Saturday, January 13, 2007

2007: Building Foundations

Okay...I've just recently come out of my seasonal "period of reflection". Ever so often I'll sit myself down, withdraw from everything (and unfortunately everyone) in my periphery, and brood. I use these times to think out loud, organize my thoughts, pray, reconnect with "me", and formulate a battle plan for the future.

2006 was a very INTENSE year for me. I knew going in it would be crazy, but I never would have imagined the year would be I can honestly say that 2006 pushed me farther emotionally, spiritually, socially, and intellectually than I have ever been before. Of course, the journey has strengthened me in those areas, however I walk away from 2006 feeling disconnected in a way. So many things have changed, it feels as if I stand in the aftermath of a tsunami. It's a weird feeling.

I'm thinkin 2007 will be the year to build or re-build several foundations in my life that have been compromised, altered, or thrashed by the tsunami of 06. I'm a true believer in the power behind having a strong, stable foundation to live have too much to lose if you don't have solid ground to stand on before you put in some serious work. So yes, it's time to build some foundations baby!!!

Let's start this off with the foundation of FAMILY....

OHH LAWD 2006 had me fucked up as far as family is concerned. The death of my mother DRASTICALLY changed the dynamic of our family. You see, on both sides of the family we have this thing I like to call the "Matriarch Complex". Every generation, there is always one person that serves as the glue that holds the family together. Family reunions, holidays, birthdays, weddings...this person coordinates all that stuff. Everybody in the family looks to this 'matriarch' to handle all the family details, serve as the peacemaker, offer guidance when their shit goes awry, and unload responsibility upon when things get 'too hard'.

Now, once the matriarch passes away (and the scary thing is that the last 3 matriarchs didn't live past 60...a coincedence?) all hell will break loose in the family until somebody steps up to become the new Matriarch (or patriarch in my case). And the cycle continues. Now I've known since grade school that I've been groomed to become the next leader of the family. My parents made it very clear that I was the "one". I was the one that stayed out of trouble, had common sense, went to college, blah blah blah. They invested time and money to develop my skills, dare I say more so than the rest of my siblings. I accepted the responsibility early on, feeling obligated to reciprocate for all the support my parents offered me.

I thought I knew what I was getting into....shieettt! I never would have thought all these negroes up in my family line would act so damn trifling and irresponsible once the shit hit the fan. At the present moment, I find myself having to deal with a grieving father on a daily basis, handling the business of not one but two households, serving as a legal conservator for my schizophrenic aunt, and co-coordinating the effort to sell my grandmother's house. I'm starting to think this whole "Patriarch" shit is for the birds. Who the hell finds themselves as a "Big Momma" (Poppa) at age 25? I don't think I have what it takes to be the sole H.N.I.C., so I gotta find a solution.

The first family FOUNDATION will be to establish healthy boundaries between my personal life and family obligations. I don't mind being the representative for the family, but I'll be damned if I do all the work behind it when there are able bodied, grown ass adults that can pitch in. In 2007, I'll focus on organizing all of the details, dragging folks out of the shadows, and appointing them to handle a piece of the puzzle. If they don't feel comfortable with their role, I'll work with them until they get it. My sister has already stepped up to the plate, which has been great. Now I gotta work on my father and brothers...lawd help me.

The second FOUNDATION will be a physical separation from the family. It is pretty clear that I CANNOT live in close proximity to everybody. Right now I live at home with my father, and I am way too accessible. I've committed to staying in house until June, at which point I'm movin my ass to my own apartment in Los Angeles. I need my own life, my own living space, and a TRANQUIL living environment...especially if I'm expected to handle all this family ish without shooting somebody or resulting to the crack for escape.

Up next...the SOCIAL foundation.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

When the Venom rises

For some reason, I've been hung up on dating and relationships lately. Maybe it's the fact that an overwhelming majority of my close friends are either in a committed relationship, engaged, or married...i couldn't tell you. Regardless, I've been thinking a lot about where I stand romantically, and I've been reminiscing over my love life this past year. 2006 was the year I started truly coming into my own as a black gay man, and it's been a rough time dealing with men in the romantic sense.

I've learned a lot this year about how this whole dating thing works, and frankly...i'm starting to become a little jaded. I easily rolled the hot messes, idiots, and straight up assholes I've entertained this past year...been there, done that, never again. However, the one guy I had strong feelings for...I still haven't gotten over that shit. I hate to admit it, but that whole experience has left me hurt and afflicted. I guess I masked my feelings and reactions as a defense mechanism when we initially stopped seeing each other, but ohh boy those emotions I choked down are starting to bubble to the surface. In an effort to be the "bigger man" and turn the other cheek, I shortchanged myself emotionally. Now I'm dealing with some serious backlash, and I'm having a hard time channeling it.

