Sometimes things are going to happen.
Sometimes things might happen.
Sometimes? Sometimes things don’t happen at all, or, at least, not the way they are planned.
Actually, it’s usually that last one, but that’s not what I’m thinking about.
Sometimes, I plan to write about something, but I want to wait until the thing happens, or until the thing is over and the whole story exists to be told. And then because I want to wait to talk about the thing, THE THING is all I can think about. Any and all other THINGs are absent from my mind when I’m trying to think of something to write about and then I go days and days without writing anything…
And then THE THING happens, and I’m too busy to write about it and it never gets written about anyway.
Sometimes, the thing that I’m thinking about – and by “thinking”, I think it safe to say, I mean “obsessing” – is something that, maybe, I shouldn’t write about at all.
I am, apparently, an inherently negative person. I know, that’s shocking! Apparently, it comes with, or is the cause of, or is in some way or other partnered with clinical depression to be, well, not negative, exactly, but fatalistic? negativistic? doomsday thinking? I’m not sure really…
Three weeks ago, I went for my regular therapy appointment. I sat down on the couch and I said something like this: “So! I’m sure this is completely inappropriate, but who cares. And I’m sure you’re going to say, ‘no’, but I figure it can’t hurt… But you can say no. It’s OK. But anyway… I’m having a birthday party next Saturday and I would be glad for you to come. You know. If you wanted.” (There’s nothing like being clear and concise and confident… And that was nothing like it.)
She said no, of course. And I wasn’t the least bit surprised. She said something along the lines of it being something she can’t do in her role in our relationship and then she wanted to talk about what it would be like for me if she were there among my friends. I admitted that it would be a little strange and while I trusted that she had the good sense not to say the wrong thing I did wonder how she would handle the “So, how do you know Kevin?” question. I told her that while our relationship is different from any of my other relationships, she knows me better than pretty much anyone else that would be there (including Michelle really). And while our relationship is, by design, kind of one-sided, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to extend the invitation.
She told me, as I knew she would, that she could not attend the party, but that she definitely wanted to hear about it when we met again, which would be after the party. Our conversation revealed that this was my first ever birthday party, that I’ve never had one before because my family didn’t do birthday parties, and as an adult I didn’t believe I had anyone to invite and/or that anyone would show up if I did. She thought the fact that I was having the party was a good thing, some sort of progress for me, but also an opportunity for a lot of anxiety, and these “feelings” she keeps talking about, to come up and so she would want to know about the party afterward.
Last week I went in, sat down, took a deep breath and she asked me, “So tell me about the party.” We talked in great detail about the party. What went on. Who was there. The good turn out of people (about 15.) The interactions. The conversations. The music (I made an iTunes playlist.) The cake. I also told her about the myriad disappointments that occurred. All the people who never acknowledged the Evite. The number of people who declined the invitation. The handful of people who I really wanted to be there who weren’t. The deviled eggs that I looked forward to for two weeks which got knocked over on the way to the party and were inedible.
Deb had a number of favorable comments that, proof-in-the-puddin’, I don’t remember, about my handling of the situation and the “progress I have made” and I, of course, discounted most of what she had to say. She told me that she had all this confidence and faith in me and my ability to do… whatever, and I keep telling her “I can’t”.
I asked, “I said ‘I can’t?'” (I didn’t say I can’t.)
“Well, OK. Not, ‘I can’t’. ‘Yeah, but'”, she told me. (Yeah, that I said… a lot.)
I don’t know why I’m predisposed to seeing the negative side of everything. I mean, I know we all do that to some extent, but it seems like most people at least see things equally positive and negative. My birthday party post was so short, with just the pictures, largely because, as fun as it was and as much as I enjoyed the people that were there, I couldn’t think of anything to say besides “I wish that…”
What I wish, is that I was less like that and more able to take things as they come. I wish I was more confident and able to feel good about myself, who and what I am, without constantly having to worry about what other people are going to think.
This week-end, I found out something. Something that I already suspected. Something that doesn’t surprise me, and yet blew me away. And something about which, despite all the reasons I should feel differently…
Michelle’s nephew Curtis graduated from High School on Friday. His Graduation was Friday, Saturday I went to Michelle’s for my bi-weekly laundry extravaganza. Saturday night, Michelle’s family had a barbecue to celebrate Curtis Graduation. And on Sunday, at the butt-crack– actually, before the butt-crack of dawn, Michelle flew to Tulsa (with strict instructions NOT to call my mother) for two weeks, for work. When I arrived at Michelle’s house on Saturday she told me that she would be leaving me to go to the Barbecue and asked if I was going to come over when I finished my laundry. I asked her who was going to be there. If they were having a party for Curtis and his just-graduated-from-high-school friends, I wasn’t interested, but if it was a family thing than I would try to stop by.
Michelle told me, “I think it’s just going to be family. Maybe one or two of his friends will stop by. I think Jonathan will be there.”
I enjoy every opportunity I get to torment Michelle because deep down inside I am an evil bastard. I asked, “Who’s Jonathan? Is that his boyfriend?”
While continuing to stir the shrimp scampi she was making, part of our traditional, Kevin’s-birthday-meal, she chuckled and said, “yeah. Sort of. Until he upgrades.”
Did anyone else just hear the record screech to a halt? No? That was just me? OK. Moving on.
I let it go for a few minutes so we could finish the conversation we were having. and then I asked her to clarify. “So… Were you just… going along with what I said? Or is Jonathan actually Curtis’s boyfriend? Is he really gay?”
I used to jab at Michelle every so often with the idea that Curtis was gay. I’ve suspected it since I met him – when he was four years old. Michelle always got defensive and said he wasn’t, which is what made it so fun, naturally. Once gain, evil bastard! Now she’s talking about it like it’s not big deal, which so help me, it shouldn’t be, but daaaamn!
Apparently Curtis and Jonathan have known each other for years. Curtis was in a special program at his high school that’s geared toward performing arts and not to invoke the stereotype, but there’s a reason why stereotypes exist. Curtis, purports himself to be “bisexual”, but like so many people (especially gay men), I’m not sure I believe such a thing exists.
So here’s the part I should be ashamed of…
Curtis is 17. He’ll be 18 in August. Already at 17, he’s figured out (or thinks he has) that he’s “bisexual”. Already at 17, he’s got a boy friend. At 36, I’ve never had a boyfriend. Already at 17, he’s come out to his family, and apparently had no qualms about doing so. At 36, I’m pretty sure I’ll never come out to my family.
So I’ll admit it… Yes, I’m jealous, or maybe envious, is the right word. Is there really a difference?
If I weren’t an inherently negative person, then surely I would see how wonderful all of that is. I would be proud of him for not denying himself. I would be happy for him that he had the strength and the courage to come out to his family. I would be proud of his family for creating an environment where he could come out and for being so accepting of and loving to him.
I would be.