I did something I'd never done before. I took a giant leap of faith in a couple of directions, and now I am basking in a warm glow of self acceptance and pride and ownership of what I've chosen to do, and what I accomplished.
This weekend I took a trip to Seattle to visit a few people. 1: My uncle and his family. I hadn't spoken to my uncle, or seen the family in almost 3 years; not since my dad killed himself. My uncle and I had a falling out, and we haven't spoken since. I went up to try and mend fences, but also to state to him how his behavior hurt me profoundly. But still telling him all this to mend fences and move forward with a relationship. It happened. he apologized. he opened up to me a little bit, and then confided in me that he sometimes felt like I was a little brother, and that he loved me that way. WOW, what a powerful shot of support and love and acceptance I got. I was not expecting that.
I also went up to seattle to meet someone I had not yet met face to face. Some guy I met through some 'friends' on facebook. We friended each other, and I had been following him off and on since, seeing what his lifestyle is. he's very gregarious, outgoing, and has a sense and sensibility about him that I really admire. We've chatted online just a few times. he's had a boyfriend for most of the time, and I felt pretty inferior and stupid for thinking that anything could ever possibly happen between me and him. He lived in a different state, and he was far more socially capable than I could ever hope to be.
A few fits and starts over the last year, we finally made it to meet each other. he invited me to crash on his couch, since I wouldn't be staying at my uncle's place. I took a giant leap and accepted his offer to sleep at his place, even though I'd never met him before, and had developed a bit of a crush on him (and told him so). I arrived at his place, we had about an hour of awkward conversation before we started slipping into a sort of conversational groove. I found myself loving the moment, being jovial, cracking stupid jokes, and poking fun at him. he did the same towards me. I really dug his company, but still felt a little self conscious and conspicuous. What, with me and my hearing loss / hearing aids. They have been a source of embarrasment my entire life.
In spite of my crush on him, and feeling insecure, I decided to be bold. With the self acceptance I've been learning to acquire for myself, I took the giant risk of perhaps revealing way too much for a first meeting. I told him about some of the struggles I've had, and some of the weird things I endured from my childhood. He told me about some of the things he'd had to go through, and how he came through. I told him I envied his social life, and how amazingly capable he was at creating a social circle of friends so quickly (he only recently moved to seattle and already had a burdgeoning social life). Me, with my poor social skills, flailing at even trying to make a single friend.
I decided to be bold and share this with him from a place of love and trust for myself, and bestowing honor to him for sharing it. Given that we live in different states, there's no prospect for romance to develop, so certainly no dating, and nothing to impress on him. So I just let it all out there.
We went out for a walk, had a couple drinks, had dinner, and came back to his place. To go to bed so we could wake up early in the morning to head to the mountains to go skiing (that was the plan -we'd meet and go skiing because we both love the sport).
he started getting ready for bed, and I started getting ready as well, and preparing the couch to sleep.
Then, standing in the hallway, his demeanor changed in a coy and soft way, and said that his bed was big enough for both of us to sleep in, and I was welcome to share it with him if I wanted.
I'll leave the rest out. Suffice it to say, we did fool around a little bit. I enjoyed it, but found myself feeling oh so awkward for multiple reasons. Mostly because of my squealing hearing aids (they feedback sometimes), and because I sometimes couldn't hear what was being said. I both loved the holding and carressing, and resented that I didn't get to have this experience hardly in my life. My heart feels filled with gratitude at this moment of writing, and also has a melancholy ache because of how lonely I've been.
I had to go through through an intellectual thought exercise - this doens't mean anything. it sure feels awesome, and for the moment, was a gift. But it didn't mean he liked me, it didn't mean anything more would happen. I had to focus on meditating on this, as my past history has always been to start overthinking and over analyzing and getting excited and hopeful and thinking that something might happen, and within a few hours, i was already measuring the drapes in the livingroom of the house we'd buy together.
I also stayed mindful that this guy is so socially gregarious. his life is so full, and he is surrounded by people who want to be with him and get with him. I could not possibly be on his radar for pursuing; especially since I live 1500 miles away. So it made it easy for me to be in the moment, and let go of my old habits of dreaming for something to happen.
