Several months ago, I again faced the prospect of what to do over the summer, and whether, like last summer, I wanted to come home and stay at home for the entire duration of the beginning of May until the end of August, or work either or both halves of the summer (May – July, and July – late August). On the surface it might be a relatively simple decision, but like mostly everything in life, I’ve learned that every single decision I make has its own slew of consequences and side-effects and things of that nature. I knew this summer I wanted to a) make money, something I’m likely not alone in wanting. But more importantly, b) I wanted to avoid a repeat of last summer at all costs. The beginning of summer was filled with my gradual overcoming of one of, if not, the single most challenging friendship I’ve ever had with someone, and proceeded with accusations by my mom’s girlfriend that I don’t care about the current state of affairs they were in, and was too lazy to go out and find a job and actually work. Not to mention being accused of stealing various things of hers. And yet, not having a car leaves me significantly limited, coupled with the fact our only car is used for a good portion of the day. The bus exists, but at the cost of around $15 a week, that adds up to a fair chunk of change I’d be tossing away just for the sake of transportation, and then there’s the whole matter of my schedule revolving around the bus schedule…it just adds to further complications for me.
So long story short in that department, yes, I wanted things to be different. And so this summer I elected to work at my on-campus job through the second-half of the summer, leaving me with some free time for May and June to just unwind and do whatever, which I have loved immensely.
Granted, if I had my choice, I wouldn’t fully mind working right now, but that isn’t quite the most realistic option I have, at least at the cost of sacrificing my living at home for the summer in exchange for spending virtually all of my free time alone in my apartment if I decided to work the whole summer in Kalamazoo.
And yes, like I said, the free time has been wonderful. I have some time to spend away from people, away from some of the most wonderful and frustrating moments of my life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Everything I both simultaneously love and hate, I’m away from. It’s truly fantastic, and it’s exactly what I needed.
In exchange, as I have a lot of down time prior to July, it’s given me time to think about…a lot of things. About where I’m currently at in my life, the kind of person I am and have become, and the kind of people I have in my life. I still have to figure out what my future steps will be post-graduation, and that’s probably my biggest concern of all, although I still have two years to plan for that at the least, if all goes well.
But in thinking of what people I do know, my mind settled on someone I’ve known for the past year and have talked to on a fairly regular basis: @TheTypicalGay_
I know I’ve mentioned him in previous posts, and a handful of tweets, ask.fm questions, and the like, so understandably with the frequency in which I continuously bring him up, anyone would assume this is someone who means a great deal to me. And he does.
Last summer, he and I happened to occasionally interact through our timelines, mostly revolving around Pokemon (as what else can bring two people closer?). One day, around a year ago as of sometime next week, he DMed me, which is a rare thing in itself for anyone to DM me out of the blue these days. But our conversations deepened, and eventually we moved over to Kik so as to avoid the character limit in DMs, and around three or four weeks later, we exchanged phone numbers.
Throughout this process, however, I was happy, because I had someone I could relate to on so many different levels. But more than being happy, my friendship with him kept me going, as things in my personal life took on some tests of endurance. The best thing I had was being able to text him or FaceTime him and completely vent and not care so much about what he thought but rather, the fact that, for a rare moment in my life, I had someone who was willing to listen to my problems, and even though solutions were few and far between, I had someone I could confide in, which, as far as life is concerned, having people like that is an extremely beneficial thing.
Like any person, I was reminded that as wonderful of a friend he was, he had his flaws, just the same as anyone else. My signs of appreciation towards him being willing to be there for me were met with, at best, indifference, and me being a very caring person, I was confused as to why he didn’t seem more…appreciative of my appreciation, I guess you could say. Not that I need to be showered with thank-yous on a regular basis or anything like that, but little ol’ naîve me thought I’d receive…some sort of affirmative message in return. I later found out that, after a few unsuccessful relationships with guys and through the continuous struggle of building up hope for a guy only to wind up disappointed, the level at which he cares about things is remarkably low, which, aside from being a fragment of who he is as a person, also extended so far as to his frequency of replying to text messages, which, on any given day, ranges from within minutes to within hours.
Yet I’ve never believed him to be a bad person. And in fact, it’s his indifference towards nearly everything in the world that I’ve drawn the most inspiration from.
