I’m not too big on the whole ‘new year, new me’ type of mentality, and I’m sure you’re pretty familiar with it. The turning of a year serves for thousands as an automatic gateway into starting to live life as a brand-new person, which most commonly manifests itself in the form of New Years resolutions.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with making goals for yourself come January 1st. Many people are focused on losing weight, and gyms across the country will undoubtedly see an influx of these resolution-ers for the better half of the month, perhaps more. There’s the few who’re dead-set on landing in a relationship, and why not? Everyone deserves to be happy and have some level of happiness, unless you’re a deranged psycho killer or something of the sort.
No, I believe if you have any chance and any excuse to change and be a new person, it’s right here, right in front of you (and I’m not referencing your computer or phone screen, FYI). Why wait for the passing of a year to try and become a new person? To me it just never made any sense.
But this year has definitely been interesting. And for the most part, interesting in a very good way.
My whole “new year, new me” moment came in March when I came out. Subconsciously making the decision to start playing life by my own rules has proven to be enormously beneficial. It’s like a new boost of self-esteem, even if other areas of my life, particularly my social life, remain as dismal as ever. I know the circumstances behind it are not incredibly easy or simple depending on your situation, things do get easier, either by a change of scenery, a change of people, or, most of all, a change of you.
I’ve learned that I can deal with having multiple disasters flung at me and still manage to claw my way out on top somehow. I made plans to live with my old roommates this past fall, only come to find out my lease wasn’t actually renewed and the office didn’t notify me about this until June when one of my roommates who was moving out renewed his lease, unaware I was still planning on living there. I then had to go through the process of signing up for a new apartment, getting my application approved, scrambling at the last-minute to find a guarantor, realizing I can pay the first month’s rent as a deposit instead, and getting settled with my new roommates who…unfortunately don’t have a lot in common with me. If I had my choice, yes, I would greatly prefer to keep my old apartment, but these things happen.
I also suffered a few setbacks in the love department. My first attempt with getting to know one guy completely failed. The second one was the first guy I’ve ever told my feelings to, and yes it’s an excruciatingly nervous experience, but I’m relieved I did it. Sadly he has a boyfriend, but I can at least say that I gave it a shot. My third attempt, this time with a fellow anon from gay Twitter, also ended in failure in late May, when my request to get his phone number and get to know him more went ignored. I still have periodic moments where I wonder what if, especially when he’s tweeted the infrequent tweets of wanting a boyfriend, wanting some guy who’s actually interested in him, and so on. Am I bitter though? No. Would an actual response have been nice, even if it was rejection? Sure. But I’ve managed to move on. My current interest, I’ve never had feelings for anybody this strong before. It’s gonna take some effort to convince him to trust me, but I’m 100% willing to wait as long as it takes, because I know he’s more than worth it to me.
Not to mention the fact that, also for the first time in my life, I’ve had a guy interested in me. I can never be the shallow type and assume that every guy who crosses paths with me is instantly mesmerized by me, because honestly, that’s not going to happen, but I am optimistic enough to believe someone out there will be interested someday. I just didn’t expect it to happen so recently. The struggle, however, is that I doubt I can develop feelings for him as strong as my feelings for the other guy, as nice as he is.
This did, however, also lead to my very first opportunity for sex. As far as gays go, by my age, someone would’ve likely slept with about 20 or so guys (perhaps more), having sex on many occasions along the way. Me? Not so much. As much as it would be wonderful to have some level of experience at this point, in both that area and relationships and all that, I know this isn’t exactly some type of race to lose your virginity. Yet, bam. Here it was. My first chance to change that. And did I take it? No. Although me and the guy I’m interested in are by no means official, I already knew in the back of my head that if I had sex with this guy, I’d feel guilty in some way because knowing I’m still interested in him yet here I am making out with someone else. I wasn’t about to put myself through that.
Do I have any regrets? No. I’ve lived my life without being in a relationship or without sex, that a few extra months or years waiting for the right person doesn’t really bother me. I became attached a while back to the idea of sex, for me, meaning something, Some guys wave around the number of people they’ve slept with like it’s some kind of trophy. People become objectified into being labeled as prey. They get used for sex and then tossed aside the next day like it’s nothing. As much as I would love to experience it, I know I have to do it when I feel ready for it, and when I feel comfortable with the person I’m doing it with.
