Sunday, May 4, 2008

Berkeley Makes me Realize...

Every time I drive to Berkeley I feel as though I learn something... something about myself or something about people in general.

Chapter 1: Just Like High School
I was invited to the VSA Banquet and I figured I would just stop by toward the end of the evening. The theme was "Prom," and it was just that... a Prom. I drove up the Berkeley mountains to check out the Botanical Gardens. Through the windy roads, I nearly crashed because I had no navigator and had to glance at the google maps document in fear of losing my way and getting eaten by bears... CAL BEARS! HAHA. When I reached the top, I was in awe at the view. You could see everything.

When I finally arrived, I felt like I stepped back in time. There was a balloon arch and music blasting from inside a large hall, glitter, rose petals, boys in ties and vests, girls in cute dress and their hair did. I was having a great time seeing old faces and dancing to Kelly Clarkson and Blink 182; Me and JV screaming the lyrics with conviction, "WORK SUCKS, I KNOW!" Then, they played a slow song. People who brought "dates" were saved, others danced in groups, some depressingly sat down... JUST like high school. Thankfully I was near my girl Christine and she held her hands out to dance with me. We rocked back and fourth. And she said a couple of things that implied that she wished that I wasn't gay... and like in high school.. at that moment wished I wasn't gay either so that I can have feelings and emotions for people and not have to hide it...

A second slow song played and I was not as lucky. I found myself stepping outside in the cold by myself and looking at my phone as if it would save me from feeling so lonely. A third slow song played and I was pulled into the dance floor, dancing with some strange girl who was trying to make people dance so that they wouldn't feel so pathetic, but in actuality made them feel worse. The night ended at 11pm and I was thankful that it was over. I felt like a chaperon trying to relive my 'youth'... but for what? So I can revert back to immaturity? No thank you. I'm trying to grow up remember?!

I drove some kids home in my truck and spent the night trying not think so hard ... realizing that the "pain and agony of high school" should be reviewed through pictures not through first hand accounts. Though I was lucky enough that during high school I wasn't so much concerned with emotions, but with having a good time with good friends. Which is what I should have done at that "Prom."

That night I made up for it: I let the warmth of my friends comfort me while I slept.

Chapter 2: Lack of a Community Post College
JV gave me a day pass to park on Saturday so I decided to stay at Berkeley. I called Sally cuz I knew she would be up. She's graduating one year EARLY so there's a lot things for her to get done. She told me that she had no time to spend time with people she cared about before she left for Japan for JET. For that reason, I felt lucky that I spent the morning with her.

She told me that she was volunteering at the Queer and Asian Conference so I followed her. Initially I wasn't going to go because I figured I had experienced enough conferences in my time. But as more familiar faces from Cal arrived at VLSB, I stayed to catch and reminisce with kids from my generation.

I attended an amazing workshop focusing on building a community based on identity. I was reminded that being gay had consumed my identity. I discovered that I longed for a mentor... someone that I could look up to learn from ...and who would check up on me. A lot of powerful things were said, I absorbed everything. I understood, that one of the reasons I hated work so much was because my sexuality was being suffocated. That the community that I once had, that surrounded me was replaced with sterile excel sheets... and I need to get out of that hell hole. I was given some resources, but there were few. South Bay Queer and Asian.

The guest speaker was empowering. She was a power lesbian, a sexuality professor, an inspiration. I left feeling appropriately moved and enlightened and remembering why these conferences were so important.

Chapter 3: Lonely
I spent the rest of the day chasing something that didn't exist. For the first time in years I kept what I was feeling hidden because even I disapproved. I drove home once again feeling alone. With out community, with out a mentor, with out someone to hold my hand when I reached out for them. I drove to InNOut Burger and ate by myself while high schoolers smoked cigarettes outside their cars. I felt... lame.

I made a phone call. I regretfully filled that void because I was that lonely, messed up... depressed. I made some regrets, because I needed the attention. I made some regrets because I felt weak. And I wished that being "comfortable" with myself, trusting myself, giving myself value was enough to keep me from feeling this way...

but man... it's not enough.

Chapter 4: Hidden
The boy that I've been crushing on asked me numerous times to go to the VSA Prom, he emphasized that he REALLY wanted to see me. When I got there, he was dancing with a girl all night. I took it as a sign that he was not interested in me. And left him alone. He called me to hang out and I spent 8 hours trying to get his attention during Rely for Life. He knows I liked him. He wrapped a sleeping bag around me because I was cold, but when I reached out for his hand he moved away. My friends disapprove. Because even IF he did like me, he is a boy who needs to figure himself out first. Even if he did like me we are in different stages of our life and it wouldn't work out anyway. But that didn't keep me from liking him... and being hurt by him. And that night, when I was alone, I called someone who has feelings for me... and I slept with him because I needed to feel loved. And I keep this hidden because I know better. I keep this hidden because it's the opposite of what I preach. I keep this hidden because I'm embarrassed of myself for allowing a boy to cause me such grief... and for taking advantage of a friend whose love I couldn't return. And I know ya'll are smart enough to discover this "hidden" entry... but for now, I'm going to believe that you aren't smart enough and still respect me. ...and I can still respect myself.

3 comments:

dannie said...

ooh so you did go to the Q+A, i didn't go.
i felt alone at the Q+A after party so, it's not just you, it happens to everyone.

I know SBQA you should go to some of their events sometime, like that speed dating lol.

and....you'll find your place, once in a while we fall back on what we believe in, but that doesn't change you entirely.

Don't let one regret or anything stop you from enjoying life. Take it as an answer that it might not be the right time for both of you.

sorry, long comment =X

nick said...

oi. i hate eating alone. i've been doing that a lot in the past year and a half.

Sally said...

i heart you! thank you for visiting me!