November is the Cruelest Month

swimmerguy's picture

My favorite show I've ever watched is about life. Six Feet Under ran from 2001-2005, five seasons, five years in the lives of the Fishers who owned Fisher and Sons Funeral Home.

The show starts minutes in with the death of the father. And (spoilers) it ends 3 episodes after the death of the older brother, perhaps the closest thing to a main character the show has.

The moral of this timing for the show is that, for most of us, most of the time, life goes on, even after it doesn't for some of us.

It shows this after the death of the father and then again when the older brother dies, 3 episodes to show that the other characters will pick up their lives and move on again, and the last episode reveals what lies in store for them.

According to my account, I started on Oasis 5 years, 7 weeks ago. It started me in middle school, coming to terms with my sexuality, first thinking I was bi, then gay, going though all of high school.

Now I haven't posted in a while, and the chances are good that this will be my last journal on this site.

And now that I'm moving into new directions, there may be a few last plot twists to keep me entertained after I stop journaling here.

I'm writing this now from a large and fairly cozy cafe at the University of Washington, where I started this year.

Here's the life and times at UW:

I chose this because it's a good school and it was close and easy, and relatively affordable. Most of the rest of the places I applied were expensive-ass private schools and other schools that weren't as good.

It's a bit surreal being here, as I've lived in Washington essentially my whole life (except for 4 years in my birth state Nevada). It'd be hard to call Seattle my "community", as I never lived in Seattle before now, but Western Washington is relatively isolated, cradled by mountains on the east, mountains and sea on the west, and long distances into Canada and Oregon to the north and south.

So in the very real sense that all of Western Washington is my home, UW was always "that college", the best and the biggest.

And honestly I don't think I'm missing out on that much by not leaving. What I've discovered in pretty much everywhere I've traveled is that, except for geography and limited cultural factors, much of the West (Europe and North America) is basically the same.

I applied in my junior year of high school to spend senior year in Germany, and in retrospect I'm glad I didn't make it. Because of absolute stupidity, the credits I would get for going to high school in Germany wouldn't transfer, and I'd have to spend an extra year or semester at high school.

And having had an Austrian exchange student, I discovered what I should have suspected: Europeans are basically Americans that speak different languages. There are certain specific cultural differences, but really no different way of living life. So I'd simply have to spend an extra year of high school with high school douchbags who would just happen to speak German instead of English.

This is what you get, but even less exciting, in most of the country.

And I love Washington. I love the mountains and the weather, and even the limited cultural distinction we have here in Seattle, I love that too. I have no reason to suspect I'd like any part of America better.

As well, being here and close to home, I can get access to a car pretty much whenever I want by just taking a bus home, and thus have far greater mobility.

That, to me, is crucial. Because the city is depressing, even way more depressing than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty depressing.

I get that some people like to live in a place like New York, and to a degree I can understand that. New York is impressive, and with incredible cultural density. And the city is just fuckin huge and fuckin high.

But here in the north buttcrack of Seattle, we get at least a little bit of the cultural density of New York (the food is very good). But most of the effect of the city is not to be impressive. The buildings aren't huge and humbling, they're low rises, which just means that everything is concrete and dumpy.

Living at college is just not conducive to mental or physical health. Living in a dorm, I have to have a dining card, which you have to put a ridiculous amount of money on (about $850 per quarter is the lowest amount you can put on it). And most of the dining isn't that great for you. I live in North Campus, where the old dorms and the beautiful leafy trees are. To get real groceries on my food card, I have to walk 15 minutes to urban West Campus, where they have the only real grocery store that takes dining money.

What we do have on North Campus is cafeterias and the equivalent of gas station mini-marts.

So when I'm feeling peckish, I go down to the little convenience store with lots of money I have to spend, and endless rows of candy and shit to spend it on. It's a perfect storm.

Exercising, as well, is difficult. I've been going climbing at the gym in the IMA (Intra Mural Activities, basically the campus YMCA) several times a week, but other than that there's little to do. Other than indoor climbing, I'm simply not a fan of indoor exercise generally, it tends to be dull and horrible, which exercise can very easily be entertaining and exciting.
And then there isn't really any good outdoor exercise, of course, this is a city. At least in my suburb, I could ride my bike like every day in the pleasant Japanese Gulch.
http://japanesegulch.org/

Mental health, as well, is difficult to maintain. I have a lot of close friends here, many of them from my high school, and I dick around with them a lot. It doesn't really leave much time for thinking and reading.

I used to be a little bit hardcore. I would ride my bike in the rain and the cold wearing practically nothing, but fine because I was working so hard, then come home and read.

My mental output by this point is practically zero.

So I've been doing my best to start trying to mitigate these issues with university. I've been trying to ride my bike and ways to make it more fun. I've been trying to eat better and less, and dick around less, to give me time to read more (Planning on starting the Motorcycle Diaries as my next project.)

