I leave to go back to LA a week from tomorrow, and I have no idea what I'm going to do at home. I do want to see my family, and visit some familiar places, but outside of that, there is nothing there for me. For the longest time I never really felt connected to anybody or anything there. I went to a high school that was in the middle of the most superficial and overhyped section of the city, the Westside. My classmates were the children of high powered doctors, lawyers, executives and producers. They were cool enough, and I can honestly say that nobody made my time there particularly difficult, but looking back I don't know how much I got out of going to school there. I was dealing with my own issues concerning sexuality and masculinity, and I think these issues made defining and identifying myself with anything at the time extremely difficult. Worse (or better) yet, the school had no real cliques. I mean, there was a clear social hierarchy and people had certain friends they spent the most time with, but I seemed to just exist outside of that. The few people I did identify myself, I still shielded myself from. I was afraid of people thinking that I was gay, or just boring. Although they probably wouldn't have cared about the first, the second seemed to be plainly obvious to me.
I can remember going off campus to play tennis one time with two friends. Later, we had planned on going to hang out at his house. The courts were just down the street from campus, and I had brought out my old racket to play a few sets after school. When we started playing, I couldn't return the ball. As I missed ball after ball, this great sense of anxiety began to grow within me, and it must have been obvious because my friend eventually said "Listen dude, you could just go back to campus and hang out while (Blank) and I finish up the game." And I do what I naturally do in a situation where my sense of inadequacy turns into intense social discomfort, I lied. I faked a phone call from my mom, and said I had to go back to catch the bus home. They didn't seem to think much of it, but I was so ready to get out of there. Looking back, that was such a minor situation, but it strained and separated me from really becoming friends with the both of them, at least in my mind. It's amazing how the smallest thing affected me then. I should have been about to just shrug it off and chill out. But more often than not, I find myself to be rebuffed, sabotaging myself with blind eyes.
So, yesterday, as I went to classes tired as hell from being awake all night thanks to OLDGIRL's new bird (yeah, she has no money for gas, but enough for ANIMALS), I had to think about how fast this semester, and college are going. I feel that freshman year was far away, but it really wasn't, just 2 years ago. 2 years ago I arrived at this school pissed at the world and frustrated with myself. I had my laptop stolen, gotten lost in a somewhat unsafe area, been ridiculed by my RA, spent a harrowing month on the dorm step team, and survived as a first-year biology major. My question was what do I have to show for it? I see many of the friends and familiar faces from then, and I can tell how much they have changed. They have grown up, done more than I have, and grown more into the people they will be. Can I say the same for myself? Do I see the same positive changes for me? I don't know, but I have to remain optimistic and hope for the best.
I was talking to PRIVATEPLAN over the phone this weekend, and the things he had said were just almost too heavy for me. He talked about his experience "In the Life" and how they have made him bitter, cold and sardonic, and generally depressed about his life and chances of meeting a life partner. In his voice, I could hear his discouragement and desperation. He said that he was no longer himself, lost some of the jovial and better parts of himself that he used to know. I was shocked and saddened to hear him say that he even contemplated ending it all. He said that he only looked for people that he could control; those who may be physically attractive, but emotionally immature, so that he could cut them out of his life before they hurt him. I don't know how qualified I was to respond to his own hurt and experience, but I tried too. I look up to him, like a big brother than I never had. To hear him say some of these things is disheartening to be sure, and makes me afraid about what is out there for me. I know that we are two very different people, especially in that he was a lot more 'active' than I at this age. But I feel that we are alike in certain ways, and I am worried about him. To hear somebody you admire admit their personal issues is hard to take, but I have to realize that he is human. Just because somebody in everyday life exudes a sense of confidence and calm, doesn't mean they aren't dealing with their own problems. Maybe something I said was adequate enough to elicit a response from him, but at this point I just don't know.
The people and things that I thought I was familiar with, I find that I am not. I was watching an episode of Home Improvement, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas had returned home from a trip to Costa Rica to find out that life at home did not cease while he was gone. All of a sudden, he found things had changed to a level of unfamiliarity that made him feel separated from the rest of his family. As I get older, and spend more and more time away from the life that defined me for 18 years, I feel like Jonathan. I know that it's important for me to retain connections to family and friends at home, because they are people that I care about vice versa. These people and experiences shape who I am and will continue to do so. But I so easily block out, separate and isolate myself from others, that I just don't know how to hold the connection together. For now, I'm going to focus on studying for finals and getting an internship for next semester and summer. LA in a week, and it's cold THERE to.
Listening: "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga