Marching band makes me sad and happy.

When I was in middle and high school, I wasn’t suicidal, but I didn’t want to be there. I was honest with my mom about those feelings when they became a bit too much; I said, “Mama, I promise you that I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to be here.”

First, concert band, and then, marching band, saved my life. It was because of a few reasons:

  1. Band teachers are incredible and they make you feel like you matter.
  2. Playing music as a band is the definition of “being part of something that is bigger than yourself.”
  3. Band people are weird and many are outsiders who don’t quite fit in anywhere else; it felt like home.

I went to the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship in Atlanta last night with my fiancé. When the first marching band started performing, I automatically started to cry. I had a strong feeling that I would cry because I even have trouble holding back tears while listening to old band toons on Spotify as well. Something as impactful and as meaningful as marching band was bound to have an effect on me.

The title of this post is “Marching band makes me sad and happy”. For the reasons I listed above, marching band made and makes me happy. For these reasons, it makes me sad:

  1. Present day, I no longer play any instruments. When I see bands perform, I feel like I’m missing out.
  2. I have some of my best memories take place during my marching band years because of the people I was experiencing it with; even though I am still friends with some of those people, it’s just not the same.
  3. My anxiety, depression, and identity issues were at their peak while I was in marching band. Marching band was my escape, but when the games, competitions, and bus rides were over, it was back to a life that I hated.

DCI was amazing. This was my second time, and I would 100% go again, maybe in a different state.

An interesting journey I’m on…

Closing chapters from over ten years ago

For context, these posts might help to fill it some background for what you’re about to read: Mommy Issues & A Metaphorical Death.

Long story short, I dated my first girlfriend from age 15-17 after feelings developed the year before at age 14 (puts us in 9th grade FYI). I say “dated” very lightly because just 2-4 weeks after making things official, her mother caught wind of it and started putting up some pretty extensive barriers: transferring schools, blocking my number, confiscating technology, reading through said girlfriend’s phone, etc. We would communicate infrequently and inconsistently through apps and friends’ phones, seeing each other in person only at school/band events or by sneaking around her mom’s back. It was rough because all the while there was a multitude of mental health issues and even just figuring out identities as queer teenagers in the south of the US. It was a weird introduction to dating and being gay, just saying.

Anyway, this went on from about October 2012 to October 2014 (I think). That’s when we mutually ended things because it had just gotten to be too much. That same night, I reconnected with an old friend and dated her for 1.5-2 years too (we don’t like her too much, FYI).

Fast forward to mid-2016: my second relationship comes to an end and me and girlfriend #1 start texting “as friends”. As I’m sure ya’ll have guessed, we started hanging out more (night driving, swimming, sitting in the car and talking, lots and lots of texting because I was still unwelcome in her house). One night, while her parents were on a trip, she invited me over and we made a decision to try dating again. It only lasted maybe 36-48 hours. I remember having breakfast with my current best friend up in Atlanta and I can recall the excitement and the feeling of “it’s finally coming together” when I told her that we made this decision. Just hours after that, I started having doubts and reality did sink it. My plans of studying in Germany, joining AmeriCorps, finishing school, and moving out of my hometown hit me as more of a distant dream vs reality if I was going to choose this path right now.

Furthermore, there was the fact that we were very different people when we broke up and I don’t think we recognized each other any more. Part of me felt like it was a good thing and it would allow us to start over with a clean slate; however, the slate wasn’t clean. We were mixing past feelings of an unresolved relationship with current realities and new goals- it just wasn’t going to work without extreme effort and I guess it wasn’t worth it to put all other aspects of my life aside for something unknown like that. I also realized through my second relationship, that the acceptance of my partner’s family is important to me, and I knew that I would never get that with girlfriend #1. It just wasn’t worth it to try dating again. It was never going to work. Inside, 14-15 year old me was sad, but 18-19 year old me at the time was trying to be rational and not get into something complicated– again.

So, it’s been over 10 years since we started this “shebang”. It’s been a fucking doozy to say the least. We’ve maintained random and inconsistent contact, sometimes getting updates from social media or mutual friends. I’ve told every partner I’ve had about us because some form of contact would always happen. We also share an amazing friend group, and our gatherings have occurred more and more in the past 3ish years, so our interactions have been less forced, awkward, and weird.