For so many years, I’ve maintained an extremely unhealthy obsession over what people think of me and what kind of person I’m perceived to be. It’s an internal switch of mine that’s been relentlessly turned on, and something that’s given me a fair deal of stress and discomfort. I wanted to be perceived as someone likable, friendly, approachable, and a number of other positive qualities because I wanted people to not only talk to me and befriend me, but continue talking to me for many more weeks, months, and years. It’s been an ongoing process that’s haunted me for as long as I can remember, and on the list of things about myself I wish I could change, it’s long been at the top of the list.
Yet, he possesses what I’ve been convinced is a rare but marvelous ability to have a high level of apathy for nearly everything in existence. Things such as texting someone back, displaying an overt appreciation for certain things, and so on are all things that he could honestly care less about. This isn’t something I hate about him; on the contrary, it’s something I find very inspiring.
It’s weird because when we first started talking, I was so keen on getting to know him and know as much about him as possible, yet his texting habits threw me for far more of a loop than I’d like to admit. I tend to be very hard on myself and hate when it appears as though people are ignoring me, whether through text, Twitter, snapchat, etc. Yet another one of my more worse habits that I’m slowly working on changing. And there were plenty of times I wish I could be more interesting, or more appealing of a person to talk to, not necessarily just with him, but with anyone I take an interest in talking to, which is yet another thing I want to break.
His attitude is borne from circumstance. The less he cares, the easier it is to move on when a guy he happens to be interested in turns him down, stops talking to him, and so on. Relatable? Oh definitely.
But it’s the positive sides of not caring that I’ve been looking to adapt for myself. He’s tweeted before about how he’ll carry his mom’s purse around and not give a single fuck what anyone else says or thinks. When you think about it, it’s a remarkably courageous thing to do, especially for someone in the south as many (but not all) people are rather renowned for their anti-gay stance on things. And it’s that exact level of courage I would literally kill to have. On paper, it’s relatively simple: What anyone else thinks of you matters very little. As long as you’re happy with yourself, that’s what’s important. In reality, it’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish. But he makes it look so easy. Oh, someone I want to talk to hasn’t texted me back? I should check if there’s anything on Netflix.
It’s simplistic things like that that I wish I had for myself, because I’m convinced many aspects of my life would be relatively easier if I could pull it off. A number of things that stress the average person out are things he hardly bats an eye about. It’s so rare to meet someone like that.
In addition to that, he also taught me an important lesson: If I want something bad enough, I have the endurance, mental patience, and commitment to get it, and honestly it’s a relief to know that I have the capability to do that.
With him, it took a lot of commitment to break down the walls he had. It’s like the first few days of living with a new roommate at college and beginning the process of getting to know them. You can’t make assumptions too early. You can’t pass judgment until you know the full story.
For so long, I placed very little value in the saying that people will either break you or teach you a lesson, that people come into your life to help you or hurt you. But I believe that somehow, in the weirdest way possible, I needed to learn this. All of this. And I did.
Long live all the walls I broke through, and the lessons I learned from this. It’s the start of a new age for me. They serve now as a reminder of my persistence, and effort, and determination to get to this realization. And while there may be things with our friendship that I regret, and things I wish I could’ve done (and in some cases, not have done), I am altogether thankful to have him as a friend, at a time when I have very few friends to begin with. People can get so caught up on someone not texting back, or at all even. But it’s even more important to think of the people who do reply. Someone thousands of miles away is taking the time to reply to you, to see how you’re doing, to ask you about your day, and for the fact that people even make an effort to communicate with you, much less take the time to do so, that deserves something to be thankful for as well.
My reward for talking to him, as a result, is something far more valuable than any physical item I could ever have. My friendship with him has taught me things I may not have otherwise learned through other circumstances, and that’s more than anything I could ever receive.
The world is full of choices. Everything from the simplicity of deciding an outfit to deciding whether to go on a date. From buying a car to buying a new iPhone case. I remain convinced to this day, even more so now, that making my anonymous account was one of my better decisions in life because it’s led me to learn so much about myself, and about other people. All from making a Twitter account.
And that, in itself, is something to be thankful for. For realizations like that, and for people in my life like him; yes, flawed as any other person, but a part of my life nonetheless.