Whip It

For those of you who are familiar with (or at least the existance of) Willow Smith’s new song Whip My Hair…

This is amazcrazstupifunn

Well…

It’s something:

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Proper Grammar and Raw Nerves

I had this brilliant post formulated in my head for today, but I kept putting off writing it for no good reason whatsoever, and now I can not really remember exactly how it was going to go because I am just so tired, which is ironic (I think – unless it is not ironic but merely a coincidence – I am not really sure I know how to use the word ironic properly) because the post was going to be about how I am so tired.

I do not even mean physically tired, although I absolutely am that!  I am mentally tired; exhausted might even be the right word.  I am not even sure what to say.  Things have just been taking their toll on me.

The last time I attempted to go back to school, in 2002, I ended up in the deepest depression I have ever experienced.  I felt like I was under so much pressure and that there was so much for me to do with not enough time to get it all done.  When I started thinking about going back to school this time around I had very real concerns about whether this would happen again.  To be fair my depression was essentially undiagnosed at the time and I wasn’t under any sort of treatment for it.  These things are different now.

I went into this round of adult education with my eyes as wide open as I could make them and I have been very watchful and alert to the potential pit falls and road blocks I might encounter.  There have been many, sadly, and I’ve been very fastidious in my efforts at managing the situation, but recent weeks have brought many challenges.

My last post really stirred some things up inside me; more than I would have expected.  And now, on top of everything else, my emotions are — I was going to say that they are out of whack, but maybe they are in whack for the first time in a while, I don’t know.  I know it is new and that I am struggling to deal with it and I do not much like it.  I feel like one big raw nerve, not so much irritable, though I am irritated with some things, more so…

I said in my last post that I do not cry.  By and large, that is true, although I did well up a little when I reread the post after my awesomest and most loyal reader commented that, “Maybe you don’t cry… but I do, and I am.”  I feel like I could cry.  I feel like I should cry.  I feel like I need to cry and maybe if I did, I would feel so much better… But I do not and I do not know why.

There is a lot going on inside me that is taking its toll and there is a lot going on around me, things that are completely outside of my control, that are just rubbing my one big raw nerve all the more raw-er.

I’m not sleeping because…

Um, well…

Because I’m not going to bed, honestly.  I don’t have any problem sleeping once I go to bed, it is the getting to bed that is the problem.  So much to do and not enough time to do it all and almost like a child, I am afraid I will miss something if I go to bed.  Only instead of being afraid I’ll miss some experience or some fun activity, I am afraid I will not get “it” all done.  I’m afraid I’ll miss something.

And then I do go to bed, much later than I should have, and I sleep soundly, as far as I can tell, and when the alarm(s) go off in the morning, it is all I can do to drag myself out of bed and into the bathroom to get ready for work and then I am late for work (more so than we are all already accustomed too) and then I have to stay later and then I’m later getting home and the whole cycle starts again.  And so, yes, I am also physically exhausted.

Maybe the physical exhaustion is contributing to the mental exhaustion.  Maybe the mental exhaustion is contribibuting to the physical exhaustion.  Maybe it is the chicken and the egg scenario.

I know it is temporary. I know I will get through this, just like I always do.  I know that the class will end and I will have fewer stressors and things will get back to normal, such as normal was.

But Lord, I could use a nap!

It Gets Better?

I’ve struggled greatly with how and whether to write this.  I’m still not entirely sure what to say.  And I’m truly, if unrealistically concerned that somehow, this will be the post that I write that will be seen by more than the 6 or 8 people who usually read my blog and that somehow my words will be misconstrued as something more than they are.

By now we all know about the number of teens who have committed suicide recently after having been torturously bullied by their classmates for being, or being perceived to be, gay.  Most of you are probably aware of the “It Gets Better” campaign and the numerous videos that have been made of people, some in a position to know, some not, telling the youth of this world that life gets better and that they have so much to look forward to and that if they’ll just stick it out until they graduate they can have the life they want, free from bullying and torment, free to live openly and proudly and freely as who or what they determine for themselves that they are.

To that I say, “Don’t bet on it!”

My story is about more than just being a gay kid.  Hell, I didn’t even know I was a gay kid!  Nevertheless, I was bullied and beaten and name-called; abused by my classmates with words I prefer not to use, even as an example.  I didn’t know why they would call me that and I wondered what they thought they saw in me that I didn’t think I saw in myself that would prompt them to be so hurtful.

