New website

I am transitioning my work, and most likely my future blog posts, which I intend to update more frequently with new content, to my new website. Please go take a look, sign up for e-mails if you want, and take the opportunity to purchase my book from the links provided. Right now, I have a promotion on Amazon for the Kindle edition for just $7.99! The paperback is still $12.99, a great deal for those needing this type of support or information. The new website is at, eventually I will pony up the money for a true URL. You are also free to donate using the donation link, which, along with book revenues, provides me the ability to market my book to a more targeted audience and to support my outreach efforts to vulnerable communities. Yes, you can just buy the book and I’ll still get paid, but I thought I’d offer both options, considering the amount I need to raise to support more book sales. I’d love some feedback on the website, I’m very new to website building, and obviously using a drag-and-drop editor, but there is quite a bit of flexibility in designing it, and I’d appreciate constructive feedback.

Thanks again for being a loyal follower. See you on the new website!

Kirk Rehn


#mylifematters Part IV


Part IV


I lied. I wasn’t quite done with Scott. I met him once more. I was back in town, possibly on break from school in San Francisco, which I’ll get to soon. I had made plans with Armando to see him and catch up on life. We met at his place, near a lovely tequila restaurant, over near the Ravenna district, if you’re familiar with Seattle. It was odd, seeing him again. I thought I was still interested, still attracted. I wasn’t. Not that I was disgusted, I just saw that I had moved in, grow up, changed styles, looked different, and he, well, he looked the same, and honestly, he was beneath my standards. I guess San Francisco did change me, this time in a positive way, learning and exploring my sexuality, discovering new things about myself, like my good looks and outgoing personality. I don’t know where those came from, they would have been useful earlier in life, but I suppose I had to grow into them,  like a good leather jacket, it takes some time. Anyways, I really had no interest when I saw him again. But I think, to him, I was now an exotic foreigner, from the land of San Francisco, which, by all rights, is a far away land, disconnected as it is from the nation physically and philosophically. So, he asked me to bed, instead of me begging, like previous times. He had a new boyfriend, someone that was with him in the Gay Men’s Choir. Armando always loved to sing, so I was happy he had met a like soul. But it made his sexual advances much more awkward. Do gay men always sleep with their exes after breaking up? After the hurt had passed? It seemed like that, like I obviously had intended for sex to happen, like the good old times, or maybe it was a duty owed. For what, I don’t know. Well, he stripped, I stripped, he waited, expectantly, I stared back at him, then I realized that he intended for me to suck him off. Resentfully, I did. No play time for me, apparently, all about him, like usual. This was actually the first time I realize that that was usual for him. He had an outsized ego, a persuasive personality and a commanding tone. It was only natural that I be subservient, because it wasn’t going to be him. His dick smelled, like he didn’t even bother to try and clean for me, or his boyfriend, for that matter. I gagged my way through the process. He came, shortly, to my relief. Didn’t even touch me, started putting on his clothes. I see. It really was a duty owed, not a sexual adventure together, not by my definition anyways. After reflecting on that for a moment, I got out of bed, hurriedly clothed myself, said my goodbyes, and oh how nice it was to see him, the place looks good, I love that statue in the corner, tell your boyfriend I said hi, actually, probably you shouldn’t do that, but take care now, best wishes, goodbye. I walked home, feeling too dirty to take the bus, wondering if I stank of dirty cock and low standards. You can smell that type of thing, like a dog sensing his prey.