To sum it all up, I met somebody whom I thought was exactly what I was looking for...intelligent, attractive, ambitious, talented, and amiable. We hit it off, formed a bond, and started seeing a lot of each other. Very early in the 'relationship' a challenged presented itself, but we agreed to stay together and try to develop what we had. Six weeks later, we reunited, and the shit hit the fan. I got hit with something totally out of left field, and by the end of my trip, we called it off.

To clarify, I don't feel hurt because the relationship didn't work out. It was a very accelerated courtship, it was my first gay relationship, and we where presented with a host of challenges from jump. Basically, it was a long shot at best. What hurts the most is that I feel like I was completely SHORTCHANGED. It hurt then, but now it PISSES ME OFF like nobody's business. I gave my time, emotions, energy, strength, body, and finances to that relationship for it to all blow up in my face. I honestly feel like I was played the fool, toyed with emotionally, lied to, and then humiliated when it all ended. I never really got closure on the whole experience, and I'm now allowing myself to feel the VENOM. I know that I've accumulated some baggage from this relationship, and that PISSES ME OFF even more...that I let something so short-lived get to me.

Just thinking about how generous I was to this man, without even demanding reciprocity, upsets me. Just thinking about how I looked forward to his company or conversation after a hard and challenging day upsets me. Thinking about how I selflessly became emotionally available to his needs even at a time when I was facing one of the most emotionally and mentally traumatic moments of my life, infuriates me. Thinking about how I went out of my way to make our "first time" a moment to remember pisses me off. Recalling how excited I was making those preparations angers me. Remembering how much pleasure I felt from being able to please him also makes me mad. When we were faced with our challenge, I took it all in stride and did what I was felt was necessary to make HIS transition a smooth one.

But ohh boy, what really gets me livid is how it all came to an end. How I dropped everything I had on my classes, my work schedule, time with friends and family, to take a "vacation" to reunite with him and resume our relationship in person. How I invested time and money I didn't really have just to spend quality time with my man. How I counted the days in anticipation of us seeing each other again. How I sat in nervous delight while on the plane. And when I arrived and we were reunited, I was greeted with...ambivalence...hesitancy...lack of emotion...a half-assed hug. When I settled into where I stayed for the trip, I heard the crickets...awkward silences. I almost felt like an unwanted guest. I could go on, but I'd just be doing overkill and the details just piss me off even further. After 2 days of neglect, we had 'the talk'. I'm getting mixed signals, and I wanna know what the hell is going on. I tell him where I stand, and I ask him where he stands. I ask for honesty and directness. He gives it to me.

The verdict...the challenges we faced were becoming a bit too much to handle, his heart was not in it anymore, and he wanted to break up. That's understandable. Here's the KICKER...he knew this at least a week before I arrived. WTF!!! and OUCH.

If anything, all I ever asked for was honesty, integrity, and respect. I wasn't keeping a tally on who was reciprocating what...i didn't have to be the center of attention. All I asked was that my efforts and affections be recognized, and that they not be taken advantage of or slighted...the ball is in your court concerning how you respond to what i'm throwing out. I get played for a damn fool for my efforts. AIN'T THAT SOME SHIT.

I don't hate the person I was all. In all honesty, I think he's a great person and I am excited for what he is going to bring to the world. I'm still a fan of his work. What I hate is how he handled me. The way this went down was FUCKED UP and FOUL, and I feel like I got played. Maybe it was my own fault...for giving too much of myself to somebody who couldn't respect what I was giving. Maybe I was the fool for just expecting some level of reciprocity and not outright demanding it. Maybe I let my emotions get ahead of my logical thinking? Who the hell knows..all I do know is that I've had some time to process everything and I'm still MAD AS HELL ABOUT IT. Mad that I feel like I was disrespected, and mad that I can't just let it go and move on like everything is peachy.

Now that I've expressed that I'm pissed, I'm not sure what to do with this energy. Besides venting to friends and my journal, I've done nothing to channel my resentment. I'm worried because if I internalize this, I will become an evil bitch, accumulate more baggage, and do or say something scandalous. I'm not one for shade, sabotage, or trickery (those are Trent's words, not mind), but if I get done the wrong way and I dont let it go, I can be that person.

Hopefully I'll think of something...because I need to be done with this so I can focus on the more positive things in my life and not dwell on something so not worth my energy. Okay, I'm done for now.

Sorry I had to air my dirty laundry, but I don't give a f**k. This is my space, and I had some shit to say. Any advice is much appreciated.