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If I hadn't left...



I had the most amazing weekend!


I got back into Baton Rouge Friday afternoon and visited with my friend Mandi until Saturday afternoon. We relieved all the things we used to do and pretty much spent the whole time talking non-stop. We're both very chatty people, especially her, so it was a ball. I got really nostalgic seeing all the old places and how they've changed and how they haven't.


Over dinner Friday night we went to our favourite restaurant, where we used to go about once a week before I moved, and we ordered our usual stuff, and we talked and laughed and at one point she said, "for a minute I forgot you didn't still live here." I'd forgotten that too actually. I can easily imagine that that Friday night and Saturday would have been a 'routine' evening for us if I still lived there.


Then on Saturday evening I met up with my friends Claire and Josh in the area we all grew up and went to high school. That was both harder, but it felt more necessary. With Mandi it hadn't been quite as long (2 years as opposed to nearly 6 with Josh), and we'd stayed in touch, and we're both in a good place in our lives. It was two old friends who missed each other but were fine. With Josh and Claire...well first of all it was just wonderful seeing them!


I'm not sure if I ever mentioned any of the drama going on with Claire, but we have stayed in touch over the years via phone since I moved away from Louisiana completely, and once she did come to Texas, so I still felt very close to her, but she's going through a rough patch. I think she's finally completely done with her girlfriend, and actually her future is looking brighter and more hopeful than it has in a very long time if you ask me, but while she's coping amazingly well she's still pretty much reeling from all that. Which is why she had to move in with Josh...


Josh, is the one I'm most worried about. He had a rough ride throughout high school and college, and he's cycled between drugs and alcohol and ultra-religiousness. The guy's just so clearly in so much pain and turmoil, and right now he's kind of like stuck in both phases if that even makes sense, and the contradictions are taking their toll on him. Yet, he's still the same boy I knew in high school. He's still full of life and bright eyed, he's still slender and adorable, and he's still loud and out-going. Which really made it all the harder to bear seeing him like that. I almost think if he had just been a shell it would have been...well no maybe not.


Being gay has always been such a burden for him, it's always been something he's hated but that's been so undeniably him. It just drives me crazy that all this time later he's still in this vicious cycle because of it. It's so foreign to me too. I mean I've known over people who've struggled because of it, and I can sympathize, but my general reaction and the course I steered my life as a result of realizing I was gay can best be described as, "okay, cool!" So even though I can see his position, maybe I just can't properly empathize. I guess I can't quite imagine why he didn't fight the things that said it was bad and channel his sexuality into a healthy outlet (instead of an unhealthy one :( ). I mean I can intellectually understand, and sympathize, but I guess I can't really know what it's like. Then I look at other people who overcame similar obstacles and I just really can't figure it out. I mean I can...but I can't, and it's driving me crazy. I really don't know if he'll ever be okay...


I sorta have this guilt as a result. I'm f**king fine; I should have dragged him through as well. But we weren't close friends, and I never knew about most of the stuff he went through until much later. He also came out way before I did. I've thought it over many times. I think the closet was very protective for me. When I was ready to come out, I was READY to come out. I had my head together, and I was in a strong position. He just wasn't really ready and didn't know how to deal...apart from that I guess he was always in a more hostile environment. Ignoring all that though, I am sorry I wasn't there for him properly. That I didn't do much to directly help.


I had similar feelings of, "I wish I'd done more to be there for you over the years" toward Mandi and Claire as well, the big difference of course is that while I feel I could have done more, I did do something, and since we were doing so many sentimental chats this weekend I brought this up to each of them, and they both said it was helpful just being able to talk about it wit me even if I wasn't physically there. Apart from all that they're both doing better in the first place. This weekend was really the first time I've had the chance to talk to Josh about all his stuff directly instead of just hearing it through other people. It's really even the first time we've related to each other as two openly gay guys.


Still, I can't change the past, and there's no point in speculating about how things might have turned out differently. In many ways Josh would have been my first really viable candidate as a boyfriend. But while I've always found him cute, I never really felt that way about him, and for most of our history together it just wouldn't have been possible because of the different places we were in life and our journeys. I guess it's also just ridiculous to think that I could have helped him at all. Who knows, maybe he'd have dragged me in with him instead? Maybe I'd be strung out or thumping a Bible...or both.