It was a day or two later, now. I was at the restaurant with a cute boy, Geraldo, one of the servers. We always casually flirted, but worked different shifts and neither of us could really host (my place was cramped, his had boyfriend attached), so it remained just under the surface, just under the radar of management, which was also important. But that day, Saturday I think, some other event was taking place nearby, and nobody was coming in to dine, so I got cut. I was fine with that, I hated  being bored at work, wiping down the same tables with the same bleach cloth, again and again, buffing silverware that was already shiny, chatting with the dish boy, anything, really, to look busy. I was preparing to leave when Geraldo stopped me. He had just gotten cut, too, and was just wondering, for no reason, what my plans were. Here was our chance! I had the rest of the day free and his partner didn’t expect him home for hours. We just had to find somewhere to go. He wanted to do it in the car, but I was nervous about that had actually gotten caught once before doing that, no charges were filed but my embarrassment under his stern, watchful eye was punishment enough. My roommate was home, and I lived in a small boat at the time (not terribly small, two cabins and a galley below deck, a wooden boat, a classic, not like the cheap plastic buckets they pass off now as quality boats) so going there would have been awkward. Then I remembered, by brother was at work for the next several hours, late into the night, we could go over there! He seemed fine with it, so I went to his work and borrowed his game and apartment keys. It was dark by now, a little chill in the air, I was impatient to get inside, maybe have some fun before my brother came home. I’m not sure he had actually given permission to do that while he was gone, but he wasn’t there, who’s the wiser? We parked a block away then got out and headed to the gate.

Only we weren’t alone. There was a small gathering at the gate. Two teenagers and a middle age man. The boys looked terrified. I realized why, once I got close enough (too close). The man was carrying on, loudly, about nothing in particular, it was all menacing but not in a specific way. That is, until I looked slightly downward. His left hand was gesticulating, wildly, punching toward the boys for occasional emphasis, when the spit flying out of his mouth wasn’t sufficient to terrify them. His right arm, I traced my eyes down, to the pocket of the trench coat, where, unmistakably, he was holding a pistol. It wasn’t just a hand in the pocket amateur joke, it was a silver gun, safety off, easily to access and use whenever he was done with his tirade. I don’t know what I was thinking, why I thought I could be the hero, but I stepped in, leaving Geraldo at the edge of the group. It was quite dark now, and I couldn’t quite make out his features, but something told me there was something amiss about this situation, aside from the obvious. This was a sketchy neighborhood by all accounts, so I wasn’t surprised that there was trouble, but this, this ws different, even if the gun hadn’t been a factor. Anyways, I engaged the man, distracting him long enough for the boys to escape inside, locking me out at the gate with the man an arms length away, within his zone of spittle. He was mad, both in the sense of angry, and crazy. He smelled like liquor, reeked actually. I hadn’t noticed earlier. There was a drunk tank around the block, my guess was that he had sobered up enough to leave, but just barely sober. As I started listening to his actual words, I realized there was a theme. He wasn’t randomly rambling on, like a schizophrenic might, but rather he was, and I swear this is true, directing his conversation towards me, accusing me of being a faggot, of being rude and dishonest, of spurious behavior, and, especially, of seeing his son. That’s it! It was Scott. I finally put the pieces together. Armando must have mentioned to his father, apparently they were still close, that he had seen me, maybe even that he had sex with me. If you want to call that brief encounter “sex.” Sure. But that was all Scott need to hear. I had dared, without permission, consent or knowledge, to sneak past him and see his son, without offering my usual sacrifice to him first. He was the gatekeeper, the Guardian, or, should I say, the Guard. No one met his son without the ritualistic sacrifice, without performing services for him. Did Armando know, or intend, that his father was here? Did he so fully accept his relationship with Scott that he would “tell on me,” as it were? That would be so wrong, but then, the entire relationship, the bondage between them, the power play that was taking place, the whole of it all was so wrong, so why should I be surprised? How did Scott know where to find me? I had casually mentioned to Armando where I was going and when, just making small talk, being polite, like always. Sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut. “Scott!” I yelled, “Scott, put the gun away!” I started talking fast, knowing I only had a few moments to convince this drunken, sallow, diseased man that he didn’t need to shoot, that everything was fine, that I was truly, deeply sorry I had met with Armando (and I was definitely sorry at this point) without consulting him, that I was even in town at all without notifying him. I didn’t realize had signed up for a lifetime of bondage when I had first started dating his son. That should have been in the contract up front. No matter now. Scott was getting louder, gesticulating more wildly, staggering forward, towards me. I instinctively reached out, no, punched out, with all my might, taking aim at his right arm. The next thing I heard was a loud thud followed by a loud clattering. I saw the gun slip put of his tightly clenched hand and fall on the sidewalk, much as he did, reeling from the punch. Well, I’m not that seeing, he was probably reeling from the alcohol, but the details don’t matter right now. All I knew was that I had temporarily subdued him, but that I had to act fast before he grabbed the gun again, more bellicose than before, and certainly not listening to or trusting me anymore. So I acted. I grabbed Geraldo, who looked obviously terrified and shocked, shoved the card key in the general vicinity of the reader, and ran through the gate as soon as it buzzed. It couldn’t come soon enough. Scott was just starting to get up, but the gate closed too fast. Thank God for small miracles, or for modern security. We, Geraldo and I, sprinted across the lawn separating the gate door from the front door, and showed ourselves inside before the buzzer stopped. The door slammed firmly shut behind us. The boys were sitting there, on the bench, looking at me like I was even crazier than the man they had just encountered. They just sat there, like they had the whole time, apparently. Now this didn’t occur all that long ago in my life. Cell phones were ubiquitous. The whole apartment could be accessed by stair or elevator, had they wanted to reach someone. The fucking fire alarm handle was right behind them. I went off, screaming obscenities, why, why, why hadn’t they called the police, or pulled the alarm, or ran for help? Did the situation look normal from their vantage point, the safety of bulletproof glass and locked doors? All they said was “that was cool,” and something about how stupid I was, and how did I do it anyways? I didn’t have the patience. Geraldo and I grabbed the elevator and went up to my brother’s room. I never called the police. It didn’t seem right. I, alone, had defeated Scott, for the first, and hopefully last, time, and I savored that feeling. Not that bringing him to justice wouldn’t have felt good.  But I think he finally had gotten all he could get from me, and he wouldn’t be bothering me again. My brother came home a few hours later, I didn’t bring it up, we had a few drinks and then headed to the clubs. Just another night.

