09 July 2011

Different Places

Tonight was the night.  Welcome back, Class of 2001.  And I actually took the night off and went.  I was nervous.  I was anxious.  I didn't really know what to expect, so I tried to keep any expectations that might have snuck up on me as low as possible.

I went alone.  My girlfriend wasn't super thrilled with the idea of going back to high school, even if it's not the high school she went to.  I can respect that.  High school wasn't the best time in either of our lives.  I hung out with one of my friends, who actually works with me at the restaurant, and his girlfriend.  That, in and of itself, was kind of awkward.  It's always good times being the third wheel.  But I am really appreciative that they would let me sit at their table and converse with me.

I saw a lot of faces I recognized.  But other than the entire building, I got the sense that not much had changed.  I had been warned of this.  Most people who have been to their ten year reunion say that it's still very reminiscent of high school.  I've heard the big change comes for your twenty year, and I also hear that it's more enjoyable because people have changed.

I saw people still sitting in the same groups they mingled with in high school.  I didn't do a whole lot of mingling myself.  I talked with a few people, but found it very awkward feeling.  I wasn't one of those kids who had a lot of friends in high school.  I had a small group that I clung to.  Seeing them was nice.  But most of them are also friends with me on Facebook, so I'm pretty sure that most of them are aware that I have a girlfriend.  Our conversations were pretty one-sided.  I asked them questions about what they were up to, where they were living, how many kids they had...and they responded...and then there were awkward pauses, because they wouldn't ask me any questions in return.  It was like they didn't know how to talk to me anymore.

I did spend a few minutes with a girl in my class who also has a girlfriend now.  For those few minutes, it was normal.  It was completely comfortable. And that's kind of funny, because I didn't spend probably any time at all with her in high school.

I didn't stay for the whole thing.  I figured that I'm not in high school anymore.  We aren't kids anymore.  I'm 28 for crying out loud, I can leave if I feel like it.

As I think about it, there is still some disappointment that lingers.  But I know that we're in different places.  Most, from what I can tell, are focused on their families.  They're married with kids.  After all, that's the path that we were put upon and encouraged to walk down.  So for the last ten years, that's what they've been doing.  I started down that path but didn't continue.  I took a different path.  So we're not in the same place.  Our priorities are not necessarily the same.  It's not that either is more important, they're just different.  And I don't know what they've been through in the last ten years, any more than they know what I've been through.

I can say that I'm glad I went, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I could.  Perhaps when the 20 year reunion rolls around, our places won't be as far apart as they were tonight.

06 July 2011

When I Think About Independence

We live in an amazing country.

There are men and women who die every day defending my freedom.  I sit here now, a few days after our Independence Day, next to the woman I love.  And I am free to love her.  I am free to go to Pride celebrations and to celebrate when a state decides that it should be okay to have marriage equality.  I am free to live where I do, to go to concerts, to earn money and spend it on whatever I want...although it mostly goes to bills.

I am free.  I am proud to be an American.  And I honor those who allow me these privileges.

Even though there are times when we are treated like second class citizens, I am still proud to be an American.  For all the rights we don't have, we still have more than most.

Hope everyone had a fun and safe July 4th!

03 July 2011

Quantity Vs Quality

Yesterday was an important day for me, and as taboo as it might be for me to share why, I'm going to do it anyway.  I guess if you get squirmy you can read someone else's blog.

Yesterday marks three years since I last cut myself.

I think I've mentioned on this blog before that I was once involved with that behavior.  Well, involved is probably a bit of an understatement.  The reasons varied over the years but one thing was very consistent: there was always pain.  Not just the obvious physical pain.  There was so much emotional pain that it is indescribable to anyone who hasn't been in that place.

When I say "involved" what I mean is that it was part of my life for eleven years.

Three years compared to eleven years doesn't seem like very much.  It was such a struggle to live through and for so many years I couldn't see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel.  I didn't believe that such a light existed.  But the quality of my life has improved by at least eleven times in these last three years.  It's so nice to not be miserable all the time.  It hasn't been all smooth sailing and I've had days that have sucked but my life is better.  It got better, and it gets better all the time.

I know it makes people uncomfortable but I think it's just because they don't often know how to react.  I've had a little bit of courage lately and I haven't been wearing a jacket as much this summer.  Short sleeves feel nice.  It's not my intent to inspire awkwardness, even though it probably happens.  I figure that I can be okay with where I've been.  If someone wants to ask about it, I think it's good to talk about it.  I have a story and I am willing to share it if you want to listen.  I'm not afraid of my story.

I'm glad that this is just the beginning.  Three years and counting, and every day counts.