I realized too, that even ignoring any radical changes in our pasts, I could be living that life with Claire and Josh as well...I mean under different circumstances I could imagine what we did being a 'routine' Saturday night for us as well. But I left, I left and I moved to Baton Rouge, and then I left and moved to Houston, and I don't regret it, not any of it, not for a minute. As I said to them when they asked how I liked Houston, "It exceeded my expectations and I'd still be perfectly satisfied with it even if I were enjoying it considerably less."


I truth is I don't have a lot of the problems that the three of them are facing simply because I did leave. I have more options and I have a wider range of very different friends, and while I'm not criticising their lives or our old cities, I haven't a doubt in my mind that I'm happier here. It's selfish I know, and I do love them and want to be there for them, but I don't want to be there for them.


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Kevin, you can't be there for everyone! The world isn't your responsibility, and from your blog and the amaaazing amount of posts you pour into the forums, you're doing more than your share.


I know what you mean about being able to sympathize and understand intellectually while being unable to empathize -- I think, as a whole, there are more things in the world of this category than in the category of things with which I have enough common experience to actually empathize with. And I think it's enough to recognize your limitations. Only God -- if you believe that way -- should have the capacity to truly empathize and love, etc, everybody.

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Funny !

I just finished to read your blog for the third time. I can't really understand your feelings. Are you selfish or not ? You should be, show it and be happy with it. You are young, you just began to build your own life and you have enough to do with yourself without to let you be disturbed through others !

Don't be fool, just enjoy life. Friend's problems are theirs, not yours !

If anybody needs help, he (or she) could ask ! and even then,you are free to answer or let it go. Other's burden are sometimes too heavy to bear, beside yours !

When I'm reading through the lines, I know you know it :P .You are just "playing" with your feelings :lol: .

Take care Kevin, and BTW, you are a very good story-teller ( In French, un "conteur" is a tale-teller, who tells fairy-tales, like you do)

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I've been in similar situations a good few times, and it makes you feel just as inadequate every time. I have learned, though, in later years, that I just *can't* be there for everyone, and that I'm not even able to help everyone I'd like to help.


One example was a girl I knew in Northern Ireland who got pregnant just after I had my son -- he was about one at the time, and I was also on my own with him like she was -- and I found out her parents had arranged for her to give up her child for adoption. I assumed without thinking twice that she didn't actually want this and was feeling horrible about it, and told her I and our other friends would help her out if she wanted to keep the baby (and I'm sure we all would have), but in the end she decided to give up the babies (by that time she'd found out that she was having twins) and that was what happened once they were born.


I felt bad about it for a good while because the way I saw it, her parents, who weren't poor or anything, had chosen the easy way out and made her sacrifice her kids against her will so they'd be able to keep up appearances (she was living away from home while she was pregnant). And I mean, I'm sure everyone's read at least *one* story or seen a film where a girl is forced to give up her baby by cruel parents or similar. But after a while I realised that this girl really *was* very immature, and she was very keen on going out partying, and she didn't seem sad about giving up her babies at all. So it might have been a good thing for her after all to do that.


On the other hand... What's the cause and effect here? Did she act the way she was expected to act (i.e. immaturely) as a reaction to her parents' decision? If she'd kept the babies she might have grown by having to take care of them. And your grief and sadness often don't show on the outside, so she might have taken it really hard too. Who knows.


So yes, I do still think about her sometimes and wonder if I should have done more to help her. But you can't help everyone, you can only try, and sometimes you can't even do that. But sometimes it's closer to home and hence more painful than at other times.


Anyway, what I'm trying to say with all this blabbering is, don't feel bad! Some people aren't within reach for you to help even though you'd like to. And also, you probably have helped him, though not as much as you'd have liked.

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WOW! What a thought provoking story!


I certainly hope you are right that I've managed to help him in some way. I'm looking forward to finding out how his rehab is going, but unfortunately I've been unable to get updates.

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