Desperate for answers 
Looking for some guidance 
The future remains out of touch

How am I supposed to move on
When failure is the only game I’ve got. 
The demons if my past
Torment me
Make me repeat my mistakes
Only fail to learn again

Fuck that 
I’ve been through hell and I’m not going back 
The future is unknown 
One day at a time is all I can take 
I’d peer into my crystal ball
If I thought it contained any answers

But fortunes are won and lost only on the battlefield 
I can’t stay low forever 
I must get back into the game
Past be cursed and future unknown 
All I can do is make the present my own

Clawing out of my hole, 
Reaching up, towards the sun
I deserve the right to be happy, demons be damned
There’s still so far to go, 
But look how far I’ve come 
I never thought I would escape my low

Press on
The future is unknown
But the demons of my past can stay in my past
I’ll take my chances on a new life
I foresee pain, loss and suffering 
But also compassion, caring and joy
Learning to live in a fucked up world
Learning it’s ok not to hate everything 
Learning there are some moments actually joyous 
And learning joy can be felt more matter what the state of the world

Learning to live again 
One step at a time
But each step further from the past than the last
Until the future becomes known to me 
And I can break the bonds of my past

-Future Tripping, personal writings, 2012

So in his chapter we saw the death-grip that Scott held over Armando and, by extension, me, and the lengths he would go to to assert his power. For the first time, I stood up to him. In fact, that may have been the first time I ever stuck up for myself, period. Times were changing. Now it’s time to take a break. Some trivial matters follow, such as getting accepted into law school, moving to San Francisco, attending classes, throwing parties, learning the club scene, learning how to attend  class with a miserable hangover and pounding headache. It was all worth it. But that concludes the happy period of my life, whatever happiness I had previously gleamed, at least it concluded my happiness and satisfaction at school and in San Francisco. In fact, I felt so happy and confident that I finally, for the first since Armando, years prior, went out on a date, then two dates, then sleepovers, then kisses exchanged in public, then became boyfriends. His name was Jason. I’ll never forget.

#mylifematters Part II


Part II


I wish I remember the details of what follows, though, really, it’s better that I don’t. I remember enough and I’ll share that with you.