But it was more.  I wasn’t just called names because they perceived me to be gay.  I was tormented for many reasons.  And when I went home after school into what was supposed to be a safe place of refuge, I was tormented for entirely different reasons in new and terrible ways.  I was raised by a single mother.  While she was at work, I was at home alone with my older siblings, a brother five years older and a sister three years older.  My brother was abusive; he once broke my nose over the use of an alarm clock… MY alarm clock, that I bought, with MY own money.  That was the worst, but he abused me often, physically and emotionally.

What my mother did was worse.  In the case of all three of her children she “disciplined” us into submission so that long before hitting our teens, or even our “tweens” to use a modern term, there was no longer a need for “discipline.”  So instead of physical abuse, I suffered emotional abuse; bullying of its own kind.  I wanted to be close to her, she told me I was “in the way”.  I wanted to talk to her, she turned up the volume on the television.  I told her I was horribly depressed, she told me I wasn’t and “never say that again.”  I told her I didn’t have any friends and I was miserable, she told me “Well that’s your problem, isn’t it?”

I was raised in the “Bible Belt” of America where there’s a church on every street corner and if you’re politics aren’t ultra-conservative, you’re a sinner who will burn in hell, or so I was led to believe.  In the Bible Belt… where Christianity, acceptance and God’s perfect love abound, right?

I’d be lying if I said I never had feelings and urges I didn’t understand.  If I said I never felt desires that I was ashamed of.  I was embarrassed by my body and just plain scared of sexuality in general, fearful that I would cross some boundary into sinfulness; more fearful that I’d discover something about myself that I couldn’t handle.

When I was 12, I spent the night at a friend’s house and while he was using the bathroom, with the door open, he asked me if I was in puberty yet.  He told me that he had a hair and then he wanted me to come see it. I didn’t want to because I would have to look at his penis to see it.

When I was 17, I was hopelessly in love with my best friend, I just didn’t know it then.  I spent the night at his house one time, and more than once during that night, I wished something would “accidentally” happen before immediately catching myself and feeling ashamed, embarrassed to look him in the eye over something he didn’t even know.

My mother told me repeatedly throughout my life that being gay was a sin, it wasn’t something that I could accept about myself.  And that belief was only reinforced every Sunday and Wednesday night at church.  And do you think that bullying and hateful speech was limited to school?  It wasn’t!  I got it at church too.  At church! Children and teenagers running around a very highly reputed, internationally respected institution yelling “F____t!” at the top of their lungs and aimed at one specific person.  Me.  Yeah, this was a safe and loving, welcoming environment.

In every circle of my life I was reminded almost daily that to be a Christian, to be acceptable in the eyes of God and man, I had to be straight.  I had to grow up and fall in love, and get married (to a woman) and have 2.5 children with a dog and a white picket fence.  I could never admit to anyone that I didn’t want any of that.

I was miserable every minute of every day.  I wanted to be out of that situation at every turn.  I went to bed every night and prayed I would wake up as someone else.  I drifted off to sleep at night begging God to let me off the hook and take me in my sleep.  I never cried; it wasn’t safe to do so. I still don’t cry.

And if I’m to be completely honest, I tried to kill myself, more than once.  I was terrified of pain, and completely unsure of where I believed my soul would go if I killed myself so, no, I didn’t try very hard.  I buried my face in my pillow and hoped I’d “accidentally” suffocate in my sleep.  I don’t suppose I ever really believed it would work and maybe on some level deep down, I didn’t want it to, but I was sincere in my attempts nonetheless.

The one thing that kept me going, the one hope, the one belief that got me out of bed everyday and kept me moving in my life was that one day life would get better.  I would move on from this place.  I would live on my own, in my own place with my own feelings and beliefs and the real world of an adult would be a better place.  I would be OK.  I believed that because I had to believe something would change.

Twelve years ago, I moved to arguably the most liberal, inclusive, welcoming, accepting place in this country.  I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area ever since.  I have worked the last eight and a half years for a company with a sterling reputation for diversity, inclusiveness, acceptance and equality.  We rate 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Buying for Equality Guide which means we have full domestic partner benefits, nondiscrimination practices in hiring and, as a corporation, actively supports public equality.  And still “we” are not perfect.

Despite the community in which I live, this is still a nation of in-equality.  We are still a discriminating people.  Our institutions still bully.  Though things are still in a state of flux, as of this moment, I can not get married.  Even if I could, I couldn’t reap the federal financial benefits of being married.  Up until a week ago, I could serve in the armed forces if I wanted, but I couldn’t tell anybody the truth about myself while I did it.  My status as a homosexual man isn’t recognized as a protected minority even though, statistically, the proof is irrefutable, and as such I am not entitled to the protections afforded to minority populations.  You can call it what you like; I call it bullying.

