Friday, December 12, 2008

Home Again

My friend and I are doing assessments of each other, so I thought I would post mine here.

"Catchingupat20 is a short, Black guy with a large forehead and somewhat large but sleepy eyes. He has issues with his height, and generally has difficulty in establishing relationships with people. His viewpoint on life is marked by cynicism, lack of focus, and self denial.  He has an unsatisfied need to ally himself with others whose standards are as high as his own, and to stand out from the herd. This desire for preeminence isolates him and inhibits his readiness to give himself freely. While Catchingupat20 wants to surrender and let himself go, he regards this idea as a weakness which must be resisted. Self-restraint, he feels, will lift him above the rank and file and ensure recognition as a unique and distinctive personality. He has a complicated, but selfish and conceited view of himself in the world. Although he wants to connect and converse with the people that he deems to be worthy (attractive, intelligent, ambitious), he does not feel confident enough in himself to do so. He holds onto the fantasy that people will magically seek him out and things that he wants will fall into place, but in reality attempts to put on a façade of melancholy and disappointment. Catchingupat20 is egocentric and therefore quick to take offense. He is very sensitive and sentimental, but conceals this from all except those very close to him. He is prone to intense jealousy of others, and has difficulty in celebrating the success of others. He has few close friends, and rarely allows people get close to him. He tries to remain as neutral as possible. Often his sense of ego makes him irritable and intolerant of others.

Catchingupat20 has an unstable personality that varies from angry to sullen. He is not often visibly happy, and when he is, it is a fleeting experience. He is extremely neurotic and highly introspective to the point that he could exist for days at a time without speaking to another person. He sticks obstinately to his own point of view in the belief that this proves his independence and self-determination.  Often he is in a strained state of trying to calm down and unwind after periods of over-agitation which leave him listless and devoid of energy. He is constantly in search of peace and quiet, and becomes irritable if this is denied him. Catchingupat20 is very exacting in his emotional demands, especially during moments of intimacy, and is often left frustrated in his desire for perfection in relationships with friends and partners. Catchingupat20defiantly opposes any sort of restriction or opposition.

Due to his small size and athletic ineptitude, Catchingupat20 has a negative view of his own masculinity. He often feels inadequate in terms of height, strength, and stamina. Physically, he does not have much appealing characteristics. He has a goofy face, strange build, unattractive scars on his face and hands. 

Focus for Improvement:

Sociability: Willingness to talk to new people, begin and sustain conversation, carry more positive outlook and demeanor

Health & Fitness: Increase fitness level to remain competitive, play sports

Personal Development: Develop a personal style –dress, conversation, and opinion, stay focused on important tasks."


I have been back in LA for three days now, and things are alright so far. My parents have been hit pretty hard by the economy, especially when my Dad is hiding bankruptcy forms from my Mom in my old room and she has also made the decision not to decorate the house this year, put up a tree or buy any new Christmas CD's. This dearth of Christmas spirit seems to be pervasive everywhere I go. Maybe it's the economy or other issues, but I don't feel the energy or the warmth from other people that you usually feel during the holidays. I can't even remember the last time I wished somebody a happy holidays or vice versa. I'm going to start saying it now, and being sincere about it.

Every year I come back home from college, my relationship with my parents gets stranger. Technically, I am 'grown,' but I can't really admit to this since I am financially dependent on them. My Dad pays half of my rent, and my Mom pays my cell phone. I try not to ask them for money; most major purchases that I have to make (airline tickets, new computer, tires for the car), I make on my own. Luckily, I do have a job with a very generous boss and also have scholarship renewals that have sustained me, but I am not truly independent. Although I would like to think that they would not do this, I have to consider what life would be like were I to be cut off. If I tell my parents the truth, I don't know how they would take it at this point. I have to be prepared with what I would do if I was financially independent. I definitely don't think they would kick me out of the house or worse, but I know they won't be pleased. As an only child and son, whose father is a first born son, whose grandfather is a first born son, legacies have an unspoken performance. My father is also in competition with his younger brother, who has FOUR sons, and I sense that he is banking on my having grandchildren, for my uncle will unquestionably have them.

We are in a weird place, because we both are getting older, and I have to learn to change the context in which I see them. Although this is my 'home,' it is not my house anymore. It is my parents' house. As I have gotten older, they have become less imposing and more human to me. I used to see my Dad as this hard-working, steadfast, intelligent man that was passionate, opinionated, and independent. But I now see his faults glaring up at me, from being lax on financial matters, to expressing some frighteningly uninformed opinions on issues (he voted yes on Prop. 8, because he believed 2nd graders were going to have gay marriage in their TEXTBOOKS. I don't even remember them having traditional marriage in them, but whatever …). My Mom was the considerate one, who kept order and stability through a clean house, an open ear, and a dedication to common sense and practicality. Now, I see she is just as emotional, irrational, and imperfect in her views of the world as anyone else. She spends money on frivolous items and refuses to take a close look on things that don't go her way. I love and respect my parents, but maybe this is a part of growing up. Maybe, time away from home is making me smug and more critical of my parents. But maybe for the first time I am seeing them as they really are, with all their strengths and their weaknesses.

At home, I have yet to visit any of my old friends, because well I don't really have any here. Most of the people I still interact with aren't home yet, so for now I am going to focus on creating a workout plan, searching for the perfect internship this summer, working on activities for my extra-curriculars at school, and just going out and spending time in the city. And oh yeah, MEETING PEOPLE, particularly gay people. That's a big thing I need to work on. I have to think positively, and develop a comfort and ease with myself, and with interacting with people that I have just met. I have sworn myself off BGC and Craigslist for the interim, at least until I get to a place where I know that I could survive and build social networks for myself without it.


  1. atI hope you let loose on your friend in your assessment of him :) Just kidding. But that assessment was harsh. It may be true, but I'm sure that's not all of you. I have used people before, reached levels of selfishness that are very embarrassing, lied to people I claim to love, etc. If I wanted to focus on those things I could paint myself to be a very negative and undesirable person. But I know that I have many, many more qualities that overshadow my shortcomings, and that shortcomings are a part of figuring out life. Recognize your shortcomings, but focus on the good things. I hardly know anything about you, but I can tell you:

    — You were courageous enough as a young man to leave home and go cross country where you didn't know many folks

    — You're a college student who is doing what he has to do to put his life on the right course

    — You're smart enough for a scholarship, or at least are capable of making connections to get a scholarship

    — You're balancing school and work and are contributing significantly to your operating budget

    — You've got insight and intellectual curiosity about who you are and how that fits into this world

    — You're a great writer.

    It's always great to want to improve yourself, but start my recognizing that all is not broken. Holiday visits home were always very tense and emotionally traumatic for me, primarily due to my home life. You're definitely going to see your parents in a new light; try not to judge them or develop contempt because they're different than you remember.

    They're still the people you know, and you're still the son they know. And you'll still be that if you tell them you are gay. It may cause many hurt feelings initially, but I think your parents will ultimately appreciate that their only son decided to share his life honestly with them. Two of the most beautiful things I have learned in my coming out experiences are: 1.) We as gay people don't give other people enough credit that they are not so petty that they will hate us if we tell them our truth; and 2.) Never underestimate the capacity of people to grow, and expand their thinking in order to continue loving you.


  2. That wasn't the best assessment. But thank you for your kind and insightful words and Happy Holidays!