.journal 2011.11.11


.org.11: Boy, your boots can leave a mess

Now listening to: David Lanz and Paul Speer, Natural States
Now reading: Frank Herbert, Dune
Now playing: Stepmania (PC)

In the early years of the .org, in addition to doing an anniversary journal entry like this one, I also did a question-and-answer session where I’d solicit questions from my readers and then answer them here. Honestly, I kind of started it so I had an excuse to answer all the questions about my gender identity that had popped up since I started the .org, but I also wanted to see what kinds of things people wanted to know about me. I answered every question I got in my e-mail (or at least the ones that weren’t knocked out by spam filters), and I tried to own up to all the stupid stuff I’d done, both in the past and the present.

I didn’t do one in 2005, though, owing to the rather public falling-out I’d had with the GLBT student group at the University of Toledo that I’d been president of earlier. I’ve talked about it a bit on here, but there are many details about that whole situation that I don’t feel comfortable talking about even now, and rather than have to not answer questions about what happened then, or force myself into giving half-answers, I thought it best to just discontinue the Q&A. Only later did I realize that things would have gone a lot smoother if I’d simply shut up about those problems and resolve them in person, which is one of the reasons why I try not to bring up my personal problems here, or bring them up in a way that points only to the emotions involved and not any specifics involving people and places. I’m starting to think that this is the kind of lesson children need to be taught in schools about the same time they get their anti-drug and safer-sex talks, because it would prevent a lot of them from making the kinds of stupid mistakes I made years ago.

That is what makes trying to do this year’s anniversary journal entry so difficult. I’m still trying to deal with a number of problems that I really shouldn’t go into specifics of online, at least in a public forum like this. Since lying about the past year isn’t an option for me, this is probably going to be a very awkward journal entry, because I have to talk about a lot of very important things but do so in extremely vague terms so as not to make a lot of troublesome situations even worse. I apologize in advance for being so obtuse, but there really isn’t another way for me to go about this.

Really, this extends back almost another full year. It was a couple of winters ago when I began to feel the need for a sea change in my life, one that was, to be blunt, kind of overdue. I wasn’t in a position to do anything about it right away, though, so I began what I’ve referred to online as “The Plan.” I still can’t talk what specifically The Plan involved, except to say that it was a lot of hard work that wasn’t going to really yield any fruit for a year, but it was something I was fully committed to. There’s a reason my blogging really went down around that time, and it’s because I was so busy with The Plan and the big writing projects I was finally able to bring to fruition last year, completing the rough drafts of two screenplays, a novel, and a non-fiction book.

Unfortunately, last year I also had to deal with a number of personal traumas, most importantly threats of physical assault from a couple of former acquaintances of mine. My personal life hit an oil slick, but I was able to recover quickly from it, thanks to the help of a friend in Cleveland I’d made earlier in the year. As the other problems I was having began to get worse, I was able to confide in her things that I couldn’t tell anyone else. Most importantly, because I’m a cautious person by nature, I was able to work out an alternate plan with her in case The Plan didn’t work out, what I referred to as “Plan B” on Twitter and some other places.

Starting in March of this year, things began to collapse on me. The problems that had led to me formulating all these plans got exponentially worse in a matter of weeks, and then The Plan turned out to be a total failure. Were it not for all the personal growth I’d managed in the past years, I think I would have had difficulty dealing with everything, but my friend had helped me formulate Plan B and had promised me help with a number of other things as well, including assistance with my big writing projects. There’s a line from The Artist’s Way that has stuck with me all these years: “Leap, and the net will appear.” That’s not been an easy lesson for me to learn with all the difficulties I’ve dealt with through the years, but I felt I was as ready to make huge leaps as I’d ever been in my life.

To put it bluntly, the person I thought was my friend pretty much pulled the net away right after I took the leap. Nearly every promise she made to me turned out to be a lie. I don’t know if I can say that this was the biggest betrayal I’ve ever experienced in my life, but it’s unquestionably led to very dire consequences for me, problems that I’m still not even close to being able to resolve. Again, I wish I could be more specific here, but due to everything that’s going on I need to be fairly discreet about what I say.

As Winston Churchill said, though, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Even as all my plans have crumbled around me, and I’m having to struggle through on very limited resources, I’ve been doing everything I can to get back on my feet. I’m still trying to put out a lot of fires at once — some of the problems that first led me to want that sea change in my life a couple of years ago continue to get worse — but I’m working as hard as I can to get back to a decent position in my life, or at least back to how I felt at this time last year before everything seemed to fall apart on me.

That being said, most days that’s really hard for me to do. The mistakes I made online all those years ago have led to me not being as talkative about my emotional state online as I used to be, but in all honesty I’m in a great deal of pain right now. I’d be lying if I said that nothing in my life is going right any longer, but it sure feels like it most days. Even when I seem to make some small measure of progress towards righting myself again, a whole new set of obstacles leaps up in my path, and some of these roadblocks I’ve been dealing with for nearly two years now feel like they’re never going to move out of my way. This is life, I know, but I keep grasping and grasping for some small measure of comfort, some little sliver of light at the end of all this that I can focus on, but I just can’t find it, and I have to wonder if anything like that is even out there or if I’m just fooling myself.

There’s an old saying that a liberal is just a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet. As I’ve dealt with all that happened this spring and summer — an “emotional mugging” would be an apt description for it — I’ve wondered about that. It’s at times like these when it’s tempting to begin to rally against the very things that bring you pleasure because you can never seem to achieve them. It’s like how the most rabid anti-homosexual Republicans always wind up being the ones getting caught in gay sex scandals; when we can’t have something, either because of how we were raised or past failures or whatever, there’s a part of you that wants to deny that pleasure to everyone. If you can’t enjoy yourself, then why should anyone else?

I can’t do that, though. There was a time in my life when I took out my frustrations by trying to make other people as miserable as I was, and I lost a lot of friendships and respect because of it, as I should have. For as difficult as things are, for all that I’m filled with an almost crippling sense of hopelessness at times, for as fruitless as the search for that One Good Thing that can buoy me up has seemed to be, I have to keep going. I have to believe that things can get better, and I have to do everything in my power to make things better. Maybe in the end it will all be for nothing and I’ll come here next year in an even worse condition than I’m in right now, but I can’t let that, or any other excuse I can come up with, stop me. I have to work, and I have to believe that things will get better. I don’t have any other choice.

Everyone take care and be well. I will see you all again soon, and hopefully in a much better condition than I’m in right now.

— Sean

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