Well, we got together as a group this past Sunday. Afterwards, we started texting again as we do every 6-12 months to catch up and she invited me to lunch to formally get up to speed on each other’s lives.

** My fiancé is quite informed of everything, so she’s been an incredible support. Girlfriend #1 also has a wonderful girlfriend of about 1 year, so she is also being very encouraging towards us. **

So, lunch with the ex. It sounds so much more dramatic than it was. We did kind of go down a rabbit hole, though, in regards to trying to piece together exactly what happened between us over the past 10 years (more so the first 2, and also 2016ish). Turns out that trauma has a way of taking parts of your memories, so we struggled to get an exact timeline of things.

So, that is the journey we are currently taking: after a pool party in a few weeks at our good mutual friend’s house, we are bringing forth all remnants of “us” and going through them together and then burning them- both physically and digitally. I want to close this chapter for good because every time we meet my brain goes to the unresolved. It’s distracting and it brings up a lot of anxiety because that time was nothing short of stressful and traumatic. Our solution to this sounds a little crazy, I know, and I can understand that, but unusual situations call for unusual and unique resolutions. This is what my ex said about it: “I feel like for a lot of people, sitting in a room with your ex, drinking and looking at old photos would be very weird, but for us it just seems like something that needed to be done way before now.” I agree with that 100%. Wish us luck.

Rock climbing, house sitting, and pool parties.

Rock climbing.

I’ve been going rock climbing at a local gym, as well as using their regular gym equipment, too. I was inspired by this video, and I have friends who have been doing it, so it was just kind of the final push. Last week, we also got belay certified for that particular location, so now we can climb the fun stuff (top ropes). Until now, we had been on the auto belays, and they’re a good time, but they’re kind of short and I want to switch it up.

I think what I love most about this gym and climbing in general is the diversity, community, and the fact that it is a form of exercise that I don’t hate. When we walk into the gym, we see old people, children, differently abled individuals, a wide variety of races, and whole bunch o’ gays. Like a lot of gays. I love it.

My goal is to just keep climbing and so that I might hit my fitness goals by my wedding in September. The goal from that point on will be to continue climbing, buy my own gear, and just feel stronger and more confident. I also hope to make some friends; I don’t think that will be too difficult as everyone is always really friendly and mingling with one another.

House-sitting.

I’m currently in my hometown house and dog-sitting for my grandparents for 4 nights. They have a wonderful house with an even better property. It’s great for our dog and his fetch addiction. It is really weird to be here, though. I have extremely conflicting feelings about where I grew up.

On one hand, it’s nostalgic, right? Marching band, old flames, my first few jobs, streets I drove down over and over after finally getting my license, and, lastly, summer nights where I’d just lay in my mom’s driveway watching the stars the best that I could because light pollution (we’re more in the country than Atlanta, for example, but not by much). On the other hand, I don’t like being here too long. The reasons behind why I wanted to leave this town so badly are quick to make appearances, so we keep visitation to just a few hours if we can help it.

Pool parties.

Yesterday, we went to my friend’s house to enjoy her pool with her and other friends. This particular group of friends is from high school (10 years ago!?!?!). I wasn’t so sure I would remain friends with people from high school, but I think I picked a good crowd, and we’ve been able to see each other a few times per year. It’s nice to have people your age who are equally disturbed at the reality of what being an adult actually entails.

I was also chatting with one friend about establishing 1-2 annual trips per year as a group. One trip should be to the beach, and the other to a cabin. If enough people go, it should be pretty affordable.

Conclusion.

I’m in my hometown with my fiancé. I feel weird. I feel a little sad. I feel a little happy. I am looking forward to being back in my house and going rock climbing at the end of this week. If I can focus on work right now, I should be alright.

I am feeling excitement.

We are halfway through 2022 and I am feeling extreme excitement. There have been a lot of mental changes in my brain and also some life changes that my fiancé and I have decided on. WordPress also has this cool new background color thing going on, so I thought I’d try it out! Let me know if it sucks, please!

