Author Topic: A Reflection on Life  (Read 1569 times)

Offline Phillip Dampier

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A Reflection on Life
« on: April 16, 2006, 10:44:06 pm »
One of the things that has happened with John and I when people learn that we've been together for nearly 20 years is that we become de facto role models for a lot of people striving to build successful, long-term relationships.  A lot of younger guys coping with coming out issues inevitably get sent to my "doorstep" by other friends of mine because of my ability to help them get some direction and goals in their lives and avoiding the fast lane pitfalls that often later become life parables about the "mistakes of youth."

In 2000, I met one young man who, within a short amount of time, began a relationship with someone a few years older than himself.  That ultimately led to the addition of another friend in my own life.

Unfortunately, the age difference when you are both teenagers can create a lot of drama, because maturity levels can vary tremendously during those formative years.

My young friend, who I will call Bill here, had more confidence about his sexuality and his direction.  The guy he began to date, who I will call Jim here, was older and played easy going, but was actually struck inside with a tremendous lack of self-confidence and fear that he won't be accepted.  Jim's friends growing up were exclusively straight and they were aware that Jim wasn't, which made him a bit of a novelty in the group, and I'm sure in his mind, never totally accepted. 

Their relationship lasted around a year or two together, ending when Jim took a job in another city and Bill not feeling he was really ready to leave town with him.

In talking with Bill recently, I have learned that Jim is, in fact, suffering considerably from depression to the point where he is spending as many waking moments as possible distracting himself with work, for which he is well paid.  His only source of happiness seems to be the material things he can buy with the money he is earning.  A new toy can provide hours of "entertainment" but is never truly fulfilling.  Depression and inner sadness can be hidden away only to some extent, and like all unresolved things, will resurface in the dead of night with nightmares and staring at the ceiling dwelling on the perceived emptiness of his life, convinced he will never truly be "normal" as a gay guy and accepted and loved by others.  He is sure he will die alone.

The solution on offer from the medical community seems to be sleeping with Prince Valium night after night:  welcome another new member of the Ambien or Lunesta family, working very hard to lock out the perceived reality that pierces the veil of distraction, ambivalence, and short-term bandages.

What this reminded me of was just how happy our boys were on Brokeback Mountain having just one another and few material objects or wealth.  One of the attractive elements of the film for me personally was the slowed pacing of daily life and the simplicity of not having to constantly work to acquire things that ultimately don't provide any real meaning or happiness anyway.

A lot of us spend so much time dwelling on the things that we think will make us happy but ultimately never do.  Jack Twist married into money which led to a nice house, nice clothes, and a nice truck.  But no happiness without Ennis.

Jim's current "therapy" consists of medication and some talk therapy that, I'm told, has brought little progress.  The distractions of shiny new things continues, now with the company of the animated glowing moth that now shares in his ceiling staring, nightmares, and morning gloom.  Ultimately, the therapy most needed here is a new outlook on life, a new plan that realizes that it isn't the money that will lead to fulfillment - it's learning more about yourself, learning to love yourself first and then being able to believe that others will love you too.  Perhaps I can draw Jim here to begin outlining his own hopes, dreams, and ambitions, but I'll bet there might be a few "Jim's" already lurking here.

We're all here for the long haul.  Fixing things within us that have been holding us back for years doesn't happen with one movie and 2-3 months.  The movie is the catalyst for change, but the journey that change will take us on will last much longer, which is what this place is all about.  Long after we're exhausted dwelling on the movie and its characters, we'll still have each other and our own stories which are real life.  That's what finishing the story really means.  For those peeking in here for the first time looking for something beyond the movie, welcome.  Share your own stories and the goals you want to achieve.  Hopefully, the collective wisdom of all of us, some of whom have already been down the road you're on can provide valuable insight and support.
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