The biggest thing this year is the fact I made my anon account. Through it, I’ve been able to talk to a lot of truly amazing people. Has it not always been enjoyable? Sure. Some of my jokes were taken too far. My experience with the first guy I met didn’t exactly end up all that fantastic. And yes, people are common to ignore me whenever I mention them. But more importantly, I’m happy. I’ve built a support system of people I know I can fall back on if I ever need help, and there was never a bigger time that this was necessary than when the fall semester ended and I needed a ride home. My mom blew a tire in her car and can’t drive more than 50 miles (which, come to find out now, she’s been able to drive on the highway without any problems), and, unfortunately for me, my friends in Kalamazoo are mostly without cars, leaving me in a ridiculously tight spot. Who do I turn to? @MotorCityGay, who, as you could probably guess, lives on the east side of the state. Not only was he able to come drive me home, but to do so, he also rescheduled a morning theater rehearsal he was supposed to be at.
To most people, this is probably not a huge deal. But to me it is, because it’s not very often people are so willing to do things like that for me. He basically drove around 6 hours for me. And also because I bought him lunch. But mostly to help me, which I appreciate.
He also gave me a pretty solid reminder of how humanizing it is to go from meeting someone online and talking to them occasionally to suddenly winding up alone in a car with them as they drive you back to your house. As much as some people prefer to champion the belief that their accounts exist solely for the purpose of posting memes or retweeting porn links (which, if it’s what they want to do, is completely fine), there are still very real people behind these accounts, and while it is incredibly easy to say almost anything you want to a stranger who lives a couple hundred miles away from you, it’s an entirely different experience altogether when you finally do meet them and spend an hour or two with them. Even though the likelihood in many cases is very high that a majority of the people you interact with daily are people you may never actually meet in your life, it still doesn’t make it any better or give you any better of an excuse to be an asshole to them, because as unlikely as it may be, there is always the off chance you could actually run into them, and how awkward would it be if the supposedly 6’5 guy calling someone a faggot was actually 5’5 with braces?
People may not always be who they appear to be online, but they are still people nonetheless. Just as much as you’d prefer to stay on good terms with just about everyone as much as possible, so too would they. And just as much as you have the freedom to express your opinion and tweet what you wish, so too do the people who follow you and talk to you have the freedom to react as they feel like.
On a more persona note for me, I’m about a year and a half from getting my degree. I finally finished my last math class ever, unless I decide to switch majors. I think I’ve almost figured out what I want to do after I graduate, but figuring out how all the pieces are gonna fit is what’s gonna be hard. I have yet to even get my own car, which has been on my list forever, but that might actually happen this year. Maybe.
This year has taught me a lot. And it may not have brought me every single thing I’ve ever wanted, but it’s certainly brought me plenty of things I desperately needed. There’s so much more I feel like I learned about myself, and a lot of that has happened thanks to the account.
Trevor, Alex, Ian, Michael, Zack, TJ, and Ryan, meeting you guys has been incredible. After spending most of my life feeling enormously alone, thanks to you guys, I don’t feel that alone anymore, which is all I’ve ever really wanted. Thank you for being there, even if it’s not physically.
Did I truly accomplish anything I had the mindset of doing? Not particularly. The unplanned events of me coming out and my mom both knowing I’m gay and supporting me were wonderful things I didn’t really expect to happen so soon, but I can’t complain all the same. I’m still without a car, I’m still without a boyfriend, I’m still generally lost as to what’s gonna happen down the road, but I have enough optimism in me to believe it’ll all work out somehow. If not this year, then eventually.
So many people have all the doubt in the world that things will get better, that they will find relationships, or lose weight, or achieve whatever they’re after. And yes, some people are ridiculously more unlucky than others, and life happens. But the good news, certainly from personal experience, is that things do improve. The life you’re living now is not necessarily going to be the same life you’ll have in ten years, or even five. So many things can happen unexpectedly, and in many cases, for the better. My freshman year, I was gonna be a couple thousand dollars short of what I needed, and I was nervous as hell. I was awarded more aid just before the semester started and only had a few hundred to pay off, which wasn’t a huge issue thanks to a payment plan I went on. At the start of the 2013 semester and moving into an apartment, I had to find a job and fast, otherwise I would be out of luck when November came around. I luckily got an email from one of the managers at my now on-campus job.
Granted, just two examples that may not be hugely significant, but my point is that things can get better, something that also has a direct influence based on how positive you are and how hard you try to change. Life can and frequently does get hard. Feeling sad or depressed or upset or mad at everything are normal. I’ve felt them on multiple occasions. But the important thing is to not let yourself stay in that negative mindset.
People will judge you. People will follow you and unfollow you later because they don’t think you’re attractive enough (of all possible reasons), regardless of any past conversations you’ve had with them. People can turn on you almost instantly, without warning. People will criticize nearly every decision you make. But you have to do what makes you happy.
Here’s to hoping this year is better than your last.