Friday, November 09, 2007

The Me Nobody Knows

In 1970, there was a Broadway musical called The Me Nobody Knows which was based on an anthology of New York City student writings. Their stories were explicit in detail as to what their lives were like and how the felt about their neighborhoods, family, school, and more.

For reasons that will become apparent, the title has always resonated with me. I debated a lot about writing this post and promised myself that no matter what I wouldn't pull it down. This isn't written to elicit sympathy, empathy, or guilt from friends and/or anonymous readers. This is written for me. Because I have to tell everyone about the me that nobody knows.

For many of you that know me, this post will come as a shock because you think you know me... and well at that. The truth is you don't know me at all.

And it's not your fault. I need to make that perfectly clear. It's not your fault at all. It all lies with me.

The truth about me is this... well it's a lot of things but let's start with the big one.

I am probably more lonely than I will ever publicly admit... even here and in this post which, admittedly, will be rather raw in its content. Part of this loneliness can be attributed to my job which consumes a large part of my time (and more on this later). Part of it can be attributed to many friends being so spread out. Part of it can be attributed to the fact that I have very few close friends who live in NYC even though I have been here for almost 10 years... a fact that even I am surprised to learn. Even though I have a large circle of acquaintances (for lack of a better word) and have been members of many organizations (social, recreational, and otherwise), the truth is that my phone rarely rings to the point where I only really keep it in case there is a family emergency and I need to reach them or vice versa. There are days when I question whether or not I should even keep the phone because it never seems to get any use.

And then there are days when I question if anyone would really miss me if I did give up my phone.

Total self admission -- I know that I'm not the first person people think of when they are making up a party invite list. My social calendar is painfully empty to the point where going to see a movie or a show on my own isn't a problem or awkward for me. I've faked "dinner with friends" more times than I care to count. I often make up things I did over the weekend rather than say I sat at home alone.

And yes, I totally admit that a large part of this is my own creation. I am more than capable of going out to a bar, meeting new people, or someone and make new friends. But, I am totally not a bar person and, quite frankly, no one in a bar seems to want to talk to me.

With that, let's hit the next big thing... relationships, and the lack thereof. I am probably more socially awkward than I let on. Part of that comes from a severe fear of rejection. I have asked out more people than I can count and been turn down over and over and over. The reason I have not pursued some romantic desires is because of that fear of rejection. There are probably lots of people who have no clue that I had feelings for them, wanted to see if there was a spark there, or anything. Some people have found out because people got tired of me pining away and not doing anything about it. And even then the feelings weren't reciprocated. I'm the guy you just don't think of "that way."

I have joked that I'm going to just have to get used to being alone and adopt 13 cats to live with me. Sometimes though, it's not a joke. And sometimes, I think I already have gotten used to being alone.

I keep being told what a great guy I am and what a catch I would be, but to be honest, if I am such a great guy then why am I alone? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I have to put myself out there. Well I have. People didn't want me or anything to do with me. Then I'm told, it happens when I'm not looking. Well that's a load of BS because I stopped looking a long time ago.

Oh yeah. There was one guy as of late. I fell for him and fell for him hard. Sadly he was completely unavailable for any sort of a relationship. It was hard for me to accept that I had found what I considered to be the perfect guy only to not be able to "have" him. Even harder is that I still see him on a regular basis as friends (and I know that he may read this and am prepared for his response). While I have accepted that he will be and can only be a friend in my life, there are days when I find it hard to actually see him because the feelings are always there and bubbling under the surface. On those days, I do my damnedest to keep things in check. It's not often, but it happens.

And when it does it reminds me that I'm still alone.

Part of the problem is my job. While it's incredibly demanding and requires a somewhat significant time commitment, I definitely work more than I should. Several years ago, I realized that I was putting more attention onto my job than on myself. I did it because filling that time gave me something to do. It gave me purpose. Someone needed me and it was a job, or a project, or something that I would take on to keep my calendar full and my mind off the fact of how alone I truly am. As long as there is something to fill my time I don't have to worry about the emotional side of me that is not being fulfilled.



And how about this biggie... I have serious issues with my looks and my own self worth. I've never been comfortable with my size, weight, face, and as of late, hair color. I've worked out, lost weight, gained weight, and never everything in between. As a large part of it, I've never fully accepted myself. I've been called every name imaginable even by my own family.

Oh, family. Nice segue. Growing up, my weight was a never ending issue. Between fourth and sixth grade I think I put on forty pounds and was pretty pudgy. My parents would tell me how fat I was, how I would grow up to be so big that my arms wouldn't be able to touch each other, etc etc. Of course, the fact that my mother and father both failed many diets in their lives never came to mind as a defense at the time. The fact that both of them are overweight to this day doesn't say much either. However, of my immediate family, I'm the only one actively exercising. But I still get comments on my weight.

My family doesn't talk or acknowledge that I am gay. My sister is the only one that does and the only reference she has made as of late was that I needed to repent of my "sinful ways." Mind you, for Christmas last year my sister gave me a book about a man who had a near death experience and rather than going to heaven, he went to hell. Nothing says Merry Christmas more than a book to tell you you're going to hell.

But what's hard to deal with as well is that I know that they know I'm gay. I know that it's hard for them to talk about if and when they ever do. But it's hard for me as well. They don't know about live, the failed attmepts to form relationships, or anything. And it's hard for me to share because I know they don't want to know. It's hard to hear your mother make disparaging comments about homosexuality to your face and not respond back. I've finally got a decent relationship with my family and I know at some point I'm going to have to talk to them about it and risk what has taken so long to establish.

At one of my recent expos, a "spiritual medium" gave me a reading where she basically exposed me as the fraud I am. She told me I deserve an Academy Award for the performance I give on a daily basis convincing people that I am more in control of my life than I really am.

And I had no response because I knew she was right.

I'm hoping that by writing this I can break the cycle I find myself repeating over and over. I'm hoping that by publishing this people will understand where I'm coming from and what my life is really like. I'm hoping that by letting everyone know that I'm not who I say I am or who I've pretended to be that I can finally discover who I am because, quite frankly, I have no idea who that is.

So... to a certain extent, this is the me that nobody knows.

Not even me.

I hope you get to meet the real me one day. I hope I get to meet him too.

And I hope that he's as great of a guy as all of my friends seem to think this guy is.

To those that I have deceived, I apologize. Trust me, it hurt me more than it hurt you.
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