Overall, university isn't much different than high school. I expected it to be, but so far it hasn't been. It is different in that it's less stressful. I don't have too get up as early, and school feels more like a committed weekend than actual school. (Most days are simply doing what little homework/studying I have to do, and occasionally having to go to a lecture in a subject I'm relatively interested in anyway. In other words, much different than the far more regimented and stressful high school.)
And having friends far closer and with more time to hang out with them is different but not shockingly so.

As well, I expected the classes to be more inspired, to see more passion, because people get to pick the classes they want to take. But really they haven't been.

So here's the plot twist: I don't really consider myself gay anymore.
More recently I'd been drifting away from the term anyway, for a number of reasons. Part of it is that when people hear it they'll assume complete attraction to guys only all the time, which I just don't think is true, and even if I did I couldn't be sure I'd always be that way.

As well, I'm just not a huge fan of telling everyone of my sexuality. I don't honestly think it's that important, and it's a little weird to tell everyone. If you tell someone you hardly know you're gay, even if they don't judge you at all for being attracted to your own gender, you're telling them something incredibly intimate about yourself.

I think straight guys would find it unnerving if, when I hardly knew them, I asked them whether they're sexually attracted to tall or short girls, tits or ass, or any number of other questions about they're sexual attractions.

If I told someone I was gay, someone I hardly knew, it's hardly different. In a way I've told them my "type", and so then they can make assumptions about what I'm thinking when we both happen to see a hot guy, for example.

It just seems weird and a bit of a violation to imagine people I hardly know assuming that about me. I'd honestly rather they don't assume anything about the people I'm sexually attracted to, not straight, not gay, not nuthin.
There will be a time when I know people enough to talk about my sexual feelings, but upon meeting is not that time, I don't think.

So I've long been uneasy about the term, but I don't even think it's true about me.

I do have sexual attractions to people I don't know, and those people are often guys. But not all the time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDZX4ooRsWs

You've probably seen that (because I have, and as far as pop culture goes I really do live under a rock). And as trashy as it was, it's honestly kinda hot.

But more recently, I've started to think less about these anonymous physical attractions. When I had sex, with a guy I didn't really know or like, it was a lot like watching porn. Very engaging, though not really even fun or anything, during, but just kinda depressing afterwards.

It kinda feels like a waste of time.

The amount of time it takes to seek out and then actually do it with people who would be willing to fuck me seems like a lot of time I could better spend doing other things.

But this has been better confirmed by a more recent development: I'm in love with my best friend. (I'll call him Großmann)

I've never used that word before to refer to anyone other than family, but this time I'm confident in it.

It's something I've never felt before. I have lots of "friends", which are basically people that are fun to dick around with or party with, and really nothing more. I try to avoid having too many of these. It feels like I'm just using them.

I also have some dozen real friends, which are people not only fun to hang out with, but that I can actually talk about life and my problems with, and they can do the same, and we can help each other out.

And then I have perhaps 3 of what I might call love-friends, which is friends I not only can hang out with and tell my problems to, but that truly think about the world and have values and know who they are, that have goals. Too many people I know, even real friends, don't know who they are. In a sense, to me, they're not real people. They don't think much farther than their own lives, and their goals are mostly related to stability and material wealth.

This isn't necessarily problematic, it's just it's a problem for me getting close to other people, because I'm not that way. I spend a lot of time thinking, agonizing and feeling that there must be something more to life than that. I don't know whether that's better, worse, or just different, but there's nothing I can do o change that about myself, that I'm always searching for meaning in a world I'm not sure has any intrinsic meaning to it.

This includes my brother and a few other love-friends, but none so much as Großmann.

He's fun to hang out with, and he's actually very, very sweet. It's just some few things he does. He's a very good listener. And I've been sick a lot while I've been at university. And he's always been so great about it. When I've been hanging out in his room and I’ve fallen asleep, which has happened fairly often, he’s different in the others in that he lets me go for a while but then just wakes me with a gentle tap and says I should probably go back to my dorm and get some sleep.

Or, I’m really ticklish, and sometimes my friends tickle me for fun, sometimes a little brutally (but I’m kinda a bit more of a pouter than a confrontational guy. If they abuse it, I just tend to get kinda sad, not really angry).

But Großmann helps me if our other friends are sometimes being a little bit over the top in the tickling.

As well, I can connect with him, on so many levels, we have similar demons, similar goals, similar thoughts, similar everything. He’s probably the only friend I have here that I can just talk with for hours.

But here’s something surprising: being in love, real love, is far more depressing than I would’ve imagined. So I’m not necessarily super attracted to him sexually, in that I don’t just look at him and think of sex or anything. But I also am not a huge personal-space guy, I like cuddling, with friends, with love-friends, with most people I know, guy or girl. And Großmann just isn’t like that. It’s not really even the classic story of a gay guy being in love with his friend, where the straight guy just can never feel the same. This is partly why I really don’t think I’m gay, anymore. I’ve just emotionally gotten so attached to him, and I think I could be to anyone that’s right.