  1. I have officially applied to some paid writing gigs. I’ve been writing in journals since I was 12 and I’ve had blogs for the past 5 years (no, I have never made money from them… mostly because I don’t know how). The point is that I have loved writing since always and I’ve just been too scared to try to make money with that skill because someone might tell me it’s not good enough or I won’t be successful. I would say that writing is my dream job because it can be done remotely and it’s something I love and I’m good at it. I can write a fictional story, I can do journal entries, and I can write an informational paper on the importance of bees.
  2. Colorado. I have dreamed of living in Colorado since high school. 10 years ago. Wow. I went on a trip with my mom to Colorado when I was about 14 or 15 years old and we went back one more time and I just haven’t ever let the dream go of living there. The landscape is just breathtaking. It’s so different than Georgia and I’m craving change. Not to mention, it’s a more liberal state, marijuana is legalized (mostly thinking in the medicinal sense), and it’s closer to my fiancé’s twin sibling.
  3. Tiny house living. When I was in Germany in 2017, I was planning what I would do between returning to the states and joining AmeriCorps NCCC. I created several folders in Google Drive dedicated to “van life” and “nomadic living”. I researched the best solar showers, portable refrigerators, and how to find places to park. Then, I arrived back in Atlanta, GA and found that I didn’t have the money or the time I thought I did in order to fulfill this goal. So I stashed it away. Fast forward 4 years and the topic of “going tiny” has come up again in a new form. Long story short (I will dedicate a blog post solely to this bullet point soon!), in about 2 years, we’re planning on selling the house, buying a tiny house, and moving to CO for the foreseeable future. Obviously a lot can happen between now and then, but you better believe I’m holding on to this dream because it escaped me once before. The reason for waiting is my fiancé’s job and our senior dog.
  4. Wedding season. Our wedding is in 2 months and we are somewhat prepared. I actually don’t have much to say on this topic except that I still want to elope and eat some cake already.
  5. Podcasts. I’ve been listening to some pretty cool podcasts recently. The tiny house obsession has lead me to topics surrounding minimalism and sustainability, so I’ve been learning a lot about how to live more sustainable for the environment, but also for myself. For example, I heard someone say that many people often fall into the trap of “when I get this, when I go there, etc., THEN I will be, I will feel, I will have, etc.” The reality of it is that we should already identify ourselves as what we want to be. This is how we trick our brain into acting how we want to act. Fake it till you make it at its finest, am I right?? Anyway, this lead me into personal development, career advice areas, and so forth. We come full circle because the podcasts and having a happy career and feeling fulfilled are what lead me to take a chance and apply to some writing gigs. We’ll see what happens, but I am already feeling more joy.

6/24/2022

It is currently June 24, 2022 and our patio is almost finished. I also just took the dog out to the front yard to pee and got catcalled on my own front door step. I have been “catcalled” one other time while on my own property; we had just moved into the new house last May, and I heard on the security camera the men who would be installing our washer and dryer ask each other if I was each other’s type. At the time, I was sitting inside of my office, at my desk, working. I remember feeling disgusted that they were looking at me in my own home and judging by my appearance in that moment whether or not I was their “type”.

I also just read about Roe v. Wade being overturned. I feel disappointment, sadness, and fear because I believes it is a gateway to overturning other rulings as well… I guess we will find out in time the damage this has already begun to do.

I will say one positive thing (other than our patio being almost complete): I just returned from a business trip with two of my colleagues and it really was a great time; we were in NY and CT. Our hotel was extremely dirty, but we weren’t given a big enough budget to get something nicer, so it wasn’t really our fault. The rental car was about $750 for 3 days… all of our food was covered by the company, though, so that was great. The best things that came of the trip was bonding with my team and meeting the hiring manager of our client to learn more about what they’re looking for.

Our dog, Bruce, is doing well. He does have some sort of allergies going on, so we’re trying to get that under control. He also has been whining a lot today, and I can’t figure out if it is because he is bored or because he needs something. I did try to take him out, but he just wanted to play ball. I also tried getting him a “mind game”, but it is in the shape of a big ball, so he only wanted to play fetch with it, not actually try to get the treats out of it. I would give him a bully stick or lick mat, but I don’t want to feed him too many calories. We can’t walk him as much during the summer because the pavement is too hot and it would burn his beans.

