I think about life, all the time. For the last seventeen years or so, I’ve worked to divine the secrets of the past, the truths of my experiences, and how life turned out the way it did, in opposition to the life I thought I really wanted.
Back when I was a kid, just a kid, I realized my father harbored a dark secret. I found his secret, because he left it out in the open for anyone to see and recognize, if you just looked around. It was sitting in plain sight.
From that material, sitting in plain sight, I was introduced to all things gay, from a particular point of view. And from that education, the fantasy in my head was born. Over many years, I read every book and magazine that was laid out in the bathroom for my entire young life.
I knew what gay was, before I KNEW what GAY was. My father was so homophobic and abusive, that I had to play the straight game for as long as it was tenable. But I knew what side my bread was buttered on.
I had one particular conversation with a psychiatrist, a family friend, about coming out. And this is what he told me …
“Go to the bar. Walk inside. Sit down, have a drink, hell, have two. Wait For Fireworks… “
Alcoholism was already present in my life. My parents, both, were alcoholics. And alcoholism was present in my grandparents as well. So I was primed for the alcohol. In hindsight, you should never tell an alcoholic to go to the bar and drink, for starters. He told me that drinking in a gay bar, would make me One Of Them; to be accepted into the gay community, was through the vehicle of the BAR.
For a while, fireworks did happen. I was cute, had an ass. And was popular among my peers. Sex was not a problem.
Alcoholism was a problem.
In my younger life, I was responsible, smart. I knew right from wrong, and I was a pretty straight laced young man, when it came down to it. When I started drinking heavily, that all went out the window.
From twenty one to twenty six, I was hell on wheels. Until the wheels fell of the truck. Then I got very sick, and life came to a sudden STOP.
I had already met Todd. And was employed in his bar. The safest place for me to be, at that time. Because he knew my dark side, inside and out. He knew that I would probably get into trouble that I was really not prepared to deal with, or get involved with. So he put a halt to that from the very first conversation we had together.
The Dark Arts life, I had fantasized about, for so long, never happened. And over the years, I have seen, men and boys get involved with a lifestyle that, today, is untenable. Taboo lifestyles, back in the day were sheik. To be involved in a subversive community was the challenge.
To buck the norm.
I’ve watched countless boys and men, mark themselves with ownership tattoos, with names of other men, who supposedly, “own them.” That may last for a little while, but, in the end, those types of relationships turned out to be short lived and untenable. Because life changes, right?
We might want one particular life at that time, but over time, people change and life circumstances change, and the life we had been living comes to an abrupt end. And everybody looses.
I know that If I could have gone back and had this conversation with my younger self, I would say just this. And I think, as others, have said, “Would I have listened to an older me tell a younger me, to sort out my wants and needs carefully, before I went barking up those particular trees?”
Alcoholism does strange things to us. It beckons us down dark roads, and causes us to make rash decisions, based on self, that are 100% really bad choices.
The internet does the same thing. It beckons us into meeting strange people, in strange places, hoping to make a connection. But if the two parties are not 100% honest, in their motives, that is a disaster waiting to happen. And that is exactly what happened to me.
All those particular little pieces of the life puzzle I had fantasized about and were carry around in my satchel, were useless. I did not even get to try and put the puzzle together, because that is what happened to me.
I like to believe, that God had better plans for me, and when Todd stepped into my life, God became incarnate.
He saved my life.
Sobriety gives us so many gifts. And when we get sober, life takes on new meaning. So many different things have happened. And though I often get angry with the life that I have, because it isn’t the life I wanted. Particular aspects of life, I want today, do not exist for me. Because of extenuating circumstances beyond my control.
Mental illness does that to you. And to others you might be involved with.
Yesterday, I took a nap, after finding the right medication to help me feel better, because I’ve been sick for a few days, so I slept for a few hours. And within that nap, I had the most imaginative, romantic dream I’ve ever seen. Or experienced in my life.
It was an Incubus dream.
Holy shit, it was amazing. Absolutely.
For all these years, I lament particular aspects of the life I don’t have, because of the life I do have today. I am nostalgic about certain aspects of my past. And I’ve always said, that if I had to opportunity to go back into the past, I would revisit Todd and those two years we had together for sure.
But only, if everyone who was there, would be there again, Alive. Because all of them are long dead now.
Things I would tell myself:
- Alcohol is not the solution to any problem.
- Old paradigms won’t work
- Don’t try to fit in or blend
- Be your own person
- Dress your own way, don’t be part of the crowd, be unique
- Have hopes, but be grounded in them
- Live each day to the fullest, because they won’t come again
- Love hard. Forgive others, Don’t be Resentful
- Have good friends
- Foster your family if you have one
Over the last little while, I have had conversations with old friends about our lives as younger “US.” And I am nostalgic about those years, and the people and events that shaped our lives as they turned out. And I was surprised to learn some truths that were very hard to hear.
The life I experienced was tainted by greed, alcohol and personal problems that I was not aware of, because people put on their best selves in certain situation, to make themselves look good and sound good.
There are so many little things that I know about today. Once, my friend Nina said to me that, “it isn’t the BIG things that get us, but the LITTLE things that do get us. Like the broken shoelace.”
I have so many “little” observations that I know to be true today, that could be or would have been useful to my much younger self.
Firstly — I would have told my younger self that if you take that morning drink, or your find yourself in a bar, drinking at 7 a.m. in the morning, that in the end, you are going to be in the firing line of a Really big Gun.
I should never have been in that bar, that particular morning, because I did get hit by the bullet, I chambered myself.
I was the one who walked into that particular sexual encounter that ended that portion of my life, and forever more, killed my sex life for eternity.
I have all the necessities of life. A roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, a fridge full of food, and money in the bank and a man who loves me. I should not hate the life I don’t have, because I have the life I have right now.
I live in the NOW, not in the THEN.
Life never turns out the way it should, but turns out the way it needs to be to teach us how to grow up into fine young men, with purpose, dreams, aspirations, and goals.
My life, just took the long route over gravel roads to get here.
And I should be more grateful.
Yes … Grateful for small mercies and GOD.
I love you Todd. Thank you for my life.