My family had, by now, moved from Spokane to Bellevue, WA. There I finished my last year of high school via Running Start, a state program designed to give high performing students the opportunity to take college courses at the local community college at no charge. Because of this program, I was able to complete high school simultaneously with my AA, no small feat since the schools provided no support in managing course requirements. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at community college. I was, by most measures, a highly motivated and successful student. By my senior year, I had completed math courses through Calculus III, which, had I taken two more math classes, would have led to a BA in Mathematics. I was smitten enough with math that I tutored students part time on the side. In Spokane, I officially worked at the math lab, helping remedial students, for the most part. In Bellevue I struck out on my own. I didn’t have a lot of clientele, but there was one of which I’m particularly proud. He was a student in Calc II, middle aged and blind. Calculus, if you’re unfamiliar, relies heavily on visuals to understand the equations, or vice versa. The school had promised to translate the textbook into braille, but lagged so far behind that I was tutoring him by voice alone. To understand diagrams I often traced his finger in the general pattern, explaining as I went along. I don’t know how either of us made it through. However, I’m very proud to report that this student was able to pass the class with a 3.8 GPA. That rivaled my own grades. I was grateful for the opportunity to help, and happy it worked out successfully.

While at community college, I picked up employment at a tech start-up, back when that was still unusual. I worked the reception desk, with an official title of purchasing agent, being under the tutelage of the facilities department. That meant I had the opportunity to take over ordering supplies and food for the building. With a practically unlimited, unaccountable budget, I had fun, probably abusing my power, but the techies certainly appreciated the dozens of doughnuts, free breakfast and lunch, and the occasional perk of getting some special equipment if they were nice, maybe a good pen or a printer or executive chair. I stayed at this job for two years, vacating the position when my coworker, older than I and with a family to support, was vying with me for the position after a merger. She needed the money more than I did, so I graciously acquiesced. Besides, I had picked up part time employment at Eddie Bauer, first at their corporate campus near Microsoft, then at the store level at Bellevue Square, a high end retail mall for well-to-do housewives whose husbands made enough to obviate the need for them to work as well, so they would stroll around, picking up Prada shoes, Coach bags and little Yves St Laurent outfits for their precious babies. Angels, as they inevitably called them, even while they were drooling all over my merchandise and wreaking havoc around the store. Angels. Sure. Never argue with a woman whose bank account rivals that of some smaller nations.

These jobs along with a full load at school kept me busy for upwards of 100 hours per week. I don’t know how I did it. I would sleep in the tech firm’s boardroom, racing off to the mall after an hour of shut-eye, working the overnight shift dressing windows and mannequins, then grabbing a quad espresso on the way back to a full day at school and work. I think I used up a lifetime’s worth of energy in those two years.

But somehow, don’t ask me how, despite this busy schedule, I managed to find my first boyfriend. This was back in the heyday of, an Internet chat room that offered group and private chat. This was also the heyday of the growing gay rights movement, in Seattle at least. I remember attending night meetings at a youth LGBT organization an hour south of the city, without my parents knowledge or consent, at least once or twice weekly. It was there that I attended my first dance. It was also there that I first saw Madonna’s “Express Yourself” video. I was shocked but immediately fell in love. Moulin Rouge came out around the same time, and Christina Aguilera was the buzz word of the week. I fall easily for musicals, and this was no exception. I finally felt like I was part of something, something cool, something that validated me and my lifestyle. It was there, I think, that I met my first boyfriend. Truth be told, I’m not sure how we met exactly. It may have been from online chat rooms. Either way, we ended up going to the youth club together on many occasions. His name was Shaun. He was not exactly white, but the exact ethnicity escapes me. Polynesian perhaps. Or Irish. I really don’t know. He was cute, not classically, but good enough for me. My standards were pretty loose at the time, I was happy just to meet someone who would talk to me. Anyways, we ended up dating. In between work and school, we went out to lunch together, dinner sometimes, the youth club others. He was head of the student LGBT group at his college campus, so there were always events to attend.

