Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ch 4: First Year of College - lesson learned be happy and love yourself others can still love you if they disagree with your decisions



     It's the weekend! Always a good thing,


       This weekend we should all take some time to enjoy the sun, relax and recharge our batteries.  I want to start today's blog with a positive note and say that my mother has been sober for a number of years now and ever since I have told her about my intentions to change from M to F she has been nothing but supportive and is probably my #1 fan.  By that I mean that she is very proud of me and my accomplishments is proud that I am strong enough to come out and stand on my own to be true to myself.  That on the journey known as life I have at least made a step towards self-discovery in the life-long journey that many die still asking themselves the question 'who am I?'

     Ok, now I have to backup a little bit there are some important piece I left out when I was writing yesterday.  To start I will go back to when I was in elementary school I had my first kiss, which I do not remember as a pleasant experience but I thought it was relevant to talk about.  This girl who was a couple years younger than me had a crush on me, she had some not so flattering nicknames, though all in all she wasn't 'unattractive' I was just still in the mode of 'girls have cooties.'  Anyway, the day occurred and we were sitting in the back of the bus, she came over and sat next to me, and somehow she pinned me to the seat of the bus and kissed me.  Took the kiss from me more than anything, I remember trying to push her off of me, and when I look back at it I remember it fondly more than hateful, because the idea that this girl was so infatuated with me that she just had to kiss me is kind of a romantic ideal.

      Right before my parents split up as I hit puberty I had started stealing my mothers clothes to wear them in private.  My parents eventually found out and scolded me, not really understanding why I would do something like this.  Honestly, I developed a method of self-inflicted punishment, again going back to the idea that at this point in my life I had a very hard time going against the wishes of others and holding onto the belief that I was still loved.  So, the outside world was telling me I shouldn't want to wear those types of clothes, I was telling myself I shouldn't want to wear those types of clothes yet I did it, and punished myself for it.  Then in a conversation I'm sure all parents dread I talked to my father about masturbation, and the thought after all the boys in school were calling me gay and other derogatory terms that I might actually be gay.  My father looked at me, laughed and said what I was asking him about was ludicrous and while I didn't understand what I was asking and not being able to truly explain what I was feeling, I shrugged it off.

      I'm going to kind of sidetrack for a minute, to talk about this idea of going against someone's wishes and still feeling love.  The general feeling is that upon birth we learn association through facial expressions and every time we get a happy face we tend to want to recreate those emotions.  Well there is a point in our lives were as we grow we are supposed to be able to realize that we can do something that others don't agree with and they can still love us all the same.  It took me a long time to figure this out, when I was young I was constantly what people called a 'people-pleaser' I always wanted to be everyone's friend, and didn't want anyone to dislike me.  But in the end you can't make everyone happy, and I almost found that it was like having multiple personalities, not really, but close because everyone I interacted with had a different set of rules that I had to memorize, operate in and fit myself to the 'mold' of what they thought I should be to keep them happy.  This was a terrible idea, and becoming fragmented and lost within yourself takes time to come back from, and the reality is that if you try to make everyone happy you end up making no one happy because your constantly trying to compromise to find something that fits all the different 'molds' when really there probably isn't a good answer.

       Then right at the end of high-school before the summer I spent my father I had my first sexual experience, again like the kiss it wasn't particularly enjoyable.  The story of the experience though starts with me getting invited out to hang out with some of my co-workers, I get to the event and they are all girls, and I'm the only 'guy' there.  I go into the living room where a couple of them are watching something on the television to find that there are three girls sitting around watching porn.  So, I am floored, and did not expect this at all, but being shy and not confident at all I basically hid in the corner and tried to make myself as small as possible.  Then after a while one of the girls starts razzing me about having sex, and starts saying things like 'your too good, you would never do anything, I bet  you wouldn't do anything so much that you could use my bedroom if you were going to do something.'   Then the others started 'ganging' up on me and I was kind of forced into the room by peer pressure.  So I proceeded to have sex with one of the girls who was not one of the ones making fun of me, but was the one they were suggesting I do it with.  I had no idea what I was doing, it wasn't pleasurable, and afterwards I just went home and cried.  I didn't have sex again until I met my current wife.

       Back to the current storyline we left off with my summer with my father and while it didn't help my opinion of him I am ultimately glad that I did it and at least gave the opportunity to my father to get to know him and spend some time with him.  Because regardless of what he has done he is still my father.  So, the summer came and went, lots of sitting around, had one time where we saw a swat unit next door with shotguns and larger weapons, I just got on the floor and staid there, didn't want someone to start shooting and get hit in the crossfire.  They didn't have to use their weapons and the person they were looking for wasn't there, so not a big deal, but it was still scary.  Other than that, I had a couple of experiences with my father were at eighteen we were drinking together, somehow I naively thought this might bring me closer to him, but really we just drank and watched some movies so it wasn't a big deal, other than the underage drinking. 

