i am changing

image credit…. paul mahder 

All of my life I’ve been a fool
Who said I could do it all alone
How many good friends have I already lost?
How many dark nights have I known?
Walking down that wrong road
There was nothing I could find
All those years of darkness
Could make a person blind
But now I can see

i didn’t really watch the glee project much this season. it seemed contrived and i have been preoccupied and in quite a bit of transition this year. my primary job is shifting, my finances have shifted, i left my second job (which connects to the prior), the funding for ryan white is beginning to shift, and i think that some of the dreams i have for my life have shifted as well.

it’s been a tough couple of years, actually. as i grow in my clean years, i continue to unearth old bones that need to be handled. self-esteem issues, ptsd, inner child crap, a small yet very persistent and annoying porn fixation, internalized homophobia, shame based trauma- just to name a few. damn- it continues to make sense that i chose to get high… who in their right mind would want to deal with this list of cuckoo?

but deal with it i try. and as i try to ride out the current state of mercury in retrograde with almost white knuckle precision, i tuned in for the last couple of segments of glee project. and the very last show captured my fascination. what a complete (yet short) birds’ eye view of young adults realizing their dreams. no doubt they will not turn out as they dream, but they are connected to these dreams of theirs and weaving in the reality of glee to create a tapestry for themselves. at 18 -22, life is so very less complicated. so very more concrete. the possibilities and experiences tend to be rife with black and white, not yet revealing all the shades of gray that more years of living unveils.

so i watched, captivated, as alex did his rendition of “i am changing”. i felt stunned as a deer might as he is caught in a set of headlights. i confess i watched the performance several times because it made me feel comfortable or safe in a way i couldn’t really pinpoint.

but then i thought back to the 1st time i heard that song. i was living in chicago, working at an after hours club, and partying exponentially, avoiding grief and fear, and nano-recovering as needed. there was a gay video bar on halsted named sidetracks which was unequivocally popular from its inception. i really dug the vids, but i didn’t care for the nipple pony, jock-a-like clientele. gay men offered me my first real taste of shame based trauma. i just didn’t realize it back then. anyway, dreamgirls had been playing in new york for a season or two, when the vid of jennifer holiday hit the circuit. i first beheld her linebacker-like choreography and drank in her complete command of words and melody in that song at sidetracks. and i first noticed that the people who were actually lip syncing or singing along were the buffed-up jockabees and the muscle boys. that particular irony is with me still.

i found all that broadway show tune business uber-syrupy back then. i couldn’t connect to similarities in the guys who listened to this music, or the clones in the gay community and myself then. i was certainly queer, but i had also branded myself as alternative and worked hard at maintaining boundaries about this.at home, in bars and social settings,  i had heard and  felt the sharp tongues of gay men steeped in self-loathing and it had pierced my heart and left a dark empty space. i carried that wound for many years. it was toxic. it had made me wanna run for a long time.

i remember that when i first heard it, and i saw so many cute butchie-boys celebrating their inner dreamgirl, i became less afraid and felt just a little less apart that night in sidetracks. but as i listened to it today, with that sweet and complicated young man standing on stage in 9-5 drag, i understood that my heart is in a very different orbit.

i believe in possibility today. i am with fear, but not swimming in it. today i work to see an individual’s human qualities first. i continue to struggle with sharp tongues, but mostly my own. i want others to succeed, even if i don’t. i continue to struggle with many of the same issues, but now i struggle- i don’t ignore.  i am so happy that things are different. and blessed. i certainly found life very frothy when i was young, but i know things are in a much better place now. happy birthday to me (friday).

and to alex newell…. work it..

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1 reply

  1. The good thing about clearing away the wreckage of the past is this … You don't have to do it all in one sweep. You didn't get high just one day and you won't get sober/clean in just one day.What seems insurmountable can be eaten in small bites. You know, if it were me, and I had this laundry list of issues, if it doesn't need the light then let it die. There are just some things that we can let go all together. That's what growing up is all about. Sometimes the letting go is so much better than taking that issue to court. We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. Shit happened. To all of us. But we are clean/sober now. Deal with what you need to take a look at. Sometimes issues die with time. and we can let them go. If you are making a searching and fearless moral inventory you need only deal with what hits the list now and worry about the rest later. Sobriety is a lifetime project. It's the little victories that are important markers in time. Don't be hard on yourself for not dealing with all that shit at once. You don't have to. Only in manageable pieces. I've learned over my life that the past is the past. And I've put to bed a lot of my shit once and for all. Yeah I reminisce but the older I get I realize that the pain of the past isn't painful any more and by that standard I know what I can get rid of for good. Progress not perfection my friend. It doesn't all have to be done today or tomorrow for that matter. Easy Does it. Jeremy

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