Wow. What's especially interesting - and what makes me really fucking happy that I've written it all down to this day, is that now that I've been in this relationship with Mike, I've told myself that all of those old crushes I had when I was younger really meant nothing - and while they did in retrospect (more or less) mean very little in terms of actual relationships, I've gone so far to convince myself that nothing really happened between us - there was never truly an us to begin with, or so I thought - that it was all me being paranoid and weird and stalker-ish or creepy, etc etc. Because how you can live a rational life and believe that people you've felt strong emotions for may have actually felt those emotions towards you as well but were much more afraid than you ever have been to be honest about them?
Maybe all along, I've looked at it wrong. In fact, at this point in my life I know I have. Mike was - is - the one to make me feel human, which is probably the greatest gift he has ever given me - and I know that sounds sort of sad or weird out of context, but I grew up feeling inhuman for a long period of my life. I considered myself somehow sociopathic, even though I really had a lot of emotions - I just believed that since they were all the wrong emotions, they weren't valid, they weren't real.
I guess what I mean to say is Mike nearly always validates my emotions. Even when I'm going off on some ridiculously absurd rant about something stupid, or when I just say weird random shit to be funny. Of course, these days he listens patiently to my rants and asks me to please think of it another way, and if I say something too weird or random, he just looks at me funny or laughs and says, "Honey, stop being so weird."
And I am weird, arguably pretty fucking weird. But I don't give a shit anymore about being pretty weird, I've grown way past that insecurity. I guess I've come to realize that people liked, even loved my weirdness, my slight off-step. And when I read these old entries, these cataloging of events where the only true embellishments are my sometimes overwrought emotions - I realize that one could never see what happened between me and the various crushes I had in my earlier life as anything but an emotional connection that could've lead somewhere. I suppose the blindness of being within my hetero-normative family didn't help things when I was younger - I mean, I guess it sort of annoys me sometimes to think back about how difficult it was to feel much emotional validation at all from my family, but who cares - they didn't know much better, they truly didn't understand me, I was the strange egg with a completely different emotional set than anything they had seen before with the other siblings.
Looking over this journal entry, realizing that what Thomas Krueger honestly truly said showed that he really was someone a lot like me a few years prior to that particular journal entry - it doesn't make me feel so bad about having those younger crushes, at least it doesn't make me feel like there could be no way those were really reciprocated. It also makes me wonder if I hadn't been so decisive myself after his fear of the word, if maybe he would've been more okay with whatever was actually between us (we were pretty close friends throughout that summer, at least up until that point.) I became a bit of a jerk as soon as I referred to anything between us being in the past tense.
Why did I do that? Why did I decide right then it had to be this all or nothing sort of thing? I wasn't even strong enough to really come out on my own, it took my mom's gay boss' suggestion of my homosexuality to drive the question from my mother's lips and to bring about my vague "yeah" sort of answer back to her.
I mean, not that I could've coaxed the German guy from his closet or anything - in fact, he did give the question serious thought after that - which is really much more than what I deserved after I acted like I didn't care about him anymore because of his fear of a single word, of what it means. He was very much like me in that whole ridiculous fear of "gay" as in "flamboyant, flouncy" etc etc. I don't really fear that idea anymore - not that I act particularly more flamboyant (although my older brother would supposedly beg to differ) - in fact, most people still believe I'm straight until proven guilty - but if someone suggested I had any sort of 'gay' attributes, I'd take it as a compliment in this day and age.
I remember also how that ended - I told him that I had only ever just really cared about him - and that was the truth. I was so scared of sex then, of anything sexual at all. Of course I thought about it, and there were many things I wanted to try - yes, with him as well of course. But I needed to feel emotionally validated more than anything else in the world.
And he did do that for me, so I can't hate him for whatever happened between us. At the end of the summer, when he decided he wasn't 'gay' - he did tell me he did care for me, that he did love me. He even went so far as to use the word "Love" - I may've been drunk - so wasted I was pouring bottles of liquor over my head only minutes before, but I remembered that much, which is probably what really drew me over the edge. He just didn't think he was 'gay.' I guess he was afraid of the word and the stigma attached to it. He was probably just as afraid as I was of other guys. Other men. But he wanted to be close to me, and I wanted to be close to him. We slept on two sides of a wall during our stay in the cabins that summer, and the metaphor couldn't have been any more painful, for either of us I'm pretty sure. Even if he did have a 'beard' at the time, a sophisticated English girl who sort of resembled and sounded like a chihuahua. An English chihuahua. She was a serious Catch U Next Tuesday, even before they became their own version of the Beckhams. I mean, she headed the modeling classes, she kind of had to fit the bill.
I remember the last image that some of the counselors had of me when I came back that last day to give a ride to one of the female counselors to the airport. I had gone to the Indie club Bang the night before with my cousin and some friends, and was still in my tightly-fitting, short-sleeve Strokes shirt, and felt pretty lame wearing it. I decided to quickly change out of it and into a boring, solid color long sleeve mock turtle-neck shirt. Two of the male counselors sort of watched me from afar as I did this from the opened driver's seat of my old Corolla, and I could hear one of them saying something to the effect of, "That's how they all are" - which made me almost start laughing my ass off and then drive away, leaving them all in the dust. What was especially surreal about that moment was that the one saying it was the same guy who was instrumental in keeping me from killing myself in a drunken, self-loathing rage only a few days before. He seemed to constantly be trying to understand me, and I was his friend but he kept me at arm's length as a friend because I guess he could figure out that I was gay - but it wasn't like I was even attracted to him, I just thought of him as a good friend. He seemed to think I was trying to prove something about homosexual men by just being myself. All I was ever trying to prove was that I was just another human being.
Weird to think the last thought he had of me was that I fit directly into that stereotype that I myself loathed so deeply for so long. It is sad to believe that really might be the case, he was a good friend and co-counselor when we worked together.
I still wonder about a lot of those people from that summer, about how their lives might've been affected or unaffected by my personal tragedies, or just by my friendship.
I still consider them friends, even if they figured I was a strange egg by the end of that summer.