He was my first. It was unforgettable, the absurdity of the events, but the actual sex was apparently forgettable, as I don’t remember much about it. A lot of fumbling around, I’m sure. I’d seen some porn by then but real life people and events so rarely follow a porn script, despite best efforts, that I was pretty much shooting in the dark, pun intended. My coworker at the tech company just happened to be, outside of work hours (and sometimes caught during work hours) a professional dominatrix. She was a large woman, busty, good with a whip. I don’t know why I took to her so well. Probably because my home life was so sterile and disapproving of any sort of security that I naturally gravitated towards the forbidden. A note to parents: the best way to ensure your child does something against your values is to mark it as “forbidden.” No one can withstand that kind of temptation. Anyways, Jackie, my coworker, took me under her wing. She was determined that I get laid. I was too young to attend her wild and raucous sex parties, and didn’t have the time to go to her nudist retreats, so I guess she had no choice but to bring the sex to me rather than the other way around. I should stop here for a moment and note that it was during this same time period that even found out, or discovered, or decided, that I was gay. Actually, it wasn’t me that decided it. I was told that I was gay. My coworker from my job back in Spokane (I worked two – my first as mailroom clerk at  jewelry manufacturing wholesaler, the second as human resources assistant for Spokane School District 81) kept in contact when I left the District and moved to Bellevue. In fact, as I’ll tell later, I continued to go back to Spokane for some time for doctor visits, with the earlier-mentioned psychiatrist, and she would always pick me up from the airport and take me, occasionally letting me stay at her house overnight if I didn’t have  same-day return flight. I was attending school at Bellevue Community College at the time (the time of learning I was gay), and taking a French class. I chose French because people were cuter in that class than the German class, plus it was such a classier language than German or Spanish. I fancied it was the language of aristocrats. There was a boy in the class that I was instantly drawn towards. I’d never experienced a romantic desire in my life, definitely not towards a boy. There was a girl at church that I did, then and still now, had a crush on,  but I was nerdy, awkward and painfully shy, so it was more of a fantasy than a reality. Bethany, if you’re reading this, you probably already know I’m talking about you. Anyways, I didn’t even know what “gay” meant, literally. I first encountered the word when I was outside the grocery store with my dad, and there was a signature-gatherer for some gay rights cause. Actually, he may have been anti-gay for all I know. Point was, I’d never heard the term before. My dad quickly shuffled us past, saying very little about the event  I don’t remember what he did say. It was derogatory, but not in a clearly defined way, not with any four-letter words, but generally giving the sense that there was something wrong with it. I still didn’t know what it meant, though, just that, whatever it was, it was Bad.

Sidenote: somewhere in this time period, I was “experimental” with a friend around my age. We didn’t do much more than exchange titillating innuendos, but there was one time we attempted to touch each other. His mom caught us, after my friend confessed to her, apparently feeling Bad about the incident. I then had am incredibly awkward conversation with my parents about how Wrong that was, expressing genuine concern that I had done a Bad thing, that I couldn’t become one of Them, that was Sinful. I’m not sure the word “gay” ever came up directly. I was just made to feel shame about my curiosity.

Now, fast forward to Bellevue, French class. I was emailing Pam, my prior coworker at the District, and going back and forth about life and school and any other thoughts on my mind. I had no one to really talk to other than her. I was sitting in the computer lab (laptops were still horrid, heavy monsters), when I got The Email. I know I mentioned the French class boy, but I don’t recall saying anything particular about him, especially nothing of a sexual nature. My mind wasn’t there yet. But, as middle aged women, mothers, sometimes do, no, scratch, always do, she told me, not asked, not suggested, not beat-around-the-bush about it, no, flat out told me I was gay. I reeled. I gasped. My mind flashed a million thoughts in the seconds that followed. But the predominant thought, the theme that kept cycling back into my consciousness, was the cute boy from French class. Now I knew why I was drawn to him. Now I understood that he was gay too. Now a lot of things made sense. I never bothered to question her, there was no need. I knew she was right. I don’t know, without her, if I ever would have known, or just stayed repressed my entire life. It was funny, her knowing me better than I knew me. Or, knowing what I already knew but didn’t have the words to use or even the ideas to form. I didn’t stop, at that exalting moment, to think what my parents or others might think. I just remember, maybe for the first time, that I was Happy. I was serene. I was peaceful. I was finally at rest with myself. Nothing else mattered.

The French boy and I drove my teacher crazy, whispering in the corner, passing notes, laughing at inside jokes, the occasional glance or touch to reassure each other we were thinking the same thoughts. My teacher never once said “gay” nor did she reference the matter, nor, even, did she appear discomforted by the matter, beyond the fact that we were frequently disruptive. What an experience! I was heady with delight and happiness and joy. I never even had to “come out,” it was like everyone already knew, and no one cared! I could be blatant about it and still there were no repercussions. The world had come a long way, or, rather, the move of a few hundred miles across state to Seattle had landed me in a whole new world. Gay was the new normal. Gay was the new me.

