Monday, December 28, 2009

The Experiment, Part 6

The Next Step

Like coins, every aspect of life has two sides.

coin_flip I had reached the most lonely point in my life. I was in a land completely foreign to me with people who knew nothing of my situation. The other side of loneliness became more and more apparent as my trip continued. I spent four days on the road conducting interviews, taking pictures, visiting museums, and working hard.

Each day I told myself, “You’re lucky. There are few who are able to do anything like this as an undergrad—alone.”

There it was again. That word. I was alone, but in a good way. Exercising true independence for the first time, I was getting closer to becoming the person I aspired to ultimately be.

This trip forced me to plan and revise those plans as necessary. It took me to the ocean for the first time in my life, to the greenest on an adventure down a mineshaft, and through the greenest forests I’d ever seen.

This was definitely marked progress. I was beginning to recognize what I amounted to despite what seemed like the ultimate rejection. The obvious revelation that my value didn’t hinge on someone else was slow-in-coming and not without relapses. I had to raise myself out of this depression by being what I’d considered selfish.

All of my actions were driven by those around me—driven by what they would feel or do or say about this innocent kid who had the single shred of acceptance of his sexuality pulled out from under him. I was being driven by fear when I needed to be guided by the very potential peeking through the cracks in the foundation of my crumbling life.

Pull yourself together. You have work to do.


There is no reason not to love you. You live life the best way you know how. You care about others. You are living up to the potential bestowed upon you.

Being prideful (or what some would consider confident) and selfish (self-respecting) proved the necessary solution. Paradoxically, caring for and respected myself were the only ways I would keep myself from emotionally barricading myself or physically removing myself from my own life.


As I made my way over the bridge to the final destination of my trip, the capitol of the province, something came over me. What I was telling myself was finally coming together with the world opening up before me.

I was here because I belonged here. I had done the work. I had made the effort. I had used my time, my talent, and my intellect to do research that only I could do.

I realized just like any other of the hundreds of thousands of people in that city, I had my place and I belonged even if it wasn’t exactly the place or purpose I’d envisioned just months before with Mark.

End, Part 6


Kristina said...

Awesome, man. It's amazing how fast virtues like selflessness and humility can morph into ugliness. I'm glad you were able to escape that trap.

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