It’s not even lunch time yet, and the day has been pretty meh. Our roommate also has COVID, so we’ve been taking drinks and food to her. We went to the store yesterday and stocked up on OTC meds and Gatorade, especially since we don’t know if we will also get it since we all live on the same property. I did disinfect handles and light switches, but there’s only so much you can do.

I hope this weekend will provide some form of optimism for the future because I could use some.

2020’s never-ending surprises

Charlene and I were enjoying the company of some friends while roasting marshmallows last night when I got a phone call from my father. He informed me that my meemaw (grandma) was in the ER. Her rate was suspiciously low (35 bpm) and they did not know why.

She did not spend the night in the ER and she slept in her own bed last night. Everything seems to be okay today, but they will visit a cardiologist tomorrow if they can get an appointment.

The thought “it can’t get worse” has not crossed my mind in months- it’s 2020 and I expect each month to be worse than the last at this point. It’s just more of waiting on the enevitable doom each month; what does Satan have planned for me this month?

Other than the random bouts of unfortunate events, I suppose we’re still doing well. We just sold our dining room table, futon, and some Legos on FB Marketplace. My fiance got a new desk, so I am taking her old one. The dining room table hasn’t been used in months for its intended purpose and it is too large for this apartment anyway, so I decided to do away with it.

The rest of today will be spent on schoolwork and decluttering the area underneath our bed. I might step into the closet as well, but that might be a beast for another day..

2020 continues to suck.

Before I get into why 2020 is still the worst year ever, I want to say that I am actually fine. I would say that instead of being stuck in a pit of sadness, I am just in disbelief at how an already terrible year just defies all odds and continues to get worse and worse.

In my previous post, I mentioned my concern about a friend of mine who is an alcoholic. I also said that I hoped he would successfully detox at home and not repeat what happened in February of this year (a seizure).

Well, he had another seizure. He was taken to the hospital on Sunday and he is now (Tuesday) back at home continuing to self-detox. He isn’t out of the woods yet and there is still a chance that he will admit himself to a facility; however, I really don’t think he will. He is one of the most stubborn people I know. Anyway, that is one sucky thing.

The second sucky thing is that my fiancé’s grandmother just died. The grandmother lives in the Philippines, so she can’t be there for the funeral. This is the second family member she has lost this year. I lost a family member and a good friend this year as well, so this has been a record year.

One piece of good news is that my fiancé and I have decided that instead of renting and apartment next time we move, we will be renting a house. It’s a decision that is keeping me planning and excited, so I always think of that.

I think this is also a good time to mention that when I started to talk about “the woman I was seeing” back in August of last year, I named her Chelsea on this blog to protect her identity in case things didn’t work out; however, as you all know, we are now engaged and I think it is okay to tell you all her real name: Charlene. My fiancé’s name is Charlene. I had no idea that when I swiped right, I was swiping right on my future wife, but I’m so incredibly glad I did. I am also glad that she swiped back, haha. I look forward to documenting more of our adventures.

A Sprinkle of Disappointment

Today is Saturday and tomorrow is Sunday- the day that my lady and I were going to go camping; however, it is pouring outside with no signs of stopping, so it seems rather pointless to go now.

We’ve had a busy few weeks and I was really looking forward to a warm campfire and some smores. I’m thinking about going camping next weekend instead, but every week we push this, we risk freezing in the night.

Today was rather mentally and emotionally challenging. Last night I received a call from the roommate of a good friend of mine. This friend is an alcoholic and it’s not exactly a secret- everyone knows. Anyway, the past two months have been really bad and the roommate told me that my friend had a seizure back in February already. The doctor said if he had another that it could kill him.

My friend is convinced that he can detox himself because he’s done it before with success. Me and two other people drove to his house today to try and convince him to at least get evaluated and maybe get some medication to help him through the next [very critical] 72 hours. We were unsuccessful, as I knew we would be; however, it was important to me that we show up anyway just to show him that he does have a support system and that he is not alone.