There was, of course, the delicate matter of my parents. There was no initial confrontation; I didn’t deem it a dinner table conversation, and they, for their part, chose to ignore the ever-blonder hair, the ever-growing collection of jewelry, the ever-increasing use of makeup. I wasn’t subtle, though I may have thought I was. I’m not sure what I thought. I remember sneaking boys into the house late at night, my bedroom literally across the hall from my parents, without ever getting caught. I’m sure at some point they knew, it was just easier to not bring up such sin, to look the other way while I was fucking in the next room, to pretend not to see the rouge on my cheeks, to ignore my efforts to lose weight (I was 6’3 and wanted to be 165 lbs, I came pretty close at times), generally just to ignore me altogether. I was busy anyways, I had dinner in a rush or reheated it late at night, dashed off early in the morning, had lunch at school, etc. There wasn’t a lot of face time with my parents, and everyone kept it that way.

So did I ever tell them? In fact, no. My mother told me. Just like Pam told me, only this time with a tone of reproachment and judgment. I suppose, technically, she “asked” me, but it was one of those rhetorical questions where the answer is already presumed within the question. We were on a car ride, and the event to which I was going, I’m not sure what it was, was canceled, so we were headed back home. And then she asked. I suppose maybe we worked our way up to the topic, in a way, but the question, to me, came flying at me from left field. I could only agree, not only to be truthful, but because the question itself obviated the need for an answer. The next few weeks were nearly comical, as she passive-agressively forced scripture passages on me, and I fired back with quotes and pamphlets from PFLAG. We were at an impasse, which was actually quite common between us. We were both stubborn to the core, no matter how obviously wrong we might be, so especially on this issue there was no backing down.

The day the next event happened was just another day, to start. I was driving around Kirkland with Shaun, walking down the waterfront, playing on the playground, things boys do on dates. When we go back to the car, it refused to start. Well, I’m no mechanic, and he wasn’t either. I learned later that you always should have a lesbian in your life to cover these situations. So I called my mom to come pick us up. There was something odd about that phone call. She refused, citing irresponsibility, neglect of maintenance, failure to be prepared for emergencies, and why, oh why, was I with Shaun in the first place? She knew were dating, though I never told, and he was a constant source of tension between us. There was something more in her voice, though, the tone was different, bleak, almost, desperate but fatalistic, as if she had resigned herself to whatever she was thinking about. Anyways, I called my sister, and she came with a gallon of gas, enough to get home and no further. I was upset because we were on a dare, and why did it have to come to an end, couldn’t she buy a bit more gas, I didn’t have any money, but no, no, no was the answer. My mother had found out I called my sister, and placed severe restrictions on what help she could offer. So I had gas to go home, so I did. It was growing dark, wind blustering, raindrops starting to fall. The kind of night that looks pretty from the comfort of a warm home, in front of a fire, but not something for which you’d like to be outside. My sister had left after giving us gas, so we drove home, me growing ever more uneasy, sensing something in the air, without being able to place it. I got out of the car, went to open the apartment door, but discovered it was locked. I was already in a bad mood, it was a cold night, I just wanted to get Shaun’s belongings from inside the apartment and let him go home. Instead he was just as stuck as I was.