All in all, I had a really good time with him. he was funny, fun, liked to joke and tease me. I was amazed at how comfortable I felt being with him, and how much of a friend I felt like he was. Like comfortable old friends, having a fun time with each other.
This is coming from me; someone who has been stating here time and time again that I don't know how to make friends. I just don't know what is supposed to be done in order to make friends. And then I have this experience, and see that a friendship could actually be happening here.
There's a part of me that is paranoid and suspicious. Maybe he was playing me. maybe he was just being polite and friendly; since he was playing host to some degree. And once I left Seattle, it would be all forgotten and we would probably never see each other again. And maybe I didn't get anything at all, or understand what happened. We did talk about getting together again because the time was well spent and fun. But I have my serious doubts that we'll get together again.
With that in regard, time will tell. My BIGGEST and most profound take away from this experience surprises me. Here I met a guy who is also damaged goods. he's had some pretty strange experiences in his life time; and he somehow turned into a person that is so open, generous, gregarious. he's probably one of the coolest gay guys I've ever met in my life. And I so want to BE like him.
I look at my own life, and the path that I'm on. The choices I'm making and the person I want to become, and I can instantly recognize in him - ME. If I really truly passionately pursued the things I know I like (playing guitar, learning to surf, continuing on my passion for filmmaking, being a big brother) ... if I pursued all these things and filled my life up with it, I, too, could become the person I most admire right now. Because I admire him so much for doing what he's doing with his life, and can see it's just a few big steps away from where I am in my life right now.
I can learn how to fall in love with myself! Before this weekend, I couldn't quite see it. I'd get glimpses; but I couldn't see it enough to set it as a goal for myself.
Now I can see it. I want to be the coolest baddest awesome gay guy I know. The guy that knows how to play guitar, that surfs, that rides a motorcycle, plays poker, that has a wolf for a dog, volunteers as a big brother, is a total science nerd/geek, makes films, and practices improv with a bunch of crazy actors looking for something more.
That paragraph above? that's who I want to be. That's a person I could fall madly in love with.
I took a huge risk to open up to my uncle, who I had deemed hurt me very profoundly. I had every right to hold a grudge and be angry at him. but after 3 years of silence, and being totally befuddled as to what happened, and why he would treat me the way he did - I felt my heart tugging me very hard towards talking with him and telling him that I wanted a relationship with him, but needed to also tell him how much he hurt me.
My taking the risk to open up and become vulnerable with him provided me an experience i wasn't expecting. he opened up to me, shared some things with me, and made himself a bit vulnerable as well. But the most profound thing of that conversation was him telling me that he sometimes thought of me as his younger brother. And his son - my cousin - he's 19 now. I'm 42. My cousin and I had developed a relationship of kinship and fellowship as well. Despite the obvious age difference, we get along well and dork out at the same things, and poke fun at the same things. he's gotten through his rebellious teenage years and still sees value in our relationship. In all honestly, I have sometimes thought of HIM as MY younger brother.
I'm an only child. I have lamented for a long time that I never really felt like part of any family at all. My uncle and his family took me under their wing, and the christmas visits I made to their family almost ever year for the last 13 years have been wonderful. But once the kids grew up, I expected to be expelled from the family and lost in isolation once again.
But after this weekend, I now feel a new sense of enormous hope. Hope for being connected to my uncle's family (him, his wife, and my cousin). I also feel an enormous sense of hope for myself; the path that I've chosen to be on, and the person I'm capable of becoming.
I owe it all to myself for taking these risks; for opening up, being honest, being vulnerable; but mostly - for loving and respecting myself enough to not grovel; but to stand strong and be gentle.
I'm so thrilled I took this risk. I certainly hope that a friendship will develop between me and the guy I met and went skiing with. Though I don't expect it. Actually, I expect it to recede into a memory with nothing to come out of it. But if that's what happens, that is okay. Because this experience has shown me how I can become the person I want to be; and how I can love myself without cause for doubt.