I’m not sexually attracted to him, more I’m just physically attracted. As in I would have sex with him, but it wouldn’t really have anything to do with his body anymore than that his body is him.

He does actually love me too, and in essentially the same way, just that he’s not physically attracted to me. It turns out that being in love with him is just wishing so hard all the time that I could just be closer to him, that I could better show my love to him. I’m already thinking hard about a Christmas gift for him, and I don’t ever do that. I’ve told him, I don’t spend much money and I have some extra cash, and I would honestly rather spend it on him than myself, because I realize that if I just spent it on myself I’d just have things, whereas if I spent it on him I’d feel good about it forever.

But it seems like being in love for me is just always agonizing that I’m not close enough to him. I realize life doesn’t last as long as any of us wish it would, so I literally spend my time thinking about how to make every moment with him count. I can’t think of one thing I wouldn’t do for him.

So this situation is awkward in a lot of ways. I wish I could cuddle with him, but he’s just really not that kind of guy, so if he doesn’t want to, if it makes him uncomfortable, I really don’t want to do it either, because he doesn’t.

But I still do, kinda.

I’ve been “initiating” him into a world he’s never known before, the world of the mountains and the outdoors, and I get so happy when I see him discovering something new, some beautiful new view, that he can add new life into the beautiful vistas I’ve seen so many times before. I know this might be the most valuable thing I can do for him, be a companion and helping him get into new activities that will give him entertainment and spiritual comfort for the rest of his life, but I always just wish I could do more.

Even if he did want to cuddle, though, even that wouldn’t be enough. Really, nothing would, nothing would be close enough to him except if we could just be together and alone forever, and that’ll never happen.

So there’s my depressing love life. Here’s the point: I see myself more likely ending up with a guy because I just usually get along with guys better, but I think what’s far more important to me than sexual attraction is physical attraction, that doesn’t really come from their body but from who they are, where I would just want sex only as a way of expressing affection and not to satisfy some sort of personal urges. I think this could happen for either a guy or a girl.

I don't know how any of this will work, with Großmann or in the future.

For here is what I see as my future, for the time being:

I've always had a very very easy time in school, being able to take many of the hardest classes and get fairly good grades with minimal work. I've had my share of calculus and physics and all these different sciences and liberal arts. But the problem:

I've always been especially good at sciences, but not particularly interested in them. I was good at physics and calculus and computer science, and they're not even that bad.

But I'm a mountaineer. I love going into the mountains, finding beautiful things and doing difficult stuff and sometimes even suffering, just as a way of getting an authentic experience of this world.

And physics and calculus and coding are not real. They're abstractions.
If I did those things in a purely intellectual plane, that would be fine. But the truth is that when I'm actually doing those sciences, I'm just sitting around in the real world, coming up with abstractions that don't actually apply that well to the real world, that can only approximate the contrived environments that we create for them.

And I love the liberal arts, history and social studies and anthropology type things. But they suffer from similar problems. Philosophers and historians attempt to understand the world from an armchair.

I have 2 problems with that. I hate just sitting around all the time.
And, it seems both impossible and presumptuous to think that you can understand the world better than a poor person that actually has to work, even when you're not really a part of the world like they are.

My Global Inequality class is, for the most part, a bunch of crap. To justify its existence as a class, we have to "learn" stuff, but for the most part this is learning big words to use to describe the fact that inequality is pretty much a bad thing.

So besides the fact that I'd hate to just learn about social problems without doing real substantive things to change them, it also feels like even if I have a passion for social issues, learning about them through academia is unlikely to do anything other than let me use bigger words to describe my same emotions for the same stuff.

So all of this fairly limits me in what I can do. That being said, I don't really care about ever having a lot of money, so that makes things easier.
But then again, I don't think I could handle a salaried 9 to 5 job.

So with all these caveats, my declared major, which so far looks pretty good, is as a geologist. It's a science, which I tend to be good at and enjoy temporarily in an intellectual way, but with ample opportunity for getting out.
And it isn't abstract, it's very real world.

And my hope is that I'll be able to do contract work, so that I'll be able to work for about 6 months, and work hard, perhaps for like an oil company or something else, it doesn't even matter to me, and that then I'll have enough money to not work for 6 months to a year, if I'm frugal.

The down time would be spent mountaineering and perhaps doing some traveling.

That's the plan as of now. I could also do perhaps a steadier job for something like the government or an NGO working on climate issues, particularly in glaciers, as long as I spend the few years after college doing more traveling and stuff.

But I really don’t know what the future holds.

Anyway, goodbye Oasis!