This will be a rather long entry, but I feel like there is a lot of backstory in my life that I need to put on the record:
There was a period of my life that, when I look back on it, could be a dark time to some who don’t know the whole story. I was out of the closet, but I wasn’t happy with other facets of my life.
I had graduated high school in May 1997 and decided to go to Mountain Empire Community College the next fall. I decided to major in Electronics. I didn’t have a knack for the curriculum and decided to sit out the Spring 1998 semester and re-evaluate my career path. I did not come back until a couple of semesters later and I changed my major to Accounting. I took it slow and eventually I decided that this wasn’t the major for me either. I decided after the Fall 2000 semester to take another break from college. It was around this time that I was trying to sort out my sexuality as well, so that mattered a lot in relation to this decision.
Before I came out, I had decided to work for a while and see where that went. I had a great job at my hometown cinema, Lee Cinema. It was there that I met one of my best friends, Brian Bloomer. We worked well together and made a great team, and he is a lifetime friend. (We fell out of touch for a while, but we reconnected!)
In 2002, after I had come out to the world, I decided to move to Kingsport. Here is where what I call my “dark time” began. It wasn’t 100% dark, but there were challenges to make it so. As I began to explore dating and finding somebody to love, I met several people. Most of them ended up being flings and I did end up in a couple of relationships. I had a job and lost that job (let’s not go back into that again…) as well.
One of these relationships was with a very weird guy. He lived out in Sullivan County with his parents and had some interesting religious ideas. Nothing wrong with that, until he met someone else and tried to make it a threesome. That was when I called it off.
I apologize if that last sentence seems very sordid, but this is an honest blog.
Christmas was not a particularly good holiday for me during this period either. I lost my father just before Christmas of 2001, and my beloved Great Grandmother on Christmas Evening 2002. It was a very rough time indeed for my whole family.
In 2003 I moved to Gray and got a job at the major call center there. (Those of you in the Tri-Cities will know what that is.) It was around this time that I met two other lifelong friends who helped get me through dark times, Dan Darnell and Jon Hunter. More or less, they were my buddies that I would go to New Beginnings with just about every weekend. Dan helped me out a lot when things got really challenging for me, he even let me spend one Thanksgiving at his house when I couldn’t go home to be with my family. I had a couple of bad bouts with kidney stones around this time, and Dan and his grandmother came and helped me get home from the hospital after the second bout. I can’t thank them enough for being so helpful to me it a bad time.
Jon is just a friend with a heart of gold. He would hang out with me when most other people wouldn’t. He would come and pick me up and we would go to Newbies or Pharaoh’s (remember that place?)
These friends mattered to me a lot, because I was very, very depressed under the surface. I look back on this entry from June 2003 and it brings back a lot of strong feelings. I would lay in bed and cry myself to sleep. I didn’t know where life was taking me at that time and the lack of a meaningful relationship was taking its toll on me.
Fortunately, my friends were there for me, so I rebounded and got my life on track. I discovered what I truly wanted to do, and set out to do it. As you can see in the image I chose to accompany this post, in December 2004 I was really feeling better about myself. And, if I may say so, I was very, very handsome too. 🙂
I don’t have to tell the story of how I grabbed the bull by the horns and got to college, that story was well told on my LiveJournal at the time (which has been preserved here, of course.)
Forgive me for being so reflective, but sometimes one reflects on where they are to remember how fortunate they are.