In one of my all-time favorite movies, All Over The Guy, Doris Roberts said “Just because I managed to make it to 60 without getting a Columbian necklace or get run over by a UPS truck, that I have the answers to life’s questions.” As I sit here on the eve of my 47th birthday, I can sympathize with that quote. Before we get to that, let’s delve into the backstory.
I was born at roughly 12:20 pm on Monday, August 13th, 1973. My mother used to keep a journal and I remember reading it as a kid and she said the year leading up to my birth was a rough one. There was a late winter that year that left our small town home buried in snow till late in the year. Once she got to the point that I was born, I put straight into an incubator. I had come out blue and had breathing issues. It was touch and go for the first couple of days. This would be foreshadowing to future events of my life. In the first few years, I was a kid who didn’t put on weight and suffered from asthma. I would spend most of my early years in and out of an allergist diagnosing all that was wrong with me. Flash forward to the results, I was severely allergic to bees to the point of it being deadly and allergic to most animals and things in nature.
“Just because I managed to make it to 60 without getting a Columbian necklace or get run over by a UPS truck, that I have the answers to life’s questions.”
I nearly died four times in my childhood, from bee stings. The first two are boldly emblazoned in my mind to this day. The first was me in a doctor’s office after being stung at our house. I remember how scared I was on the way. I was hyperventilating and wild-eyed thinking this was it. For a child that is a lot. My heart was beating so fast. We get to the doctor’s office and my mother is holding and trying to soothe me. It crossed my mind that it would be all too easy to go to sleep. The pain would slide from my mind and body. My heart slowed, my temperature dropped, and the room started to dim. I remember my mother’s voice reaching higher tones of panic but it seemed so distant. The last image I had of the office was four nurses and the doctor buzzing around me, nervous. I had four heavy blankets on me to try to get my core temperature up. The last thing I remember was hearing a very calm voice telling me that I needed to go back because there were people waiting for me. I opened my eyes and was in a hospital attached to machines.
As a kid, I knew I was different, that I liked boys, like me, more than I did hanging out with girls. This was one of many things that I thought was “wrong” with me. At one point, around the age of five, I wrote my mother a letter telling her how I knew I was a disappointment for all that was wrong with me and the world, and she, would be better off without me in it. At five years old I had my first thoughts of suicide. Things didn’t change much for me through school, I always felt out of place and kept more to myself. It didn’t help that we came from a poor family.In the fall of 86, it all went a step further when our house burned down. My father, mother, sister, and I spent the better part of a year living in a three-room camper. I slept on the floor of what was the living room/kitchen. My father and sister had a bedroom, and my mother slept on the couch bed near me. Most of that time, we each had about four outfits.
School was rough, before and after our house burnt down. My guidance counselor thought I had anger issues because of my brothers, who didn’t grow up with me, also had them. She put me into anger management classes and had me talk about things that were going on. I knew I didn’t belong in this group, so I made things up to make it seem like I did. She pulled me aside my junior year told me that I needed to decide what I wanted to do with my life because I would never go to college. She said it was because of where I came from and who I was. I decided that I would prove her wrong and get into college.
College wasn’t much better, I was still struggling with knowing I liked guys but wanted to fit in. So I dated women and my relationships were less than amazing. I came out to my friends in my junior year of college, crying, drunk, and in a bar on a Friday night. Only then because a frat brother that I had hooked up with threatened to tell everyone. After that, I didn’t hold back in telling people.
I met my first boyfriend around 97, it all seems a little fuzzy, and we were together until he died in 2003. As I have mentioned in previous posts, he was HIV positive and was upfront from the beginning. The day he died is a day I won’t forget. I was torn between wanting to help him and knowing that he said when it was his time he did not want to be revived and still live with HIV. We had made a pact from the beginning that he didn’t want to live on with AIDS. He had stopped taking his meds the year before he died in preparation for the time for him to leave. As he drew his last breath while the paramedics were working on him, I remember falling to my knees and emotion taking me. The lead looked at one of the others and said to get “her” out of here. My cries made him think I was a woman and needed to be dealt with.
From 2003 until last year, I did not date or get involved with anyone. I kept to myself because I felt after Shawn died I had my chance at my one true love. My mother passed away in 2011 and it was then that I decided to start changing my life. By 2016, I had left Virginia again, but this time was because my father sided with my Aunt in calling me a worthless fucking faggot, among other things. I moved to Ohio and said I would not go back, By the end of this month, I will have been here four years. I have a job that I enjoy going to each day. Last year, I met a guy that has given me a second chance at love and life. I started writing to this blog and this year, because of him, I started doing a YouTube channel. And I love both of them, even if I may not be the best.
I never thought I would make it past 46, to be completely honest. As a kid, I once had a very vivid dream where someone told me I would die before I turned 47 and for some reason, it always stuck in the back of my head. So, knowing that tomorrow is my birthday makes it a little weird. And as I look back over my life, I cannot say that I have any more knowledge than when I was getting ready to turn seven. The perspective is a bit different on this side, but that seems about it. In response to the quote from Doris Roberts that I started with, yes it often feels like It feels like its been luck that has gotten me to this point. That any “knowledge” or information I have collected feels rudimentary at times. I wonder if in 47 more years that I will be watching 93 slowly slip away to 94 and wonder if I know any more, then, than I do now?