When we left his house today, we left with the goal of checking in on him more, writing him letters, calling him, and visiting him. I’m the letter writer of the group, so I will try to do more of that and also set aside some time each week to call him. I hope that he is successful in his self-detox journey and I hope that if things go south that he able to get immediate help.

We’ll see what happens, I will keep you all updated.

Spooky Season is Upon Us!!!

Okay, let’s be real: 2020 has been the spookiest year yet; however, now the fun type of spookiness begins.

I LOVE OCTOBER! I LOVE FALL! I LOVE HALLOWEEN!

I have always been a huge fan of Halloween because I think witches are cool, I love making themed baked goods, and dressing up is always a good time. I just sent out an email to my coworkers letting them know that I am hosting a virtual bake off! I’m so pumped!

I’ve been trying to find black dresses at thrift stores, but I have had no luck. I also visited Goodwill in search of Halloween décor, but I failed in my mission. I just really don’t want to spend money on brand new items when there are so many homeless used ones.

This weekend, I will begin baking Halloween cookies and I will decorate them with my fiancé and best friend. We will also be dog-sitting for my grandma, but she is not food aggressive or interested in it all, so this should be fine.

I just found out that next semester (my final semester: WOOHOO!!!!) will most likely all be online again, just like this semester. As long as my classes are asynchronous I am perfectly fine with that.

Because me and my lady have been trying to lose weight, I’ve really been holding myself back in the baking area. We also go walking every evening and I think we will pick up jump roping or following workout videos again soon. We are flying to California for Christmas and I am going to meet her family for the first time (in person- I have met them many times virtually). We both want to look somewhat in shape and I would just love to fit back into my jeans again. That is all I ask. Screw abs, I just want my pants back!

My next weight and measurements check in is in about 4 weeks, so I will let ya’ll know then if we have managed to make any progress.

Surprise!

So, my girlfriend and I have been secretly engaged for over 6 months now. Surprise! For those of you who have read this blog from the beginning (about 1 year), you guys know how head over heels I was for her from the get-go. Well, that still hasn’t changed and after many many talks about us, our feelings, and our life together, we decided we might as well make it super official.

If you are anything like me, then your thoughts might look like this right now:

  • You are moving too fast.
  • Do you even know each other?
  • Don’t you think you should date a few years before committing to that?

Allow me to ease your minds a little. Again, if you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you would know that we moved in together after only knowing each other for about 3 months. Well, it is 1 year later and we are still quite content with each other and don’t plan on changing the living arrangement we have.

I can only speak for myself, but I will tell you what my lady has told me: She has been on dates before, yes, but they never progressed to anything. I am her first and her last relationship- by her own choice. She says that she never encouraged other people because they were not to her standard and she didn’t want to invest herself into something that didn’t feel totally right. Makes sense, in my opinion.

In the beginning I felt a bit of pressure because I wanted her first relationship to be AWESOME! I did not want to set a negative scene for her in regards to relationships in that case that we might not work out. I wanted to make sure that I always created a safe, open, and fun space to explore each other- emotionally and physically. Mostly, though, I just felt honored to be the person to see all of her reactions to these new experiences; I also felt incredibly special that she chose me to trust with her heart.

Now, on to me: I’ve dated 5 people before my fiance, and, clearly, all of those relationships failed. I can also pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like in each of them- the relationship itself or the person.

  • unresolved/untreated mental health issues
  • abusive family members –>abuse leaked into our relationship
  • poor finances
  • no goals/motivation in life
  • no desire to educate themselves about current events/important topics
  • my family and friends disliked some of them for various reasons
  • major political differences

Fast forward to now: With my fiance, there isn’t one thing that I would deem as reason enough to be dissatisfied in this relationship. Long story short: she’s got her shit together. We are both super organized people, we are open about our financials, and we communicate about everything- even if it is not a fun topic. It’s just not worth “sweeping under the rug” and “dealing with it later” because that’s how you build resentment.

I will write a separate post detailing my family and friends’ reactions; spoiler: they were not surprised.

I am super pumped to start this new chapter of engagement and even though it doesn’t really feel any different, every day is a great day when I’m with her, so here’s to many more of those!