Oh sure, some of the circumstances have changed, but many of them have not.  I still don’t feel safe to reveal myself to the people around me.  I still don’t have the confidence to be open and free in the world I live.  Every day there are stories in the news of discrimination in the world.

It’s not fair to say that I’m in this place because I’m gay.  And it’s not fair to say that gay teenagers today have everything in their favor except that they happen to be gay.  My story is not unique.

So when I hear these messages, telling kids “It Gets Better“, I have to ask: Does it?  Really?

I don’t have the answers.  I wish I did.  I know it’s not suicide!

I also know it’s not false hope and unreliable promises of a better tomorrow.

Trying Something New

It’s 4:30 and, at least in theory, it’s almost time to go home, but I’ve been itching to write.  I didn’t know what to write though and all the traditional advice keeps going through my head:

“Just start writing and the words will come”

“Write about what you know”

Something, something, something “…bits and pieces.”

OK so that last one wasn’t really so much traditional advice as it was me thinking about how some people just write little snippets, almost bullet points about their day, lives, experiences or whatever.  I’m not really good at snippets and to me bullet points are outlines just waiting to be expounded upon.  Brevity is not my friend.  But let’s see…

~~~~~

I’m thinking Jafet and Hashima know something is up, maybe feel some of the same things I do.  When I got to school Monday night, they were both already there and parked in a different area than we all normally park.  They weren’t in the classroom when I got there though.  They didn’t really give me the cold shoulder when they came in, they just didn’t really talk to me much.  Then again, I didn’t really talk to them much either.  Wednesday night was more of the same.  We had our first skills test and while people were being tested the rest of us were out in the hall practicing other skills (or at least we were supposed to be.)  Jafet was “all business” talking only about the test we had that night.  Hashima was with another group all together.  At the end of the night when we were all parting ways in the parking lot, Angelina, another person from our study group was getting into her car and before she sat down she said, “By everybody.  See you this week-end.”

I don’t know if there is a gathering planned that I wasn’t invited to, or if she’s making an assumption that we’ll get together and study again.  Not a big loss, just feels weird, like things are unresolved…  I suppose things like this usually stay that way though don’t they.

~~~~~

I took Monday off to rest and review for the test Monday night so coming back to work Tuesday was a bit of a shock, especially when I got here to find out that both of the Department Secretaries were out of the office and I had to cover for both of them and do my own job, including catching up from my absence on Monday.  So when Wednesday rolled around, it didn’t feel like a Wednesday and I actually forgot that I had to leave at 5:00 to get to class.  I left at 5:15 and got to school with about 10 minutes to spare.

Last night was our first practical assessment over maintaining the airway, again the details about this aren’t important, just know that it’s among the most important things for us to know how to do, ’cause if you can’t breathe, none of the other life-saving measures I might take will matter.  This is the skill that our teacher told us from the beginning we get one shot at and if we don’t get it right on the first try, we’re out of the class.  No pressure there!

I arrived to hear Jafet and some of the other students discussing some changes to the procedure as we’d been practicing it.  They were also discussing the results of the mid-term.  Angelina told me that I got the highest score in the class (a 91%).  Then she told me three other people were right there with me but she could only remember two names.  She said she got this information directly from Johaun the TA.  Later I mentioned to Johaun that I thought it was interesting that other people knew my grade but that I hadn’t heard it, nor had there been any indication that I was going to find out.  He told me he had not told Angelina any grades and that I had gotten 92%.  Whatever.  So I passed.  That’s all that matters.

~~~~~

Angelina was the first person to do the Airway Practical and when she came back several minutes later she said it was easy; that it was nothing like we had practiced but that it was easier than that and we didn’t need to stress out about it.  I wasn’t really stressed about it, I just wanted to get it over with.  Our teacher had put so much pressure on us and on the outcome of this test, I just wanted it to be done.

After Angelina, the teacher decided to test two people at a time and he kept coming out into the hall.  He looked right at me, more than once and then selected other people.  I knew he was saving me for last because he loves to fuck with me.  I hate him.  Two people who I am friendly with failed the test.  Without getting into too much detail that doesn’t matter, Cole failed because he measured an oral airway as if it were a nasal airway, a stupid mistake that he realized right away was dumb.  Cole is the smartest guy in the class in my opinion and he knows how to do Airway, he should have been given more of a shot than that.  David let the teacher shake his confidence.  He was doing things right and the teacher asked him if he was sure about how he measured the nasal airway.  He changed his mind when he should have stuck to his guns and the teacher failed him.  At the end of the night the teacher called the two of them back in the room and said, “I don’t normally make exceptions, so what do you guys want me to do?”  He told them he’d let them know by Friday whether he’ll let them come back Monday for another shot.

At the end of the evening the teacher came out into the hall and asked us how many of us still hadn’t taken the assessment.  I and three other people raised our hands.  He said, “OK, you four will do your test on Monday.  Everybody go home.”  I was annoyed.  I thought, Shit!  What time is it? I looked at my watch but it was only 8:55.  I was (am) livid!  According to the catalog, my class is supposed to be over at 9:20 but he has kept us there till nearly 11:00 more than once because he can’t keep his act together long enough to conduct an effective, efficient class and get our weekly tests done and then he sends us home 25 minutes early with only 4 more people to test?!?  It wouldn’t have taken more than 10 minutes each if that and I would have gladly stayed 15 extra minutes to get all the tests done.  My hope is that he had every intention of giving Cole and David another shot and so he’s going to do the six airway practical exams on Monday night.  He just thinks he has to be a hard ass so he has to let them stew about it.  If he’s going to let them come back than I can understand, and don’t mind as much having to wait an extra five days.  If he doesn’t let them come back then I’ll be pissed.