I called my mom, seeing where she was at. She was at, it turned out, at a church prayer meeting at a congregation member’s house down the street, and was not to be interrupted. No matter that I had no key and it was cold out and really she was only five minutes away by car. No matter. It was a bitter phone call. I called the apartment manager next, who knew us well, but she couldn’t break the lock since I wasn’t the name on the lease. She suggested calling the police, sensing my growing panic. The police arrived quickly, but, since I was the age of majority, couldn’t rule it child abuse and, in fact, could do nothing because I had no lease on the place. They left me with a sympathetic look and a pamphlet on domestic abuse. By now I was mad, no, angry, no, furious, boiling, cursing up a storm. Not that it helped the situation. So I reverted back to the passive-aggressive me that always gets results. Not good results, but one can’t be picky. I just wanted inside. I started calling my mom again and again and again, determined to annoy her enough that she would have no choice but to come. Instead, she turned her phone off. Fuck. I knew what to do, though. I convinced myself, and to this day it’s the version of events I believe, despite strong assertions and suggestions to the contrary, that the prayer meeting was about me and what to do with me. I knew whose house it was at, and I’d held long simmering suspicions about what he thought of me, and it just made sense that they would be discussing me. Well, I wouldn’t let them do that in peace. So I called the house, got voicemail, called again; after several times, I was angry and scared and cold and still hadn’t gotten Shaun’s belongings, and was determined to make someone suffer. So I called back, knowing the house phone was in the kitchen adjacent to the living room, and left a series of loud, angry, threatening messages in language that would make a sailor blush. I just knew they were discussing me, and I was determined to upset their meeting. After waiting several minutes from my last call, there was a screech of tires in the paring lot, and my mom emerged from a vehicle I had never seen before. If I thought I was upset, it didn’t hold a candle to the expression on her face. But she remained silent. She opened the door, let Shaun gather what he needed and leave then, in a fateful moment of self-restraint, she whispered, through clenched teeth, loud enough for everyone to hear, with not a trace of sadness in her voice, that I had ten minutes to pack and leave, forever.

It’s a blur beyond that. Some may even dispute the accuracy of the events I just described. What I said, though, was true and real to me at the time, and it’s accuracy, to an extent, is unnecessary, because it was my belief in events that mattered at the time. I remember calling my friend, a young gay couple from the social group I attended, and who I knew well because of weekly Queer as Folk viewing at their house, and asking to be picked up, immediately, and stay with them for a while. I packed everything into two bags and went outside to wait. My dad came out after me and I started running. Just then, my friend, Justin, arrived, and with horns honking, my dad screaming, me running, I leaped into the moving car and we sped off, kicking up dirt behind us, as my dad was yelling, begging me to come back, it could all be talked out. Fuck that. They wanted me gone, so I would go. Forever. Estrangement works both ways.

Well, the rest of this particular story isn’t very dramatic. I lived with Justin for a few months, then Shaun and I got back together and we moved into a two bedroom apartment in West Seattle. I started attendance full time at the University of Washington, took a new job, and was very successful, as these things go. I didn’t talk to my parents for two years, at least. I honestly thought, based on some rumours, that he had moved to the South, or maybe even Russia. Their phone number no longer worked and I had no forwarding address for them, so I was as good as disowned from what I used to think was my family. Anyways, Shaun started acting up around the same time, using drugs (in retrospect, probably just weed, but drugs were drugs as far as I was concerned at the time). I vividly remember the day we had a fight, and he threw my cat over the railing, watching her plunge to the concrete below, breaking her back, spewing blood and guts, a look of sheer horror on her face, and mine. Shortly after, I caught Shaun on the rooftop doing drugs in the hot tub. I called the police. Management kicked us out, but let me move into a new unit since I was an innocent party. So I ended up living on my own in my own one bedroom apartment. Who needed family? I had my own place, my own job, was getting a great education, making friends and having fun. I was doing fine. Or so I thought.

I walk forth, my world crashing and falling all around me
If you listen just right, it’s like a gentle rain
Whispering to me in soft tones of hope and inspiration
The rain picks up
All the Opera seats are full
The patrons lean in, frowning, what will he do with his life now? 
Will he recover, and get a job and find his life again? 
Or will be listen to the torrential rain, the gentle rain long gone, 
And give up hope, as should have been done long ago, 
Surrender to the sweet mercy of drug induced happiness 
Where the rain never comes and the music never stops

But I can’t decide today
I don’t want to ever decide

The rain will never stop pouring until I’ve made up my mind 
Until then, the rain falls, 
Just life restoring death

-Rain Falls, personal, 2012

This concludes Part II in which we see me go from school to work to being kicked out and disowned, back to school and work. I purposely left out the critical, life changing moment, however, when I learned the extent of and limits to sexuality, and bondage, and love and trust. These moments deserve their own section. So take a break, this ride is about to get ugly.

