As you know, one of the things that has been keeping me Too Busy For Love is my photo scanning adventure. I had to put that on hold a few months back when Drag Season hit full throttle. I'm back to it a little and I stumbled upon some of these pics from the 90's. This reminded me of a little story ; a painful event and my "me" way of handling such things.
Picture it, the early 90's, I moved into this building, very close to the University of Texas at El Paso where I could walk to school and work (alright, I usually drove to work.)
Ever reliable best friend, Ted, helped me get my stuff in (actually I can't recall where I got any of my bedroom furniture...) and stock my fridge with yogurt and sandwich fixin's. It's college people. I didn't need living room furniture because that was being brought in by my new roommate, This Guy
That's my real blood, right where I was warshing dishes before that fateful and non-sexual,
sexually frustrated blow!
Looking back at it, I surmise that what was going on between me and Shelby was good, old-fashioned, MOONLIGHTING sexual tension. Since we were both living in a time where one is told to believe everything that says they are not gay and gay is bad and YOU'RE NOT GAY, all that tension had nowhere to go. It manifested in weird arguments, desperate acts and violence. All that tension cost me 12 stitches.
I must admit that when I came home from the hospital, freshly stitched and feeling VERY vulnerable, I was very anxious coming back to the apartment. What if they had released Shelby and he was back in the apartment waiting for me? They police made it clear that they weren't interested in enforcing any laws against assault. I made it in and spent the next few days looking like a b Actress overacting in a horror movie, reacting to any little sound or cautiously opening closed doors. It was no fun. How did I deal with it?
The next weekend I had an exorcism! I invited friends over and re-enacted the events of that day
Then, I took a tube sock Shelby had defiantly left behind and burned it in a frying pan on the balcony and then lit sage from the burning cotton/polyester foot cover and went room to room allowing the smoke to spook away all the bad energy. Then we proceeded to have a great time
Later I went through my photo albums and recast Shelby in our fun time photos, like these...
(I've always been crafty)
I also went back and added quotes from magazines that I thought were appropriate or funny, like in the first pic of Shelby. It was then, that I took some markers and exacted therapeutic revenge on Shelby in the cover photo. I think it made me feel better, then. I think it's hilarious, now.
About 2, or so years later, I finally accepted that I was gay and came out to my friends. I don't know if Shelby is actually gay, but I do know that that tension is undeniable and I still have the scar from it. It was all so strange while it was happening and the assault, while not terribly dramatic or life threatening, stays with me. When I feel the scar tissue with my tongue from time to time, I don't much dwell on Shelby having punched me with that fucking ring on, I ponder more how different it would have been if it were okay to acknowledge our feelings without shame and figuring out what was going on with us, instead of the bottled up frustration exploding all over my face.
Mostly, when I remember my time in that apartment, I see my bedroom window from the street,
(Looking back, I think I understand now why I didn't mind that right outside my window was a very active and loud Fire House, with firemen who'd wash the truck...)
(Danny accepted and celebrated my craftiness, including the vinyl cow dots
applied to our refrigerator with magnets)
and true friendship. We stayed room mates until he married his lovely wife, Lisa, with whom he shares two lovely children and a fabulous house. We are friends to this day, even though we rarely exchange more than a few sentences in any given year, when I see him it's like we saw each other just the day before.
As a Gay of A Certain Age, I know how important it is to look back and see where we came from, re-examine our experiences, see if we can solve any mysteries, as well as looking back and cherishing the things that contributed to us being our BEST us. Also, it helps to have a sense of humor even in the face of violence.