~~~~~

The longer the night went on, the more people started asking each other – and me, –  “Did you do yours?”, the more frustrated and annoyed I became.  I knew he was going to make me the last one.  About 8:30, when he pulled yet another duo of people in there after looking at me, Angelina said, “You’ll be fine.  Don’t worry.”  I said, “I honestly don’t care” and I realized, I meant it.  Of course I don’t want to fail, and I’m not going to drop the class but I honestly don’t care if I fail.  I do not like this teacher, I do not like the people he’s working with, I don’t really even like the people in my class very much and I’m tired of being in this situation.

If I fail the test and I’m expelled from the class, I won’t be devastated.  I won’t be angry (I might be a little angry).  I won’t cry about it.  I’d probably be relieved.  I’d be happy to be out of this situation, and then I’d go home and finish reading the text book and learning all the stuff, and then I’d take the class again next term with a different instructor (Maybe at a different school) and try again.

~~~~~

Today we had fire drills at work.  We did half the building and we’ll finish tomorrow.  We had fire fighters with us but only two (usually four) and they weren’t cute.  My Fire fighter was not here today and if my stalker calculations are correct, he doesn’t work on Friday ever (must be nice) and so he won’t be here tomorrow.  Oh well.  Maybe the third shift will be better.

Well, there you go.  I guess my bits and pieces plan didn’t work out so well.  Maybe next time.  (But don’t count on it.)

Half-Way

Gosh, I hardly even know where to begin.  I’ve got so much to say and hardly any time to say it.  It’s been 13 days since my last post and if you’ve been jonesing to hear from me half as much as I’ve been jonesing to write, well, that’s a hell of a lot of jonesing going on!

I had my mid-term exam last night in my EMT class.  It seemed to be pretty easy and the teacher said he didn’t think there was any way anyone in the class could fail so I don’t think I have anything to worry about.  Tomorrow is the first of our skills tests.  It’s a one on one test so I don’t know when I will do mine or if he’ll be able to get them all in in one night, but I’ll be glad when it’s finished.

The test is over managing the airway (assisted ventilations, supplementary oxygen, airway adjuncts, etc.)  If you don’t know what those things are, don’t worry about it.  It’s not important for this story.  What is important is, it’s a pass/fail situation with only one shot to get it right.  I’ve practiced it many times and I feel confident that I know what to do and will pass, but still I won’t relax until it’s done.

This last week has been a bit stressful for  me emotionally.  It started with the instructor “reminding” us, one week before the mid-term that there are four chapters that will be on the mid-term that we never discussed or tested over in class.  I had planned on using the review week to review the information we’d studied so far and get a head start on the rest of the reading for the year.  No such luck.  In spite of that, I sort of put off the reading until the last minute.  Really shouldn’t have done that.

Friday night, I got a call, around 10:30 at night, from one of the guys in my “study group”, Jafet.  He was studying at his house with another person from my group, Hashima.  Jafet and Hashima were friends before this class started and I thought I was becoming friends with them.  Jafet called me to ask me to explain something that they didn’t understand.  (Apparently, I’m the know it all of the class.  A moniker I do not wear proudly.)  I answered Jafet’s question the best I was able and then I hung up to go back to my own reading.  Half an hour later, my phone rang again.  Once again, Jafet and Hashima wanted me to explain something they didn’t understand.  I tried to tell them where to find the diagram that depicted what they were asking about and they didn’t want to look they just wanted me to explain it.  I explained it the best I could, though they complained about how detailed I had gotten, and then before we hung up, Jafet asked, “What time are we getting together tomorrow?”

“Um, we’re not,” I answered.  “The whole group is getting together on Sunday.”  (A whole big bunch of the class was getting together to study.)

“Are you going to that?” Jafet asked.

“Yes.”

“Good, me too.  What about tomorrow?  What are you doing tomorrow.”

“My laundry.  I told you, I’m going over to my friend’s house to hang out and do two weeks worth of laundry.”

“What time are you gonna be done,” he pressed.  “Let’s get together, I need help.”

I told him I could probably come over in the evening but wasn’t sure.  He told me to come over at 8 and the last thing he said before we hung up was, “Bring some questions for me.  I need a lot of help.”

What about me? I thought as I hung up the phone.  I need to study too.  I still have 150 pages to read.

I actually finished my laundry fairly early and Michelle was going to her parents house in Berkeley while her step-sister is in town, so it sort of worked out OK.  I texted Jafet when I was leaving Michelle’s house to find out if he still wanted me to come over and to see if it was OK for me to come earlier.

I arrived at his house at 7:40 and made my way into the family room to start studying.  Jafet, for his part, wandered aimlessly around the house for 20 minutes.  He called Hashima and she told him she’d be over in half an hour.  “So what questions have you got for me?” he asked.

“None,” I told him, “I’ve been doing my laundry.”  For nearly an hour, we went through the work book and tried to study.  I’d ask him questions and he’d answer.  He’d ask me questions and I’d answer.  I’d ask him questions and he’d make a phone call.  I’d ask him the question again and he’d get up and walk out of the room.  I’d ask him the question again and he’d start telling me a story.  And then at 8:45 he told me he had to run to the store.

“You’re going to the store?  Now?” I asked in disbelief.