#mylifematters Prologue

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry i wasn’t there when you graduated. I’m sorry I wasn’t there at your wedding. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you got your first job. I’m sorry i wasn’t there when you had your first child. I’m sorry I never call or visit. I’m sorry I never put you on my Christmas list. I’m sorry we’ve become estranged, strangers in the night. I’m sorry I scurry silently by when I see you on the streets. I’m sorry you think you mean so little to me.

Because you mean the world to me. I’m not sorry I ever became friends with you or shared my life with you. I’m not sorry I went to bars with you and danced with you. I’m not sorry I studied with you or came to your events. I’m not sorry. These are moments I’ll never forget.

But, I’ve changed. To you, to my family and to myself. I don’t recognize myself in the mirror anymore. Who is this man, ghastly thin, pale, teeth yellowed, hair falling out? Who is this man looking back at me? A hollow image of my former self, a look that doesn’t go away after Halloween, a permanent and poignant marker of my downfalls and failures.

It is for this I apologize.

But I want you to know, there’s so much more. I wasn’t always like this. You know that. I was happy, carefree, a smart boy, a good looking boy, a healthy boy, a fun boy. I may have grown older with time, then, but I never grew up. I loved that about myself. You did too. There were days when I couldn’t stop smiling, laughing, experiencing the joy, the friendship, the love, experiencing the experience! Sure, I studied hard, I worked hard, I was a serious student and worker. Sure I had a few bad days, don’t we all? But, you know, those didn’t define me. My smile did. Infectious, even to me. I was outgoing, popular, a socialite extraordinaire. Well, to an extent. Those parties I threw are some of my favorite memories, whether a small gathering at a bar, a night out on the dance floor, an intimate glass of wine, a  pants-off-dance-off in your living room. These are my memories, the good times, the good friends, the good drinks, the good bars and clubs, the good experiences.

It’s all gone. Even my memory is fading. I’m writing this so I can remember those days, those times, those moments, that made me happy. Those moments. Once lived, but never again.

Who am I? Me, I suppose. A facade, though, as if me was put on as a costume on myself. What I see isn’t what I get. A dashing young man, smart, successful, happy… It’s like a mirror showing me qualities I’ll never possess, the ultimate looking glass mirror. Because there, in that mirror, is the me that you saw and knew, the me that made it in life, the me that went on to grow old with a partner. But that’s not the me behind that glass. Pretty, but false. Who am I? Well, me. But not anything I’ve ever known or expected or anticipated or wanted or desired or for which I prepared myself. No, this me fell under the wheel and was tossed around, trodden upon, spit at, destroyed, used and cast aside. This me lives each day in darkness and despair and fear. This me, this is the real me. Maybe I was faking the whole time.

I’m writing this mostly for myself, so I know, as crazy as I am, that some things are not just in my head, imagined, but rather events I lived through, in fact, many of them events which I arranged. There was so much I wanted, so much potential, so much to live for, so much that I couldn’t take it anymore.

You were there. Really. You didn’t know but you were there. I remember the names and faces. I remember the time of day. I remember the sunshine, the frolicking, the good nature of mankind. You probably forgot, just another day. And it was. But not for me. It was a turning point that, little did I know, would forever alter my life. And so, I write this for you too. Because, as my friend, you deserve to know what happened. You deserve to know why I slipped away, turned my back on you, left you and never spoke again. You should know, it wasn’t you. 

I’m going to start where I remember and fill in the gaps as best I can. Names are real, events are real, dates may be all in my head, but I know what happened, regardless of when it occurred, and I need to put that down on paper so someone, someday, maybe, will read it and understand. I made poor choices, yes, but like anyone, I made the best choice under the circumstances I had, under the way that my mind saw things, under the way of what life threw to me. Under these circumstances and in that might, I made the rational decision. What followed was unforeseen, unforeseeable, impossible to imagine or comprehend. It was just another fucking day.

You can stop here, or skip over parts or jump straight to the end. What I need is to put my story out there, what you do with it is none of my concern. Of course, I want you to understand. But I’m not writing for your sympathy or your judgment. You will judge, I know. Because what follows is not the me that you knew or I knew, but the me that experienced these events and became the me of today. God, how I wish that me was not me.