     In the fall I went back to Michigan to start my first year of college.  First mistake, it was a catholic college named after a saint.  But when I went on the tours and met the upper-classmen I had a ball and got along great with them, when I got to campus I kept in touch and remained friends with most of them, the campus was beautiful, and they were pushing the idea that you didn't have to be catholic to come to the school.  So once again I was quite naïve, to believe that most of the students would be like me and unaffiliated where the opposite is true and while it's not required, a majority of the students are catholic and come from catholic upbringings.  Not to say this is a bad thing in and of itself, however, similar to high school in the dorms there was a lot of teasing about the possibility of me being 'gay' when in reality they were probably using the term as a derogatory statement and not as actually thinking I was 'gay.'  But this time I played the stereotype to my advantage, played along a little to get an advantage while playing basketball and other things, it made some of the other guys uncomfortable and they would make mistakes without me having to do anything. 

   I made a few great friends who were my classmates, I had two friends, my roommate and another friend who I considered to be my best friend in college who would watch my back and kind of squash the name calling if they were around.  So things were going well, I was majoring in Sports Management with the dream of becoming Jerry McGuire and being able to make a living negotiating high priced sports athletes contracts with teams.  One can dream, but I soon found out that the industry is largely about who you know not what you know, a lot of the players use their friends from high-school as their managers and agents so that they can 'share their wealth.'  So I went along getting A's again in most of my classes, sleeping through pre-calculus and getting an A- which resulted in the nun who was teaching the class to say I should switch my major to be a math major, though I didn't have any interest in that at the time.  I should have prefaced that statement by explaining I had taken pre-calculus and calculus in high-school but did not take trigonometry so when I took the placement exam I didn't do as well as I should have because I had to answer all the questions using just paper and pencil and no calculators.  I struggled for the first time in Honors English and ended with a C+, but it was the first time ever I had gotten a paper back and seen the grade of a 'D' at the top of a paper.  I studied really hard, used peer-readers and spent a lot longer on these papers than I ever had before and still ended with a bad grade.  Again I think this had to do a lot with the quality of my grammar and not the content, creativity or ideas I was writing about.  Oh well, the professional world has editors and people who are specifically trained to take the ideas and format them into concise and well versed sentences.
  
      I never have gotten points off for grammar in my math, management or other courses as I guess for a business paper the quality of my writing was high enough quality.  Even my history classes I didn't have an issue with.  Like I said, oh well, lol again a bit of a sidetrack but it frames who I am and the qualifications I have.  I was homesick in Michigan and really missed my mother and my brothers, I had a girlfriend who was from Minnesota for a short period of time, think I scared her off when I cried in her dorm.  I guess she had her own issues as I found out that she left school a few months before I did because of a suicide attempt.  I still talk to her every once in a while to say hello, and check in, she moved back to Minnesota and is doing very well from what I can tell.  Anyway, the real story of my freshman year goes to my own suicide attempt.

     So I made it through the first half of the  year, started the second semester, got sick with mono or something for a short period of time and was doing well in all my classes.  March came, I went to see my father for spring break which again wasn't very heartening, but no one else was staying around campus so I went to Wisconsin because it was closer than 'home' in New England.  I got back to campus and my best friend and my roommate were gone for the weekend a couple weeks after spring break.  Some of the other guys in the dorm where getting alcohol and asked me if I wanted anything, so again not wanting to be a prude I said, 'sure' and got a six pack of Bacardi.  Now any time I had drank before on campus it was with my best friend present and we were generally playing video games or went down to shoot pool or something afterwards.  So this was my first time without him present.  After a little while they came back with the order, I gave them the money for the six pack, and sat in my dorm, after which someone came to my room and told me to hurry up and drink the rest because you don't want to get caught with the bottles in your room and they wanted to go out to get some hotdogs or something.  So I drank all six in about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half, I was obviously impaired, but wasn't puking or blacked out or anything, it almost felt like someone else was in control of my body.  So the other guys came back and said 'are you coming' meaning for the hotdogs, to which at this point I say no, because I really didn't want to walk around and go out in public.  But then they come back from eating, and I've been sitting in my room watching Television, and one of my 'suite-mates' came in and the teasing about being 'gay' started.  Now a 'suite-mate' is the two guys who lived next-door to me and my roommate and we had an adjoining bathroom so sometimes we would open the doors through the bathroom and all hangout.  Regardless this teasing and making fun of in retrospect made me realize who my true friends were. 

**WARNING - NEXT PARAGRAPH CAN BE CONSIDERED GRAPHIC AND EXPLAINS THE SUICIDE - IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT, SKIP THIS LAST PARAGRAPH.

    So finally I had had enough of the teasing, so I got up on my bed, stuck my butt up and said here it is, if you really want it, come and get it.  So then the suite-mate ran out of the room to tell some other boys what was happening.  At this point I shut my doors and climbed up into bed, I lay there thinking about the homework and stuff I had to do the next day.  I rolled over, looked down at my PlayStation two and then something possessed me to get up take a controller cord and string myself up in the bathroom.  I got up and stood on the toilet, and used the exposed water pipes to loop the controller around, using the controller to hold the cord in place when I tied it to the pipe.  Tied the other end around my neck and stepped off of the toilet.  I remember spinning, passing out, and seeing the proverbial 'white light.'  I woke up crying on the bathroom floor.  The cord had not snapped, it did not untie itself and if you know anything about PlayStation controllers the input part is larger than the cord and would have a very hard time untangling by itself.  So, either one of two things happened, either someone or something was watching over me and determined I had a greater purpose to serve on this earth, or I don't remember it but my survival instinct kicked in and I somehow found my footing on the toilet and untied myself.

to be continued...
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