“Yeah.  I’ll be right back,” he told me.  Hashima still hadn’t arrived and eventually it became clear that she wasn’t coming at all because she couldn’t get her daughter to sleep.

“If you’re not back by 9:00, I’m leaving,” I told him in my most stern voice.

He chuckled, “What?”

“If you’re not back by 9:00, I’m leaving,” I repeated.  “I didn’t give up valuable study time to come over here and help you so you could go grocery shoping while I sit in your house.”

He handed me a bag of mediocre peanut butter filled pretzels (which I obviously ate), like it was going to keep me there.  “I’m not going grocery shopping.  I’ll be right back.  I’ll take the mustang,” he told me like that was going to make a difference.

“If you’re not back by 9:00, I’m leaving,” I said again, “and the clock is ticking.”

“OK, OK” he told me before wandering around the house looking for his keys.

Ten minutes later (at 8:57) he wandered in through the back door with three snack sized bags of chips and a pack of cigarettes, in his hand.

Newly nic’ed and gorging on spicy funyans (ick) he sat down and re-focused on the task at hand…  for a little while.

We went through a couple chapters of the workbook, “Becoming an EMT”, “Well-being of an EMT”, “Lifting and Moving” and his ADD kicked in again.  He began telling stories and making jokes and disrupting the process.

Throughout the evening, Jafet’s husband Bryan was in the front room watching a movie, on surround sound, with the volume at movie theater level.  Twenty minutes after Jafet got hom from the store a friend of theirs came in.  She was apparently going to spend the night in their guest bedroom.

About 9:20 I watched as Jafet poured himself, what I was certain was not his first “cocktail” of the night (can you really call a cup of ice with vodka and Diet 7-Up a cocktail?)  This, I have learned, is regular behavior for Jafet, because why wouldn’t you drink vodka while you’re studying for a test?

Not long after that the trouble started.  Technically, maybe I started it, I don’t know.  You be the judge.

Jafet, I have learned, grew up in the Bronx, New York.  He is Puerto Rican of descent and with the exception of a fairly stereotypical “lilt” to his voice he has an accent reminiscent of J-Lo.  He comes from a large family.  He talks a lot.  He tells a lot of outlandish stories.  And he’s very opinionated and out spoken.

Over the weeks that I’ve been getting to know him and Hashima, I’ve heard both of them use the N-word on multiple occasions.  Hashima, as you might have guessed by her name is black.  (In my opinion, that doesn’t matter, and doesn’t make it OK for her to use that word.)  I’ve heard them use the word many times and every time, I’ve bristled but I’ve kept my mouth shut.  On Saturday, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any more.

I don’t honestly remember what I said to start the conversation, but I told him that I really dislike that word.  He asked me why and I told him it was hate speech.  I told him I didn’t believe that was his intent behind it but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a hateful word and I hate to hear it used.  He went on to tell me that it’s OK to use the N-word if you are one.  I told him I didn’t agree with that, and even so he isn’t.  He told me he was and proceeded to show me camera phone pictures of old grainy photographs that could’ve been anything and told me they were his older siblings.  Both of the pictures were of noticeably black people, with stereotypical black features, i.e., the lips, the noses, the hair texture.  Jafet possesses none of those features.  He looks latin through and through.

He told me that, of course, I couldn’t get away with using the N-word because I’m white, but that he can.  About this time, Jafet’s husband, who is as white as I am, walked into the room and Jafet said, “He Bryan, how does my family use the word N____?”

Bryan paused before he said, “N____, N____, N____!” He chuckled.  Jafet Laughed.  I looked him straight in the eye without a hint of amusement.

Jafet laughed some more and said, “See! N____, N____, N____!  It’s no big deal.”

“It’s a big deal to me,” I told him.  He proceeded to try to convince me that it was OK.  He went on and on about how they use it in his family all the time.  “It’s not uncommon to look at somebody across the table, call them on their bull shit and say, n____ please!”  More laughter from him.  More lack of amusement from me.

Then he pulled the, “Using it takes the power away” card to make his argument.  He went on to mention other words that people have used through time to refer to minorities in a derogatory manner.  A C-word used for asian people, an S-word which, to be honest, I don’t even know what group it refers to, that’s how far removed I am from that kind of thinking.  And then he asked me, “Have you ever been called a fag?”  Of course I have “How did you respond to it?”  I didn’t.  “I always ask them ‘how’d you know?'”

I reminded him that it was still more hate speech and that his choice to react that way doesn’t change that fact, and I believe, it doesn’t take the sting away.  He got back to the topic of the N-word and used it several more times, giggling all along the way.  Finally, I spoke up.

“Look,” I explained, “I’m not telling you that you can’t use that word.  I’m just telling you that it offends me and I wish you wouldn’t.  But now you’re just going out of your way to say it, on purpose, because I told you it offends me and that’s just not funny!”

And then he said it, the one thing that, the more I think about it, the more it upsets me, “This is fun.  It’s fun fucking with you.  I’ve been waiting for this.  Hashima told me to fuck with you a long time ago, but I told her no.”

I left shortly after that and I think I’m done.  I’m disappointed, to be sure.  I wanted to like Jafet.  I thought I did.  I wanted the three of us to be friends even after this class is over and for a little while I thought Jafet and I had bonded a little bit.  Now, I don’t think so.

