Some more about me
In my last few posts I’ve talked about my childhood and teenage years, and got to the point where I was a failure at everything, cutting myself and contemplating suicide. Actually the cutting was oddly disappointing. The pain barely lasted and there was no end of questions, it was like trying an ineffective off brand after years of top shelf. I may be just a little warped. Anyway that was about the time I dedicated myself to giving up self harm, or at least redirecting it. These days I cope with dysphoria through exercise, but it was something of a long road.
I dropped out of school and stopped going to the army reserves, I lingered with the naval band for a few months before dropping that as well. I got a job as a night baker for a well known canadian coffee chain. Working nights didn’t mesh with the band and I gradually stopped going. An officer (naval reservist, not police) showed up at my house one night to claim my barry sax and that was that. I lost touch with my friends and sank deeper into depression.
One of the most significant turning points in my life was my twenty first birthday. I was set to have a small family celebration at my grandma’s. To my immense delight a number of my friends showed up, this was a surprise because at the time I didn’t believe I had any. Ash and his brothers were in attendance, so were a number of school friends and acquaintances. One such friend was a man we will call Sam.
Sam got me a remote control inflatable robot, it was just as cool as that sounds. I remember this because Sam was a big part of my twenty first birthday, but I missed out on going to his. His twenty first birthday was about two years after mine. On that night during his party he fell from the balcony, his memorial service was simultaneously awful and beautiful beyond words. Nothing brings people together like tragedy, the event made our group of friends draw much closer to one another. It also created a housing opportunity for me.
By then I was working at a video store, a much healthier environment than night baking. I was still living with my parents and it was time to leave the nest. My cousin Han was living with three of our mutual friends and planning to move out of town for school. Sam was slated to take his room. They needed someone who could move in on short notice and that ended up being me. I had always felt like an outsider, and honestly still do to this day, what I learned living with my friends is that this is true for most people.
The house was basically everything you’ve seen in a movie frat house. The first year I was there we hosted a new years party with over a hundred guests. On multiple occasions I would come home to witness two strangers asking each other who lived there. Over the years the bathroom was cleaned about twice, and I may be inflating that number. I had a lot of good times and picked up a few bad habits.
The day I dropped off the key to the landlord he and his family were scrubbing the walls, a wife and three kids, the air stank of rotten cabbage (“of course I’ll eat the cabbage, cabbage is really good for you…”).
I studied the scene, and all I could manage was, “I’m sorry.”
“You could help.” Said one of the children rather bluntly.
I left quickly after that.
In my time there I certainly learned a lot about the male creature. Women have a lot of unspoken rules, rules about appearance, rules about behavior etc. Men really just have one, stay cool. If you can manage this you can fit in with guys. That’s not to say this is an easy rule to follow, guys will often do everything they can think of to get a rise out of one another. My friends are very creative and tenacious, I learned to stay calm, for the most part. I got a lot of practice is what I’m saying.
There were other important milestones at the house. I left my job at the video store over what we’ll call a personality conflict and spent six months on employment insurance. The time off was really good for me, it was a chance to breath and put some serious thought into where I wanted to go with my life. It was after this that I really started to take control of my fate. I was bound and determined to make myself into a man.
I’ve made casual reference to a number of my friends, I suppose I may go into more detail in a later post. One thing that occurs to me is that I have more male friends than I can easily count, each of whom I would trust to take a punch for me, but I have depressingly few close female friends. Thank you Matron, by the way 🙂