gave me the boot. Though looking back now, I don?t think for a minute I fooled either the volunteers at the shelter or the minister about the real reason I ended up on their doorstep.
I can also say, looking back, that they were a group of people who truly tried to help those that they came in contact with at the shelter. But at the time, I treated them like they were the enemy. Like they were a part of some grand conspiracy, plotting to destroy me and take advantage of na?ve fags the world over. I was/am forever bitter about religion and the people that believed in religion.
There was another boy, around my age, who had been living at the shelter for a few months before I arrived. Though he never told me outright, I ?m pretty sure we had more in common than just needing a place to stay.
It?s always been easy to spot the gay kids. They have an attitude, the way they carry themselves in a crowd that reminds you of a wounded animal quietly freaking out in a life and death kind of way that makes them easy to identify.
And for whatever reason, most gay kids on the streets become predators as they get older. They find the weakest species on the block, some kid who might be new to the whole I don?t have a family so I now have to live on the street but I still don?t have a clue what the fuck life is about but I?ll trust you because I think you?re cute boy kind of kid, and take advantage of that innocent frame of mind and completely fuck them up.
I think it might be Mother Nature?s way of coping with these situations that humans aren?t prepared to deal with. Of course it could be just a product of surroundings and circumstances that most youths find themselves facing after expulsion from their home. Much like the only way they know how to control a situation that is completely out of control. Or it could be a way to gain revenge, to make sure someone else?s life is as fucked up as their own.
Anyway, most runaways/get the fuck out of my house, type kids becomes predators in one form or another. It?s like they become the embodiment of those that first drove them into exile in the first place. Food for thought, but still not the main reason I?m writing this tonight. If you?re still with me, I move on.
Back to this other kid I met at the shelter, I?m sorry I don?t remember his name. On the second night after my arrival, after we washed and dried the dishes, and right before we were loaded on the bus to attend chapel services, shown me a little plastic baggie filled with white powder asked me if I wanted some insulation to get me through the mandatory chapel attendance. I didn?t know what he was referring too, because at this time, I really was, for all purposes, a complete innocent.
Drugs were something that my father had warned me about since I was a young child. And looking back on all the things he filled my head with, the only good advice that mother fucker ever gave me was, don?t do drugs. But again, I digress.
When he realized I didn?t understand, he started laughing at me.
Now, I?ve been laughed with a lot over the years and I?ve been laughed at as well. This laughter was definitely one of those times when I was being ridiculed because of my naivet?. This was a feeling that I quickly found out I absolutely despised. And even to this day, I refuse to accept anyone laughing at me. I?ve gone to ridiculous lengths and have done some pretty dumb ass stupid shit to make sure that no one laughs at my expense ever again.
Once regained control of his laughter, he pulled me into the shelter?s bathroom. This was a space that was accessible to anyone who wished to use it, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. So I?m sure you can imagine the smell of stale piss, fresh vomit, and un-flushed shit that permeated the small enclosure. This was the kind of place that even drug addicts would warn others about avoiding.
Once inside the cesspool of a bathroom, he dragged me into one of the filthy stalls and locked the door behind us. He then pulled a plastic baggy from his pocket and held it up triumphantly, like I was suppose to know what was inside. To the white kid from suburbia, it looked like he crushed up a stick of white chalk. I know, I was pretty stupid back then.
So I asked how a piece of chalk would insulate me from the attempted brainwashing we soon would be subjected too. And can you believe it, that bastard laughed at me again.
Once he informed me of the true nature of the white substance nestled so innocently in that plastic bag, he laid out a choice for me.
To be honest, the best way to get me to do anything; is to make it appear that I have the final say in the outcome of my actions, that I made the choice. It doesn?t really matter what the two choices are, if you pretend to give me an option of deciding my fate, then I will usually do what you wanted me to do in the first place. Just don?t ever tell me what to do, that?s a sure fire way to get me to dig my heels in and let my stubborn streak rear it?s ugly head. Just something for those to think about that might have ambitions of controlling my actions. I know I should delve deeper into this weakness but this is not the entry for discussing the inner workings of my mind and I?ve rambled on long enough already and still haven?t gotten around to explaining the reason I began writing this blog entry in the first place.
RETURNING TO NORMAL BLOG ENTRY
Okay, what was this choice he laid out in front of me?
I could attend the chapel service and buy into the concept of an all-knowing, all-seeing, judgmental god that will hold me accountable for my every action with an unwavering solidarity to the rules as laid out in the Biblical text, OR, I could snort a few lines of cocaine and put my trust into the hands of fate and let chance decide the cards that would be dealt for me to play in this game called life.
Fuck it, what can I say? He was cute. He was a dangerous boy that lived by a philosophy that went against every single thing I was ever taught by my parents. And for a moment, as brief as that moment was, I was scared that this cute boy would lead me directly to hell.
But then I remembered my father, and the way he threw me aside for a god he?s never seen all because a man stood in front of a church and told him to hate people like me. At that moment, joining in something that might send me to hell was pretty damn tempting. If god hated me simply because I was gay, then I didn?t want to go to heaven anyway. That was the day, the very moment, I walked away from the religion I was raised to believe.
And the more I thought about that first time doing drugs, the more bitterness I began to feel. The more anger that slowly started consuming me. I was a product of my past, I had lived a life that I never choose. It all began when my father turned his back on me.
And there, sitting on the front porch of that beach house, I felt like no matter what I did, I could never escape the demons that haunted me. I?ve tried again and again to remain sober. I?ve spent countless hours and countless dollars trying to erase the depression that stalks me. And I?ve failed each and every time.
There was no way a faggot like me could ever have a chance at living a normal life.
I was filled with rage, bitterness, and an overwhelming desire to get as high as I could possibly get. I almost ran into the house, with the full intention of grabbing my shit and driving back to Redwood City where I knew I could score some pure coke. If I was going to be trapped in this shit, then I was going to be as numb as possible.
But something happened as I stalked into the house. Up to that point, the music blasting in my ears was background noise. I had been sitting on that porch for three hours and I couldn?t tell you a single song that had played. Until that moment, then my mind focused on the song and I understood the words I heard.
I had listened to that particular song probably fifty times over the course of this year. I liked the song, but I don?t think I really heard what the lyrics were really saying until that moment. The clarity that washed over me was staggering. And all the anger and bitterness that was so consuming a moment before melted away, slipping from me like a bad dream, fading into that part of my mind where all nightmares are banished.
I spent the next hour walking along the beach, the rain pouring down on me, just letting the cleansing flood wash me clean. And as the sun set, as I peered into the fading light, I couldn?t help but think I was watching my past slip into oblivion.
Because that?s all the past is, a string of events that happened. My past certainly shaped the man I am today, but it doesn?t dictate my future. The future is wide open, a new page that only I could write, but still a fresh parchment. I couldn?t control my past but I can control my future by changing my present.
For the first time in my life, my past is just that, the past. To have a future I can?t dwell on those memories anymore. And so my present is looking pretty fucking bright.
The last time I thought about using cocaine was that time at the beach. It?s almost like I put my addictions to rest that night. This might change in the future, but somehow I think my present doesn?t allow for those feelings to exist here. Either way, I feel like I have a real chance to become the man I see in my dreams. Cheers.