~~~~~~

The instructor who teaches my class, as I have mentioned before is an ass hole, though to be fair he has mellowed out a lot now that half the class (and half the term) is gone.  From the beginning he has pushed some major buttons in me.  If I wasn’t very careful, he could have retriggered some serious self doubt and derogatory emotions that I used to put on myself and only recently have I been able to quiet those thoughts.  Without some serious vigilance on my part, my teacher could have re-ignited those fires and sent me in a tale spin that might well have had me failing the class and crashing head first into a bottle or the pharmaceutical bin (antidepressants), or both.

For seven weeks, I’ve been so diligently monitoring those experiences and feelings and activities, that I completely failed to notice two other serious pit-falls.  In my desperate need to be liked and approved of and validated by others, I have compromised myself.  Not my integrity or my morals so much, just my self, my personality, my me-ness.  I have gone along with things that I knew deep inside I shouldn’t.  I accepted situations and responsibilities that I didn’t want to accept.

And more importantly, I ignored my instincts.  I pushed away that small voice that guides us; the one we would all be better off if we would listen to more often.  The one that told me, you can’t trust him.  His stories are too much.  He’s a liar. The voice that told me, he’s an alcoholic and you should stay away. The voice that told me, he’s a drama queen.  You’ll never be happy getting drawn into his world

But he’s close to my age, I reasoned.  He’s gay and he likes me and I don’t have a lot of gay friends, I told myself.  This could be an opportunity for me, I hoped.

But he’s bad news and will only hurt you in the end.  Turns out that voice knows a thing or two.  I should’ve listened.